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SF Zine Fest in Review: Best of the Lo-Fi Set!

By Harriet Staff


San Francisco Zine Fest took place this weekend! Known as the Bay Area’s “Premiere Zine Festival,” Sam Lefebvre of SF Weekly provided us with this fantastic wrap-up and one heck of a factoid-fact about Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, V. Vale, and Search and Destroy Magazine!

Although the Internet provides a platform for anyone to easily ponder and pontificate to a potentially limitless audience, many self-publishers still prefer to do so in print. Some create zines. Small runs of printed pamphlets bound, stapled, or paper-clipped together and distributed via sympathetic small retailers and gatherings, zine culture perseveres in 2013. Even as the word “zine” is erroneously applied to more and more blogs, advocates of the physical version gathered over the weekend for the San Francisco Zine Fest. This year, the summit for micro-press devotees drew over 140 vendors to the San Francisco County Fair building in Golden Gate Park. It featured comic book artists, book publishers, and peddlers of assorted DIY goods. There were zine guides to parenting, gardening, dating, bicycling, composting — but all “radically.” Many zines detailed personal experiences with navigating subcultures and overcoming adversity from feminist and politically radical perspectives. Though zines focused specifically on music were in the minority, we bought a handful to feature here.

Re/Search founder V. Vale is a fixture of the Bay Area small press. In 1977, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg sponsored his first issue of Search and Destroy, a fanzine committed to documenting the nascent punk scene and subversive art. The zine evolved into Re/Search, which feverishly championed industrial music and its associated “modern primitive” culture. Fold-out, tabloid-sized zines with excellent photographs by artists like Bruce Conner, Monte Cazzazza, and Ruby Ray alongside in-depth interviews, Vale’s table boasted complete runs of the early printings, plus anthologies and newer titles from his publishing house. One box of ephemera held out-of-print books published in Germany on Survival Research Laboratories. SRL was a San Francisco performance art group led by Mark Pauline best known for creating machines to battle each other as violent allegories for global politics.

Read the rest of Lefebvre’s wrap-up at SF Weekly.

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.