In the age of Facebook and Twitter, the humble DIY charm of the Zine is something that should make people stop and take notice. Let’s face it, social media is a cold, self-serving interaction between users seeking instant feedback from each other but Zines are different; a person sits completely alone for some time with his or her work and carefully crafts an object for someone else to interact with and hold in their hands with no promise that the creator will ever know how it was received. The focus here is on the object and not the author and this leaves the reader alone to interact with the work. Imagine if everyone took that collective energy wasted with insipid, disposable tweets and status messages and used it to create something tangible and inspiring? Zines are one possible use for that wasted energy and this weekend’s Zinefest Houston will offer tables upon tables of these small treasures along with panels, music, and good old face-to-face human interaction. It’s a wonderful opportunity to check out the zines, talk to the authors, and get inspired. We asked organizer Lindsey Simard about this year’s festival.
For those who don’t know can you give a brief overview?
Lindsey -Zine Fest Houston is an event where artists and writers get together to share and sell their zines (small, pamphlet-like magazines), minicomics, and other small press/alternative/underground/do-it-yourself media and art. Zines can be about anything: politics, day-to-day life, cats, etc.
How many Zine Fests are we up to now?
Lindsey – I’m not sure what the official count is. There have been versions of Zine Fest Houston since 2004 but not every year. I hope it will continue to be a yearly event from now on.
This is your last as organizer, isn’t it? How has that experience been and who will take up the mantle after you?
Lindsey -Yes, this is my last year organizing the fest. I plan to help out next year, but I want to focus more on my own work. Stacy Kirages (artist & creator of Modernizm zine) & Maria Heg (artist & a CounterCrawl organizer) will be organizing the fest next year, and I’m sure the fest will thrive under their care.
Organizing Zine Fest Houston has been a very positive experience for me (though my friends and family have listened to me complain about the work and stress involved). I met cool artists and writers, I learned how to organize and promote an event, and I proved to myself that I could do something new. It is personally rewarding to give back to one of the only communities that has always accepted and supported me in Houston.
It’s also really made me appreciate the work that goes into events. People put a lot of work into organizing cool, free events, and all you have to do is show up.
Who have been some of your favorite attendees, both behind the table and the fans?
Lindsey -My favorite fans are the people who pick up a zine and appreciate it, the people who go to Zine Fest one year and decide to make zines for the next year, our volunteers, and my mom and younger brother (they went last year).
My favorite attendees behind the table could be a very long list. There’s Buttersword, from Austin, who are very supportive of everyone and just really kind people. Also, Gabriel Dieter’s work is dark, yet funny (he is our featured artist this year), and he’s been supportive too. Jason Poland single-handedly reached out to several web comic artists and drew them (pun intended) to the fest, plus I enjoy his Robbie + Bobby comic. The Lovely Blubs are a mom and her two young daughters; I like seeing families making art together, and I really enjoyed everything I bought from them last year. Eigengrau Press, Edwin Johnston, and Shane Patrick Boyle (founder of Zine Fest Houston) will always be favorites.
What’s new this year?
Lindsey -More zines than ever! Over 45 zine makers are planning on being there. We have new musical guests this year, Say Girl Say, Devil Killing Moth, TBD, and Evan McCarly, and Robb from the New Orleans Above Ground Zine Library will be speaking. We will also have a panel discussion with a few artists (Flipping All Tables: What to do when you hate making art, hate yourself, and hate that you have to make art), and we are giving out zine awards for the first time.
I know you can’t name everyone but are there any new artists that are particularly close to your heart who are showing off their stuff?
Lindsey -We have many new artists this year, so this could be a really long list too. I’m especially looking forward to meeting Brendan Kiefer, Mitch Clem, and Nation of Amanda after becoming more familiar with their work. The interviews on our website with Vice Versa Press and Caleb Fraid’s Stream & Road convinced me their tables will be stocked with cool things, and I’m also excited about Unsellable Grrrl Zine, a feminist zine, and Raspa, a Latino queer zine, because I like when zines represent viewpoints that are usually ignored in mainstream media. It’s the same reason why East Side Social Center’s table interests me.
Any tips for how to enjoy Zine Fest?
Lindsey -Browse, talk to the artists and writers, and bring cash. Sometimes Zine Fest is the only place you’ll be able to buy these zines, and with so many people participating this year, you will probably see at least one zine that you’ll want to take home with you.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is making their own zine?
Lindsey – Make it yours. If it reflects you & your aesthetic, it will be rewarding to create and share.
Saturday October 6th, 2012
Zinefest 2012 @ Super Happy Fun Land (3801 Polk Street)
3pm – 8pm, Free