November 15, 2011

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Show Report: Philly Zine Fest 2011 Was Awesome!

On Sunday, November 13, Rob and I went to the Philly Zine Fest, only a short trip from our home in Baltimore. I was excited to go (even if I had trouble getting out of bed that morning), especially after the carnival of disappointment that was the Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo. I was hopeful that at least Philly would be a good time. I couldn't go through 2011 without attending at least one satisfactory zine fest! And PZF delivered.

Entering the Philly Zine Fest.
I was there with my distro, Black Light Diner, and my zine Breakfast at Twilight. Due to some cancellations (several of the distros and projects I mentioned in my preview post didn't make it, for whatever reason), there were free tables, so instead of setting up my collapsible table like I usually do I used one of PZF's tables near the entrance. All of the available tables filled up, although the space near the entrance was a bit more roomy than usual.

Strangely, there weren't any large distros in attendance other than Philly's own Wooden Shoe Books. While this was good, because it meant more diversity of creators, it also meant that some zines I intended on purchasing or trading for weren't around (but then, most distros still do have mailorder!). As far as mid-sized distros go, in addition to myself there was also Taylor from Parcell Press and Amy from twelveohtwo (no site, table only). I picked up several new issues of longtime favorites from the latter.

Most of the day was spent at my table, and unlike last year's Richmond Zine Fest (in which almost nobody came to my table for the first three hours, then bam!), it was hopping all day long. While I did get a few people who stood there and read a whole zine without paying (seriously, don't do this), in general everyone I met was super nice and some had even heard of my zine and were excited to meet me, which was really strange.

I wish zine fests (and Occupy events, and restaurants, and, well, everything... conversation is a much better soundtrack to our lives) wouldn't play music, but the New Wave tunes weren't overly distracting or loud. I didn't attend any of the panels because I wanted to stick by my table, but they seemed interesting enough, one of them being a movie I could hear bits and pieces of from my place on the ground.

Big crowd!

So, if you live on the East Coast or are passing through Philadelphia, definitely take the lead of the hordes of people in the above picture and come to the Philly Zine Fest! It's by far the most highly-attended zine/comix event I go to (excluding SPX), and takes place in a great space and there's a really nice mix of zines and comics without a lot of non-zine craft items (something I know larger zine fests have had problems with).

The things we got, whether with cash or with trades:
Deafula #2 and Give Me Hope or Give Me Death by thecityonfire
Into the Grid by Heather
Everyday Pants #1; So, This Is What It's Come To...; and From Everyone Who Loves Where They Are, to Everyone who Doesn't Feel at Home by Ramsey Beyer (and others, for the second title)
You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania #5 by Sari
Word on the Street: DC Sidewalks 2008-2011 by W.O.T.S.
Chalaza and It Works Because It's Dirty by jacklegsoapbox (very mini-comics)
Truckface #14 by Luran Barry
Ghost Pine #12 by Jeff Miller
OCD Throws Bows by Dirk Keaton
Shooting Wall by Jonathan Seidman and others
Matt Committed Suicide by Various
Young Woman by Shira Mario
Chasm #1 and #1 by Slugma Publishing
Hello Operator by Aaron Delarosa
Dumb Jersey White Boy #4 by Mark McMurray
There Is No Magnificent Creature/Your Secretary #4 (split zine) by Tricia Nowacki/Jami Sailor
Nonetheless/Nevertheless #1 by Aaron Weber
Karma Shmarma #1 by Mark Griffin
Burn Collector #15 by Al Burian

It's a pretty exhaustive list, and Rob and I are looking forward to reading through it.

Lastly, this one is for you, the comment section: I would really like to visit some different zine/comix fests next year. So far, the only ones I've attended (as a tabler) are PZF, the Richmond Zine Fest, and PIX. What are your favorites? East Coast preferably, and with tabling fees that aren't outrageous to me as a small distro/creator (so SPX, awesome as it is, is out). Thanks much!