Little, local, and made with love: Twin Cities Zinefest showcases Minnesota’s tiniest media


“Zines and mini-comics are local, they’re human, they aren’t backlit, and they’re genuine,” says Daniel Olson of St. Paul, creator of Super Fantastica Comix. “It means more to me if somebody hands me a zine or mini-comic that they created and says, ‘here ya go, I hope you like it,’ rather than directing me to their blog.”

Olson, a resident of St. Paul, will be among the exhibitors present at the sixth annual Twin Cities Zinefest, taking place this weekend at the Stevens Square Center for the Arts from 11-5 on Saturday, July 11 and 11-4 on July 12. The free event is an attempt to connect members of the community to DIY culture and artists, and above all to appreciate the art of making zines.

In addition to exhibitors tabling during the event’s hours, on Saturday there will be an open mic reading, a showing of the documentary MPLS Zines, and a performance by Presentation Night. Zine pioneer Joe Biel will hold a workshop on Sunday called “Starting a Distribution Co-op with Likeminded Publications,” followed by a showing of his documentary, If Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk: 15 Years of Plan-it X Records. An afterparty will be held that night at Arise! Bookstore, featuring live music from Teenage Moods, Gerald Prokop, Bla Bla Blacksheep, and Zombie Season.

TC Zinefest coordinator Sarah Morean gave up her table this year, but will reveal her recent invention, a zine machine.

“I am working on a zine-dispensing vending machine that will sit at the Zinefest info table, where fliers, buttons, and programs will sit,” Morean says. “It’s an old postage stamp vending machine that I’ve converted to dispense insults, compliments, and advice on little cards.”

The craft of making zines is what keeps them so unique, say zinemakers. “You can’t beat buying something that someone made with their own two hands, especially if you get to meet that person when you buy it,” says Jemibook, the creator of Lolita, a zine that covers topics ranging from make-up tips and party ideas to pandas. “Handmade items are always going to be special.”

Crystal Erickson ( is a freelance writer and photographer, with preoccupations in hip-hop, art, and bicycle anarchy.

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