It turns out heaven is a place on Earth, bathed in a cloud of dust on the tracks between Black Butte, Oregon and Mt. Shasta, California. That’s where train hoppers have created the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture, a museum celebrating the splendor of transience, complete with a zine library and punk venue in two refurbished antique boxcars. When I visited the Center during a summer gathering, I couldn’t help but marvel at the togetherness of such a collective, and the very existence of a place where a phrase like “queer feminist train hopper” is nothing to gawk at.
Amidst such a vibrant sub-subculture, sometimes resident and full time punk virtuoso Robnoxious is well known for providing a good bit of community glue through his zines, illustrations, and screenprint designs. Heavyweight zine distro Microcosm now carries a wide selection of Rob’s prolific output, exposing a much broader audience to gems like You Fucked Up– a dreamy post-apocalyptic anarchist fantasy series whose fourth and final installation arrives in early 2011.
Shut Up and Love the Rain, released in September, is an earnest and hilarious comic diary of young Robert’s discovery of human sexuality and his own latent queerness. He doesn’t stigmatize or shy from the details, and the result is a narrative that empowers us all to utter our tales of awkward adolescence. As much as I enjoy Rob’s bare, yet whimsical illustration style, my favorite sections of Love the Rain are his text memoirs. These may be the most frank accounts of youthful experimentation I’ve ever read, and his triumphant tales of masturbation will have you fetishizing the banana in ways you never imagined. The latter half of the zine takes on a more sentimental tone– featuring an intimate interview with Rob’s parents about his father’s transgender coming out story (you can also read this section on his blog). It’s a sex-positive feel-good family dramedy for the rest of us.