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Zine Fest Attracts Quite The Buzz

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 12, 2012 4:00PM

The Zinesters were out in full force this weekend for Chicago Zine Fest 2012. We stopped by the Exhibition at The Conway Center on Saturday to take a peek. The 101 tables were swamped with zines, comics, small presses, and political pamphlets, and the attendees were sticking to them like honey-crazed bees. It was both refreshing and impressive to see the new and innovative creativity that buds within our city, as well as the intellect that it attracts.

The amount of literature to glance over or purchase was vast, if not slightly overwhelming. What really centered the event was the themed lectures and workshops. For example, a small gathering of people discussing "Using Zines as a Positive Resource for Sexuality and Identity," gave us a chance to zero in on one of the many different genres present at the Fest.

Miss Nico, a rep from the Queer Zine Archive Project, led the conversation. Several people shared their experiences, all of whom have grappled with the fact that there is little mainstream literature on alternative sexuality, gender identity, or sexual assault and domestic violence. QZAP serves as a database rounding up hundreds of such zines, and making it easier for people to find literature on queer and pro-sex related topics. Some of the collectives present at the Fest included: Purge by Fat Heart Press, Butch Nor Femme , Feel Better by Marlee Grace, and womanhouse zine.

Let us not forget that these little zines, though they lack the backing of major publications, are mighty in their intention. Even the popular women's magazine, BUST, had its roots in stapling pieces of paper together for local distribution. While the hope for radical and accurate media continues, the Zine Fest serves as a reminder that there are people taking proactive steps toward this noble goal.