LA Zine Fest
Zine-making is an experience for people existing outside of the mainstream; proving printed matter still matters. Zines embody a DIY spirit, especially when self-printed, that unites all who make them and it’s readers.
The word of the day : “Indie”.
There was no way to get through the shoulder-to-shoulder strolls exhibiting the booths in the second-story venue without sweating from all the body heat. Or from coming across the word on every other booth. Deriving from the word independent, it’s definitely suiting. Exhibitors were armed with Kinko-run personal magazines (or if you haven’t figured out yet, zines for short), including one-off batches of newly released work.
All walks of life came out to view, old and young, hipster and not, vendors and customers, gamers and writers, each delved into a world of handmade artistic publications.
Pieces varied from one dollar up to around 10. Well, I saw one artist hustle a 15-dollar-bundle package (hustla’). Many artists displayed their multiple talents, in example designing stickers, patches and even mixtape CD’s. Some mix tapes were actually recorded and designed by the exhibitor, others used album covers as portfolio pieces.
However, my favorite was the independent gaming section. And yes, each game was created by an independent programmer. It was weird sitting across from the creator of the game I was playing…almost nerve wrecking…still totally cool though.
Although back for it’s 5th annual magazine festival, the Los Angeles Zine Fest filled the Majestic Halls off Spring st. in Downtown with over 1,500 people. Over 200 exhibitors alike displayed do-it-yourself (DIY) publications.
For a non-profit organization, although fiscally sponsored by the Craft and Folk Art Museum, this year’s event was a giant progression from the first years, where the event was held in the Last Bookstore’s downtown hallways.
Los Angeles’ once-simmering community of zinesters demoed the creation of workshops, classes, bookstores, circulating libraries and an entire micro-economy of festivals all dedicated to independent publishing.
Many of the booths were non profits, in some cases, helping students from low-income backgrounds get into the arts.
Over the years, zines have come in handy for everyone from political radicals to LGBT outsiders, from cartoonists to die-hard music fans, and with final products these days ranging in size from matchbook to portfolio, and featuring a range of crafty accents — such as specialty paper, unique printing methods and hand-sewn bindings — many blur the line between art and print publication.