A first-hand account of this year’s hipster-filled small press fair
“You might have to pinch a few dicks to get through,” I overheard somebody say as I walked into the overcrowded room where Expozine, the yearly Montreal small press fair, was held. Row after row of tables, piles of books, walls plastered with posters: I kept telling myself to look at everything before buying anything, but I ended up reaching for my wallet whenever something caught my eye. There was too much to see and I wanted it all. I went broke within the first hour.
I talked a bit with Keenan Poloncsak at the Pro-Can table. Keenan recently released a movie based on his first comic, Pro-Can (Ibalizm), about a new drug that turns people into flesh-eating zombies. He doesn’t want to put the movie online, but told me to check out his website for postings on the upcoming screenings in Montreal. A DVD release is still in the works. I bought his newest comic, Cop Porn, which Keenan drew with his left hand—anything to be original these days.
The Co-op Coup d’griffe table always has cool stuff for sale, according to my own experience. Their posters and silkscreened patches are intensely detailed and keep getting better every year. They had a few copies of their political zine, À L’Attaque! for sale, as well as a suitcase full of folk punk CDs.
I was particularly giddy going through Adam Waito’s posters. Waito is known for illustrating many of Pop Montreal’s posters, often featuring a different spin on popular characters. I walked away with a poster of E.T. and Yoda as baggy-pants gangsters and another of Freddy Kruger eating breakfast. I guess even a nightmarish monster needs a big breakfast to start the day right.
Even if you go to Expozine with empty pockets, you can still pick up a number of stickers and zines for free. For example, at the Nouveau International table, I picked up their Makin’ Art zine, a guide to the happenings at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine. I also coaxed them into giving me a Dépflies poster, free of charge. A short conversation really brings out the generosity in some.
One recurring complaint I heard from the vendors was of how packed the event was. So many of them wanted to leave their post to browse the other tables, but the overwhelming crowd kept them stuck behind their own. There was a doubt among many that they could clear the room by 6 p.m., the scheduled closing time of the event.
Besides the occasional claustrophobia, this year’s edition of Expozine was a success. I walked away with a bag full of bizarre art, content with my purchases. Being able to experience the clash of cultures, the protesters, aging hippies, weirdo cartoonists, knitting hipsters and parents passing on the creative torch is the reason I return to Expozine year after year. If you feel like sharing your personal space with some of those fascinating characters and browsing the impressive collection of works presented at the event every year, keep in mind the name and be one of the many, many people that will come back next year.
For more information, visit expozine.ca.