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Zine Fest Houston/SHFL Auction, This (Secret) Saturday, Yo [5/22/2008 01:24:00 AM]:
Been meaning to mention this for a little while now -- with the "on hiatus" nature of things over at Super Not-So-Happy Fun Land, I was really, really worried that the Zine Fest Houston extravaganza was going to get cancelled or postponed indefinitely.

Which would suck, frankly, because zines -- not the digital kind like this one, mind you, although I am somewhat fond of it, but real-live paper ones (as, in fact, this e-zine used to be) -- are totally fascinating to me. I started picking 'em up everywhere I could find 'em while still a wee student, devouring 'em as fast as I could, amazed that those brave, crazy kids could put something out there into the world like that, warts and all. Most were intensely personal, many were intensely obscure, some were out-and-out hysterical, and with a few exceptions, they were almost all entertaining as hell.

When this site first came about, one of the first things I did w/it was start writing up little reviews of all the local zines I came across, lovingly scanning the covers in on the Day Job scanner (didn't have my own, at the time) and slapping 'em up online -- due to time constraints and a heavy dose of nostalgia, some of 'em are still up here for all to see/read. I hit the zine racks at SoundEx, Soundwaves, and Cactus constantly, always looking for a new one I hadn't seen yet. After a while, people were even sending me their zines to check out. It was a blast.

And looking back, I'm not sure this site or e-zine would even have ever existed without me flipping through all those Xeroxed, scissored, & stapled pages. Along with a handful of big-name out-of-town magazines/zines, folks like I'm Not Afraid (who did very cool pieces on Jawbreaker, Celindine, & Spent, among others), Russell Etchen's Smack, The Toilet Papers, Ah Lost Taco, and music/surfing zine Red Flag (which was like my personal Holy Grail of Local Zinedom for many years, because I could never find a damn shred of info about the fucking thing, and I only ever got my hands on one issue) inspired the birth of the long-lived-yet-relatively-sparse print run of the Space City Rock paper zine.

Then, as the '90s ended, I had to sadly watch as the DIY Wave seemed to crest and crash and leave not a whole lot standing but, well, the Internet. Which is cool and all, but I still miss the days when I could pick up a new issue of Dance Party or Out of Order at SoundEx and marvel at Russell's awesome artwork or wonder how in the hell I could ever get some of the records talked about in the other zines. It felt like the end of an era.

Don't get me wrong; e-zines are great, and I enjoy doing this one (most of the time). It's not the same, though, as holding that little stapled-together thing in your hands and feeling how much actual work went into producing the one copy you yourself got. Printing or copying and distributing something is a whole other ballgame, let me tell you. So, given that, I'm very, very heartened to see zine-making alive and well, and like I said, I was horrified to realize that with SHFL being shut down, the Zine Fest might be toast, too.

Thankfully, that didn't happen, and the resourceful Zine Fest folks have found a new home, at least temporarily. They'll be doing their thing this coming Saturday, May 24th, as part of the always-entertaining Secret Saturday Show deal up in the Heights at The Shady Tavern (1206 W. 20th). The insanity starts at 12PM with DJs & such, continues with a handful(?) of super-duper-secret bands playing in the Tavern's open-air space (which looks oddly like my garage, only cleaner), and continues on into the night, finally winding up at 9PM(!).

From 6-9PM, as well, they'll be staging an auction to benefit the beleaguered and aforementioned Super Happy Fun Land. Who, frankly, need all the help they can get, and who in turn we as Houston music/art lovers need to help keep The Scene alive. Oh, and there're door prizes, we're told. Gotta love door prizes...

In addition to the bands/DJs, of course, there's going to be a ton of zines, comix, art, books, and whatever else media-ish you can think of -- it is a Zine Fest, after all. And hey, you can participate, too, although you probably ought to get on it, since I dunno how much space they've got. Here're the details on that from organizer Shane:

Artists, zinesters, organizations, publishers and distros interested in setting up tables can contact "shane" at "zinefesthouston dot org" for more information. Table space is free. Bring your own table.

Zine Fest Houston (formerly known as The Houston Comix and Zine Festival) is an event dedicated to promoting zines, independent/ small press comics, minicomics, and other forms of self-publishing and independent, alternative, underground and diy media & art.

It is also a grassroots attempt to build the local zine, self-publishing and comics scenes and form networks with comics and zine creators in other areas.

Admission is free and free table space is available for zinesters, cartoonists, writers, artists, publishers and distros.

The festival is a new and different experience every time, offering a new crop of zines and comics every year (including many never before seen anywhere else) and other unique sights (such as a live chicken manning one of the exhibitor tables during our first festival).

The goal of the event is for attendees to not only discover new zines, but also to be inspired to create their own diy projects.

So, there you have it -- take advantage of the last gasp of Spring (hopefully?) and hang out under the shady trees whilst perusing handmade/printed/etc. writings and art, listening to cool music, and drinking cold beverages.

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