Thursday, June 24, 2004

zine scene

If you're near me geographically (hint: look up. Grey? You might be my neighbor), the Portland Zine Symposium starts tomorrow (25 June) and goes through the weekend. This isn't a couple of pasty-faced zinesters sitting quietly behind tables - it's an active and info-filled event where a lot of talent and creativity come together in an effort to inspire more of the same.

This event aims to create greater communication and community between many different producers of independent media and artists, as well as help people share skills and information related to zines and zine culture. Through hands-on and discussion-based workshops, the conference will examine the role and effect of all types of zines in and on underground and mainstream culture.

Admission is free. The weekend includes workshops, panel discussions, community meal fixings, film screenings, and several tables for networking, selling and trading zines. There are also a multitude of guerrilla workshops throughout the weekend.

The 2003 symposium drew about 800-1,200 participants, both local and national.

I've still got a few zines from the early 80's punk scene... I wish I had had the foresight to hang onto some of the ultra-early Hank Rollins stuff like my friend Julie did. I remember many a night pasting together and photocopying punk/Erisian/Dobbsian stream-of-altered-consciousness wackiness ('free dope and fucking in the street: possible utopia exists almost instantaneously'), wandering around Salt Lake City tacking up flyers with toner-blackened fingers, trying to subvert the dominant paradigm, or at least make some small dent in the consensus narrative of that time and place. In this digital age, where webpages have mostly taken over the role played by zines in the past, I'm glad to see that the anachronistic (or perhaps, at this point, fetishistic) paper zine scene is still thriving.