L.A. Zine Fest Edition

Photo May 11, 11 33 55 PM

In 2011 I wrote a piece called “How To Leave Cities” and it was the first thing ever published on DUM DUM Online. Printed on broadside in Chicago right before I moved back to L.A., the piece graced the cover of Issue No. 1: Cities & States and informed the issue’s central theme, debuting at the very first L.A. Zine Fest on the top floor of The Last Bookstore.

Letters from the Editor have been a DUM tradition typically saved for print issues. L.A. Zine Fest and DUM DUM Zine, however, have such a rich, delicious history—the fest has become somewhat of a yearly signpost for us—that we felt we had to dedicate an entire Editor’s Letter to this yearly living, breathing festival of zines put on by our dear friends.

This year, DUM DUM Zine won’t have the full table it’s had for the past 5 years. We won’t be throwing a crazy kickoff or afterparty. I’ll have some sweet back issues with me on the Taleen Kali x Yumi Sakugawa table, and our DUM team will be out there to document the fest, doing what we’ve done best for the last 2 years: online publishing.

So why aren’t we vending? In an effort to share information, resources and the learning curve that goes into being an independent publisher with our DIY and L.A. literary communities, we want to be as transparent as possible and give you a behind the scenes look at our evolution as a zine:

  1.  We fucking love the Internet. Ever since DUM DUM Zine started in 2011 we’ve been committed to publishing experimental writing and marginalized voices in print. And yet, it was always my dream to give the zine as robust a presence online. When our web wizard Kenton deAngeli called last year reporting some pretty surprising traffic to our humble homepage, we decided to refocus our efforts to online publishing. Kenton then offered us (practically) free web hosting, helping us to solidify this mission to publish even weirder, Dummer literature,  broadcasting more voices on the Internet.
  2. We got your emails. Print is expensive, and particularly the method in which we produced our first five issues. We realized somewhere between Issue No. 4 and 5 that we alienated many talented, burgeoning writers in the very DIY community that supports us. Being a young, small-run print zine, we hadn’t quite figured out the most egalitarian model of representing our community with our printing methods at the time. We’re still sorry.
  3. We’ve vended every year since L.A. Zine Fest’s inception. There are so many amazing zinesters out there and we support L.A. Zine Fest’s efforts to be inclusive of new work that hasn’t yet seen the world. The thrill of making our first issue, our first button, our facelift, logo redesign, all of it, ALL OF IT, was downright life-affirming. We want to hang back and watch the cool kids have their turn.

Plus, even though there aren’t new issues of DUM DUM Zine out in the world at the moment, WE’RE STILL PRINTING. At my personal zine table this Sunday I’ll be debuting the 3rd and final part of the zine series I’ve been making with Yumi Sakugawa. Liska Jacobs will be debuting her first novel Catalina this fall, Taylor Yates continues to produce Selfish, Rosa Quezada is publishing a series of multimedia word and sound experiments, and Kenton’s making lord knows how many awesome projects in Brooklyn right now.

If you haven’t already read their stories online on DUM DUM Zine, go forth and read their amazing contributions! You can also find links to their new work on the spankin’ new DUMMIES section where we added a section for “PAST DUMMIES.” While we want to keep our masthead fresh and reflective of who’s doing what, we couldn’t be prouder of how our collective has grown and warped into delightful parts.

Photo May 26, 11 43 13 AM

DUM DUM Zine gave me the courage during the recession to write the kinds of stories I most wanted to write. It gave me a place to go, served as an in-between in the time between writing about music and writing punk music. It held my hand through multiple iterations of musical lineups, and it helped me realize that while I am a good editor, I am more poet and publisher than anything else.

I’m happy to say in the last 2 years, my dream of making DUM DUM Zine translate to the web has come true. It is now a living, flying beast outside of its print identity. We have a well-oiled machine that publishes weekly: that’s one piece a week of discerned, weirdo literature that sometimes isn’t even literature. A culture piece. A mini-mix. A text message interview. Once a week we give you the kind of stuff you’re not used to seeing in your everyday web browser.

And with that dream achieved, I’d like to announce that in order to herald the next step in DUM DUM Zine, I’ll be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief and becoming Publisher. The site will continue to publish once weekly, and I’ll be focusing on getting us back into print.

I want to feel the thrill of seeing a young author in print for the first time in our pages. I want to publish EVEN MORE voices. For the next year, I’ll be doing just that. And in order to do so, I’ve got to find a printing model that serves our literary community without relegating our staff to crowdfunding every year.

We’ll be unfolding updates, changes in our masthead and fun events (summer fest, anyone?) throughout the  year. Sign up for the newsletter to get the DUM dish.

In the meantime, look out for our DUM pins on Sunday, we’ll be wearing them while we snap your photo or buy your zine at the fest. Stay tuned for the recap next week, and #GetDuM!

All of mine,

Taleen Kali

LAZF mock ups