Kermés “Editing the Everyday”

On the rooftop of the UNAM Museum, the fourth edition of the kermesse “Editing the Everyday” took place today, Saturday, April 13th. Although it may sound unusual, it is precisely that: a kermesse. At the entrance of the museum, a stand was set up where people could get prints stamped on their skin like tattoos, serving as an invitation to go up to the kermesse, which was held on the rooftop. Upon entering the rooftop, attendees were greeted with hibiscus water and basket tacos. The event dynamics were explained, and “churru-pesos” bills were distributed, which could be exchanged for activities at the stands or items for sale, essentially serving as a welcome. The organizers of this event are 10 self-managed editorial collectives seeking to showcase their work as fanzine creators, while also creating a space to welcome both those familiar and unfamiliar with their work.

In Mexico, there are times of the year when, to commemorate special dates such as Independence Day and Mother’s Day, schools organize events called “kermesses.” These events are about socializing with classmates through games, activities, and sharing food. They were even more enjoyable when students were allowed to wear everyday clothes instead of uniforms, adding an extra appeal. Thus, the kermesse was the most “punk” moment of the year. For these fanzine creators, who know that the origin of the fanzine is rooted in punk culture, they have revived these two concepts to create “Editing the Everyday.”

The fact that it is a kermesse is not a coincidence; it is an idea developed by La Zinería and Editorial Mitote. They invite colleagues from the field whom they have met along their journey in editing and publishing. This journey has mainly been through bazaars and certain cultural events where, during social interactions, they noted that there are no spaces exclusively for them and their work as fanzine editors and independent publishers. So, not finding a place in book fairs or venues that open their doors to them, these collectives organize themselves and seek their own places for meetings and exhibitions.

The artistic offerings ranged from fanzines to prints, illustrations, posters, newspaper figures, paintings, and items covered in epoxy resin. Additionally, there were talks, workshops, and readings in a room below where the kermesse took place. I came across titles such as “Cómo romper el corazón de un elefante” by Brian O’Brien, which narrates how elephants are kidnapped and separated from their herd to be trained and sold to zoos or circuses. Larissa Alcántara presented “¿A qué velocidad viaja el pasado que siempre nos alcanza?” where she discusses drug use during adolescence, packaging the fanzine in a plastic bag along with colorful stickers, small candies, and bead bracelets that resemble pills, thus creating an analogy to how drugs are packaged and presented. Baruck Racine created a photographic fanzine that tells the story of his life in the USA during his childhood, his life in Mexico, and how the border separating the two countries is not just physical. Additionally, the UNAM Fanzinoteca lent material for exhibition, which is part of their catalog that can be consulted at any time in their archival center.

The main idea of these collectives, besides showcasing their work, is to create spaces and build communities. They find it essential to break the stigmatization of what art should be and for whom it is intended. This particular vision arises because the creators have found that in their communities of origin, which they refer to as “the periphery”—Xochimilco, Ecatepec, Cuautla, Tláhuac, Morelos, Tlalnepantla—there is little openness to the graphic and artistic expression they produce. Few spaces have taken the risk in previous editions of this kermesse to open their doors and even fewer to finance them. Therefore, by joining efforts among collectives, they prepared an open invitation to the general public, creating an event where children are also welcome, offering young ones the opportunity to engage with this world and show them that there are people who make a living by “drawing pictures.”




Inkitt: BbyKevs
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“Antología” – Lambert Schlechter

“The Cartonera, an independent, artistic, and artisanal publisher, publishes books with covers made from cardboard collected from the streets of Cuernavaca, Morelos in Mexico. Each of our copies is a unique experience because, in addition to good literature, each of the covers is painted by an artist in our collective workshops,” is the headline on La Cartonera’s website. This publisher is a concept in itself: it is independent, receives no support from any institution, works in an artisanal and non-profit manner. It is, in short, an artistic endeavor that emerges against the current in a context where books seem to be increasingly scarce precious gems, but no less valuable for it.

This publisher also has a deep interest in bringing unconventional titles, such as “Contagio Cartonero: Creation in the Time of Pandemic.” In this book, an organizing committee from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela gathered photographs, illustrations, and texts from over 40 participants ranging from preschoolers to adults. From Argentina, Colombia, Bogotá, Mexico, and Venezuela, artistic proposals such as illustrations, drawings, poems, and stories were gathered to respond to the growing need for unity and survival in the face of the pandemic and thus combat the uncertainty and fear of the moment.

Among these titles, one captivated me for its colors and format. Still, above all, I for its content because upon browsing it, I found that La Cartonera was the first publisher to translate this Luxembourgish author into Spanish in Mexico. Additionally, this edition is bilingual Spanish-French, confronting the texts head-on, allowing for more authenticity and depth by knowing the translated original words. It is a print run of only 150 copies, presenting an anthology of poems and letters by Lambert Schlechter, who is a philosopher and writer of poetry, novels, and essays who has been dedicated to his work as a writer since the early 1980s, and who was also named a Knight of Arts and Letters in 2001.

Although these poems and letters are extracted from other titles by the author, the selection made by the publisher is so good that all the poems seem intertwined and offer a consistent reading. However, I find another detail in these poems: the writer writes about the fact of being a writer. Not many do that; sometimes, the authors try to distance themselves from their works as if they were only concerned about what people or critics will say about their work. I appreciate it when authors are honest with themselves and their writing; it feels authentic. So, in a nutshell, I find Lambert Schlechter, as a poet, tremendously authentic and honest. The letters interspersed with the poems only reinforce this, adding, in any case, more complexity and richness to the poetry.

The themes that Schlechter touches on in his literary works are diverse, which makes a lot of sense when we consider that it has been over 35 years of career; however, universal topics can be found, such as the perception of the passage of time, desire, the complexity of life and death, nature, eroticism, and everyday life. Personally, I find it fascinating when poets talk about what they know and what surrounds them; it allows us not only to understand more about their lives but also to know their perspective on it, to distinguish their opinions, perceptions, conflicts… And realize that even though we may come from different backgrounds, social strata, generations, and genders, intrinsic things unite us as human beings.

Inkitt: BbyKevs
Wattpad: @SugoiKevs
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