Any self-respecting riot grrrl, art kid or street punk has probably bought or made a zine before, but this December, Wasted Ink Zine Distro is opening up a zine store to bring this scene out of the underground.
For those who don't know what a "zine" is, here’s the working definition: A zine is an independently produced publication, usually tied together with some sort of theme and conveniently organized into a little booklet (pro tip: it’s short for magazine, so it’s pronounced the same way).
Co-owner of Wasted Ink and creator of B-Sides Magazine Marna Kay said store will have a zine library that will be accessible to the public by appointment or on weekends, and a selection of small publications for sale, with a different zine highlighted every month.
Kay said there will also be a small gallery space for art shows to be held in the shop as well.
“We want it to be a cool little kick back area for people to come and hang out,” Kay said. “I want it to cater to everyone, not just zinesters.”
Kay said that while she hopes the store will generate more interest in zines, she doesn’t want them to lose their underground nature.
“That’s what makes them so special,” Kay said. “I don’t ever want them to be mainstream, because then it loses it’s magic. … They’re meant to be very independent.”
Kay said the main benefit of zines is the creative control it allows the publisher.
“It’s not censored,” Kay said. “You can write about whatever you f----ing want, and it can be an extremely personal thing for no one else, or you can adhere to an audience.”
Kay’s business partner Charissa Lucille agreed that zines give voice to the individual and allow for a much more intimate publication.
“The diversity of them is what I love,” she said. “When you find (someone’s zine), it’s like, that’s a piece of them and they put their love and their care in it, and they made it with their own time and their own money. ... It’s super authentic.”
Lucille said she became interested in making zines during college when she felt she was lacking creativity, which gave rise to Fem Static Zine, a collaborative feminist publication.
“Everyone who’s published — it’s like a snippet of themselves,” she said. “It’s just about every single person’s own idea of how they want to be represented. I think that’s sort of special.”
Edward Parker Bolman, who is contributing zines to the shop, said he has been making zines since fourth-grade, and has stuck with it because independent publication frees him from having to bend to any particular market.
“They are a bastion of free speech in America,” he said. “But the problem is … the huge interest in zines tends not to translate into individual zines themselves. The little voices are heard on mass, but not individually.”
Wasted Ink Zine Distro is seeking to change that perspective in Arizona, and also plans to hold a Phoenix zine fest at The Icehouse next year to generate more interest.
However, zinesters like newcomer Dale Cooke seems to agree that regardless of how many people buy them, what makes zines worthwhile is the intimate creative experience and freedom they promote.
“As long as you’re breaking even, it’s worth it,” Cooke said. “Even if you’re investing your own money, and you’re losing money with each one, it’s still worth it. You’re getting your message out there.”
Wasted Ink will hold a grand opening on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live music, coffee, pastries and plenty of zines.
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