The Geek Is Back from the Porland Zine Symposium

I’m back in Champaign and had a good time in Portland, even considering it was a 2.5 day train ride to and back.

The Zine Symposium was cool — I suspect it’s become more successful and popular than the organizers dreamed. Like similar conferences I’ve been to, the individual workshop sessions are kind of hit and miss, but the opportunity to meet and hang out with like-minded folks is real attraction for me to begin with. A main feature of the Symposium was a big exhibition hall, where zinesters and other indy media makers showed their wares. I shared a table with Aj from Low Hug and the Urbana-Champaign IMC Library. I’m glad that the Symposium organizers set aside all of Friday for people to browse the tables and mingle. My one small complaint about the Allied Media Conference this past June was that the schedule was so full packed of workshops and sessions that there was very little time for people to puruse the Conference’s main exhibition area.

There were a lot of folks from all over the country, including many midwesterners who made the long journey. I talked to a women who came to PDX from Milwaukee, who has been a part of the Free Radio MKE collective that has been shut down for a few months. I’ll have an interview with her on a future edition of the radio show.

There is really an amazing DIY and independent media culture growing in Portland. The last time I got to really hang out there was in 1997, and it’s amazing to see the growth. I think one of the big catalysts has been the Independent Publishing Resource Center conveniently located upstairs from the great Reading Frenzy bookstore and across the way from the famous Powell’s City of Books. The IPRC is filled with letter presses, block printing tools, places to do collage, paste up and desktop publishing, along with a photocopier, of course. The folks of the IPRC also do workshops on how to do most aspects of zine-ing and independent publishing. They also have a huge, well-organized zine library, and in July, 2002 I aired an interview with the IPRC’s zine librarian, Greig Means on the mediageek radio show. This was my second visit to the IPRC and it’s always really exciting and inspiring to see all the indy publishing activity.

On this Friday’s mediageek radio show, I’ll feature an interview with Pablo De Ocampo, who is the director of the IPRC. The show will be archived on-line sometime over the weekend (depending on how mediageek’s server connection holds up — it’s been flaky lately).






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