Olympia Zine Fest

The First Annual Fest Comes to Olympia on Oct. 22

By Sarah Bradley

For the first time ever, Olympia will be having it’s very own Zine Fest! The event will be comprised of five days worth of events happening between October 22 and 26th. For readers new to the world of DIY-zines, they can be made by anyone and about anything, and typically they look like a handmade book or magazine.

I met with three of the organizers behind the festival who shared what to expect for the Zine Fest’s inaugural year.  “Olympia should have a zine fest, but for some reason never has…so we decided to do it.”  Explains zine fest organizer and Evergreen, alum Kelsey Smith.

The process began back in June of 2014, when the first planning meeting occurred. Now, sixteen months later, the festival has become a reality and will be made up of five days worth of events.

Things kick off on Oct. 22 at the Capitol Theater where the experimental films of Marian Wallace and V. Vale will be screened, followed by a Q&A session.

The next evening, on Friday Oct. 23, there will be a panel discussion at the Olympia Timberland library. The discussion will be centered around alternative independant DIY print media. The panel will include speakers V. Vale from RE/Search Publications, author/zinester Imogen Binnie, Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) founder Milo Miller, and facilitator Joaquin de la Puente.

The tabling expo on Saturday will be held at the Olympia Center from noon until 5 p.m. There will be 45 tables with roughly 75 different contributors coming from all over to share their DIY publications. There will be zines for you to buy, or you can bring your very own zine and see if people would like to trade with you!

During the tabling expo, there will be a POC Caucus facilitated by Anna Vo and Ari Perezdiez. This workshop will be in room 101 of the Olympia center from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

After a long day of slinging and collecting zines, head over to Obsidian for the after party featuring bands The Fabulous Downey Bros, Fruit Juice, and Mutiny Mutiny.

On Sunday, after the tabling event, a full day of side-by-side workshops will be happening in the backrooms of local haunches Le Voyeur and Obsidian. There will be six workshops, with two happening simultaneously to give people options to choose from.

The workshops, all of which are free to attend, are a great opportunity to build or develop skills to help you make zines of your own. They are also an opportunity to connect with members of the community who share an interest in DIY publications.

The first workshop is entitled “Selection, Use, and Care of the Manual Typewriter.” You can learn the skills to repair and operate manual typewriters. The facilitator will also be bringing a selection of typewriters for workshop attendees to gain experience using. This workshop will be happening in the backroom of Obsidian. Over at the Voyeur, there will be a Kids and Comics workshop, which is all ages and kid friendly. Learn tips and find inspiration to make your own comic strips.

The second set of workshops will be “Erasure” poetry. “Erasure is a poetic practice that makes use of a source text by erasing the language of the old text to create a new poetic text using white out, markers, or devising other means to erase, redact, highlight, or creatively deface or elide. We’ll be discussing the works of many successful erasure zinesters and making our own independent and collaborative erasures zines.” Explains the event’s Facebook page.

“Mending Your Dress: Coping with Trauma Through Writing” which will focus on sharing, over-sharing, and not sharing and offer insights on writing about deeply personal and vulnerable topics such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Other workshops throughout the day will include “Zines and Music” happening at Le Voyeur with some local music and zine makers, and “Comic Surgery” at Obsidian. Oly Zine Fest’s website explains that this workshop is a “zine/comic-making workshop that will connect themes of healthcare, race, ability and sexuality. In it we will explore drawing and writing exercises and everyone will have the opportunity to create an original zine or comic.”

There will also be an “un-conference” for zine librarians on Sunday, Oct. 26th. “At an un-conference, you just sorta make it up as your go” explains Smith. She and fellow zine fest organizer Nikki Saluba helped to start the Olympia Timberland Public Library with their zine library back in 2008, which now has close to 2,000 different zines. Naomi Bell, another zine maker and fest organizer, oversees the zine collection at the Yelm public library.

The organizers of Olympia Zine Fest recommend using the zine fest as a deadline to make your own zine, then bring it to the tabling expo and talk with the tablers to trade zines. It’s a great way to grow your zine collection while getting your awesome one-of-a-kind zine into the world.

Whether you are a seasoned zine maker, or if this will be your first exposure to the exciting world of DIY print media, the Olympia Zine Fest is sure to be a great time. Check out the fest’s official website for a full schedule of events at olympiazinefest.tumblr.com and follow them on facebook to get the latest updates.