Jessica Friedmann on Kate Bezar
Like many of you, I have a very clear memory of the first time Dumbo Feather pinged my radar. I was in the second year of a media degree that was beginning to seem aimless, waitressing to make ends meet, and wondering when my life was going to become hip and bohemian and romantic. (The fact that I was living in a falling-apart sharehouse in Brunswick with a backyard carpeted in cherry blossom only really seems romantic in retrospect.)
Anyway, the owner of the café periodically brought in a stack of magazines, and it was on my all-too-short coffee break that I first came across Dumbo—issue seven, the one with the kite. It was a revelation; long, funny, beautiful and frank. All my vaguely-held aspirations about working in publishing came to a head. Indie media, I thought. Of course. I remember flipping to the front of the mag and checking out the editor’s name, intent on finding out who had made such a thing. I thought she must have been a total rock star.
As it turns out, I was mostly right. Having filled her administrative shoes for the last few months, I can attest to Kate’s chutzpah, determination, and sheer bloody hard work in making Dumbo Feather a success. A one-woman band (with art direction and occasional percussion), she’s built this thing that you’re holding right now from scratch, and kept it going through economic dips and turns. In her last year as editor, she even did it with a baby on her hip.
What stops her from being a total rock star is her lack of ego. Meeting her in person after countless emails, I find her warm, enthusiastic and genuinely engaged with the world. Though Dumbo is infused with her personality, she’s never put a photo of herself in the front, always seeing her role as being in the service of other stories. No smashed guitars or bowls of green M&Ms here.
Though she’s recently moved to her native New Zealand in pursuit of a quieter, more domestic life, Kate remains involved in Dumbo as a kind of elder stateswoman and patron saint. We’re extremely glad to be able to profile her as she begins the next chapter of her life, and to finally give you more than a glimpse of the tremendous woman who made Dumbo fly.