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Zine collector
Profile: Lacey Prpic Hedtke has over 2,500 zines in her garage
Lacey Prpic Hedtke with her zine collection.
Photography by Amber Procaccini

by Anne Hamre

Like many grand obsessions and extensive collections, Lacey Prpic Hedtke's began by chance. In 2002, living in Boston after completing a BFA in photography, she came across a zine that had been left in a subway station.

"You can do this?" she remembers thinking about creating a zine.

Yes, you can-and she did.

Hedtke's Powderhorn garage now contains, among the shovels and garden tools, over 2,500 zines-no duplicates-organized by topic. Some created herself, but most by other people. She opens the garage (aka Zine Apothecary) on a sporadic basis, as weather and her schedule permit, for browsers and borrowers.

A zine is short for "fanzine" or "magazine"-generally, a do-it-yourself, small-circulation booklet (usually photocopied) that's traded, given away or sold cheaply. But the best part?

"Because you're not going through a publisher, you can say whatever you want," Hedtke said. This makes zines ideal for voices that are not usually heard.

"You don't even have to put your name on it," she added, "if it's something society doesn't think you should be saying."

Jumping in
Hedtke handed out her first zine to friends, then began selling it at a shop that sold handmade items. The topic: Hedtke's likes and dislikes.

She started with 15 copies. Then 50. By now, nearly 10 years later, she's made over 800 copies of it.

"At first I was terrified" at the thought of the zine being displayed and sold to strangers, Hedtke recalled. "It seemed so personal." But she was soon hooked on the feeling of being able to create and produce something with minimal investment in materials and equipment, and began producing zines on a range of topics that includes etiquette, St. Paul depression-era gangsters, and pop icon Britney Spears.

"All you have to be able to do is fold paper and maybe staple it," she said with a chuckle. "Pick up some paper and start gluing stuff. You just kind of jump in."

A zine can be about anything-music, food, politics, sewing-but of course, it helps if it's something you're passionate about.

"I used to work at Planned Parenthood," Hedtke said, "so I have a big love for women's health." Her Apothecary contains zines about herbs for PMS, safe sex, self-care and other women's health issues.

Other popular genres are "mamazines" (on parenting) and "perzines" (personal zines). The latter might discuss such topics as surviving abuse, ending a pregnancy or having a successful polyamorous relationship.

"I'm not sure what the percentage is," Hedtke said, "but a lot of perzine writers are women."

All over the map
Once you've created a zine, what do you do (besides leave it at a subway station or LRT stop)? Typically, you give, sell or swap it to people who have similar interests or want to broaden their horizons. If you want to swap, sell and chat with a few hundred zinesters all in one place, you can attend the annual Twin Cities Zinefest.

"People still like having face-to-face interaction with the person who made the thing they're reading," Hedtke said. "It's really easy to be in your own bubble, but at Zinefest, we get to see each other."

Most zinesters are left-leaning, Hedtke said, but they're all over the map when it comes to gender, race and age. "We had a 6-year-old zinester at last year's fest," she recalled. "She had a zine called 'Puppies Puppies Puppies Dogs Dogs Dogs.'" It consisted of the girl's drawings of-well, you know.

The rise of blogs, Myspace, Google and Facebook notwithstanding, Hedtke said, zines are "alive and well." In fact, those online tools can help people find zines more easily.

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"It used to be your friend's sister had one, or you found one in a women's bookstore," she said. Now, you can go online to find a "zine distro" (basically, the middleperson between the zinester and someone trying to find a zine). "Some distros focus on queer and trans zines, feminist zines or fat-positive zines," Hedtke noted.

Librarian at heart
The bricks-and-mortar Zine Apothecary began in a straightforward way. Hedtke-a librarian by profession-decided to catalogue her collection and "find out what I had."

Her circulation system is equally straightforward: "I write down what people take, and hopefully [the zines] come back," Hedtke said. On rare occasions, a zine doesn't return, "but I'd rather have something not come back than never circulate."

So, on these lazy summer days, is there a topic you've been wanting to learn about-but you don't want to be stuck indoors on a computer, your gizmo isn't charged and you secretly prefer paper anyway?

Stop on down to Hedtke's garage and look around. Somewhere among those 2,500 zines from all over the world is one with your name on it (perhaps literally).

The Zine Scene
You can visit the Zine Apothecary in Minneapolis. For hours, contact Lacey Prpic Hedtke at zineapothecary@gmail.com
FFI: zineapothecary.wordpress.com

What: Twin Cities Zinefest
When: Sat., Sept. 22, noon-6 p.m.
Where: Powderhorn Park Building, 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Cost: Free admission
FFI: zinefest.org

The profile appears in every issue of the Minnesota Women's Press. It reflects our founding principle and guiding philosophy that every woman has a story. Readers are welcome to submit suggestions for profile subjects. Email your ideas to editor@womenspress.com

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