please don’t feed the bears

img_20170220_111327First off, I do my best to not support Microcosm Press. I won’t get too much into it here but you can search Microcosm lawsuit and a lot of articles should come up. I also read Alexx Wrek’s Brain Scan zine series, the later issues exploring her break up with Microcosm’s Joe Biel as a partner/business partner and I empathize with her experience. It is the biggest zine publisher and distro going. I came so close to ordering the new Morrissey and Nick Cave vegan cook books but halted when I saw who had published them. Too bad.

I preface this by the fact that my most adored cook book also happens to be published by Microcosm. Many years ago I found Please Don’t Feed the Bears on the bottom shelf at Herbivore. I didn’t notice the iconic bike gear heart emblem on the back and it wasn’t until the lawsuit against Pioneers Press that Joe Biel’s shady history even came on my radar. When I first got the book I showed it to my brother just to say ‘Look at this guy’s impeccable music taste!’ He asked to borrow it and ages passed till I more or less stole it back from him. I pulled it off his shelf, flipped it over and groaned. I clammed up ever recommending it or mentioning it during Vegan MoFo. I didn’t want to draw attention to supporting that publisher. Today I’m going to separate the book from the dealer and appreciate it for what it is: My favorite vegan cook book.


img_20170220_111344A send up to French Canadian thrash band Voivod and guitarist Denis D’Amour – RIP Piggy. One flip through and you’ll recognize the homage to the Hippycore Krew’s Soy Not Oi! Bjorn compiles recipes from friends, suggests an album for each recipe, intersperses drawings, quotes, stories; there’s even a Carcass interview. It’s like Soy Not Oi but for metal head horror fans, which in my opinion, makes it far superior to the iconic vegan punk zine.

img_20170220_111259He supports rad-ical organizations and says he donates his author proceeds to benefit people living with AIDS. He also claims the zine as anti-copyright and says do what you will with it. I could scan the whole cook book and put it up here. If I had that much time and patience I would cause I love it all. Instead I picked a hand full of pages dictated by drawings rather than recipes and knowing me, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

img_20170220_110832GROO the WANDERER!!! As kids, my brother was a huge Groo fan. He had the comics and a big poster on our bedroom wall. We loved Conan but also Sergio Aragones epic parody comic.

img_20170220_110857Necrofago – Sao Paulo, Brazilian death metal pairing for one recipe. Ildjarn – Norwegian ambient black metal for the next.

img_20170220_111220 Quote from Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and a sketch of Danish singer Kim Bendix Petersen aka King Diamond aka the soundtrack (and reading material) to my early 2000 free wheeling van living northern Rocky Mountain snowboard touring days.

img_20170220_110913For Maud, who I know has this tattoo somewhere on her body.

img_20170220_111118Lori Bravo (!) lead vocalist of Nuclear Death and one of my favorite female death metal vocalist next to thrash singer Sabina Classen of Holy Moses.

img_20170220_111238There are sloths, badgers, otters and skunks, numerous awesome animal drawings throughout but my biases claim this Wolf being tossed a fully loaded sandwich as the winner. The recipes are simple and laid back. I like that. I do enjoy an ingredient and labor intensive recipe every now and then but on the day to day I’d rather have the extra time and money to put towards other things, like donating to the same organizations he does.

img_20170221_121655Earlier in the week my sister’s pit bull Ronin, came over to hang out for the day. I baked him the Dog Biscuits Deluxe. I used my bear shaped cookie cutter. I swapped out blue corn meal cause my yellow smelled off and I tossed it, coconut oil instead of margarine and arrowroot flour as the egg re-placer. Ronin liked them and gingerly accepted each cookie.

I did a pretty basic search to see if I could acquire the three original zines that built this book and found out: A) I couldn’t find any of the zines for purchase or trade but I’m not all that savvy (as in lazy) when it comes to digging around the internet B) Kittee Berns has all three and posted about them back in 2011 because Kittee always knows what’s up! C) He goes by the names Asbjorn Intonsus, Brad Misanthropic and Brad Dumville D) He said he made a lot of cuts and adds for the book that, he thought, made it better than the zines.

My feels on Microcosm are not hot but this book rules. If you love metal and easy vegan recipes find it used (I did at Bound in San Fransisco last spring but decided not to spend the rest of my change on a second copy) and pick it up.

  1. FoodFeud said:

    Aah I love this post! Agree that there are definitely some problems with microcosm but to be honest, I’d probably still buy this zine (or maybe a few others) if I saw them.
    You KNOW I love that skull, haha – it’s one tattoo I’m completely happy with. But yeah, looks like every page is really cool. You know metal better than I do but i am a huge fan of cookbooks with soundtracks built in! Bryant Terry does that with his and I love it. I do it sometimes with my zines too, but it’s less curated

    • lysette said:

      Ahh I’ve meant to pick up Bryant Terry’s cookbooks! I’ve heard nothing but good things about them but I didn’t know he also included music selections. I love that, even if I don’t have the album, I love that extra creative contribution.

      Haha, thanks it took me so long to talk about how much I love this book cause it felt like a betrayal and dumb saying one thing and then going back on it but nothing’s simply black or white, right? Like I’m an ethical vegan that also works with horses in a way that is entertainment, and I love Roman Polanski movies but there’s a reason he can’t enter the States. I guess it’s better to embrace my own hypocrisy.

      The carrot skull is the best! I love the tattoos you choose!!

    • Thanks. I appreciate your comment. What problems do you feel remain with Microcosm now that you would like to see resolved?

  2. Ah, King Diamond! One of my favourite artists. I’d been a fan since around 2001, and he finally announced a show in the UK in 2006. Of course, it was in London. I just googled the distance between Edinburgh and London – apparently it’s 666km, how very metal! That meant that my friend and I had to fly down to see him. The night before, he told me he couldn’t find his passport and was unable to fly. We managed to book a bus that left at 6am the next morning, a bus that had no opening windows and no air conditioning. Hilariously, it was June 12th, one of the hottest June days in history. We sat on that bus for about five hours, sweating and miserable, until it finally broke down in Manchester.
    Eventually another bus came to pick us up, this time with no air con, opening windows or toilet! The gig was due to start at about 8, and we were losing time rapidly. Eventually, the bus pulled in to the station at about 8:30.
    Of course, we had to go to the hotel first or else we would be too late for check in, so we hit that and ran through the streets of London trying to find the venue. This was the days before smart phones!
    At about 9:30, we got to the venue and staggered inside just as King was being brought on in a coffin. If I recall rightly, they opened with Funeral/Arrival from Abigail and it was quite honestly one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen, drawing mainly from Abigail 1 and 2.
    Long story short, KING RULEZ

    • lysette said:

      Hahahaha I got so nervous while reading that you didn’t make it to the show! You literally went through Hell to get to King Diamond! That’s amazing and 666km, ahahaha! Man I’m bummed I still haven’t seen him live. We miss out on a lot of tours in Canada as I bet you do in Edinburgh. I’ve gone to some crazy lengths to get to shows but never that. What a bonding experience, I hope you two are still mates! I’m surprised you need a passport flying with in the UK. I just rubbed my face thinking about all the times people didn’t have their passports in order. I guess it’s the stage manager in me that can’t comprehend that level of disorganization. King Diamond shows are so theatrical, the storytelling set designs fog and props, I seriously should have pursued stage managing tours like that…hmmm…

      • Yes, in retrospect it turned out he didn’t actually need his passport, but it was a chance we were not willing to take!

  3. I’ve been avoiding Microcosm for years, for the same reason. I accidentally bought a Microcosm book at Reading Frenzy in Portland last year and I felt terrible. I wonder how you feel about buying used Microcosm books?

    • lysette said:

      It is a quandary, I totally get what you mean when you said it made you feel terrible. The distaste I feel when ever I see the bike emblem always causes me to put a book back. I’m also an unabashed fan of Pioneers Press and a devoted collector of the works they publish, top notch writers and beautifully produced chap books. There are so many great books and zines out there, my shelves bulge with out Microcosm titles on it. Please Don’t Feed the Bears being the exceptional exception. I love Reading Frenzy! Always hit them up when I’m in Portland. But hey, buying it used you supported RF more than Micro.

  4. I was diagnosed as autistic in 2009 so I definitely understand negative feelings. I have not had these kinds of problems with anyone that I met after my diagnosis and I’ve been in a healthy relationship for over eight years:

    I’m curious what it would take for some real healing to occur and for people here to support Microcosm?

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