Before I met Amanda Mills I had visions of William Wallace’s speech in Braveheart where the masses rumored him to be 7 feet tall and have the ability to shoot bolts of lightning out his ass. Amanda’s reputation seemed pretty legendary. When we finally met I asked her what she was involved with in the city. After hearing her explain what had been keeping her busy, I felt lazy. Her DIY resume goes on for days working with zines, music labels and being a spokesperson for feminism in Atlanta.
Her current project, the first annual Atlanta Zine Fest is scheduled for early next summer. Interested in the details of the upcoming fest, I decided to ask her a lot of questions about America.
Do you think that 9/11 was an inside job?
I think that the some people in the government benefited from it in a way that is pretty dubious. But I don’t know if it was an inside job.
So what you’re saying is that you’re not patriotic?
Yes! No. Not at all. Maybe not in the sense of people who use that word would like to think.
Do you celebrate the 4th of July?
Yes! I love fireworks and watermelon. I also have this one skirt that’s only appropriate on the 4th of July because it’s red, white and blue. It’s really beautiful.
Do you listen to Bruce Springsteen?
No. Hell no. I hate Bruce Springsteen. I absolutely hate Bruce Springsteen.
You hate Bruce Springsteen? Why?
I find his music to be really cheesy and I don’t know, hard to listen to. I went to Bonnaroo when he was headlining and someone had spray painted “Bruce Springsteen isn’t the boss of me.” Someone spray painted under that “Fuck Springsteen.” I took a photo because I identified with that.
That’s terrible. I don’t know how I feel about this interview. How do you feel about Mormonism?
I guess I don’t really have any thoughts on Mormonism beyond that it’s not as scandalous as people make it out to be. I’m sure they’re not all cultish and sleeping with multiple 12 year olds.
Tell me about the Atlanta Zine Fest.
It’s slated for probably June of next year. It’s going to be the first in Atlanta and maybe the southeast. Zines are independently produced DIY media. We’re going to celebrate any kind of DIY media. There’s going to be panels, guest speakers, vendors and workshops.
We’re still in the planning stages. Basically we’re hoping people will host workshops on silk screening, how to make your own paper, layouts, binding and just basic DIY media how-to’s. I think a lot of people don’t keep things in mind, for instance that the first and last page are the same page. Hopefully we’ll have some panels on the convergence and tensions between print and digital media as well.
Are you currently working on your own zine?
Not currently, I run a tape label. I feel like there’s a lot of similarities between the two. I handle all of the art work and I did put out a zine with one of the releases that was a compilation of 20 local artists.
My boyfriend is in several local bands and we run the label together. We’ve been talking about doing a split music zine. One half will be anything that he wants to cover and then i’ll take the other half. We have completely different aesthetic when it comes to design and different music tastes. So it’ll turn out pretty interesting I think.
What’s your favorite zine in Atlanta right now?
Becky Fury and Erin Basset of Plastic Aztecs always put out really cool stuff. Becky does this one called Toxic Plants. It’s this really densely illustrated comic. It’s hilarious. It’s about these plants that get wasted every night. Erin has really beautiful artwork.
I don’t think any of them have a zine that they put out on the regular, but they do a lot of work and it’s always amazing.
If I wanted to buy a zine where can I find one?
Record stores usually have them, like Criminal. If you’re in a different state, just go to a record shop they almost always have them. You can get them online at Click Clack Distro, Stick Figure, Quimby’s, and Atomic Books. Also, you can get them at a lot of art shows and house shows. A lot of punk bands have zines available on their merch tables.
You were the President of Faces of Feminism at GSU. The website says “Faces of Feminism is an activist feminist/womanist student organization that is open to all students interested in social justice around gender issues.”
What does that actually entail?
That group can be whatever it wants to be. That’s why I stepped away from it. I think it should be something different with me not involved. When I was involved it had a lot to do with the arts community because that’s what I’m in to. It was an arts related group through the lense of feminism. It can be about anything– picketing, voters registration, environmental rights. It can be whatever. Those things just don’t interest me. By and large, I really think that people should recognize that they can be involved politically in any number of ways.
What’s your definition of feminism?
I think that feminism is about celebrating diversity. I think it’s about undoing the violence that comes with stepping outside the norm. Feminism is about dismantling the violence associated with breaking norms–norms themselves are not bad, but punishing people for challenging them is oppressive.
Your definition doesn’t really sound like the typical rundown of feminism that I’ve heard before.
No. It’s not at all.
I think a lot of people are turned off to the word feminism. Your view seems to have a broader scope, but where’s the feminist twist?
I don’t think that feminism has much to do with femininity. I think that anyone can call themselves a feminist. Part of me calling myself a feminist is reclaiming it. I hope to lead by example by previously being the president of Faces of Feminism, not being afraid to use that word and not ever defining it for anyone.
Photo Credit: Tim Song
Join Amanda and friends Wednesday, October 17th from 7-10 pm for Zines n’ Drinks at Hodgepodge Coffee House and Gallery for an Atlanta Zine Fest fundraiser.