Episode 2: A Brief History of ‘Zines & the Healing Power of Yard Sales

I’m so excited to have Katie Haegele on the podcast for episode 2! Katie is the author of two books (with a third coming soon!), and many awesome ‘zines. I talked to her about the ‘zines she’s made, the history of this DIY publishing phenomenon, and about her undying love of all things secondhand—as evidenced by her book, “White Elephants: On Yard Sales, Relationships, and Finding What Was Missing.”

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Katie at her table at Pete’s Mini Zine Fest, in Brooklyn, one of her favorite ‘zine fests.
A selection of Katie’s favorite ‘zines: Lower East Side Librarian Winter Solstice Shout-Out, by Jenna Freedman; Dream Whip, by Bill Brown; The Fifth Book of Cats, by Nicholas Beckett; Oddservations, by Susan Panaway; I Love Soda, by Rebecca Berkowitz; Dig Deep, by Heather Colby;
Minutiae, by Aijung Kim; Cheaptoys, by Giz
Two of Katie’s recent ‘zines: Cat Party #1 and The Kytchyn Witche Guide to Natural Living.
A ‘zine reading at East Falls Zine Reading Room — a.k.a. Katie’s house.
This plate, which Katie found at a yard sale, is one of her favorite secondhand finds. It hangs above her desk.

For more info about Katie and her work, visit her website, thelalatheory.com.

All photos by Katie Haegele.

[0:29] Katie Haegele is a zine collector and even has a reading room where she and her husband host events. Then there’s a whole other side. Just about everything she owns was found at a rummage sale yard sale or a second hand store. She became interested in clothing when she was in high school and hasn’t stopped since. Can’t even read a book about how much second hand shopping means to her. It’s called white elephants on yard sales relationships and finding what was messing. I talked to katie first about the world of scenes and then about her favorite aspects of secondhand shopping and missing things she was searching for. [1:23] So how can, seems calm about like why this trend happen in the nineties it seems to me that it might be a precursor of the whole self publish increases the last decade, what why did people start doing this there people have different ways of.  [1:44] Describing the history of jeans but the one i’m what i see as the most. [1:50] It depends on how open you wanna be to like defining what is seen is and and and and how far back you go with it. [1:58] The word comes from fan seen which was a thing of people started doing like in the thirties and those were science fiction. [2:07] The indians of people published the room stories and stuff so that so there’s that right and that was that was. Self published and distributed email largely i think that in the seventies. And then it was like me and you graph stuff that like allen ginsberg those guys didn’t fifties and sixties and made out with self publishing to, my birthday is gonna machines have before the photocopier came along to be like the inexpensive easy. Accessible friend said they were doing that to ne seventy from punk happens that was the balance, and the resumes and for copiers and as they are now we’re like everywhere and was really inexpensive to make copies and that was like this revolution of a self publishing of a kind and people made, pans animated scenes about the music and an ice and then it evolved into making scenes about political things and about personal stuff and whatever so that i actually continued that stat for machine. I am as far as i understand. Came to be in the seventies and never really went away and then it blew up in the nineties again but the new wave of punk came again and it was a riot girl thing because of the young women doing right girl punk bands, off to publish jeans and it was a way of sharing their ideas in both formats and it is birth this whole movement of. [3:39] People writing on often highly personal topics and then publishing and. No it’s like it of its feminist and political and and continues to this day and people have continued popularly stop doing it. But it goes to waste popularity and and and different ways of being. [4:03] Like in the public eye and being noticed by like maybe like mean see magazine. Want more a story about it and then people notice it again say are people doing this weekend so that’s that’s it. [4:22] It’s like it was really cool and really big a kind of important in the nineties when i was of an age to be receptive to to it and so like i like i was saying it was already in my mind before i ever. But i didn’t feel so moved to make one as a teenager but a few years later and my twenties i did. It seems to me i might even go back farther than the thirties i need a just people creating like political, pamphlets right so you really go back to bed the printing press great like the it says was that yeah. Totally absolutely i always say that like when i do a scene workshop or something special with young people like to know the one about thomas paine i know they’ve learned about the stuff in school. We don’t have to call the scenes and that’s not what anyone call the men but it’s the same thing into the power for power to production into your own hands and distribution to. You write it you publish it in distributed up it is no other you know gate keepers to say. [5:28] I am a bit of an aspiring scene collector myself and i just love it cuz it’s so outside of the commercial see her like you can tell. Obviously these people are not doing this to make money it’s just like a labor of love kind of has like a very folk c outsider art kind of in the us. Absolutely oh yeah it’s some there as weird as. People are weird and anything that you think of you know a it can be.  [6:03] Is it is kind of an inherently democratic medium to allowed to say because its so in xp can be so expensive to make them um you really can’t interfere if you’re. [6:17] Working within the confines of black and white minutes in black and white and can be photocopied. You can do it actually do a whole lot with that in terms of size and shape and art and. And alot of it and and i seen i seen a huge variety of stuff that people don within that pretty limited. Share. Yeah no and it’s i love them i have a i always seems to like that i can part with that the second hand stuff and not so precious about really, i’m in a enjoy acquiring it so much that i have to be willing to give it away, to where i would be able to keep doing that but the scenes i cannot part with the scenes i love them i have hundreds of them. And i’m keeping it are there particular zenith authors or artists who you love. Oh my gosh yeah i have that she may think i have. [7:23] A few omigosh this they’re like classic ziegler sewer who are going around doing what they do for a really long time and there are people who i know. [7:33] Personally and i and and that’s accounts for why like what they do there’s a woman in heather who prices include dig deep i think she’s a really good writer she lives in chicago she’s been doing it a long time. Mom some of the writing you’ll find seems as good as writing a find anywhere and that’s the truth and artwork to, just like the count of people like expressing themselves in these ways and and and some some of the stuff that’s really special to me like i said it’s because. [8:06] I know the person who makes it and i’ve met them through seems an like a lot of the magazine friends i have are now pen pal friends and so like though the scenes that they send me when they’ve written. [8:21] Get a little tangled up in my mind in my memory with the letters written me cannot on a different. So it’s and it’s person on the same sort of way the ones i like to read a really personal i am a friend from new jersey doesn’t seem quite i love soda. http://collectingculturepodcast.com/ [8:36] And that’s what it’s about it’s about soda and how much he loves it it is always on a quest for like trying new kinds of stories original sodas and it’s mostly it’s a lot of photographs and it’s just it’s just it’s wonderful like to me that’s like. And it is a lovely woman and that’s to me that’s the the essence of what wonderful that seems. I can be that obscure and personal but i personally significant to the person who’s doing it to. [9:08] So then what’s the best way to display a collection of scenes of unlike both and then to a page and frame them is really difficult. It’s really difficult to talk to this talk to library and sleep real life her hands about this and they have the same problem because. If you have a collection want to.  [9:31] Is the archive protect them so selfish are kinda talking but also display them so they’re like appealing on the shelf it’s not like with books cuz they don’t have spines so feline them up on the shelf. You nothing for you to see it’s kinda hard to deal with we have. I have it so museums that and it’s good kinda commonplace for people to donate using collection like a large collection, to the university or public library the can like be stewards of a collection i can’t bring myself to part with mine, least not yet but it won’t be hoarding them so we decided we moved into this house to house is easier to to do things like this with a. [10:21] Did he doesn’t quality public space so we haven’t seen set up and are, chat room and we host like reading the shows our house and we caught we call the reading room some people are invited to come and sit and read the scenes, and we try to display them in friday anyways because they want for the reason they’re saying we want people to see them and, be drawn to pick them up there so visually interesting you don’t want to just be like in a dusty pile so we’ve got them some of them have sitting in. I boxes that you can’t service sister like manual control records and a crate and some are lined up on a shelf. The smaller ones are stacked it into the deep shelf and they’re stacked. Facing outward so at least you do see the front cover of. [11:21] And the other ones in the on the front and we bring up this bookcase that i have in order to accomplish this we just emailed a piece of plywood. [11:31] A short piece of plywood across the front of one shelf not mean so we can like container is the museum’s facing for they would come falling forward so that, that works if not what you would do at like an academic library when archiving is your main goal but is it works for us other people use, those magazine holders of cardboard magazine holders and then like, i use to do that too and like all of the scene titles beginning with the letter a on this one and the and i just ordered some least list what i wanted to look for something specific anywhere i can, i can’t find any silly but it’s a challenge is a challenge displaying them and i have put stuff in. In france before but like it or do nothing is really beautiful i put in a frame of put it in a one of those little. I can install you know the many is coming for displaying a small piece of art, because i’m one look at it just, in the second half of our conversation canine talks about injury love of yard sales rummage sales and all things in the fifth. You are freelance work doesn’t allow you the very cool perk that you can go to yard sales from that sells turn left as i do have that. Flexible schedule your right let’s talk a little bit about let’s talk about your collecting and about your book that came out in twenty twelve which is why elephants on yard sales. [13:13] Relationships and finding what was messing, yes what do you love about collecting objects from the past or objects that people of previously owned. [13:26] Well there’s a lot i love about it and i think i think. [13:34] I think what i love the most isn’t even collecting them for finding them. At like that i don’t know if that’s a meaningful distinction to everybody but it’s not it’s not having and keeping the unnecessarily. As significant to me as the experience of going and looking and and of the at like. The delightful surprise of finding something. [14:03] They’ve never seen before and sometimes something that you are quite sure what it is and maybe have to ask an older person standing next to. What what is you looking at and i’m like yeah it’s the fuck that’s that’s what i love the most that feeling of discovery cuz i don’t i think they’re different they’re different kinds of collectors and in my mind and. There are people who go looking for specific things. Sometimes really specific things cuz this like complete list anyway and if they want they want to they do want to build a collection and then and then possess a collection of things and that’s not. My mindset i just it’s just it’s the doing of it so pleasurable to me i just never get tired of it of f is going and looking. [14:56] Yeah i agree i totally agree and, i find it so distracting and when you talk about in your buck that that your father had died and you were living with your mother and your you and your mother were doing this together i just. One thing that struck me as like this must have been so. Pleasurable its distraction like its ability to take you away from something really sad yeah well right that’s exactly it like it’s if like any activity that you really enjoy like your, mentioning needing earlier anything that’s engrossing and a certain way. Takes you outside of your thoughts and so it’s that it’s. It’s relaxing escape so for that for as long as i’m digging through things are looking through them for years i did that with my mother now it is a hobby that my husband and i share. We [15:54] What would nothing about anything else i’mma stressed out about anything else you know like any of any activity that i can say is really grossing it it gives me that yeah. Please open my mind to, all the other stuff that i can incorporate into my life new hobbies and new books and new ideas and as you say your learning about this, yeah things that you haven’t seen before it seems to me like it’s something about like going like, going to a museum in france there is an exhibit at a museum here in new york at the jewish museum that’s called take me i’m yours i’m not sure if you have heard of us, you can actually take things from the exit at its, did not come here do it down my maybe you need a common will do it together cuz i haven’t been yet always cold in is about like the active of collecting and and. Interacting with things being able to choose something and take at i got it sounds really awesome iphones surface is cool i’m actually tell so i can think of of an exhibit idea that is so nice yeah i’m also really. Happy and and slightly and the s, hot date your husband shares this happy to have its dangerous is yeah we both do it and then we bring a lot of stuff home so is there something you gotta keep your eye on the, see my husband likes go to some yard sales with me or some sales i think like the. [17:29] The fact that it excites me so much kind of stresses him out cuz he all he has more of a minimalist tendancy and he he’s very organized he’s an industrial designer so he takes things very like, clean and function on. That stresses me out of bed and like i’m the one that i there are times when i when i do wish that that was. That was that i would like that i’m just not i was accepted and on minimalist and that’s just the way it is and i get a lot of pleasure and an real joy out of. Out of things and sounds like you do too but at that aesthetic is is. Really a in this fantasy that i don’t expect ever realize that, one day i live in a house that so big that one room cash flows room can be the empty re, how is that is a fantasy yes is ridiculous every bug bites orchids go in there and go, hey say that my life is so chaotic is it it isn’t but i am drunk i am drawn to that at the. What you’re describing minimalist thing that’s so interesting because for all your collecting i would not think that i understand like being drawn to that which is the up like, the other side yeah yeah either way of life and to think, it’s a thing to be managed like this like this particular. [19:05] Desire like two adults of of the control things and bring them home it’s not it’s not the. Cost of a recall early cost anything right so on one hand i use to give myself permission to get anything i wanted. Cuz like it didn’t cost anything sometimes sometimes it like i find stuff perfectly useful stuff to my neighbors are getting rid of his free it’s trash. I thought i brought resume cuz it’s trash to them but it’s for me to know and table for eight so price isn’t a thing, but then you reach a point when you was like okay there has to be a different there’s different limitation put on this because i cant just live inside a thrift store. That’s what we turn into who is at so yeah. My family is very much a family of collectors and does not have has a very eclectic lifestyle full of stuff and is not an last is a i hope that my husband is, my mom thinks it’s good that my husband is kind of an animal is because she’s like that like, balance you owe to them like balance each other what’s solemn benefit that’s the ideal set up and in these, romantic relationships right like is the. Train different things out of each other and create some kind of balance total and yeah yeah what is estimated to your fat parents collect i just getting grow up without really. Well my god where to start my father collects everything she collects and poetry brod science if you know if those are huge they’re really beautiful. [20:49] That’s just how it he was a poet he was writing poetry pretty seriously for many years it is not any more not so much anymore at least and then. He collects watches he collects time is there dirt vintage washes and antique watches he collects hawaiian shirts he cut lax cylinder, players and victrola sounds wow really yeah and as per box he could hundred bucks and, i’m really all manner of box the man can i cannot boxee collects cd’s i need it is just it’s files to know i get that is mr character, i see that’s another thing that’s making me remember another nice thing that i that i treasure about. Going to the unit yard sales trips from yourself a story whatever meeting the other people who are into this cuz are always such interesting people. In the people who are interested in and things are interesting people i know a lot about, what whatever their particular interest is and they’re gonna get excited about anyone tell you about it like i like having conversations with those folks, who’s the most interesting is there like a person who stands out as the most interesting person, you’ve never met the sounds home. [22:15] What do i have a lot of really dear memories of a little friendly exchanges with people like that so much of it is is about that for me i think i look at the stuff i’ve bought, every time i look at it i remember the family conversation i had with someone about it. But i am yeah there a couple of memorable characters i met a woman with restore. Not far from here like oh no was of yourself as not too long ago and i was in the craft section of the store looking thru. Er and am i can for a foster family to do i still forgery and shoes she was like collecting beads and sequins and stuff like that is really friendly and chatty were talking and she told me about. Things things in life to make sure i can she make a lot of different kinds of things but this one thing in particular she likes to make it to work in a hospital and remember what you said. Her job was to work in a hospital and she likes to decorate the coffee in this hospital with her or objects that she makes which are in delish. [23:26] High heeled shoes like pumps of women shoes. To decorate with jams and what all kinds of stuff and i was like you know like okay but that’s doesn’t tell me the kind of thing that would particularly want to have my health but that’s cool and then she showed me a picture of it and it and it was. Beautiful sister like show me a couple pictures of them that she had meticulously covered in gemstones and ribbons and like maybe this statue out of like a functional, object and that was like it was really cool it was in that was a nice memory susan interesting person, that’s awesome yeah i want to look her up and one of that is i know is i know i didn’t, ask her name so if i am it loss of the mists of time but maybe maybe she has some pictures on line and she she will not be the only one, doing this craft but it was it was like really elaborate and beautiful e don so they they just look really cool. Town council member meeting this guy this older man who we had a long conversation with in another state that i really like that’s got. All these different rooms and one of the rooms is the book from paying their looking at the box and, we found a not hear something that my husband collects self published book that he finds secondhand. He doesn’t come across a lot of them like a wish on a particular topic or know they it i think it’s mold i would say that most often poetry cuz making po chi chapbooks is like a. [25:07] It’s sort of a time-honored. Thing to self publish is different this different now people self publish all kinds of stuff that you can do it more affordably with the digital like on demand printing collectors to but. We got the biggest kick out of these things and i like that because again of like the individuality of it you know. We’re looking to the spark that was booked someone had pups self published of photographs of her dogs, which is a hoot and it was really really trying to look through and we got to this conversation with this man was reminiscing about his mother, and is in the sixties. Dressing up there her little pet dogs in costumes and have a full session involving the book without a custom but it reminded him of his mother and it was a really charming. Conversation cuz was of our lp was somebody you i understood what we loved about. [26:06] This is a hobby i just going there and open your mind to. [26:11] This week we honest awareness of the ordinary people and their ideas and this and the stuff they. They do and have done over the last fifty years or whatever that was a memory yeah shit. I like that you than i see me don’t have guys the more info on yes yeah like these people are very are anonymous. Do you know who the one making high heeled shoes was they don’t know who this this man but his mother who loved that dog so much it’s. It’s like that mystery of these are just character see you sat next on a bench sorbet and a thrift store once after seeing thing to say. And yeah that’s. [27:00] That’s really interesting that because that’s part of the pleasure of the the objects to is the mystery of it like you know it has a story you can feel some of the story. When you look at it you don’t know you’ll never get the whole story you don’t know who it belongs to or what it meant to them or why it ended up. Being given away so it’s like you get is get is like little bits of information and you get to make your own story out of the. You are very opinionated about the difference between the yard sales rummage sales estate sales i sort of see you as this. Kinda sore objects from the past because your so experience with all these different environments tell me about the difference between those three things and what makes a good hunting ground. I love rummage sales because. It’s like a yard sale but it’s a whole lot of different people stuff and they are really inexpensive so a lot of times do you ever go to those oh yes there’s a church like right across the street from me that i left to their rummage sale. It’s. The best thing right especially go off into a bag sale so you just like fill your bag and they charge you a dollar five dollars a mineral some very. To me it’s touching on so many levels one of which is that i have a hard time imagining how it can be worth their trouble. [28:26] To organize these because they must make so little money but. [28:33] What is it like so much fun could you find these like arcane objects and stuff the people of clearly come out of the homes of like older people who have kept their clothing and stuff for a long time i thought so there’s. It’s written is starting stuff for next in almost nothing and feels like that. And then you don’t really like estate sales i don’t want to stay silver much that the thing i like about those is that you get to go inside the house. And that’s really interesting but the fact that sometimes you can sense that someone has died is a downer. Yeah if there’s always some comps or something complicated in the air and sometimes it is a. In most often assisting something has died not always i went to at one memorable one that was like being run by the by the family and it was really cheerful i guess they were just moving. I’m moving there may be moving all their parents until. [29:41] It’s like a retirement home or something i didn’t get the story but that was the sense i got because of a cheerful often it’s it’s. Setting complicated what the the thing that i actually don’t like about them is that they tend to be run by a company with so like a person who does the state sales comes into. The home of the persons fire them and they they they evaluate everything and make a price for it and then i run it and and, so it’s got a very different atmosphere, that’s it it’s like the presale the kettle as if it often feels kind crass to me and i don’t care for it i just don’t like it is like i do like being in the house though because it’s fascinating to get to go inside someone’s. How’s what are some other absolute favorite pieces that you found at yard sales or rummage sales or otherwise. [30:38] Oh gosh this there crushed so many things i treasure. One of the best things i ever found was a record. Cuz like i have a record player but i only got so that i can claim my dental records my moms can get rid of them after he died and. And or fifteen years ago nobody one of their old records any more so i’m just i just got them for really cheap and i found one, it was gladys knight record i don’t remember what was actually an oven which element was but i pulled it because. But the person who had who i bought it originally many years earlier like in the seventies had. Keep it is to solve this piece of paper inside talk inside with the record was i didn’t wanna make anyone of. Get out of there look at it while it played while i was standing there at this thing was a church sale seem to remember buying it from somebody who was not. The owner of it but still want to be like yanking apart a woman to look at this when i get home i thought on it when i opened it up i saw that someone had taped on the inside. A little piece of notebook paper that was there review with a personal review of the song pacific is one word reviews and they all said every song said either the word okay. The word great or the words out of sight out. [32:13] Which is the the best thing i’ve ever seen so i can’t record make up a piece of paper to and i still have those and will treasure them forever. Did you agree with that person’s assessment of the songs, i think so i don’t remember disagreeing too strongly but i also like don’t have really strong opinions about clothes like generally i like the whole record i remember liking all the songs. But will i don’t know maybe i should sit down and and play them into my own my own. Reviews say how to compare to give that record away so that someone can find your rent just take them side by side and we can just get like pass around can. Agreed to come to consensus on what the most out of state track on the whole record, play also love just that covers of records as like pieces of art to frame some of them. Me too and sometimes i don’t even do anything as formal as framing them but i’ll just. Display it you know i just put it on in the front of my. Stock of records standing up she can see it i found some great stuff over the years. And yeah like a lot and sometimes i get like you know i’m gonna record that i’ve heard is a classic and, i feel like it’s something i should investigate like it only emits level or something that i end up not being on the interested in but. [33:47] Other times yes is that it is an excuse to. [33:52] To try something new i’m just remembering is trying to look for this actually see if i can find a picture of it a really beautiful record i found a donna summer record i can which element is but it’s so. Awesome because it’s cut it like die cut or whatever that’s called so that. The front cover of it is in in the shape of the outline of her hair. [34:17] Can you open the record button and say look at that way it’s just it’s a great looking, if you have certain ways of displaying things to collect or five displays the are particularly proud of that kind of let you enjoy these things, it stops the soap so much of the stuff that i own that my husband and i both own is so, that would sound this way the rest is just throughout the house become sitting here at my desk right now and i am looking at a plate that i bought like a decorative, [34:48] plate so i bought a yard sale that is discovered and. Do that a no decorative do dads of birds and flowers and curly cues and things and then. On the inside of my very horny lettering it says never underestimate the power of a woman and i just love this thing so i have that i was having by my desk because it feels appropriate i should have it where i am. Working hard but i’m no i mean honestly is like. Almost every fifteen colon is secondhand so it’s just it’s that’s just what in the hell’s a. I got a huge amount of pleasure when it. On any given day like a trust and i looked down and i can say truthfully that every single thing i’m wearing a star something i bought second hand and not let me stocks or it’ll but. The top and the and the pants and the shoes and earrings and a jacket like i died pleases me so much. [35:54] So i don’t know that that’s what counts is displaying things i guess you have it really is looking around this room is a lot of. [36:58]We will be back next month with another collector.