Local Artists shine at the L.A. Zine Fest

By Johanna Calderon, Megan G. Razzetti and Diego Linares

The 5th annual L.A. Zine Fest showcased a diverse selection of local publishers at the packed Majestic Downtown on March 7.

The fest brings together a community of artists, educators, musicians, writers and students who collectively transform their ideas into realities through zine- making. Zines are short, inexpensive, handmade publications that often feature unconventional subjects.

East Los Angeles College student Kristen Huizar was among 200 artists chosen out of the 500 entries to display and vend at the festival.

Huizar is a studio art major who uses her zine “La Virgen” to portray women in a different light.

“It’s like a way of empowering women,” said Huizar. “When I draw them, I draw the shine around them because we’re all different and special in various ways. No matter what you say to us, demean us, we’re always going to shine.”

The ELAN went on to mention how she thought it was awesome that there was diversity among the vendors., The table across from her were anarchists who were giving away free zines and people who came from out of state did the same.

Self-published zine creators and distributors created a diverse inviting space to share their work with the public.

The fest gave a safe platform for people who want to be identified as how they feel and tend to face discrimination for how they represent themselves. Some artists even touched on how society views  beauty based on ideas generated through advertisement in mass media.

Former ELAC student and punk rock musician Alice Bag had a table set up with her own previously published books based on her growing up in East Los Angeles. She also had copies of a short zine she made with Sofia Velasquez, entitled “Beauty,” which featured a short reclamation of beauty to one’s own concept of it.

Rudy Bleu of the Chicano-queer Maricon Collective, incorporates the message of body positivity with men in his work.

“Especially like with men, gay men, we have issues with our body because we are shown what is supposed to be desirable, with muscle and lean bodies. So I’m just trying to show different types of bodies and putting it out there,” Bleu said.

Panels, readings and workshops were also held at three neighboring off sites, including The Last Bookstore.

Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition also helped provide around 30 bikes racks to make transportation to the Fest easier and more efficient.

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