Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Edmonton Small Press Assocation & the North of Nowhere Expo present...

two films about D.I.Y. zine culture...

Living Room Documentary: Info-shops and a Space-Based Culture of Resistance, SEPT. 19 @ 7PM @ Metro Cinema (Main Floor, Zeidler Hall, Citadel Theatre) 9828 101A Ave.
$100 and a T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines in the Northwest US, SEPT. 19 @ 8:30PM @ Metro Cinema (Main Floor, Zeidler Hall, Citadel Theatre) 9828 101A Ave.

Both films are suggested donation of $8 each, and free to low-income. Youth/students highly encouraged to attend!

Living Room Documentary: Info-shops and a Space-Based Culture of Resistance
We live in a society where public places that people feel like they are an active part of and can use for non-economic purposes are increasingly rare. Public spaces where people can go in order to feel like a part of acommunity and to participate in creating a transformational culture of resistance to the dominant society are even more rare. One exception to this general scarcity of alternative public spaces is the emergence of Infoshops in urban centers across the world. Infoshops are community spaces that facilitate access to traditionally marginalized information while providing a physical space for people to build creative projects of resistance to current forms of destruction and domination. Six U.S. infoshops are featured in the film: the Lucy Parsons Center in Boston, Breakdown Book Collective & Community Space in Denver, Jane Doe Books in Brooklyn (RIP), the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, The Back to Back Worker-run Caf in Portland, OR, and the Wooden Sho in Philadelphia.The film interrogates the importance of place and space in relation to daily life in urban areas, the creation of activist movements for social change, the decline of public, non-commercialized space, ways that privilege and oppression are manifest physically in space, and ways in which people participate in place-making exercises. A good primer for zine geeks and novices alike.


$100 and a T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines in the Northwest US
The folks at Microcosm Publishing in Portland, Oregon bring us a much needed film on the underground culture of zines (pronounced "zeens"). This documentary is a cultural analysis of what causes zine makers to tick - what the hell zines are, why people make them, their origin, the resources and community available for zine makers, and the future of zines. Interviews with about 70 zine makers, ex-zine makers, and readers from the northwest, and featuring footage of the Portland Zine Symposium bringing zine culture to life. An original documentary culled from over 64 hours offootage for people with a new interest in zines as well as pros and novices. The video sparks untapped creativity and new interest into zine making and reading. Artwork by Cristy Road and music by J Church and Defiance, OH! Collaborators include Rev. Phil Sano, Basil Shadid, Nickey Robo, and Joe Biel. "Valuable as a peek inside the subculture or as a guide of sorts, this video documents the Portland zine scene and its inhabitants. Zines are so readable because the subject matter isn't dumbed down for you, homogenized by the filters of a corporate culture or edited by anyone other than the creator herself. You're getting the info (or diary or opinion) straight from the horse's mouths. Except these horses are independent publishers who don't stand to make a dime on their efforts. Your first question might be "Why bother?" and that's what this documentary asks, both of the creators and of the cultural historians who are compiling a library/workshop by and for the zine scene. The closest thing to an answer may be the DIY aesthetic that launched the punk movement in the '70s: because they can, and without the interference, ass kissing, and frustration more conventional writers face to be heard. Why write obituaries and shit local interest stories for a newspaper for 5 years to earn a byline on a story you're passionate about? Sidestep the corporate red tape, write what you want, and publish it yourself. Most zines cost $1 to $2, and that covers labor, printing, construction, and distribution. Profit? Not likely, at least not in the traditional sense. There's some debate early on as to what constitutes"selling out". One creator draws the line at selling ads; another thinks that anything that can be done to facilitate the printing and distribution of a zine is perfectly OK. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the passion and dedication of these folks is undeniable. Can most of us say that about our work? As hobbies go, zine creation is both fulfilling and grueling. Distribution is as a dicey proposition as creation, often yielding no cash but plenty of gratification. Like the most big-budget documentaries, $100 inspires curiosity and interest. Shot and edited in the same DIY spirit as the zines it covers, this is a winner." - Chimpanzee "Early in this documentary about zine culture, Moe Bowstern of the zine XtraTuf describes the experience of bringing zines onboard a working boat. "My skipper said 'I could do a zine!'" says Bowstern. "You just write about what you did today and what you ate and put a recipe in there and then you write about your bike and then you write about stealing something!" Bowstern goes on to say that the skipper wrote something for the publication Pacific Fisherman which paid him $100 and a t-shirt. "And I said, 'Fred, if I give you a shirt and a hundred bucks, will you write for me too?'" The skipper argues that zines aren't real writing. He's the only nay sayer in this hour survey of zine culture in Portland, OR. As the documentary unfolded, I thought it would make perfect viewing for people like the skipper or my mom; people who don't understand the whole concept. But by the end I was questioning why it had been so long since I had made a zine myself. The DVD is organized into chapter headings that cover topics like Who Makes Zines? and How Are Zines Distributed? But this isn't really a how-to guide; more like a celebration. The filmmakers were smart to focus on the Portland scene. The point isn't to tell the comprehensive story of zines, even the story of zines in Portland. But by selecting such a slender piece of the pie, this [talkie] hasn't made me full but rather hungry for more pie. Surely the hunger is the point; to go out and create and search on my own, not just to be content with living vicariously by watching people on a DVD. Like a good zine, the documentary is high quality (the video and audio are top notch with smart music and graphics) without being slick. Mostly this is a film of talking heads talking about themselves, their work, and the bigger picture. It's good to see zines getting the same documentary treatment that music has long received. A few stories are illustrated by "dramatic recreations", that are surprisingly charming, not annoying. The credits note that this production was assembled using only borrowing materials - verycool indeed." - Punk Planet #73

North of Nowhere Expo: Multidisciplinary Festival of Independent Media & Underground Art, Sept. 16-30, 2007 (Various Locations in Edmonton)

MORE INFO: (780) 434-9236 /

No comments: