How did you become introduced to the culture of zines?
I started getting into punk rock in seventh / eighth grade which for me was 1987-1988. There was not an internet then so to find out about the more underground bands one had to search out the more underground magazines. A local newstand stocked flipside and Maximum Rock N Roll and through those magazines one could discover a whole huge world of underground literature since both magazines reviewed zines. So for me, discovering zines was a necessity due to not being able to get accurate information about new bands and different ideas to mainstream culture because there was not an internet.
What do you hope to accomplish by distributing zines?
when i first started i hoped to completely change the world by promoting alternative news / culture. unfortunately over the years reality has hit me hard and i now continue to distribute zines to provide an outlet for those who are interested in alternative media in order to help provide individuals with valuable information / opinions not easily found elsewhere.
Do you produce zines yourself? If so, what do you love and find challenging about zine making?
i used to produce a zine entitled "commie zine" when i went to georgia tech during 1994-1997. what i basically did was i would reprint articles from newspapers such as the new york times and then i would write about what i thought about the article. that way readers could see what i was deconstructing. it was fairly left wing - for instance issue #5 was entitled: "Newt Gingrich: The Man, The Legend, The Asshole" and has a big picture of Newt smiling that asseating grin of his.
the real challenge for me was cheap copies. during the early to mid 90's there were a bunch of kinko copy scams such as getting friends who worked @ kinko's to make one free $100 copy cards, etc. etc. other scams involved tricking the card reader and / or stealing a copy counter and reusing it in place of the copy counter you received when you first started making copies. despite all of this, Kinko's still made a lot of money.
Which role does the Internet play for you?
the internet has virtually become 100% necessary for conducting business now. The internet has lowered promotional costs. Having a website is a requirement now. just about all of stickfigure's business is conducted online via the website and email in some fashion.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a zine?
this is a tough question to answer. we live in times where there is just so much vying for our attention that we tend to shut down and block things out because it is just so overwhelming.
what i advise is that one starts with a blog first in order to work on one's ability to write. as you become a better writer your readership will increase and as a consequence there should be an audience that develops that would be willing to purchase a zine from you.
however there will be those who just want to do a zine and not a blog, in which case what i advise is finding a good cheap printing source to manufacture the zines cheaply so that you can sell the zines for a low price.
Do you feel part of a zine community or network and what does it mean to you? What is the zine scene like in Atlanta ?
I am not really that big of a part of the zine community. it is more because the main focus of stickfigure is music distribution more than anythingelse and there are just so many hours in the week. i am definately interested in what is happening and i catch bits and pieces here and there so while i am more aware than most people i still do not know as much as i could.
as for the zine community in atlanta, there is a small community of small press zinesters / publishers in atlanta. a local group of individuals hold a zine fair on a annual basis, but as i stated, i am definately not as in the know as i should be.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
What do you think about feminism today? How would you explain what feminism is to someone who has no idea what it is?
hmm, this is a tough set of questions. feminism today is in a state of flux because while women are still not equal to men on the otherhand it isn't 1955 anymore either. Where feminism is to go now i really do not know.
as for explaining feminism to someone who has no idea what it is, feminism is all about ensuring that women have equal access to the benefits of society that men have. of course for some that begs the answer of the question of what is society?
What would a “grrrl”-friendly society look like in your view? How do you think society might be re-envisioned and transformed in order to become an “ideal” world for women, grrrls and queer folks? Do you have any suggestions for the development of women/grrrl/queer-friendly policies?
I really have no idea what this would ultimately be like or even how to realistically start the process for such a society to exist. :-(
What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like to share them?
Honestly, my main goal is just keeping stickfigure financially viable. bush-o-nomics sucks :-(
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
thanks for the interview!