Twin Cities Zinefest: A Q&A with Lacey Prpic Hedtke
This year marks the eight annual Twin Cities Zinefest. Along with this anniversary come changes: The event is moving from Stevens Square to the more spacious Powderhorn Park building, and the after party has been eliminated in order to put more energy toward the fest itself.
But removing some of the entertainment doesn't mean that it's going to be any less fun. Zinefest brings a chance for local creative-types to share their work via traditional booths as well as how-to panels. It also serves as a opportunity for regular folks to come by the park and check out a new medium -- one that offers limitless potential in terms of subject matter and community.
Event Coordinator Lacey Prpić Hedtke keeps a busy schedule. She holds a BFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston and an MLIS from St. Catherine University. She also teaches antiquated photo processes at the Minneapolis Photo Center and, of course, makes and archives zines. Her list of zine creations include the two-part series Likes/Dislikes, Etiquette, Toxic (a collaboration with Scott Seekins), Very True (juicy poems), Cereal Boxes and Milk Crates: Zine Libraries and Infoshops Are...NOW!, and Excitement and Adventure, which is about Depression-era gangsters in St. Paul.
The Zine Apothecary, which she also manages, is located close to Zinefest's new Powderhorn home.
As she puts the final touches on the festival, City Pages got hold of her to ask a few questions.
When did you make your first zine?
I made my first zine, Likes/Dislikes, in Boston in 2004 after finding a zine on the subway and thinking, "People make these?"
What got you interested in the culture behind zine making?
At first I was really intimidated by the zine culture. Once I made one and started handing them out and giving them away and leaving them places, I realized, "Oh, this culture is all about being able to do things yourself and being supportive of other people who make zines."
I like fun and new friends, so it was a good fit.
There's been a TC Zinefest every year since 2004. Have you been involved with all of them?
The first time I tabled at Zinefest was in 2006. The next year I tabled, my band Bla Bla Blacksheep played the after party, and I helped out with the organizing. The next year, I got more involved with volunteering, organized the afterparty, and participated in a zine librarians' caucus.
In 2010, I joined the organizing team more officially. I co-wrote (and we received) a grant for Zinefest with Sarah Morean, the coordinator at the time, and organized the after party. This year I took over as organizer.
Will this year also feature art shows and music?
I took a year off from an after party to put time, energy, and resources into putting together a Zinefest how-to encyclopedia.
On Sunday, the day after the event, the Zine Apothecary will be open and we'll have a little brunch. Also on Sunday, the Minnehaha Free Space will host the Dinner+Bikes tour that will be at Zinefest. So if people like the program and vegan treats that they see at the event, they can get more the next day!
What are some of the panel and demonstration topics?
This year we're doing more of a three-ring circus than a schedule of panelists, so at any time during the day people can stop by.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts will be there doing artsy book things, the Minneapolis Community and Technical College Library will have part of its zine collection there, the Fly Away Zine Mobile will be parked outside to act as a reading lounge, and the Zine Apothecary library will a part of its collection there. Plus, the Dinner+Bikes tour will be showcasing its food, bicycles, activism, feminism, and economics in the form of edibles, short videos, zines, and discussions. People will also be able to assemble their own how-to encyclopedia, fresh off the press.
What are some highlights from past Zinefests?
Hmm, I really love the catalog that Andy Sturdevant did for Zinefest last year, and I thought that the afterparty at the Seward Cafe was full of transcendent fun. I also really liked Tom Cassidy's mail-art display at the 2006 Zinefest. He has quite a collection. The zine librarian caucus in 2007 with Barnard librarian Jenna Freedman was a highlight. Mayor Mike Haeg's Minneapolis zine history lesson was so awesome in 2008.
Does the festival aim to please the zine novice and the fanatic equally?
Oh yes, of course. I think the Twin Cities Zinefest is great because you can know nothing about zines and stumble into the event and be able to connect with the zinesters on any topic you're interested in, and hopefully be inspired to make your own zine. Or, you can be the most veteran of all zinesters and you'll still meet new people, learn new things, and find a zine you don't have yet.
Why should people who aren't a part of zine culture come check out the festival?
Anyone who enjoys free speech, creativity, and quirkiness will love the Zinefest. If you like comics, laughing hysterically at people's stories, delicious vegan treats, and attractive people, then this is the place for you.
How do you think blogging and social media have affected the medium?
I think, if anything, they've created more of an interest in zines. Nowadays we don't have to rely on Sassy Magazine and special zines about zines to let people far and wide know about them. The world is so small now, and it's really easy to find the exact zine you're looking for, if it exists. You're looking for a gluten-free, vegan, Ethiopian cookbook? Look no further than a blog post on Facebook! There are still some analog holdouts that won't get on the internet, but that's ok.
While zine topics range across the board, do you see any unifying themes locally that separate Minneapolis-St. Paul from other cities?
Well, the Twin Cities looooves comics. And screenprinting. And anything punk. So I see those reflected in the zines coming out of the Twin Cities. The past coordinator of Zinefest went on to start the Minneapolis Indie Expo (MIX) that is totally comic-focused. That's how much Minnesota loves comics. We're a bunch of doers, so I can pretty much guarantee you that if someone makes zines, they also make something else like music or prints or something weird and out there.
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