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So you think you’ve zine it all?

by Chris Aitkens November 11, 2014 0 comment
So you think you’ve zine it all?

Biggest small press fair Expozine preparing to take a hold of Montreal this upcoming weekend

There’s a moment every year when I get overly excited. No, it’s not Christmas, not my birthday either: it is for Expozine, happening on Nov. 15 and 16. Expozine is a small press fair co-founded by Louis Rastelli in 2002, and it has grown to become the largest event of its kind in North America. It will be taking place in the basement of Église Saint-Enfant-Jésus where over 250 artists and publishers from all over the world will gather to sell their books and art.

Rastelli has been writing for zines and local newspapers since the mid 1980s. “I was a teenager and I started submitting concert reviews, band interviews and record reviews. I also started publishing my own zines and little books in the 1990s,” Rastelli said. “I knew the Montreal scene very well and I had six or seven colleagues, also long-time underground self-publishers, who felt the need for something to promote their work. We already had a good list of contacts and people to invite to take part when we first started this project.”

Expozine advertises itself as one of the most important Montreal cultural events of the year.

The reason Expozine has become so big is mostly due to its bilingualism, which attracts people from all over Quebec as well as publishers from France, Belgium and the United States. “We have to turn away so many people because we don’t even have room for them. Everybody wants a table at Expozine; it’s getting tougher to sell stuff at bookstores, so events like this are really important for sales,” said Rastelli. “A lot of publishers rely more and more on book fairs to be able to sell enough books.”

At least 100 out of the 250 participants are new to Expozine. “We have a crew from France coming in for the first time; they’re called Cagibi, really insane silkscreen and printed art,” Rastelli described. “Another new exhibitor is the Goethe Institute, who are cultural ambassadors from Germany.”

The Expozine sister project, Distroboto, will be present as well. For those of you who haven’t heard, Distroboto takes old-fashioned cigarette vending machines and fills them with small art and zines that sell for two dollars. Another thing to look for this year is Rick Trembles’ work. Trembles is best known for his Motion Picture Purgatory comic reviews in the recently deceased Montreal Mirror, and is teaming up with his 87-year-old father, a long-time illustrator and comic artist. They will be launching their brand new zines together at the cultural event.

Expozine will also be having a number of round table discussions, one of which will be hosted by a former member of Arcade Fire, Howard Bilerman, and will concentrate on the explosion of the Montreal indie scene in the past years. It will take place Saturday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. and admission is free. Archive Montréal, co-founded by Rastelli, will also be hosting a roundtable discussion exploring the small independent press of the 1960s and 1970s, which will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m.

“Expozine looks for art that is pushing the envelope, or that is more innovative or different,” Rastelli explained. “For me, it’s like Christmas; if I don’t have enough time to go around and buy something from every table, I’ll be very disappointed.”

Expozine will be held on Nov. 15 and 16 in the basement of Église Saint-Enfant-Jésus situated at 5035 St-Dominique. For more information, visit expozine.ca.

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