Kanye West catches the eye of duo specializing in offbeat zines
BY MIKE THOMAS Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org March 17, 2013 9:08PM
ZineZINE co-founders Grace Gallagher (left) and Annabel Brady-Brown are looking for submission for the upcoming KanyeZine.
Updated: March 19, 2013 10:52AM
Cat breading. Cat film festivals. Cats that look like Hitler. Those are just a few of the feline-world oddities that inspired ZineZINE co-founders Grace Gallagher and Annabel Brady-Brown in July to launch their first “zine,” basically a low-circulation publication that focuses on a specific subject or niche.
On the heels of that project, titled Catzine, came an eclectic cosmic follow-up in October dubbed SpaceZine.
Now Gallagher, a 26-year-old British graphic designer, and Brady-Brown, a 24-year-old Australian journalist-editor, have turned their attention to one of Chicago’s greatest artists, a legend in his own time — and mind: hip-hop impresario and all-around mega-mogul Kanye West.
With a budget of around $500, KanyeZine is being cobbled together from Gallagher’s and Brady-Brown’s respective home bases in England and Australia and will be available internationally at zine-friendly shops (Quimby’s in Chicago might be one of them). Nonfiction submissions are being accepted until May 23, images and fiction until June 23. Poetry fits the bill as well. If certain grants come through, contributors might even get a modest fee for their efforts. (Visit zine-zine.org/submissions)
Since the vast time differences between England, Australia and Chicago made phone and Skype chats nearly impossible, Gallagher and Brady-Brown (mostly the latter) gamely fielded some queries via e-mail.
Q: Why Kanye?
Annabel Brady-Brown: As YouTube and Reddit stars come and go, Kanye’s proved his longevity not just with music that can make people from different backgrounds around the word happy, but by tapping into and even transforming contemporary pop culture. Plus, he sings along to his own tunes. That’s rad.
Q: Is KanyeZine tribute or tweaking or both in equal measure?
ABB: Oh tribute, definitely. Blind, gooey, adoring tribute. But with a knowing wink. Kanye forever!
Q: What makes Kanye so great?
ABB: Well, his musical talents speak for themselves. Our zine is more interested in Kanye as a concept of global pop culture, of celebrity excess and media manipulation, of further confusing the world over what is real and what isn’t — like, of course he’s hooked up with a reality TV star! It’s just too perfect.
Q: What makes Kanye ridiculous?
ABB: Leather kilts, tweeting about fur pillows being hard to sleep on, criticizing the president on live TV … like, where to begin?! Sure, he says and does stupid things that make people uncomfortable. But you know what? It’s always honest, he generally apologizes afterward and his heart is in the right place.
Q: What sorts of submissions have you received so far?
ABB: A popular radio presenter in Australia sent us a great personal piece about all her various interactions with Kanye; another writer sent us an academic essay comparing Kanye to a suicidal 18th-century Russian poet, but I don’t think we’ll use that one.
Grace Gallagher: With images, we have someone working on visualizing Kanye’s tweets, which I’m really looking forward to, [and] another imagining what Kanye Jr. might look like. Plus, possible baby names!
Q: Have either of you met Kanye in person?
GG: No, but I often dream about Kanye. Most of these dreams end up with me cowering silently in the corner while he struts his stuff in some sort of floor-length fur coat, just generally being awesome.
Q: If you were to meet Kanye in person, what’s the first question you’d ask him?
ABB: If I only had a second I’d like to ask him something really stupid like, “What actually happens when you get into your ‘Zone?’ ” — just to see him smile.
Q: Kanye is famous for his tweets. Do you have a few favorites?
ABB: Kanye’s tweets are pretty much modern-day Nietzschean aphorisms, just spelled badly. My all-time favorite would have to be “i hate when im on a flight & I wake up with a water bottle next 2 me like oh great now i gotta be responsible for this water bottle.” Deep.
GG: Mine is and always will be, “I specifically ordered persian rugs with cherub imagery!!! What do I have to do to get a simple persian rug with cherub imagery uuuuugh!!!” Never fails to amuse me.
Q: Do you hope to make money off this venture?
ABB: Haha, hell no. We have no delusions of private jets or cherubic Persian rugs anytime soon.