Itoro recently read all six issues of Shotgun Seamstress in a row. Here is what she learned from them:
It’s hard to speak to everything the Shotgun Seamstress zine collection taught me. It really does give you everything: interviews, stories, being queer, black, punk, female, broke, weird, loving music, knowing your history, loving yourself…it draws from a lot of sources and that right there sums up this history of the punk scene and the Black experience: We pull from everywhere and we survive and thrive too.
That’s my biggest lesson, but here are five more just for good measure:
1. WE need our people
Reading Shotgun Seamstress opened my eyes to our need for each other’s affirmation, community and understanding while trying to do the impossible: live in the margins. It’s important that when we find each other, we do what we can to build community and lift each other up, usually we’re the only black face in the white crowd. Many of the punk rockers, artists, drag queens, musicians, made that clear in Shotgun Seamstress. From how white the punk scene is, specifically, and how black folks are constantly pushed to the margins, it’s important for us, as Audre Lorde so eloquently puts it, “to practice how to be tender with one another.” I was shocked and awed to see the type of love and gentleness Shotgun Seamstress had to the multiplicity of voices it brought in.
2. Our struggles affirm one another
THE WOMEN OF COLOR IN PUNK CONFERENCE organized by Osa Atoe was talked about in the zine series as an affirming experience for women of color and a place of knowledge on a personal, political and historical level. It gave a space to share and think about how women of color could carry the torch forward and make life easier for young punksters participating in zine culture.
3. Don’t you yuck my yum
Stop commodifying my shit and learn your gotdamn herstory mofo!—Who are you to tell me what punk is? What a black punk is? What I should look like or sound like? Who are you to buy my shit, sell my shit, exploit my shit, silence my shit and then tell ME what to do!
One of the points that Shotgun Seamstress addresses is the African roots of punk and the importance of knowing that we stand in a long line of black peoples who made most of the music that we hear what it is. Let’s remember where things come from:
“Yes, rock and roll and almost the entire American pop pantheon comes from the blood sweat, and tears of sharecroppers, slaves and disenfranchised people.” — Chris Sutton
4. DO NOT leave any of yourself out of the equation
It all counts and all parts of ourselves need to be in our analysis and knowledge of our conditions. The fearlessness that the many voices had in Shotgun Seamstress in reclaiming the weird, the awkward, the queer, the difference in ourselves has to be a part of our liberation processes. Especially when looking at how to address our experiences, the personal is political and we should always question a scene-movement that expects us to leave an aspect of ourselves (that they don’t want to swallow) at the door.
5. Be an Ally not a Disappointment
Not gonna spend too much energy on this point, but a recurring issue that was highlighted throughout Shotgun Seamstress was the need for more allies, specifically white allies to “not talk that talk, if you ain’t gonna walk that.” Disappointment when we fail each other in this way does not even begin to cover it.
Some more key truths that I took away can be found below.
Life calls for resourcefulness, especially when you are on the margins…
Black punksters might be “obscure” but they have always been here…
Be courageous enough to break the silence…
If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?…
Rock on, stay strong…
What were your take aways? What resonated most with you?
Join the conversation and if you haven’t read the Shotgun Seamstress zine collection, please do and add your thoughts.
ABOUT SHOTGUN SEAMSTRESS
The final issue of Shotgun Seamstress zine was completed in the fall of 2011. Now, all six issues are compiled in a book that was published by Mend My Dress Press.
The first issue of Shotgun Seamstress came out in August of 2006. Read issue #1 for free here:
ABOUT ITORO UDOFIA
Itoro is the first dedicated intern for the POC Zine Project’s Legacy Series. Itoro’s excited to support POCZP because ”it is a collective that uplifts and cares about what people of color have to say and acknowledges what they have always said.” Learn more about her here.
‘What I learned from …’ is a new feature that you will find on POCZP’s digital platforms. POCZP will share zine analysis by and for POC to affirm our experiences and interpretation of independently created POC publications. We are starting a dialog.
POCZP Interns can contribute (learn about our internship program here) to this ongoing feature, as well as ANYONE who is interested in reading POC zines and reflecting on them. The only requirement is that you must identify as a person of color.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to write the next ‘What I learned from …’ edition. Put “What I learned from …’ ” in the subject line and include the following in the email body:
1) The zine, or series of zines, you want to read and review
2) Indicate if you already have access to the zine/s or need assistance accessing them
3) Include links to three writing samples, or submit three new writing samples (zine reviews or book reviews)
That’s it! <3
Last year’s inaugural tour was amazing but that was just the beginning. 14 cities last year = 12 more cities this year <3
Dates may shift slightly before October and we are still accepting invites from academic and community spaces, collectives, orgs and individuals. If you haven’t contacted us already, please do: email@example.com.
If you look at this list and think “Why the heck do they keep missing the full Midwest?” Don’t trip, chocolate chip. The 2014 NATIONAL Zinester Conference is going down in YOUR house! Yeah! Midwest all the way! And we’ll be bringing in FIVE international zinesters/activists to share their work! Yeah, buddy! If you want to help, reach out!
Thoughts become things. Be intentional with your thoughts.
2013 TOUR DETAILS: What we know so far
#IdleNoMore solidarity will be a core component of this tour. If you’re actively involved in local efforts in your city, please reach out. We want you to speak at our events & help you distribute your printed zines/materials nationwide. We hope our small platform helps to make a difference.
We will be doing TWO events in each city, just like last year’s tour. There will be an academic event at a participating university in the daytime and one DIY/community show in the evening. The academic events will be free and open to the public, while the evening DIY shows will be a sliding scale cover. NO ONE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF FUNDS <3
The DIY show covers pay for our gas and food, so give what you can.
We will be able to share accessibility/child care details for each city once we have more information.
The Race Riot! touring member lineup will be revealed in the coming weeks. HINT: Think more people, rotating members and lots of guest readers in each city.
OK, enough context. Here are the dates & cities!
1) 10/1: Atlanta, GA (Tuesday)
2) 10/2: Montgomery, AL (Wednesday)
3) 10/3: Jackson, MS (Thursday)
ALERT: Jackson has the only remaining abortion clinic in the entire state, which is in danger of being shut down.
4) 10/4: New Orleans, LA (Friday)
10/5: Travel Day (Saturday)
10/6: Research/Advocacy Day (Sunday)
5) 10/7: Austin, TX (Monday)
10/8 Research/Travel Day (Tuesday)
6) 10/9: New Mexico - but where??? Let us know! (Wednesday)
7) 10/10: Tucson, AZ (Thursday)
It is very important for POC everywhere, and especially in Arizona right now, to have access to independent publications by and for people of color.
10/11: Travel Day (Friday)
8) Los Angeles, CA as recharge zone/multiple events
10/12: Research/Advocacy Day in L.A. (Saturday)
10/13: Los Angeles, CA (Sunday evening DIY show)
10/14: Los Angeles, CA (Monday academic daytime event)
10/15: Travel Day (Tuesday)
9) 10/16: Bay Area, CA (Wednesday)
10/17: Research/Travel Day (Thursday)
10) 10/18: Sacramento, CA (Friday)
10/19: Travel Day (Saturday)
11) 10/20: Portland, OR (Sunday)
12) 10/21: Seattle, WA (Monday)
All details subject to change. We will share specifics about each city as we finalize tour logistics.
MICHIGAN FOLKS: Wow, such love! We’ve received a few requests from y’all to come out this year. We did two events there in 2012 and cannot return in 2013 (we are not a funded entity - we rely on donations and have day jobs/other obligations <3). If you’re in Michigan and want to support this tour in other ways, contact us, thanks.
We can only do so much, and we do a lot with very little. Richmond, VA and other cities: We wish we could be everywhere for this tour, but we can’t. Let’s figure out ways to partner that will yield long term outcomes for local POC orgs and collectives. Thanks for understanding.
OTHER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE
We are looking for the following:
- Guest readers in every city (you must be a person of color)
- Rotating tour buddies: Join us on the road and participate in 1-3 tour events as a panelist/reader/tabler
- POC (or POC fronted) bands to perform at each #raceriottour event!
- More POC & ally tablers for each city: come to a POCZP event in your town and table for your zine/org/collective/creative project (check out some of the POC artists/merchants who tabled last year) <3
We’re also looking for folks to help us produce #raceriottour fundraiser events between now and September. This might be a good solution for you if you are unable to travel.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Make sure to use “2013 RACE RIOT TOUR” as the email subject.
ABOUT THE RACE RIOT! TOUR
POC Zine Project held its first Race Riot! Tour in 2012, producing 20 events in 14 U.S. cities, which included speaking engagements at six universities. Click here to view photos from the POC Zine Project: 2012 Race Riot! Tour tour finale at Death By Audio in Brooklyn and access all the tour stop recaps.
We will be taking the Race Riot! Tour through 12 more U.S. cities in 2013. Stay tuned for updates as we work on partnering with POC-affirming orgs overseas. If you are outside the U.S. and want to be a part of our emerging POCZP Global Ambassadors program, email email@example.com.
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
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.
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.
Zine Reading with Mend My Dress Press at Needle & Pens
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.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.