Speaker: Zines in the Bay Podcast, Created by Mela Seyoum
Zines in the Bay Podcast: Zines don't need to be anything other than what you want them to be. Everyone is interested in just the fact that you're making something new that didn't exist. Hello, my name is Katherine Leung, I'm a zinester. I curate and edit, Canto Cutie zine. And before that I curated and edited Dead Dads Club scene, Coming from the word fanzine or fan magazine and emerging in the 1930s, Zines are self published works that often feature photographs, collages, essays and interviews. The process of making a zine is unique to each person, whether that means using google docs and a printer or a piece of paper and a pen. And sometimes those pieces or publications are shared across the internet and sometimes they're just shared with a friend. I feel like the zine world goes out of its way to include people who have historically been left out of a lot of art and publishing worlds. My favorite thing about zines is just connecting with people. That's Ellen, an organizer for the Bay Area Queer Zine Fest. It feels like a class reunion, I guess kind of, I didn't go to school with any of the people at a zine fest, but it feels very, feels very comforting to see everyone's faces. My name is Maira and I used they/them pronouns and I am one of the organizers and one of the founding organizers of the Bay Area Queer Zine fest. After tabling and organizing for the East Bay Alternative Book and zine Zine Fest, Maira started thinking about what they could add to the scene. I wanted to help put together an event specifically for the queer community because the Bay Area has such a rich queer history. Similar to others zine fests, Maira said they tried out a virtual format during the pandemic. But more recently, the fest was able to happen again in person at the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Francisco and they did things a bit differently. We were like, okay, we don't necessarily want it to be the fest, we want it to be kind of more than the fest. Um And because we had an actual budget, um we were able to have workshops and panels which we've never done before. Katherine from Dead Dads Club Zine also wanted to explore creating her own project and publication and re envision a more transparent and equitable submission process with it. I also wanted to explore this new concept that there can be art and writing about having a dead dad. After being sick for quite some time, Katherine's father passed away in 2012. It feels alienating because you think you're like the only one in this whole world that has this issue and no one else knows what it's like. But over time you find out like actually it's not, it's not universal, but it is like an experience that unites people in this weird sick way. The DIY and individualistic nature of zines makes them personable and oftentimes hyperlocal and over the years, they've served as an emotional, political, and cultural outlet, helping to bring people together and shared identities, ideologies and experiences. This is Elle again from the bay Area Queer Zine Fest. Anybody who has something to say, this is your place to say it and you'll be surprised by how many other people are willing to check it out and who are happy to know that other people are experiencing the same thing. Growing up, Maira said they often wrote in physical and online live journals. Then in college they were introduced to zines. I was kind of processing like exploring my gender identity and that's a theme and a lot of my really early zines and zines that I was reading it was like, what's going on right now, what am I doing? Where am I going? I wasn't making the zine for him, but I felt like my skills and those things that I had pride in and my dad had pride in me- They definitely transferred into why I love making zines. The Dead Dads Club scene has two volumes, both published in 2020. This is a reading from volume two containing part of the poem, The Shape of You and the Sand and this Big Yellow Umbrella by Kristalyn Gill. Jessica says hers is perfect and I believe her because I know her to build with her hands what life has refused to give her, I see each tower twisting and toppling over my own crumbling laboratory of labor just after her pursuit of togetherness is a fierce silence. In the fiery midday sun we feast upon visions of better endings, with insatiable appetites for a taste of praise and a thirst for ambition.