Kathleen Hanna

by Norm Stovall
Zine Advocate and Punk Rock Icon Keynotes the 2011 Zine Symposium at the Jacksonville Public Library

By Norm Stovall

On Saturday, November 19, the Main Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library will be hosting the Jacksonville Public Library Zine Symposium, which includes a panel of local writers and zine publishers as well as keynote speaker Kathleen Hanna. Hanna is probably best known for her iconic performances with punk band Bikini Kill and her performances with the group Le Tigre. Also known as a feminist icon and punk legend, she was on the forefront of the Riot Grrl movement. As a long-time zine writer herself, Hanna will be presenting “Zines: The Personal is Political.”
You might not be familiar with the term ‘zine’ yet. If not, that’s okay. Making zines is a relatively underground field of interest. The concept of making zines is pretty easy to understand. Simply create something you wish to share in magazine format, put it together with your computer or with scissors, glue, a typewriter and transfer letters- however you do your thing- and then make copies of it to give out to your target audience. Fiction, political ranting, photos of bad haircuts, you name it. Put it all in there, photocopy the pages and staple it all together. Sell and trade them with your friends. It’s fun, it’s addictive, and it’s an easy way to share your ideas with people- whether or not they want to know them.
That’s what a zine is. It’s your own personal publication, filled with whatever your mind can come up with. Your great ideas, your funniest jokes, your best typos all will have a place to live in your zine.
So why make a zine when you could make a blog? Why make a zine when you could just share your thoughts on Facebook? For me, making a zine is infinitely more rewarding. You can hold it, fold it, put it in your pocket and leave it on a magazine rack in your doctor’s office. You can read it, color in it, tear it up or hit someone with it. Collect it, sell it on eBay, or light it on fire and keep your hands warm.
If you are interested in checking out other people’s zines for yourself, the Downtown Public Library has a considerably large selection of zines from all over the place. Pick a few up, check them out with your library card and learn something from an underground self-publisher.