Photographer Lele Saveri is throwing a zine fair in Brooklyn this weekend. You should go. Here’s why:
Lele is a talented young photographer. Rome-born, he now splits his time between Milan and New York. You may have seen his delicately-lit portraits and editorials in magazines like Apartamento, Bad Day, Rolling Stone, Sang Bleu, international Vogues, and Vice. Lele was the one who shot Chloe Sevigny in her New York apartment for Apartamento, and he recently finished a stunning short film and portrait series of Michael K. Williams (a.k.a. Omar Little, Barack Obama’s favorite character on The Wire) for L’uomo Vogue.
The event Lele is hosting is called the 8-Ball Zine Fair, and it will take place inside a pool hall on Grand St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The venue holds special significance to Lele, a significance best expressed in his own words. (He apologizes for his poor English, though he needn’t; non-native speakers don’t understand that English is best when spoken with an accent and foreign sentence structures.) This is Lele:
“I used to have small parties at the pool hall last year and one day in January the owner call me up asking to go meet him. He hadn’t been able to pay rent for almost a year. He’s Dominican and has had this pool hall for 7 years now but, in the last couple of years, a large portion of the Hispanic community (to whom he used to address his business) moved to Queens for a cheaper rent. The new population in the area (mostly young people with a white background…) didn’t really seem to be too attracted by the place, so he was asking for advice.
I ended up, with great help of few close friends, restyling the bar, reorganizing the lighting, and redesigning all the menus and specials. Every week, I get people to throw parties and events. I’ve now built a small group of curators (like in a community center or a co-op, if you wanna call it that way) who not only work on the entertaining side but also run the bar entirely, bartending and often inventing their own special cocktails!
The idea of the zine fair came out one night while talking with Miyako (who ‘curate’ the Thursdays with her boyfriend Eddie). Every table was lit individually, like in any other pool hall, and we realized could have made a perfect display table for books.”
It’s a classic tale of gentrification—immigrant populations move on as the artists and creatives take over—but that’s New York for you. What else is quintessential New York? Art world ambition. “New York is a place where people from around the world go to try and make it in the art world,” Lele told me. “Zines have always been an easy and cheap way of showing what you do.” Zines—inexpensive to produce, distribute, and to purchase—are a great way for artists to share their work in more gratifying and tangible medium than what Lele refers to as the “visual attack” of the web. New York’s large pool of artists, supportive small press publishers, and bookstores, like Printed Matter and Dashwood Books, make for what Lele says is, “one of the biggest zine-scene (if you can call it that).”
8-Ball exhibitors will include American (mostly New York-based) publishers and bookstores like Dashwood Books, Ed Varie, Seems Books, Pau Wau Publications, Hassla, as well as JSBJ (Je suis une bande de jeunes) from France. Art world shitdisturber Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrariis’s newest issue of Toilet Paper magazine—out this same week!—will be available, as will Hamburger Eyes magazine from San Francisco. Expect a strong focus on photography and contemporary art. Expect frozen drinks and finger food. Expect a lot of beautiful people exchanging beautiful paper products.
The 8-Ball Zine Fair will take place this coming Sunday, June 3rd from 2-8pm at Grand Billiards, 750 Grand Street at Graham in Brooklyn, NY. B.Y.O.Zine!