Because I know I’m going to get this question I’m going to post this here. There seems to be a lot of new followers who may not have heard me rant about zines before. July is International Zine Month. It is a month to celebrate zines and zine culture and each day as an associate activity.
A lot of you might not know what zines are, so I’ll repost something I wrote about what zine me here:
Simply put, zines are self published magazines. They are usually
photocopied and stapled like a little booklet or pamphlet and generally have a
small print run.They are often made as a passionate hobby as there isn’t much
money in making or selling zines. In fact, a lot of zines are traded.
What you put in a zine is entirely up to you. You could write
fiction, draw comics, write recipes, print photos you have taken, write
your political beliefs, or write about your own experiences. You could
stick to one genre or you could mash it all up together. I generally
write what is called a “personal zine” that means I write stuff about
personal experiences and tell stories and occasionally other topics show
up in my zines as well. I believe that the personal is politically and while my zine is not overtly political, my feminism and anarchism are woven in my stories when I write about getting and IUD as birth control or getting out of an emotionally abusive marriage. The contents of a zine are only limited to your
imagination. Zines can be any size or shape but I’m a firm believer
that they must be physical. I don’t consider ezines to be zines, and that’s my personal preference.
Some people that make zines consider themselves to be the progeny of
the likes of Thomas Pain writing Common Sense, early 20th Century Sci-fi
fanzine writers, beat poets and chapbooks, 70s punk music fanzines, and
the 90s zine explosion including riot grrrl zines.
All of that just tells you what zines are physically.
I’ve been reading zines since the early 90s and making my own zines
since the mid-90s. I was living in Salt Lake City, Utah on the cusp of
the internet. I would trade zines with penpals through the mail and
write letter and really get to to know the people behind the paper. This
is where I get to the cultural aspect of zines. These connections could
take you on a greyhound ride across the country to meet someone where
you know their handwriting better than their face. There are conventions
for zines called zine fests where people get together to trade, sell
and display their creations and attend workshops and skill shares. Most
of my friends are people that I have met through zines and the only
thing I can really think that we all have in common is that we all
appreciate the written word. We celebrate the tangible and sometimes the
Some people talk about zines dying out after the internet and blogs
became popular, but I don’t think that is true. There is still a very
active and vibrant community of people creating zines and reading zines.
the internet has just added a new dimension to zines and zine culture.
it makes it easier to find other people that are interested in zines and
easier to spread the word about new zines, zine fests, and distros (a
hobby sort of business that buys zines at wholesale rates and sells a bunch of different zines)
In the context of this being my witchy blog I’d say that zines are a
big part of my life and that blends into my witchy life because it is
just another facet of me. I’ve also been kicking around the idea of
writing a zine about witchcraft but I can’t seem to find the time to
write my own zines these days let along sit down to do editing and
reprint the book I wrote about zines, Stolen Sharpie Revolution. (I just
Also, my day job, Portland Button Works,
is running a business that makes custom buttons and sells our own
buttons designs. It is also a zine distro and we sell lots of zines in
my brick and mortar shop. When I travel, like when I was in LA, Chicago a few months ago and San Francisco last weekend, it is zine related. I have friends all
over the US and Canada and even some in other countries and it is all
because of zines.
Zines are an integral part of my life and they have been like a back door or a back stage pass into some really amazing opportunities. I have met some of the most amazing and genuine people through zines and I am so very grateful to have stumbled into this world.
The history of zines in popular culture dates back to the mid-twentieth century when science fiction fans created their own publications. By the late 1970s, zines were synonymous with the punk rock DIY attitude – anyone with access to a photocopier could produce a zine about their favorite music. In addition to documenting local or regional fan culture, zines often include interviews with performers and reviews of concerts that cannot be found in mainstream publications, so they make a fantastic and unique popular music research resource!
Punk magazine was created by cartoonist John Holstrom, publisher Ged Dunn, and “resident punk” Legs McNiel in 1975. It popularized the term “punk rock” to describe the music coming out of the CBGB scene, including the New York Dolls, the MC5, Stooges, and Ramones.
With that in mind, we already have several cis women confirmed as participants (tour roster announcement coming soon). We’re now looking for 1-2 more gender non-conforming folks to join us on the road.
Our tour route has evolved. We are now going to 20 cities and producing 30-40 events between Oct. 3 - Nov. 9, 2013. Yup! We’ve expanded the tour route to include more midwest tour dates (we’ll post an updated lineup very soon - here’s the original announcement).
Email email@example.com for information on how to participate & help spread the word!
You must ID as either trans and/or gender nonconforming or cis male.
You must ID as a person of color.
You can commit to at least three of the tour dates between Oct 3 - Nov 9.
You have either made & released at least one zine or consistently operate a website/blog/digital presence that amplifies the voices of QTPOC.
You have at least some experience with public speaking.
You are either based in the U.S. or can cover the cost of your own travel outside the U.S.
That’s it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “QTPOC tour member” as the subject line and in your email make sure to include the following details:
- Your preferred name and a little about yourself (why you want to go on tour with POCZP, your relationship to zines/self publishing, etc.)
- the city and state you’re presently living in
- the name of the last zine you made/how to purchase it and/or the URLS for your digital platforms (blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)
- a brief description of your public speaking history
- a brief description of any special needs (allergies, mobility issues, etc.)
- any initial questions you may have about tour date cities, budgeting, accessibility, etc.
A POCZP representative will get back to you by July 15, 2015.
DEADLINE: July 10, 2013.
We are finalizing the touring roster by August 1, 2013.
ACCESSIBILITY DISCLOSURE: All our touring events will be wheelchair accessible and have a safer spaces policy. Unfortunately, our tour vehicle cannot accommodate wheelchairs — but it can be navigated with braces, crutches, etc. As a result of this finance-based limitation, all touring members must be able to navigate the tour vehicle and event spaces with minimal support.
Send all accessibility questions to email@example.com.
We will post an accessibility FAQ for this year’s tour as soon as it’s ready.
Nia (Angry Black-White Girl and Borderlands) comes forward to declare her status as an ex-punk. She criticizes anarcho-punk and many activist scenes for its ignorance and the lack of inclusion of folks of color, women and queers. Nia refuses to leave a part of herself at the door in order to adjust to the whiteness and maleness of a musical scene that she once truly enjoyed. The zine also includes a pull-out portion in which you can take along to your next show in order to challenge yourself, your friends and other bystanders.
Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is responsible for scanning and making Nia’s zine file available online. POCZP helped to “liberate” this publication as an embeddable file for International Zine Month #IZM2013.
Excerpt from POZCP touring member Osa Atoe’s interview with Nia in 2009 for Maximumrocknroll:
Osa: Come on! You’re at a punk house right now hanging out with a girl that we both just randomly happen to know through punk… Just admit it you’re still kinda punk!
Nia: [laughs] BUSTED! Well, I don’t feel punk. I feel really alienated in punk spaces. Lo Mas Alla, where Luisa and some of my other friends live, feels kind of different. Most of the people who live there may still have love for punk culture, but they also view punk with a critical lens. At some point, most of them have told me they are growing out of punk. I could try and defend it further but it feels silly. I am staying with punks at a punk house. Fact. Am I a punk? No.
Osa: Yeah, well the point I’m trying to make is half-silly and half-serious. I do feel strongly about the fact that people of color end up relinquishing so much to white people just because white people take up all that space. I mean, how many times have you talked to another black girl who’s like, “I’m not a feminist because I feel like feminism is for white women”? And I’m thinking that feminism is an important tool, just like punk is for me, and I’m definitely not going to let white people define what it means to be punk or feminist. I’m going to use those words, those tools, in ways that benefit me.
Nia: I feel that, but defending punk and feminism can be a lot of work, and a lot of the criticism I’ve heard of both is valid. I guess trying to hold space for POCs in punk is exhausting, not because they’re not already there taking up (some) space, but because being the only POC in a room is fucking exhausting in my experience. I wanted to retreat to spaces where I didn’t feel like I had to fight for visibility or have to call people on their shit all the time, and for me punk was not that. Not that I was the lone voice of reason or the lone POC, but often enough, it felt like it. I have nothing but respect for women of color who hold it down in punk rock and call shit out, and make records and write zines, but it’s not for me anymore. Orat least I’m a lot pickier about the ways I engage with it and the situations I put myself in. You feel me?
Osa: Yeah I do. I think that’s why it’s so important to have this conversation because I can see how we’re coming at it from such different perspectives even though both are valid. I totally relate to feeling drained to the bone by being in predominantly white “progressive” spaces. And it wasn’t just punk. Going to college for women’s studies with all those well-meeting white liberal feminists almost gave me an aneurysm. At the same time, for me, it’s not about defending punk or feminism. I just am those things in my daily life. I feel like I did give up fighting for visibility and correcting ignorance and oppressive dynamics in punk scenes. But that just meant that I spent more time hanging out with the brown kids and cultivating those relationships.
If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
Booklyn takes on the 24 Hour Zine Challenge this weekend, 1pm Saturday - 1pm Sunday.
I’ll be working with Jason Roy 12am midnight on saturday to 1pm on Sunday, sleeping on the floor, watching movies, drawing, and drinking lots of coffee. Come by, keep us company, and collaborate on a zine with us!
International Zine Month: Top Ten List of Why I Love Zines
These are not in order of importance, but in the order they fall out of my insomnia-impaired brain.
Community–I love the affinity and sense of “I get these people and they get me.”
Pen pals–it’s like #1, but more intimate.
Having friends all over the country and in other countries, too.
Having a small, contained place to say stuff I want to say, to people who want to hear it.
Learning–sometimes like everything I know about privilege (race, gender, class, etc.), other personal/political topics and how to act I learned from zines. (I know–I’m not perfect about all that stuff by any means!)
Celia–who I met in library school and lived in the same town with for only three months and who is one of my best friends because our relationship was maintained and deepened through zines, letters and almost-daily IMs.
The fierceness they unleash on a world that doesn’t even know they exist.
Their aesthetic, how much can be gleaned about their creators by really looking at the zines, doing a close reading, if you’re an academic, what is said and unsaid, intentional and unintentional.
Interviews–I love that musicians, artists, actors, etc. would participate in interviews with zine creators, via mail, email, telephone and in person.
Their unmediated voices, people saying stuff without permission or the desire for it. The generosity of it and lack of ego.
If I were more alert this list might be different. Or maybe it wouldn’t.
31 Activities for 31 Days of International Zine Month in July!
Play along at home with 31 Days of International Zine Month in July!
Last year I took a photo of myself in a different zine related shirt every day of International Zine Month. this year I made a calendar of events! You don’t have to do them all, or even do them in order. I just thought it would be fun to have some pointers!
1 – If you have an account on We Make Zines (A social networking site just for zines) login to talk about International Zine Month. if you don’t have an account yet, start one! I love zines week 2 – Zine Distro appreciation day. Order something from a zine distro, or write them a letter or an e-mail telling them you appreciate what they do. 3 – Organize your zine collection. We all know you have stacks of zines by your bed, maybe you should look into doing something about that. 4 – Teach yourself a new skill: how to make a one page zine, a new binding technique, photocopier art, etc. 5 – Check out a different type of zine than you normally read. Why stay stuck in the same box, try something new. It might just surprise you! 6 – Re-read your favorite zines! We all have our favorites, why not sit down and read them again.
7 – Zine reading day! Host, attend, or participate in a zine reading. No zine readings around you? Read outloud to your pet! 8 – Try something new day. If you draw comics, try writing a personal story. If you write fiction, try non-fiction. If you write poetry, try drawing comics.
Postal appreciation week! 9 – Buy some stamps, envelopes or postcards or make your own (envelopes and postcards, that is, not stamps.) 10 – Write a letter to a zine person that you have never written before to let them know you liked what they made. 11 – Create a care package to send to a zine friend filled with neat zine stuff (rub on letters, glue sticks, clip art, etc) 12 – make some mail art, decorate some envelopes, or make an Artist Trading Card. 13 – Send your zine out to be reviewed.
14- ValenZine’s Day Write your zine crush (we know you have one!), or write to Zine Crush about your zine crush. 15 – make plans to make a split zine with someone.
Zine Library and Education week 16 – Leave a zine in a public place: tacked to a message board, on a bus, in a coffee shop 17 – Teach a friend or family member about zines. 18 – Send your zine to a zine library. 19 – make a zine flyer to send out with your orders and to trade with other zines. 20 – Host a zine workshop or zine party at a local library or community center.
21 – International Zine Library Day! Visit your local zine library! Start a zine library. 22 – Check out Zine Wiki! Add your zine or edit an entry. Zine Distribution week 23 – Zine Trade Day! ask someone if they would like to trade zines with you. 24 – Send your zine to a distro for consideration. 25 – Order from a different zine distro than your normally do. 26 – Review a zine in your zine, on your blog, or on your facebook page 27 – Look into consigning your zine at a shop that sells zines.
28 – Free Zine Day! Give the unexpected gift of a zine! 29 – organize a zine event, even if it is a small one
30 – Zine shop appreciation day. Support your local zine friendly shop today! 31- Take a photo of you with your zine (extra credit if you post it online)
Extra Credit! -Read a zine everyday -take part in the 24 hour zine thing -draw a comic everyday and release a diary comic at the end!