First things first:
I got back from Chicago late Tuesday night and I have been playing catch up ever since packing zine orders and making buttons. What’s with all the international orders this week? Croatia, Finland, Norway, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Singapopre. My first thought is that the American dollar must have tanked?
Anyway, Derek Neuland and I took the train from Portland to Chicago and recorded an episode of Noby Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast while we were on the train. We discuss our anticipations and excitment with the sound of train and conductor announcements interrupting us. Listen to it here!
Bree Adorn and Rae Logios met us at the train station holding signs that say “nobody cares about your podcast thingie” and “nobody cares that you are from pdx. Put a bird on it!” We all made our way to Ramsey’s house and met up with Amy Leigh from twelveohtwo distro and then went eat at the Handlebar then I got to crash onto on something that wasn’t a train seat.
Friday we gathered everyone up and headed to the first day of zine fest where we had our first Zine Organizers Event (ZOE)! We had about 20 people talking about organizing zine events and sharing stories. Not a lot of new stuff came out of it and it seems that a lot of people struggling with the same things. It was good to be on the same page. We did start a google group to continue sharing.
After that was the Silver Tongue reading in the other room then the Q&A with Al Burian and Aaron Cometbus. It was interesting to hear what they had to say. I sort of wish they had been giving the questions before so that they could have given more thoughtful answers instead of the multiple blank stares and silences. Oh well. (*edited to say that a Chicago Zine Fest organizer contacted me to say that were informed on the questions ahead of time and that the blank stares and awkward silences were all their own) After that we headed to Earwax for some food then to the big reading. The reading was awesome! It was so diverse in style and I hears a lot people read from their zines that I had never heard before so I was stoked to fine more good zines. I met up with some more friends and met some new friends. I went and grabbed some beer before heading to Quimby’s for zinester karaoke. Zinester Karaoke turned out not to be zinesters reading from other zines 😉 it was just regular karaoke done by zine folks.
Now, I don’t sing karaoke. I have this thing. I have been in real bands and in real bands everyone has the ability to fuck up. With Karaoke, it’s just you. My brain can’t comprehend that.
Before the karaoke there was the Long Arm Stapler award presented by Quimby’s. I was notified a few weeks before that the award was going to Jerianne from Zine World and Zinewiki. Somehow I had been chooses to accept on her behalf because she wasn’t going to be able to make it. I had spoken with Liz at Quimby’s and to Jerianne and I was under the impression that Jerianne was going to call in on Skype to accept the award so I thought I had wriggled out of it. So, there I sat with Eryca and Megan drinking a beer not really thinking about it. Milo and Chris who had accepted the award last year for their works with QZAP were up with Liz reading the nominees. Well, apparently I was nominated for the award and I had no idea, it was nice to hear people cheer when my name was said, but I already knew who the winner was. Then they annouced Jerianne and all of a sudden I got called up to accept the award on behalf of Jerianne! I was mortified! I did not expect it at all. I thought we had it squared away. So, I went up there beet red and stumbled through something about how much Jerianne deserved it and what a resource both Zine World and Zinewiki were. Then I disappeared away to my beer and my phone to send Jerianne and e-mail. Other than that the night was rad. I had some great conversations and had a good time but didn’t get to bed until 3 or 4.
Saturday we all dragged ourselves to the college again. The tabling was split between floors and I had heard I was on the 8th was kind of bummed but then the elevator doors opened and I was met with the glorious sight of Lake Michigan from 8 stories up as really great lighting with windows on 3 sides showing skyline. It was nice and the workshops were on that floor so people had to come up for those anyway. The tabling was pretty busy I think I made it down to the 1st floor twice and still didn’t see everything and only saw about half of the tables on the 8th floor. A few things struck me. There was a lot of people with cassette tapes to trade. I had a bunch of Copy Scams tapes and traded for a lot of mix tapes and original tapes too. There was also a lot of dudes with zines. It was really different than a lot of zine fests where there are lots of ladies. I got a lot of good trades and read them on plane ride home.
That night was the Out Of This World zine (in)formal. I brought the dress that packs easiest but since it was freezing I had to cover up in multiple layers to get to the dace. I had a great time dancing with zine friends and having chats. there are lots of ridiculous pictures that bring back fond memories. I also realized there are a lot of ex-Portlanders in Chicago. I can think of 4 people there who were ex zine symposium organizers.
Sunday I got a new tattoo on the back of my right leg.
The rest of the trip was record shopping, dropping off zines and Quimby’s and eating lots of food. Day by day a new person would leave. On the last day it was just Derek and I. We walked to the Flying Saucer diner and the guy behind the counter was super nice. We mentioned that we were from Portland to which he responded with “Put a bird on it!” it was the first time a stranger had ever done that to me. He also gave us a piece of vegan brownie for free. I guess Chicagoians (is that right?) like people from Portland because last time I was there with Paul the bartenders bought us drinks for being from Portland!
I have a new zine! but I only have a few left. Let me know if you would like one and we can arrange something. I wasn’t sure I would have any after the fest but I have some. they are 1/12th legal and it is just one story that happens between the 9 stories between the office of a divorce lawyer and the ground floor. it’s got my usual photocopier art and instrospective snapshot writing. You can send $1 and a stamp to the address on the side of my blog “while supplies last”
Let’s see what else? We are still looking for a housemate but I’ve sort of decided not to make a decision while Mercury is retrograde. That sounds woo-woo but whatever. I always have frustrating experiences when that happens. We just want to wait for the perfect person and I can hold out a bit longer with my bills so why not?
I have a new zine friend coming to town for a visit next week. I feel like I have sort of template of where to take zine friends but maybe I should start making a multiple choice type form to see what they can do depending on how long they are here. I’ll write more about that later. I just wanted to jot down some thoughts about my trip while they were still fresh in my head. Back to work now!