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Posts Tagged ‘PZS

Thank you, Dylan Williams.

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There aren’t words to express how much Dylan Williams meant to me, yet I have trying to find them since I heard the news of his passing on Saturday.

As a friend, Dylan was kind and honest. He was able to say the things that I would offer to friends but had trouble remembering for myself, the things I needed to hear in a way that I actually heard them. There are so many examples I could give about this throughout our friendship, I can hardly figure out where to start. Instead, I will say that I always took his words and advice to heart and his support and encouragement changed my life. When Dylan confided in me about a couple situations with his friends asking what I thought, I felt like I had one a special prize of maturity, since I so deeply looked up to him.

There was so much I turned to him for, that we commiserated about, that we laughed about, that we worked on… He was vegan, he published, he taught, he created, he organized, he had similar parental issues as I did, he got mad about the same things I get frustrated over (but acted WAY more diplomatically about it). Often, the times when I was confiding in him were when I was trying to reel in my confrontational nature or to channel it more constructively. Conversely, often the times when he confided in me was to determine a way to be more confrontational or direct with someone about something. I laugh and cry just thinking about all of it.

As I search for photos of us together, I see countless emails between us over the years and it breaks my heart that I will never have a chance to work on anything with him again. I wish that I could call him and ask him what he thinks the best way to deal with any of this is right now. If you want to see a really amazing photo of Dylan, check out Theo’s blog about Dylan here. 

So many times before I got to know her, I thought how lucky Emily must be to be Dylan’s partner. As I got to know her better, I realized it wasn’t luck at all, it was because she is completely amazing as well. I got to know Emily more and more working on the Portland Zine Symposium together and I can’t imagine what she has been through or is going through because I saw so much love and support between the two of them. They worked on projects together (like PZS and Sparkplug) and supported each other in a way any of us would be fortunate to have with anyone. Knowing Dylan was an inspiration, but knowing Emily and Dylan and watching them care for each other was also a great personal inspiration to me.

When I talked to Emily on the phone yesterday, I felt helpless because I wish I could somehow make everything better. She is such a wonderful and strong person, I know she will get through this, but please consider buying comics from Sparkplug, contributing to any of the many benefits in Dylan’s honor, or showing her some kind of love.  Alex Wrekk and I were talking about doing a Delivered Dish Certificate for her, I have been thinking of just cooking some food and bringing it to her, and stuff like that.

Even in the midst of Dylan being in the hospital, Emily still helped with PZS. We all felt a gaping hole not having Dylan there this year, as he was in the hospital. We passed around a giant card for people to sign (you can see it in this video: http://youtu.be/dytCOyE3tNA, but let me know if you have a photo of that card), but I didn’t  imagine he would not be there next year. Thinking of the Portland Zine Symposium without Dylan there breaks my heart. Like most things Dylan worked on, he brought so much to it.

As a role model to me, Dylan was hardcore. Dylan got shit done. Dylan was an inspiration to see because he followed through on his ideas with action. Dylan was an inspiration to me because we had so many similar values and passions, he embodied those values and passions through his work, successfully. His work and his life showed me what was possible in helping others, building community and being a good friend. I am passionate about many ideas and projects, I try to act constructively and follow through on those ideas and projects. So often, I feel I see people talking about values and ideas without action to back their words up. Dylan didn’t just talk about comics, he made them. Dylan didn’t just support others’ comics, he published, distributed and taught comics. Dylan was an alternative before there was much of an alternative and he didn’t buy into any ideas about how comics should be, he supported anyone in making comics in their own way. He didn’t view anything as “more legitimate” just because it was mainstream, he truly found value in comics as art and supported artists making what they were inspired to make. Dylan didn’t just show compassion, he was kind to people he didn’t even agree with, something I struggle to do in my own life and often fall short on. Knowing and talking to Dylan about such conflicts has helped me improve on that and I can try to continue improving on remembering how he approached those he didn’t agree with. Even when he saw people in the Portland comics scene abandoning more independent, community-driven roots, he was thinking about starting a new independent fest. He could have just complained, but he was starting to think of new ideas to grow something instead. Dylan built community, attending zine and comics fests across the nation, contributing to other’s zines and more. When I started Stumptown Underground, his support meant so much to me. Then, when he contributed, despite all the other shit he was working on, I felt like I must be doing something worthwhile.

I also volunteer at IPRC, where Dylan taught as well. I watching him treat his students with such encouragement and dignity. His teaching philosophies were so spot on and it was reflected in I saw his students’ work grow while working with him. Always bringing people together, he would get on them to submit to Stumptown Underground or table at PZS, too.

And, you know, that’s the thing about Dylan. He could make you feel special, he could make you laugh, he could put things in perspective with no bullshit, he could give support in a way that made you feel like what you were doing mattered. Why? Because it does matter! Dylan was genuine and it mattered to him in a real way.

Humbly, without ego and without selfish ploys for credit, Dylan pushed forward ideas, compassion, support and projects for the sake of doing it, because he believed that was the way to be.

And, damn, is he right. Reading posts by others who knew him, it all shines through. It is only sad to lose Dylan because knowing him was such joy and inspiration. That his life was cut short is only a loss because he gave so much.

I could go on and on, but I am still processing. One of the ways I deal with pain is through creative expression. I want to thank everyone who has written about Dylan so far (I have already personally emailed some, I imagine I will have more people to thank soon). All your positive and loving stories are amazing to read and it makes me want to figure out a way to preserve a lot of this for each other, for those who may not have known Dylan as well, or for those who will never get the chance to know him in person.

I have started sending out emails about doing a zine dedicated to / in remembrance of Dylan. I am not sure what direction it will take, but maybe it will just be really loose, anything people who have known him would like to contribute, stories about him, his ideas, his work, etc. I would like help putting it together and help giving the whole idea shape. I think I would like to make it something widely available for free, leaving it in comic book stores around Portland and taking it to conventions, etc. Or maybe continually printing and supplying the to Sparkplug and letting Sparkplug sell it? I am not sure. One of the many values Dylan and I shared was a passion for collective, equal organizing. I would love the organizational help in an equal way from anyone who is interested. If you want to help me organize it or just to contribute, please email me at lovemotionstory [at] gmail [dot] com, I would love to hear from anyone who knew Dylan about this. I also am thinking about starting another independent comics fest in his honor, as we’ve seen more indie comics people coming to PZS looking for a place to express their voice.

Thank you for everything, Dylan Williams. You lead your life in such a kind, sincere and active way. We are all so lucky to know you.

Here are other posts about Dylan that specifically meant a lot to me:

Alex Wrekk – http://alexwrekk.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/1576/
Tom Neely – http://www.facebook.com/iwilldestroyyou/posts/10150296855268051 – “he was better than all of us. and he only wanted us to be ourselves. that’s all i can say right now.”
Tessa Brunton – http://tessab.net/2011/09/11/in-peace/
Gabby Playhouse – http://www.gabbysplayhouse.com/?p=1934
Austin English – http://dominobooksnews.com/2011/09/11/
Elijah Brubaker – http://elijahbrubaker.com/?p=1311
David King – http://www.reliablecomics.com/2011/09/dylan-williams/
2D Cloud – http://2dcloud.blogspot.com/2011/09/dylan-william-publisher-at-sparkplug.html
Katy Ellis O’Brien – http://blog.trumpetflower.net/?p=725
If you are interested in reading more about Dylan and all the wonderful things people have to say about his life, you can check out The Comics Reporter page of the collective memory of Dylan Williams: http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/collective_memory_dylan_williams_rip/

Written by lovemotionstory

September 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm

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