by Nathaniel Sandler, Book Detective for UM Libraries Special Collections
Flori-zines: Underground Voices from the Sunshine State is a show currently on view in Special Collections consisting of limited edition and unique zines from Florida. Curator Cristina Favretto coined the neologism “Flori-zines” for the Miami and Florida portion of the exhibit, which takes the viewer on a visual journey through the counterculture and fringe lifestyles not usually associated with the state. National and international zines, including some very rare early science fiction and punk zines from Special Collections are currently being showcased in a complimentary exhibit called ?#@*$%! the Mainstream: the Art of DIY Self Expression at the Lowe Art Museum.
Zines are do-it-yourself publications, typically handmade and photocopied. They are counterculture passion projects, born from the desire to be heard, with the most famous trend coming out the punk rock scene of the 1970s. They appeal to readers for their often highly niche topics and cover a wide range of subject matter ranging from music, literary, comix, science fiction, girl, queer issues, spirituality, and politics, amongst many others.
Yo Soy Miami, from Firefly Zine Collection
Florida, and particularly Miami, has a long history with zine culture and the University of Miami boasts an extensive and rare zine collection. One of the larger donations received was from the Firefly Collective in Miami.
According to Tara McLeigh, a founding member of the collective, The Firefly was a do-it-yourself art space and venue that had a massive zine lending library of over 1,000 items that opened in 2007. The collection was run by volunteers and represented an amalgamation of several defunct zine libraries. Many of the zines were duplicated for check out and at one point the collective had over 200 members. The Firefly has since closed, but upon donation of its collection to the University, McLeigh stated that it was “very important that the zine collection can exist and breathe once again and I cannot think of a better place for them at their new home.”
One of the more interesting items currently on display is a copy of Brazen Hussy, a Miami-based work created by Caroline Paquita. This particular zine was recently displayed in a show at HistoryMiami titled “Teen Miami”, about life as a teenager in South Florida. There are three issues of Brazen Hussy in special collections which are all part of the Erick Lyle papers. Lyle is a musician, writer, and zine editor with deep ties to South Florida.
The opening page of Brazen Hussy #8 features Paquita professing to her readers that upon completion of each issue she feels there is always more to say. To Paquita, this showcases the beauty of the zine as medium.
The exhibition is made possible in part by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.
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