The Magazine Rack: New Reviews, August 2011

By Steve Black, Coll. of Saint Rose, Albany, NY Aug 4, 2011

Reviews of five new periodicals: a sports magazine, two literary journals, a news site, and one scholarly journal.

mag1108sugarhouse(Original Import) mag1108redbulletin(Original Import) mag1108debacle(Original Import) mag1108interiors(Original Import)

Red Bulletin. 2011. m. $29.95. Aud: GA (Subject: Sports. Issue examined: Jun. 2011)
Red Bulletin is a glossy popular magazine from the Red Bull Media House. It was first launched in 2007 in the company’s home country of Austria. This new “almost independent monthly magazine” is an English-language title with a focus on North America. One might be tempted to dismiss Red Bulletin as nothing more than an infomercial for the Red Bull brand, but it is considerably more than that. Yes, the soccer teams, race cars, and extreme sports sponsored by Red Bull get lots of exposure, but there are also substantive articles. The examined issue profiles San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum and motocross racer Ashley Fiolek and includes feature articles on old-fashioned long wooden surfboards and the physics of breaking concrete blocks with your bare hands. A variety of short lifestyle pieces on music, food, travel, and art round out the magazine. The combination of athlete profiles and stories about offbeat and extreme sports makes for an entertaining read; a good choice for libraries wishing to expand offerings for Red Bull’s target demographic of young men.

Sugar House Review. 2009. s-a. $12 print; $2 online. ISSN 1948-9374; eISSN 1948-9382. Aud: GA, Ac (Subject: Poetry. Issue examined: Vol.3, Spring/Summer 2011)
The editors of Sugar House Review take to heart the proverb that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. This classy little poetry magazine published in Salt Lake City is not affiliated with a university or writing program. The editorial team of Nathaniel Taggart, John Kippen, Jerry VanIeperen, Natalie Young, and Michael McLane exhibit excellent taste. The poetry is accessible and enjoyable, none of that experimental stuff meant to challenge or shock. But the poems do stimulate one to think and reflect upon the human experience. Taggart explains that Sugar House Review features a few local poets but that they aren’t trying to give it a regional flavor. In addition to the few dozen poems, there are a handful of reviews of recently published poetry collections. The perfect-bound examined issue is printed on heavy gloss white paper and uses an effectively bold black-and-white graphic design. All in all, a very fine poetry magazine that would make an excellent addition to any collection of contemporary American poetry.

Debacle. 2011. q. $35. Aud: GA (Subject: Art, American-21st Century. Issue examined: No. 1)
The masthead of this Los Angeles-based magazine of art, poetry, and short fiction reads: “So, what is this? Well, it’s an art book…the kind you make up as you go!” Editor in chief Ryan Snow describes in his opening letter how the idea for the magazine (and the inspiration to call it Debacle) was hatched among friends doing shots of tequila. Well, at least they are up-front about where they’re coming from and don’t display the pretentiousness that’s too common among new literary magazines. The title goes well with the magazine’s fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants flavor. The examined issue ostensibly has the theme “Isolation,” but how that theme applies to the eclectic mix of writing and images escaped me. Debacle also lacks little details like an issue date or ISSN. This is another case of artistic folks thinking it’ll be fun to launch a magazine based on big dreams, little experience, and a sketchy business plan. No harm in all that, for sure. But given the breadth of choice when it comes to literary and artistic periodicals, libraries might want to pass on this one.

Atlantic Wire (online). 2009. updated daily. free online. Aud: GA (Subject: Current events. Issue examined: Jul. 19, 2011)
While there are plenty of websites for current events, the Atlantic Wire has some particular strengths. The site is clean and easy to navigate, there are only a few unobtrusive advertisements, and it has strong editorial guidance. The editors state their goal: “By synthesizing, analyzing and summarizing what’s out there, and adding new information when we can, we are a news engine that gives you a quick and valuable account of the issues of the day.” While some commentaries by pundits are reprinted from other sources, most articles are written by Atlantic staffers. The “About” section states that their writers track stories not only on the web but also on television and the radio and in magazines. Content is organized into six categories: Politics, Business, Entertainment, Technology, National, and Global. There’s also an Open Wire section that allows readers to send ideas to editors about developing stories. The tone of this discussion is fairly serious, so Open Wire is an interesting way to learn about stories not yet covered by the mainstream press. Since a healthy press requires multiple players and responsible editorial guidance, Atlantic Wire is a welcome contributor to responsible journalism.

Interiors: Design, Architecture and Culture. 2010. 3/yr. $380 print + online; $323 online only. ISSN 2041-9112; eISSN 2041-9120. Aud: Ac (Subject: Interior Design. Issue examined: Nos.1-2, Jul. 2010)
Interiors is the 17th journal from British publisher Berg, a house that focuses on culture and the visual arts. Libraries that have other Berg journals will likely also be interested in this newly launched journal of architecture and design. The scope encompasses architecture, art, and design history, and the current practice of design and architecture as applied to interior spaces. The journal has a special emphasis on how these activities affect and are affected by culture. Articles in the examined issue include “The Modern Interior: A Space, a Place or a Matter of Taste?,” “Home on the Avocado-Green Range: Notes on Suburban Decor in the 1950s,” and “On the Unhomely Home: Porous and Permeable Interiors from Kierkegaard to Adorno.” The dense writing style and references to diverse sources are what one would expect from a contemporary scholarly humanities journal. Definitely for an academic audience, Interiors is an appropriate addition to collections of architecture and interior design.

I would like to thank MediaFinder®, the online version of The Standard Periodical Directory, for providing me a quarterly list of newly launched magazines.

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