The CSC's Bookish Beasts

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The Center for Sex and Culture (CSC) is a mixed use space where adults can have judgement-free sex education. The CSC hosts a variety of cultural events, has a gallery that exhibits contemporary and historical art, as well an assortment of ephemera from their special collections that serves as unparalleled resources on sexual studies throughout the century.

The CSC Library harbors books, vintage magazines, educational pamphlets, personal anecdotes, erotica, and collaborations between some of the biggest names in underground comics. As you browse through the zines and comics material in the CSC's library you begin to see how independent publishing establishes a different voice in history and helps shape our culture.

This collection shows a variety of perspectives, ranging from educational pamphlets to personal anecdotes. Without a doubt, these zines document how much (and how quickly) sexual culture has changed in the United States since the 1980s. Though the history of sexual culture has been documented as scholarly work, with plenty of books and classes covering sexology, that perspective remains limited. So what 's the difference between academic texts and self-published books (or zines)?

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"It hits parts of the community that other resources won't reach," says Anissa Malady, CSC librarian. "The audience is different from that of the academy, so zines reach a wider range." Anissa continues to explain how cataloging encourages people to come together. They become more engaged with the content and even offer to help catalogue the material. The CSC archives, which are available online for the public, brings attention to the more personal takes on sexuality.

An intimate point of view makes the subject far more accessible, which is why Anissa believes that internet zines have great potential. "There's not enough art reaching people, so we try to make art available online through our online library," she says. The CSC library catalogues their zines into an online archive, with CSC interns and volunteers reading the material to ensure it is correctly filed for easy reference. Together, the CSC team makes an effort to share their resources with a growing community.

Anissa along with Dorian Katz (CSC Curator), Tess McCarthy (CSC Archivist), the graphic novelist Jon Macy and their interns, are organizing their first Zine Fest, Bookish Beasts this upcoming weekend. Their exhibitors include, but are not limited to Tyler Cohen, Sy Wagon, Alex Woolfson, Dorian Katz, Jon Macy, Kerry Kelly, Xxavier Carter, Finley Coyle, billy ocallaghan, Tara Madison Avery, Pangolin Collective, Oliver James, Ajuan Mance, Jewel Smith, Electric Works Diego Gomez, Agent Agnes Czaja, Janani Bala and Alok Vaid-Menon. 

  The CSC Staff holds their favorite zines (from left to right): Tess McCarthy with "Frighten the Horses," Betsy Foley with "Deviant- The comic book journal of Strange Sex," Anissa Malady with "Hothead Paisan"and Ian with "Weenie-Toons!" and "Homoture #3."

The CSC Staff holds their favorite zines (from left to right): Tess McCarthy with "Frighten the Horses," Betsy Foley with "Deviant- The comic book journal of Strange Sex," Anissa Malady with "Hothead Paisan"and Ian with "Weenie-Toons!" and "Homoture #3."

If you would like to learn more, please attend the Bookish Beasts Zine Fest at the Center of Sex and Culture (1349 Mission St) from 12-6 pm Sunday April 14th, 2013. Admission is free and you must be over 18 years old to attend. For additional information visit the CSC on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or at the official website

Sean Logic