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Andi Zeisler

December 14, 2011

Andi Zeisler is the co-founder and editorial/creative director of Bitch Media, a Portland, Oregon–based nonprofit organization best known for publishing Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, which began in 1996 as an all-volunteer ‘zine with a circulation of 300 and is now an internationally distributed quarterly magazine. A longtime freelance writer, editor, and illustrator, Andi’s work has appeared in numerous periodicals and newspapers, including Ms., Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Utne, BUST, the Women’s Review of Books, and Skirt! She is a former pop-music columnist for the SF Weekly and the East Bay Express, and has contributed to the anthologies Young Wives’ Tales and Secrets and Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women’s Friendships (both from Seal Press). She is the author of Feminism and Pop Culture (Seal Press 2008) and coeditor of BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2006). She speaks frequently on the subject of feminism and the media at various colleges and universities. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family, but has retained the brisk walk and strong sense of impatience of a native New Yorker.

1. What is your hometown?

New York, NY

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Harriet the Spy.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Steve Buscemi. Just kidding. Catherine Keener.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

Vija Celmins’s charcoal drawings of oceans and stars. They capture the existential loneliness and wonder of being dwarfed by nature, and are mind-bogglingly detailed.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

Role Models by John Waters and Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. A book I just read but am emphatically NOT recommending is Caitlin Flanagan’s Girl Land. Flanagan is a notorious antifeminist and I probably shouldn’t even give her book any attention by mentioning it here, but I feel the need to urge others to get on board with me in voting it the Worst Book Ever. Don’t buy it, you can borrow my copy.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

Always in rotation: Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers, David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, and The New Pornographers’ Electric Version.  

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

The documentary Bill Cunningham NYC. That guy is just so full of joy and charm and a refusal to be negative. I get that his life is fairly charmed, but I strive to be even a fraction as awesome as he is when I’m 83.

8.  Cat person or dog person?

Dogs, always. I have a reputation among my friends as a cat hater, but I want to correct the record there. I don’t hate cats. I just don’t see the point of having to carve out space in your bathroom expressly to house your pet’s excrement. 

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Ideally, they’re entwined. Kindness can exist without truth, but it’s pretty empty and not nearly as meaningful as with it. And truth can exist without kindness, but kindness helps the truth go down. 

10.    How do you define sin?

A necessary byproduct of being human. 

11.    How do you define virtue?

The belief that simply existing in the world isn’t enough.

12.   Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I’ve honestly never thought about this, because I plan on being cremated. But in Portland, a lot of mundane neighborhood objects, like telephone poles and mailboxes get “yarn bombed,” and I kind of like the idea of having a headstone that yarn bombers were encouraged to cover with bright knitted headstone cozies at their leisure. But maybe my headstone would be shaped like a big to-do list and just read, “Unfinished.” 

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Steve Buscemi. 

Connections:
Bitch Magazine
@bitchmedia

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. blevit permalink
    December 14, 2011 10:38

    Pure Andi. I love it.

  2. December 14, 2011 09:11

    I really love this one. I think I just admire other women who are into media. Specifically, Andi because she’s a 1000X more well spoken than I will ever be. I really appreciate the work that she does because it encourages other to look at the world from a different and more enlightened position.

    12 questions introduced me to someone knew… again.

    • December 14, 2011 09:21

      You and me both, Marie…
      I can’t manage to get out half the sentiment and smarts that Andi makes happen!
      She’s amazing!
      But you and Nat, in the immortal words of the B-52s, aren’t “no limburger”.

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