Dana Leigh Raidt is producer of She Must be Having a Bad Day/The Cult of the Female Food Service Worker, USA
How would you describe your zine?
For the reader, I think it's a funny (and sometimes sad or angering) tell-all about what actually goes on in the food-service industry between servers and customers, employees and employers. For me, it's a distillation of, and outlet for, a lot of pent-up anxiety left over from working in that industry for a long time.
What can your zine do that a mainstream publications can't?
I think any zine has an advantage in that we don't have to worry about what others will think. If people like it, great. If they don't, no big deal. Zine makers are spending money out of their own pockets. Design and editorial decisions aren't influenced by worry over scaring away advertisers, like in the mainstream commercial publishing world. Those decisions are coming straight from the heart and gut of the zine maker. So readers are getting content that is unfiltered and heartfelt.
Does the look of a zine matter?
To me, yes. But if a zine has great content but flawed design, I'm willing to look past it.
Please recommend a zine for us and tell us why.
I'm not sure if it's in print anymore, but my friend Karen Olson Edwards wrote A Tenderness So Painful I thought My Heart Would Burst back in 2005 or 2006. It's a great personal zine - basically Karen's musings and memories, but it's written so well that the emotion seems universal. My copy is dog-eared and dirty from dragging it around. Karen is the one who really got me involved in zine culture, and this is the one she put out right as I was putting my first one out. Lacey Prpich Hedtke's Excitement and Adventure is also great. She studies the lives of gangsters, photocopied their fingerprints and arrest sheets, and even made gangster trading cards.