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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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The wonderful world of small press

By Sarah Custen

Salt Lake City Library welcomes fans of zines, altered books, music and local talent to the main branch Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. for the first Alternative Press Festival. AP is celebrating a milestone8212;500 of the library’s approximated 4,000 zines have been digitally catalogued at www.altpress.slcpl.org.

Clinton Watson, manager of the Web site and selector for the zine collection, said the festival is a belated re-launch of the zine collection. Library employees vamped up the collection a few years ago, with the launch of the Web site, a new digital catalog and a new name.

The festival is meant to include a wider community of authors and readers. “I want to get away from our collection being part of a sub-culture community and (make it) more of a forum for stuff that’s being created locally, or regionally,” Watson said.

The festival will give community members a chance to meet and visit with local authors, artists, publishers and musicians as they display their work. Those who want to get more involved can attend workshops on zine making, altered books or bookbinding. For entertainment, local performers Trouble on the Prairie, Patrick Briggs, The Platter and Chaz Prymec will do their thing, alongside slam poetry from Salt City Slam and readings organized by the U’s student literary magazine, Enormous Rooms.

Watson said it’s basically the same model as the library’s Book Fest, but the participants are all people who probably wouldn’t be a part of Book Fest, because “they’re not big enough, not established enough, not well-known enough.”

Shane Smith, a senior in English, said zines help give a voice to the little guy. Smith is a library employee who helped organize the event. He said zines help decentralize publication by putting the means of production into the hands of individuals who didn’t have access to them before.

“The traditional sources of art generation are being broken down a little or challenged,” he said. “(Zines are) a great way to publish, exhibit and read fringe artwork and literature.”

Smith has contributed to two local zines8212;Chiaroscuro and Negative Space8212;and is now one of the editors for Enormous Rooms. ER staff will be on hand during the festival, reading previously published material and giving away free copies of the latest edition, which is comprised of recovered works (submissions from the 2007-2008 school year that never made it to print).

Smith sees the library’s focus on local events and people as part of the bigger themes of environmentalism and community. “It’s an artistic concern as well,” he said. “This is how that overlaps into art, being local, focusing local.”

Francesca Sternfeld, lead singer of Trouble on the Prairie, is interested in the overlap as well. As a teacher for Virginia Tanner Creative Dance at the U, she said most of the dance community is involved in music, the arts and literature.

“There’s not really any reason to segregate those groups,” she said. “I think people are more excited about (events) with multiple connections.”

Sternfeld connects her own music to literature through narrative. “The songs that we play are dispatches from an imaginary town8212;the songs of that place,” she said. “In that sense, I think of it as lightly going towards performance art, and storytelling.”

Watson’s goal with this festival is for local artists like Sternfeld and Smith “to get to know each other, or for people from the community to get to know an author they didn’t know before,” he said.

Sternfeld agrees whole-heartedly and wants everyone to support Watson’s efforts. “It’s not just for people who are into zines,” she said. “It’s for people that are into Salt Lake.”

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