Thursday, June 18, 2009

The people's press: NYC Zine Fest coming

By Joe Maniscalco

You can’t wrap your fingers around a megabyte or fold up a Kindle in your back pocket.

Zinesters – those free-spirited and free-thinking do-it-yourselfers with whirring basement printing presses – have never lost their love for the printed word, and they’re not about to now.

On June 27 and 28, the Brooklyn Lyceum will host the first-ever NYC Zine Fest. Over 70 purveyors of the “handmade” press are expected to assemble for the free two-day event.

Susan Thomas, a librarian and one of the festival organizers, felt that it was time zinesters had a place to meet, share ideas and learn about other zines.

“Zines are doing really well,” Thomas says. “It’s because they are like art objects; they’re really handmade. People sort of cherish them as these collectible object that can’t be replicated on the Internet.”

But zinesters aren’t a bunch of stubborn Luddites huddling under low-watt light bulbs clutching dog-eared copies of “American Splendor.”

They’re just as apt to have a Kindle and a favorite blog as anyone else is.

“Some people love them both,” Thomas says. “The more you have those things the more you want to turn away from that and grab a zine.”

Most zines have a limited lifespan, and some say their ephemeral nature is part of their overall appeal.

But Ayun Halliday has been publishing “East Village Inky” for 10 years now.

“They’re a labor of love,” the successful author says. “It started out to be my only outlet and turned into being the purest outlet.”

Jessica Max Stein is another Brooklyn zinester who has long-running successes, among her many provocative titles like “Mad Love” and “The Long Walk Back to Myself.”

“I feel so much more free in the writing of the zine,” she says. “You don’t have to worry about the gatekeepers.”

While not exclusive to the borough, Zine Fest organizers admit that the great majority of participants just happen to be from Brooklyn.

Zines themselves go back at least decades, from the sexually-obsessed comic books of R. Crumb to the punk-inspired tomes of “Search & Destroy” and “Sniffing Glue.”

“You name it, there is a zine for it,” Thomas says.

Stein’s latest title is called “The ‘Rainbow’ Connection” and revolves around the life of Muppet Show puppeteer Richard Hunt. Hunt was the voice of Beeker, Statler, Janice and other Muppet characters before he died of AIDS in 1992.

“You see things in zines that you wouldn’t see anywhere else,” Stein says. “Zines are so democratic. You don’t even have to be a writer. If you want to do it, you do it.”

The NYC Zine Fest ‘09 runs from noon to 7 p.m. both days at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 Fourth Avenue) and is free.


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP