Zines + Live Music + Free = THIS WEEKEND



By Jamie

Recently I took a trip with my mom to Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago. As we inspected each other’s stack of goodies, she inquired about the large amount of zine material I had. She was curious as to their production, and had questions about copyright issues and ISBN [holding up a zine issued a number]. She had never read a zine before in her 58 years, but I know now she will be reading several, as I showed her the sections on topics I knew she would be interested in.

Zines are the ultimate form of tangible, immediate mass communication. From the most basic photocopied booklet stapled together to newsprint to hand sewn binding and silk-screened covers, zines are as varied as the people who produce and read them. Sadly, they also suffer from a certain amount of misunderstanding. Zines are often stigmatized as cheap and shoddy, poorly put together tomes of bad high school poetry, fanzines put together as an excuse to get free record albums, or the elitist literature of fringe sub-cultures.

Herein lies the beauty of the zine. There is no such thing as doing one “wrong”, each one is a truly legitimate self-published work. Production is not limited to a certain set of people, there is no set topic or style. There ARE shoddy, poorly put together tomes of bad high school poetry; as well there are journals, fiction, artwork, lists, comics, reviews, guides, interviews, instructional manuals, fan clubs, essays, games – think of anything in the world, and there is probably a zine for it. If there isn’t, the most genius part of zine culture is: when a need isn’t being met, create the publication to meet it! The lack of a niche market and the ease of production make them an amazing tool to bring a truly diverse group of people together.

Jessica Bublitz knows this, so when the Madison Zine Fest was unable to hold the 2007 festival, she contacted Michelle Downer of the Midwest Zine Collective, and along with Milo Miller and Christopher Wilde of the Queer Zine Archive Project, and with the support of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Golda Meir Library, have put together the FIRST EVER Milwaukee Zine Festival.

The weekend will include zines, comics, self-published books and their authors, music, art, discussions, workshops, movies – even some baseball. The event is completely free and is open to any and all who want to come.

Bublitz has been reading, making and collecting zines for over 10 years. She has a collection of over 1000 [700 of which are catalogued] with which will help seed the Milwaukee Zine Library. In addition, her job at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Special Collections in the Golda Meir Library has her specially procuring and archiving zines and comics. Her official title at work is “Zine Queen Bublitz”. She will be releasing issue #2 of The Obsessor [this issue: motel signs!] at the festival.

Jessica and I sat down to talk more about the festival, and we have come up with the Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Go:

10. Meet new people and buy zines, comics and books!

9. Education! Get a tour of the UWM Library’s Special Collections [always free to check out with an ID, you DO NOT need to be a student], make a 48-hour zine, learn about photo-copier tricks, the art of a one page zine, economic issues facing those who put out zines, how to incorporate zines in the classroom, participate in a Queer Zine roundtable, and more.

8. Microcosm Movie Showcase! Featuring:

  • Lubbock, TX by Bill Brown (the home of Buddy Holly makes for some grim trajectories of death) (11 min)
  • United Record Pressing by Joe Biel (where do records come from?) (11 min)
  • Plan it X Trailer by Joe Biel (preview from the upcoming Plan It X Records Feature) (5 min)
  • Martinis in the Bike Lane by Joe Biel (how did all of these artistic
    characters come to mark bike lanes?) (11 min).


The weekend also consists of three solid, diverse FREE all-ages shows, thanks to the Fest organizers and local musician, bike mechanic and Brewers’ mega-fan
Corey Baumann. Many of the band members are also tabling on Saturday. Zines and bands go hand-in-hand as tours provide an excellent way to distribute in towns across the nation and hours in the van of downtime to write.

Visit the Milwaukee Zine Fest page for more information on times and locations.

7. Friday:

6. Saturday:

5. Sunday:

4. Joy Zuccarello from Bitch Magazine and Make/Shift will be hosting a discussion on feminism.

3. See the premiere of “World War 3 Illustrated: America’s Longest Running Political Comic Book” an exhibit curated by local artist Susan Simensky Bietila. This is a retrospective of the last 29 years of

World War 3 Illustrated. The exhibit features more than 50 original works from all over the world of biting political commentary and satire that ran in this comic. This is the first time many of these pieces will have been seen in public since being published in World War 3.

2. Stephen Perkins, Curator of Art at the Lawton Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and zine historian extraordinaire will be leading a discussion titled: “Assembling Magazines & the Death of the Editor”. A true zine academic, Perkins has spent the better part of his life publishing, reading, archiving, writing and talking about zines, art and popular culture.

And the number one reason you should go?

1. It’s free, silly! No really, everything. The shows, the movies, the exhibition, the whole deal. Free.

Visit the Milwaukee Zine Fest page for the full schedule of the weekend’s events.

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