Healing the Nasty Way: A sit down with The Nasty Press

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May We Heal Event this Friday night. YOU better be there!!

Sometimes things happen in the world and you know the only correct response for yourself is to get out there and make a difference. That was the case for three amazing women after an election that shook much of the country. If you haven’t heard of The Nasty Press yet, allow me to introduce you to Baltimore’s newest femme zine collective and the fantastic ways they plan to change Baltimore’s art scene – and beyond.

And let me start by telling you that the BEST way to get to know these ziners is to attend The Nasty Press: May We Heal?  FREE event this Friday night, Sept 15, 2017. Located at The Annex 2E and starting at 8 pm, the night is all about celebrating Baltimore’s LGBTQ and POC artists in Baltimore. There will be poetry, music, art, photography, and new friends for everyone. Bring some beer and maybe a little spending money. (You may just find something you must have!)

Can’t wait to show up? Great! Now here’s the low down on what brought it all together so you’re completely in-the-know Friday night.

Zoey, Alysha, Em – AKA: The Nasty Press

“Trump was the catalyst.” —Zoey

Like so many people after the 2016 election, Zoey, Alysha and Em felt that the wrong things were getting the spotlight, namely racism, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance. As they started looking around at the zine scene in Baltimore, the dynamic trio realized that there didn’t seem to be a platform for all artists. It was very male dominated and what femme-run zines there were could sometimes be more competitive than supportive. Beyond that, Alysha explained the art scene in general had a reputation of “being pompous, pious and off-putting on the surface“- just plain intimidating to newcomers or the curious.

What started as simple idea to have a one-time gallery show for the art of those underrepresented, turned into a zine and event collective whose mission is to give a platform to EVERYONE. Their goal is to be Inclusive not Exclusive so that their zine can show the richness that is Baltimore City and highlight those that often don’t get the spotlight.

Constantly referring to themselves as an infant zine, you’d be hard pressed to know it just by looking at their first issue This Moment in Politics. Turns out that was all thanks to a grant that didn’t pan out in the end. As Zoey explains, it seems she often can’t believe the story herself:

“We tried to do this grant, but it was due in five days. We didn’t even have a name at the time! Over the next four days we met every night to write it and submit. We didn’t get it in the end, BUT it helped to solidify the idea…we had themes for our first issues because we had to and it helped to give us focus…And we often didn’t know what we were doing or if something was going to work.

I mean, we were zine panelists before we even had a zine! We were giving advice before we’d published our first issue!”

Alysha laughs and adds:

“We’re not big shots! We definitely don’t think we are! We’re infants. We’re beginners and we WANT beginners. Some of our (published) submissions are from beginners. You take your iPhone and take a picture that works with the theme. If you have something to say – say it….Politics affects everyone from women’s reproduction and marriage equality to veterans and (pause) just everyone. It affects EVERYBODY.”

This Moment in Politics

And The Nasty Press is committed to focusing on those issues that affect everyone.

While the first zine was a reaction to the election of Trump and a showcase of people’s feelings at that time, the second issue will tackle mental health.

After working so hard to get the first issue out we each had to really rely on one another at different times. We got to share our stories of our struggles and our families suffering from mental illness. This is a topic that needs to be normalized. And it’s not just about mental illness, it’s about mental HEALTH. We want to be as open and broad as possible and level the planning field. We’re trying to make it comfortable for people to relate.” 

Along with supplying a platform for underrepresented artists and raising awareness of important issues, The Nasty Pressers are all about giving back. All profits from their zine and merch (like these killer totes) are donated straight to The Baltimore Transgender Alliance, Planned Parenthood of Maryland and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“This was never about making money. It was about providing help and resources to those who need it.”

In the coming year there are plans to do a large fair on the street surrounding The Annex, complete with bands, food, art, performances and lots of zines! Alysha envisions blocks of zines and people supporting one another and raising each other up, with support from local businesses. Places like Red Emma’s, Bird in Hand, Greenmount Coffee Lab, and Dovecote Cafe are already dedicating space on their shelves for The Nasty Press, as well as other zines like Herstaria and Beast Girl.

Alysha and Zoey (and me) kicking it at their amazing event space at The Annex 2E.

No matter what happens in the future the femme forces behind The Nasty Press promise to always be relevant and turn out thought-provoking zines and events. Alysha summed it up best:

Queasy. Good. Raw. That’s what we want.”

What could ‘B’ more inspiring?


Want to get involved with The Nasty Press? Drop them a line on Facebook, Instagram or their website.

Want to submit to their next zine? Perform at their next event? Find out how here.

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Hey Baltimore, what ever happened to those New Year’s Resolutions?

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Recently I was home, frustrated that I wasn’t able to complete the goals I wanted to accomplish for this blog over the summer. This was because of unforeseen surgery complications and major life events that were beyond my control. The fact that these hurdles popped up and were indeed more important than my self-imposed deadlines was something I recognized, but it still hurt that my plans had been derailed yet again.

Dealing with an injury that won’t go away has been a real challenge for me the past two years and I was feeling like I had achieved nothing, both professionally and personally. After all, how do you write a blog about the goings-on in your hometown when you often can’t participate in the goings-on?

So I got to thinking about my January post on goals for the new year and whether I had actually accomplished anything.

Imagine my surprise when I found that I had! Since 2017 is now over half-way through, I thought I’d share my progress. Plus, the  new school year is (unfortunately) upon us and is a perfect time to remember and restart those goals you made at the beginning of the year that may need a little push to the finish.

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Travel (around town) and Support Local Businesses

Being unable to get to places has been a struggle for me. I had plans to have some fun day trips and extended weekends – I’m looking at you Ocean City. Clearly, that didn’t happen, and sadly, my Thrashers fries appear to be more of a 2018 goal at this point. (Funniest part? I was able to get to Mongolia. Life just makes no sense sometimes.)

BUT I was able to check out local businesses and organizations, which happened to take me all over Baltimore and parts of Maryland. So far I have racked up: visiting the awesomeness that is The Foundery, seeing art among flowers at the Rawlings Conservatory, treating myself to local art at Charm City Craft Mafia events, getting my science on at Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS), attending the opening of Hysteria Brewing Co, and chilling with Baltimore’s newest Zine Queens over at Nasty Press. And that’s not including the local restaurants and beers I purchased. I feel that’s a respectable showing from January to August.

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Add a Skill

When my best friend suggested I get my Katniss on with her and take an archery class, I had only one answer, “Hell yeah!” And so, with mandatory braid in place, I went with her to *forgotten the name so must look up and tried to find my inner tribute. I was not a natural, but by the end of the lesson I could hit the target 9 times out of 10. Not bad for one hour’s worth of work. Since that March outing I’ve been back and intend to continue – I have a bullseye that needs to be hit.

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Hit the Books

Last year I read a total of 2 books. It hurts just to type that. So my final 2017 goal suggestion was to try to up my book reading this year to one book a month for a grand total of 12 entire books. In the end I just made it a point to make time to read (sorry Netflix binge weekends!) and didn’t count the books as I went. I did keep a list though, and when I went back to count I found I’ve already read 14 books! I smashed my goal and there’s plenty of time to add more.

All in all, I’d say it’s not too bad of a goal run for a person who had stretches of time where she couldn’t leave the house or drive. How did you do on your goals? Did you reach any? Have a way to go still? Like I said, it’s not too late to pick them up again or even make new ones. You just have to try.

What could just ‘B’ more encouraging?

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I also made it to Light City.