Zines on display in multiple variations
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Zines of all shapes, sizes, colors and content were put on display Sept. 4 and 5 at the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park for the ninth annual San Francisco Zine Fest.

The festival featured 110 zine creators, artists, publishers, cartoonists and workshops, including screen printing and book binding, throughout the day.

The zines displayed ranged from the professionally bound to stapled paperbacks with topics covering everything from politics and satire to zombies and bunnies.

Commonly short in length and photocopied, zines are independent publications that gained popularity in the 70s. They range from rants to pictures and showcase an individual's unique outlook on life or certain topics.

SFZF organizer and SF State student Fran├žois Vigneault, 32, first displayed his own comics at the festival six years ago.

"(I was) interested in telling my story and new ways to express myself," he said.

Vigneault said the SFZF is about explaining zines and strengthening the zine community.

An exhibition called Punk Tabloid, an art show, featured three Bay Area publications: Another Room Magazine, Search & Destroy and Damage.

"I think it'll be an inspiration to creators now... and audience to (show) how deep the roots go," Vigneault said.

Andrea Alefhi, 39, started her zine "We'll Never Have Paris" three years ago. The New York native and San Francisco transplant made her way back to the Bay Area to showcase her work.

"I got tired of other people turning down my writing so I thought 'F*** it, I'll start my own publication.'" The theme of her work is "all things never meant to be." She writes nonfiction work tales of upset.

"I like the way it feels when someone flips though my publication and buys it," she said.

Attendee Laura Lubarov, 23, recalled getting zines from punk rock shows and being unfamiliar with them. When she heard about SFZF, she decided to check it out.

She said she really enjoyed the creativity and energy that was present at the fair. Another perk was that everything was either free or cheap; some distributors even encouraged trading for merchandise.

Artist Elle Skinner, 27, was an exhibitor at the Alternative Press Expo and returned for a second year at SFZF. Her fairy tale themed comics which she described as a "slice of life, every day stories" were inspired from a thesis paper she wrote in college. With the help of social networking and blogging, she meets people who have been following her work through her websites.

The idea of using multiple platforms and to get alternative press out to the public was one of the many topics discussed during the Do It Yourself and Small Press Journalism panel on Sunday. Many of the exhibitors have websites and blogs, which have helped get their names out to the public. The festival ended Sunday with another round of panels and discussion.

Joel Michael Smith, 31, also displayed his artwork at the fest. He said he enjoyed the APE and wanted to attend SFZF because he enjoyed seeing what people bring. "I think it's cool to put together random kinds of images and see what happens."

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PHOTO
Kevin Henderson | staff photographer
Creator of Atomicbearpress.com, Brian Kolm, shows off some of his designs to crowds at this year's San Francisco Zine Fest.

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