You Should Go To the Portland Zine Symposium July 12th-13th 2014

If you've been around zines much at all in the past decade, you know of the Portland Zine Symposium, which is one of the signature events in zine culture every year.

Back when Erica and I lived on the East Coast, we talked about coming out for the show. Now it's only an an hour away--and that's if we decide to walk!

So needless to say, there's no excuse* for us not to show up this year and be a part of things. While neither of us will be tabling this year, we do plan to show up and expect to have zines to trade, if people are so inclined.

What is a Zine Symposium? Well, it's exactly the same as a zine fest, just with a slightly more important sounding name. ;)

Seriously, what you'll find is a gathering of people, some in groups and some on their own, who either make zines, mini-comics, or some combination. A few folks are representing what are called "distros," where they take and offer zines from people other than just themselves. Not everyone can make shows, so they may give the work to others to display and sell for them. There also are going to be a few publishers recognizable to comics fans, too, like Sparkplug.

At the symposium, you can walk around and look at the many, many different kinds of zines that are out there. If you have a zine of your own, some folks might be cool with trading, but don't ask to trade your 16-page photocopied zine for someone's full-color inkwashed work, ok? It's not cool. Also, don't be offended if someone doesn't want to trade. For example, distros can't--they didn't make the zine in the first place. In other cases, folks might just not be interested in your 24-page breakdown of Glee. That's okay--the point of zines is writing what YOU care about.

If you can trade, great! If not, then bring a little money and pick up a few the same way you would at any other festival or show.

A complete list of the folks expected to attend the show as exhibitors is here. Some of the Tablers you'll see at the symposium include:

Alex Wrekk runs the Portland Button Works and is also one of the symposium organizers and co-founders. She'll have her personal zine Brainscan on hand and (shockingly) some buttons, too.
Bitch Media publishes Bitch Magazine, a feminist print publication that's based out of Portland, While not strictly a zine, their focus and outlook is similar to many of the low-tech feminist works you'll find at the show.
Grimoire Press is a small press publisher with labels including Sci Fi, Horror, Historical Fiction, and more.
The IPRC is a small DIY studio for anyone working in print and design, whether it's woodblock work, zine creation, scanning, copying, and other needs. They even hold certificate programs in things like comics.
Multnoma County Library has not one but several zine libraries. Show one of the best public libraries for comics and zine fans some love by stopping by their table. I imagine they'll be taking zine donations, too, so it's your chance to get your work into circulation across the city, if you so choose.
No More Coffee is a fiction zine that is a fine example of the genre. Take a look and see what's out there in the literary zine world.
Pioneers Press is a great micro publisher that covers books and zines and is well worth checking out.
The POC Zine Project has the admirable goal of raising awareness of POC involved in the zine world. Though zines are a welcoming community with open involvement, too often it's easy to overlook minority groups even within that environment. I'm really looking forward to stopping by their table.
Sparkplug Books is one of the most respected publishers in the independent comics world. I don't know what they'll have at the show, but I guarantee it will be experimental and willing to push boundaries. Anyone who likes their comics at that edge of the spectrum will do well to stop by and see them.
Queer Zine Archive Project is similar to the POC concept, in that it seeks to be a resource for those of us in the queer community who are also involved with zines. They should be accepting donations, if you fit into this very wide tent.
Sweet Candy Distro is based out of Washington state and should have a wide variety of quality zines from folks unable to make the trip to Portland.
Tugboat Press is another comics publisher, who make the excellent Runner Runner anthology.
In addition to the tablers, there will also be a complete schedule of workshops, which you can find here. Being honest, this is the most complete workshop programming I've ever seen for a zine fest, and it's full of interesting panels. You could spend a large part of your day just sitting in them!

Here are a few of the highlights. The complete list is here:

11:15am-11:45pm Sharpie Art
Ivy Sullivan
From zines to slap-tags, these sharpie art tricks and techniques can help expand and improve what you can do with these cheap markers.(Room 1)
12:00pm-12:30pm Zines 101
Marc Parker
An introduction to the world of zines! Learn the basics of zines, how to make zines, and why you should. (Room 1)

12:15pm-1:00pm DIY Podcasting
Julie Sabatier
Curious about podcasting? Come learn all about audio storytelling from Julie Sabatier, host & creator of the Destination DIY radio show and podcast and author of the How To Make Radio zine series. (Room 2) 
12:45pm-1:30pm Drawing Cartoon Characters
Katy Ellis O’Brien
Cartoonists of all ages and skill levels are invited to learn some tricks for designing original characters from this year’s PZS poster artist, Katy Ellis O’Brien. (Room 1) 
1:15pm-2:00pm Jews & Zines
Cheyenne McClain
What makes a zine Jewish? This workshop will be a discussion on Jewish creativity and celebration of Jewish zine culture. Many people making modern zines identify as Jewish, and, others, regardless of practice or identity, continue to produce awesomely Jewish work. But zines go further back in Jewish history than that. Here will look at apocryphal texts, Hasidic midrash, resistance pamphlets, underground comix, and how they all lead up to contemporary zine culture! Jews are taught the personal responsibility to share knowledge! Zines offer the perfect avenue to do so. ALL are welcome, please bring your Jewish zines to share if you have them!!! (Room 2)

1:30pm-2:00pm Writing Prompts for Zinesters
Joshua James Amberson
Using exercises drawn from creative nonfiction and literary fiction, this is a fun, fast-moving workshop for writers at any level to generate new writing. (Room 1) 
2:00pm-2:45pm Tiny Zine Extravaganza
Liz Yerby
After brainstorming what kind of zines can be made, we will all make 16-page microzines from one sheet of paper, a spectacular feat of zine wizardry. (Room 1) 
2:15pm-3:00pm Zinesters (or not) of Color! Empowerment Session
Anna Vo
POC empowerment workshop. For those negatively affected by racism only. I’ll be facilitating/scaffolding, providing group or individual counseling/support as needed. Mainly for people to share experiences, work through ways of coping, and hopefully finding strength through community or solidarity. (Room 2)
4:15pm-5:00pm Zine Event Organizer Panel
This is a workshop and support group for zine event organizers from across the country. The aim is to talk and network and share ideas that would make organizing zine events easier. Organizers from from several zine events large and small will be in attendance. (Room 2)
11:00am-11:45am Getting Press/Promoting Your Zine
Avi Ehrlich, Rachel Dukes, Ion, Beth Wagner
Join us as we talk about the various methods to promote and distribute your work.

12:00pm-12:30pm Inking With Hop
hopskotch SUNday
Come learn a few tips and tricks to help speed up your inking and turn it from a hassle to a happy!! 
12:45pm-1:45pm DIY Feminism
Amalgamated Feminists: Katie Ash, Kristin Cleveland, Amber Zandanel
Join the Amalgamated Feminists’ DIY Feminism workshop to meet other feminists in your town and beyond. Hear what others are doing, what strategies have been successful, and what challenges they’ve faced. The aim of this workshop is to provide a forum for feminist activists to share their experiences and connect with potential allies for stronger and more collaborative action. 
3:15pm-4:00pm Let’s Talk Able Zine Distros! Panel
Moderated by Alex Wrekk
What is a zine distro? How do they work? Why start a zine distro? What zines to carry and why? and how do you keep it going? These are some of the questions we’ll ask owners of four zine distro (Pioneers Press, Sweet Candy, Brown Recluse, and Antiquated Future). Learn the ins and out and struggles of distributing zines to the masses.
Finally, there are a few events going on around the symposium:
July 10thZinesters Who Play Music @ The Know (2026 NE Alberta), $5, Quackhammer, Ermine, Late Night Sleep T.V.
July 11th: Art Show & Reading @ Floating World Comics, FREE
July 12th: Zine Prom @ IPRC (7pm), $5 suggested donation for a raffle ticket & corsage
The Portland Zine Symposium will be held July 12th and 13that at the Ambridge Events Center, near the Lloyd Center Mall and the Convention Center, from 11am to 5pm each day. I don't know when I'll be around, but I'm likely to be wearing my Poe vs. Lovecraft or Three Rivers Arts Festival shirt, depending on the day. So if you see me, say hi!

*Okay, maybe if William Shatner came by and asked us to spend the weekend with him. That might be a valid excuse, but we'd probably suggest he attend the show!