Miami’s Coolest Event Is…an Art Book Club?

Dale Zine is a special place, and owner Steve Saiz wants you to come hang

April 21, 2023 7:43 am
Row of art books and the Dale Zine bookstore in Miami, Florida
Weekend plans, solved: We're going to Dale Zine.
Courtesy of Dale Zine

Speak with Dale Zine owner Steve Saiz long enough and you’ll consider following your artistic muse away from your current career. Saiz operates the Miami-based publisher and art bookstore Dale Zine, and he has an enviable creative circle. Far from a too-cool-for-school art dude, Saiz is warm and engaging, speaking with passion about artists he champions.

In addition to offering an excellent selection of small press books, Dale Zine has also launched a book club. The premiere discussion, in March, covered an art book collection of fliers from the glory days of house music in Chicago in the ’80s. The next takes place tomorrow, April 22, at the shop in Little River and will focus on Heated Words: Searching for a Mysterious Typeface, a new art book about iron-on lettering originally popularized in NYC punk culture in the late ’70s.

It’s not your typical book club. To get a sense of what it actually is, we recently caught up with Saiz.

InsideHook: How is this different from your standard book club?

Steve Saiz: At your standard book club, you meet up, you have snacks, and like, talk about the book, which is awesome. But this is an art book club. So it’s just specifically focused on artist books. And we want to do some kind of art activity or art workshop that relates to the book in question.

The first book club was about Chicago house, so we had a bunch of drum machines, samplers and stuff like that so people could have an open-plug jam session.

That’s very different from a normal book club. What drew you into this world? What drew you into the zine/music world? 

When we started Dale Zine in 2009, I was working for a creative office, doing a lot of art direction for brands like Nickelodeon — really cool, fun stuff. And we would get a lot of people coming in to hang out or collaborate on projects. I was like, what if we did a group zine together? So we just did a Garfield-based zine. Every artist reinterpreted Garfield in the way that only they would.

I just thought that would be it. But a lot of the artists that were in that book wanted to do a zine of their own. It kind of grew from there. Now we have about 80 to 100 titles, and we’re working on our first hardcover book, which is really exciting. 

On the music side, I grew up playing records, collecting vinyl. My friends down here used to run a record label called Cosmic Chronic Records, which is focused on ’80s boogie funk and dance music. Even now, one of my friends that I did that label with, Benton Galgay — he’s a local DJ down here — he’s been helping us along this journey since the beginning. We still have a DJ night once a month at a place called the Fox’s Lounge. We’re still kind of just engaged in having fun, showing the new records we found that month — not so much DJing in nightclubs anymore or anything. Maybe once every five years.

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How does it feel? Did you think you’d still be doing this at 38 when you were 28?

I always thought I would totally still be out there. It’s definitely more tame. I’m not staying out super late anymore. But I want to keep growing Dale Zine.

Maybe the better question is, did you think you’d be going from nightclubs to doing book clubs?

I always knew I wanted to do a book club, but I’ve been waiting and trying to think of an idea where it feels a little bit honorable for Dale Zine. Every time we do something like this, we meet the nicest, coolest people. And I feel like Miami has so much talent. 

We also want to encourage people to send in submissions. We don’t know everything. So if there’s somebody passionate about something, we want to encourage that.

Let’s close with that. Who do people need to know for Miami-based talent right now? Art and music? 

Gabriel Alcala. He’s an amazing illustrator. There’s also Natalia Chavarria, Kelly Breez, Alejandra Moros, Jen Clay, Autumn Casey, Reginald O’Neal, Jessy Nite and Roy Neil Hunter.

On the music side, one of my favorite producers down here is Greg Beato. He’s just amazing, he’s doing techno stuff, but he’s also doing ambient records. He’s just really fantastic and kind of slept on. There’s so much talent: Romulo Castillo, Nick León, Jacuzzi Boys, Donzii, Haute Tension and more.

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