Mariam Bastani is a first gen of Mexican and Persian decent, and the current Senior Coordinator of Maximum Rocknroll magazine, the longest running international punk fanzine in the world. Much of her writing in MRR deals with the relationship between ethnicity and culture in punk subculture regarding language, identity politics, imagery and sound. Playing in punk bands since she was fifteen, zines have had an active role in Mariam’s life because of their integral part of punk.
Her first exploration into zine making came in form of a collaboration with her band Condenada, an all woman, part queer, part POC, multilingual band.
DOWNLOAD a track from Condenada: Despierto en el Sol (right click and select “save link as” to download)
Mariam is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with BA in Religious Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, a degree she obtained at the age of 30. Before moving to San Francisco, Mariam lived in Chicago for over a decade booking shows, playing and touring with her bands, participating in the organization of Clitfest Chicago 2008, putting out records, involved in community outreach and immigration activism, helped to organize a women’s “rock lotto”, been part of several punk and women in music panels and was most recently seen in the documentary From the Back of the Room by Casey Oden about women in punk.
Along with coordinating MRR, Mariam writes for various projects and sings in her current hardcore punk band Permanent Ruin.
Here is what Mariam had to say about joining the POC Zine Project tour:
I am very honored to be part of this project because of the accessibility and anonymity of zines particularly during this time when privacy is scarce and the tracking of our every move is the norm—self-imposed or otherwise. The fact that anyone—anyone—can make a zine is the most important aspect for me.
My interaction with zines has always been through punk. Punk and DIY are inseparable so naturally zines have been part of this subculture since the beginning. In punk, most POC have been written about while zines by POC are not organized by subject or interest, but that they are written by POC, losing a very important aspect of intersectionality valuable to POC who are looking for their history and voices in this particular medium. It’s time for us track our own history in zine culture beyond punk before we get cataloged by others and, essentially, lost.
Even though zines are largely seen as either a literary art form or as a “music thing,” imagine the transformative nature that zines could have in all aspects of our lives? The power of narratives being read straight from the pens of those living them with out fear of persecution within and outside of their own community, or, inversely, the recognition of a POC voice within their community and power lying in the ease in which a zine can be created—we don’t need anyone’s publishing money, we don’t need anyone’s approval.
This isn’t about being “legit” or respected by outsiders looking in. It’s about us, POC, and this is one of the mediums in our arsenal of weapons. Bring it.
Community: Mariam will be participating in these tour dates: Sept 30 - Oct 4 (out of Sept 24 - Oct 7). Please help her offset the cost of participating in this tour by purchasing her zines, music and spreading the word about the tour.
MORE RACE RIOT! TOUR MEMBER BIOS
More coming soon!
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