Union Project

September 28
2 – 8 p.m.

In a world saturated by digital memes and emotions, it’s refreshing to have a host of events that showcase the tactile and the handmade in Pittsburgh. Get in on the local ‘zine scene this week during a series of events celebrating these little tomes made with love and intent. Returning to the Union Project, the 4th annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair sets up shop on Sunday, September 28th from 2 to 8 pm.

If you feel strongly that print matters you won’t want to to miss this creative gathering of like-minded publishers, producers and collectors. Featured will be 50 vendors, including individual artists, collectives, comic book artists and cartoonists, illustrators, ‘zine collections, photographers, small presses and indie publishers, poetry and literary anthologies and more. Expanding this year to include more vendors and additional on-site programming, the fair will also include music by DJ Zombo, hands-on ‘zine making activities and impressive ‘zine collections of the Roboto Project and Carnegie Library.

Vendors, who range from teens to veteran ‘zine makers, hail from all around Pittsburgh, across Pennsylvania and even from Ohio and Michigan. Launched in 2011, the fair also aims to showcase Pittsburgh as a growing new media hub for producers of ‘zine-related content across a range of subject matter, themes, disciplines and formats—from politics and photography to sci-fi and identity. Also new this year is on-stage child care provided by Yellow Bridge Collective.

Can’t wait until Sunday? Check out the fair’s week-long series of events celebrating independent artists and media makers leading up to the big day. Meet and mingle with this year’s vendors at a special ‘Zine Fair Mixer on Saturday, September 27th at Bunker Projects, where Nils “Balls” Hanzcar, Juan Fernandez, Catherine Conley/Steer Queer, Maggie Lynn Negrete, Thom Delair, Erin Oh, Natty Soltesz, and Kelly Thomas/Wild Age Press will read from their work during the social gathering.

Don’t miss a signing with international cartoonists Michael DeForge, Simon Hanselmann and Patrick Kyle on September 24th at Copacetic Comics, and a special signing and Q&A event with “Hospital Suite” and “King-Cat Comics” creator John Porcellino, along with a screening of the documentary film, Root Hog or Die, about his life and work.

Created in a variety of formats, from computer-printed typeface and comic books, to hand-scrawled text and poetry chapbooks, self-published ‘zines—often xeroxed and circulated in small batches—experienced a resurgence in the pre-Internet 1990s. Among the last remaining forms of unregulated human expression, ‘zines embody a DIY ethos that encourages radical information sharing, decentralizes media, empowers authentic voices and champions inexpensive forms of communication. Since the invention of the printing press centuries ago, and later with the circulation of Thomas Paine’s popular pamphlet “Common Sense” in 1776, citizens with something to say have published their ideas in the form of self-published small-run printed matter.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...