I went to the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend (www.pdxzines.com). Because most of the zines there were reeeeally personal, it was simultaneously awkward, voyeuristic, exciting and inspiring. Mostly, I felt like I had absolutely no kind of etiquette precedent to draw on. The room was filled with crazy energy, and everyone was pretty hyped up. What amazes me most is that people are willing to turn themselves inside out, put their guts on paper, photocopy, illustrate, staple, and then sell the finished "product" to you for a buck. Is this frightening or exhilarating? The answer is both.
Some great stuff I ran across:
* Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman's collaborative zine "Secret Mystery Love Shoes." There are four issues so far; I got #1 on Maria's recommendation. The issue features instructions for decorating with crap, an extensive list of frisbee terminology, and the (often creepy) results of trying to draw cartoon characters solely from memory.
* Androo also gave me a copy of his zine "Cryptozoa," which is filled with single-panel cartoons. He describes these on his Web site as "odd little fictions that squirm around in the recesses of the hidden lives of (mostly) ordinary people." You can see some of the cartoons at www.leekinginc.com/pedxing/cryptozoa/index.htm.
*Old Lady Trading Cards, "Infuriated Squirrels" storybook, fimo-clay "drinky dolls" (they throw one back when you pull a string): these were just a few of the items for sale at the Red Star Art table, featuring art by Alicia Justus, who also (wo)manned the table. I had seen her things for sale at the cafe adjoining the Hollywood Library, then she was on the cover of Portland Tribune's A&E section, Cue. (See www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=19029 for the article and a picture.) She's created an entire wacked-out, old-timey world. She is 26, and has grey in her black, bobbed hair (is the grey real?)
On the PDX Zine Web site -- though I don't know for how long -- is a list of all of the folks who had tables, some with links to Web sites. It's at www.pdxzines.com/tabling.php. Check it out.