Blurring the lines between fine art, poetry and naughty comics, the Tempe Zine Con featured nearly 20 entries from local artists and writers.
Down at the Bayou, a house in the "Hipster Compton" section of Tempe just west of the ASU campus, a small crowd of fashionable, attractive young artists gathered in the brick shed to share their zines, drink some beer and take turns listening and reading their work.
The third iteration of the convention followed in suit to previous years with a collection, modest in number but impressive in content, of locally produced zines. Each little booklet having its focus--abstract photos of random found objects, self-portraits with Dilbert-esque apathy or angsty, yet genuine, short tales of sex, death and drunken boredom.
While it may not seem so much different than buying a book of poetry, the little handmade zines, which ranged in price from free to $5, support local artists through less conventional means, while providing a one-of-a-kind keepsake for supporters.
Besides, hearing Gay Kiss' Roger Calamaio read from his zine, "Sour," rather than just buying it, added another layer of emotion and intensity to his work. A supportive crowd encircled local artist Kristen Doty as she read a story about a funeral and got teary-eyed, though it wasn't clear who the person was to her and it didn't really matter. They laughed, cross-legged and chain smoking to the deepened, sarcastic tone of Up on the Sun's Chase Kamp's voice while he shared an old short fiction piece.
Aside from literary content, the zines were full of odd, funny and beautiful illustrations, uniquely presenting messages without words and accompanying the messages more conventionally conveyed.
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One of the best visual zines of the evening was host Abigail Lynch's photographic journal called "Residue," which featured images of pretty much anything from a window AC unit to a pretty girl's flowing blonde hair in the summertime.
In the end, if you weren't clever enough to follow the posters that have been plastered all over Cartel recently, you can hope they do a Tempe Zine Convention IV or ask around to see if you can borrow someone's copy of William Cody Watson and Garrett Crowe's "Boyfriend Girlfriend."