Zines are formally described as self-published booklets with a small circulation, offered to the public for free, or at least for very cheap, to read. But a better description would be something like, “ [Zines are] a reflection of our community’s voice. It is not created with the intention to capitalize, it is created with the intention to allow true forms of non-commercialized expression and creativity.” As said by the publisher of local zine, M.M.E.C.C.A., herself Kayla Moon.
These booklets, these magazines… they’re created out of a drive, a need or a passion to say something. They’re not just created by writers, but by artists across the entire spectrum allowing for myriad forms of expression and perspectives. And because they have no interest in money or capital gains, zines are an all out honest reflection of the cities they’re born in, and a reflection of all the different cultures living there. They’re filled with poetry, angry outbursts, random thoughts, doodles, complex artistry, hard hitting journalism and everything in-between. Zines become this wonderfully uncensored, gritty, and undeniably unapologetic recording of a city’s current state; its policies, its history, its ugliness and its beauty.
Earlier this year, Fresno got itself a new resident zine titled M.M.E.C.C.A., born out of the need “to fuel the fire,” says Moon. “We see groups of people that have never once been uplifted or valued for who they are. Fresno specifically breeds talent and then exports the artists to other cities and places in the world. There is no equivalent exchange for our work. This is life experience, these supplies cost money, this is our blood. We manifest dreams and are given crumbs. The intention of MMECCA is to reward and highlight introspective, uplifting, insightful people.” Fresno has long been noted as being afflicted with the ‘Brain Drain’ of having its gifted children leave once their nurturing here is finished, other cities reaping the benefits of our Central Valley cultivated talent. But what about those who’ve trained them, worked along side them and chose to stay? The ones who provided encouragement and inspiration as these artists found their voice? M.M.E.C.C.A. is here to celebrate those individuals and the work they do.
“[It] stands for Media, Music, Education, Culture, Community and Art. We represent creativity and knowledge through forms of new age technologies and old school formats. Print represents a unique outreach, a physical copy in hand makes what we are trying to represent more tangible, creating a memorable experience,” provides Moon about her project. Holding a zine is like holding a piece of your city, the real one, the one you experience everyday because it’s filled with the words of the people who are shaping its future and who have also survived its past. New issues come out, but you can hang on to the old ones, creating a library chronicling an age or an era of specific voices. And each one will be as raw and uncensored as the last.
M.M.E.C.C.A. is very specific about the content they feature. “It has to hit the heart, it must be revolutionary. Futuristic thinking, shocks of awakening, sharing truths. These are all vital aspects of the entire package,” says Moon. Writing for M.M.E.C.C.A. is open to the public, but comes with an expectation of standards. Bring your passion, your drive to help improve the world, and you’ll fit right in.
Currently, M.M.E.C.C.A. houses its own staff of writers, a graphic designer and a multitude of featured collaborators to produce each monthly zine, but they’re open to work with just about anyone. If you’re working on a project, hosting an event, looking to express “your deepest self ”, or wanting to dream the world in to a better place they want to hear from you. Visit their website at www.FutureOfMinds. com or emailing Kayla Moon herself at FutureOfMinds@gmail.com.
You can find copies of M.M.E.C.C.A. at Dynamite Vinyl, Mia Cuppa’s Open Mic in the Tower District or during downtown’s Art Hop. The issues are limited in print so you’ll have to keep an eye out for the release dates in order to get a copy before they’re all gone. They do put each of their issues on their website so you’ll also be able to look at their library as well.
Zines are a powerful form of expression, and they connect communities in a very unique way. They paint a picture of what it’s like inside someone else’s brain, seeing the world through their eyes. It’s a chance at meeting someone or a group of people who make up your city’s very DNA that you may have never met otherwise.
“We are about local and global intersectionality. Our home base is Fresno, CA where we get to shine a light on a forgotten city and highlight the dreamers and doers of our town while connecting with people around the world.” – Kayla Moon