A Modern Woman on the Move

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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Zine Symposium

PZS is HERE!!!

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So, I have been so swamped with the Stumptown Underground issue that came out a couple weeks ago and also with organizing the Portland Zine Symposium, that I haven’t been posting!!

But, anyways, the Portland Zine Symposium is THIS WEEKEND!

Here is the final general update we posted online and sent out to everyone

I have a lot to say about PZS, as an organizer and a zine enthusiast, but I have to keep this short because I gotta go help setup tables at Refuge for tomorrow.

So, in short, this is PZS wonderfulness is happening all weekend, starting tonight, and I really hope you come check it out!!!

I can’t tell you how hard I work to organize PZS, countless hours every year, and I still feel like I am not doing enough or well enough. Doing SU, PZS, and other zine stuff drives a fair almost all of my life and challenges me to work harder and do better at every turn. It’s also incredibly rewarding, which is what compels me to keep trying harder and doing more.

Tonight, at the IPRC, we are starting with an IPRC Open House and PZS Kick Off Party, complete with a game of Zine Jeopardy.

Tomorrow is the first day of tabling and lots of workshops at Refuge. I will be there all day, of course, but the hours are from 10:00am until 6:00pm. This year, we also worked hard on an app  that allows you to “heart” the tablers you want to see and set notifications for workshops. : portland-zine-symposium.getbloodhound.com

In the evening, one of my favorite bands, Point Juncture WA,  and several of my favorite readers will be doing a music show, zine reading, and reissue party all to benefit PZS at Backspace. This should be a huge fund raiser for us and it has been written about in every paper in town and I want to give a huge thank you to Michael Heald for helping make it happen.

On Sunday, we have the second day of tabling and workshops from 10:00am until 5:00pm. Also, if you check out pdxzines.com, you will see that I have been working hard to post a bunch of interviews with many of the PZS tablers this year. Those interviews should give you a great idea of why I love zines and doing PZS. <3

Sunday night, we’re going to have a huge after party with karaoke at IPRC.

Hope to see you this weekend!

Written by lovemotionstory

August 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Help my friends! Publishing and Distro Projects That Need Support

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A already blogged about the Sparkplug IndieGoGo campaign, but, seriously, please consider contributing.

A lot of people have shared the campaign in support of continuing the work of Dylan Williams and Sparkplug, but I also wanted to take the time to link to a very beautifully written perspective by Shannon O’Leary on the importance of supporting weird, unique, and wonderful comics in the underground, as well as connecting and inspiring people to share and hear each other’s voices… Comics not Cancer: A personal plea for the Sparkplug Comic Books IndieGoGo Fundraiser.

If you know me, you know how important of a friend and an inspiration Dylan Williams was to me. If you ever met Dylan, you would instantly understand how he was so important to so many people. Help help fund the release of  Nurse Nurse by Katie SkellyThe Golem of Gabirol by Olga Volozova, issue 9 of Reich by Elijah Brubaker.

These books are of special import not only because they are amazing in themselves, but because they are the last projects on which Sparkplug founder Dylan Williams was working before he died of cancer in September 2011.  I can personally say that knowing Dylan was such an inspiration because he was kind and intelligent, but also because of what he did for comics. It would mean a lot to see these books published…. This Sparkplug campaign only has 10 days left to go

The next two projects I’d like to encourage you to support are also by friends and active members of comics and zines communities, people who regularly and selflessly volunteer their times for others’ creative endeavors and developments…. 

Tiny Bones: A Memoir with a Wide Margin by A.M. A.M is the Program Coordinator for the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a place where I volunteer. While A.M. holds one of only three paid positions of the IPRC, the amount of work this lady puts into the IPRC, the zine community in Portland at large, and in the world is just amazing. Like me, she teaches zines to middle schoolers, which is a job I can tell you is VERY challenging, but so important. A.M. teaches media literacy to youth, facilitates writing workshops with adults, and helps people of all ages express themselves through independent media. Please consider supporting her! The Tiny Bones project has 24 more days to go

And finally, my friends Alex Wrekk and Derek Neuland are joining their button-making skills and zine passion together to create an awesome new store that aims to have a zine distro, Portland Button Works!

As well as an online store, Portland Button Works is also going to be opening a physical storefront with the next month or 2 in Portland, Oregon.  Along with zines and buttons (in three different sizes!) they will also be offering people the ability to make their own buttons right there in the store.  They will even have same-day service on custom button orders! The Portland Button Works campaign only has three days left to be funded.

Alex and Derek are also fellow Portland Zine Symposium organizers, I am really excited to see them collaborating and creating another outlet for their community and DIY ethics.

Please consider contributing in anyway that you can to these projects, even if it’s just sharing this online and telling your friends.

PZS is coming… A love letter to inspiration and community.

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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

Short Run Recap, a Seattle vegan dinner, Memory zine

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I tabled at the first-ever Short Run Small Press Fest in Seattle this past weekend for Stumptown Underground! The Short Run Small Press Fest reminded us a lot of the Portland Zine Symposium in feel, ethics and organization.

Short Run was held at The Vera Project, an all ages, non profit, music and art venue in Seattle Center. We want to give a big thank you to all the organizers who worked hard to keep tabling costs low and admission to the event free, key ingredients to any independently minded festival (as a PZS organizer, I can attest to this)!

I  rode up to Seattle with Emily and Virginia Paine of Sparkplug and tabled for Stumptown Underground, sharing a table with Alex Wrekk.

I met so many people, got a lot of Stumptown Underground zines and information passed out, and had a lot of fun. There were many people checking out Short Run that hadn’t even heard of zines, so it was great to be reaching out to so many new people about independent media. When I talked to organizer Kelly Froh at the end of the day, she said that their count for attendance was 820!

Thank you so much, Short Run! We will want to go again next year, so keep up the good work.

After Short Run, quite a few people hit up Georgetown Liquor Company for food before the after party at Fantagraphics. And, holy moly, did they have some amazing vegan food there! Emily, Virgnia and I shared the arugula artichoke dip, which was blended artichoke hearts and arugula (and, I swear, at least one jalapeno, there was a hint of spiciness) with Daiya mozzarella on top. I had the split pea soup and the Picard, which was made with apple-sage Field Roast, roasted red onions, Daiya mozzarella, Tofutti cream cheese and roasted garlic spread, toasted on ciabatta and served with vegan au jus dipping sauce.  It was all amazing!

I also got a couple records at Georgetown Records, the record store that’s nestled with the Fantagraphics store, and made

Just as a reminder, the next deadline for Stumptown Underground is coming up, for submissions to our memory-themed, 21st issue. Read the open submissions call here: http://www.stumptownunderground.com/2011/10/issue-21-memory/

It Would Mean A Lot To Me

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Those of you who have known me for awhile, well, this won’t be news to you, but may be, perhaps, a good reminder. For the past 5 years, I have volunteered as an organizer for the Portland Zine Symposium, which is finally peaking again this weekend with the main event: The 11th Annual Portland Zine Symposium.

There have been a few outreach events the last couple months, but this weekend is the actual convention. Every year, I, along with my fellow organizers, work incredibly hard to put the Portland Zine Symposium together.

We don’t always do everything perfectly, we don’t give ourselves fancy titles within our group, like “President” or “Director,” but we all work our collective fingers to the bone to make it happen. We take on jobs, each to our ability and availability. We brainstorm, we plan, we write, we outreach, we laugh, we get frustrated, we cry, we organize, we lose sleep, we just do it until it’s done… And, somehow, it all comes together.

This year, we moved to an entirely different location, The Refuge. We did this because we didn’t want to do the Stott Gym again, for a variety of reasons, and we didn’t have the guarantee of the Smith Ballroom. In fact, we were told, it would probably be unavailable to us. We couldn’t’ wait to find that out, but we got still got the space we were moving to confirmed very late. We only have two rooms for workshops this year in this new space. We only have room for about 80 tables and our sold out with a waiting list again this year. All details that are hard, but you have to make do with what you have and press on. As Alex has noted, we are facing a problem most zine fests confront, finding a space within our means. And, to be more specific, finding a space within our means to host our community event in a way that can include the community we attempt to serve. That means, a space big enough, planned with enough time, that is cheap enough that we don’t have to jack up our tabling prices, finding other ways to increase funding (outreach/fund-raising events, fund-raising projects, etc).

We all have responsibilities for PZS. We all also work, go to school, and/or try to maintain some semblance of a social/love life to maintain our sanity. One of us became very sick this year and has been in and out of the hospital, about to undergo more surgery just before PZS. Another one of us is married to that one of us that has been having these health issues. Another has been traveling quite a bit. We need help, but a lot of people are happy we exist for them to attend the event. Without knowing what it takes to do the work to put it together, without knowing what goes into it… While thinking they just don’t have the time, while thinking they don’t know enough to help, while thinking it’s not their problem. So, when I say that we all work our collective fingers to the bone to make it happen, I mean it. When I say that we brainstorm, we plan, we write, we outreach, we laugh, we get frustrated, we cry, we organize, we lose sleep, we just do it until it’s done… I mean it.

And, somehow, it all comes together.

People have been asking me for year how I find the time to do all the projects I do. I only have one answer, I MAKE THE TIME. Unfortunately, there is no magical wizard that stops clocks for me, granting me just a few more hours in a day than you, I only have the time that I make.

Now, I don’t begrudge anyone the idea that they don’t do what I do. I understand that people are different than me, I accept it. I wouldn’t ask you to do what I do. Odds are, you are really amazing at something you do that I couldn’t even imagine excelling at doing…

I only ask for consideration.

Please, consider attending the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend. I could tell you, “Look, see how many talented people will be there?” Or I could say, “Look, see all the workshops and panels there will be to go to for free?” Or, I could even say, “Hey, did you know there is free food and cool prized at the Portland Zine Symposium?

But, honestly, if you are someone I know who imagines that we are at all friends, please consider attending the Portland Zine Symposium and one of its events sometime this weekend because I work really, really hard on it every year because it is reallyimportant to me. If I know you, it would mean a lot to me to see you there.

Written by lovemotionstory

August 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

What I am making time for…

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We only have the time we’re willing to make.

I haven’t been to Jazzkat’s Coffee Bar in ages, because I don’t live or work near there. So, I made sure make the time to go there today and it’s still as awesome as ever. I love you Whitney Baskins! Plus, do all my vegan friends know that a new vegan tattoo joint has opened up around the corner? When I got to Jazzkat’s today, Whitney walked me around the corner to introduce me to the new vegan tattoo shop owners of Ritual Art Tattoo and Body Piecing, which happens to be a queer-owned vegan tattoo place, no less. There is another empty space next to Whitney’s for rent, so I was joking to her that we needed to get another vegan shop there to create a second vegan mini-mall. Maybe FoodFight needs a second location? There are already a couple grocery stores in the neighborhood though. Since Whitney’s place has coffee and sandwiches, I wouldn’t want to see something that competed with her.Maybe another Herbivore? Hm..

Anyways, I have been working harder to re-socialize myself, making time and spending time with friends I have neglected the last year and half. I had coffee with Noah last week and it was the first time I had seen him in forever. It felt so good to sit and talk, it also seemed that we had some mirroring experiences since the last time we’d really hung hung out. I also had an affirming get together with a guy I dated off and on for a year before the big-bad-ex, in which he apologized for not being a better friend while he had starting dating someone else. I had gone into meeting him expecting to still be mad but hoping to make amends, so I was pleasantly surprised when we talked and I felt he was sincerely reaching out to me. I tried explained to him that I could understand where he was coming from because I had neglected a lot of my friends while I was doing a big, unhealthy thing for over a year, so it would be pretty hypocritical not to try to offer a bit of forgiveness and understanding for his attempt at reconnection… But I would also like to be friends with him anyways, which is why it hurt to feel like it didn’t matter to him before. So, yeah, all kinds of resolutions happening, all kinds of reconnecting, all kinds of new connections.

There are some new connections happening too, which are interesting. I am dating a boy who actually is enthusiastically poly and already has a relationship going with another lady long before me, which is actually a new position for me. I am usually the lady that’s already with the guy, navigating the new ladies in the guy’s life. And often the guys haven’t been good at being honest and open with their other goings on and the ladies haven’t been very friendly to the relationship that already existed. So, in a weird way, I feel I am getting to be the kind of woman I would have liked to see in my life and I am really loving the opportunity. The other lady came to Trek in the Park with us, then her and I had coffee last week, then we all had coffee yesterday. There are some obstacles for us, mainly that she has a couple of guy friends in her life that I had bad interactions with a few years ago (I am not a fan of them and, as a result, they are not a fan of me) and that poly is still very new to her. If there has ever been one universal motivator for me, it’s been to succeed in spite of other people’s negativity or bad shit in the past. There is also the idea that polyamorous relationships are different for each set of people trying to have them, so even if the boy and his lady weren’t at all new to this, we’d still have a lot to navigate and sort out between us and I have been just blown away with the level of communication and open-heartedness from both of them.

In other news, the ocean-themed submissions deadline for Stumptown Underground is just around the corner (July 23rd) and I hope you all make time to submit to it. The submissions for the summer-themed issue were low enough and we’ve been so behind on things within SU, that is looks like we’re may combine the summer and ocean issues.

I completed the PZS 3rd Annual 24hr Zine Challenge this past weekend, but I kind of hate what I made. So, unless you sponsored me for the challenge, donating $10 or more to the Portland Zine Symposium, you probably won’t ever see this zine. I have more thoughts about the 24hr Zine Challenge for another post soo

Also, we’re doing the bike-in movie night again for PZS this year, this time with Whiffies new mobile, yellow beast. We had an open vote on the movie this year, which has finished and Triplets of Belleville was chosen! The bike-in movie night is happening on July 29th, you should all probably come.

In slighted related music listening linkage, here is a kind of dorky song I am have been liking…

I’m a zine hustler…

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Making the Portland Zine Symposium update yesterday, reminded me to update my blog. Then I quickly realized I am majorly lacking on updating my blog again. Oh, sigh.

I better use this opportunity to announce that I organizing and doing the 3rd Annual PZS 24hr Zine Challenge this year. I would encourage most any zinester/comicker to try a 24hr project at some point in their creative life. It’s really exciting, scary and fulfilling. Even if you don’t finish (I didn’t the first year), you inevitably learn a lot. If you’re not up to the challenge, please consider sponsoring me (I only have one sponsor, but that jerk Alex Wrekk has, like, a million). Speaking of which, my one sponsor is the ever-awesome Neil Brideau. He is a friend of mine that lives in Chicago, makes awesome comics, and helped start / organizes the Chicago Zine Fest.

If you sponsor me for $10 or more, you get a free copy of the zine (but you only pay if I finish) and PZS gets a donation, so everybody wins. So far, the 24hr Zine I made last year is the only zine of only my work I have ever made, so this will, hopefully, be the second.

I am not sure where to begin. My life is totally swamped with PZS, I am super behind on Stumptown Underground‘s summer issue organizing. I am asking the others for help, but Katie A. is in the same boat as me, Katy O’Brien is in Sweden being an au pair for the summer, Kirsten is still in Korea, Jon just got a job (congratulations, dude), and hopskotch is just always busy. Oh, by the way, did you know Stumptown Underground is a collective and we’re open to new members? Because, yeah, we could sure use some more, dedicated hands.

Oh, also, the deadline to submit to Stumptown Underground ocean issue is July 23rd. If you submitted to the summer issue, you should her from us soon!

ocean issue, zine submissions call

I will make a more personal update soon, I swear…

2011 PZS Poster Art Call / Stumptown Underground Submission Call

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So, onto to zine things!

Every year, the PZS gives EVERYONE a chance to make the image that will represent the next Portland Zine Symposium on the website, posters, buttons, fliers, outreach events, and at the convention. All you have to do is think about the theme, create a poster and submit! This theme for the 11th Annual Portland Zine Symposium will be “Postmarked 2011” and the deadline is March 1st. Check out the call here and give it a try!

And in other zine news, Stumptown Underground’s 17th issue will be centralized around the theme of BREAKUPS. For more info on that, check here and look over SU’s (finally) new and improved website. The graphic at the top was thought up by me and inked up by Ben Bush! We couldn’t seem to keep up with updating the website between Katy and I, so Stumptown Underground finally implemented a wordpress set up so that all the members in the collective can help keep it updated.

Written by lovemotionstory

February 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

PZS is finally over… Now what?

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The 10th Annual Portland Zine Symposium has come and gone, I gave myself a couple of weeks to digest everything and fucking relax a little bit, but I think it’s time for some serious updates.

I am going to really, REALLY make the effort to post more here, not just the silly question answering from formspring (however fun that may be). Brainstorming what I can update about besides just lame stuff I do everyday (I think that stuff may mostly be left for twitter), I decided I should post a few of the interviews I did for the 10th Annual Portland Zine Symposium’s Special Edition Program (which was much like an awesome anthology zine) and that I will start posting reviews of all the zines I have collected over the last few years that people have given me for being a PZS organizer because they are awesomely nice or that I traded for my old band’s cds or one of my zines…

I was lucky to interview quite a few talented people about PZS, zines and DIY culture for PZS and there are quite a few cool activities, comics, stories, etc. I highly encourage you all to pick one up for $2 (cheap price for a half page zine anthology and it totals at 52 pages) at IPRC or Powell’s (and those $2 go to support PZS). Or you can order one by emailing pdxzines at gmail dizzy-dot cee oh em. I am guessing that, if you’re outside Portland, add in shipping and handling to the $2 price.

I think I may only post a couple interviews, but the first one will be the nice interview Jesse Reklaw (Slow Wave) did with me over the phone, which I then transcribed for the 10th Annual Portland Zine Symposium’s Special Edition Program.

Blue: You are Jesse Reklaw, but where are you from?
Jesse Reklaw: I grew up in Sacramento, California, but don’t feel any particular allegiance to Sacramento, that’s the truth of it I guess. I went to college at UC Santa Cruz, kind of feel more affinity to the Bay Area, I suppose.
B: When was your first year at the PZS?
JR: Maybe it was 2002? I had some friends who lived in Portland who I, more or less, met on the internet. Um, I used to read a lot of newsgroups and I was sort of involved with the world wide web when it first started, there were lots of little art sites and stuff. So, I think through them I heard about the zine symposium.
B: How many Portland Zine Symposiums have you been to?
JR: I guess I have been to all of them except the first one.
B: What made you want to attend the Portland Zine Symposium?
JR: I kind of wanted to see Portland, and I like going to shows. So it was sort of a new show that I wanted to try out, but I really liked the show, and I liked really liked the community in Portland. I liked the sense of cooperation in Portland amongst self publishers that I didn’t really see in other communities around the country. Like, especially in San Francisco, it seems like people are more competitive and people in, like, New York and San Francisco are constantly working and don’t really take time to help shape their community.
B: What is your favorite part of the Portland Zine Symposium?
JR: I think just the people that it attracts. I think just sort of talking with people and seeing what other things people are doing. So, the tablers, I guess. I’ve really liked some of the workshops that I’ve gone to at the Portland Zine Symposium, too. Like I said, I go to a lot of shows and, often, the programming can be really dull or nerdy, especially at comic book shows. But I think at the Portland Zine Symposium I’ve actually learned things at the workshops, which I think is unusual.
B: Well, that goes into the next question I have for you which is, what has you coming back to the Portland Zine Symposium every year?
JR: Well, I moved to Portland in 2006, so that would be silly if I didn’t go to a local show, um, but, I kept going back in I guess in 2003, 4, and 5 partly because I wanted to visit Portland because I kind of wanted to move here. I just really like visiting; summer, in particular, is a great time to be here. And I think actually I was able to, like, break even going to the show, so that was nice. Especially considering how broke people are in Portland, it’s kind of cool that people are supportive of small press. It’s expensive to travel, so it was cool that I could actually make it work financially.
B: So, even though you were driving up from the Bay Area, you still broke even?
JR: Yeah, I think I would fly, I would get, like, a Southwest round-trip ticket for 200 bucks and somehow make that work financially. Actually, between 2002 and 2005, I co-ran a distro. So I would bring up the work of, like, 10,15 other cartoonists in the Bay Area, and I would get a percentage of those sales and that’s kind of what made it work financially, the distro.
B: What was your experience like tabling as a distro?
JR: I liked that a lot because I really don’t like promoting my own stuff, I always feel like I’m kind of being egotistical or like I am bragging by, like, you know, trying to sell someone a book I made. But, like, I have no problem selling someone else’s stuff because it’s stuff I actually like. So I don’t mind talking about it and promoting it. And I feel good when a sell does happen, whereas, when I sell my own books, I feel kind of guilty, like, “Oh God, I really stiffed that person. I sold them that crappy thing I made.”
B: Is that why you now continue to table as a distro? Like, I think you’re tabling for Global Hobo this year, right?
JR: Yeah, that was the distro. When I left the Bay Area, we gave the distro, my partner and I, gave the distro to another Bay Area cartoonist. I tried to take the distro with me to Portland, but I, I don’t know.. It’s a lot of work running a distro, after doing it for three years, I didn’t want to do it anymore. But, yeah, I’m tabling for that distro because I just don’t like tabling my own wares.
B: I think a lot of people can relate to that.
JR: Yeah, I mean, if I was even going to table just my own stuff again, I would definitely, like, table with friends so at least it wouldn’t be only me on the table. It would be three or five people.
B: How has PZS influenced or encouraged you?
JR: It’s often encouraged me to make a new, small zine just for that show because it’s always cool to have something new. You know, when people come around to your table that have been there before, they’ve been there the previous year or, and you know, I have friends in publishing that sometimes I only really see at these shows, then they kind of want to know what you have that’s new, you know? There’s something about that sense of community. It’s not like you’re showing off to your friends, but, like, it’s an opportunity to get feedback from them. And you get to trade your new things with someone else’s new things. So, I guess it kind of inspires me to sort of have a deadline to keep making stuff and to keep participating in that exchange of ideas with the community.
B: What is your favorite zine that you discovered at the Portland Zine Symposium?
JR: Um, trying to remember her name now.. She’s a cartoonist and I think she used to table with her sister.. I think her name is Gina…
B: Oh, is it Gina Siciliano?
JR: Yeah, it’s her! totally her!
B: Yeah, she’ll be there this year, too. She’s tabling this year. So, was it a specific zine by her or just her work in general?
JR: I think it was just kind of her work in general. I really like that when you get a set of zines from someone because, you know, one zine can be really cool, but zines are often so personal that if you just read one of ’em it doesn’t really tell the full story. It’s like, part of that person’s life. But if you continue to keep up with the zines, you understand them better and that makes your appreciation of their zines better. Sort of like how people, like, they always like their friends’ work because you know that person so you know kind of what they’re trying to do in their zine, so you can’t help but sort of like it more.
B: Have you ever met a pen pal for the first time at Portland Zine Symposium?
JR: Yes, and that can be, sometimes, a little disappointing or weird. I loved to hear that Al Burian came though, because I always loved his zine “Burn Collector” and his comix that he made in the early 90s. He gave a great workshop at the zine symposium, but I don’t what year it was, but it was basically, like, how to book a tour even if you’re not a band. Basically like how to make a book tour or a film tour or whatever. It was neat to see him in person, but I don’t think I really talked to him, I just kind of lurked around him.
B: Have you made any lasting friendships due to the PZS?
JR: Maybe not the Portland Zine Symposium on its own, but, like, as the Portland Zine Symposium being one of a number of shows that I go to that I, you know, you only see people at those shows. So, yeah, I think that’s really helped formed some stronger relationships, friendships.
B: In what ways has the PZS helped you most?
JR: It’s hard for me to choose. I think it’s helped in so many different ways. It’s helped just to get my work out there and, like, meet people that appreciate what I’m doing. And it’s always nice to have someone get a hold of your publication who’s actually going to appreciate it and not just, like, sell it to some anonymous person just for the money, but to actually get your ideas to someone. I think there’s a much more appreciative audience at the Portland Zine Symposium than you would get at some book fair or something more commercial. So, that’s been great, but it’s been great to meet other creators and sort of learn from them, learn different ways of making your books. I’ve learned some new ideas that have influenced my work… Going to workshops and learning at those, that’s been awesome…  It’s hard to say, hard to pick one the most.
B: What kind of responses have you gotten from your work at PZS that stuck with you?
JR: I don’t know! Uh, I think one thing I learned, uh, and this is just sort of as a seller, you know, like, mostly I think of myself as an artist, but there’s a business to being an artist, too… You know, at the zine symposium, you are out there promoting your own book and you are trying to sell it, but I think one thing I really picked up at the zine symposium was, like, not to oversell. I think, when I first started to going to comic book shows, I felt like I had to be, like, some kind of huckster or something. I think it was a lot easier, at the zine symposium, to just kind of be myself. It made me feel more relaxed about being out there at some commercial capacity.
B: What has been your favorite workshop from the Portland Zine Symposium, was it the how to book a tour workshop or…?
JR: Yeah, I think it was because I totally remember that one. That was really inspiring.
B: Any other ones?
JR: I went to this really cool one about different ways of printing onto t-shirts with paper stencils–and I’ve used paper stencils before, but I just learned some new, good ideas that I never really thought of before. One of them I remember was they used bleach on, like, a dark shirt with a paper stencil and that looked really cool.
B: Wow, you just taught me something, I wouldn’t have thought of that!
B: What would you like to see for the future of the PZS?
JR: You know, one thing that’s been occupying my mind lately, and I think that it’s partly because I’m a special guest at the San Fransisco Zine Fest this year, is I’ve been involved with self publishing for over 20 years and, in many ways, it’s sort of seems to me that, like, zines and DIY aesthetic is more of a young person’s thing to do. And, you know, being older and having done it for so long and not really getting a lot of the thrill out of the initial aspects of self publishing, I’m wondering, “What is my place in the self-publishing community?” I believe there is still a place for me. I do feel identified with it, but, you know, not with so many aspects. I would really like to see more people that have been doing zines and self publishing for a long time having workshops that explore those ideas, like, “What is the place in the community for an older person?”
B: Did you know that Alex Wrekk was doing a workshop for people over 30? For people over 30?
JR: I would love to see more stuff like that. I’ll try to go to that one, I need that.
B: What do you imagine your place and your relationship with the Portland Zine Symposium and DIY culture, and Portland in general, what do you imagine your place in that is?
JR: That’s a really tough question. I think one place that a lot of people gravitate towards is that they become some kind of business owner, and they employ or they mentor or they have interns of younger people. So, I might start a small press distributor or I might start a small press publisher or I might open a store.. You know, I think that seems to be the most viable option, but I don’t want to own a store or be a publisher or be a distributor. So it does make me wonder what some other options are…
B: So, do you feel that all the options that you see for yourself, all the options that you see as your place, do you feel like you’re not comfortable with any of them?
JR: I’m sort of comfortable with some of them, I just think that it’s not an easy question to answer and it’s something that, you know, I’ll probably keep confronting and I’ll keep evolving as a self publisher. It is tricky. Like I said, I don’t want to be a publisher. I do like teaching, but I don’t see it as, you know, full-time, ultimate future. And I think a lot of people, after they’ve been zining for awhile, they don’t see a place for themselves, and they leave it. They “sell out” and go work for a magazine, or they just give it up entirely and go find another interest. And those are things I don’t want to do either. I’m not sure. I haven’t found the perfect place for me, and I don’t even know if the perfect place exists.
B: Do you have any ideas for what could keep zinesters and DIY people interested in the zine and DIY community longer, as they get older?
JR: I don’t have a lot of ideas, that is just something on my mind lately. I think that if more people are trying to think about that and, like, you know, having workshops or publishing zines that talk about it or having round-table discussions, the more ideas can be developed towards that. I think it is sort of a problem with the zine community or a lot of communities that, when first start out, it’s really exciting, but after awhile, people tend to get a little bored with it or that certain aspects about it they grow to dislike about it. I think it’s just an ongoing discussion that should keep happening. Yeah, I wish I had some awesome answer, but I don’t.
B: That’s okay… Maybe, the question that you’ve posed, your ideas and what you’re confronting, maybe that would feed into a potential answer in the future because it brings it out as an idea.
JR: I think one thing that just does feel really good to people that have been doing zines for a long time is when they get asked to do an interview or be a guest or lead a workshop or to mentor or teach in some way. I think, when you have experience, when that experience is valued and they’re asked to keep participating and give back and things like that, that’s one way to keep them in the community is to value that experience.
Jesse Reklaw writes and draws Slow Wave and, in addition to being interviewed,
he’s a member of Fun Yeti, who played the PZS Zinester’s Music show to wrap up the
10th Annual Portland  Zine Symposium. During PZS, he tabled for Global Hobo.

Written by lovemotionstory

September 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

“On the radio whoa oh oh”

with 5 comments

Yesterday, Alex Wrekk and I went on The Nerd Report to talk about the Portland Zine Symposium and zines!

The hosts, Emily Gibson and Sabrina Miller, were nice and very funny. Before I do radio interviews (wow, I have done multiple radio interviews, what are these people thinking?), I try to listen to a few episodes of the show asking for an interview to make sure it will be a good/fun/etc. Because of this, I am pretty sure I am going to become a regular, Nerd Report listener, they rule pretty hard. And I already listen to other pdx.fm shows, like Cort and Fatboy.

I love doing interviews because you really have an opportunity to learn more about you already love by being forced to articulate explanations for what you’re so passionate about. Also, doing interviews along side of people who share your passion (i.e. in this case, Alex and I did the interview together), is a great opportunity to discuss together what you love in ways you might not think to normally.

Normally, Alex and I work really hard with the other PZS organizers to pull together the event when we meet to talk about and, if when we meet together just as friends, we may not feel like talking about all things PZS because we want to have friend time together. In an interview, we have the chance to talk about PZS just in general, not for the purposes of planning it, which is really refreshing! Also, it’s fascinating to experience how different interviewers choose to frame their questions. In this interview, we sort of mention that when Emily asks a pretty serious and relevant question in an really intelligent way, despite not knowing a lot about zines. Major props, Emily! It also made me feel pretty great when my slightly inappropriate jokes made Emily laugh so much that she put down her headphones, got up and walked around the room cracking up.

The interview was live yesterday, but you can still listen to it now online, found here: http://nerdreport.pdxaudioarchive.com/nerd_episode044.mp3