Interview with a Zinester: Hazel Newlevant!

We’ve got Hazel Newlevant’s interview up next! Check it out and find them on Tumblr as well.

Photo of a dark-haired zinester wearing a yellow cardigan and writing in a notebook.

Photo of a dark-haired zinester wearing a yellow cardigan and writing in a notebook.

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

I’m a Portland-raised, Queens-based cartoonist, and I make comics about things like queerness, relationships, music, and inequality—concurrent or consecutive! My comics tend to be “creative nonfiction,” either about the meaningful moments in my own life, or the lives of others that I find inspiring. My most recognizable work is If This Be Sin, a collection of comics about queer women and music. There’s a biography of the 1920s drag king Gladys Bentley, a profile of lesbian rockstars Wendy and Lisa (of Purple Rain fame), and story about a modern-day blues dance competition, based on my own experiences with social dancing.

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

I first discovered zines when I was a teenager and worked at Reading Frenzy, a bookstore in Portland, OR. Local zine-makers were always coming in to consign their zines, so I read a lot of stuff on the job. I was really inspired by the mini-comics that people were drawing and printing themselves, and by the idea of making this perfect little pamphlet that’s just how you want it. Comics are my medium of choice, but as a reader, I’m interested in perzines, instructional zines, fanzines—the whole gamut.
What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

I think feminist zine-making is about creating zines with an underlying consciousness about gender inequality and the unique challenges that women face. Zines are a powerful way for marginalized people to share their experiences and connect with others, and I’ve learned a ton by reading zines by women with disabilities, women of color, and women of different life experiences from my own in general.
What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

That’s the most difficult question by far, when there’s so many to choose from! Some of my most favorite mini-comics include the series Zine City Comix by Kinoko Evans and Madtown High by Whit Taylor. Zine City Comix is about cute shamanic animal-beings interacting with technology, while Madtown High is about being a mixed-race kid going to high school in New Jersey. In many ways, they couldn’t be more different, but there’s a kindness and sincerity to both that I appreciate.

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

Food processor, turning the basil leaves of life into a delicious pesto.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

My buds Laura Lannes and Annie Mok will be at the zine fest, both of whom interrogate gender in interesting ways through their comics. I met the editors of From the Root when I was visiting Montreal, and I’m excited that they’re bringing their excellent WOC-focused literary journal to the US. The rest of the exhibitors are unfamiliar to me, so I’m looking forward to discovering everyone’s work!

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Interview with a Zinester: Sarah Mangle!

Here we are with Sarah Mangle, a Montreal-based zinester that we’re happy to have coming to the fest! Check it out.

SarahManglePhoto

Blond zinester standing next to an elaborately decorated cake and looking up at the camera.

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

I am a 33 year old white queer artist and writer living in Montreal. I’m originally from Nova Scotia, and I was born in Pennsylvania. I work a variety of odd jobs to support my creative work: life drawing model, daycare teacher, English teacher, copy editor, and facilitator.

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

The first zine I ever saw was a riot grrl style guerilla insert for “women’s” magazines in the 90’s, although at the time I didn’t know about riot grrl. You were supposed to go into corner stores and surreptitiously slip the inserts into magazines to help people who bought the magazines feel better about themselves. It was a project my social justice club had gotten their hands on and were distributing. I was in this social justice club in high school in Nova Scotia.

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

For me feminist zine making is zine making that is pro-sex work, anti-racist, pro-choice, trans-enthusiastic, supportive of live in caregivers and other temporary foreign workers. It is queer positive, it is honest, it is emotive, it is sensitive, it understands layers of survival, and embraces vulnerability and anger and sadness.

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

My favourite zine is When Language Runs Dry. That is a fucking beautiful project. Highly recommended. My preference for style changes, but I feel nostalgic about photocopies, typewriters and hand writing.

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

Spoon. I try to hold things. I try to savour them. I try to taste things.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

I’m particularly excited about Annie Mok and Sophie Labelle. I’m also excited to meet new friends!

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Interview with a Zinester: Joyce Hatton!

Joyce Hatton serves us the next interview. We’re also getting closer to our reading tonight in NYC! Check out the organizers of FZF at Bluestockings tonight.

Joyce wearing a black hoodie and glasses posing with a cat (that has a freaked out expression).

Joyce wearing a black hoodie and glasses posing with a cat (that has a freaked out expression).

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

I am a baby bird masquerading as a human…?  I write illustrated zines about my process of shrugging off unhelpful social conditioning and decrypting human interactions.

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

I don’t remember how I was introduced to zines.  I was aware of them but thought they were for white punks and so I didn’t get interested in them until I made one and discovered the wider world of zines on Tumblr.

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

My version of “feminist zine-making” involves taking up space to communicate things that I don’t have room to talk about in other areas of my life.  Zine making and reading has been been incredibly empowering for me, and has played a huge part in stabilizing my mental health.

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

One of my favorite zinemakers is Pardis Lili Khanmalek.  Their zines are so colorful and beautiful, and full of big brown hairy women and emotion.  I generally like any zine that is emotional and vulnerable.  Also, Thou Shalt Not Talk About the White Boys Club- Challenging the Unwritten Rules of Punk BLEW MY GOSH DARNED MIND when I read it and helped me realize a lot of the things that made me feel so weird about punk.

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

I guess if my zinester life was a kitchen appliance it would be a spoon… pretty simple but it does the job.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

I’m excited to see Donna Choi’s stuff because I loved “Does Your Man Suffer From Yellow Fever?”  It’s hilarous and beautiful.

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Interview with a Zinester: Stephanie Basile!

Stephanie Basile of Suburban Blight offers the next interview. We’re excited to share it and we hope to see everyone who’s in NYC tonight at the FZF reading at Bluestockings!

Seated zinester wearing a t-shirt reading from a paper.

Seated zinester wearing a t-shirt reading from a paper.

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

I am a union organizer and I work on campaigns organizing retail workers. Oh, and I write a zine.

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

I was first introduced to zines in high school by my creative writing teacher, but didn’t discover political zines until college. A college classmate did an online zine called Brainbox, and that’s what first gave me the idea for my own zine. It was very political and anti-authoritarian.

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

To me both feminism and zine-making are empowering processes through which we can gain agency by speaking with our own voice in an uncensored way. Feminist zine-making gives the zinester all the decision-making power and creative control over their own work. It creates space for voices that may not be heard in other venues.

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

I really can’t pick just one! I know, it’s a cop out answer! All zines are wonderful and deserve to be read.

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

A tea kettle. Sometimes it’s quiet for long periods of time but when it has something to say it bursts out of the seams and makes sure everyone knows.
Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

Some of my favorite NYC zinesters are Jenna Freedman, Elvis Bakaitis, and Kate Angell. I am also hoping to bump into some out-of-town zinesters.

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Interview with a Zinester: JC!

We’ve got an interview with JC this afternoon! Check them out at their Tumblr, Jenny and the Librarians.

JC seated in a plastic chair reading from their zine.

JC, a blond person with a grey and black sweater, seated in a plastic chair reading from their zine.

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

Hello! I’m JC and I’m a Librarian and zine person in Washington, DC. I write perzines on the topic of disability mostly, including my own (tributaries) and a comp on the intersection of physical and mental illness (Collide). I just released the third issue of that one and I’m pretty excited about it.

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

I got introduced to zines in high school, but didn’t reconnect with them until graduate school in Illinois, when I started going to zine fests and got familiar with the zine library at the Independent Media Center in Urbana, IL. I started making them in 2012 and was influenced by other perzines I admired and adored, like Doris.

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

My zines don’t cover feminist issues in a political or explicit sense, but writing about disability, and giving others space to contribute to the conversation around mental health and chronic illness, is a feminist act and something that’s very important to me.

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

I really love perzines (obviously) and am always impressed by beautiful covers, not being a visual artist myself. A few zines that come to mind that just as powerful and important inside as their artwork would suggest on the outside are Secret Bully by Cynthia Schemmer and the comp When Language Runs Dry. Other favs in the health-perzine genre (which I read the most of) include Chronically Yours by Ariane K and Deafula by Kerri Radley.

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

How about a toaster oven, because I’m a procrastinator in both mealtime and zine making, so anything that helps me out at the last minute is something I’m grateful for!

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

I’m excited to see some of my fav zine pals & makers, Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Aus & Lauren from the Wheelhouse, Kate Larson, and Sari & Rachel from Hoax. And the rad organizers of course!

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Interview with a Zinester: Emma Karin Eriksson!

Emma Karin of Pretty Dirty Press brings us the next interview. We’re excitedly counting down the days!

Red headed zinester wearing a black vest covered in patches and buttons eats a donut in front of trees.

Red headed zinester wearing a black vest covered in patches and buttons eats a donut in front of trees.

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

My name is Emma Karin, my pronouns are she/her. Right now I put out Radical Domesticity and Hang Ups and Hard Work as well as a several other single issue zines that revolve around my personal experiences. Radical Domesticity has been described as a punk rock martha stewart type zine- which is pretty accurate on some levels. R.D. is all about DIY house keeping and general DIY tips. I talk about how to make a chore chart and how to make sure it is used, ways to organize and keep spaces tidy, as well as fun projects! Hang Ups and Hard Work is a zine in which I talk about my sexual experiences and how they relate to the larger picture of how I relate to sex- at least thats the aim of it! I talk about everything from losing my virginity to the story of my abortion to random teenage hook ups and to my present experiences as a sex worker. I will also be bringing two new zines that talk about history with acne and struggles with psychotropic drugs.

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

I really cannot remember how I found out about zines. I can’t even recall the first zine I read! An unbelievable tragedy. V___V

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

I think all zines made by women (bodied/identified) are inherently feminist. Zine making, whether its an informational zine or a perzine, involves the exchange of ideas and experiences of women. By putting our histories out into the world, by refusing to keep to ourselves, by creating communities we are creating the world in which we are represented the way we want to be seen. That is some serious feminist shit if I ever heard/saw it.

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

UGH THIS IS SO HARD! I can’t pick an overall favorite because that is just too dang hard! But I will talk about one I recently picked up and can’t stop yammering about! The Choose Your Own Consensual Adventure zine by Pleasure Pie is so important I think it should be considered required reading. The idea of consent and teaching it to everyone is obvs super important but I think sometimes it can be hard for people to really fully grasp the idea of how it is used IRL. Choose Your Own Consensual Adventure is such a simple way to really imprint what consent means and how to use it into someones brain. While this zine is for everyone I see it doing a really kick ass job helping teens and young adults see how consent works/should look before they dive into a situation.

I always appreciate those who make zines and go the extra mile. Using colored paper/card stock, doing funky bindings, silk screaming covers, adding inserts, hand coloring, all those little extras and details just make my heart go all fuzzy.

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

Pressure Cooker. I save up tons of ideas in notebooks and collect images for a few months then sit down and throw them all together creating zines in under a week due to some pressuring deadline.
Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

Uhm all of them!? I am really pumped to see some old friends and some out of town zinesters coming in for this event but I really can’t wait to see all these new faces/new zines I haven’t ever heard of. I’ve already started construction on a whole new zine shelf for all my expected acquisitions!

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Interview with a Zinester: Rachel K. Zall!

Rachel K. Zall (but please call her Katie!) brings us this next interview. Check it out!

A person leaning on the wall of a train car wearing a long black dress with blue hat and scarf (great accessorizing!)

A woman leaning on the wall of a train car wearing a long black dress with blue hat and scarf (great accessorizing!)

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

Hi! I’m Rachel K. Zall but do please call me Katie. I’m a poet, performing artist, erotica author and fabulous hat enthusiast. In addition to zines, I’ve published two collections of poetry and just published my first comic book. (Exiles, with Christianne Benedict on art. Hopefully I’ll have copies with me!) As far as the standard list of information regarding axes of oppression goes, I’m white, female, trans, bi, disabled, autistic and somewhat capable of pretending to not be poor. I get very excited about public transit, Doctor Who, jazz and classical music and occasionally repeat long strings of information about them at inappropriate moments. Apologies in advance for when I abruptly recite a list of long-defunct trolley routes or the complete works of Béla Bartók at the fest.
How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?

I was probably introduced to zines as a teenager, which was longer ago than I’m going to admit to. I was finally convinced to give them a go myself by Sarah Sawyers-Lovett (who’ll be there with her wonderful zine “Safe Home”), who dragged me over to her house with the promise of hamburgers and then tricked me into working for six hours with cut paper and washi tape until I had a zine. Sarah is basically zine mom and lures innocent young women into her lair like that frequently. I also was really inspired by the amazingness of Philly’s Metropolarity crew’s zines (both their collective zines and their individual zines like All That’s Left and A R K D U S T), which I’ve been obsessively reading and sticking into people’s hands shouting “HERE! RADICAL SPECULATIVE FICTION! YOU NEED THIS! TRUST ME!” since I got to Philly. Really, I’ve been influenced by Philadelphia, just in general. There is so much wonderful art happening here it’s hard to imagine how anybody lives here for more than a couple weeks without getting inspired to make something amazing themselves.

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

Honestly, I don’t know. I just know that when I read zines when I was younger it was striking to me how much of the interiority of other young women I had never seen expressed before, and sometimes it’s still a shock to open a zine and find an unvarnished, vulnerable, beautiful female voice. I like to hope that someone else will get that when they read my work. (Even if the vulnerability in About My Body (Because You Always Ask) is ever so slightly weaponized. But then, the best public vulnerabilities usually are.)

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

I like all kinds of zines! I’ll say my favorite is the aforementioned Metropolarity zine, because I can’t think of another zine that so thoroughly altered how I look at both real and imaginary worlds (and all the worlds in between too!)

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

If a dildo tends to stay on the counter long enough without being used anywhere other than the kitchen, does it technically qualify as an appliance?

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

Well, I’m excited that Philly has such a magnificent contingent there (Sarah, Joyce Hatton, Annie Mok, Anna Melton, me). But I already got excited about Philly in an earlier answer, so let’s say that I don’t know who I’m excited to see because the zinester I’m most excited to see is the one I’m not familiar with yet!

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