In Edmonton, the Vending Machines are filled with Zines!

Made with resourcefulness, creativity and originality, it doesn’t get any more DIY than fanzines, and Canadian Beverley Theresa takes the DIY philosophy to a whole other level with 780 Distro. The project repurposes old cigarette and snack machines into vending machines filled with fanzines and other cultural objects (pins, stickers, cassettes, etc.). Check out our interview with Beverley below.

Beverley Theresa got involved with 780 Distro kind of by chance. Initially, the people who had started the project contacted her to see if they could sell her zines, but she soon learned they were too busy with other projects to manage the vending machines like they’d hoped. Fascinated by the concept, Beverley Theresa was afraid the cultural vending machines would meet an early death if she didn’t step in, so at the beginning of 2016, she decided to volunteer to take 780 Distro underwing. She shares her experiences and her vision of the zine scene in Edmonton below.  

Are there a lot of people making zines in Edmonton?

I think the popularity has definitely increased in the past couple years. When I was young and involved in the punk scene, it was really just punk kids I knew making them. But Harcourt House, an artist centre, had a zine making workshop and a distro information workshop a couple weeks ago. They have been also hosting a zine library for the month of August which is super rad.

Does Edmonton have a lot of events featuring zines?

We have the Edmonton Zine Fair put on by Clean Up Your Act Productions which happens twice a year (and tables are always full) and we have another zine fair called Hardcopy which happens once a year I think.

Would you say there is a community around zines?

I feel kind of out of touch with this, as most of the zines I’ve seen recently aren’t cut and paste or ‘DIY’. I’m not really attracted to professionally bound “zines” and maybe that’s just personal preference, but there’s definitely a scene of people making those types of books, but not really the old school cut and paste, stolen copies, type stuff.

Can you name a few zines made in Edmonton?

Oh gosh, Quarter Life, Your Pet, 35mm, The History of Punk

What about “Quarter Life”, the zine you make?

The zine I make right now, on a regular basis, is called Quarter Life. Right now I’m just making it whenever I feel like I have to get something off my chest. It’s a perzine about my life (how boring, ha) and things I am experiencing. I like to joke that it’s really just about my vagina as two issues talk about my IUD and my experiences getting one put in and then taken out.

Do you plan to set up any more vending machines in the city?

I have a “travelling” machine that is at Harcourt House right now for their Zine Library event… But after that I don’t know where it will end up. I don’t really have the ability to give businesses anything in return for keeping a machine available to the public, so I’m on the lookout for people who really want to support DIY and have a vending machine in their spot.

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