Wonder Women: Unleashing the Power of The Adventure School for Ladies

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Photo: Faith Choi

Women are 5.3 times more likely to appear naked in a book than be paid to work on one, according to research by comics scholar and author Anne Elizabeth Moore.

Moore wants to improve the depiction of women in comics, and to create more opportunities for women in comics. For the two weeks leading up to the first Chicago Alternative Comics Convention (CAKE), she put on the second year of the Adventure School for Ladies comics intensive, a small collaborative program open to applicants of all genders that hosted eight individuals this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Weathering the Storm: How the Chicago Underground Library rises, again and again

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Comfort Station Pop-Up Library

By Elizabeth Kossnar

For any other organization, having a Chicago blizzard wreak havoc on a collection of zines and other periodicals, suffering an occurrence of flesh-eating bacteria and moving from one space to another four times or so may be the end-all, but not for the Chicago Underground Library (underground-library.org). In fact, not only do they use their situations to their advantage, but they find the humor in their misfortune. The dioramas of their previous locations made by local artists celebrate the number of occupancies they’ve had, and their upcoming fundraiser at Beauty Bar will make a mockery of winter with a wintry theme on June 24. While CUL is still looking for a new permanent location after the aforementioned blizzard rendered their last home unlivable, they decided to make their collection mobile with “Structurally Sound,” a Pop-Up Library series that focuses on the specific neighborhood in which the exhibit is located. Although this destiny is not what CUL would have imagined for itself, CUL’s executive director Nell Taylor explains that this project consistently forces them to “think about our collections in new ways.” Read the rest of this entry »

411: Revenge of Print, Take 2

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Photo: Ramsey Beyer

Last October, Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago and Baltimore’s Atomic Books set a challenge for 2011: no less than the Revenge of Print, a glorious return to old-fashioned ink and paper in defiance of a world that amuses itself by betting on when print media will finally roll over and die.

With the 2nd Annual Chicago Zine Fest (chicagozinefest.org) March 25-26, payback time has arrived. The two-day celebration of independent publishing features events at Quimby’s, 826CHI and Columbia College, an exhibition of more than 200 zinesters’ works, and workshops on everything from book binding to how to make it as a full-time artist. Highlights include a discussion with popular self-publishers Al Burian and Aaron Cometbus and a DIY Film Festival curated by the Gababout Film Festival’s Eric Ayotte. All events are free and open to the public. Read the rest of this entry »

411: The Zine Scene

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Zines, often relegated to a tiny shelf in most bookstores like a footnote or a last-second addendum, are taking center stage this weekend as four Chicagoans put on the first ever Chicago Zine Fest. “We went to the Milwaukee Zine Fest and were surprised by how many Chicago people went up for that,” says co-organizer Matt Czerwinski. “It planted the idea to have one in Chicago.” The fest will kick off this Friday with a reading at Quimby’s which features “King Cat” author John Porcellino along with Anne Elizabeth Moore, Jeffery Brown and five zinesters who were selected by random lottery. There will also be a zine-related art opening at Johalla Projects Friday night, which will conclude with a screening of the Gadabout Traveling Film Festival. Friday’s events, aside from entertaining, attempt to start a dialogue between zinesters and the public. “We tried to figure out a way to get people talking to each other and get zinesters meeting each other. That’s a drawback of zine fests that we saw,” says Czerwinksi. “A lot of times you don’t meet anyone, but that’s why these events exist.” More info can be found at chicagozinefest.org. (Peter Cavanaugh)

The Dark Side: Kilter brings Goth back into the world

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Tonight provides us a glimpse of what the future could be—a world where Goths and non-Goths mingle at death-metal shows and fetish demonstrations.

Here, on a rainy Thursday night at Quimby’s, Goths (and a sprinkle of non-Goths) have gathered to celebrate the birth of Chicago’s newest Goth zine, Kilter. These zine-fiends are inspired and invigorated by the DIY-spirit of zine-making and shove nothing but support in the direction of Kilter creators (and newlyweds) Jennifer Anne Buckley and Peter Propaganda.

“We see Kilter,” explains Buckley, “as a vehicle to expand and promote the Gothic scene at large.”

Kilter’s coming-out party is no creepy séance, but a gathering of friends and like-minded folks who are excited about reaching out to other people with an interest in dark music, dark art and the overall dark aesthetic. And although it’s always rough stuff in the unstable world of the zine, Kilter might be hitting the streets at the perfect time.

“First they said Goth was dead. Ten years later, we are waiting for the next Tim Burton movie to come out and Gothic books are flying off the shelves,” points out Propaganda.

Nyx, a writer of erotica and Kilter contributor, echoes such sentiments. “So many designers are going gothic now,” she explains. “Ed Hardy, for example, is gothic with a twist. You see the stuff everywhere, and we were wearing that stuff years ago.” (Meaghan Strickland)