Thursday, December 10, 2015

Local Spotlight - Omaha Zine Fest

A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that a local zine fest was going to happen right here in Omaha. Being zinester myself, I felt it was only right that I interview the people involved in setting up the fest is happening on March 12th, at 1316 Jones.  Here is the interview:

Alright, introduce yourselves...

Hi! We’re Andrea, Daphne and Kaitlan! We’re the coordinators of Omaha Zine Fest.  Kaitlan is a soon-to-be lawyer, currently waitressing and generally, kicking ass. She’s also a super talented visual artist and organizer.  Daphne works in the mental health field and is a student at UNO. She’s also a dope poet and artist.  Andrea is a writer and reporter. She’s hoping to make some changes in the journalism world.  We’re three dope women with a passion for zines and zine culture, essentially!

How did the idea of a local zine fest come about?  Any inspirations?  

Well, OK, so we were sitting around one day and was thinking about how much we really love buying, reading and exploring zines BUT where the heck do we go and do that in Omaha. The answer is, sadly, not really anywhere. Omaha doesn’t have a centralized zine community like a lot of other cities do. So, we want to create that community for people. We want to take zine making out of the privacy of homes and empower the masses to print, cut and create and share their ideas. That was the initiative for starting the fest. We’ve visited fests in KC, Chicago and Minneapolis which have really helped inspire us. 

What are the short term goals for having Omaha Zine Fest?  Long term?  What are your expectations going in?

Short term goals: make this fest absolutely amazing and get people excited about zines. 
Long term: cultivate a community for zinesters and other creative types across the state. Our expectations are high! We really hope people love this event and are excited to be a part of it, because we are too.

Is Omaha Zine Fest geared towards a specific creative audience?  Feminist, gender issues, sex/relationships, social injustices, politics, eco awareness?

The fest is geared to be inclusive of everyone. It’s not a politically motivated venture at all, though zines do often have political content. We just want to gather Nebraskan thinkers and creators in one room and see what cool projects come from it. If anything, we’re radical about inclusion. 

Are there any zine projects currently in the works with the Omaha Zine Fest crew?  If so, can you briefly elaborate on them?

Some goofy stuff. Andrea is making a self-care guide for people with obsessive compulsive disorder as well as a Q&A about the menstrual cycle. Kaitlan is finally going to finish a zine of doodles and nonsense that she has been putting off for two years. Daphne’s making an art flip book and a zine about food.

What are your 3 favorite things culture wise about Omaha?  Where do we have room for growth? Are there any solutions?  

Omaha has a really vibrant music scene and a thriving arts community. Lots of creative and talented people live here. However, people here are modest. They create to share with their friends, their immediate circle, and then often, assume no one beyond that cares. We want to encourage people to share with each other outside of that.

Will children/students have an opportunity to exhibit their talents at the zine fest?

Yes! We plan to have a zine workshop geared specifically toward children at the beginning of the fest. Kids will be able to make their own zine pages and then the zines will be printed and available by the end of the day. 

How can someone become a sponsor for Omaha Zine Fest?

Send us an email! You don’t have to give money. We will take anything. We are NOT profiting off this event. Any money or donations we receive will go directly back to the fest. We also have an indiegogo page with some pretty ridiculous perks.  

Does Omaha Zine Zest have any intentions to sponsor events to build a larger public awareness?

Yes! We’ve already done a benefit show at West Wing, which went really, really well. We’re planning another benefit show at Milk Run, a bingo night at Brother’s, and a mini-fest at Petshop. Stay tuned to our Facebook page or website for more updates.

Will there be workshops, public speakers, celebrity zinsters at Omaha Zine Fest?

Yes, we have a few zine workshops planned and are in contact with some experienced zinesters to present at the fest. We plan to bring in Adam Gnade, the author of “The Do It Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckkin' Sad,” to give a talk about zines and zine making and his general history. We’ll also be having a talk on zine history. We’re adding workshops and talks all the time so if you have suggestions, shoot us an email!

Does the Omaha Zine Fest crew offer any printing/zine building opportunities leading up to the 
fest for those without access to do so?

Yes! We are offering an application for free zine printing for those who need it. This can be accessed on our application.

If you can be trapped on a desert island with any writer past or present, who would it be?  Why?

Daphne: I would pick Isaac Asimov for sure.
Kaitlan: Dunno I hate the beach.

OK that's it!  Any parting words or shoutouts?

Shout out to KC Zine Con and especially Jess Hogan for all of their help getting our feet on the ground. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to start this in the first place. The community support has been amazing.  Special thanks to all the bands, venues and community members are that generously donating their time and resources to helping us raise funds to put on the fest.  We’re so grateful to be putting on the fest in a community that is supportive of the arts and DIY. 

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