Last Sunday saw Houston’s first ever H-Town Minicon, an event conceived and hosted by Shane Patrick Boyle. Held at The Jenner House, the minicon featured an enticing selection of comix and zines while providing guests with live music and free beer. Among the artists who displayed their work were Jason Poland, promoting Robbie and Bobby: A Boy and his Robot, a collection of his comics compiled into a book; and Gabriel Dieter, whose Revenge of The World works added a colorful visual dimension to the event.
Sporting his Space-Forest Super-Pirate costume, Shane read two of his comics that were originally poems: Something I Wrote on the Way to Work and The Urban Barbarian, as well as The Flying Man- a short story adaptation of his comic with the same title. Boyle explained that his costume had absolutely no relevance to what he was reading, but it did seem to enhance the offbeat ambiance of the night. I arrived just in time for Shane’s reading as a steady flow of people crawled into Jenner House. I watched them roam around aimlessly while several girls stepped in and out of the giant tent situated on the venue’s floor. Outside, a few guys sat around a small fire that waned on the patio, smoked cigarettes and chatted about hauling their musical equipment around town. All in all, it was a laid-back evening of underground art in Houston.
Kicking off the music portion of the event was Poopy Lungstuffing (aka Olivia Dvorak) who invented several songs spontaneously for the occasion. Among them was a song for The Jenner House, a song for each of the artists, and a theme song for Boyle’s Space-Forest Super-Pirate character. Other musical acts included electronic duo Automatonic (Shawna Mouser and Ilea Henderson); Attic Ted- which consisted of a solo performance by Grady Roper who wore an extravagant mask and told a story through song of his character who escaped from a mental institution; Gardenella, (a beautiful solo performance by Attic Ted’s usual cellist Margie Osborne) and Muzak John, who concluded the music of the evening with his personal brand of noise rap. In between performances, segments of Ron Mann’s 1988 documentary Comic Book Confidential were played, with the permission of Spinx Productions.
Shane estimates there were 75- 100 guests at Jenner House, with about 30 staying throughout the entire evening. “Not bad considering the whole thing came together in 3 weeks and it turned out to be the same night as the Academy Awards,” Boyle stated last week. He credits The Jenner House and Olivia Dvorak for a tremendous amount of help in organizing the event. He also said the possibility of an annual H-Town Minicon depends on whether or not he continues living in Houston.
Houston’s subculture of zines and comics is still thriving with much thanks to Shane Boyle who founded Zine Fest Houston in 2004. He was in charge of organizing the event from 2004 until 2011, when his untimely hospitalization prompted co-organizer, Lindsey Simard to step up and take over the organizational tasks. Shane says that Lindsey is the primary organizer of Zine Fest this year, but he is still avidly involved on the committee. The festival injects a healthy dose of DIY ethics into Houston annually by inviting the public to check out local zines, comics, mini-comics, and other forms of independent art and media. Artists are offered low-cost table space to sell their merchandise, and admission is always free. The next Zine Fest Houston will take place in fall of 2012, but the exact date and location have yet to be announced. Check out their website and Facebook page for more info.
Some other cool upcoming Houston events include the Houston Indie Book Festival, which is scheduled for April 14th and Comicpalooza, which will take place over Memorial Day Weekend. Be sure to check back here on my blog for updates and reviews on the Houston Indie Book Festival and Zine Fest Houston.
Check out these cool websites:
…and these Facebook pages:
H-Town Minicon: www.facebook.com/HTownMinicon
Zine Fest Houston: www.facebook.com/pages/Zine-Fest-Houston
Houston Indie Book Fest: www.facebook.com/HIBFest