Q&A with the Romano photographer who has one foot in Milan and the other in New York, Lele Saveri, the brain behind Brooklyn’s 2012 – 8 Ball Zine Fair.
Lele’s first ‘zine’ fair was an effort to save his admired Brooklyn Grand Billiards, which has been kickin’ for the past seven years. On June 3rd, starting at 2pm, every pool table, providing just enough light, was filled with publications from publishers and bookstore like Hassla, JSBJ, Pau Wau Publications, Ed Varie, Hamburger Eyes, et al. The collaboration between Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and Italian photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari creates Toilet Paper Magazine, they had their own pool table showing off their latest issue alongside some older–rare, sold out issues.
Across the way from the drop-off ‘zine’ table was the special edition ‘zine’-set with contributors Peter and Andrew Sutherland, Maggie Lee, Lele Saveri, Jesse Hlebo, Weirdo Dave, Miyako Bellizzi, et al. Across the tables there was an emphasis on photography. Slow walking, quick gleaning, flipping from back to front, frozen margaritas and french fries; all for sensational paper. The proceeds went to Grand Billiards. 8 o’clock rolled around and the regulars commenced.
Why the name 8 Ball Zine fair?
FYI: its not a drug-related title. The name was a simple decision, we’ve been organizing parties in the pool-hall for about a year or so, and whenever someone was designing a flyer, we’ve asked to add an 8-ball- almost like a logo for the night. When we were choosing a name for the fair, that was the easiest.
What is a zine, what is a publication, what is the relationship between the two?
A Zine is a self-made publication which allows artists to show their work in whichever way they like– fast and in-expensive. A publication, whether it’s a book or some kind of a book-zine, its a collaboration between the artist and the publisher, someone who uses book-making to express his art. A Zine is more immediate, a publication is a step deeper.
Why did you choose the billiard hall for the 8 Ball Zine Fair?
I chose to have the 8-Ball Zine Fair at the billiard hall in order to help support the owners of the hall. In addition, the tables and the spot-lights worked perfectly for this purpose.
How where the vendors/distributors chosen for the 8 Ball Zine Fair?
I decided to go for publishers and bookstores that were one phone-call away. I only had 3 weeks to set everything up. I selected all the ones that mostly represented the sense of DIY and were the most “pure” and “true” to the artists and their work.
Why did you include a public/drop off table for artists work?
Because that’s the real meaning of a Zine Fair – show people’s work through self-published Zines.
In a global context, what is significant about independent publishing?
I think independent publishers as oppose to the more established ones, have more freedom to express themselves. There’s more dialogue between the artist and the designer, which displays the work in the closest way possible to what’s in the artist’s heads, without being burdened by the rules that more mainstream publishers have.
Globally, we live in blog-land, where book-makers have to be as creative as possible to make their product as attractive as they can to survive. And I think that’s exciting.
How do you think the internet plays a role in events like 8 Ball Zine fair?
Internet was very helpful for us. People spread the word and made the event sound very interesting, even without knowing what was going to happen (this was my very first zine fair). It is important for many people to see and touch with their hands in person, especially the books and zines that they’ve only seen online. It was also very beautiful to see many people who I’ve noticed being very active on the internet- almost as if their web posts suddenly had taken a physical form.
Do you have any future plans for events like 8 Ball Zine fair?
We’re trying to do an independent record-fair, but we’ll see if we can keep the billiard hall open long enough!
For a moment of projection, what would you like to say to the people who could not experience this event?
Make things and support other people who make things.