Monday, December 28, 2009

Printed Matter

Sigh. Back from vacation, and slow to take up the heavy reigns of blogging. Quel trevail!

It doesn't help matters that I felt blessed to be away from the internets for a few weeks, and got reacquainted with the world of lengthy literature for the first time since the birth of baby Nico.

Waiting on my doorstep when I returned, helping to ease the transition, were two fantastic printed journals that brilliantly and deliberately illustrate the vast distances between browsing internet posts and reading large and thoughtful printed articles.

McSweeney's issue #33 has been praised far and wide, but it bears repeating here. The current issue of the quarterly magazine is a huge and gorgeous riff on a daily newspaper. The large format "San Francisco Panorama" has extensive news, sports, arts and books sections, plus 16 pages of full-color comics from the likes of Chris Ware, Dan Clowes and Art Spiegelman. McSweeney's commissioned new journalism from William Vollman and Andrew Sean Greer, sports writing from Stephen King, new fiction from George Saunders and Roddy Doyle, dispatches from Afghanistan, and much more besides. It was available on the streets of San Francisco for a single day, and is now available in bookstores and online. Buy it. Read it. Hold on to it.

Less lavishly praised, but equally ambitious, is the latest issue of Coilhouse. Coilhouse was conceived as a daily "love letter to alternative culture" which quickly spun off a glossy print edition to cover the stories which couldn't be fully explored in the blog format. Issue #4 of the magazine, lovingly produced and published by photographer Nadya Lev, artist Zoetica Ebb, and musician Meredith Yayano, features a photo essay on "The Tarnished Beauties of Blackwell, Oklahoma," dozens of portraits of long-grown, long-dead children of pioneer America; a lengthy interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky, the filmmaker behind The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre; and paper dolls from cartoonist Dame Darcy. Available only through the Coilhouse website, right here.

Both of these documents are pointed and beautiful demonstrations of all the great things that printed periodicals can do
and the internet simply can't. Well worth your money and time.

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