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Profile: Jeff Grindley, Curator of the Las Vegas Zine Library
Story by Jasmine Fouts
• Grindley started the Las Vegas Zine Library with 40 zines — his personal collection. Located at The Beat Coffeehouse, around 700 zines are on the shelves now, with an additional 1,500 in the process of being catalogued. “It grows on its own,” says the library’s curator. “I told myself once I got over 500 that I’d figure out some kind of check-out system, but, it’s still working like this.”
• Zines, short for fanzines, originated in the science fiction community. Ray Bradbury’s first published piece, Hollerbochen’s Dilemma, appeared in the sci-fi zine Imagination! in 1938. Riot grrls, gutter punks, anarchists, and countless other subcultures use these handmade, self-published magazines to share art, promote ideas, and educate one another.
• Grindley credits his girlfriend, Stevie, as the reason the zine library exists. He had the big idea, and she supported him through the details. The two are working on a zine together, which will be added to the library once it is completed. Grindley’s other zines are up on the shelves, including his 24-hour zine project (24hourzines.com) entitled Sticky Fingers, Heavy Lids.
• “Growing up, my dad always had computers around, and he would show me the art programs, and then I’d get into it and I’d come up with a cover for a magazine, and then that would be as far as I’d ever get. When I came across zines, it was just like, oh yeah. So I could just photocopy something ... duh. It just opened up a door.”
• On any given Monday night, you will find Grindley co-hosting weekly open mic event The Human Experience. He might ask you to perform an interpretive dance, but don’t worry; that’s just his tried and true icebreaker. “As much as I’m hosting, and doing all this stuff, really I’m a shy person. I gotta make sure that when someone new walks in, they’re not feeling like ‘Uh ... run away,’ ’cause that’s my first instinct when I walk into a room and I don’t know anybody.”
• A Zine Library satellite location was recently added at Hillary Salon, and both sites work much like a resource library: Readers are free to take any zine from the shelves, and they are trusted to return it before they leave.
• “Zines are powerful. They can lead to really positive things. Not only can you make something, but it’s worth something just because you made it. It’s a self-affirmation.”
• “It can be a launching point for people. There’s nothing wrong with being published professionally or writing professionally, but it’s kinda like fashion or beauty; there are standards that a lot of people live by, but they’re not the only standards. They’re not the final, defining thing.”
• “The zine library belongs to Las Vegas, and it’s a resource for Las Vegas. I have this high ideal of how I think it should operate. I place it against the background that zines come from, a punk-rock kind of ethos, free sharing for everybody. You know, put your trust in other people, and know that they’re not always gonna do the right thing, but hope that they do it right enough.”
• Submissions to the Las Vegas Zine Library can be dropped off at The Beat Coffeehouse, or — in true, old-school zine style — sent to Las Vegas Zine Library, c/o Jeff Grindley, Po Box 72071, Las Vegas NV, 89170.
• “I have ten fingers, but I’ve got twenty pieces of pie I want to put them in. I want to see my community grow.”
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.