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Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Weekend of Zines, Comics and Local Bands

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   Alongside the sounds of copy machines churning out paper and staplers crunching zines together, the first Milwaukee Zine Fest will feature three free music shows with 18 local and touring bands. The majority are punk bands, rounded out by some acoustic, hip-hop and indie rock groups. Zine fest coordinator Jessica Bublitz and Corey Baumann, of local band Louis Tully, organized the shows.

  “Almost all the bands had an immediate interest,” Bublitz says. “We’re hoping this gives people attending from out of town a sense of what Milwaukee has to offer. It’s really turned into a celebration, an excuse to have some fun.”

  A “zine” is typically a photocopied, self-assembled, small-run publication. The topics run from personal reflections to political screeds, comics, music and anything else under the sun. The fest runs from Friday, July 18, to Sunday, July 20. It will feature zine vendors, workshops, readings, films, demonstrations and group discussions.

  There will also be a gallery preview for World War 3 Illustrated,America’s longest-running political comic book, curated by local artist and activist Susan Simensky Bietila. There will also be a presentation by art historian and UW-Green Bay Lawton Gallery curator Stephen Perkins titled “Assembling Magazines and the Death of the Editor.”

  All these activities will take place on the fourth floor of the Golda Meir Library at UW-Milwaukee.

  The zine scene and the punk-rock scene have walked hand in hand since Punk fanzine first rolled off the press in 1976 to report on the New York scene. Since then, zines with runs as small as 25 copies all the way up to widely circulated, long-running publications like Maximumrocknroll and Slug and Lettuce have passionately reported on their love for all things punk.

  Many of the bands playing Zine Fest feature current or former zine creators. Matt Chicorel is the author of Night Light Comics, a comic zine that stars a down-to-earth superhero called Trenchcoat. He also plays guitar in Dinosaur Pills, a punk band performing the first show Friday at punk house Nowhere Central.

  “Both (zines and music) are just creative outlets for the do-it-yourself culture,” Chicorel says. “It’s a great combo, like barbecue sauce and pizza.”

  Dinosaur Pills shares the bill with hardcore band Prohibition, Acne Attack!, Crappy Dracula and longtime Milwaukee favorites The Mistreaters.

  The largest show will take place Saturday at The Vault with performances by Dallas/Marie, Irock A, The Candliers, Gerald Prokop, Truthdealer, Kid Millions, Mutiny Amongst Friends, The Porches and Bromance.

  The weekend wraps up with a Sunday night show at The Fish Tank with Number 9 Hard, Kickin It Poolside, Jack Moves and Brief Candles.

  The festival will be a great display of local writers, artists and musicians, Bublitz says.

  “It’s people doing it themselves,” she states. “They feel they have something to say and don’t have or want a mainstream media outlet for it.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit midwestzines.org or myspace.com/milwaukeezinefest.