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Olympia Zine Fest will be a celebration of self-published ideas

Photo courtesy Olympia Zine Fest

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The beautiful practice of self-publishing has been providing a soapbox for maniacs and artists alike for many years. Without self-publishing, we would be bereft of scores of psychotic fan fiction, transgressive prose, loopy proposals for new religions, and furiously DIY examinations of local art and music - among countless other forms of expression that just couldn't survive the hurdles one needs to jump in order to make it to the mainstream.

Standing out amongst the self-publishing world is the almighty zine. Because of their relative ease of production and accessibility, zines have remained almost as ubiquitous and vital as they were when they initially appeared on the scene, a quintessentially punk form of expression, able to shift with the times without sacrificing their character. This weekend, Olympia is premiering the first ever Olympia Zine Fest, which is devoting four days to the culture of zines and the art that inspires them.

It must be said that, if zines can be said to thrive anywhere, it'd be in a city like Olympia. Yes, the proximity to the Evergreen College campus helps, what with all the hippies and weirdos that tend to be drawn to that school, but the ethos of Olympia has always been one of off-kilter experimentation and artistic freedom. When the Olympia Zine Fest gets underway, it'll be a hotbed of not just those that spend their time in the zine community, but the movers and shakers of the Olympia arts scene in general.

The festival will feature an abundance of panels, workshops, and tables devoted to selling and displaying the works of over 70 zine artists. This is a cavalcade of unique points of view, and a great opportunity to see the breadth and variety of work in the Olympia underground. One of the venues, the Olympia Timberland Library, is home to over 1,500 zines, which should give you an idea of the deluge of material you can expect to find at the Olympia Zine Fest.

In addition to the aforementioned events, the Olympia Zine Fest will kick off with a screening of the works of experimental artists Marian Wallace and V. Vale, the latter of whom founded the seminal punk rock magazine and publishing outfit RE/Search Publications. Saturday will also feature an all-ages performance at Obsidian from some of Olympia's finest oddballs: the bizarre, high-energy art-rock of the Fabulous Downey Brothers; Fruit Juice's joyous, candy-coated psych-pop; and the Seattle-based, wiry post-punk of Mutiny Mutiny.

Olympia Zine Fest is a celebration of rebels and radical thinkers. There's humility to the zine, with its stapled pages of photocopied words and images, free to work outside of the norm. It's an artform that has survived the onslaught of blogs, which threatened to usurp the written page. Still, after all these years, the pleasure of flipping through the pages of a person's thoughts and ideas remains a very potent thing, and it's one that Olympia Zine Fest is determined to bring into the light. And who knows? If you haven't already, maybe this is the event that will convince you to share your self-published work with the rest of us.

Visit for the full schedule of events.

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