Zine, Eric Yetter, 16 pgs, realtioga.etsy.com, $12
#Realtioga is an irreverent treat, a lo-fi and goofy celebration of the whims and worries of the peripheral flats of the United States. Welcome to Tioga County, half-way shoved into the expanse bridging Ithaca and Binghamton, NY, and the home of Catatonk, Candor, and surely many other earnest municipalities.
The concept is simple and perfect: a quarterly anthology of the best of local news clippings, spun into true Tioga fun. These range from the hilarious to the unbelievable, covering such topics as the YMCA’s Silver Sneaker exercise program and outdoor Christmas decorations (when is too soon?). The back-and-forths of residents’ letters are especially enjoyable. “All leaf blowers do is create dust and make noise. Ban leaf blowers!” is shortly followed up: “Ban leaf blowers? What, has it been a slow week? No cats walked across your driveway?” It’s a mood. These pedantic and sometimes crabby commentaries are intermittently illustrated by clever paste-ups of Dr. Seuss’ sincere hero, the Lorax, to truly comedic effect. The locals’ concerns, while genuine, are unbelievable and mostly petty. But in stopping to receive them, the reader is pulled back to the ground, a welcome relief far removed from those digital anxieties that lack any human meaning.
So, stop worrying about Instagram followers and open yourself to a zine that will remind you that there are still horse- and-buggies leaving long trails of poop behind them — too many, it would seem! And if you need solutions to your ladybug infestation or are curious who exactly raises Siamese cats near the Pennsylvania border, be sure to tune in to the next issue of #Realtioga!