Everyone needs a little Wayne America

Derek Pufahl, Staff Writer

A handful of students in the Humanities department brought a bit of Wayne America down to The Old Market on Saturday.


The first annual Omaha Zine Fest began at 11 a.m. and went on until 5 p.m. Over 80 creators and distributors were set up at tables, selling or giving away their zines in the 1316 Jones Street building, a common wedding venue.


A zine (abbreviation of fanzine or magazine, pronounced zeen) is most commonly a short, self-published work which can consist of any topic—a cosmic brew of creativity pulsing out poems, stories, artwork, cookbooks and even pictures of decorative wood joints.


The Magic Basket is a zine birthed here on campus. It is put together by students in WSC’s editing and publishing courses and features submissions from a number of undergraduate students.


“My favorite part was seeing other zines and getting ideas on how to improve The Basket. There are many different ways we can theme, build and put The Basket together,” freshman English major Elizabeth Elmers said. “We got our name out there and had a lot of people say they might submit.”


The event featured workshops and speakers from the Midwest publishing industry: Ashley Martain gave a mini-zine making workshop; Jeanette Powers, who runs POP Poetry in Kansas City, gave some advice about the business-side of selling zines; R. Legios of Legios Press gave an informative lecture about the history of zines and zine culture, and poets Adam Gnade, Blaire Marie Emsick, Aurora Moreno and Marc Saviano, among others, read their work.


Professional publishers such as The Backwater Press and Pioneer Press were also set up among the maze of more amateur zine makers.


“I think we did really well for first timers,” WSC graduate Sharon Cole said. “It was a good learning experience for all of us. I hope it becomes a tradition for WSC press to participate.”
Cole received her bachelor’s degree in studio art and acted as a sort of chaperone. She sold some of her own artwork independently.


Omaha Zine Fest hit the ground running due to the efforts of UNO students Daphne Calhoun, Kaitlyn McDermott and Andrea Kszystyniak, who works for the Omaha World Herald.


“We had seen Zine Fests like this before in smaller towns,” Calhoun said. “We knew a lot of people who make zines, so we were like, ‘Hey why don’t we do that.’ ”


Calhoun is majoring in behavior health, but she said she has always been interested in zines and has created a couple of her own personal ones which she didn’t display.


“My favorite zine was an untitled one by Dane Crane, who’s pretty great,” Calhoun said. “There were a lot of cool local people who came and some from across the country. One girl came from San Francisco.”


The event received support from Scout: Dry Goods and Trade, Indiegogo contributions and community fundraising events.


“There was just an endless amount of work to look at,” Cole said. “It was diverse and welcoming to all people and viewpoints. I learned a lot looking at how other zinsters distribute their work, such as the weird shapes and sizes of zines, business cards, artwork and freebies.”


One of the most unique booths in attendance was the AMN (Any Means Necessary) collective, who sold anarchist informational pamphlets for a dollar each.


When asked about what they would like to tell Wayne State students, Chris Dingus and Kevin Kaldwell of AMN had this to say: “Take an interest in the world around you, don’t just believe things because people tell you to.”


If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of WSC’s only zine, The Magic Basket, submissions can be sent to [email protected].