Photos by Asia Morris from the inaugural LBZF.
In these uncertain (read: HORRIFYING) times, finding an unfiltered, trustworthy published voice—or hell, even just some escapism—can be problematic. Periodicals range from being owned by mega conglomerates with their own vested interests to being bemoaned as unreliable news sources.
Where’s one to find a truly unfiltered voice? ZINES. The stapled, glued together, DIY publications are back this year at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) with the third annual Long Beach Zinefest (LBZF), a festival celebrating the artform with panels, workshops, music and food, taking place at MOLAA this Sunday, August 6.
“Zines are a reaction to hyper-corporate media,” said Sarah Bennett, one of the founders of LBZF. “With all this ‘fake news’ bullshit, there’s a lot of distrust (in the media). Zines negate that; you have a personal experience with their creator.”
For the uninitiated, zines are, as Bennett says, “snippets of culture, moments in time.” They’re all independent, self-made magazines, freed from the constraints of financial validation. Zines this year cover the gamut of every topic you can think of, ranging from political commentary and social satire to surreal sci-fi comics.
Creators in this year's LBZF hail from every sector of the arts, with writers, artists, poets, photographers, illustrators and musicians present to peddle their wares. Most zinesters will be local, while others will hail from Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, Oakland and even as far as Salt Lake City.
This diversity in creators and subject matter is by design. Bennett says that LBZF organizers make a conscious decision to showcase new talents and new people, with programming geared somewhat to beginners in the medium to encourage a spark of discovery.
“Some spaces in zine culture can seem exclusionary. We are actively considerate in trying to express all the voices that we can,” Bennett said. “Thinking broadly in terms of talent we can showcase is what sets our zine festival apart.”
If you manage to venture to LBZF and zines aren’t your thing, you won’t be at a loss of things to do.
Do crowds and talking to zinesters at their tables sound like an anxiety avalanche waiting to happen? Fret not! In addition to panels and workshops, the free event will feature food from local vendors, music from Long Beach’s very own Rudy DeAnda, and even a reading room for those that want to have a quiet, peaceful experience with their newly traded/purchased zine.
“The power of print is endless,” Bennett said. “It’s a medium that’s not passive. It confronts you, it’s tactile. It's not something you can scroll through and just forget about.”
MOLAA is located at 628 Alamitos Avenue.