Friday, June 29, 2001

Magazine Me
Yesterday was good day at the newsstand. Quite the quality haul. If you haven't already checked out these magazines, you might want to do so. And if you regularly read these, right on! These are a few of my favorite magazines.

Bark: With a tagline of "Dog is my co-pilot," you can't go wrong with this magazine "about life with dogs." Published in Berkeley, this is one of the best new magazines I've seen for awhile.

Eat: A bilingual magazine from Tokyo, Eat is a well-designed food magazine that's not just about food. The fourth issue -- "Body" -- focuses on "what food does to you." A wonderful discovery!

Tokion: Another favorite from Japan. Tokion's take on "unisex/uniage/universal widescreen culture" is always personal, humorous, and edgy. This issue concentrates on houses -- where people live and why.

Colors: Benetton's consistently fascinating multilingual mag blends Johnny-on-the-spot reportage with brilliant photography to capture the essence and experience of Choi Hung, a 43,000-resident estate in Hong Kong that's slated for demolition. Like Kowloon, this lost city should be remembered.

Mixed Drinks and Mingling

Spent much of last night bopping between two networking events -- the third Media Bistro party in Boston (held at Pravda 116 on the edge of the Common), and a free cocktail event held in honor of Martini & Rossi's 100th anniversary. The Media Bistro event attracted quite a crowd, swelling from 25 when it started to about 75, I'd guess. Met several folks recently laid off from Access Magazine and Aquent's old free agency magazine, 1099. Spotted some folks from Inc. and The Atlantic in the crowd, as well. The Martini & Rossi event was depressing. Free Manhattans, sure, but little else. So I headed back to the Bistro.

Thursday, June 28, 2001

Old Zines and Fanfriction

I've been involved in fanzines, minicomics, and independent music and other media since 1988. But I've never been able to comprehend the allure of media tie-in fandom. I can somewhat understand Trekkies because there's such a body of work and lore behind the multiple television series. But I recently acquired an item on Ebay that is on the outside of what I understand and appreciate in terms of DIY media, fandom, and other interests. What is it? It's a "Simon & Simon" fanfiction fanzine -- a fanzine that contains stories written by fans of -- and drawing on the plotlines of -- "Simon & Simon."

Double Play was published in the mid-'90s by Australia-based Clarke & Keating Ink, which also produced fanfiction zines about "Star Trek," "Blake's 7," and "Battlestar Galactica." I've tracked down one of the writers who contributed to the zine, and I hope to offer more information on this intriguing media artifact soon. If you have any leads, smuggle me the essentials.

Beantown Bombshell

Ever wonder what you're neighborhood or city would look like if it got knocked by a 1-megaton fission bomb? Now you can find out. Thanks to the brainiacs at PBS, Joe and Jane Average can gauge the local impact of pressure damage and fallout using the Blast Mapper. Having just seen Damnation Alley this weekend, I was keen on seeing what would happen to the neighborhood I grew up in, my current apartment, and my office building. It wasn't pretty.

Somerville Superstars

Since 1999, I've sung in a punk-rock band called the Anchormen. The band is part of an arts collective called Handstand Command. And we're featured in this week's edition of the Somerville Journal! The Somerville Journal is published by the Community Newspaper Co., which is now owned by Herald Media Inc., publisher of the Boston Herald. CNC used to be owned by FMR Corp., parent of Fidelity Investments. I think this is as close as the Anchormen will ever get to corporate sponsorship.

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

From Pylon to the Prospect

Ate lunch at Artu today with Robin Hutson, the new publisher of the American Prospect. She moved to Boston from New York City after working at Lingua Franca, and even though she's only been here three months, she already has a lot of ideas on how to refresh the Prospect's look and feel, how to better engage new readers, and how the Prospect might be able to connect a community of like-minded political thinkers and activists around the country. Better yet, Robin's got a zine background. Growing up in Tennessee, she edited a straight-edge punk and hardcore fanzine called Pylon. Unfortunately, even Robin has no back issues available. For shame!

Kid-Lit Addiction

I'm addicted. Not to cigarettes. Not to love. But to the books of Lemony Snicket. For the last week, Snicket's fiction series "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is all I've been reading. On the train. Eating dinner at Charlie's Kitchen. At home. Late at night as the rain hits the windowpane. Last night I read two books in the series. This morning I started the sixth of seven. And you know what? I think this addiction is most fortunate. Most fortunate, indeed. I haven't devoured children's books like this since I was a kid, and I think the Baudelaire siblings kick the pants off Harry Potter. Snicket's sense of humor, respect for kids' smarts, Gorey-esque darkness, and pacing is impressive and inspiring.