Interview with a Zinester: Laura Lannes!

Laura Lannes, Brazilian zinester, is up next! Read on.

Drawn b&w self portrait of Laura with wavy hair put up and fading from dark at the top to disappearing into the white background at the bottom.
Drawn b&w self portrait of Laura with wavy hair put up and fading from dark at the top to disappearing into the white background at the bottom.

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

I’m a cartoonist and illustrator. I make comics about a lot of personal stuff, I guess, looking back now. I seem to do a lot of stuff about anxiety and depression, gender issues, weird feelings about my body.

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

I first saw zines at a head shop near my house when I was in high school. They had a bunch of stuff about weed; some of them were comics. I was very into it. That’s when I started buying zines. In 2011 I made my first one and took it to a zine festival; that’s when I got in touch with zine culture. I’ve been influenced by a lot of cartoonists – zines have always been a staple of comics fests. I have a zine by amazing cartoonist Laerte that features a page on how to make zines (it’s in Portuguese because I’m from Brazil):

Comic created by Laura Lanne, written in Portuguese.
Comic created by Laerte, written in Portuguese.

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

Feminism is always on my mind. I think a lot about gender roles, particularly – why do I act a certain way, why is this “feminine” and this “masculine” etc. So that shows up in my work, not always subtly.

Considering the history of zines as a counterculture product, I think it’s a very well-suited medium for the self-expression of any group whose voice is silenced by the mainstream. I think this applies to women, and people of color, and feminists, and queer people, and so many other groups.

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

Eleanor Davis, one of my favorite artists, has a little one called “31 drawings that have something to do with being in love and not being in love.” It’s such a great little object. I also like one by a Brazilian cartoonist called Lovelove6 – all of her work is about feminism, and her first two zines were called (translation mine) “The ethics of horniness in post-modernity,” volumes 1 and 2.

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

Probably a deep fryer. I wish I was a vegetable steamer, but I know I’m a deep fryer.

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

I like Annie Mok’s work, I was happy to see her name on the exhbitor list.

This is gonna seem biased because she’s my roommate, but, for real, Hazel Newlevant has great stuff that I love.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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!

Interview with a Zinester: Cassandra L!

Zine creator Cassandra L. of Second Hand Emotion offered up these answers for the zine fest. Check out their misandrist musings over on Twitter @feministrevenge!

Smiling Cassandra in red lipstick with her hand on her shoulder wearing a necklace that reads Trust No Man.
Smiling Cassandra in red lipstick with her hand on her shoulder wearing a necklace that reads Trust No Man.

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

My name’s Cassandra and the zine I’m working on is called Second Hand Emotion. It’s a perzine about the anxiety I have around romantic relationships, and how it’s informed by my upbringing, race, class, gender, depression, and so on. While this first one is a perzine, and I’m definitely looking to write more for #2, I’m also looking for contributions going forward! I have a sense of what I’m looking for but I would also love people to pitch me!

I’m also a contributor to On Struggling, a comp zine for POC to discuss survival in a capitalist culture that’s by Monica of Brown and Proud Press, and Hoax, a comp zine on feminisms in everyday life by the amazing rachel and sari.  In addition, I’m working on two other zine projects. One is on my relationship with my mother and assimilating in America called STUCK, and another one is a sillier project on my life in retail, selling chocolate to rich people, but also it’ll have SERIOUS STUFF about labor, low-wage work, chocolate and gender. I’m hoping once I finish this zine I won’t be so scared of the process and work on having that zine ready right away. I haven’t been working at the chocolate shop for a little under a year so I don’t want that to stagnate.

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

My intro to zines feels both current (because people are still making zines and DIY media today) and retrospective because we’re very much in a moment of nostalgia for ’90s cultural formats and subcultures. In the summer of 2012 I was an intern for the Feminist Press, and one of the projects my fellow intern, Sam Huber, was working on was The Riot Grrrrl Collection (which is much of the current zine collection at NYU’s Fales Collection). I became interested in zines and riot grrrl through that project he would help scan, but it was very much after the fact, and in zines as cultural artifacts. At the same time, I was volunteering at Bluestockings, so I was very aware that zines were still a thing people were currently making. Near the end of my term, before I lost my access to NYC for a while because I was cash-poor, I bought The Zinester’s Guide to NYC and through there, I got in touch with Barnard’s zine librarian, Jenna Freedman. For a few weekends, she let me browse the stacks on my days off, and that’s how I became familiar with zines like cocoa puss, slant (now named slander), and pink sugar heart attack. I also read bikini kill and a bunch of old BUSTs from back before it became a glossy (it was way better then!).

Then I started going to mini-zine fests, and that’s how I learned about Kate Wadkins’ work on International Girl Gang Underground, and I started using Twitter and Tumblr around the same time, and I sort of compiled my knowledge of current zinesters, like the Slice Harvester‘s blog. The POC Zine Project was just getting started around that time, and that’s how I learned about current zinesters of color like Osa Atoe, Anna Vo, and Suzy X. Then, one of my friends, Jamie V., (who I only knew via Twitter at that point) posted a submission deadline for Hoax on her feed and I just wrote and sent something out quickly right away. Even though that was accepted right away and I’ve been submitting ever since, it took a long time for me to consider myself a zinester.

I wanted to make my own zines, but there was a certain level of intimidation for me, particularly with laying things out and getting things right aesthetically. I think part of it is just that I’m a huge snob about it and I have a certain expectation about what something I should put out into the world should look like. But part of zine culture that I need to embrace is that imperfectionism. I feel like zines encompass the ethos that it’s more important to put something out there than to deprive the world of it because of fears that it’s not “completely perfect.”  I want to hold myself to that as I continue to work on my zine.

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

In a global sense, I think zine making can inherently be read a feminist project because the ethos of zines is to highlight marginalized narratives that don’t necessarily have an outlet anywhere else. And it seems like a lot of the zines I read prioritize processing and self-care, which I believe are feminist projects in a world where we are told to sacrifice ourselves and not to overthink anything, lest we be categorized as the wrong type of woman. However, I know that motivation doesn’t guide all zine projects (#NotAllZines, amirite) and even zine culture prioritizes bodies that are privileged in our larger culture.

Maybe it’s because of how I was introduced through zines (both riot grrrl and critiques of riot grrrl), or how I started writing in zines, by contributing to a feminist comp zine, but I’ve always thought of my work in zines as feminist because I was both writing as a self-identified feminist and I was always trying to inquire my relationship to liberal white feminism’s dictates of what we should believe (like uncritical sex-positivity, or uncritical recruitment of men in feminist movements). I happen to believe critical inquiry of the status quo is at the heart of feminist praxis.

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

I’m really glad this question was asked because I have so many zine crushes, and one of the things I like about zines is that they’re really intertextual, referencing cultural moments and aesthetics. I really like Osa Atoe’s shotgun seamstress. I really love her collages and use of big, bold block letters. It’s just a really unapologetic; it declares, “I am here.” I am also a huge fan of Suzy X’s Mallgoth series. I like that everything is archival – her old photos, anime sketches, and songs. It reminds me of how important it is to keep that stuff, and it’s a reminder that our histories as women of color are important and deserve to be preserved. I feels like it’s speaking to a lot of different projects, like the fashion blog Of Another Fashion, which archives historical photos of people of color and shatters the idea that only white folks dressed fancy for pleasure and enjoyed their bodies as young people.

There’s also a zine called Methods of Self-Care I may borrow heavily from in terms of formatting. I don’t think it’s a text-heavy zine, but in our TL;DR society most people would probably read it as a “text-heavy” zine. And they use typography as art in a way, using block quotes, etc. I was thinking I might do the same thing too, since my zine will likely be artwork-light this go around (aside from my selfies).

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

It would be a manual can opener, because slow and steady wins the race, and hopefully, once it opens it’s bubbling over with goodness.

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

I don’t know who is tabling at FZF this year, but it’d be great to see a lot of my friends from the zine community, since we all have lives and don’t get to see each other that frequently. I’d like to see Suzy X, since she’s planning on releasing a third issue of her perzine Malcriada, and I’d like to catch up with Rachel and Sari if I can. I also hope Midge Blitz tables again because I really love her feminist crafts, as well as her perzine.

Interview with a Zinester: How Are Your Insides?

Zine creator of How Are Your Insides kindly provided us with this next interview — check out their other work at their Tumblr!

Person standing with arms outstretched overhead and smiling in front of a board stuck with zines.
Person lying with arms outstretched overhead and smiling on a table covered with magazines and clippings.

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

Hi! I’m Sarah, I live in Oakland and I make zines about sexual health (my own, my family’s, my friends’), sexual experiences (bad and otherwise), terrible poetry I wrote in my teens and early twenties, and zines about figuring out myself and my identity through mythology and X-Files. I’m also part of the San Francisco Zine Fest organizing crew, and have run zine making workshops at summer camps, after-school programs, punk fests, zine fests and creative reuse centers!

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

I found my first zine recently and realized that I had made it without knowing what zines were which is weird (it was a collection of poetry that myself and a friend made at school when we were 16 and got other people to contribute to. The poetry is predictably terrible and inspired me to make a zine called ‘Shitty Poems I Wrote Aged 16-18’). I think my biggest influence on making zines was language poetry and how to circumnavigate academia as a way of getting your work out in the world, then finding the zine community in the Bay Area and everything suddenly making more sense!

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

To me, feminist zine-making means starting a conversation and constantly learning. The zines that I’ve been making are mainly about sexual health, sexuality, identity and all those other good things. Making zines about vaginas means you get have to so many interesting, illuminating and general ‘I’m not alone!’ moments with people, and it feels so powerful to make these connections and start these dialogues. From chatting to my Mum about her vagina to high fiving a stranger at a zine fest this past weekend who saw my zine and just shouted ‘VAGINAS!’, it feels like I’m part of an awesome community of people who want to destroy the secrecy and shame that still surrounds so much of our bodies.

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

I feel very lucky to have so many zinester friends who are all constant sources of inspiration because their work is so incredible! I love a good perzine, but also zines about people’s interests and nerdy obsessions!

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

A sieve! I feel like I’m trying to sieve through all the weird crap that happens to me and get to the truth of it at the bottom and then write about it.

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

This is the first time I’ll be tabling on the East Coast so I’m incredibly excited to see everyone else’s work – reading everyone’s bios and checking out their websites has been really inspiring!