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INTO THE NIGHT / MARK EHRMAN

Adventures in the 'Zine Zone

December 06, 1993|MARK EHRMAN

The Scene: Saturday night at the Park Plaza Hotel for 'Zine Scream!--a gathering of voices from the far-flung fringes of free-expression. The event was "a celebration of 'zinedom and alternative publishing," according to Rodney Sappington, executive director of A.R.T. Press, which hosted the event along with Factsheet 5 ("The definitive guide to the 'zine revolution") and Filmforum. It was also a way to raise money for A.R.T. Press, which, through its Emerging Works In Print program, provides grant money to people who are creating " 'zines and 'zine-like publications."

Who Was There: 'Zine publishers and distributors from all over, who came to trade tips and ideas. There were also dozens of regular folks curious enough to seek out the extremes of information, because, as Seattle transplant Patrice Janda put it, "It makes me realize that people have interesting things to say that they didn't get from ABC, NBC or CBS."

Contents of Tables: Hundreds of 'zines were laid out on tables in the lobby, plus T-shirts, mugs and the show's artistic highlight: a gigantic bust of JFK with the back of his skull missing. While many 'zines hewed to the music/comics/poetry formula, more ventured far into such serious 'zine zones as Mouth: The Voice of Disability Rights, sort-of-serious ones like Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader, and such subcultural mouthpieces as that indispensable guide to cross-dressing, Dragazine.

Best 'Zine Titles: Betty and Wilma; I Amy Carter; and Feh: A Journal of Odious Poetry.

Entertainment of the Non-Printed Variety: Master/mistress of ceremonies and drag queen about town Ms. Vaginal Creme Davis was the charming guide to the evening's festivities, which included a screening of short films weird enough to be worthy of a 'zine-fest. This was followed by readings and performance pieces by Bang! Manifesto, Michael Carr, Tammy Rae Carland, Danny Babcock, Catherine Liu, Jula Bell and edge-fiction author Dennis Cooper, and sets by rock bands Bean, Spindle, and Bob Sled.

Best Answers to "What Purpose Do 'Zines Serve in Society?": "They're an opportunity to present our twisted view to the masses." (P.J. Galligan, HALF-TRUTH) . . . "Toilet paper, personal diary and collection of society's hippest and most crucial concepts." (Darby Romeo, BEN IS DEAD) . . . "I wouldn't say all people are ordinarily mass murderers, but they are frustrated in their daily lives and need a healthy outlet for their pent-up feelings." (Seth Friedman, FACTSHEET 5) . . . "An alternative to the L.A. Times." (Paula Hess, SPAZZ)

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