Underground Publisher's Convention Takes Over Lawn Gnome Publishing

The zine scene (try saying that ten times fast) is coming together this weekend for Phoenix's Fourth Annual Underground Publisher's Convention at Lawn Gnome Publishing.

Event creators Aaron Johnson and Jacki O met during the first season of First Friday Night Live and decided to collaborate on an event that would allow local zinesters to showcase their stuff while also encouraging newbies to explore the community.

"We hope that after people attend our event, they will realize that even subcultures have meta subcultures," says Johnson.

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Author participation is up by almost 200 percent from last year's event, which should shake things up since festival content is largely driven by the contributors, according to Johnson:

"Maybe we will see performance art, or poetry, or queer erotica, or a how to science experiment, or a funny comic, or punk rock, or self loathing jokes, or a food guide to Phoenix. We are letting any author that has a book and a table to set up this year. The weirder, the better."

Beginning last year, the event has coincided with Art Detour as part of Lawn Gnome's mission to put writers on the same platform as visual artists and musicians.

"Little do we realize how fast an underground publisher or zinester becomes a cultural icon -- Ben Franklin, Allen Ginsberg, R Crumb, Cometbus, and Banksy all got their start making small publications and playing around with printing devices," says Johnson. "We all have important information we can share."

This year, Johnson hopes that the event will encourage the underground publishing scene to expand, providing a platform for more exchange of ideas, and ultimately putting Phoenix on the map of underground zine culture.

"We believe that the more authors and writers that make their own zines using markers laptops and xerox machines, the better zines will become," he says. "Phoenix is still a baby-child in the zine writing and exchange culture. We could soon be on the same platform as Los Angeles, Chicago, Madison, Bloomington, Omaha, and New York City.

The Underground Publisher's Convention takes place this Saturday from noon to 5pm at Lawn Gnome Publishing. For more details, visit the Facebook event page or the festival website.

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