Dia de los Zines
Celebrate independent publishing
By Marya Errin Jones
Harvard Mall has a ghost. Its name is Cellar Door. It’s hard for me to walk by the corner of Harvard and Silver without redrawing Adrian “Android” Toto’s stencils on the walls in my mind or thinking of that little shop of local horrors and macabre art run by the intrepid Jessica DuVerneay, and the zine events she produced there.
It was at Cellar Door that a dormant love torch was rekindled in me. And where the idea for a zine fest in Albuquerque was born.
I write zines. I promote other people’s zines. I give them away, stuff them in people’s pockets when they aren’t looking and show strangers how to fold mini zines on the street. ABQ Zine Fest is a dribbling, babbling, snotty paper baby that turns two in 2012.
I’ve had lots of conversations about zines lately as I peddle for the cause. The first form of dialogue typically begins like this: “What are z(eye)ns?” You don’t say magazeyen, do you? Zines doesn’t rhyme with Auld Lang Syne. How did the zine scene in Albuquerque go so far underground that people forgot how to say ZINE?
You don’t say magazeyen, do you? Zines doesn’t rhyme with Auld Lang Syne.
When I think about zines, I think about some of the first ones, those incendiary pamphlets that helped start revolutions. Say what you want about U.S. politics, but Common Sense, a simple pamphlet written by Thomas Paine using a pen name, holds within its 48 pages a not-so-rough-sketch of the Constitution of the United States. For better or for worse, the Constitution is a variant that—although it has experienced some tweaking over the years—was born between the pages of ... a zine! Huzzah!
Despite such auspicious beginnings, zines have fallen out of favor, so much that some folk have to reach way back for the memory. I often hear something along these lines: “Oh yeah, I used to make zines—in like 1990, when I was skateboarding.” Then the conversation fades into nothing. The former zinester either floats away on a dirty cloud of regret, or freezes, eyes fixed on a distant memory of a younger self: childless, mohawked, dripping Joy Division from the pores of a ripped black T-shirt. Probably shops at a box store for diapers now. Still writing, but mostly to engage in text battles via Facebook comments. Still wearing that Joy Division T-shirt. To bed.
I want to yell: Why aren’t you still writing zines? Who told you your story was not worth penning? Not enough hours in the day? Ha! You used to puke and keep going, keep playing, keep skating! Put that child to bed and create a zine you’ll be proud to read as a bedtime story someday, even if it is scary, strange, embarrassing or sad.
Whatever you make will be uniquely yours—a bit of yourself you can share with the world. Therein lies the value.
Whatever you make will be uniquely yours—a bit of yourself you can share with the world.
Zines are important to a lot of people, and maybe it’s time to stop hiding them in our attics, in our distant memories and under our beds. Zines are multipage mind fingerprints and proof of your existence on this Earth. We have to remind ourselves of Albuquerque’s zine history and add to the verse. We’re an outpost that has one of the best noise scenes in the nation, and hardly anyone's writing about it. Where’s that zine? (Who ISN’T waiting for issue three of Bands to come out?)
We don’t have to move to a larger city to have a zine scene; we just have to support what we’ve got. Some prefer eZines and blogs, but even as steady as the Internet seems, it’s still a chancy medium compared with the solid metal that zines are made with. The staple in the middle proves the bond between words, ideas, drawings and collages, the distro, the writer and you. It’s all connected. Maybe not as immediate as the Internet, but certainly in a real time of its own.
Let me put it this way: When Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec snake god, conjures solar flares and knocks out all electronic communication on Earth, we’ll be looking for that zinester with the printing press in her living room. Instead of raiding the cold case for the last gourmet ice cream I’ll ever taste, I’ll be seen throwing a metal trash can through the plate glass window of an office supply store to carry away as many reams of paper and packs of pens as I can drag away. That’s how much independent publishing means to me.
The third form of conversation I tend fall into is when someone, after thinking about it for ages, has finally written their first zine. They hand me a copy, and I accept, almost as breathless as they are. I don’t even care what’s in it. I’m just a lucky girl to be able to hold it in my hands. It’s exciting, and that flash of grade-school joy that finishing a zine can invoke is what it’s all about. No one owns this scene. Holding back because it’s grown new faces or is trying to resurrect itself in a new world only diminishes the individual, not the scene. So jump in! Share! Teach what you know! First-timers and veteran zinesters face their blank pages just the same.
ABQ Zine Fest
Featuring: Fly Away Zine Mobile, Zine Olympics, Flirting for the Socially Awkward Mini Workshop, Mint Tulip Mobile Kitchen, Mini Zine Workshop for Families, live screen-printing (BYOTS)
Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1715 Fifth Street NW
Saturday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
The Tan and Small Engine Gallery
1413 and 1415 Fourth Street SW
$3 to $5 sliding scale donation
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