zines as public service

The Ann Arbor News ran a piece today on zines that mentioned both Crimewave and the very neat zine course that Linette’s developed at EMU. Here’s a clip:

…In the “Zines” class she teaches at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti resident and “Crimewave” zine co-creator Linette Lao teaches her students how to make their own zines, and to appreciate the work of others.

“It’s hard to look at something handmade and realize how much work it was,” Lao said. “Even something that’s ephemeral has lots of intense work behind it.”

Each week she exposes her students to different zines, from the Hamtramck-published “Stupor” to “Citizeen,” a community-building zine from Portland, Ore. She asks them to create their own zines, which some of the students said is a lot more work than they anticipated.

“I think it’s refreshing in a time when so many people are into the Internet and blogs,” said EMU graphic design student Jaclyn Young, who is in Lao’s class. “People are taking the time to actually make something. You put more into it than when you just blog something out”…

The best quote in the piece comes from Shadow Art Fair alum Josh Sanchez. In explaining why he felt compelled to publish his first zine, Josh says, “I felt like, if you’re going to be in this community, you should contribute in some way, either by being in a band or putting out a zine.”

Fuck yeah.

I wish everyone thought like Josh. I love the idea of an army of punk teens getting involved in DIY publishing out of a sense of civic duty. How cool would that be?

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  1. egpenet
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink


    Although the “professional arts community” would like to include all of the work being done by underground ziners, dancers, poets, musicians, puppeteers, carvers, potters, etc. … ya’gotta NOT go to the Arts Leagues, Art Centers and “the” galleries to experience this work. It’s EVERYWHERE “official art” is NOT. And I think that’s just fine.

    BTW … it’s not that a “zine” can’t be fun AND be a useful tool. I consider Zingerman’s menus, shopping bags and catalogues, for instance, great examples of truly useful and fun “zines.” It’s a Ben And Jerry’s container kind of approach. It’s dejavu McLuhan … the zine is the massage. What fun!

  2. Krystal Jhoneston
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    It also says in the story that Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor plans to increase their selection of zines, which would be very cool.

  3. Thoreau
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    As long as the punk Army stop driving mopeds. The noise irritates me.

  4. Dr. I Told You So (BFA)
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Proving once again that uncoerced civic-minded volunteerism triumphs over State-enforced morality legislation. John Locke just stopped spinning for a few minutes.

  5. Posted April 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    State sponsored EMU is wasting my tax dollars on a ‘zine course? Why? Johnny Locke still spins. Adam Smith joins him.

  6. egpenet
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    With a tendency toward self-laceration, Lucius, you may want to expand your artistic horizon from stone carvings, frescos and clay tablets and pottery to what we call in the 21st century: the graphic arts.

    Zining (zee-ning) involves thee study and practice of many (if not most) graphic art techniques, plus photography (on occasion) and writing.

    Relax. Have another Lambrusco. Curl up with the Gallic Wars and let the muses take you.

    Be well.

  7. mark
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I should let Linette defend herself, but she’s not here. It’s actually a good course. I’ve seen the work the students are working on and much of it is really quite incredible. For many of them, this is the first time they’ve ever written about themselves and things that interest them. We aren’t talking about poorly done one-page zines about bands. We’re talking about well thought out pieces that really express, both with words and images, what the students find important… OK, I’ve got to run… But the students are doing really good work. And, I imagine they’re getting more out of it than a class where they just take notes and fill out scantron sheets. They actually create something and take ownership of it. It’s cool.

  8. Posted April 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    You have to be careful, though. I’ve learned that as addictive as reading the things are, it’s even more addictive once you start making the things….

  9. mar on Forest
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    The Ypsi library validates ‘zines as a community resource by carrying a collection of them. The ya dept. also has occasional classes on creating zines.

    I bought several at the saf. The zines I bought struck me as an art form that creates a mood, or inspires a new viewpoint, or deals with a concept in a brief way. They are tidy packages that hold little glimpses of whatever truth the writer intends to capture for the reader. I enjoyed the artwork of some, and bought a series solely for the front covers. I bought some just to celebrate their gutsy, outrageous titles. One in particular had short stories that seemed simple at first glance, but compelling.

    Everyone should write one.

  10. Posted April 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Thoreau, my Malaguti gets better gas mileage than whatever you’re driving. So no, I will not give up my moped.

    I would’ve taken this class had it been offered when I went there.

  11. Posted April 22, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of public service:

    Marlena and her friend Jane have organized an Ypsilanti themed Collage event at the corner brewery this coming Sunday. The idea is for anyone, who is interested, to come down and create their own collage or team up with someone else to create a collaborative collage. Create any collage you want or better yet create a collage that is Ypsilanti themed.

    Bring glue, scissors, and pictures/magazines/newspapers items for your collage. The event is open ended, starting at 1:00 pm at the CB.

    There will be a discussion towards the end of the event about the possibilities of displaying the various collages publicly. No one is obligated to have their creation displayed, though.

    Marlena has hung a few flyers around town, but hasn’t gotten as many out as she hoped. She’s a bit worried that no one will show up, so come if you can and you’re interested. Also spread the word if you know other people who might be interested. Kids are welcome too.

    The main idea is to have informal fun.

  12. Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


    BTW, Marlena was thinking it would be cool if local business with creative talent made a collage representing their business.

  13. mark
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be out of town on Sunday, John, but I wish you and Marlena luck with the event.

    I’ll also be missing a Black Jake and the Carneys show on Saturday at the Dreamland Theater. I have a birthday party to go to.

    Plenty of good alternatives this weekend in Ypsi.

  14. Posted June 7, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello there –

    We’re setting up a new zine tour for July 15 and finally wanting to come to Ann Arbor. It’s going to be short films, readings, slides, quiet music, and presentations. Dave Roche, Sparky Taylor, me, and hopefully Nate Powell.

    We need a venue! Please email me.

  15. mark
    Posted June 8, 2008 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    We love Microcosm, Joe. I’ll shoot you an email with some ideas.

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