I Went to the NYC Feminist Zine Fest and All I Got Was An Awesome Time

NYC music festivals make me cranky, but throw a book or zine fest and I’m there like it’s my job.  Like the NYC Feminist Zine Fest,  organized by Kate Angell, a reference librarian at Sarah Lawrence College;  and Elvis Bakaitis, a Brooklyn cartoonist and future librarian. This year they put together a soiree of  feminist writers and zinesters motivated by the slew of sexual assaults and a desire to showcase feminist artists and zinesters.

Kate Angell, co-organizer of NYC Feminist Zinefest photo via For the Birds Collective flickr page

In describing their affinity for zines, the organizers write:

There’s just something about the immediacy and expressiveness of a little printed booklet, smudged with printer’s ink or photocopy errors. It’s like a small, pocket-sized emissary of ideas, one who will eagerly come with you on a long train or bus ride, and share its hidden tales.

They are also cheap, easy to make and distribute, and allow for control over your medium and expression. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re pretty into zines.

Feminists Flock to Zines

In addition to the goods for sale, there was a zine reading! Which was both interesting and a wonderful opportunity to scope out future feminist best friends and lovers. (Hey-o!)

The reading of the zines

I learned so many things! For example: the Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection, which is accepting donations and in particular would like to know:

Do you know of any zines which explore, document or narrate the immigrant experience? Can you recommend zines that look at national identity, nationhood, diasporas, mobility, citizenship or belonging? We are seeking more zines that explore these issues–in any language–for our BCL zine collection. If you have a recommendation, please leave a comment here on on our contact page or email zinecollection (at) brooklyn (dot) cuny (dot) edu

So that’s rad.

My taste is for overtly political material, so I’ll share some of my favorite zines from the fest, but be sure to dig around on the list of everyone who tabled because there were lots of other types of writers and artists represented. Greeting us at the door was The Lesbian Herstory Archive, home of the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. You can take a virtual tour of their stuff too!

Tabling for the Lesbian Herstory Archives

A familiar name at the fest was For the Birds Collective, which I first learned about at the Anti-Valentines Day Riot Grrrl Cover Show a few years ago where they were tabling. They had lots of goodies, including The Worst which is a collection of stories of grief and loss, and Reclaiming Our Ancient Wisdom, a guide for practiced herbalists and midwives to better serve the women of their communities.

My favorite discovery was Ours to Tell, a compilation of abortion stories. Elizabeth, the editor of the project, writes:

We have the right to live in our own bodies. We have the right to love on our own terms. We have the right to sovereignty, respect, and equality.We have the right to decide our own fate. Tell your story.

And then I bought a broach from Fight Boredom Distro made by Amber Forrester, self proclaimed queer weirdo from Montreal. Mine says “Slut” but this one is charming too, no?

photo from fight-boredom.com

Last but not least was the Heels on Wheels Roadshow, a queer performance-art cabaret encouraging everyone to Live the Dream.

I have yet to see them perform, but I feel it is something I would like very much. And they’re on tour now, so why don’t you find out?

All in all, quite the eventful afternoon at the NYC Feminist Zine Fest, with lots of feminist fighters for social justice, librarians, and queers out for good reads and art! Check out the blog for the fest for artist profiles, and maybe spend some time working on a zine of your own today.

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Jamie lives in Boston and is currently a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a freelance writer and also a team associate for the Boston chapter of Hollaback!.

Jamie has written 79 articles for us.

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    The college I’m going to next year makes a semesterly zine focusing on female sexuality, and it’s fucking awesome. It was actually one of the deciding factors in my going there…I’m so pumped to work on it!

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