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Do-it-yourself publishers convene at 15th SF Zine Fest

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The 15th annual free San Francisco Zine Fest showcases art by more than 150 self-publishers. (Courtesy Liz Acosta)
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Punk might be dead, but the do-it-yourself publishing scene isn’t.

That’s what the folks participating in the 15th annual San Francisco Zine Fest, happening Sunday in Golden Gate Park, think. They’ll prove it at Thinking Captions at the Main Library on Thursday.

Taking place for the first time in Koret Auditorium, Thinking Captions is a pre-festival showcase of five local independent zine artists and writers reading from their work. (A zine, short for magazine, could be anything from stapled-together, copied montages to a glossy compilation to a more accessible version of a published academic paper.)

“The common thread between different types of zines,” says event organizer and zine creator Emily Alden Foster, “is that everyone wants to make something that’s uniquely their own.”

Thursday’s presenters “were chosen because we love their work and work to give them a chance to share it with a larger audience,” says Alden Foster.

“It’s always interesting,” Alden Foster says, “to see how they interpret pieces, like wordless comics, that weren’t originally intended to be read aloud.”

The session’s special guest is Ajuan Mance, an English professor at Mills College in Oakland specializing in African-American literature who created “1001 Black Men,” an expansive online collection of portraits designed to “reflect the wonderful complexity of African American lives — our history so deeply embedded in our present.”

Mance, a self-described “black, genderqueer nerd,” says the drawings are a project that “represent my public participation in the discussion around the limited images of black maleness and masculinity offered up in far too many representations of black boys and men.”

Thursday’s gathering is one of seven precursors to Sunday’s festival, which features more than 150 artists and workshops, panels and a section for children.

This year marks the first time the reading, which is co-sponsored by the Cartoon Art Museum, isn’t at the museum, which closed its doors on Mission Street in September 2015 because it wasn’t able to afford a rent increase.

Still in operation, but without an exhibition space, the museum (the only West Coast organization devoted to cartoon art), is continuing its mission to preserve, document and exhibit cartoons, as well as support alternative artists and stories by established practitioners and newcomers.

Cartoon Art Museum administrative associate Nina Taylor Kester is slated to speak Thursday with an update on the museum’s plans.


IF YOU GO

Thinking Captions Reading
Where: Koret Auditorium, S.F. Public Library, 100 Larkin St. S.F.
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 1
Tickets: Free
Contact: www.sfzinefest.org
Note: The free 2016 San Francisco Zine Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 4 at the County Fair Building, 1199 Ninth Ave., S.F.

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