Memphis’ First ZINE FEST at Story Booth
If you’ve never been to the Story Booth inside the Cleveland Street Flea Market you’re truly missing a hidden gem. Last week, Story Booth workshoppers and creatives joined up to celebrate the history (and future) of zine making. Memphis’ first Zine Fest was held at Crosstown Arts on Friday, July 24 from 4-7 pm. Students who studied zines learned to make their own, and featured stories as personal as family life and as far away as other planets, truly embodying the history and spirit of zine culture.
For the uninitiated, zines, short for magazines, are hand or home made copy booklets containing information specific to communities, social issues or even literary genres. They were the original blogs, written and contributed to by those passionate about the particular subjects covered, to share information, educate outsiders, or galvanize political movements. A hallmark of zines was their utility in marginalized communities whose issues were largely ignored by the mainstream or considered too taboo for general media outlets. While some zines were freely passed around or given away, others were modestly priced anywhere from $1-$5.
The Zine Fest featured new creators like Zamoni Walker and Julian Cullen who created very personal zines about themselves, and Curtis Alt who shared classic zines from the deCleyre Lib
rary. Zamoni’s book focused on her and her family while Julian shared health tips on how he uses pressure points to manage his Tourette’s. The amazing deCleyre collection included titles that are still relevant today, such as the Anarchist Panther, Freedom Writer Magazine, and Message to the Black Movement.
While blogging has largely taken the place of zines, their popularity is definitely practical during an era of mass social movements like #BlackLivesMatter as federal laws such as the Patriot Act allow policing agencies to become more and more invasive. In a cl
assic fashion, everything old is new again.
If you missed the festival, you can still check out the zines at Story Booth inside Cleveland Street Flea Market at
438 North Cleveland Street.