A Bright Horizon for Local Zine Culture

corvalliszinelibraryRecently a group of zine (short for magazine) enthusiasts met at Interzone to exchange ideas for collaboration and ways to promote creative expression. The space was packed. The coordinator, Sara Finkle, was happily surprised by how many people were interested in contributing to the zine scene here in Corvallis. Finkle is new to town; organizing this meeting started as a way for her to discover local zine resources. Indiana Laub, a member of the DIY music scene, was also excited to see some traction in this arena.

“I think DIY/underground music scenes, particularly punk and indie, have always been closely tied to zine culture. Making music and making zines are similar in spirit and I’d love to see more local crossover between the two,” added Laub.

Finkle believes that zines are important for generating community support and dialogue. They provide an opportunity for readers to connect with the authors, whether they’ve gone through a similar experience or the topic is something totally unfamiliar to the reader. Because they’re self-made, it’s possible for anyone to share their ideas and address subjects that are often overlooked. Finkle noted, “In the Pacific Northwest, we have the amazing legacy of the riot grrrl movement in the early 90s. Along with the punk music that they were creating, riot grrrls made zines addressing issues that weren’t getting enough coverage in mainstream media: feminism, sexism, queer culture, body image, sexual abuse, mental illness/mental health, and more.”

The collective left Interzone with four goals on the table: starting a zine library, creating a collaborative zine, holding future workshops on making zines and collecting resources for their production, and connecting with other groups in Oregon that are making zines and putting on zine fests. While this feels ambitious, the group had enough buzz to push these ideas forward. The next steps will be starting a zine library at Interzone and working on their first collaborative zine in early January. The initial topic: Corvallis is the type of place where… and you fill in the blank. Every contributor will be asked to submit a one-page answer to this prompt. Finkle is optimistic.

“This will be an opportunity to delve into different people’s takes on this city… hopefully get more people in town familiar with and excited about zines,” she said.

Experience isn’t required. If you’ve got something to say about Corvallis, or anything else for that matter, your voice is welcome. “I think it’s going to bring out a lot of creativity in people who might not have known that these communities exist here,” Laub said.

For more information about how to get involved with the collaborative zine project, or about zine resources around Corvallis, check out the Corvallis Zine Library Facebook group.

 By Anika Lautenbach