Indie this, DIY that: Portlanders revel in being their own bosses. And as anyone creative with a message will tell you, putting together your own zine offers the best of many worlds, with its low startup costs and limitless possibilities for expression. The Catch-22 of having a community of fiercely independent self-starters and zinesters, of course, is that gatherings are all too infrequent. (And reading, as we all know, is not a highly social activity.)

In short: Grab those staplers and heartfelt sentiments! The PDX Zine Symposium is upon us. As a testament to the strength of our zine culture—which boasts the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Reading Frenzy and its own small-press section at Powell's—it's one of the largest such gatherings in the nation (it usually draws 800 to 1,000 people). "But only those crazy, tattooed kids care about this!" you say. Really? Tell that to the Multnomah County Library, which has a zine collection and hosts regular zine-related events, or Theresa Molter, the PDX Zine Symposium organizer.

"[W]e're a fairly diverse bunch, from kids to grandmas, spanning cultures and subcultures. We're not all twentysomething nerdy white hipsters!" she told WW in an email interview, adding that "people travel from all over the USA and Canada (and beyond)" for the event. Molter is also teaching a workshop on Kids' Bookbinding. "I like the idea of making zines accessible to children," she says.

Also new this year? A strong whiff of democracy.

"In years past we have decided on workshops we wanted to have and then asked people to teach them. This year, we sent out a call for people to apply to teach workshops they were excited to plan, and we have a very exciting and diverse lineup."

Curious about the lineup, from Silkscreening to Mail Art 101? For more information and a complete schedule of events—including the Zinester Prom—visit

Potluck 7-9 pm Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, 917 SW Oak St. #218, 827-0249. Free. Tabling 3-7 pm Friday, 10 am-5 pm Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 11-13. Free. Open-mic reading 8-10 pm Friday, Aug. 11, Smith Memorial Student Union at Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway. Free. Workshops 11 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 12-13. Free. Zinester Prom (with raffle and music by the New Bloods) 8 pm-midnight Saturday, Aug. 12, Satyricon, 125 NW 6th Ave., 243-2380. $5-$10, sliding scale.