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"I survived the 24 Hour Zine Challenge"

by Jyelle Vogel & Melissa Albiani

Hour 3: The "Crow's Nest" was packed the whole Challenge with concentrated creators.
Hour 4:  Watermelon snack break.  Elise, Jonathan, and Amanda.
Hour 15:  Only the bikes remained after a night of backyard BBQ'ing and zine making.  On day 2 people were mostly inside because of the post-Hurricane Irene rain.
Hour 20: Amanda's zine is about a wasp that made a hive in her closet.
Hour 21:  Sarah is making a zine with Capp on secret and special places in and around Halifax.
Hour 20.5:  Snacks and coffee to sustain the over-nighters.  These are leftovers from Food Not Bombs.
Hour 20:  Constantin beat the crowds to the paper cutter, and completed two zines.  One on the significance of Soviet prison tattoos, the other on a hitchhiking road trip.
Hour 23:  Success!  Waiting in line for the People's Photocopier is all good, when you've completed a zine.
Hour 23.5: Capp helping Karen screen print a patch of: "I survived the 24 Zine Challenge."

The Roberts Street Social Centre hosted their 6th annual 24 hour Zine Challenge from August 24 to 25th.  The purpose of the Challenge is to promote zine sharing and reading, by adding new zines to the Anchor Archives zine library.  Completed zines will be shared with zine libraries across North America.

A zine, according to the Roberts Street Social Centre website, "can be described by what they are not:  they are non-commercial, non-professional publications."

Day 1

In the first hour, the yard was packed with zinesters, sitting around the typewriter and magazine strewn table, fire pit, and shed deck.  Dave Bush was barbequeing zucchinis and eggplant, people joked that he should write a zine about BBQ'ing.  

The Centre's website states that the Zine Challenge is open to everyone from the seasoned zinester, to first time writers.  Roberts Street provides the space, free supplies, and free photocopying services for the weekend.

In the yard, when people described their zines, several of them mentioned procrastinating as their biggest challenge.  Procrastination was even the theme of one participant's zine - which he successfully finished writing.  

"Deadlines seem to be the only way to get things produced, even if it's not perfect," said one participant.  Which is why some participants said the Challenge is great for some writers, it provides a window of opportunity and a strict deadline.

Zine topics ranged from an emotional map of Halifax, Vegan princess goddesses, a map of US road trip hot spots, and one on quitting.

Melissa Albiani


Day 2

The atmosphere was productive and busy. Everyone who was trying to finish put on the push in the last couple hours.  People waited courteously in the photocopier line ups. There was lots of delicious food shared.  Pens, paper, type writers, stamps, white out and markers covered most surfaces.  Hurricane Irene didn't faze the zine production much at all.  Perhaps the energy of the storm is what helped to create such a productive 24 hour zine crunch.

The morning pancake feast provided by the kindhearted Sarah Evans, fed the hungry Roberts Street folks.  People flowed in and out of the little house, coming and going to grab extra supplies or food.  Or to take a break from the concentrated zine production.  Screen printing patches was a good activity to partake in while waiting for a turn on the photocopier. 

In the end, the 24 hour Zine Challenge was a success. There were about 12 zines completed, and a few others that were worked on but not quite finished.

At 5pm on Sunday under a blustery sky, the Dream Fucks set up their sound equipment in the back yard and filled the neighbourhood with their good noises. As we stood around reading the zines fresh off the press, we were encouraged to participate by making sounds as the mic was passed around.  

Ending around 8:00 with a polite inquiry from the neighbours as to when the sound would stop, the instuments were whisked away, and Roberts Street was put to bed for the night after putting in a solid 30 hours of continual use!

Jyelle Vogel


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M.Albiani (Melissa Albiani)
Halifax, NS
Member since June 2011


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