PZS is coming… A love letter to inspiration and community.
Another year, another Portland Zine Symposium.
Actually, I am very excited about this year’s zine symposium. While we’ll be at The Refuge for the second year and that space really isn’t big enough for us, it looks like we’re experiencing a re-invigoration among the organizers.
I have been trying to think about why that is and I have come up with a few reasons…
The biggest is that there are two new, awesome zine fests/events/etc. that have popped up with excited and ambitious organizers. The awesome, new LA Zine Fest and Chicago Zine Fest have really helped breathe new life into the idea of organizing zine fests. They have stuck to DIY and non profit kind of attitude, while also trying new, creative, and interactive events and promotions for zines and zine fests. As someone that has been helping out with Portland Zine Symposium for 5 years now, it is so helpful to see new fests with DIY values but also new ideas. It also is inspiring to know some of the organizers and be hearing them trying to figure out how to start he fest and seeing them succeed.
I used to live in Chicago when I was younger and I met Neil Brideau years ago in Portland through comics, we bonded over having lived Chicago, zines, veganism, and biking. When I visited him on a trip to Chicago, we talked at length about the zines and comics community in Chicago and how he might be able to facilitate people coming together in a more solid community. The next thing I new, he had helped start Chicago Zine Fest and registration was opening up for it. He has tried to pick my brain about organization of zine fests over the years…. But I have to confess to being less available than I would like to commiserate, motivate, and brainstorm with him due to my schedule and how I have grown to hate communicating by long emails and rather just talk on the phone.
I met the awesome Eryca Sender at PZS one year for a zine organizers panel, I think it was in 2010. She was helping to begin to plan for LA Zine Fest and I admired her ambition. When I first came into PZS, I felt full of ideas and motivation, but, the last couple years, I have been dealing with burnout and tired of feeling like I was the only one who wanted to do more new things and more events for more zine outreach. Take that dramatic thought with a grain of salt, because other PZS organizers do want to do more things and more outreach, we are just stretched thin with our low number of organizers and some of the other organizers or more grounded and cautious than I, they’re not just boring naysayers or anything. Connecting with her and just having the zine organizers panel discussion reminded me how much interest there is in zine and DIY media and how I need to refocus on bring it together instead of moping that there is a lot to do every year and that it’s hard. Now the LA Zine Fest seems to be off to a great start and it’s so awesome to read Eryca’s updates and my friends reports that the fest has been fun.
I haven’t made it to either the LA or Chicago Zine Fests because my traveling budget the last two years has been nonexistent, but I am really aiming for 2013 to be the year I finally freaking make to to both.
Another big reason that this year feels more exciting and inspiring is because of the Zine Events Organizers google group. I am so thankful that group was started and I have been so thankful to read all the threads about other people’s ideas, thoughts, challenges, etc. To have support int hat way and to be able to participate on a broad scale in supporting other people who are navigating planning zines events and fostering community has been amazing. I feel that group has helped to ground my experience in zine event planning by grounding me in a community of people who are doing the same. What a way to get back in touch with my inspiration!
And having that community now feels critical, having lost a core PZS organizer, Dylan Williams, and an inspiring friend to leukemia last year has hit hard. It has given me another reason why doing this type of volunteer work is so important and why it is fulfilling, so I want to work twice as hard at it again instead of being burnt out. I want to get people involved in this community, the community that someone I respected cared about so much as part of my own way of honoring his memory.
And, this year, we are so lucky because we have potential new organizers for helping out this year, including old organizers coming back. Our potential new organizers this year are hopskotch SunDAY, Martha Grover, Marc Parker, Derek Neuland, and maybe one or two more people. I mention the ones who have expressed the most seriousness so far, just to be cautious. I already know hopskotch is awesome because he does Stumptown Underground (though it means I already know that he is crazy busy), so it’s excited to think of doing another project with him. I don’t know Martha hardly at all, but I love her work and I love the positive and ambitious attitude she’s already bring to PZS, plus I have heard great things about her personally from fellow IPRC volunteer, Micheal Heald. I haven’t ever done a project with Marc before, but I have known him for quite awhile and he’s been a good friend. I am interested to learn what working with him will be like. Then there’s Derek, who organized with us in 2010, moved away for a year and is now back. Derek has a lot of drive, though we did butt heads a little bit in 2010, I was thankful and proud of us both for working through the little bit of clash we had and I am glad to see him return. The last one or two people that have expressed interest in joining as organizers for PZS haven’t made it to a meeting yet, but I am even excited about them. There just seems like so much new possibility!
Finally, there’s the tried and true. While we may be recovering from slight burnout, I am so thankful for Alex Wrekk and Katie Ash. I have known these ladies for years, worked on various projects with them, and love them to pieces. I am so thankful to have them in my life, much less to be collaborating with both of them. I am thankful for their patience through all the project and personal ups and downs, for their honesty even when it’s been tough, for their dedication to our shared values, and for their continued support. I am lucky to know both of them. Thank you so much, Alex and Katie!
I actually started this post yesterday, because I wanted to announce that PZS table registration was going to be opening up at noon today. So, anyways, the Portland Zine Symposium registration is up! Go register!
Seriously though, we have fewer tables this year than we have had in quite a while. Even though we’ve been selling out of tables every year, we just haven’t found bigger (and in our price range) space to host us and last year The Refuge was too crowded. This was partially because we had planned on the stage being taken down when determining our table space, but they had just forgot to take it down or decided not to, and also because we don’t really have the workshop space we need there (and they also hadn’t totally cleared the space we assigned for the workshops and we had to change things last minute). The space tried to make it up to us and were nice about it, but we still need to find a bigger venue with more space for our tablers and workshops. We are working on this for 2013, but, in the meantime, we’re making this work. To help it be less crowded to get around in, we are only having 70 tables and only 10 of those will be available as full tables. So, we are estimating on having 10 full table registrations and 120 half table registrations available. You better get on it! http://pdxzines.com/tabling/
When you register, please note the option to select “Up for trades” on the form. What is it? Well, go read about it, darn it! Seriously though, it’s another attempt on our (the organizers’) part to keep PZS zine focused and community-centric. If you select that option, you will be getting a discount on your registration, an “Up For Trades” button to wear during PZS, and some other potential perks. <3