A Message from the Fly Away Zine Mobile

From the wonderful Debbie Rasmussen/Fly Away Zine Mobile:
 
Dear community — With huge thanks for your support and encouragement over the years, I’m excited to share the news that the much-loved van that served as the Fly Away Zine Mobile has officially been handed off to SoMove (the announcement is here if you missed it!), whose incredibly exciting and important tour goes from N O W until mid-June. At that point, Noemi Martinez, longtime zine-maker and educator based in Southern Texas, will inherit and transform it into a bilingual mobile library/resource revolving around zines, writing, and self-publishing.
If you’ve been moved or inspired by the Fly Away Zine Mobile’s work, or if you simply understand the importance of supporting independent and mobile media projects (especially in the face of increasing media commercialization and corporatization), WOULD YOU PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION to support the work of these beautiful visions? While projects like these don’t require a ton of money to operate, fuel and vehicle repair/maintenance (and eventually vehicle replacement) can add up quickly. Any amount will be valued and appreciated (Can you spare $5? $20? $100? $500?…); all donations will be split evenly between the two projects. If donating money isn’t available to you, would you consider sharing this message and/or spreading the word about these projects?  THANK YOU.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
More updates as things happen…
Love and appreciation,
debbie/on behalf of the fly away zine mobile

Interview with the FZF’14 DJ Troy Frost: Kyara Andrade!

NYC Feminist Zinefest was March 1st, 2014! They’ve been posting great interviews with zinesters who tabled. This one came from

http://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/interview-with-the-fzf14-dj-troy-frost-kyara-andrade/

Bet you didn’t know we were going to have a live DJ at the Feminist Zine Fest this year! Kyara Andrade, a.k.a. DJ Troy Frost is an amazing artist and currently works at the Barnard Zine Library with one of our organizers, Jenna Freedman. Check out what she has to say in this special interview:

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1. Give us a short description of yourself and the work you do (including any zine samples if you have them!)

My name is DJ Troy Frost. I identify as a prata*, DJ, oil painter, Hip Hop enthusiast, and a feminist supastar. When creating and engaging with art, my intention is to heal.

2. How did you come to make music and art? Do you have the same process for every type of media?

My mother and I would go to an art class offered at my high school every Wednesday and in that space I engaged with visual art in a comfortable, accessible way. Painting has been a way for me to process my feelings and experiences, while expressing things I don’t want to put words to. I was raised on hip hop music. I talk about it, critique it, and listen to it all the time. DJing is allowing me to contribute to the culture in a way that’s new, challenging, and fun for me! A part of my artistic process that is consistent is approaching each medium with humility, commitment and a willingness to connect with the people and the things around me.

3. What does it mean to do “feminist art/music-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

Doing what you love in the face of doubt, systems of oppression that actively work against you and your people, and just your everyday haters is feminist as fuck because you are writing your own narrative and sending the message to those around you that they can too.

As a black woman living below the poverty line, being financially secure is important to me. Sometime I doubt that I can fulfill that need and be an artist. Creating anyway, believing in myself anyway, fueling what I love anyway is a way that feminism appears in my life, having family and friends that love, encourage, and invest in me is a way that feminism appears in my life, and knowing that my and my peoples’ identities and unrefined narratives (pleasant or traumatic) deserve to be at the center rather than the margins is a way that feminism appears in my work. I hope that living my life this way will encourage those around me to invest in what they love, be apart of supportive communities, and explore the depth of their identity.

4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Did you have a seminal “zine moment”?

As of now my favorite zine is “Shotgun Seamstress” by Osa Atoe. The content is empowering and meaningful. I know very little about punk rock music/culture and SS has been an awesome starting point for me. Aesthetically, it’s AMAZING; I love the cut-and-paste element, the layouts, and the images. SS is the inspiration for a zine I’m currently working on that will explore the intersection of Hip Hop, Identity and Feminism (be on the look out <3). SS has made me think more critically about capitalism, consumerism, and blackness without leaving me lost in theory or ideas far-removed from my lived experience.

5. If you could sum up your creative life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

Uh, wow this is hard. I would sum up my creative life in a pilon, which is a little bowl with a stick used to crush herbs, seasonings and other tasty ingredient that add the flavor, texture, excitement to my grandma’s dishes in the way that I add the flavor, excitement and style to the art forms that I explore and engage with. Hopefully that wasn’t too corny. :)

Ps: I am ecstatic about DJing for all the dope people that will be present on Saturday. See ya there! * Prata means black girl in Cape Verdean Creole

Interview with a Zinester: Nicole Nemergut and the Calhoun School zine class!

NYC Feminist Zinefest was March 1st, 2014! They’ve been posting great interviews with zinesters who tabled. This one came from

http://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/interview-with-a-zinester-nicole-nemergut-and-the-calhoun-school-zine-class/

Nicole Nemergut, social studies teacher at the Calhoun School in NYC, and the students from her zine-making class will be sharing the fruits of their labor with us at Zinefest this Saturday! Most of the responses to this interview are from Nicole, except for 2a, from Chiara Wood, junior at Calhoun School. Here’s what they have to say:

Image1. Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.

I teach Social Studies at the Calhoun School. I mostly teach World History, but we have a great project called October Session, where we suspend normal classes for a week and students and teachers have an opportunity to study something that interests them intensively. I offered a class on zines. I turned into a really excited women’s space with students from all grades.

2. How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?

When I was in high school I tried to get my friends to make a zine with me. We talked about it a lot and planned everything we would write, but we never actually did it. Later I worked on our college zine called The Catalyst. That was a really great group zining project and slowly began to make my own zines.

2a. (Answered by Chiara) How did you come to collect zines? Why are they important to your collection?

My zine making teacher, Nicole, took my zine class to Bluestockings bookstore in NYC’s lower east side. This bookstore closely resembles the feminist bookstore in Portlandia, with a bowl of carrots behind the counter and a huge zine library. I stood by the shelves flipping through zine after zine, even after my legs were very tired. After a half hour I had picked out my favorite 5. I have returned to the library many times to pick up more. Zines are important to my collection because they remind me that I, too, have the power to create work and share it with the world. They are also very easy to relate to, so when I feel like shit I can just read some zines and know that I am not the only one.

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 3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

Feminist zine making is about content, but also form. My first experience with actually making zines was a wildly collaborative and inclusive process. In this sense when we’re thinking about doing or practicing feminism this process provided a great model. We had to negotiate what to include, how to represent ourselves and contributors, how do deal with conflict. So, zine making was a really important feminist praxis for me. Feminisms also explicitly appear in zines that I’ve worked on. I worked on a zine with the NYC Anarchist People of Color Womyn’s Collective and we wrote about food politics.Though not explicitly about women, as a women’s collective talking about food and reproductive labor, feminism emerged as a central organizing theme. My personal zines are about telling my stories and the stories of my family. These are feminist narratives because they place women’s voices and agency at the center. As a history teacher this is a really democratic way of doing history and something I wish were more present in my own curricula.

4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

I love zines that are very carefully crafted and have a lot of attention to printing, binding and details. Mine are not.

5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

This maybe says more about my cooking style, but it would probably be something like a blender. I have one and it only gets used once in awhile, but I’m really into while I’m doing it. Like when I go on a green smoothie kick for a week.

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Interview with a Zinester: Papercut Zine Library!

NYC Feminist Zinefest was March 1st, 2014! They’ve been posting great interviews with zinesters who tabled. This one came from

http://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/interview-with-a-zinester-papercut-zine-library/

Learn about the rad zine librarians behind Papercut Zine Library in Cambridge, MA (and why they would be a pressure canner) here:
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1. Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.
Papercut Zine Library is a collectively run, fully-functioning lending library, serving the Boston area since 2005! We have over 15,000 zines in circulation on a huge range of topics, including politics, music, travel, DIY, foreign language, and more. We are committed to maintaining an archive of the past just as much as we strive to foster creativity and community around zines today through workshops, readings, producing our own zines, and outreach events.
2. How did you come to collect zines? Why are they important to your collection?
Each of our collective members was drawn to the library for their own reasons, but we all share a common love for zines and believe in supporting each other’s creative endeavors. Some of us started making zines years before we had ever heard of Papercut, whereas some of us wanted to be a part of a collective or a zine-related project and were later inspired to produce our own work.  Our library was born from a big stack of zines one of the founders was trying to find a new home for. Since then, we have grown tremendously, all through donations and submissions. We are still one of the largest libraries of this kind in the country, and our collection is always evolving. Over the last 8 1/2 years, we have constantly revisited questions like, what IS a zine? What categories should we use for organizing our collection? Should we keep controversial materials with offensive or hateful material? Although the discussion continues, there is a core understanding that our library is a place for the voices not so easily heard in the mainstream, and it is a unique historical record. We exist to preserve the histories of underground culture(s) as well as to document the many faces of our beloved do-it-yourself medium.

 

3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?
You could say Papercut is a strongly feminist organization based on its content, mission, and membership. So much of the material we carry has come out of feminism and anti-oppression movements across decades, and these values are shared by the collective itself. We strive to maintain a safer space for folks of marginalized identities, and it is important to us that we do not automatically follow the models of capitalist organization. We do this through consensus decision making, conducting meetings and events in such a way that everyone is encouraged to participate, operating on a donation basis rather than charging for any of our services, and so on.
For several years, Papercut has partnered with the Girls Rock Camp in Boston, teaching a zine-making workshop to participants, and we even carry compilation zines made by these young ladies in our library! This is one example of the work we like to do – using zines as a way to encourage self-expression and highlight stories that are often under-represented in the mainstream.
4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?
This is a tough question to answer as a group – each collective member has their own taste and expertise! One thing we all have a soft spot for, though, is when we lead zine workshops for kids and they get to make their own zines, usually for the first time. The stuff that comes out of this is amazing! We had a kid make a mini zine all about slime recently.

 

5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?
A canner! We preserve the precious fruits of people’s labor. But sometimes what you get in the end, looks or smells or tastes a bit different than the original product. Just like strawberries take on a new flavor when made into jam, sometimes a zine found a decade after it was published has a different meaning or impact when re-visited. This could be because of cultural shifts, changes in language, or the same reader has grown and changed. Or maybe the pages have just gotten more beaten up. So yeah, a pressure cooker canner.

Interview with a Zinester: China Martens!

NYC Feminist Zinefest was March 1st, 2014! They’ve been posting great interviews with zinesters who tabled. This one came from

http://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/interview-with-a-zinester-china-martens/

China Martens – creator of The Future Generation and co-author of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind – talks to us about her mother’s influence, anarcha-feminism, and waffle irons, among many other things. Read her interview here:

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Photo credit: Jenna B.

1. Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.

I’m an almost 48-year-old zinester (zines 4 life) that has had the idea of putting out a new issue of my zine, The Future Generation ever since Atomic Books issued the Revenge of Print challenge in 2011. I wonder how long you can go without putting out zines and call yourself a zinester? However I have put out zines more recently than the last issue of TFG, I tried to start up a literary zine called Catbird and put out three issues of that, and I was part of creating a zine (on ways to support children and parents) to hand out to the organizers at the Allied Media Conference; and I also put together a zine for the Kidz City Model. I find that I think in the form of a zine. I had to lay out the model, to see what it would look like. (And when I felt stumped I glued an outline on different colored construction paper to show my collective to get their input) I can’t just submit text without laying it out. How things fit on the page, with some images, will influence how I edit the words to fit. However I don’t make zines the way I used to, ”back in the day” when you had a hook up at kinkos and the world has changed so I actually don’t zerox a whole lot. I have been moving more and more in the direction of small press, since my first book came out in 2007 – The Future Generation: The Zine-book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others (Atomic Book Company) - which was a “best of” compilation of my zine that started in 1990. I like having others publish me, and also creating zines that others can zerox. It’s really wonderful to have someone else do that work. And now I work on other aspects that it takes to distribute that work, like getting the word out about it, which is also a practical hands on thing, like zeroxing. Its good to do stuff hands on. But I will always make zines, I think, although I make them less and less. My goal is to make the “middle age” issue of TFG for the zine fair! I still haven’t got started so I have a little more than a week. Wish me luck.

2. How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone? 

Political underground zines in the punk and especially anarchist scene, and seeing a library of zines in the Processed World office in a warehouse I lived in for a few months called the Cave, (in 1985, SF) as well as self-published poetry chapbooks such as the ones by Damon Norko (Submensas, a DC band) when he walked around with “Poems 4 Sale” pinned to the back of his black trench coat on the U. of MD campus in the early 80s (where I attended two classes at the age of 15, in 1981 after I dropped out of high school), impressed me a lot. But I would say it started with my mother cutting and pasting a few handmade books for me as a child, out of notebook paper put in cardboard report covers, with glued in images cut from magazines and playful big bold subtitles. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all seamstresses with materials, patterns, and pins (my mother was especially bad at that and it was usually my brother who would step on them) lying around the house. Perhaps that influenced me as well. All the different ways they created and were creative, artistic, generally pragmatic women.

3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

I identify more as an anarcha-feminist and find it more interesting to talk about anarchism and zines, for some reason. Perhaps because I feel like my zine making came out of an underground scene that was anarchist, political, cultural, and subversive (including artistic, sometimes nihilistic, and gender non-conforming, border smashing, aesthetics) which included strong women (as well as gentle, weird, resilient, etc.) in all aspects as almost everything does. To me, as an ideal, anarchism is about liberation from all oppressions which would include sexism as well as racism, classism, capitalism, homophobia, colonialism, capitalism, and so on. Although it’s important to address issues directly as there is one thing about an ism and another thing about a practice; and I generally really like concentrating on specifics; as well as their intersections. I’m very obsessed with race and class issues – I feel like it’s so core to everything. Gender comes along with everything I do, and with the subject of parenting you would think so especially yet somehow I have sometimes felt pushed out by feminism in the late 80s and 90s – as a radical single welfare mom – that my concerns were not valued and my writing was not accepted. (That said I did often feel inspired by radical feminist writings in the 70s – which included more about children and mothering in them – as I searched for info.) On the other hand the most rad person or project in the world can identify as feminist. I take it as a case by case basic. I don’t get all caught up in labels very much. Although I still identify as an anarchist (even though white anarchists have issues with being racist, just the way that white feminists do, which is why whiteness needs direct attention on it; and in a similar way sexism would need direct attention on it, etc.) after all this time, but I make it my own way, do my own thing, define it however I like, and hay, we do need to use words or it would be hard to communicate at all. But I think a lot of folks would say my works have been explicitly feminist, I think you can say that. I don’t worry about it too much. Feminism is as feminism does.

4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

I’m pretty attached to content. I like all different kinds of things and I like zines that are art-full as long as the words are important and not byproducts. That said I would not be against a heavily visual zine or whatever, different creative ways of making something. Whatever communicates to me, that’s the important thing. I value communication and especially that kind of communication that one person can make there own and put out in the world, no matter what anyone else tells them that it can’t be done or something about them or the way they communicate isn’t good enough to do what they do – they can do it. I love the informal and safer feeling of zines, which open up to endless possibilities for expression and creation. It’s kind of in the tradition of letter writing and other ways that marginalized groups use to communicate. I see them being very women friendly, like all the best things, I love women. I used to be a very mama-centric person. Now-as a post-empty nest single mama- I don’t know what I am. (Perhaps me-centric?) And what I like about zines is the diversity of voices that can express themselves which would not be welcomed in the mainstream. As a radical low-income single mother in the late 80s to 2K, my experiences, and my voice, along with my creative and irregular grammar, was not welcomed in the mainstream media as it would now (I don’t know how mainstream I am, but I’m up a level in small press and verging on mainstream that there are possibilities anyone would print me at all). What I love about zines is the power for a greater diversity of voices to take control and seize the power of the press.

5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

I would say a waffle iron because its most like a zerox machine in that you open and close the lid and make many copies that are similar to each other, and its kind of hard to use and you have mishaps and people may be waiting for you but its going to take a while to make a stack, but they are extremely yummy. Disclaimer: I have rarely ever used a waffle iron but I do have a sandwich maker. Maybe I should have said that, but I find it less glamorous as well as less similar to my life as a zinester.