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Zines and Music subcultures / Punk:

Both the world of science fiction and fantasy and the world of music inspired great devotion and creativity in fan communities. In the 1960s, crossover began to occur between these two fandoms as the creators of fanzines began to produce new fanzines devoted to rock music, leading to a new genre of zines which celebrated bands and music subcultures. These early music zines placed great emphasis upon the emergence of new sound and became influential in promoting emerging bands.

Zines found a unique and celebrated role in the punk underground of the 1970s and 1980s. Punk is defined as “a movement or series of cultural movements involving music, ideology, fashion, oppositional politics, and a DIY and anti-mainstream sensibility…” (Encyclopedia of Punk Music and Culture, 164). As part of this do-it-yourself philosophy, punk celebrated the amateur or unpolished aesthetic. Zines, whose creators were generally not concerned with making money or breaking into the mainstream, were embraced by the punk community as the ideal vehicle for expressing the punk lifestyle. Zines were shared and disseminated through the mail, as were the fanzines of the past, and were also distributed at punk gigs and at music shops. The typical content of a punk zine included reviews of performances, albums, and band interviews. However, politics were also blended into punk and music zines, which often featured lengthy editorial rants against mainstream society or politics.

Brian Cogan

Encyclopedia of Punk Music and Culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006.

This volume, part of the library’s Reference Collection, contains entries on notable punk musicians, poets, record labels, books, fashions, and important locales. It provides general information about Riot Grrrl bands as well as zines and flyers produced as part of the punk scene.

Lauraine Leblanc

Pretty in Punk: Girls’ Gender Resistance in a Boys’ Subculture. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

Although women were involved in punk from its earliest days, many felt marginalized by its more sexist aspects which gave rise, in part, to the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s. This ethnographic study of woman in punk culture outlines some of the frustrations and challenges that punk women face.

David A. Ensminger

Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation. Jackson [Miss.]: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.

Flyers and zines were often the primary means of communication of punk ideas and events. They therefore provide a useful window into the social discourse of punk. This book provides analyses and examples of punk flyers and zines from 1976 to the present.

Maria Raha

Cinderella’s Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2005.

This book celebrates the contributions of punk’s female artists. It contains biographies and critiques of influential women and artists in the punk and underground music scene in the United States and Great Britain during the 1970s and 1980s.

Anita Harris (Ed.)

Next Wave Cultures. New York: Routledge, 2008.

This volume examines the interplay between various subcultures and feminism, and pays special attention to the Riot Grrrl movement in the context of punk. Grrrl zines and music are examined, and the evolution of the movement over time is discussed.

Richard Huelsenbeck (Ed.)

Dada Almanach. London: Atlas Press, 1993.

The art and style of the punk subculture was heavily influenced by the Dadaists of the early 20th century. Like punks, Dadaists rejected reason and prized anarchy. Dadaists pioneered art forms such as collage and photomontage, which became hallmarks of punk zines and flyers. This volume discusses Dadaism and provides examples of Dadaist art.

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