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  • In 1995 I had moved back to my hometown of Rivercide from San Francisco to go back to school. I moved into a building of art studios downtown and fell into a small but young and energetic artistic community, an island of freaks in that conformist, Christian, conservative Southern California suburb. That was when I became a zinester, and started Budget Press. First I published the people around me, and distributed the pubs around town. Then people began submitting contributions, and I started to get connected to the larger zine world. I got my first computer in 1997, and immediately set up an internet presence. Soon I was publishing people from all over the country, and I was being published in various zines. After I graduated college and moved to Prague then Russia, I published a few European writers. When I lived in Russia I started my first Budget Files, which was a weekly (or so) email list where I wrote about my travels and politics and Budget Press and whatever else. Altogether, I published over thirty chapbooks and zines.

    In 2000 I started grad school, and I put aside publishing Budget Press, it was time to focus on bigger things. In 2006, when I had my research year in Russia and Azerbaijan, I started up the Budget Files again, this time as a blog. But other than that, Budget Press was on hiatus. And I say hiatus because I always knew that one day I’d do something with Budget Press again.

    Now I am not in grad school, and about a year ago I began to start thinking about Budget Press. And then in February of this year, after getting dumped by someone I liked (amazing how those events always play a role, and the same time I started to write on Cowbird), I decided it was finally time to start-up Budget Press again. The first thing I wanted was the cover, so I called a former roommate in Santa Barbara and he said he was in. Then I contacted my two most reliable friends/writers who together I had published about a dozen times, and they were in. In mid-March Phil sent me the cover, and with that I started to hit up people I knew who I wanted to publish that might actually do it. One person was concentrating on his book, one didn’t reply, but everybody else said yes! It was easy.

    All the contributors were people I knew, but I wanted to publish at least one person I didn’t know at all, and thankfully Cowbird supplied me with Alina Fox. I love her art, so I wanted to contact her and ask if I could publish some, however, she doesn’t supply any contact info. So I posted a ‘story’ dedicated to her asking her if she would email me, and happily she did really soon (at which time I took down the story).

    So now I have all the contributors, and have the layout all done and have printed up my first draft copy of the Budget Press Review #5. Now comes the next step. In the past, I made everything myself, with a Xerox machine and a stapler, in true zine fashion. But now I’m older and I want something nicer, I want a slick cover and nice paper all professionally done. I could afford to make a couple hundred, but I decided to try a 21st century social fundraising platform and see what I can get, so I set up an account and fundraising appeal on the website Kickstarter. This is how people are funding their projects now-a-days, so what the hell? I decided to try it out and see what happens! Check out my Kickstarter page!

    Over the next few months I think I’ll try to write about my Budget Press experiences. Like next week I’ll be doing a reading at a DIY zine gathering back in the art studios where Budget Press began, set up by a zine librarian who used to hang out at Budget Press when she was a teenager. Then there’s getting the money and then going to the publisher, and then the real fun stuff, the distribution. Not all the time spent at the post office, but Budget Press has always been distributed for free at whatever cafe, bar, bookstore, or appropriate place I end up. I have a few weeks in August when I have no classes, so I plan on driving from San Diego to Seattle, passing out Budget Press along the way. Maybe I’ll take pictures of the places I drop them off at and write about them. Like City Lights, Powell's Books, always. Anyway, we’ll see.

    Art ©Daino Torres, from Budget Press Review #5
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