The exhibit ‘Copy Culture’ at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Zine Fest Houston are two upcoming events for zine fans
By John Nova Lomax
Sarah Welch’s Holdouts and Holdouts: Giveth and Taketh are featured in the exhibit Copy Culture. Courtesy of the artist.
Remember zines, those self-published, photocopied mini-magazines that proliferated among Generation X youth? During their heyday, these periodically produced journals informed readers what was and wasn’t punk in the ’80s and where you could skate and see underground concerts.
The movement seemed to crest in the ’90s, riding along a premium coffee-fueled tsunami that included grunge music, flannel shirts, and Third Wave feminism as exemplified by the Riot Grrrl movement. Looking back, I am a bit astonished there was never a movie starring Winona Ryder as a feisty and soulful zinester.
For the casual observer (namely, me), it had long seemed that zines, alongside record stores and bookshops, were yet another casualty of the internet. This notion was confirmed to me back around 2002, when I was music editor for the Houston Press, the Bayou City’s alternative weekly. I had the bright idea to write a story on Houston’s music zine scene, and found out it no longer existed. The entire movement had migrated to the internet, where anyone could write fired-up, raging blogs or cringeworthy self-confessional LiveJournal entries. It seemed, for a time, zines all but disappeared.
But zines have come roaring back. Cities around Texas, including San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth, are not just home to a few scattered zines, but fertile enough to spawn yearly festivals and other events. Beginning Saturday, Houston kicks off its own zine season, with two complementary and intertwined events: the opening of Copy Culture: Zines Made and Shared at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the release party of Homecoming, Zine Fest Houston’s 2021 anthology of Bayou City zines, occurring later that same day at Axelrad Beer Garden. Then, on Nov. 13, there’s a festivals devoted to zines at Zine Fest Houston.
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