A Timely Learning Curve for Appreciating the Independent Art of the Zine

The Curve is a new Scout column dedicated to helping Vancouverites explore and feel out the corners of complex, multi-dimensional, often hierarchical and always completely random subjects. The aim is to inform readers – in progressive, graduating fashion – on everything from gin and poems to cheeseburgers and trees. In honour of the Vancouver Art Book Fair (runs Oct. 13-15), Scout contributor Thalia Stopa gives us the apropos lowdown on self-published printed matter from A to Zine…

photo courtesy of Vancouver Art Book Fair

BEGINNER | For the peripheral peruser, you may not have to stray far from your usual caffeine routine to get your first taste of DIY printed matter. In addition to great coffee, treats and other cafe fare, Bump N’ Grind Cafe (South Granville and Commercial Street locations) is also home to a selection of bite-sized reading materials to accompany your morning macchiato or afternoon pick-me-up. If Main Street is closer, hit the Regional Assembly of Text. The retail space’s adjoining Lowercase Gallery is a converted storage closet where you can get cozy with any number of their expanding collection of self-published books, mini-comics and zines. This delightfully quaint little reading library houses hundreds of publications for you to get lost in on a rainy afternoon. | Bump N’ Grind Cafe: 3010 Granville Street | 916 Commercial Street | Weekdays 7am – 8pm | Weekends 7am – 7pm | The Regional Assembly of Text: 3934 Main Street | Monday – Saturday 11am – 6pm | Sunday Noon – 5pm.

INTERMEDIATE | Have you checked out the Vancouver Public Library’s zine collection yet? From basic Xerox-and-stapled iterations to properly bound beauties, the VPL’s collection has something for every inclination. I recommend exercising your library card by grabbing a bundle and exploring the vast, self-published universe in the comfort of your own home.

ADVANCED | The 6th Annual Vancouver Art Book Fair hijacks the Vancouver Art Gallery from October 13th to 15th. In addition to the 100+ publishers from around the world, there’s an exhaustive list of talks facilitated by international participants varying in niche (architectural intersections, dissension and democratization politics) and geography (Mexico, Lithuania, Middle East). However, if you’re already a zinester, book nerd and/or self-publisher, we suggest getting really cerebral by picking your own brain on a perennially hot topic at “To Publish or Not to Publish”, presented by Stockholm’s famed Moon Space Books. | Saturday, October 14 | 2:00pm | VAG Annex, 2nd Floor, Library.

EXTRA CREDIT | The hardcore can pledge their lifelong literature allegiance with a lit-inspired flash tattoo specially drawn up by some of the talented artists at Black Medicine Tattoo in conjunction with VABF. Two dates remain: Oct. 12 and 22, 12pm – 6pm).

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