Build Coffee, run by Hannah Nyhart and Bea Malsky—two former South Side Weekly editors—is a coffee shop and bookstore directly next door to the Weekly newsroom in the Experimental Station. When they celebrated the shop’s first birthday last month, we asked them to gift us a collection of their favorites from the past year’s stock, including zines, chapbooks, art books, and comics from over fifty local artists and small presses. They came through: the following pages are a selection of work from Build’s shelves, all published in Chicago in the past year.
Saleem Hue Penny wrote much of his debut chapbook between 2 and 4am, awake with his twins soon after they were born. He runs community partnerships at the Chicago Children’s Museum and volunteers as a hospital magician at Comer Children’s Hospital; Saleem is a man who understands the importance of protecting childhood in all its wonder and seriousness. “I want to write poems about young people navigating wild spaces,” he says. Learn more about The Attic, the Basement, the Barn, including its audio component, at hueart.org
The Broken Nose Collective is an interdisciplinary group of artists making “accessible, regional, and honest-to-goodness works of art that are for, by, and about the Chicago community.” Their latest publication is Tethers, an archive zine of interpersonal memories and musings. BNC are artists on the go—next up is a touring wind quartet performance focused on the idea of “harvest.” The excerpts featured here are illustrated and written by Keara McGraw. Keep track of the Broken Nose Collective at brokennosecollective.org
The Sick Muse is an ever-evolving homage to Chicago’s various DIY scenes. For issue 10, editors Sasha Tycko, Noah Jones, and Jolene Whatever have grown from their zine roots into a full-size glossy magazine with artist interviews, hip weirdo features, and artfully illustrated lyrics from local bands. It’s all centered on the concept of utopia and a willfully optimistic call to action, including the excerpt featured here: “How to Do Things with Throats” by pt bell. The Sick Muse accepts submissions on a rolling basis at thesickmuse.com
In her own words, across comics, protest banners, tattoos, animations, and even skateboards, bria royal is making “intersectionally black and indigenous mythologies for ourselves and our future liberated descendants.” Black Girl Mania is her fantastic account of a futuristic banana republic and life with bipolar disorder. Bria organizes with the People’s Response Team and For The People Artists Collective, and more of her work can be found at briaroyal.com
826CHI is a prolific crusader for literacy and literary joy in Chicago’s afterschool scene. In But I Am Myself, And I Am Perfect For It, one of the organization’s newest chapbooks, 1st through 8th graders from the After School Tutoring and Writing program showcase their work in both English and Spanish. Common topics: secret squirrel worlds, magical suitcases, and the meaning of home. More on 826CHI’s programming and publishing can be found at 826chi.org
Propter Nos is the yearly journal from True Leap Press. It’s a smartly critical read with an eye toward beauty and a better world, and Volume 2—published October 2017 and excerpted here—circles around the idea of political and emotional exhaustion from a resolutely anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, and anti-nationalist perspective. True Leap is currently working on their third issue and providing free copies to incarcerated readers; learn more at trueleappress.com