This Saturday, the seventh annual Richmond Zine Fest will be held from 11 AM til 6 PM at the Gay Community Center of Richmond. An event designed to bring together independent publications from the RVA area and beyond, the zine fest helps enable learning, networking, and community growth amongst the DIY community.
This Saturday, the seventh annual Richmond Zine Fest will be held from 11 AM til 6 PM at the Gay Community Center of Richmond. An event designed to bring together independent publications from the RVA area and beyond, the zine fest helps enable learning, networking, and community growth amongst the DIY community. The afternoon will feature a variety of workshops about the ins and outs of self-publishing, as well as many other topics relevant to the DIY underground, and should be a great time for anyone who, in this modern digital age, still sees an importance in tangible, handcrafted objects. RVA Magazine shot the breeze with three of the organizers: Celina Williams, Mara Hyman and Mo Karnage; to get the lowdown on the zine fest and Richmond’s zine community today.
What’s new to the zine fest this year?
MH: We have this Artists Book Alley. So some people from the VCU Bowe House Press and the Ladies of Letterpress who work together make artists’ books, which are usually limited editions. The idea is to bring it to the zine fest and make it cheaper and more accessible, as a lot of those things [the books] just sit in special collections. So they thought it’d be really cool to have it out and open to the public. There is actually also going to be a letterpress there. There are going to be a lot more maker type demos–art demos, screen-printing, paper making.
What are each of you most excited about at RVA Zine Fest this year?
CW: This is probably the most packed, program wise, zine fest we’ve had. And we have a lot of tablers. We’ve had four people sign up…
MK: That puts us over 50 right?
CW: Yeah! Little over 50 now. I guess I’m most excited about The People’s Library thing that they have, with the papermaking. I’ve always been interested in papermaking.
MH: We have really diverse workshops this year, and having The Makers Space [where, according to the Richmond Zine Fest website, “throughout the day participants can help make paper, silk screen the title pages, and bind the books that will be included in the library’s permanent collection”].
MK: I like to see the people who come every year, the people I don’t really see as they live in other states. But they come to Richmond Zine Fest every year, so it’s like you can just walk around and be like “hey buddy!” and see whatever new thing they’ve created in the past year.
What are some zines y’all recommend RVA magazine readers check out?
MK: I don’t think they’re tabling but I really like Hoax zine.. Hoax zine and Shotgun Seamstress are..political zines, which include people’s personal stories and poetry and a whole variety of styles. That’s like a feminist zine. And Shotgun Seamstress is a punk zine about like, non-white youths.
CW: I’m also really excited to see Nicole, who is one of the original organizers of the zine fest, who runs a distro called Click Clack. This is the last time she’ll be tabling for Click Clack.
MH: I like them all (laughs).
What is your advice for people coming to the zine fest?
MH: Bring some dollar bills
MK: The ATM they have there doesn’t always work so bring cash. And don’t be afraid to approach tablers and talk to them because that’s what they all came for. To talk to people.
MH: Also don’t be afraid to trade too. Bring your own zines if you have any.
MK: Trading is a big part of the zine fest.
CW: Zine fests are so cool because they’re one of the few places you can go pretty much broke, and still come out with new stuff. Either because of things people are giving away for free, or things people are willing to trade.
MK: Lamplighter are supplying food for the zine fest, and we’re also having an after party for zinesters and their friends at Lamplighter from 6-8pm on Saturday.
What zines are you guys involved in?
CW: I make a zine called Mean Girl. There’s only one issue of it so far. That’s the one I intend to serialize.
MH: When I first started making zines I had one called “You Are Not Alone (In Feeling Alone)” and it was really cheesy…
MK: …and awesome!
MH: I made like four of those… but recently I’ve been doing a lot more poetry.
MK: I was writing a zine called Cuddle Puddles and Hot Pants since 2006 or 2007, but I got kind of bored with that format… but now I’m doing a poetry zine this year called Fragments of Karnage.
What’s your advice to people that want to start zines?
MK: Just put it out there. Don’t edit yourself to death. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Once you start getting them out there, it gets easier.
MH: I (started) by just handing (my zines) out to my friends then I tabled the next year at Richmond Zine Fest. I feel like zine fests are really the only way I feel we can get our zines out.
MK: When I make a new zine, just for free I mail out copies to a whole bunch of my pen pals around the world, just to get them out there. Even just mail them out to different info shops in different cities. If you don’t mind giving them away for free, you can donate them to zine libraries in a university or info shop. And if you have your contact information in it, there is always the potential for someone to send letters or emails.
MH: I always put my address in the back of mine.
Come along this Saturday to the zine fest at the Gay Community Center Of Richmond, located at 1407 Sherwood Ave. Have some fun, make some friends and learn new things – did we mention it is all FREE? Check out the Richmond Zine Fest site here! http://richmondzinefest.org/