Every March my little hometown of Adelaide wakes from its sleepy summer slumber and throws some rather nice arts and music festivals. There's the Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Festival and Womadelaide, all of which equate to lots of fun.
But nestled amongst these behemoths of the festival world is one little artist run festival that I make sure I never miss. Its called the Format Festival and is run completely by unpaid volunteers.
Format is all about inclusion, freedom to create and flying by the seat of your pants. The program of events over the two week festival covers street art, performance art, folk/punk/electronic/acoustic live music, photography, visual arts exhibitions and finishes with a rather lovely zine fair.
Zines (pronounced 'zeen') are the lesser known little sibling of magazines. They're often handmade and roughly stapled, photocopied on tired old copy machines and occasionally even sewn together.
But the content of the zines is where the fun really starts. These little creations cover a huge range of topics from people politics, grotesque art, social theory according to tin tin, bedroom punk, short but sexy fiction, lomo photography, cartoons about growing pumpkins and the love of cycling. They're raw and from the heart, and more often than not teach you something new about the beautiful awkward world that we live in.
If you'd like to dive right in and buy yourself a zine, pop down to your local vegan coffee shop, beat up record store or slightly odd book shop and ask where to find zines in your city. Chances are the beautiful stranger working behind the desk makes one! You should too.
Where to look in Australia:
Bird in the Hand Zine Shop
100a King Street, Newcastle, NSW.
Shop 10, Campbell Arcade, Melbourne VIC.
Format Zine Shop
15 Peel Street, Adelaide, SA.
Where to look in Toronto:
Canada's Largest Zine Fair and Festival of Alternative Culture
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Great Hall
1087 Queen Street West
(if you know of any in your local city, leave a comment and I'll add them to the list)
Oh and if you'd like some hints about how to fold your freshly created zine, there's a nice wiki about zine folding here.
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