POC ZINE PROJECT

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Let’s Talk About: Zines In The Classroom—Pros and Cons

EDIT2: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand" [DESCRIPTION: Liana Velazquez and her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand” at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy]

Words and photos by Liz Mayorga, POCZP West Coast Coordinator

I met Liana Velazquez while working at KIPP: San Francisco Bay Academy, a charter school. Liana came in to enroll as a 5th grader. She was shy, but her eyes did not miss a detail. She studied the office as well as the people in it. I soon learned that Liana was not normally reserved. She had just moved to San Francisco from Cuba. Liana was about to start school in a new country, where everything - especially the language - felt foreign. She suffered in school because of the language barrier. Not only did she have a hard time understanding the lessons, but she felt alienated from her classmates. Liana spent a lot of time in the office, where I tutored her. I translated some of her assignments and helped her with her English.

Three years have passed. In that time, I have witnessed Liana’s curiosity and persistence grow even more.  

This year, it came through in her writing. Her eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Patrone, encouraged her to continue writing as many stories as possible. He had his students keep a journal, and Liana’s was filled with a series of short stories (both fictional and personal). Patrone and I are good friends, so I always ask him about the kids. He was happy to tell me about Liana’s progress. “It would be awesome to see her and the other kids push their creativity. See where it will take them,” he said.

We brainstormed ways in which to encourage creative freedom, while following the school’s curriculum. I suggested zines. Patrone agreed that a zine workshop would be a perfect way to end the school year, so after the students finished their CSTs, he assigned a zine project. I came in a once a week (for the last three weeks of school) to look through the student’s work and give them feedback. I was impressed by everyone’s projects. They wrote book reviews, song lyrics, created amazing visual art, and told stories about the things that mattered to them. Even the kids who were “too cool” to care became interested in their assignment.

I asked Patrone if I could give one of these kids a zinester spotlight. He checked with the administration to make sure it was okay, and then he told me to look at Liana Velazquez’s zine. I was not surprised to know her zine was phenomenal. What did surprise me was how much her creativity had flourished in such a short amount of time.

Patrone and I set some time aside for me to interview Liana about her zine. Our interview took place on Friday, May 24, 2013.

THE MAKING OF ‘DIFFEGUAJIRA MIXRAND’ ZINE

Liana Velazquez embraces both languages, Cuban Spanish and English, and after three years of living in the United States, dealing with language barriers, and feeling out of place, Liana has gained the confidence she needs to let her creativity shine through.  Liana writes stories about love, family, and her ever-changing identity. 

Her final 8th grade English assignment was to create a zine, and it proved to be the perfect platform to portray the world, as rich and complicated as she sees it.

She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand,” and she explains: “Diffe stands for different and where I grew up guajiros are really humble (people). They’re poor, but they’re always going to give something to you. You can always trust them, and they’re my people – the people I grew up with.”

Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: The cover of Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Each letter in the title forms a symbol. “Here I drew a little boat,” she points to the D, “because that’s what my dad really likes. He doesn’t have that anymore, since he lives here. We used to live by the ocean, and in Cuba, the ocean is beautiful.” Liana dotted the “I” with a candle light. “The candle protected us from the mosquitos,” she said. She looks at the “A” in “Mixrand,” which resembles a butterfly’s wing and says “The butterfly I put there because my mom loves them. I wanted to represent both my parents. And this…” She points to the bottom of the cover, “This is the address of the house I grew up in. I never forgot it. I forget a lot of stuff, like I forget names, and I always forget my address here, but I never forgot my address in Cuba.”

EDIT: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand" 

[DESCRIPTION: “Broken Ears,” from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Liana combined all of the things that make up her identity and the daily challenges that come with love, family, and acclimating to a new country as young woman. When Liana first attended KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, she spent her lunchtime in the office, turning to the only people in the school who spoke Spanish - the custodian, the secretary, and her bilingual peers – to translate her assignments for her. Communication was a struggle.

But three years later, Mr. Patrone (the eighth grade teacher), asked Liana and her classmates to write in their composition books every day, and Liana was surprised to see how much she had to say.

“At first, I thought it was too much,” Liana says. “I have all this homework and then I have to write, and I was afraid I couldn’t handle it. But then I got into it. I started writing down things, and I showed it to my cousin. She thought it was good. I showed it to Mr. Patrone and he encouraged me to write more. And I couldn’t stop. I wanted to keep writing. I would stay up late, until 1, 2, 3 in the morning, but it was worth it.” 

EDIT: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: “My Admiration is touch,” from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Even though Liana already had a love for words and storytelling, this zine project proved to be particularly liberating. The idea of showing her work to other people also encouraged her to put more thought into each piece, and the visual art motivated her to create something amazing. “I was thinking that color was important,” she says, “In the journal, I was just writing. But here, since it’s a zine I know that people do drawings, but I decided to do this because the colors, the red and blue represent flag. And everything represents Cuba and me and everything that I believe in.”

Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: Excerpt from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Liana’s “Diffeguajiro Mixrand” is an example of how zines help teenagers express much more than words and break through creative freedom. With a mixed media approach to writing, teenagers also have a visual and tactile way to share their thoughts. The realm of communication expands, and people capture multiple pieces of their reality.

________________________________________________

WHEN ZINE-MAKING IN THE CLASSROOM GOES VERY WRONG

By POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano

Liana Velazquez’s story is a positive example of what a zine-making  classroom experience can be like. Her final 8th grade English assignment at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy was to create a zine and it was clearly an affirming experience for her. I’m happy that POCZP member Liz was in the classroom to support students, as she knows her stuff, when it comes to zine history and contributions by POC in zine & DIY culture.

Unfortunately, this is not every young person of color’s experience when they are first introduced to zine-making, zine culture and history in an academic setting.

During last year’s Race Riot! tour, I listened to—among other things—stories by POC attendees who shared their first introduction to zines. Depending on their age, digital literacy and other factors, feedback ran the gamut of being introduced to a zine by a friend, at a punk show, through Tumblr or as a classroom assignment.

What I noticed was that the younger the person was (23 and younger), the more likely they discovered zines this way:

1) On the Internet (Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, intentionally searching for a specific title, etc.)

2) At a punk/DIY/house show

3) A friend gave them a zine or brought them to a zine event

4) As a (mandatory or optional) class assignment

From these four responses, a mandatory class assignment was the one that raised the most questions—and concerns—for me, and here’s why:

After one of our academic speaking engagements on the tour, a young woman of color approached and asked to speak with me privately. She didn’t want other students to hear her question, so we moved away from the crowd.

This young woman shared that she was experiencing a lot of anxiety around a classroom assignment given to her by a white male professor at the university where I was speaking with POCZP. She was supposed to make a perzine and include personal details about her “culture” and “experiences as a woman.” I didn’t ask her to clarify what the class was about because it didn’t matter—already this whole situation sounded really problematic.

What I did ask her was if her anxiety stemmed from this being a graded assignment, and she said yes. I asked her if divulging personal information about herself and her family for a graded assignment made her uncomfortable, and she said yes.  She looked surprised that I knew these were her biggest concerns, but unfortunately this is not a new story to me.

I then asked her if this was her first time making a zine, and she nodded yes. She leaned forward and whispered, with a nervous look on her face, “How should I make my zine? What should I put it in it?”

That is when I took a deep breathe and gave her a longer and more personalized version of what I am about to share with you all now:

"I am truly sorry that your first introduction to zine-making is through an academic institution. No one should be telling you that there is one set way to make a zine. No one should be requiring you to make a perzine as part of your overall grade.

The only way I could ever see this being justified is if you were a design, journalism, or communications major and enrolled in a class called ‘zine-making,’ and you knew that the expectation was that you would be graded on zine-making (within the parameters established by the instructor, which would be clearly spelled out in advance in the syllabus). That zine-making assignment would NEVER be a perzine, because the teacher would know and understand the history and culture of zines, and that grading someone on a perzine is like following a stranger into the toilet and grading the quality of their piss and shit. It is completely inappropriate

I am sorry that you are experiencing anxiety when you think about making this zine for your class. I wish that instead you were feeling excited and inspired to share your stories, art, insights—and to experiment with art and design. It must be really hard to get into a positive headspace about your first zine, when you know you are going to be graded on detailing personal issues about your life for a white male professor, who has no right to make this a requirement for any class, ever.

I think it’s a huge sign of unchecked privilege for a white male professor to require any student to make a perzine and then grade their output. Your private family life and “cultural” details are none of his damn business. Here is a person who is clearly trying to be “hip” without considering the fact that sometimes, a zine assignment is not the best or most appropriate way to connect with your students or articulate a concept. 

So here’s what we know: you’re going to be graded on this zine whether you like it or not. You could fight it—you could take it above his head and explain to the powers-that-be that this teacher has no business requiring you to disclose personal information for a graded assignment, but I’m not going to tell you to do that. You need to do what’s right for you.

But can I make a suggestion about how to approach this, if you do decide to make this perzine for your class to avoid getting a “bad” grade?

Don’t think of this as your first perzine or zine, because it’s not. It’s not really your zine. You are making something for a teacher’s unrealistic and inappropriate expectations. Don’t feel like you have to disclose anything you don’t want to in this zine—think of this like any other assignment you would have in a class where you know that the only way to get a good grade is to do what the teacher thinks is right, and to write that down. 

So, what has your teacher indicated is the “right” way to make a zine? If you’re unclear about format, size and content, there are plenty of tutorials online that detail this information. Ask your teacher to name an example of a perzine that he likes, try to find it (or the general equivalent) and then follow that format. This way, you know what he’s looking for. You can find many examples of perzines athttp://zinelibrary.info/english/personal.

Make sure that there is no way he can slash your grade based on design flaws. Give him something that—from a purely technical point of view—falls under the category of “aesthetically pleasing” and only include the most basic personal information you feel comfortable sharing. Don’t compromise yourself (only you know what that would look like). 

You could even make up an entirely fictional story and call it personal details from your life—that is what I would do, actually. How is he going to know? Let him believe what he wants to believe—he already believes that it’s acceptable for him to assume that everyone is just like him: totally free to share private details about their lives without any consequences, and grade them based on that presumed freedom.

If you don’t feel comfortable calling your teacher out privately or publicly, don’t. Do what make sense for you. Only you can make that call. Do what you need to do to feel safe.

After you turn in that “made in the belly of white privilege” fake zine and you get the A, you should feel free - if you want - to forget you ever made that zine. That wasn’t your first zine. That was the convoluted outcome of a teacher out of touch with his privilege. A zine is not materiality forced out of you by a white male instructor. 

A zine is an extension of yourself. You define that, not him or anyone else.

You don’t have to hate the zine you made for class—you may even end up enjoying the process and the final product. You may decide that this zine does in fact reflect who you are, but don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself if you can’t make up your mind about it immediately.

Take what you can from the experience of what it’s like to make a zine for a class requirement, but don’t feel bad if you don’t like the zine either, or still feel anxiety when it’s done. What you are experiencing is the totally normal cognitive dissonance one feels when someone tries to quantify the value of your inner world through forcing you to make a perzine and then grading it.

Don’t let this experience of making a zine turn you off from the medium itself, or the practice. Imagine what your first zine experience would have been like if you had been sitting at a bus stop, and next to you was a small little photocopied, stapled book, and inside were hand-drawn comics, copies of photos, and personal stories that made you laugh, cry and think. You suddenly found yourself caring for someone you never met — all because you found their zine.

You took the zine home and placed it on a shelf in your room for safekeeping, and that night you dreamt about the zine YOU would make that weekend at home — the one that someone else might discover one day.

If you decide to refuse to make this zine and take your concerns to the administration, or to make it anyway—I support your choice. But don’t let white male privilege in the classroom damage your perception of zine-making or zine culture. It does belong to you, and you get to define what that means for you—not him.”

Educators: Be in tune with what motivates you to introduce zine-making into your lesson plan. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Why do I care about introducing zine-making and zine culture to my students? What relevant information should I be sharing with them about zine culture and history — and how do my own privileges inform how I prioritize this information?

2) Does it make sense for me to only talk about zines made by white people to a classroom full of primarily students of color?

3) Is it really necessary for me to grade the zines—can they simply get a pass or fail based on completing the assignment?

4) What am I leaving out of my retelling of zine history that is silencing and oppressive to my students of color? 

5) If I don’t have much information about zines by people of color, what steps will I take to educate myself BEFORE introducing zines to my students?

COMMUNITY: If you are an educator or youth workshop facilitator who uses zines in the classroom, send us your experiences to poczineproject@gmail.com with “zine teacher” as the subject line. We want to share a wide range of voices on this topic. Also, feel free to leave your comments in a reblog.

Want more? Read POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce’s recap of her zine-making experience with an all Native girl scout troop.

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“Let’s Talk About” is an experimental series by POCZP created to share communal knowledge, resources and reflections on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color.

If you are a person of color—or a white person with a history of supporting POC Zine Project— who wants to contribute to “Let’s Talk About,” submit to poczineproject@gmail.com with “Let’s Talk About” in the subject line. 

All submissions to “Let’s Talk About” will be compiled into a zine (print & digital) that will be released by POCZP in December of 2013.

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

SCENE REPORT: Oasis for Girls and The POC Zine Workshop

By Liz Mayorga, POCZP West Coast Coordinator 

Photos by Itoro Udofia, POCZP Intern

The Oasis for Girls Program, located on Mission St in San Francisco, serves under-resourced girls and young women ages 11-24. They focus on empowering women by helping them reach their full potential through lifeskills, art, and career planning. They are part of Writer’s Corps, which brings professional writers to teach youth.

These writers are placed in a community setting to encourage youth to explore their talents and dreams. Oasis for girls creates a safe space within that spectrum for African American, Arab, Latina, Native, Ascian-Pacific Islander, low-income, immigrant women, transgender and queer women. And I felt honored to work with them as part of the POC Zine Project on March 27, 2013.

Oasis for Girls and The POC Zine Workshop Students and Roseli Ilano, WritersCorps Teaching Artist, Oasis for Girls, (center) at the POCZP Youth Zine Workshop on March 27, 2013, at the San Francisco Arts Commission

Itoro and I had the pleasure of leading a POCZP Youth Zine Workshop for Oasis for Girls. We met Roseli Ilano, the Writer’s Corps teacher, at the San Francisco Arts Commission. She greeted us with a warm smile, and introduced us to eight students, all young women of color from different High Schools in San Francisco.

Roseli lead us into a conference room, asked the girls to take a seat, and everyone introduced themselves, awkwardly, like the way we do when we’re in conference rooms, but it didn’t take long for this group to open up. Roseli created a level of comfort that not only encouraged the girls to speak, but helped me and Itoro feel at home.

We started by talking about The POC Zine Project, it’s mission, and our involvement in it. We covered how zines allow people to write between different worlds and form communities, and why they’re so important to communities of color. We highlighted these points with examples of work by Tomás Moniz, Mimi Thi Nguyen, and Osa Atoe.

The girls were impressed to hear about a father who writes about his daughters and his own struggle to help them stay strong and true to themselves, were surprised to hear about a Professor who started off as a zinester, and a musician who broke all norms and expectations by following her passion and creating the fanzine she wanted see. Most of all, they were happy to see people writing about people and topics we’re told to ignore.

After a brief history of zines as a radical self-expression and DIY publishing, we showed examples of Youth Zines and moved on to create one-page minis. This part of the workshop started with a circle and ended with a circle. Itoro asked, “If you could write about anything, what would you write?” We went around sharing the topics that were on our minds.

The topics varied from sexuality to social-economic issues, how women were too often blamed for being assaulted, and how their experience of San Francisco was nothing like the San Francisco people expected to see.

Roseli asked the girls to arrange the art supplies. As they did and prepared to create their minis, I asked them to make two or three zines, and proposed for them to write about the most important women in their lives, unless they wanted to write about something else. Most of the girls wrote about the women they admired, their mothers and grandmothers, their friends and role models.

We ended the workshop by going around the circle again, sharing our minis, our stories with each another.

I can safely say that Itoro and I gained a lot from working with this group of women. Making zines is gratifying, but it doesn’t come close to the satisfaction I feel when working with other people, especially youth, on art projects. Roseli and the girls were a wonderful group: curious, intelligent, engaging, and they had a lot to say.

I felt privileged to be there, to be a part of their circle, and to see their zines.

TESTIMONIAL

"The POC Zine Project creates a space for young women of color to explore their stories in a fun and fresh medium- a medium where the only rule is to take risks and let your creativity soar.

Our young women raised their voices, told their truths, and shared their dreams on paper, fully supported by the POC Zine Project workshop facilitators. In the process they not only learned about the radical history of zinemaking, but became a part of it.” - Roseli Ilano, WritersCorps Teaching Artist, Oasis For Girls

For more information on the Oasis for Girls program:

Phone: (415) 701-7991

FAX: (415) 701-0131

MAIL: Oasis For Girls, 1008 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

OR WALK-IN: Office Hours are Mondays – Fridays from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

EMAIL: sfoasis@sfoasis.org

On the Web: www.sfoasis.org

Blog: sfoasis.blogspot.com

ABOUT LIZ MAYORGA

Liz Mayorga is an MFA Writing candidate at California College of the Arts. She writes and illustrates comics and storybooks, often featuring monsters. Her inspiration comes from her crazy family and Chican@ Pop Culture.

She is the Co-Director of San Francisco Zine Fest, and is now happy to be part of the POC Zine Project.

Learn more about her here: lizmayorga.com

COMMUNITY: Learn more about POCZP internship & volunteer opportunities here. We are still accepting applications. 

If you are interested in POCZP leading a workshop or other event in collaboration with your organization - worldwide - email poczineproject@gmail.com. 

Scene Report: Spring 2013 Zine Events on the West Coast

POCZP Scene Report graphic: Spring 2013 West Coast Edition

By Itoro Udofia, Legacy Series Intern

The West Coast is bringing you some awesome zine events coming to L.A, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland and Oregon. If you find yourself on a search for zines that speak truth to power and written by ordinary people who create their own alternative press, then don’t miss out! Come out, get tips, make your own zine and learn more about creating these much needed spaces to have our voices heard.

Don’t miss out, bring a friend and get involved. We’ll see you there!

These events are just a sampling of what’s going on and represent zine events open to everyone. When information is provided, we will include accessibility details.

LOS ANGELES

Use Your Words!: A Reading with Tomas Moniz, Artnoose, Ariel Gore, Jillian Lauren & Jerry Stahl
Friday, February 15

Stories Books and Cafe
1716 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

7:30-9pm PST - FREE

Tomas will be part of POCZP’s panel at L.A. Zine Fest as well.

LA Zine Fest at the Ukranian Cultural Center
Sunday, February 17

The Ukrainian Cultural Center
4315 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
11am - 5pm
PST - FREE

All workshops and discussions are FREE, however there is limited seating at the Moth, so if you really want to see something, be sure to get there early to snag a seat in time.

Multiple panels and other events are going down, including the following:

Anthologizing Your Zine with Mend My Dress Press
Mend My Dress Press’ workshop offering up some strategies to help you begin the process of anthologizing your zine, touching on everything from choosing content to suggestions for publishing. Get advice from the Press’ founders and authors in the flesh!

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
@ The Moth Theatre

POC Zine Project presents: Beyond ‘Race Riot’: People of Color in Zines from 1990s-Today

Join POC Zine Project members Cristy C. Road, Osa Atoe, Mariam Bastani, Suzy X, Tomas Moniz and POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano as they reunite after the 2012 Race Riot! Tour at L.A. Zine Fest. POCZP members will present a multimedia reading and discussion, as well as answer questions about their experience traveling to 14 cities and six universities on the Race Riot! tour, strategies for building community, and more.

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
@ The Moth Theatre

Check the schedule for specifics on other panels.

BAY AREA
 
Zine Reading with Mend My Dress Press at Needle & Pens
http://mendmydress.com/2013/01/09/were-goin-on-tour/
Wednesday, February 13
Needle & Pens,  7 PM

Zine Reading with Mend My Dress Press at The Holdout http://mendmydress.com/2013/01/09/were-goin-on-tour/
Thursday, February 14
The Holdout, 7:30 PM

MakeArt Workshop with DIY Rubber Band Books at Bayview Branch Library
Saturday, February 23
12:30 - 2:00PM
Drop-in, no registration required
Free and open to the public

Bayview Branch Library
5075 Third Street 
San Francisco, CA 94124

Learn this simple book-making technique using only two materials: paper and colorful rubber bands. Use your book as a journal, photo album, sticker book or planner!

DIY Zine Making Workshop at Rock Paper Scissors Collective
Thursday, February 28 Every 4th Thursday from 6-8pm Sliding scale cost $1-$10 questions -[at]- rpscollective -[dot]- org
2278 Telegraph ave., Oakland, CA 94612510.238.9171

Led by Price Cobbs who says “I am an office worker by trade, with an interest in the arts.  Like many, I have at times made unauthorized fliers and booklets on my employer’s copy machines. I am excited by the thought of using my office photocopy skills to produce a multi-page magazine.”

Zine Making Workshop at Makeshift Society
Wednesday, March 6
Makeshift Society 235 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM This event is $25-20 dollars, depending on your membership status.

Bookish Beasts at the Center for Sex and Culture Library and Archive
Sunday, April 14

8AM - 6PM PST

1349 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103

[Between 9th and 10th Streets, on the corner of Grace Street]

Zine & Comic Book Festival —details to come.

PORTLAND, OREGON

Annual Stumptown Comics at the Oregon Convention Center
Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28 Sat. 10-6, Sun. 12-6 

777 NE ML King Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232

Entering its tenth year as an organization, the annual Stumptown Comics Festival has been a staple of Portland, Oregon’s vibrant comics community that’s home to artist collective like Periscope Studios and Tranquility Base, along with publishers such as Dark Horse Comics, Top Shelf Productions, and Oni Press. Overseen by a board of professionals in the industry, Stumptown Comics, Inc. has progressed thanks to the valuable time of efforts of its volunteers.

WEST COAST CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

This isn’t technically a zine event but we wanted to share this anyway:

Humboldt State University (HSU) Asian Pacific Islander American Student Alliance’s (A.P.A.S.A) zine call for submissions!! APASA’s goal is to create a space for people who identify within pan-Asian Pacific Islander ethnicity at HSU to gather and find camaraderie. They also seek to form alliances with other groups and the local community in an effort to increase awareness and appreciation of the diversity that exists within their group and how we identify as Asian, Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islanders, & to work in solidarity to engage their differences.

Get your creative work or your local resource/business published in the A.P.A.S.A Pan-Asian Pacific Islander ZINE. A paper printed version will be published & distributed as part of the March Pan-API Perspectives festival.

February 20, 2013: Deadline to submit pieces for the paper version of the zine, to apasa@humboldt.edu

What is the “Pan-API Zine?

It is an online resource open to HSU students and the Humboldt County community at large to share stories, reflections, art, and poetry, which focus on experiences & perspectives of pan-Asian Pacific Islander ethnicity. The Pan-API Zine is a place to list and find different community resources, including local non-profits & businesses that offer services in relation to the pan-API perspective.

While this online Zine was created as part of the Pan-API Perspectives festival that will take place from March 25-30, 2013, it is also an ongoing and living resource for the community to share learnings and resources before the festival and after as well.

COMMUNITY: Did we miss any Spring 2013 West Coast zine events? Submit here and we’ll update this post.

Would you like to help us create Scene Reports for every state? Contact us: poczineproject@gmail.com.

If you would like to invite POC Zine Project to your upcoming event, or collaborate on a joint event, let us know!

Editor’s Note: Itoro will be creating weekly Scene Report roundups. Make sure to send us your zine event details so we can share! If it’s not zine-related but possibly of interest to zinesters of color, we will share that as well.

Report back from SF Zinefest 2012: POC Zinester Edition! *Pt 2 of 4*

On September 1, 2012, POC Zine Project’s Daniela Capistrano attended SF Zinefest, on a mission to meet zinesters of color. This is what she saw and who she found (part 2 of 4):

Woo! Made it <3 #sfzinefest

As I mentioned previously, I showed up at SF Zinefest exactly one hour before it was over, so I didn’t have a lot of time to browse. My focus was 100% on finding poc zinesters.

Liz Mayorga of Spunky Cat Comix (click to read my interview with her) helped me track down other poc at the fest. Just one table down from her was Gabrielle Gamboa, who graciously allowed me to live-tweet an interview with her for @poczineproject:

Gabrielle Gamboa #poczines #poczinester

Gabrielle showed me her latest creation, Miss Lonelyhearts.

This 36-page comic is the first issue (order here!), a comic book adaptation of the first chapter of the Nathanael West novella. The Depression-era story is about a young writer hired to be a newsaper advice columnist. The desperation and sorrow of the letters he receives drives him into a deep depression, and he tries different methods of coping with the outrageous injustice of the world. But the story is also very darkly comic, which is what drew Gabrielle to it.

Here’s my mini interview with Gabrielle:

Why she likes to make zines:

Why she decided to adapt Nathanael West’s novella:

Who inspired her to start creating her own comics:

Here’s a peak at what Gabrielle had for sale at SF Zinefest:

Gabrielle Gamboa's Miss Lonely Hearts Zune #poczines


Gabrielle is doing a reading in the bay area TODAY 9/22 for Small Press Fest at The Escapist Bookstore, 3090 Claremont Ave, Berkeley, CA. 5pm. If you are in the area, please attend and support! Tell her Daniela from POC Zine Project sent you! <3

Daniela has to continue getting ready for the POC Zine Project Race Riot! tour (kicking off Sept 24!), so stay tuned for two more poc zinester profiles from SF Zinefest. We’ll post them later tonight!

If you missed the first installment with Liz Mayorga, click here.

Report back from SF Zinefest 2012: POC Zinester Edition! *Pt 1 of 4*

On September 1, 2012, POC Zine Project’s Daniela Capistrano attended SF Zinefest, on a mission to meet zinesters of color. This is what she saw and who she found:

Woo! Made it <3 #sfzinefest

I was in San Francisco for work but wanted to find some spare moments to do zine research. I actually showed up at SF Zinefest one hour before it was over (eep!), so I didn’t have a lot of time to browse. I immediately went into crazy-focused mode and sought out zinesters of color - for personal enjoyment and also to get more zines for the archive.

Luckily, within minutes of arriving, I found Liz Mayorga of Spunky Cat Comix!

This awesome chica was there tabling with her zines, including her latest creation Monstrous Love Stories.

Liz with her new #poczine Monstrous <3

I actually knew about her because I ordered some of her older zines for the archives a few weeks prior to arriving in SF. It was a great coincidence that she was at SF Zinefest too! Here are some of her answers from our brief Twitter interview on @poczineproject:

Why she made Monstrous Love Stories:

Why the Latino Comic Expo is a great resource for her and other poc zinesters:

Why Liz loves making zines:

Live-tweeting Liz’s interview was fun but it was also distracting me from her creations, so we stopped at three questions and I browsed her table.

Liz Mayorga

Liz hooked me up with a list of all the poc zinesters she knew about who were at SFZinefest. This was incredibly helpful, because even though I couldn’t meet up with all of them that day, at least I have this list for following up after the tour!

List of poc zinesters at SFZinefest 2012

Liz also gave me a flyer for Latino Comic Expo. I can’t wait to attend next year for POC Zine Project!

Latino Comic Expo flyer

Big thanks again to Liz for pointing me to new resources and being so welcoming!

Daniela has to pick up the POC Zine Project Race Riot! tour vehicle now, so stay tuned for three more poc zinester profiles from SF Zinefest. We’ll post them later tonight and tomorrow!