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When I was in Denver last weekend, one of the coolest things I did was tour the Denver Zine Library:

It's a great place, and I hope they get lots of free funding and donations to remain open. I was *huge* fan of zines in the nineties. Before the internet, it was the only way to connect with artists and other people who were into alternative culture. There were fanzines, "perzines" (personal zines full of drama and life stories, like a precursor to LiveJournal), music zines, comics, and strange stuff. I would read "Factsheet Five" cover to cover, sending little envelopes full of dollar bills all over the world, and getting these exotic handmade magazines and photocopies back. It was like a lifeline to this young homosexual.

The library is small, just a tiny room located in the "Other Side" arts center. But it's better than the tiny shed in the back of the founders' house that it used to be stored in. They let you sit inside for as long as you like and peruse the zines, though donations are always welcome. I bought some gay zines for a few dollars... they are becoming trendy again, and are sometimes quite pricey (over $10 for a magazine!) Proof that everything comes around again in popularity. The Fourth Annual "Denver Zine Fest" is coming up at the end of May, and it will be a fun weekend full of music, art, and lots and lots of little xeroxed paper books.

If you live in Denver, I think you should stop by. The place is on the Platte, just across from the longstanding Paris on the Platte coffeeshop. Though, I'd rather go three doors down and have tea instead at the excellent (and very fey) House of Commons tea room. Afterwards, check out the two VERY woofy bears who run Wen Chocolates. Their truffles are pricey, but with weird flavors like rosemary and mint fennel, I'll be ordering from them online (especially now that Joseph Schmidt and Scharffen-Berger are closing here in San Francisco).

Finally, check out the Savory Spice Shop on the Platte, or go watch the kayakers on the river at the Confluence park near the REI. Avoid the nasty burgers at the overrated My Brother's Bar, but at least step inside to see the original letters Neal Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac while drinking excessively at the bar. See? I've planned out an amazing day for you in Denver. You've never been there, and you *live* there, but it takes an out-of-town tourist to show you what amazing things there are to see in your own city!

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Great post. I love that zines are making a comeback in this virtual internet age.

Next time you're in the city, check out the zine collection/selection at the Yerba Buena Arts Center.

Those are amazing flavors of chocolates. I'll take a dozen of the Savannah, please!

Oh Sir... You know i take comments like that as Orders {grin}. Duly noted

Edited at 2009-04-14 08:04 pm (UTC)

I've been trying to decide if I have enough self-control to get a pound box of my favorite truffles &c. from the See's shop over in the Galleria. (Working from FPN's Law: "Never Waste Calories." If a diabetic is going to eat chocolate, it should be really good chocolate...!)

Ooooh, I used to do one back in 1992-1994. I would obsessively trade with other gay zinesters and I still have a box of zines in my closet. I should donate them.

They would love to take your donations!

Many years ago I sent some to a zine library somewhere else...Chicago maybe? I love that someone is keeping these things alive, especially since the internet has sorts made them obsolete.

I would argue that zines are not obsolete. How many times has someone told you, "Check out this great website!" and then when you are back at home on your computer, you either forget the conversation, or you remember, "Um, I think the URL was something like dogfire.com... or maybe it was doglake.com?"

You can print out a hundred zines for the price of a CD, and you can leave them anywhere people gather: laundromats, coffee shops, art shows. People pick up a pamphlet full of your ideas and art, and they are compelled to read it - a lot more than they would to look at your Facebook page.

Edited at 2009-04-14 08:03 pm (UTC)

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Ding ding ding! You win the hipster award for today. {grin}

I still have complete collections of Mondo 2000, Iron Feather Journal, Bust, Giant Robot, Drummer, Answer Me, 8-Track Mind, Beer Frame, Dishwasher, Murder Can Be Fun, 2600, and Infiltrator.

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I love weird flavors. In fact, eating strange things is a sexual fetish of mine. Earl grey tea chocolate was the best I tried from Wen. But I'll put anything in my mouth!

(Afterwards, check out the two VERY woofy bears who run Wen Chocolates. Their truffles are pricey, but with weird flavors like rosemary and mint fennel, I'll be ordering from them online (especially now that Joseph Schmidt and Scharffen-Berger are closing here in San Francisco).)

Wait, tell me again slowly- Joseph Schmidt is closing? Scharffen-Berger is closing? Seriously? Completely? Gone, bye bye, never coming back again Closing?

(The zine stuff in interesting, but this is HUGE, tragic news)

Well, at least the news came from a handsome man. Now can someone please hold me for a minute whilst I sob quietly for a minute or two?

Oh, here's some chocolate... that will make you feel better. No, wait, I'm all out.

Wow, that's awesome! I used to be involved in a number of small-press 'zines back in the day (my current Web site, xeromag.com, started out as the site for Xero magazine before it became the sprawling monstrosity it is today).

I just tossed a huge Tupperware bin full of the 'zines I'd done...had no idea people were still collecting them.

I read "Ben is Dead," "Punk Planet," and "Bust." Ah, the Nineties.

I forgot about Ben Is Dead. Loved that one. I don't think "http://www.somehipwebsite.com" will be as loved as an old zine, even if they had the same content.

Diseased Pariah News, Thrift Score, Processed World, Holy Titclamps, Man2Man, Plotz, and, of course, Brains in da house.

The Denver Zine Library had an entire collection of Holy Titclamps! As well as On Our Backs. I miss DPN, such holy anger.

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