Zine Con No. 3’s DIY treasure hunt hits El Torreon from 10 to 6 Saturday

Most people are afraid of change. The organizers of KC Zine Con are not most people.

For one thing, they’ve changed the annual convention’s location for the third time in as many years. This time, following stints at UMKC’s Pierson Hall and the Uptown Theater’s Valentine Room, the gathering happens at the historic El Torreon. That’s where some 100 artists, writers and self-publishers will descend to celebrate (not to mention market) a shared underground-DIY ethos.

For another, the clique of zine enthusiasts behind the event grew by two this year. Amos Leager, Dayne Meyer, JC Sparks, Katie Hogan, Jess Hogan and Marc Saviano agree that putting together the big day is now that much easier.

Something that hasn’t changed: I’ll be there, having registered my table with what felt like record-breaking haste as soon as signup was possible.

And another aspect of Zine Con that stays the same tomorrow is its focus on accessibility and inclusivity. Physically, El Torreon is wheelchair accessible, and the Zine Con event page outlines potential protocols; “Safer Spaces” policies, borrowed from other events of its kind, are in effect to bar discrimination and harassment. (Basically, don’t be a jerk.)

“We want it to be really accessible to the people who don’t necessarily identify with the [punk] subculture,” Jess Hogan says of the event. 

Three participants have won something like a mini lottery and had their fees waived and their tables featured: MG Salazar, the Blue River Society, and Imagine That.

MG Salazar is a writer, activist, entrepreneur and drag queen whose poetry volume Striking the Black Snake focuses on the water-protector protests at Standing Rock.

Imagine That is a nonprofit studio in the Crossroads that works to support local artists with developmental disabilities by pairing them with mentors and providing them with tools and materials.

The Blue River Society’s Andy Ozier and Graham Carroll are deeply interested in Kansas City’s Blue River and are working hard to pump out zines, pamphlets and maps detailing the river’s history and ecology.

Beyond those three tables, expect a dizzying array of voices, styles and degrees of finesse. If you like zines, in other words, expect to leave Zine Con with less money — but more to page through and admire than you get on any other day of the year. Bonus attractions: Oddities Prints will screen-print your KC Zine Con T-shirt right before your eyes, and the Betty Rae’s Ice Cream truck is slinging treats curbside. Just don’t drip any ice cream on your new favorite comic, chapbook,manual, screed, tract or whatever other treasure you find. 

KC Zine Con No. 3

10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, August 26

El Torreon, 3101 Gillham Plaza, free

Categories: A&E, Art