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Coming Soon

29 Jun

We’ve got some new things brewing. Posters are coming, they may look like this, they may not. They may be these colors, they may not. There may be more than one design, there may not be. We know one thing for sure, however, they are coming. Hopefully they will be ready and available for purchase by July 16th. That night we’ll be at Borealis Arts on the east side for the 520:365 art opening and party (more info coming soon, or become a fan of Borealis Arts on Facebook) drop by and see us, and some fabulous local art. If you don’t have the first two issues of Dove & Snake we will have them their as well.


The Quiet Really Is Not Enough

17 May

Things have been pretty quiet around here in 2010, but it’s not going to stay that way. We’re working on some new plans and a reemergence in the summer. Check back here June 1 to see what’s coming next for Dove&Snake.

Go Heart Your Own City

1 Dec

This is a shirt you can buy from Urban Outfitters. It pretty much sums up what we’re trying to do with D&S. Enough with all the ♥ing of NY. More ♥ing of Tucson.

Ironically, the shirt is from somewhere far away. The fine print nestled underneath the Y in CITY indicates that this is New York kindly but sternly admonishing the rest of us to be citizens of our own cities, not piners for the Big Apple.

So pick up a copy of Tucson Weekly. Head down to a show and buy a painting made by someone who lives here or listen to a band made of people you know. Bypass Starbucks and buy your coffee at Avenue Coffee or Caffe Luce or Raging Sage. Eat a Sonoran hotdog from El Guero Canelo or a vendor in a vacant lot with some folding chairs set up under a tarp for an awning.

♥ Tucson.

Dove&Snake Subscriptions in the Works

27 Nov

We’ve heard enough D&S readers ask about subscriptions lately to make us move from wondering* about how and when we would set up subscriptions to figuring out the necessary particulars to make it happen.

Here’s what the deal will most likely be: Somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 will get a Dove&Snake subscriber four issues. We’ll do some more math to narrow that neighborhood down. Instead of calling it a year’s subscription like most print publications, we’ll say four issues because the nature of this particular beast** requires a flexible view of regularity.

We’ll do our best to publish four issues in the four quarters of a year. If we find we must adjust our schedule, subscribers could rest assured that they would still be in line for a quartet of issues, whatever they may be****. One of our goals is to be creative in publishing. We promise to be interesting, and a subscription would just guarantee that you receive the benefits of our creativity and curiosity over a sustained period of time.

We also have this thing about making issues special. No.1 included custom doodle and short-short edition, and several copies of No.2 were either stenciled or screen printed by local artists Keegan Rider or Reflective Collective. We would continue that trend with subscribers in mind, so you never know what surprise your issue would carry with it to your mailbox.

In short, the time seems right. Subscriptions would begin with D&S No.3, parts of which are either ready or getting there. Once we nail down the final details, we’ll post them here.

Right now, we’d love to hear if you’d be interested in a D&S subscription. If so, please let us know by commenting below, informing us on our Facebook page, or sending an email to (feel free to ask questions or explain your excitement at the impending arrival of your prepaid D&S issues in your mailbox).

*We’ve always wondered about it. Yes, from the beginning. We just want to make sure we can do it well.

**Original content from people who don’t consider themselves writers*** but whose stories are interesting and unknown and local. Edited by someone who cares about writing and reading enough to add running a zine onto a day job as a Writing educator.

***Don’t get the wrong idea, though. They are good. They’ve studied it, even. They wrestle with words and they write pages worth reading. They are also people who just needed a nudge to get those words flowing. We are in the business of nudging people.

****Current plans include an immigration issue as well as an issue comprised of photographs by local photographers. Our goal with both: perspectives (stories on immigration from educators, volunteers, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and more; photos from all over Tucson from students, amateurs, and professionals).

Editor’s New Addition

13 Oct

Janice and Lucy

Here’s my new daughter, Lucy, sleeping next to my wife, Janice. When she packed her bag to be ready for a hospital stay, she threw her red D&S tee in and ended up wearing it the first full day of Lucy’s brand new life.

Dove&Snake is a project that happens mostly in spare time, and there may be a little less of that with a new daughter now staying in our home, counting on us for food and warmth and all that. However, this zine is important enough to still get some spare time. I was planning on sending a copy of Issue No.1 to Glasgow this weekend (Glasgow!), but Lucy’s arrival pushed that back. Now I’ll fill the Etsy order sometime this week during my time off from my real job.

I’m also working on the possibilities of placing D&S on some local bookseller shelves. Right now, I’m working contacts. I’ll post notice if D&S becomes available in fine sellers of words-on-pages anywhere here in our locale. Oh, and speaking of our locale, a second D&S + Reflective Collective shirt is in the early stages of development. We’re really excited about this one because it’s 520-centric, it’s a play on words, and it includes an exclamation point.

Issue No.3 is in the works. I’ve already seen early drafts of the pieces about marathons, psychology, and life as a medical intern in Africa. This issue should be fun because it’s the first one that will, if all goes as planned, contain only content developed specifically for D&S.

Also, I’ve been planting the seeds for an issue entirely focused on immigration, something that should not be overlooked for those of us who call the Southwest home. That issue will include many different perspectives on the life of immigrants: educators, graduate students who study Latin America, community college students just trying to study, legal immigrants, undocumented aliens, those who have lived abroad and at home, volunteers, those in charge of volunteers, and more.

After the immigration issue, I also want to do a photo issue. Instead of words bound into a booklet, the idea is that each copy of that issue would be an envelope full of photos from local photographers, professional or amateur. They would be the sort of photos that would be suitable for your wall, but you wouldn’t know exactly which ones you were getting as you open up your envelope. I don’t want D&S to focus on words words words and overlook images and the people who capture them. Part of the goal of D&S is to be creative with what an issue of a zine can be, so this is part of that exploration.

Those are the big ideas coming up. I’m going to being working hard at raising my two daughters, but I also want Dove&Snake to keep telling stories and connecting people with what’s going on here in Tucson (and telling of the adventures that occur when Tucsonans venture far away), so I’m going to work hard at building D&S, too.

– Scott

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe Art Opening

1 Oct

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 1

We released Issue No.2 at the beginning of September at Keegan Rider’s Whata Cafe Art Opening. Keegan did a special edition, so he let us sell copies of Issues No.1 and No.2. We set up shop on a table at Caffe Luce and sold some zines to the good people of Tucson.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 2

Reflective Collective also did a special edition. It’s is the one at the top of the picture. They printed some art (halftone motorcycling couple printed in silver under big block letters saying NOBODY WANTS TO BE A SUCKER) on the inside covers, front and back, before we put the zines together.

Keegan’s special edition is a stencil based on his current show, which involves rabbits in a sort of Alice in Wonderland motif in some of the work. He numbered and signed each of his editions.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 3

The reader in this picture is Alisa Wilhelm, a contributor to Issue No.2 (“Our Job is Awesome” is from her blog). The other folks are John Weatherford, of Reflective Collective, and his wife Emily. They set up shop right next to us and sold some t-shirts (and donated cardboard to D&S for a makeshift sign).

Several people purchased the zine, and several others perused a copy at the show. The best part of that perusing was that we didn’t know the readers leafing through the pages of Dove&Snake, but they were interested nonetheless.

Caffe Luce is a D&S favorite, and sitting at their table with friends while selling zines was highly enjoyable.

Thanks to Caleb Jackson for taking the photos and letting us post them here.

Extra Extra: An Interview with Matthew Helmke

14 Sep

Matthew Helmke let us publish one of his short stories in Issue No.2. He was also gracious enough to answer some question we had about Morocco, supernatural beings, people who believe in supernatural beings, setting stories down in books, and publishing those books yourself.


Dove&Snake: Your story in Dove&Snake Issue No.2, “A Wife from the Mountains,” is from a book you wrote called Nowhere Else to Turn. What is the basic premise of that book?

Matthew Helmke: The book retells stories of interactions that various Moroccans, who I met firsthand, have had with the supernatural. I published it as fiction solely because I added some details to certain stories to make them longer and fuller, or because I changed some details to protect the identity of the source. All of the stories were experienced either by me with a Moroccan or were told to me directly by the person claiming to experience it.

D&S: “A Wife from the Mountains” mentions something called jinn. What are jinn?

MH: In Islam, jinn are spirit beings that can be either good or bad, may fear God or serve themselves. Like men and women, they are created beings. However, as men were made from earth, jinn were made from fire or smoke, depending on who tells you the story. They will also either go to Hell or Paradise, just like humans, depending on their actions and God’s mercy on the Day of Judgment. Belief in them is pervasive in Moroccan, Arab, and all Islamic societies. They are considered common knowledge, but not talked about terribly often out of fear of reprisal from the jinn who may not want to be exposed. They are different from angels or demons, which are explicitly good or evil.

D&S: How did you first hear about jinn? When you first encountered stories like this, what was your reaction?

MH: I believe the first time I heard of them was from the story of Aladdin, which in English uses the term “genie.” There was also the tv show called I Dream of Jeannie. In those contexts, I reacted as kids usually do to stories of supernatural beings (like fairies, elves, etc.) and simply thought they were a cool addition to the mythical creature lexicon. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that not only do people believe in jinn today, but that some do so quite deeply.

D&S: What was your first encounter with a jinn story in Morocco?

MH: I honestly don’t remember the first time I heard about jinn in Morocco. It was very likely within days of my arrival, as they are mentioned in conversation regularly (both seriously and in jest). We did have a lady that came to the house once a week to help clean, and she would not put hot water down any drain in the house because she was convinced it would anger the jinn that live in the drains.

D&S: How often did you hear stories like those in your book, the supernatural told as matter-of-fact?

MH: These kinds of stories are extremely difficult for a foreigner to hear. Moroccans are generally reluctant to talk about them, either out of fear of the jinn, which all other Moroccans know about anyway, or out of fear that the foreigner will lose respect for the informant and think they are either crazy or superstitious.

D&S: If it’s difficult to hear these stories as a foreigner, how did were you able to collect so many?

MH: The first step involved learning Moroccan Arabic well enough to convince people that they could talk with me and I would comprehend them. This also meant learning a lot of cultural subtext and the meaning of many idiomatic expressions. Second, I had to convince people that they were not going to be mocked, regardless of what they told me. To do this, I would try to build bridges by discussing stories, ideas, and other things I had heard about the supernatural and clearly state that I believe the events we were discussing could happen–not necessarily that they did, but that they could.

D&S: How do you view stories like this in the context of your own spirituality and theology?

MH: I think there are several possible answers to this. First, there are times when unexplained events may have natural causes that are simply undiscovered, so I would be careful not to take every supernatural story at face value. However, there are also things that happen that cannot be explained by any known natural occurrence. What then? I think it is probable that these could have supernatural cause. I mentioned building a bridge with my Muslim friends for these discussions–this is part of the bridge. I believe the supernatural realm exists, not so much in the woo woo, X-Files sense, but in the Biblical sense. I believe angels exist, demons too. Jinn aren’t mentioned in any Christian context, but could certainly fit in as a subcategory of demon. Admitting that I don’t have all the answers and that I believe there is a God, etc., forces me to confront the possibility that there is more to this world than what may be observed by and proven with the scientific method.

D&S: Is Morocco a highly spiritual place? Do most of the people believe in the supernatural?

MH: Morocco is an Islamic country where all but 0.8% of the people are Muslim. By definition, Muslims believe in the supernatural. Morocco is also a place where Islam has been mixed with pre-existing animistic folk religion and other non-standard Islamic practices and beliefs. A belief in the supernatural is pervasive in the society, but not universal. It would be reasonable to estimate that at least 80-85% of Moroccan people believe in the spirit world and that God, angels, demons, and jinn are active.

D&S: How does that belief in the activity of God, angels, demons, and jinn, play out in the everyday lives of Moroccans?

MH: It really depends on the person. The answer would be very different if we were to discuss an urban-dwelling, university educated Moroccan scientist versus a rural, uneducated farmer. I will say that, on the average, people in Morocco are far more open to the possibility of the existence of the supernatural realm than people in America or Europe. For many, they will make a verbal assent to the existence of jinn, etc., but not give them much thought. Many others will make a point of avoiding behaviors that the culture says will offend the jinn, just to make sure they are safe. This is what the entire book is about: exploring the differing perspectives on the supernatural that exist within diverse parts of the culture of Morocco through stories told from many different perspectives.

D&S: What made you decide to set these stories down in a book? Most people would have just kept them as interesting anecdotes to bring up in conversations.

MH: Primarily, there are almost no examples in print of these sorts of anecdotes in English (there may be in French, but I didn’t find any), and I had the permission of my sources to record their stories. Second, these sorts of stories and beliefs are difficult for foreigners to learn about because of the things I mentioned earlier, but they are vital to understand if one wishes to adequately understand, communicate with, and engage the culture. So much of Moroccan culture will make more sense to people experiencing it for the first time or living in it if they have read the book or heard these sorts of stories.

D&S: Where did you look for stories like these in French?

MH: Bookstores, libraries, and online. I’m afraid that most of what I found was rather belittling in tone, and that made it less useful for my purposes. The French literature I encountered primarily took the view of “Isn’t this quaint?” and were attempts to document the beliefs of the “backward, but noble savages.” Perhaps other materials exist in French, but I didn’t have the pleasure of finding it.

D&S: Why did you self-publish the book and not try to go the traditional publishing route?

MH: I self-published the book for two reasons. First, I wanted the book to be accessible to as many students of Moroccan culture as possible and decided to license the book in a special way (using Creative Commons license) to allow people to make copies of it and share them or to make derivate works (like study guides or recordings) without fear of lawsuits (see the book’s license section for more information). Also, I didn’t feel that a major publisher would be interested in publishing a book that wasn’t likely to be a best seller even though the information was of high quality and worth publishing. However, by publishing myself and using a print on demand company, I can list the book on Amazon and make it available and easy to find for people with an interest in the topic (and I’m selling approximately one copy every two days, which is better than I anticipated).