Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from the Instigatorzine crew!

Kelly Cuenca

Jessica Norton

Daniel Kidd

Robert Nelson
Keith Chiappone
Jenna Kildosher
Elias Jimenez
Steven Gavrielatos
Lisa Sofranko
Erick Perez
Narciso Espiritu Jr
Stephanie Herrera
Chazz Jogie
Robert Nelson
Erin Dodge
Keat Teoh
Giancarlo Corbancho
Keiko Tokushima
Kristen Chiappone
Johnny Dombrowski
Stefanie Morin
Zarabeth Wilson
Ellis Clark

would all like to wish everybody a happy new year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Come to our next reading! Seems like a long time from now, but it's just around the corner!

February 8, 2011
Location: New Jersey City University, Hepburn Hall 202 (2039 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305)
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Price: Free
Readings by:
Angel Eduardo
Nicole Contreras
Andrew Kolbenschlag
Erick Perez
*This event is open to all guests.

Check out this great artwork by Allan Norico!

IZ9 featured artist Allan Norico! Check out his work and a nice interview here!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gaviota by Andrew Kolbenschlag

Issue 9 of Instigatorzine features writer Andrew Kolbenschlag's short story, "Gaviota." Go check it out right here!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Issue 9 available for download and print!

The 9th issue of Instigatorzine is now out! Go to our website at to download your copy for $1 or order your print copy for $3 + shipping!

From our website:

Issue: 9
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Cover by: Erin Dodge
Instigator of the Month: Geoffrey Canada
This issue includes:
"Chocolate Defined" by John Berbrich
"Dark Circles" by Joe Marchia
"Laura's House" by Lisa Sofranko
Three pieces of flash fiction by Billy Frey
"Laugh Riot" by Michael Weems
"To a Stranger at the Tiki Bar" and "Driving Lesson" by Patrick Shea
"We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" by Tabitha Vedaurri
"7 Settings" by Chris O'Brien
"Beyond Comprehension" by Mitch Holsten
"The Homecoming" by Matthew Reed
"A Little Snow" by J.A. Curcione
Purchase: PDF $1 | Print $3 + Shipping

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Did you know Instigatorzine offers adspace?

Instigatorzine offers adspace to local businesses! And check this out--if you purchase an ad with us, one of our illustrators will design the ad for you for FREE! So let your business be known!

To have an ad in just one issue, it's $10 per 1/4 page and $20 per half page. Not too schnazzy, eh?

Send an inquiery to to arrange your ad!

To view the entire advertisement price sheet with all our options, click here!

One of our friends started a zine! You should go check it out!

One of our illustrators started a zine. Check it out at and>

You can now view all of the featured author, artist, and instigator of the month articles on our homepage!

Check out the issues section of our website to check out featured author, artist, and instigator of the month articles! From issue 4 to 9, they're all up for free!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's the deadline for submissions! Send yours now to!

In February we'll be releasing our anniversary issue! Wanna be included? Send your short story, poem or play to!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our posters are on sale! Go get one now!

Instigatorzine posters are on sale! Go check'em out on our merch page. You can own a poster of our first five covers for $10 + shipping! I heard David Sedaris even has one.


Monday, November 15, 2010

For your entertainment...Michelle McGuinness!

Check out Michelle McGuinness's blog! Michelle appeared in the third issue of Instigatorzine. She posts everyday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Becoming an instigator is easy...

Becoming an instigator is easy! I started as a little boy when my father spanked me and I said, "That doesn't hurt!"

He responded in a menacing tone, "Oh yeah?" to which I ran upstairs and locked myself in my bedroom.

That's not all it takes to be an instigator though. Each month we print a mock definition of the term on the cover of our zine. Most of the time it's jokey (i.e. to wear white after Labor Day, to spit in someone's overpriced burnt coffee). The fourth issue featured a new article that has been printed and will be printed in ever issue following called the Instigator of the Month. The idea of this article is to publish articles recognizing people in history or local news that did something remarkable. To instigate always means to ignite change in the way things are done. I said, "That doesn't hurt!" to my father because his mode of punishment was not effective and needed to be changed.

So what can you do to become an instigator?

Earlier this year I made a list of things I believe and do not believe. Make this list yourself. When making this list I discovered a lot about myself that I hadn't known before. Many of my beliefs conflict with my non-beliefs. You will probably find the same. It's human nature to be inconsistent. It's the inconsistencies we must embrace. After you make this list, tell others to make their own list and find things that you agree on. Change occurs when there is strength in numbers. Without others following you, you might be crazy. Be warned though, having a very large following is also a sign you might be insane. There are extremes to both sides.

In the meantime, as you're doing all this and figuring out what you feel really strongly about, submit to the magazine! We want to hear your short stories and poetry. Tell us about when you were wronged, changes you think need to be made. We may just publish it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another of our authors published!

Ryan Sprague published a story called, "Car Bombs and the Helmets of God" in the 6th issue of Instigatorzine. Now, you can read his inspirational novel, Grateful! Go to his website to order the book and maybe even go to one of his signings or readings! Who would've thought from his short story that he was a sports writer?

"Ryan Sprague takes you onto the field, into the huddle and inside the heart and mind of a Florida State football player, offering both the unique perspective of a passionate walk-on and the life-long lessons and unforgettable memories of a national champion."


You can read his short story, "Car Bombs and the Helmets of God," in the 6th issue of Instigatorzine.

In June we published an article about a wonderful artist named Laura Meyers. Check out the whole thing here!

Who says you have to wait for print to see illustrations?

I usually don't like uploading until illustrations are published (even if it is for my own magazine), but I can't find anything else I've scanned at the moment.

You can find this one for "Laugh Riot" in Instigatorzine 9.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In June we published our first Featured Author, Sandra Bazzarelli! Here is the whole article and interview by Jenna Kildosher!

In June we published our first Featured Author, Sandra Bazzarelli! Here is the whole article and interview by Jenna Kildosher! Check out her blog at

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Buy digital copies of Instigatorzine on our website for $1!

Remember folks, you can purchase a digital copy of Instigatorzine on our website at!

Our Anniversary is coming up!

Hey Instigators! Our one year anniversary is coming up in February! I know that seems so long from now, but it's really just two issues away! I'd like to take the opportunity to preemptively honor the magazine and send a request out to those who contributed to it.

We releaed the first issue of Instigatorzine in February of 2010. I had gotten the idea from reading through my writer's market book and finding only three magazines published out of New Jersey, none of which publish non-fiction. Having just taken a memoir class, I thought this was horrible. Non-fiction can be an incredibly crafty and skillful sort of literature that should be recognized and displayed proudly. I thought literature was dying, especially in New Jersey. However, after publishing the magazine, I found that New Jersey is very much alive and rich with wonderful authors who are just waiting to be published. It makes me feel incredibly proud to have published over 80 new authors in such a short amount of time, and even prouder to have published authors who went on to publish poetry collections and books as well, such as Peycho Kanev and Brian Nailer.

I am also very proud to have had the opportunity to work with such great artists as well. I have to thank Narciso for introducing me to them and making them a part of our time, further enriching the quality of Instigatorzine.I never knew it would come this far in such a short amount of time.

So, as I said earlier, our anniversary is coming up. We first released the zine in February of 2010. It was all black and white, featuring the following cover by Narciso Espiritu Jr (co-founder). As you can see, we were originally called The Instigator, but to avoid legal conflicts with another magazine called Instigator, we changed it to Instigatorzine.

In this issue, we featured literary works by Craig Wynne, Ashleigh Matkowski, Elizabeth Vosk, Angel Eduardo, Robert Jason Clark, Nicole Contreras, and artwork by Madelynne Dela Rama and Pablo Naranjo.

I would like to send an invitation to each of these authors to submit a work for our one year anniversary to be released in February. I make this announcement so early because our production process is two months. Thus, we are currently working on the January issue, and in December we will be working on the February issue.

Here's to an amazing magazine made amazing only by the authors and artists who contribute toward it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peycho Kanev's new book!

In September, we published a poem by Peycho Kanev called "Closing Statement." He just released a new collection titled Bone Silence. Go on Amazon and check it out! It's available as a hard copy and for Kindle as well!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Andrew Kolbenschlag

Check out Andrew Kolbenschlag's new blog!

Andrew Kolbenschlag appeared in the sixth issue of Instigatorzine with his story, "The Trees Will Go, Too." His new story, "Gaviota" will be appearing in the November issue, so make sure you check it out!

Our covers

Which one's your favorite?

November - Instigatorzine 9

Who's looking forward to the November issue? I know I am.

The November issue of Instigatorzine is featuring the following work:
"Gaviota" by Andrew Kolbenschlag
"Chocolate Defined" by John Berbrich
"Dark Circles" by Joe Marchia
"Laura's House" by Lisa Sofranko
Three pieces of flash fiction by Billy Frey
"Laugh Riot" by Michael Weems
"To a Stranger at the Tiki Bar" and "Driving Lesson" by Patrick Shea
"We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" by Tabitha Vedaurri
"7 Settings" by Chris O'Brien
"Beyond Comprehension" by Mitch Holsten
"The Homecoming" by Matthew Reed
"A Little Snow" by J.A. Curcione

...and artwork by Erin Dodge!

Keep a lookout for it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A moment of transparency

Hello Instigators! I'd like to present to you a moment of transparency in a world that's way too often opaque. There will be changes in the upcoming issues of Instigatorzine, as there always has been which each issue. It's surprising to thing that something I started as a 20 page xerox copy zine has grown into a full color print with 48 pages in full color with advertisements.

In the following months we are going to become an actual state recognized business, which means we'll get some zebra stripes on the back cover. The reason for this is that we are switching printing companies to MagCloud, a lovely website that prints high quality magazines. We are switching because our current company is going out of business. Unfortunately, MagCloud is a little more expensive than our current company. However, we hope that this will not cause an increase in price. In order to keep the price low, we will have to start selling more ad-space. How do we do this?

It is difficult to offer ad-space to bigger companies when all you have is a personal checking account. Who wants to write a check to Keith Chiappone for adspace in a small zine? Becoming state recognized means we would be able to open a bank account under the name, Instigatorzine. Thus, companies will be more willing to work with us. This also means it will be easier for you, the readers, to subscribe to the magazine.

To also cut costs we will also be shortening the magazine to 32 pages. The goal is to have four pages of ads, which will pay for the costs of printing. Instigatorzine will always be an art and literary zine. We have 28 pages of really good literature and art to offer to you, and we're gonna keep on doing it!

In preparation for the new year changes, we will be taking off in December. Any subscribers will have their subscription extended by one month. See you in November!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Have we let you down? Maybe.

Trying to find someone to primarily run the blog, but the only person who has access to a lot of different things, at least Instigatorzine wise, are either me or Keith.

Trusting a person with IZ secrets shouldn't be a problem since there are no IZ secrets.

For now, if you live in the Jersey City area, you should definitely be checking out the Jersey City Artists' Studio Tour. It's well worth the effort you'll be putting into walking and traveling all over Jersey City, invading many artists' personal spaces.

Is it invasion if they let you? Probably not.

Check out The Black Hollies while you're walking around 4th Street in Jersey City. They're a good band based in Jersey City. I discovered them when I was checking out the Grove Street Creative Market three weeks ago. The Black Hollies will be playing around 8p on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Instigatorzine 8 is on its way to the printers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Instigatorzine 6

Instigatorzine 6 is now out in stores. Here is a list of stores that carry Instigatorzine:
  • MoonShadow Comics & Collectibles - Jersey City, NJ
  • Vector Comics - Bayonne, NJ
  • Garden State News - Bayonne, NJ
  • Keep It Fit Cafe - Bayonne, NJ
  • Jim Hanley's Universe - New York, New York
(Check it out! We have FIVE retailers selling our product! Tell your friends! Support Instigatorzine!)

Also, in commemoration of our sixth month of producing this wonderful editorial, IZ6 has two covers by Elias Jimenez and Madelynne Dela Rama, respectively.

Instigatorzine #6 is brought to you by the pin-up. Enjoy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jim Hanley's Universe

Guess which independent arts and literature editorial is being sold at Jim Hanley's Universe!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Instigatorzine 5

Five issues. I never thought we'd make it past the first issue.

I'm kidding. I'm really proud of the product we put out (now). Just seeing the bare layouts make me excited to be working on something like this and inspired by the work encased within it's paper-thin borders.

Really, check it out.

Cover Art by Kristen Chiappone

The July issue features literature:

"Anasthesia" by Liz Vosk
"AM" by Michael Weems
"Master" by Krystal Sital
"Just Like High School" by Amanda Halkiotis
"In Praise of Honey" by John Biscello
"Tarred and Feathered" by Mark Blickley
"Apples to Oranges" by Daniel O'Connor
"Small Amusements" by Ben Nardolilli
"A Day Spent with Words" by Kate Giusfredi
"The Stink-Eye" by David Sansevere
"There's a Where" by Nathan Fuller
"Language as Play" by Nicole Contreras
"Old and New" by Jacqueline Nigro
"The Weary Lacrymosa" by Dana Facchine
"Misunderstandings of the Third Kind" by Daniel Shebses

...And art from:
Stephanie Herrera
Kelly Cuenca
Elias Jimenez
Madelynne Dela Rama
Steven Defendini
Chazz Jogie
Kristen Chiappone
and more!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Halloween Contest Clarifications

So, I was talking to my friend about the Halloween story and poetry contest and she said something interesting to me. When I asked her if she planned on entering, she said, "Well I can't write scary stories, so most likely not."
I was startled by this response. To this, I replied, "Well, it doesn't have to be scary."
I think a lot of people think when there's a Halloween contest, it has to be scary. However, this is not the case. I explained to my friend that she could write a story or poem about trick or treating, about dressing up, about picking out the costume, about a costume contest they participated in, a costume gone terribly wrong, a particular memory just vaguely associated with Halloween, a significant event that happened around Halloween, an experience with a scary movie or Halloween movie, etc. The possibilities are endless. I remember, during Halloween, when the McDonald's on 25th on Broadway in Bayonne would give out Happy Meal goody bags. I remember, when with one of my ex-girlfriends, we took her little brother to his cub scouts Halloween meeting. I could write a whole story describing this event.
So remember: When you write your story or poem for this contest, think outside the box. It doesn't have to be all ghosts and goblins!

Friday, June 11, 2010

In case you didn't know...

Almost all the instigatorzine editorial staff try to maintain blogs of their own, and since only Keith and I (well, really, just me lately) post here. Maybe you'd like to look at something else. Something more personal (and more frequently updated).

I was going to put everyone's tumblr's and personal websites down, but I think I'm the only one who has those two things and it would be gratuitous.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sketch Day May 10

Tim Fitzgerald. Guns. Skulls. Darkness. Violence. Retribution.

The Punisher.

Photo I final project, one of three.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sketch Day May 3

The Immortal Iron Fist.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sketch Day May

Tim Fitzgerald is The Punisher

I participate in an art blog known as Area 221. It is a collective of illustration and art students from NJCU, sharing their most recent sketches and art with each other. Hopefully people are inspired by each other's work when they do post it, but lately, the blog has been experiencing some down time.

The blog isn't quite as active as it used to be, maybe because there's not active recruitment going on or maybe the most frequent contributors have taken on a much busier lifestyle.

But that isn't much of an excuse, is it?

Artists should always be drawing, like writers should always be writing, chefs should always be cooking, etc.

If you're gonna get better, you have to keep doing it. (And doing it well).

I couldn't help myself.

Anyway, every May, the entire month is dedicated to Sketch-a-Day-in-May as a way of celebrating the month Area 221 was established. This is my first Sketch Day May...sketch.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reading at the Symposia

Tonight the Instigatorzine hosted its first reading. It was located at a small non-profit donation based book store in Hoboken called The Symposia.

First to read was Elizabeth Vosk with her prose piece, "Hate: A Love Story," which appeared in the first issue of the zine. The piece focuses on the many avenues of hate an individual feels after a break up.

After Elizabeth came Lisa Sofranko with her memoir piece, "Glass House"--an excerpt from a longer piece titled, "Fragile." It tells a lovely story about a child's artificial parents--his aunt--and the way he grows up with her, coming across weed, feet on faces, and children's jokes. This piece appears in the second issue of the Instigatorzine.

Third on the lineup was Julie Ellinger Hunt with four poems, two of which appeared in the second edition of the zine ("Red Sweater" and "You Sent Me." She will soon be publishing a poetry book.

After Julie read, we took a ten minute break to eat cookies, chips, and talk about the magazine amongst ourselves. Once we resumed, Angel Eduardo read his piece, "Ends."

Having only been about 7:00, we had some time to fill. I decided last minute to read a piece I published in the zine titled "Dead in the Dining Room." It focuses on an episode the narrator has that forces him to think about those who have died around him, and finally, his own death.

Finally, Robert Jason Clark read his horror piece, "Two for One." This story appeared in the first and second editions of the zine as a continuation. It tells the story of Bill Hess, a lonely, ugly man who hates his wife and makes a Faustian deal to get rid of her.

The night ended pretty well! I can't wait for the next reading!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Activity: 100 Word Group

During my senior year at NJCU, I took a course titled "Workshop: Writing the Memoir." Interested in non-fiction writing, I signed up for the course. Needless to say, I learned a lot from it and enjoyed myself immensely. One of the things, however, that I took from the class that is still with me, is the 100 word group.

100 groups are made up of seven people--one for each day of the week. Each day, someone writes 100 words based on a word, phrase, or idea present in the previous day's 100 words. The 100 words can be in the form of poetry or prose. Doesn't matter.

I find this activity helpful because it generates writing activity on a set schedule. Although you should be writing everyday, you probably don't. This ensures that at least one day a week, you're writing.

I am part of a 100 word group. I don't generate useful material a lot, but sometimes I do surprise myself. So get six friends together and start a 100 word group!

Activity: Running Dragon

Featured in the April issue of the Instigatorzine is a poem by two writers, Laura McKeon and Melida Rodas, titled, "Amber." "Amber" takes its form and creation from the running dragon style of poetry.

Running dragons are extended haikus, often written competitively between two or more poets. The first stanza is two lines. The next stanza is three lines. This repeats until the end of the poem. The beginning of the poem revolves around nature, spring, or winter. The next poet writes three lines, with one word in the first line taken from one word from the previous line. For example:

The wild tree in sunset blinks
For blindness wakes the moon that wanes

But wanes for sight to come about
For nature burning, churning, forlorn at night
The time for folklore told to stringent lights

Around the middle of the running dragon, characters make their appearance. The end of the poem usually ends on a happy note, with another mention of spring or nature.

This is a pretty fun activity for poets. The more people involved, the more interesting it comes out because both of the voices bounce off each other. Also, the poem will probably turn out to be about something entirely different from what you had in mind. This is good with two writers because it becomes a battle for control of the subject of the poem. So try it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cease and Desist

When I started this zine, I did a search on Google for magazines titled "The Instigator" but didn't find anything. Somehow, I missed a magazine titled "Instigator Magazine." I found this magazine later, but continued with the project anyway, thinking they would never find such a small, low budget zine like ours. Our contribution to the world is virtually meaningless, considering we only publish about 200 copies of our zine. For a while, the website was hosted at Recently, we upgraded to Soon after, we released the following e-mail:

Keith Chiappone
Narciso Espiritu, Jr.
Madelynne Dela Rama
Jenna Kildosher

To the Publishers/Founders/Board Members,

Allow me to begin by saying “congratulations” on your new publication. It is not easy to accomplish such a fine, well-intentioned goal. In fact, after reviewing your website, I truly appreciate what you are offering.

However, the fact remains that we have a copyright / trademark situation to deal with as far the actual name you are using. Since we are huge supporters of alternative press/art/viewpoints, I’d prefer to keep this matter out of our ferocious attorneys’ grubby lil’ hands and take this violation up with you directly on, shall we say, “friendly terms.”

Unfortunately, I am going to have to insist that you immediately STOP PUBLISHING under the title of “(the) Instigator” and change the name of your magazine to something that, well… hasn’t had our name stamped on it since 2003 – and brand name we seriously protect. This includes the URL as well – as it is too close to our own URL. Please understand that we simply wish to avoid any confusion between our company and your own publication – not to mention silly court fees, attorneys, etc. Keep in mind that this goes both ways as your own growing fan-base may be equally confused should they inadvertently find themselves at our doorstep. Like I said, I prefer to keep this on friendly terms, especially given the fact that, like us, you are each trying to make a positive impact on your part of the world.

If I hear back from you by Friday of this week… I will be happy to give you 30 days from the date of this email to abide by my requests before handing this matter over to our legal team. This should give you ample time to 1) decide on another title for your publication, 2) secure the proper URL, and 3) reroute traffic to that address. As honesty goes a long way, I recommend that you ‘fess up’ to your readers/fan-base that you failed to realize that there was another publication out there using the same name, and that you found an even better one. Post this up at the TOP of your new homepage …keep it friendly & respectful, and I see absolutely no reason why you cannot keep your current URL ( for a period of 6 months from the date of this email for the purposes of redirecting any visitors to the new website.
Simple, less messy… and NO confusion.
This is the best I can offer you without bringing this to the next level.

Instigator Magazine
8205 Santa Monica Blvd, #1-280
West Hollywood, CA 90046
213-629-2936 office
213-596-0840 fax
707-833-4928 cell

I was a little alarmed by this, for if they had decided to sue us we would not be able to defend ourselves. There were a few things that he says to intentionally cause fear. For example, he mentions his "ferocious attorney's grubby 'lil hands." His tone is slightly condescending. These are important factors to consider. Before responding, I did some research into copyright and trademark laws. I knew immediately that they couldn't force us to change our web address. With the information I found, I responded with the following:

Dear Michael Thorn,

I am sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you. I had not realized that a 200-print photo-copied local college zine from across the country would have any threat on your 48-nation publication. First and foremost, we have never physically published a magazine titled "(the) Instigator." However, I see the mistake our webmaster has made by typing The Instigator on our website. We have changed our zine's proper name to instigatorzine, which, as you may be able to tell, is not actually a word. I have looked up records for your copyright here and here, but have not found a copyright that appears to belong to you. However, we recognize that material is copyrighted as soon as it is printed. Unfortunately, you are unclear about your copyright claim. You appear to be claiming "The Instigator" as your copyright. However, it appears that your magazine is titled "Instigator Magazine." Magazine being the modifier, if our publication was titled "The Instigator" as you have claimed, as per the cases below, despite similar words, it does not appear to be grounds for copyright violation. If I am incorrect, please let me know.

The following is an example of publications using the word, "Sun."

* Sun (supermarket tabloid)
* Arizona Daily Sun
* The Sun (San Bernardino), of California
* The Gainesville Sun, of Florida
* South Florida Sun-Sentinel
* Chicago Sun-Times, of Illinois
* The Baltimore Sun, of Maryland
* The Sun (Lowell), of Massachusetts
* The Sun Herald, of Mississippi
* Las Vegas Sun, of Nevada
* The Sun (New York), published 1833–1950
* The New York Sun, published 2002–2008
* The Sun (Sheridan), of Oregon
* The Sun (Hummelstown), of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
* The Westerly Sun, of Rhode Island
* The Sun (Carbon County, Utah)
* Kitsap Sun, of Washington

Some other examples of magazines with similar names:
Adventist Review, Adventist Today
American Heritage, American Heritage of Invention and Technology
The Amateur Scientist, The Amateur Astronomer
Architectural Digest, Architectural Record
Art Papers, Art on Paper
Audiophile, Audiophile Auditions,
Education Update, Education Week
Electronic Games, Electronic Gaming Weekly
Games, Games Unplugged
Fangoria, Fangoria Comics

Unfortunately, there will always be confusion because similarities because similarities aren't unlawful. Only replicas are. However, Our fan-bases reach an entirely different demographic. Our publication is a zine. We make them on a photocopier and sell them for two bucks on campus. Your publication is a magazine and probably mass produce your product everywhere. We sell our zine out of our book bags and you have distributors sell yours. Your readers will know immediately that they typed in the wrong address if they come to our site, and our readers will know immediately that they've come to the wrong site if they accidentally go to yours.
We have omitted mentions of The Instigator from our website. If you would like us to change our web address, you will have to go through the proper channels to purchase the address from me.

Keith Chiappone

It took me a while to type this exactly as I wanted. I'm willing to bet that Michael Thorn expected us to immediately comply with his requests. The way a lot of these Cease and Desist letters work is using force with the threat of legal base to make oneself appear more powerful. Most of the time, however, there is no legal problem. He responded with this:

Mr. Chiappone,

While I appreciate you asking your webmaster to omit mentions of “the Instigator” from your website, you nonetheless continue to refer to it as a “magazine” and not a “zine” in your ABOUT page. This is where my concern lies, Keith. Please understand that I am not trying to be a “dick” about this, but merely wishing to avoid circumstances whereby anyone (including potential readers or more importantly, a prospective advertiser) is told to “check out Instigator” and falls upon your site by mistake. There is simply not enough distinction between your magazine as an “alternative publication” and ours, and this can affect our organization on a financial level. THIS IS THE CRUX OF THE MATTER – and a distinction that any court will side with us over. Like I said earlier, I would like to avoid this.

Keith, you and I both are in agreement over the special nature of print publications at a time when print is hurting across the board. Responding to my request with a list of like-sounding examples that you are only half-correct about - in terms of copyright law - instead of searching for a resolution that is satisfactory to both parties reeks of being slightly hypocritical, bud. That you would be willing to potentially endanger our publication by holding steadfast to your ground is not the way to resolve this.

So how about this… would you be willing to clearly state that you are a “ 200-print photo-copied local college literary `zine based out of New Jersey to promote the recognition of local artists and writers” (or something to that effect) …as part of a mission statement posted up at the TOP of your ABOUT page AND change any reference to “magazine” to the stated “zine”? In other words, just re-tool your ABOUT page somewhat. No offense, but it sort of needs it anyway, stud… as you may want to fix a couple of typos while you’re at it – “The purpose of the magazine is to promote activiy for writers of all generes and styles who would otherwise have no outlet to put their material.” Making a clearer distinction between our publications – both of which promote artists and alternative points of view – should be enough. Keep in mind that while parties interested in your publication may clearly not mistake ours for yours, I am not so sure this holds true the other way round. (Gay guys are a bit scattered you might say!)

Basically, I’m looking for a bit more delineation between our endeavors to avoid any possible confusion. Make sense? Help me out on this and I’ll even owe you one, Keith. After all, guys who actually “get” what you are up against in this industry can be invaluable.

Instigator Magazine
8205 Santa Monica Blvd, #1-280
West Hollywood, CA 90046
213-629-2936 office
213-596-0840 fax
707-833-4928 cell

When he initially e-mailed me, he demanded, with the backup of law, that we change our name, our web address, and issue a public apology. Here, however, it's an extremely simple request: change "magazine" to "zine." I responded with:

Dear Michael Thorn,

I will comply with your request to put the mission statement at the top and change all references from "magazine" to "zine.". However, I see in your "About" page you also refer to your magazine as a zine. It would seem only fair, then, that you also change mentions of "zine" to "magazine" if you're really looking for more of a delineation between the two publications. I'm not trying to be a dick either, and I apologize if I came off as one in my first response. I am simply trying to protect my rights here, just as you are doing.

Changes to the website will be made by the end of the night.

Keith Chiappone

He immediately responds with:


Can you make a quick change to our “About” page?

“All-inclusive. All encompassing... homogenized... gentrified... g/l/b/t/w/x/y/z fetish community oriented. Simply put, this is a ‘guy's 'zine.’ ...Don't read anything else into it” – Please change the reference to “zine” to “magazine.”

Instigator Magazine
8205 Santa Monica Blvd, #1-280
West Hollywood, CA 90046
213-629-2936 office
213-596-0840 fax
707-833-4928 cell

followed by:

Fair is fair. Consider it done.

Thanks for seeing my point, Keith.

And good luck with your endeavor… like I said, if you ever need something, you now have an experienced ally to call upon.

Instigator Magazine
8205 Santa Monica Blvd, #1-280
West Hollywood, CA 90046
213-629-2936 office
213-596-0840 fax
707-833-4928 cell

I ended with:

Dear Michael Thorn,

I am glad to see that we can come to a compromise. Thank you for your kind words.

Keith Chiappone

There are very important things for everyone to consider here. I am going to college for secondary education with a focus on literacy. I am not knowledgeable when it comes to copyright law. However, these resources are available to you. When it comes to compromising and making deals with people, although your immediate response is to be defensive, you should take whatever deals they offer. However, when they do this, you must also make a request. Michael Thorn asked me to change "magazine" to "zine." In response, I said, "Okay, but you have to change 'zine' to 'magazine' on your page," to which he complied. Never make an unbalanced deal. That's not a compromise. That's being walked on.

One thing that is very important to realize is that once you publish something, it is immediately copyrighted. This means if you create an mp3 of a song you recorded, it is copyrighted. You must date everything. The magazine that I had this feud with does not have their copyright in the copyright register, nor do they have a trademark in the trademark register. However, they do have dates for each of their magazines that they published. It is always best to actually submit your product to the copyright register or trademark register for back up. That way, if someone steals your product, you have not only your original dated product, but it's protected by law in the copyright register.

Thus, you will notice that we are no longer The Instigator or Instigator as it appeared on the first two issues of the zine. We are now Instigatorzine.

The moral of the story is this: Don't back down to internet bullies. Don't be a jerk about it either. Make sure you absolutely know what your rights are. If you don't, people will step on you. There will always be compromise. And you may even make an ally out of it. Stand your ground, and keep on instigating!

The Blog

As everyone knows, Instigatorzine is not run by a single person. We are a team. I created this blog for my fellow teammates to post news, information, thoughts, or anything relevant to the zine.

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