It takes a certain type of tenacity to be a zinester: an unmitigated openness, an unrelenting inquisitiveness, a borderline-pathological need for self-expression that's undaunted in the face of limited resources. The Denver Zine Library knows all about that: After an extended absence with the majority of its collection in storage, the venerable DIY haven rallied and returned last month in a new space at 2727 West 27th Avenue. Tonight, the DZL holds its first hurrah in the new digs with Zines on Toast, a touring consortium of zinesters from the U.K., along with Alex Wrekk, one of the queens of the scene.
Of the zinesters, Wrekk is perhaps the best known, owing to her seminal Stolen Sharpie Revolution, a seminal pamphlet detailing how to make a zine (in true DIY fashion, the first edition contained tips on postal scams and how to finagle free photocopies), which has been reprinted several times by a couple of different small-scale publishers. Others include Steve Larder (Rumland), Isy (Morgenmuffle) and Edd Baldry (Hey Monkey Riot). For what it's worth, with that kind of lineup, you can probably expect a lot of material about being a vegan anarchist.
Nevertheless, it's a pretty impressive collection of zinemakers, and Kelly Shortandqueer, who heads up the DZL's operations, says that's because the DZL has the reputation to draw it. "I would say the Denver Zine Library is one of the better known zine libraries in the country," he says. "There's some knowledge of us in the larger zine community."
At the DZL tonight, the artists will read from their work and tell personal stories, spreading the wealth they've put together -- and drawing what they can from here. According to Shortandqueer, that's because zine-making is really a process of discovery: "I think it's in the nature of zinesters to just really like traveling," he says. "I can't speak for the folks on this tour, but I know that, for me, the exciting thing about touring is meeting new people, getting your work out there and getting to see other people's work."
And you never know: With a cast like this, there might be a few surprises. The show gets under way at 7 p.m. tonight at the new space. There's a $3-$5 requested donation, but if you're broke, don't dismay: In the inclusive spirit of zines, no one will be turned away.
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