From the Stacks: February 3, 2006

By Staff and Utne.Com

<p>Utne <em>receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire lively daily chatter, but can’t all fit into our bimonthly magazine. So we’ve decided to share the gems here: Welcome to the second edition of “From the Stacks,” a new weekly feature on Utne.com. Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of the independent and alternative media.</em>
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<p>A new issue of <em>The Dandelion</em> arrived in our mail lately, a bright spot of wildness that I latched onto immediately. The little anarchist journal appears infrequently, like many special things, edited and printed by Mike Coughlin in off-the-beaten-path Cornucopia, Wisconsin. This edition, the first published in more than five years (v.6 #23), focuses on the life of Henry David Thoreau admirer Valerio Isca, a Sicilian-American anarchist machinist who lived and worked in New York City till his death in 1996. (Isca is one of many who tell their story in Paul Avrich’s oral history of American anarchism, <em>Anarchist Voices</em>). Coughlin also sent along a children’s picture book he’s just published, <em>Lucius and His Collection of Unusual Things</em>, written by his wife Kathy and illustrated by Robert Holton. For information about Coughlin’s other publications (ask him about his Amateur Press Association pamphlets): <a href=”http://www.superiorletterpress.com/”>http://www.superiorletterpress.com/</a> — <em>Chris Dodge</em>
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<p>Issue #10 of <a href=”http://www.thepolishingstone.com/”>
<em>The Polishing Stone</em>
</a> just came in, delivering “encouragement and practical ideas for enhancing our lives.” Eclectic offerings, loosely united under the theme “Transition,” include information-packed articles on hybrid vehicles and water conservation, balanced by personal essays about improving apologies and befriending irrational fears. Best of all: The quirky, ad-free publication out of Washington state features a recipe for a “pre-dinner garlic cocktail.” Yep. That’s just what it sounds like. — <em>Julie Hanus</em>
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<p>The Winter 2006 edition of <a href=”http://www.calpeacepower.org/”>
<em>PeacePower</em>
</a> was hand-delivered to the Utne library this week by an attendee of the recent Independent Press Association conference. It’s the second issue of a magazine produced by students at the University of California who describe their publication as “Berkeley’s journal of principled nonviolence and conflict transformation.” This issue features articles focusing on “constructive alternatives to war,” including an essay examining whether Mohandas Gandhi was an anarchist, a transcript of a Berkeley talk by peace activist Cindy Sheehan, and reports on “principled nonviolence” at the grass roots in the Philippines, Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East. — Chris Dodge</p>
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<p>Recently added to the <em>Utne</em> library, <em>The Culture Struggle</em> by <a href=”http://www.michaelparenti.org/”>Michael Parenti</a> oscillates between deeply theoretical meditations on culture and cut-to-the chase diatribes against the political discourse of marriage. Along the way it serves as a primer for those who have heard such terms as “cultural relativism” and “dominant paradigm” but don’t know exactly what they mean. Although less focused than his other books (such as <em>Superpatriotism</em> or <em>To Kill A Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia</em>), <em>The Culture Struggle</em> reads like the perfect meal eats. The volume cleanses your palate with its machinations on objectivity and individualism while filling you up with indignation over institutionalized racism and rape. From <a href=”http://www.sevenstories.com/Book/?GCOI=58322100084120″>Seven Stories Press</a> (January 2006). — <em>Nick Rose</em>
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<a href=”http://www.papress.com/”>Princeton Architectural Press</a> has done it again. The publisher of books about Chinese medicine labels, kaleidoscopic domes, quonset huts, lost pet posters, Mexican street art, and other overlooked categories of human design, has sent us two new books lately, <em>Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing The American Photo Album</em> and the mysteriously titled <em>LaPorte, Indiana</em>. The latter is a collection of black-and-white portrait photos culled by <a href=”http://www.foundmagazine.com/”>
<em>Found</em> magazine</a> co-creator Jason Bitner from a cache of 18,000 he discovered one day in a café in LaPorte. Dating from the 50s and 60s, the photos are at once a field guide to the Midwestern human phenotype, portrait of a city in a certain era, and mid-twentieth century history of fashion and portrait photography style. <em>LaPorte</em> opens the door to a past that’s not so distant, but that seems somehow only a dream. (Bitner himself sent us issues #1 and #2 of his <a href=”http://www.dirtyfound.com/”>
<em>Dirty Found</em>
</a>, a magazine devoted to street finds of sexy Polaroids, mash notes, erotic drawings, and other items guaranteed to provoke rolled eyes, “Ew!” comments, and wondering about human nature.) — <em>Chris Dodge</em>
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<p>I was immediately struck by <a href=”http://www.work-magazine.com/”>
<em>Work</em> magazine</a> when it came in (and not just because there is a picture of my ex-girlfriend’s New York City apartment building on the back cover). The quarterly is about … well… work, but broadly defined. Issue #2 profiles Californian porn workers, Argentinean trash recyclers, and a modern-day cowboy. The idea is to “improve the way that people consume, practice their trades, and live their lives through innovative approaches to work.” — <em>Bennett Gordon</em>
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<p>Happy birthday to <a href=”http://www.bitchmagazine.com/”>
<em>Bitch</em>
</a>. The “feminist response to pop culture” turned 10 this year and is celebrating with a hot-pink anniversary issue filled with the usual savvy fare. A few highlights among many: In “Black Girl, Interrupted,” writer Angelina takes a look at mental illness in the black community — “the paisley elephant in the corner that clashes with the floral couch cushions” — and Hollywood’s corresponding void of narratives on the issue. Flip forward and you’ll find “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid To Ask,” a meaty 10-page primer penned by Senior Editor Rachel Fudge. It’s refreshing to know that a magazine that’s been covering feminism for a decade still sees merit in tackling its subject from the bottom up. Here’s to more of the same in the next ten years. — <em>Hannah Lobel</em>
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<p>And now an entry not on what’s coming in to our library, but what won’t be soon. <a href=”http://www.legalaffairs.org/index_new.msp”>
<em>Legal Affairs</em>
</a> — a <a href=”/pub/2005_132/promo/11837-1.html”>2005 Utne Independent Press Award nominee</a> for best political coverage — has announced that after its March/April issue is delivered this month, it will cease to be a print publication. A thought-leader for legal and non-legal types alike, the magazine has been working for five years at “creating an ideological DMZ where conservatives seem to feel safe reading liberal ideas and vice versa.” <em>Legal Affairs</em> plans to maintain its website, but recently began laying off staff in New Haven, Connecticut. But all may not be lost: <a href=”http://legalaffairs.org/lcmarapr.msp”>Editor Lincoln Caplan is making a plea</a> for an eleventh-hour hero who can solve their funding crisis. Any takers? — <em>Nick Rose</em>
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