Friday, July 14, 2017

Voices, Ideas, and Action at DC Zinefest

With more than 60 zine publishers scheduled and the usual draw of hundreds, organizers of the 7th annual DC Zinefest anticipate a steadily growing gathering of independent publishers and enthusiasts. Yet the event retains its comfort as a haven for diversity, acceptance, and inspired ideas, where free speech and safer spaces categorically co-exist.

Because of these basic values, the zine community, almost by default, emphatically supports countless individuals who might not otherwise have a means of expressing themselves, whether it’s by granting stipends to encourage underrepresented artists and writers to publish or by personally connecting through ideas and action.

Panel discussions also provide a basis for meaningful discussion, and this year’s topics echo recurrent and ever-urgent themes of art and activism and issues relevant to people of color.

During the day-long festival, catch the midday panel “Discourses of Color in Self-Publishing”. Moderated by New York-based artist, writer, and publisher, Andy Wentz, the panel hosts guest presenters including the New-York based American Artist, medical anthropologist and zine publisher Tanvi Avasthi, and tireless activist Dennis Shah of the legendary Positive Force DC.

From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., meet moderator C.S. Malerich, writer and founding member of DC Stampede, a collective for activists and organizers on behalf of animals, people, and the planet. Malerich’s guest panelists include Baltimore based spoken-word artist Blu The Poet, visual artist Malika Bryant, illustrator and comic artist Evan Keeling, musician and artist Simoné A. Speed, and socio-political feminist artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer.


Time 12:00–1:00 p.m.


ANDY WENTZ is an artist, writer, and publisher, originally from the Chicagoland area. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, focusing on both independent and collaborative creative projects. He hopes to own a pet of his own one day but will dote on his plant babies for the time being. Website:


AMERICAN ARTIST is an interdisciplinary artist who makes texts, videos, and installations about culture and technology and the power structures embedded within them. American Artist’s legal name change serves as the basis of an ambivalent practice—one of declaration: by insisting on the visibility of blackness as descriptive of an American artist, and erasure: anonymity in virtual spaces where “American Artist” is an anonymous name, unable to be googled or validated by a computer as a person’s name. American attended the Whitney Independent Study program as an artist. They have exhibited at the Kitchen, New York, and have participated in group shows internationally. They have published writing in The New Inquiry and New Criticals and have had work featured in Huffington Post, Dazed Digital, Nylon, and PAPER. Website:

TANVI AVASTHI is a medical anthropologist and nursing student whose joy for self-care comes through her yoga practice. Her research interests are the intersections of race, gender, east, and west. Tanvi's goals are to make the healing experience equitable and just for all people and to add humanity to healthcare providers for better care. She will complete her Master's of Science in Nursing in May 2018.

DENIS SHAH is a straightedge activist here in DC, working with different organizations in various capacities. His main thrust over the past 12 months has been Positive Force DC: modernizing, evangelizing, and ultimately, guiding others to set up their own PF chapters elsewhere. Dennis is particularly interested in movement building and understanding how leverage technology and tools to create a disciplined, effective force for change. He also believes in Joey Shithead's maxim: TALK - ACTION = 0.


Time: 1:30–2:30 p.m.


C.S. MALERICH lives and works near the District of Columbia.  Her speculative fiction has appeared previously in Ares Magazine, The Again, and the Among Animals anthologies from Ashland Creek Press — a publisher of eco fiction.  "Phoenix Cross," her contribution to Among Animals 2, was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.  Most recently, her short story "It Wants to be a Swamp" appeared in the Mother's Revenge anthology from Scary Dairy Press, to raise funds for environmental causes.  An avid fan of skillful drawing (which she can't do), she collaborates with artist-storyteller J. Hollister Conroy on an ongoing series of comic zines.  C.S. is part of local writers' group, the Speculative Wordsmiths, and a founding member of DC Stampede, a collective for activists and organizers on behalf of animals, people, and the planet.


BLU THE POET is an up-and-coming poet who hails from Baltimore, Maryland. Not only is she a Spoken Word artist, but she uses her craft in part as a Motivational Speaker to help inspire and educate young African Americans. As a supporter of the Pan-African movement, she also utilizes her platform to aid in the unification of the black community.  As she often says, "I am an advocate for love first and black love second."  With gifts provided by the Creator, her overall mission is to help increase awareness of Black Pride, Black Love, and Black Unity. If you would like to keep in touch with Blu, feel free to follow her on social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter, at BluThePoet.  For booking information, please contact her at

MALIKA BRYANT discovered her love of art at the age of four.  "I remember the electrifying feeling I had when I dipped my hands in paint, and so the love of art began. I became an Artist because this is what the Creator placed me here to be. I am just as passionate about being a Visual Artist as I am about teaching it to budding art students."  Malika brings art to children and adults across the DC metro area as a charter school teacher in DC, an instructor with the Arts on a Roll program through Prince George’s Parks & Rec Department, and an art teacher working with seniors at Gwendolyn Brit Senior Center.  In the summer, she is a teaching artist with Summer Camp and No School Day Camp at CREATE Arts Center in Silver Spring.

Her artwork focuses mainly on woman of color.  She works with a wide variety of materials, focusing mostly on with dry mediums like pastels, graphite pencils and conté crayons.  In 2012, Malika became the first recipient of the Gerald King Fine Art Study Award and apprenticeship, where she continued to hone her craft.  As a resident of the Hyattsville Arts District, and a member of the Hyattsville Community Arts Alliance, her work can be viewed in a number of venues in the Arts District. Her artwork, handmade greeting cards, and gourd purses are sold in shops throughout the DC area and online at

Malika is currently working on a collage of "Maat" the Kemetic (Egyptian) Goddess, and will be traveling to Egypt this August with renowned historian Anthony Browder’s 22nd Annual "Ancient Egypt: Light of the World" study tour.

EVAN KEELING, born and raised in Washington, DC, received a BFA in graphic design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, and for the last 12 years, has been an exhibit specialist in graphics at the Smithsonian Exhibits.

Evan is also an accomplished illustrator who has worked with a variety of clients. He is a founding member of the DC Conspiracy a collective of Washington, DC area comic book artists and writers. He has been published and self-publishes comic books for print and for the web.

He is developing comic book-based programing as well as creating mini-comics for the Smithsonian as well as working with the International Indigenous Youth Council documenting their experiences during the protest at Standing Rock for websites and free zine-comic formats.

His work and downloads for the Smithsonian and IIYC comics can be found at

SIMONÉ A SPEED has always had a passion for the fine and performing arts. She has performed with Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, Muse 360 Arts, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute’s Floetic Lyricists Club, Peabody’s Children’s Chorus, the Morgan State University Choir, Arena Players, and her church choirs. Simoné has studied in the music program at Morgan State University and is proud to be a Poly alumna from the class of 2013. She is excited to be working with New Generation Scholars this summer, which studies the African Diaspora, entrepreneurship, and leadership. It also focuses on radical thought and empowerment of youth through the arts and Black history. This program has established a sense pride and the need for social and political change within Simoné. With everything she does, she hopes to inspire youth to fight for equality, justice and radical thought for the advancement of those oppressed.

LISA MARIE THALHAMMER creates socio-political feminist paintings, collages, and public murals using portraiture, color, and shape. Her mission is to challenge traditional gender stereotypes by creating images that empower women, LGBTQ peoples, and communities.  With a goal to uplift her subjects through visual representation, her works also raise the consciousness of the viewer by challenging stereotypes and communicating uplifting messages. Thalhammer’s works are striking and powerful portrayals of herself and her friends. For Thalhammer, the personal is political, and her private relationships and experiences become the inspiration for public statements through the art-making process. Figures with expressive eyes and angular limbs depict poses that convey a tough femininity and progressive consciousness. Thru use of color and symbolism, Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s artworks explore the interconnectivity between all things.

Thalhammer is currently a D.C. Commission on the Art and Humanities Fellow and Public Art Building Communities grant recipient. She paints murals and exhibits her work in Washington, D.C. where she lives and works, in addition to places such as Vienna Austria, Detroit, Asbury Park, Indiana, L.A., Miami, and New York. Artnet News featured her 2009 “Boxer Girl” public art mural controversy when the D.C. police reported that her work decreased crime by 55%. The Washington Blade, the oldest LGBTQ newspaper in the USA, featured Thalhammer on the cover of their “Top 30 Under 30” issue in 2008 and nominated her Best Visual Artist in 2013. Her David Wojnarowicz protest sign appeared on the cover of the New York Times during the 2010 “Fire In My Belly” controversy, and she was pictured on the cover of the Dubois County Herald painting her Ferdinand the Bull mural in Indiana. The Washington Post Magazine September 2014 “Home and Design Issue” cover featured Thalhammer in her 52 O Street Artist Studio. Additionally, The Washington Post’s home page coverage of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, highlighted Thalhammer’s “Strong Women LOVE” parachute created for the Women’s March on Washington.

Thalhammer was born in Florissant, Missouri, and grew up attending Catholic all-girl schools while working at her family-owned St. Louis East Truck Plaza. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Staffordshire University in England before graduating with honors from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. While in Kansas she also received a Women Studies Minor with an art history concentration, the Jacobs Prize, the Hollander Family Foundation Award and the Amsden Award, Daniel Macmorris Scholarship and the Werner Ferguson Service Scholarship. Lisa Marie Thalhammer has traveled to many places around the world and lives in downtown Washington, DC, at the historic O Street Artist Studios. She also teaches yoga regularly on Monday evenings at FLOW yoga at 14th and P Street, N.W., Washington,DC.

2017 DC Zinefest
Saturday, July 15, 2017
10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church
1525 Newton St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20010

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