Kentuckiana Zine Festival spotlights counterculture and the LGBTQ community

You don’t have to be awesome to start, but you have to start being awesome.

On Saturday April 9, the students of Indiana University of the Southeast will present the first Kentuckiana Zine Festival at Logan Street Market1001 Logan Street, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pronounced “zeens”, this event is aimed at upcoming writers and artists giving them a platform to share their work with the community. Zines or “mini-magazines” are self-published books with original content created by the author or artist.

“Because of DIY [do it yourself] nature of zines, they’re popular in the counterculture, music scenes, and with underrepresented artists like those in the LGBTQ community,” Kathryn Combs, teacher at Southeast UI told the Courier Journal. Combs, who teaches printmaking at IUS, is coordinating the event alongside the Art Club Dust Bags.

Zines have become popular in the LGBTQ community in the early 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, where they have become a way for people to learn more about the virus and understand how to get tested. Zines continues to supply an outlet for artists who might otherwise struggle to get their work exhibited in non-traditional art spaces.

A zine created by one of IUS Professor Kathryn Combs' students, Garrett Julien.  The title of the zine is,

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“Self-publishing means there’s no one to say ‘no’ to the content an artist wants to create,” Combs said. “It gives LGBTQ artists a way to write and craft zines about their unique experience of sexuality and gender identity and how that might overlap with other parts of their identity.”

The goal of the event is for artists to “get people in Louisville and southern Indiana to see their work, with no rules on who can participate or what content they can share,” she said.

Professor Frank Farmerretired english teacher University of Kansas and graduated from University of Louisvillesaid the zines adopted amateur status while refusing to seek approval from professionals in the art world.

“I think zines offer artists and writers a certain freedom from the various coercions of what I would call ‘overly oppressive’ professionalism in artistic expression,” Farmer said. “A lot of the zines on display at the festival will be primarily art zines, but zines that also go beyond that narrow definition.”

A zine created by one of IUS Professor Kathryn Combs' students, Garrett Julien.  The title of the zine is,

Farmer, whose recent work examines the cultural and public significance of zines, said upon returning to Louisville a few years ago, “I asked various friends, shop owners, and local DIY culture enthusiasts if there were any zine festivals in our area, either now or from memory. No one could remember an event like this… so when I saw advertisements and promotions for the Kentuckiana Zine Festival, I was thrilled that finally our area had a way to familiarize the wider community with zines and zine culture.

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Zines, or any form of self-publishing, have been around for years and are a tradition in American culture that has allowed excluded identities or voices to be heard.

“In the 19th century, ‘amateur’ and ‘youth’ newspapers were so popular that organizations such as The National Association of the Amateur Press, were founded in their name,” he said. “Satellite groups have also formed as spin-offs. The Ladies Amateur Press Association and the Negro Press Association, for example, both formed in the aftermath of the Civil War, and both organizations sought to recognize the contributions of women and blacks to the nation’s discourse. Since historically these groups have often been denied access to official or professional publications, amateur publications have allowed voices to be heard that otherwise would not have been heard. »

A zine created by one of IUS Professor Kathryn Combs' students, Garrett Julien.  The title of the zine is,

Stories about “zinesters” have appeared in newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post and in various art magazines. The research libraries of institutions like barnard, Iowa, duke and Kansas also have archives of zine publications for researchers.

“This festival should remind us that art and activism are not mutually exclusive pursuits. Zines can, and often do, express a set of values ​​that often clash with official culture,” Farmer said. . “In their promotion of DIY, for example, zines implicitly or explicitly offer a critique of consumerist culture. Sometimes [but not always] Zines are political, sometimes aesthetic, sometimes funny, sometimes abrasive, sometimes prophetic, and sometimes all of the above.”

Culture and diversity journalist Jason Gonzalez can be reached at jgonzalez1@gannett.com.

Kentuckiana Zine Festival

A zine created by one of the students of Kathryn Combs, professor at IUES, Garrett Julien.  The title of the zine is, "My emotions are bigger than my body." It will be screened at the Kentuckiana Zine Festival in Louisville.

WHAT: This event is aimed at upcoming writers and artists, giving them a platform to share their work with the community. Zines or “mini-magazines” are self-published books with original content created by the author or artist.

OR: Logan Street Market, 1001 Logan St.

WHEN: Saturday April 9, 6-8 p.m.

COST: Free entry. Artist registration is $15

MORE INFORMATION: To register for the event visit forms.gle/9DYraF5B4AcEnFo28 or contact Kathryn Combs at combske@iu.edu

James C. Tibbs