This weekend is Brooklyn Zine Fest where all the nerds, hipsters, fanboys and fangurls unite to show off freshly printed copies of their DIY booklets, containing cult connoisseurship, illustrations and comics, and lots of obscure knowledge. Not sure what a zine is? Well.. many still aren’t. That’s kind of the the root nature of the elusive zine and its niche audiences.

A zine is a booklet of any size or shape made independently, and it usually deals in an ultra-specialized, underground, or taboo topic. Zines can be heady or academic, say, a collection of essays on anarcho-feminism; they can be artsy and illustrative, including comic book cats who fight crime or drawings of smiling succulents. They can be serious, silly, educational or simply beautiful. These homemade booklets are a cheap way to publish content and spread ideas and images that might not get expressed were it left up to corporate or even independent publishers. Therefore, zine-making and outlets for zine exhibition put the power of knowledge exchange in the hands of the people.

Honestly, as a previous attendee I know that Brooklyn Zine Fest is overwhelmingly gringo, even though people of color, minorities, and queer communities have BEEN using DIY measures such as zines to tell their stories and share enlightening information left out of traditional avenues. However, there are a sprinkling of Latin@ exhibitors of note at this year’s fest.

I wanted to highlight a few of these exhibitors at Brooklyn Zine Fest but also encourage other [email protected] to start making zines. Imagine the multitude of topics the diverse rainbow of Latinidad could be covering???? In the zines of my dreams, there are zines compiling motivational Selena quotes, zines outlining notes on Xicana feminism, zines documenting our abuelitas use of herbs and natural remedies, and zines assembling pozole recipes.

On that note, please go to this year’s zine fest, get inspired, and start making some zines gente! The event is both on Friday and Saturday, April 25th and 26th, with different exhibitors each day.

Vice Versa Press

As a part of Vice Versa Press, Julia Arredondo is quite a zine-making star. Her zines include ‘Baltimore Break Ups: A Pop-Up Memoir,’ ‘Guide to Being Alone,’ ‘Moving Back Home,’ and a zine all about Corpus Christi (the hometown of Selena, duh). However, my ultimate favorite zine of hers is ‘Guide to Dating Gangsters’ which has two volumes. I can verify having dated my share of what she calls “traditional thugs” that her knowledge of the subject is legit. Her advice is also sagely and discreet: “Please don’t date broke-ass thugs. If he or she got too many kids, got no job, is disrespectful to his or her momma, or is just plain lazy… Keep on Moving. Life is too short and there are too many fine mofo’s out there. Just sayin’.” I feel that.

Exhibiting Saturday April 25th.

Cósmica

All-girl art collective Cósmica is debuting their second zine called ‘Baby Girl Dreams’ this Saturday. ‘Baby Girl Dreams’ is an ode to the teenage creative class, their style, and artistry. Each contributor compiled diary entries, memories, and visual symbols from their youth to summon 90s girl power while allowing the reader to contemplate their own teenage artistic production. In the vein of summoning childhood memories, Cósmica member April Ibarra Siqueiros will also be exhibiting her personal zine ‘Valley of Paradox’ which talks about the multiplicity of historical narratives and her own stories from back when. Additionally, Itzel Alejandra Martinez will be selling her zine ‘Lupes’ – a compilation of photographs taken of the Virgen de Guadalupe during her travels around the Southwest U.S..

Exhibiting Saturday April 25th.

Dave Ortega

El Paso native Dave Ortega is a great mind, illustrating comics that unearth microhistories about colonialism of the Americas, Mexican-American histories, and the stories of his ancestors. His newest zine ‘De Las Casas’ outlines some of the horrific acts of the Spanish conquest and centers on the friar Bartolome de las Casas and his championing of a more humanist approach to Native American relations. He also has zines revolving around stories his abuelita told him about escaping from Mexico during the Revolution. Another zine I picked up last year was ‘Dichos’ an illustrated booklet of proverbs en español. His work is meaningful, and gives a much-need historical perspective in an accessible format.

Exhibiting Sunday April 26th.

Usagi Por Moi

Jannese Rojas, tabling as Usagi Por Moi, has a zine called Friducha where she juxtaposes illustrated elements of her daily artistic life with those of Frida Kahlo. Her white shaggy puppy next to Frida’s xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog, her brick Brooklyn studio and the studio mansion Frida shared with Diego, her sweet treat of creme puffs with Frida’s limes with coconut etc. It’s cute. Check out Friducha and her other zines on Sunday.

Exhibiting Sunday April 26th.

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