I think the idea of collecting and gathering history because we want to preserve it and share is crucial, especially when we want to hold organizers and writers accountable for the choices they make in how they write about a community like zinesters or organizers when they plan events.
We have been around since the beginning and we are very diverse group writing about all kinds of things and not just race. And there is no excuse not to be aware of this! Also we’ve done some pretty amazing things! - Tomas Moniz, Rad Dad zine
POC Zine Project Q & A with Tomas Moniz
When we found out that Tomas was one of the organizers for this year’s East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest (going down TOMORROW, Dec 8!), we decided to ask him a few questions about his history with the fest, thoughts on the relevance of Riot Grrrl, the future of Rad Dad, and more. Enjoy!
POCZP: How did you get involved with the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest and why did you decide to take the lead on organizing this year’s fest? What does your role entail?
Tomas: MK Chavez, a bad ass chicana poet, and I were at the SF Zine fest and we realized so many of the tablers were from Oakland and Berkeley and other parts of the East Bay, so we said we should do something 6 months from the SF zine fest. And we did.
We wanted a space to highlight the local writing community particularly because we like to get and read zines but mostly so we could create a community here, get people to mingle, talk, and as a result I think there has been a strong growth in writing groups, monthly literary readings and events!
We each took leadership responsibilities and each year new people step up to help get the work done!
POCZP: You started Rad Dad after becoming a parent at 20, right? In terms of radical/DIY resources for dads since that time, what have you seen emerge that you’re excited about and what is in store for the future of Rad Dad zine?
How long to do you plan on continuing it and would you hand it off to someone else, or will it just stop when you stop?
Tomas: Funny you should ask about handing it off; I have been contemplating the transition because all along I’ve wanted Rad Dad to be about community rather than an individual or me.
I also though think it’s important as a father whose gone through it to pick up some of the work that new parents often times simply can’t do because of the differing demands on their time; I like to think of Rad Dad as a bridge, as the light at the end of the tunnel, reminding especially new parents that you will get through the struggle and you can come out a better person!
POCZP: You have two teenage daughters. Is Riot Grrrl something they relate to/have explored? Also, what is their relationship to zines and how do you encourage them in that regard?
Tomas: The definitely have their own musical tastes and interests. They know riot grrrl and know the music but it certainly is not theirs; they have their own likes and sometimes those likes are pretty problematic, but what I think is so important is that we can talk about those issues, talk about that contradictory place we all find ourselves in from time to time in which you like something but recognize its contradictions, its flaws and from that make informed choices.
They don’t make their own zines but they read them and they come with me to the events…
POCZP: What are your top 5 tips for someone who wants to start a zine fest in their town?
Tomas: Call a meeting and get started…I think you really only need like two or three people. Start off with just getting a day and twenty tables and a space. Don’t try to do too much at first.
Later you can add speakers and workshops. But I also encourage you to try something different — make it a skill share, do it at a park, drop-in style, remember the point is community not commerce.
Keep it affordable for people; reach out to people and ask for help or what you need; you’d be surprised how often you get it.
POCZP: What are your top 10 favorite zines right now (can be old, new, doesn’t matter)?
Tomas: [provided a list]
• Wonder & Wander by Annie Yu — so awesome it’s this mix of her finding a used typewriter, how to gude for using a typwriter, maps of walking the streets of San Francisco
• Boob Juice by Mindi Jackson – a young mama wrestling with big questions and a little baby
• Dreams of Donuts by Heather Wreckage – a really strong comic zine dealing with occupy Oakland and other issues
• Kerbloom by Artnoose — just plain wonderful and consistent
• Book of Ladders by Jacks Ashley McNamara — a beautiful mix of essays and poems dealing with class and identity
• RACE (revolutionary anti-authoritarians of color) — a one-time zine from early 00s dealing with race and anarchism!
• Illegal Voices — came out of the APOC community with so many powerful essays
• Tenacious: Writing by Incarcerated Women edited by — Vikki Law’s zine for and by women prisoners
• The Nerve of These People by Anna Quinonez — drawings of revolutionary women
• Without Words & Without Kneeling by Tomas Moniz – a serialized zine novella about an anarchist study group
POCZP: You said you’ve been following POC Zine Project for a while. What did you think when you first heard about it, and why do you think it’s important (if you do at all)?
Tomas: I was and am excited. I think the idea of collecting and gathering history because we want to preserve it and share is crucial especially when we want to hold organizers and writers accountable for the choices they make in how they write about a community like zinesters or organizers when they plan events.
We have been around since the beginning and we are very diverse group writing about all kinds of things and not just race. And there is no excuse not to be aware of this! Also we’ve done some pretty amazing things!
POCZP: Some zinesters of color have had experiences with feeling unwelcome in zine spaces/DIY communities. Has that been your experience at all?
Tomas: My experience of feeling kind of isolated rather than unwelcome was more in the activist/anarchist scene here in the Bay. It’s was very white but that has been changing.
But I realize my privilege in living in a very diverse region so there has always been other zinesters and also there has always been support. When we felt there was an issue, we seemed to quickly get together and address it.
But I still get letters from parents who live in very homogenous communities and that is why I still do zines, I still write letters, I still work to gather voices in Rad Dad form those who don’t always get a chance to tell their story: parents of color, young parents, queer or trans parents because it’s important to let others know they are not alone.
- Q & A by POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano