Self-published periodicals are about to get their time in the spotlight.
It’s been 10 years since the last local showcase of Southern California’s eclectic zine culture, but if the upcoming Los Angeles Zine Fest is a success, self-published periodicals are about to get their time in the spotlight. The event, which was a top 10 finisher in our very first grant competition on GOOD Maker, may even inspire a fresh crop of writers, artists, and cheerful dissidents to start their own local workshops.
A product of the punk and feminist subcultures of the 1980s, handmade zines have found a following beyond the underground, though many created today still voice ideas—whether through literature or illustration—unacknowledged by mass media. The explosion of Facebook and Twitter, combined with the resurgence of DIY culture, has made it even easier for zinesters to connect and share their work, nurturing creative pockets of community on and offline. Sites like We Make Zines have sprung up as a resource for people seeking potential collaborators, and many cities across the country have started their own zine fests.
The five women behind L.A. Zine Fest—Bianca Barragan, Eryca Sender, Simon Sotelo, Rhea Tepplim and Meredith Wallace—have taught a number of local zine workshops together over the past year, everywhere from the Craft and Folk Art Museum to Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. “Zine-making, collecting and reading was a bit of an isolated experience until we met each other and start offering free classes to the community,” Tepplim says. Barragan adds, “We discovered that L.A. really does have an active and vibrant group of people working in DIY publishing.” She advises aspiring zine-makers to reach out to fellow artists and engage their local zine community. “Make a little effort to know what people are up to and they'll reciprocate. Don't be afraid to share. Leave your house!”
The Los Angeles Zine Fest is free and open to public on Sunday, February 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor of The Last Bookstore (453 S. Spring Street). Expect to find 85-plus zine-makers selling and trading their wares, DJ sets by KXLU, and panel discussions featuring the likes of Henry Rollins, Mark Allen of Machine Project, and more. For more information, visit lazinefest.com.
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Photo courtesy of Meredith Wallace