“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
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I've been battling a nasty ear infestation ever since the Zine Fest last weekend, but I wanted to take a moment to note that the events went really well!
I was utterly amazed by the workshops-people were speaking to topics that were really amazing-zines or otherwise. Topics that were under the radar, even perhaps in zine circles. And they were all really articulate and great to listen to!
Ben Holtzman & Kathleen McIntyre set the scene on Saturday with their discussion of zines that deal with grief and illness. I was really impressed with how well-spoken and thoughtful their presentation was, and it was really wonderful to hear what Katherine had to say being someone who has dealt with grief. Their zines The Worst: A Compilation Zine on Grief and Loss and Sick: A Compilation Zine on Physical Illness are at the top of my pile from the Fest.
Everyone at the "Stitched on the Spine" panel seemed to really adore the books they made with help from the volunteers from the Center for Book Arts. I learned a few tricks in the moments I was in the room, and the paper they brought (letterpress scraps and other odds and ends) was really lovely! Perhaps the most important bit that was mentioned was that the CBA has a "Book Arts Lounge" monthly on Fridays where you can visit their studios for free and make things!
What I was able to hear of the "Marginalized Voices and Zines" presentation was really inspiring. China and Vikki are great speakers who really acknowledge their audience. It was especially interesting to hear China talk about how the perception of her mama zine has changed over time (along with reactions to motherhood at large)--from being laughed at in radical circles to becoming a visible and published work.
The final workshop that I was able to catch bits and pieces of was Robyn Chapman's "A Century of Self Publishing: Zine and Mini-comic History 1900-present." Robyn talked about all kinds of wonderful bookmaking history from Dada to the Beats, comix and more. She really knows her stuff, and it may seem cheesy, but I really liked her slides. Anyone who can cover letterpress and Superman in one talk gets an A in my book!
The floor of the Fest was really inspiring as well; A cigarette machine loaded with seventy-five cent rolled zines, "Read Zines Not Blogs" posters, Vandercook T-shirts (yeah, I bought one), free tampons, kid zines, librarian zines, poetry zines, chapbooks, silkscreen posters, buttons, comics, photography zines, cupie dolls... It was all amazing. I have a pile of really great stuff to dig through.
If you want to follow coverage of the Fest (before and after) I am tagging links with "nyczinefest" on my delicious account. Lots still for me to digest and think about (ahem, or even read).
Happy that all the press we had about "zines aren't dead" is true. I think zines are undead; like zombies! When there's no more room in hell, the zines will walk the earth! Viva la print!
THANK YOU to everyone who participated and made this event happen!
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