Eyeball Burp Release at Zine Fiend: An Interview With A’misa Chiu

coverebb5Eyeball Burp Press will be featured at Bookmachine’s upcoming show May 6th entitled: Zine Fiend. Luckily, we got a chance beforehand to speak with EBB editor, A’misa Chiu:

What's the story behind how you started EBB with Alex Chiu? Where is it located?

Eyeball Burp in its conception was an anthology of stories and essays of Asian American artists and writers in the Los Angeles/Southern California area. It was my first go at publishing, I was focused on featuring local people, so therefore most contributors were personal friends. Alex and I have had slightly different visions since the beginning, but since he was focusing primarily on his art career, I took the reins of EBB. I spent many hours convincing friends to submit, going to their houses and forcing them to create art with me, so EBB would have some visual art content. Then spent many more hours coped up in my room in Torrance doing layout. And this was on my free time from my then-gig as a grocery clerk.

How do you choose which writers/artists to work with? Is EBB open for submissions, or is there a taste test that one has to pass first?

Each artzine is editorally-curated, though every issue does have a short submission period. We have since abandoned the attempt to be thoroughly Asian American, though I still feel the need for providing a space and venue for artists of color. Many featured artists and writers are actively involved in a growing movement of doodling, collage, avant garde/experimental writings, community activism, comix, digital art and photography. The world of zine-making has since opened up to me and I am constantly amazed with the plethora of art makers that invest their livelihoods and souls in self-publication.

Sexuality is a topic that's been discussed a few times in EBB through essays and comics. What other topics beside art are important to EBB culturally/socially?

EBB is a representation of our personal quest in life, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical. We are obsessed with the uncanny, unknown, weird, wacky, off-beat, unique, interesting, crazy, uncouth, grungy, strange, funky, and unexplainable. We are addicted to fringe culture. We love that which isn’t popular yet. Alex is constantly exploring propaganda and the idea of group unification. We are into mythology, comparative religion, critical race studies, absurdity, and sci-fi. EBB comes from the filter of whatever we are being exposed to, which explains the eclectic nature of topics.

In Queens On Screen, You described your first experience with transsexuals in watching Devine in John Water's first film, Pink Flamingos. Did the oddities that his film portrayed play a big role in inspiring your research for the essay?

My mom introduced to me to John Waters, and people always recommended his films to me, as if I haven’t seen them! My exploration with drag queens was a curious adventure. Drag is a sub-culture that is quite foreign to me, and I was drawn to how the theatrics of ‘drag’ could violently clash against the status quo. I am emphatic to that plight. I also saw the beauty in these women, and was attracted to their charm.

Odder than Pink Flamingos, is John Water’s Desperate Living. It’s a weird one.

What are the future dreams and aspirations of Eyeball Burp Press?

What it boils down to is forming a community of artistic and creative souls, and to keep doing art until the day we die. Along the road, we have met some talent, some ego, some spirit, some complacent, some heart, but now EBB is an entity of its own. I like to think that it’s bigger than just Alex and I that it includes everyone we interact with, that they have a stake in what EBB can become. We hope to publish work that excites, tantalizes, intrigues, and speaks truth. I have no idea what that looks like concretely yet. All I know is that it can and will happen.

You put a list in your latest issue (#5). Are you letting the reader in on how work is prioritized for your publication, or is it just meant to be something light hearted?

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with list writing. I carry around a journal where I just jot down objects and feelings and memories that come into my mind. This list was straight out of that journal. Lists are windows into one’s subconscious. They are seemingly abstract and random, but in actuality they are a grocery list, a ‘books to read’ list, thoughts list, ‘words that sound good’ list, etc. Perhaps this was my attempt to give the reader an in-depth view into what was pervading my conscious at the moment I was creating EBB5. I wanted the list to represent transparency and telepathy: “Be into what I’m into….”

What kind of software is used to produce the zine, and how often does it come out?

Issue 1 of EBB was done on Microsoft Word, giving no excuses for the one who doesn’t have access to software. The rest of the issues have been a stumbling awkward journey navigating my slight knowledge of InDesign, most of which I learned from a friend over a jelly donut and cup of coffee at the local 24/7 donut shop. I am forever indebted to her, for she taught me all that she knew, and it allowed me to begin a life of publishing. EBB is a bi-annual artzine, but Eyeball Burp the Blog (www.eyeballburp.com) is updated daily with the happenings of the zine culture, homemade gifs of glittery cats, and random artworks.

Are there any events you would like to plug for our readers?

ZINE FIEND @ Bookmachine, May 6, 6p-close. Come at 6pm to catch live readings by Narinda Heng, Janice Lee, a’misa chiu, and Jesse La Tour. Also on display are zines & artwork by Jackalope Zine, Janice Lee, and Eyeball Burp. Bookmachine: 223 W. Santa Fe Ave. Fullerton, Ca

Eyeball Burp, Issue 5 will be on sale for $3!


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