Last weekend (not this one, but the one before), I headed out of town for the Chicago Zine Fest. This is a zine fest I never miss, partially because it’s an excuse to head back to where I used to live and see all sorts of old friends, partially because I helped found and organize the fest in its first two years, and partially because it’s just so much fun.
I got in late on a Thursday night and didn’t take many photos, but I headed over to Bar Deville for a buddies new wave DJ night, and then out to a goth night at a club that Daniel goes to a lot of Thursday nights. I almost never go to bars in Philly but it was a huge part of my social life in Chicago.
After a very late night out, in which I met up with a few zine friends, met and talked to a lot of strangers, and stood around awkwardly while folks danced in da club (I don’t dance because I’m a square and I’m too self-conscious.), I crashed on Daniel’s couch and awoke to this friendly face, Egon the dog.
Egon is my second favorite dog. His demeanor is so similar to Rover’s. He’s just a big sweet lump with a lot of quiet personality. And he looks like a baby hippo.
In the morning, Daniel (my best friend, who still lives in Chicago) and I headed over to the Handlebar to meet up with a whole bunch of folks who were in town for Zine Fest, including Amy and Shira from DC, Sara from Philly, Eryca and Meredith from LA, and Amy Leigh from Toronto. It’s strange how often I get to see a lot of these folks just because of the weird zine community we’re all a part of.
After brunch, we headed over for fancy coffee at Caffe Streets, my favorite coffee shop in Chicago. I had already had three cups of coffee, though, and it was only noon, so I opted for the really fancy “drinking chocolate” with the homemade marshmallow. It came highly recommended and it was so good.
With Shira, Daniel and Amy at Streets.
Then we parted ways with Daniel and headed downtown for the first zine fest event, a panel discussion on self-publishing and writing about disabilities, with Dave Roche, Miranda Dearest and Kerri Radley (from Philly!)
When the panel was over, we all walked to Trader Joes to get snacks.
We snacked real hard, and then all piled into Jessica (from Milwaukee)’s van.
We headed up to the next events, the Kids reading and the Exhibitor reading, which are always programmed so well in Chicago. All the readers are so different and interesting, and it’s really cool to see middle school and high school readers included in an event like this.
Here was one of the young favorites – already an outspoken feminist. Her reading was so funny and well written.
Jenna preparing to read from one of her new comics.
Kate Larsen reading about being recently diagnosed with MS.
Following the reading, the night was closed with a game night at Quimby’s Bookstore. I always go in pretty skeptical because it sounds cheesy, but these end up being really fun.
This year’s event was Zine, Lose or Draw, a zine-themed pictionary game.
Getting ready for my drawing turn.
Neil, the MC. He was one of the people I organized CZF with the first two years. He now organizes CAKE, the indie comics expo in Chicago. He was guest starring for this event.
Sarah Rose, one of my favorite Philly zinesters. There were a lot of us there!
My team, the Hellmouth Breathers, was victorious! We won the whole event.
The awards ceremony.
I love this knowing look between JC and Sarah.
Eryca’s photo taking face!
aaaand meanwhile, back at Daniel’s.
in the morning
With little sleep, again, I headed down on Saturday morning to table at Chicago Zine Fest. Daniel kept me company at my table.
My view for the next 7 hours.
Everyone else’s view of my table
Keeping me entertained
We snapped this Glitterguts photo before Daniel took off to get work done.
and this one. Glitterguts is a free party Photo Booth group that sets up at a lot of events in Chicago.
One of my best friends from childhood, Erin, came by with her son, Eli.
It was nice to catch up with her for a minute and really nice that she swung by!
Our Glitterguts shot.
Big crowd. It was packed most of the day and I sold out of everything I brought. I think I’m just getting good at guessing how much to bring to each event.
Neil’s new project, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo
Walking in the subway with a big group of zine folks to head to the afterparty.
Taco stop at El Charro.
Taco shops on every corner is one of the best things about Chicago.
After dinner, we finished walking up to the zine fest after party at Uncharted Books.
Following tradition, the after party was a karaoke party.
Being the no-fun, self-conscious square that I am, I just watched.
Jen singing Backstreet Boys with passion.
The Chicago Zine Fest organizers closing out the night with a medley.
Another CZF tradition is a post-fest informal brunch at Leslie’s on Sunday morning. I slept over at her place the night before and helped cook up a feast for everyone.
My phone was hijacked while I was cooking.
Sunday brunch is always the best way to wind down from zine fest activities and see everyone in a low key setting before everyone starts their travels home.
It was a really rainy day and I had reserved it just for hangs with Daniel, since most of the weekend was filled with zine events. We couldn’t decide what to do, so on a whim, we decided to get matching finger tattoos! Because what else would we do with our rainy day? First we saw Life of Pi in 3D and got some food.
a gnarly shot of an arrow and a dagger.
I also had a few lines on my lighthouse tattoo touched up because they scarred pretty badly for some reason. Post tattoos, we went to Big Star, and then got ice cream and watched a bad movie.
In the morning we went to Little Goat for brunch before I headed back to the airport. Always bittersweet being back in Chicago.