Creator Q+A | Mary Van Note

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Mary Van Note. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I wrote a novel before I got into comedy and shopped it around to a lot of micro-presses. It was close to getting published, but it didn’t happen. I wanted immediate gratification and small-press/DIY publishing could do that for me. There’s no middle man - just me, my ideas and a copier.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. I made my first zine the first year I did stand-up comedy in San Francisco. I would read from my zine onstage and sell them after shows. I’m still proud of my first zine. It’s kind of a Mary Van Note classic. It’s called Mary Van Note’s Experiences (of the sexual variety) by Mary Van Note Volume 1. It details several funny and sordid MVN sexual experiences with accompanying stick-figure illustrations.

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)? Who is your DIY hero?
A. That’s hard to say, there’s so many who I think are amazing. I like a lot of San Francisco based underground zines/comics. From R. Crumb to V. Vale’s RE/SEARCH, and John Marr’s Murder Can Be Fun. It’s neat to see people who started in underground publishing move on to getting their work published and recognized like John Porcellino’s Map of My Heart, Julia Wertz’ The Fart Party, and even Broke Ass Stuart.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory of the SF Zine Fest?
A. I have great memories of doing Zine Fest. I loved meeting and being tablemates with such interesting and diverse artists and writers. The first year I sat next to Julia Wertz, which was awesome. She came to my comedy show and drew a comic inspired by sitting at the table with me. She had all these fans coming up to our table and she graciously pimped out my zine to her fans.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. Along with performing stand-up comedy I make short films and webisodes.
My short film Papercuts won an IFC short film contest. I also fill my time with learning how to sew and knit so I can one day make my own clothes from vintage patterns. I’m a vintage addict and love
going to flea markets and swap meets.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Currently I’m working on things I’ll have for sale at zine fest like handmade zine holders/totes, and a new zine that’s a collection of my comic strips. I’m also starting pre-production on two new short films.