The Pangea House has a challenge for all the artists out there who want to get published: Do it yourself!
"The Pangea House Zine Thing," which encourages new writers and artists of all ages to create a zine in 20 days, begins with a kick-off party on Feb. 1.
But what is a zine?
James C. Falcon/MDN - - Billy Luetzen, left, and Chris Brown hold a few zines -- or homemade magazines -- from the zine library at the Pangea House. The Pangea House will be hosting The Pangea House Zine Thing, starting on Feb. 1.
Zines are about anything, explained Billy Luetzen, the organizer of the event.
A zine is traditionally a handmade collection of thoughts, words and artwork, compiled into a pocket-size magazine the word "zine" is, obviously, a shortened version of the word.
While zines seemed to become more popular over the last few decades, Luetzen alluded to the fact that the pamphlet that Thomas Paine made -- "Common Sense," an argument of freedom from British rule, written in 1776 -- was, in fact, a zine.
For more information, or to register, contact Billy Luetzen by calling 240-8152, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"People would really love a certain punk rock band and kind of detail all their exploits and songs, things like that," Luetzen said about fanzines, which gained prominence in the 1980s. "More people write about their day or draw three-panel comics. It's pretty fun to look through."
In the loft at Pangea House, along the wall are a collection of zines past, a library of zines. "The Alphabet, According to Dan and Emily" stands out: the zine has a wooden, handpainted cover with cute illustrations from A to Z inside. Other zines surround it on the shelf, including "My Last Seconds On Planet Earth" and "Bound With Twine."
Participants can choose to go all the way and be as extensive as possible, citing "The Alphabet."
"It was pretty intense," he said. "It was awesome. It's definitely time-consuming, that one was. A lot of times, people set things up with collages and photocopy from there, or use different computer programs."
Luetzen pulled a zine -- one of his own -- from the shelf. He made it in one afternoon when he was in high school, he said. This year, his zine will detail the tour that his traveling theater troupe, The Lampshade Brigade, took this year.
Another zine that stands out -- surely for its shock value -- is a zine called "Deficiencies." The cover shows a photograph -- obviously Photoshopped -- of Queen Elizabeth II, picking her nose.
The zines in the library cover a variety of topics and include a multitude of media: poetry, travel journals, embarrassing moments and illustrations accompanied by cut-and-paste texts created by a typewriter.
In the contest, the subject matter is without limitations.
"Another Broken Copier #2," by Chris Brown, of Minot, was a collection of his photography. "Math Zine," by Sally Jo Brem helped to make "fractions a little less confusing or scary," so said the back cover. The appropriately named zine, "Random," includes recipes, poems and puzzles.
"You could make a whole zine on crossword puzzles you invent yourself, or some really abstract art zines that are like collages on every page," Luetzen said. "It's kind of weird what's kicking around in peoples' heads."
Fourth annual event
This year will mark the fourth year of the event. Usually held beginning or ending on Jan. 1, Luetzen said the event was moved to February because "holidays are a tough and busy time."
The inspiration for the project came from NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, an online initiative which encourages budding writers to pen a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.
"I failed it," he said. "I came up really, really short (of the required word count)."
The Pangea House Zine Thing is his version of that project.
Over the years, usually about 30 participants have signed up. The second year, with about 45, was the biggest year, Luetzen said, adding that this year, they're shooting for 50.
The tools needed to participate in the project are basic, Luetzen said.
"All you really need is access to a photocopier," he said. "You could, with a few pieces of paper and a pen, handwrite something you can photocopy and distribute. That's pretty much the basics of the art form, stripped down to its core."
The kick-off party, which will be held at the Pangea House, 109 Central Avenue West, on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m., will act as a registration for the project.
"From there, we'll say 'Congratulations, you're about to do something sweet,'" Luetzen said.
On Feb. 20, the participants will gather again at the Pangea House to swap their works. This is, in Luetzen's opinion, "the most awesome part of this project."
"When we're done, we come together. Everyone makes X amount of zines," he said. "We come to the Pangea House, line (the zines) up like a buffet and everybody swaps them."