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.
It’s hard to think of anything in theory more antiquated than the zine, idiosyncratic creations that largely rely on Xerox, snail mail and, yes, plenty of ink and paper. But Ramsey Beyer, who co-founded the festival, reports a remarkable surge of interest in this year’s event: the number of exhibitors has more than doubled since last year, and table space sold out within three weeks of registration opening. With zinesters flying in from as far as New Zealand, “We’re pretty overwhelmed with the response we’ve gotten,” Beyer says.
Emboldened by the Revenge of Print challenge, Kate Patterson of Logan Square decided to resurrect a zine she published in the nineties called Psycho Blondes. Her new issue, which debuts at the fest, is inspired by the unexpected deaths of some close friends and features pieces by a number of contributors. “Some of it is actually pretty funny,” she says, adding, “I work a desk job, but the zine is my passion.” (Benjamin Rossi)
March 25, 2pm-11pm at Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 South Wabash; 826CHI, 1331 North Milwaukee, (773)772-8108; Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 West North, (773)342-0910. March 26, 10am-5pm at Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 South Wabash.