The Milwaukee Zine Fest (MZF) will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., once again at the Falcon Bowl, 801 E. Clarke St. The event is free to attend and will attract people from all over the country.
During the fest, people buy, sell and trade zines. Most zines sell for $5 or less. Screenprinted posters, T-shirts, stickers, buttons and other DIY items are also for sale.
"Zines are awesome and important," says co-organizer Milo Miller.
Personally, I have always been a big fan of zines, and in previous years conducted a zine-making workshop for kids called "Z is For Zine." This year, we took it to the next level and I, along with my kids and some of their friends, created our own zines to sell or trade at the event.
It is common for zinesters to make zines that are suitable for children, or sometimes zines are made specifically with kids in mind.
My kids, who were looking for a way to make a little money other than via tooth loss or a lemonade stand, created zines about ketchup, another called "The Future of Human Existence" (impressive it all gets boiled down to an eight-page mini zine) and another called "The Life Of A Pig." Creation of the latter zine helped my son process his inner-conflict about loving animals and eating meat.
My partner and I created a 30-page zine called "Nola Love," based on our travels to, research of and passion for New Orleans.
Recently, I caught up with Miller and asked him a few questions. Including, for starters, how would he describe a zine?
OnMilwaukee.com: So, OK, how do you define "zine"?
Milo Miller: I'll refer you to the definitions at the Barnard College Zine Collection website. 'Short for magazine or fanzine, zines are self-publications, motivated by a desire for self-expression, not for profit...'
OMC: What's new this year at MZF?
MM: I think the biggest change is that we've had to cancel the workshops because of the Cream City Collectives (CCC) closing.
Other than that we've got a couple of external great events that will be going on. This year's zine reading on Friday, Nov. 2 will be live broadcasted on Riverwest Radio from 7 to 9 p.m. We're also hosting a dance party where the zine fest organizers will be DJing on Friday night at Public House (815 E. Locust St). Some of the songs to be played will come from ones suggested by zinesters who will be tabling on Saturday.
OMC: I know beer, soda and cocktails are for sale at the Falcon Bowl's bar, but is food available during Zine Fest?
MM: Yes, for the second year in a row, Tess Kenny will host a vegan cafe inside Falcon Bowl during the fest.
OMC: How many people are participating (called "tabling" in the zine world) and how far do people travel to participate in MZF?
MM: We closed table registration on Sunday, and at that time we had 48 folks signed up to come. I anticipate that there will also be a few last minute zinesters and / or people who bring zines and sell / trade them from their backpacks. We've also got folks coming from around the country to table, including California, Pennsylvania and Iowa. I'd say that the fest is getting bigger and better attended by both zinesters and zine fans.
OMC: Other than yourself, who are the organizers?
MM: Chris Wilde, Jess Bubblitz Baumann, Erin Broskowski, Shannon Connor, Joshua Sutton and Rebecca Targ.
OMC: Have zines become more or less popular with the availability of Internet-based information?
MM: I'm not sure about 'popular', but I think that because many distros have gone online and use e-commerce software or Etsy or similar that zines have become more accessible if one is looking for them.
OMC: What zines will you be offering this year?
MM: Personally Chris (Wilde) and I will have a number of zines including "Queers in Stardust and the Spiders from Halifax," "Heavy Mayo and the Condiments of Doom," "Rumpy Pumpy" and "Big Zine, Little Zine."
OMC: How does Milwaukee's zine fest stack up with others around the country?
MM: It's really hard to compare. Each zine fest has it's own personality. Portland Zine Symposium and Chicago Zine Fest are really big. Madison's is almost nonexistent. Twin Cities' is quirky and cute.
I think the Milwaukee Zine Fest is a good reflection of who we are as a neighborhood (Riverwest) and city. We're friendly and smart. We work hard. We're interested in DIY print, rock 'n' roll and beer. Not necessarily in that order.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.