This set of tracks is an accompaniment to “All the Dead Will Sing to You” and, like that zine, is developed from material from the upcoming novel, The Ugly Spirit: A Sequel to William S. Burroughs’ Cut-Up Trilogy, by author Gregory William.


To find out more about this project, visit The Ugly Spirit.

Ready for some new, queer fiction?

Take a journey into the Land of the Dead, a wintery landscape of loss and longing. In William’s book, the hushed Saturnine time stretching from Halloween to Christmas is peopled with strange characters: two boys seeking evidence of extra-terrestrial life, William S. Burroughs, a murdered traveler, a boy who appears only in dreams, and perhaps even Father Christmas himself.

William deftly interweaves narrative and dream, cut-up text and lucid passages, into a story that touches the unknowable heart of the winter season. And just when all seems lost, in the ancient tradition of the Yuletide, he offers us the dream of a long-lost ancestral comfort: Sleighbells whispering in the air, a warmth to share, the comfort of a chosen family, and a song to sing in the darkest time of the year.

Trigger warning for brief discussion of an incidence of a crime involving rape/murder.


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Alchemist’s Closet has been on a long hiatus, as some of you may have noticed! I intended to have the distro back online by July 1, but instead I moved halfway across the country to New Orleans to be with my partner, and the distro has taken a backseat to finding a place to live and many more issues.

However, now that I’m settled, I’ve been planning for the New Orleans Comics and Zine Festival, where I will have loads of zines, including a few new ones. The New Orleans Comics and Zines Fest is the weekend of November 14th-16th, 2014 at the New Orleans Public Library, and tabling is on November 15th. I’m really excited to be a part of the fest!

As for the online distro, I plan to reopen with a rotating small selection and grab bags available, in order to keep the workload manageable for myself. I will also reopen the Etsy store, The Alchemist’s Annex. In the meantime, I am accepting FREE zines and merch for NOCAZ— freebies only, because I don’t have the time and space to manage the logistics of consignment. Please email for a mailing address.

I never intended to be closed for so long, and I apologize for the long hiatus. However, I am very excited to be part of this fest!

Wherein our protagonist flies to Thailand to get a brand new cunt

Spider Teeth is not only about the author’s surgery, but also what led up to it, the difficulty of tucking and sex, the reality of needing surgery while poor and accepting money from a significant other to access a life-saving procedure that would remain out of reach for most trans women. ellie also describes, in detail, the entire process of surgery: from flying halfway around the world to Thailand, to being prepped, to waking up and making her way through the first hours and days of recovery in the hospital, messy and painful and sometimes alarming and frightening.

The zine fills in many small details of the experience, and obstacles expected and unexpected are discussed. Along the way, ellie shares her thoughts and doubts, from whether this surgery is the one she wants, to not “connecting” with new body parts right away. At the beginning of the zine, ellie writes, “How do I write about ‘the surgery’ in a way that feels honest?” That sense of striving for honesty is present throughout the zine, integrating ellie’s concerns with how her narrative interacts with larger narratives on gender, bodies, and trans trajectories. What emerges is real and honest in its individuality.

Content warning: Graphic written content on the surgery and post-surgery experience

98 p./half size/Black and white with colored ribbon binding


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Alchemy is perhaps not given enough credit. Most people are familiar with only the vaguest idea of the practice, and usually what they think of is the effort to turn metals into gold, which out of context seems like very materialistic goal. Actually, alchemists worked with metals because they were chemists at a time when religion and science were considered very much the same thing, and working with the elements was a way to study spiritual ideas. But alchemists ultimately made the church uncomfortable, because their ideas were wild, creative, and altogether too Pagan.

The ancient practice of alchemy occurred in several places in the world, but many of the texts we have access to come from medieval and Renaissance Europe.

While alchemists are commonly said to have had the goal of transmuting base metals into gold, the larger and most important work of alchemy was much more esoteric. The transmutation of metals was a metaphor and also part of the work of achieving a spiritual transformation. Merging ideas and substances thought to be opposites was thought to give rise to spiritual completion, which is similar to ideas in Eastern philosophy.

Combining the male and female energies into one was one of the most important parts of that goal. The alchemists praised androgyny and produced hundreds of images of mixed-sex beings, including intersexed people, conjoined twins, and angelic figures. The mixed-sex being is sometimes considered to be the primordial Adam of the old testament. Often it is referred to as a rebis, or two-thing. The rebis may result from the “alchemical wedding” in which the lunar Queen and solar King are joined in matrimony. (Can you see why they made the Pagan-hating Catholic church uncomfortable?)

Hundreds of years later, we have archives of thousands of alchemical texts and images, translated mainly from Latin. The alchemists’ texts are not always easy to translate or understand, since alchemists veiled their work with secret symbols and codes. Some of their chemical experiments can be performed today with instructions from the internet, while other texts dealt entirely with spiritual ideas related to the elements.

Alchemy, and in particular alchemical androgyny, has always resonated with me because it reflects aspects of my journey. When most of us start out in life, we’re immersed in a binarist culture that recognizes very distinct, and unmixable, male and female energies. Alchemy scholar Mircea Eliade wrote, “To be no longer conditioned by a pair of opposites results in absolute freedom.” And the alchemists did not see the alchemical androgyne as simply a half-and-half being, combining two ends of a binary. While a “male” and “female” figure were often shown conjoined, both figures are always androgynous, not diametrically opposed. In addition, this portion of an alchemical text, which speaks as the androgyne or rebus, points out that the rebus is not simply a combination of opposites, but a uniquely transformed being:

“Hermes called me the Sun and the Moon. Riplaeus called me the green lion. Our author called me hermaphrodite, but I pay no attention to that. It makes no difference. Nor does it matter what the sophists [philosophy teachers] call me, for they learn nothing for all their trouble except: (1) I am One Substance, not two…” (Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon, as translated by Mike Brenner.)

As alchemists tried to break the rules of nature, to hack physical reality to reveal a spiritual truth, gender radicals break the rules of our culture and reveal gender as an infinite, multidimensional spectrum rather than a binary. There are many interesting parallels between genderqueer and gender variant people today and the alchemists.

Ultimately, the church grew uncomfortable with the writings of the alchemists, and encouraged scientists to stop working with religious ideas and focus on experimentation. Thus the church itself helped to give birth to modern science.