By Anthony Sutton
Zine Fest Houston is a local festival whose goal is to promote microcomics, DIY zines, alternative media, and the small presses. Indie book fest veterans may remember them for their visually eye-catching table display last year.
I interviewed ZFH’s Lindsey Simard to learn more about the organization, their goals for future fests, and what first-timers to the Houston Indie Book Fest should check out.
AS: In reading about Zine Fest Houston there’s clearly a lot of investment in the alternative and DIY media scene. What makes Zine Fest Houston keep coming back to this community?
LS: Zines offer people a chance to express themselves without censorship or restrictions or advertisements of any kind. Zine Fest Houston believes in freedom of expression and encourages people to value their own ideas and creativity. The alternative and DIY media scene values these same things, which is why Zine Fest will keep coming back to this community.
AS: Your website says that in preparation for the 2012 Zine Fest you are working on a “zine featuring samples of zines from Houston.” What inspired this project? Do you have any news you can give us about it?
LS: One of our goals for Zine Fest Houston is to build the local zine scene and form networks with zine creators in other areas. I was inspired to start the compilation project because I wanted a zine that could represent the Houston zine community here and outside of Houston. Right now, we are still in the planning stages for the Houston zine sampler. I can say that I expect many artists/zine creators in Houston to participate in the project. My goal is to include samples from 50 zines.
AS: Something that people who went to last year’s indie book festival remember from your table is the large paper bug you had on display. How did that idea for the display come around? Do you have any unique ideas for this year’s fest?
LS: Last year, our theme was the cockroach (cockroaches remind me of the resilience of print media, the scrappiness of zines, and Houston in general), so it seemed appropriate to have a giant one at our table as a visual summary of what we’re about: creative, offbeat, and underground DIY publications. Also, sometimes people are a bit shy about approaching tables when they attend things like the indie book festival, and I wanted to create a visual ice breaker that would interest people and give them something to talk to us about. This year, I’ll be sure to create something similarly eye-catching for our table.
AS: So this will be my first time going to Indie Book Fest myself. What three things does Zine Fest Houston suggest a first-timer check out at the fest?
LS: It’s hard to pinpoint any three things. I would suggest browsing and then browsing some more. A diverse group of people and organizations have tables at indie book fest, so there are plenty of interesting things for all tastes. Of course, everyone should visit us at the Zine Fest Houston table, check out all of the zines, and say hello!
More information for Zine Fest Houston can be found at http://zinefesthouston.org/