domingo, abril 30, 2017


After 16 months, here I am writing about the Fanzine scene in New York, again! 

In March of 2016 I was in a love depression, and this situation pushed me to go to street and join every single Fanzine event in NY. It was nice because I went to different places on the city and I met another Fanzine scene. One of them was the NYCFeminist Zinefest; it is made a Saturday on March in a very old and very fancy building in the Columbia University in Manhattan; In that moment it was a short trip to me in that festival because it was small, also, was the same Punk-feminist fanzine fair that you can met in another middle class “rebel” event around New York and around the west world: youth with Punk-feminist style clothes and a lot monster DIY Fanzines, plus, fanzines where the author show the drama of her life in that moment (although that young woman currently is a student in one o the most famous and expensive universities around the world).

But, this is the important thing, in middle of it Deja vu, I found a mature woman sat down in a single table with a little and tiny Fanzine on front of her and on the cover a number: 50. In that moment, when I took the fanzine, I felt that my time and my trip wasn't lost. 

I talked with her for a few minutes a paid for the Fanzine. I left the event and when I got my home, I left the little Fanzine on my desk where remained until three weeks ago, when I took it again and I read with devotion.

50 is the Fanzine name, like I said above; it is a little autobiography, where the author, in a very hard and deeply exercise of her memory, got and wrote down her memories from the age of one year old until the 50 years old -I didn't know how old was her on the moment when I bought her Fanzine- saying in each page a moment of her life in that age, and letting us know how she changed through her relationship with her mother, father, boyfriends, lovers, books, pets, cities, jobs... letting a little window open to us whereby we can see a little of her life and in the same time, guessing the other big part of her life.

50 was a nice discovered in that fair and I am happy to do a little description of it, because do that kind of memory exercise is hard and some times painful for the author, on the other hand is a good vehicle to let her demons go.

Title: 50.
Author: Jude Vachon
City: New York.
Year: 2016
Measurements: 5.50 inches of width X 4 1/3 inches of high.
Number of pages: 56
Printing Technician: Copies by copy machine in black and white.
Resume: fanzine with a little autobiography by years of age, from the one year of age until the 50 years old.


By Marcelo Arroyave
Eternal member of the Sursystem Collective.

lunes, marzo 20, 2017


Harlem And South Bronx
Bye Bye Poor People, Welcome Rich People

By Marcelo Arroyave

In the early seventies, many Americans came back to the big city after they left their parent's houses in the suburbs, this process started a phenomenon called Gentrification, this process began when the poor neighbourhoods received public investment and/or private partnerships to improve (reshape and build) housing and urban infrastructure. This process attracts a new class of neighbours in the poor neighborhoods. The new neighbor needs a new environment (stores, shops, specials supermarkets) and this changes the neighborhoods, as a result the rise not just of the rent, or houses, also food and many things such as the recreation and entertainment. This process forces some people who have their life in the neighborhoods to leave their house or apartment. First, because they can't afford the new prices (rent, food, recreation, entertainment) and, second, the landlords throw out the oldest tenants and they get the freedom to sell or rent the apartments or houses to new tenants by the rent or price most expensive. This is a class war, on one side, the landlords and the new neighbors (upper and middle class) and on the other side, the poor neighbors (African American, Latin people, and others immigrants). The Gentrification drives out the poor resident of the neighborhoods where they have lived for decades and forced them to go into marginal areas of the city where they are away from their work and their history, deteriorating quality of their life and destroying the historical heritage of the neighborhood and their families. All it is under the complacent view of the local government, which sees gentrification as a way to improve the image and security of the city for tourists and the middle and upper classes of society.

This phenomenon can be appreciated in several historical neighborhoods in Manhattan, like Chelsea, Soho and the Lower East Side, just to pointed few out. Since a few years ago, other places in Manhattan, like Harlem and South Bronx, started the gentrification process. How the neighbors could identify this kind of urban change? Well, there are many ways to look out for Gentrification and how it starts to reshape a neighborhood and their population.

The first step that opens the door to this process came from the Mayor Office with an investment in infrastructure, like, new subway lines, new street furniture, new public spaces or rebuilt all of these; an example just happened in East Harlem where the last December was opened the new Q line subway, also in Harlem, the next summer (2017) the Supermarket Whole Foods will open their new site on 125 Street and Malcolm X BLDV, transforming definitively the image of the neighborhood and at the same time, its history.

South Bronx started to walk the same path thanks to the Mayor Office:

        It wasn't the only signal about the South Bronx gentrification; in the same newspaper this strategic piece of land next to the Harlem River and on affront to East Manhattan, appears in the 51th position in a list of places to visit in 2017 (NYTimes 01/04/17), thanks to their exclusive places and cultural dynamism. The neighbors who know South Bronx knows what it means when their neighborhood is showed in a list alongside exotic places and heavenly beaches.
The poor people and the poor neighborhoods have a large heritage and a deep history in Harlem and The Bronx; the Gentrification transforms the neighborhoods and these could lose their heritage and history. In the same way, the people who built the neighborhood heritage and their history, in many cases, they need to leave the apartments and houses because the life in these traditional places is so much more expensive for them. For example, The Office of the New York City Comptroller shows how the rent average in NYC increased between the year 2000 and 2012; the media of rent for an apartment in New York was $698 in 2000 and in 2012, the rent was $1,167, the increase was of 67,2 % in just 12 years.

The landlords and the local government argue that the new apartments and the new urban infrastructure make the old and poor neighborhoods safer for the old and new tenants. When the neighborhoods get these, the crime and the violence decreases and the people feel more comfortable in their own place. But the crime does not disappear, just moves to another place, near or far away from the old and poor neighborhood. If the local governments want to fight against the crime in the old and poor neighborhoods, the best way is to build new schools with good teachers, make new opportunities for good jobs for the people, or give more opportunities for the youth to get a place in the university without paying a big loan. The old and traditional neighborhoods need more and better hospitals with high quality and more parks and spaces for recreation. The last thing that they need is new buildings or new urban infrastructure on the street with a new price for rent.

The city government said that New York City is better than it was twenty years ago because they started an urban redevelopment especially in Manhattan; and this urban redevelopment brings new companies into New York because the city is safe and has a good environment, especially for the tourism industry. But the massive tourism is good just for the city economy but could be bad for working people, because many times the government only invests in this segment of the economy and doesn't see what happens with the people who don't work in the tourism industry. In the same way, the tourist industry can destroy old neighborhoods when building these new hotels or apartments for rent. Although the tourism business needs special attention, it is necessary that the government pays attention to other segment of the economy, particular migrants need work but not only in the tourism business, because this kind of industry helps to remove many poor people from their own old neighborhood. The web page Curbed said in 2013 that in Manhattan were 48 new hotels under construction due to the high demand for rooms by the new visitors that in 2013 were 54.3 million, according to with NYC Official Guide (NYCGO.COM). This is good for the economy of the city? Of course! This is good for the people who live in the old and poor neighborhoods in Manhattan? Only time will tell, and it will not be long.

The Gentrification is a big issue which affects many big cities around the world, and has a strong impact on the spatial configuration of the city and changes the real life and the imaginary in a very important portion of the population. The massive tourism and property speculation are two of the most important causes of this problem in New York City, but the low regulation of local governments makes this problem more chronic and it is the poorest population that suffers the worst effects. If the local government does nothing to control or regulate the problems caused by Gentrification, very soon we will see portions of the city occupied only by tourists and become empty and lifeless, when those depart to their homes. From the neighborhoods and old neighbors, it is necessary do something for call the local government and show the Gentrification consequences while strategies are created to resist the hits of hotel corporations and the landlords that just want to see profits Where there are stories of fights and resistance and a rich and dynamic life, like in Harlem with their black and Latin history and heritage and The South Bronx with their Salsa, Latin Jazz, Graffiti and Hip Hop history and heritage.

jueves, marzo 31, 2016


¿Se pone ansioso cada vez que se le acaba la batería del celular? ¿Piensa -y siente- que nadie lo quiere porque hace 5 minutos no le llega una notificación de sus redes sociales vía celular? ¿Escucha notificaciones en su celular que realmente no han sonado? ¿Cuando va camino del trabajo o de la casa, saca el celular de su bolso o bolsillo, lo mira pero no ve nada (hace esto más de tres veces en el recorrido)? ¿Su mano derecha o izquierda tiene forma curva? ¿Hace más de 4 años cambia de celular cada 6 u 8 meses? ¿Hace mucho tiempo no tiene contacto visual directo con otro ser humano? ¿Se le esta olvidando la cara de su madre y la de su hermana pequeña? En fin, es un pobre adicto del smartphone y de las redes sociales y siente que puede morir si le quitan, roban o pierde su celular.

Si todo lo que leyó le esta sucediendo, no se preocupe, no tiene que ir al psicólogo ni a terapia para adictos, aquí le presentamos la solución para sus problemas, es el NoPhone, por favor, visite la pagina web y haga su pedido, hay planes para todxs, incluso para la familia y los compañeros de trabajo o universidad. Y si le preocupa dejar de hacerse selfies con su teléfono cada vez que cree que a alguien le importa lo que esta haciendo o comiendo, no se preocupe, el NoPhone también viene para hacerse selfies, lo que queremos es curarlo de su dependencia hacia el celular, no de su hedonismo.

Nota: no es una broma, el NoPhone lo puede ayudar a regresar a la realidad (aunque esto sea precisamente lo que esta evitando).

Producto recomendado por el Colectivo Sursystem

domingo, febrero 28, 2016


Buscando cosas que hacer y conocer en el invierno newyorquino por medio de búsquedas en páginas de eventos gratis y alternativos en Internet, me encontré por casualidad con una exposición en un lugar llamado Interference Archive; aunque quedaba al otro lado de la ciudad y hacia un frío increíble decidí ir al lanzamiento de Our Comics OurSelves ese día. La expo trataba de hacer un recorrido temporal de diferentes productos impresos (Fanzines, Comics, Afiches, Fliers y Panfletos) que tenían en común el echo de haber sido producidos por organizaciones sociales, ONG's, Colectivos o personas que militan o militaban por y en causas sociales, obviamente contestatarias. Tanto el lugar como la expo me parecieron súper interesantes y sobre todo, mostraban un dinamismo y una cara que muchas veces es difícil de apreciar en New York, pero sobre todo, dejaba ver como este tipo de productos de bajo presupuesto sirven como medio de difusión de diferentes organizaciones y de luchas sociales que se dan en la misma ciudad de Wall Street y la gentrificacion, un común denominador que favorece la expulsión de los barrios que por lo general son habitados por inmigrantes pobres indocumentados.Dejo los links de la pagina, fotos de la postal que el sitio utiliza para promocionarse y dos fotos de dos cómics que vi en la expo: uno es la vida del Che Guevara en formato Manga y el segundo es un cómic súper antiguo. Espero que lo disfruten y que se animen a conocer el lugar.

Marcelo Arroyave.
Miembro eterno del colectivo mutante Sursystem
Transmitiendo desde el norte para toda la galaxia.

jueves, enero 28, 2016


Para comenzar quiero poner de relieve la importancia no solo de las publicaciones independientes y alternativas en el pasado, sino también en el presente, a pesar de que Internet y las redes sociales a veces dan una sensación de abarcar, comunicar, conectar y representar todo lo que sucede en el mundo, en nuestras vidas y a nuestro alrededor. Así pues, este post esta dedicado en su totalidad a los Fanzines, su historia y su influencia, desde el siglo pasado hasta el presente, representado en tres productos, que, aunque disimiles, están conectados. El primero es una exposición de Fliers, Afiches y Fanzines producidos a partir de la década de los 70's por y alrededor del movimiento Punk a lo largo y ancho de los Estados Unidos; el segundo es un libro sobre el mundo que existe detrás de los Fanzines y todo lo que esto implica y conlleva en una sociedad capitalista y consumista como la norteamericana; el tercero es un blog de Internet que se dedica a publicar la mayor cantidad de eventos que tengan que ver con publicación, intercambio y venta de Fanzines en el mundo occidental.

La exposición a la que me refiero tiene el nombre de Punk & Hardcore Fliers, Zines & Ephimera, se inauguró el fin de semana del 16 de enero (va hasta el 13 de febrero para lxs que estén en NYC) en Printed Matter. Obviamente no voy a hacer ni una “curación” ni una crítica de la exposición aquí, ese no es mi objetivo; lo único que quiero señalar, a parte de la nostalgia que despierta una época en la cual se estaba gestando un movimiento cultural y musical lleno de vitalidad y rabia contra el sistema, es, justamente cómo esa escena ese underground, no hubiera podido existir ni salir a la superficie sin ese tipo de comunicación alternativa e independiente, que pasaba de los mass media y que tenia su principal fortaleza en el deseo de ser autónomo y crear un movimiento paralelo al que ofrecía el mainstream. No importa que poco tiempo después los principales representantes de ese underground hayan sido digeridos por el sistema al que tanto le cantaban y gritaban. Afortunadamente el medio sobrevivió y continua entre nosotros.

El libro al que me refiero lleva por título: Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture, escrito por Stephen Duncombre -no me acuerdo si fui yo quien lo descubrió o fue mi amigo Luis Fernando el que me lo recomendó. Esta investigación doctoral es una pieza clave para entender cómo se desarrolla, crece y se expande una cultura alternativa, también para saber cómo ésta interacciona por medio de sus integrantes y sus productos y genera nuevos, valga la redundancia: integrantes y productos; y lo más importante: ese underground es inconcebible sin una cultura y un sistema hegemónico como el capitalismo. Dicho de otro modo: donde exista el capitalismo debe existir una cultura alternativa proporcionalmente inversa. Si esto no sucede es porque ya no hay nada por lo que luchar y lo más triste, ya no hay nada por lo que soñar. No voy a hacer una reseña del libro, pero si quiero llamar a su lectura ya que ésta daría pistas acerca de en qué parte del proceso estamos los que nos dedicamos ha esto de publicar y difundir ideas por medio de los Fanzines

Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture
Stephen Duncombre
Verso 1997 

Como lo dije al principio, el Internet y las redes sociales pueden que generen la sensación de que todo esta cubierto y conectado, pero en ocasiones es difícil cubrir algo y conectarlo sino sabemos que existe, y creo que allí radica la fuerza del Internet: puede mostrar y conectar procesos y esfuerzos que de otra forma no se podrían conocer o por lo menos, se tardarían mucho para poder ser descubiertos. Esto es lo que hace Stolen Sharpie Revolution que nació como un Fanzine que facilitaba herramientas para ayudar a los neófitos en este mundo subterráneo a publicar su propio impreso independiente y además dar a conocer los últimos Fanzines y los lugares dónde estos se podían encontrar. Con el tiempo la idea pasó del papel al universo de ceros y unos y ahora cualquier persona con una conexión a Internet puede no sólo enterarse del próximo festival o feria de Fanzines, sino que puede promocionar la propia, si la tiene. Quería hablar sobre este Blog porque es una buena idea para replicar, para plagiar, para copiar en cualquier lugar del mundo, pero también porque es una prueba fehaciente de que el mundo de los Fanzines y su comunidad aún esta viva por y a pesar de Internet, por y a pesar de Facebook y la estupidez que esta red social genera y fomenta.

Marcelo Arroyave
Miembro solitario y eterno del Colectivo Sursystem.
Transmitiendo desde el “infierno” blanco.