From the Stacks: April 6, 2007

Utne Reader‘s library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500
magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively
dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box
bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights
(and occasional lowlights) of what’s landing in our library each
week in ‘From the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the latest

Make/shift, a new magazine published by
‘an editorial collective committed to antiracist, transnational,
and queer perspectives,’ acts as a telling snapshot of ‘feminisms’
at the present moment. In the first issue (Spring/Summer),
narratives and interviews explore the intersections of gender,
sexuality, ethnicity, and class with art, activism, and
relationships. An interview with a group of non-union hotel
workers, most of them immigrants, focuses on their fight for a
living wage and recent hunger strike. (The short Q&A is
presented in both English and Spanish.) Ample space is dedicated to
reviews of independent books, films, publications, and blogs, and I
hope make/shift‘s editors continue to make these a
priority. Many magazines opt for shorter reviews so that they can
include more titles, and it’s refreshing to read these more
in-depth discussions. — Danielle Maestretti

A&U, dubbed ‘America’s AIDS Magazine,’
began in 1991 as ‘a forum for the creative responses of those
living with HIV and AIDS, their peers, their caregiving circles,
their families and loved ones.’ Published by the nonprofit Arts
& Understanding, the glossy mag features stories about
healthcare, current events, and the arts through the lens of AIDS
awareness. Queen Latifah smiles widely on the cover of the February
issue, proud to play the role of AIDS activist Andrea Williams’
alter ego in an upcoming HBO movie. The singer and actress chats
with writer Dann Dulin about the myths surrounding AIDS and echoes
much of A&U‘s mission, saying: ‘If you didn’t do any
research, you wouldn’t know the truth.’ — Mary

Never at a loss for
Speechwriter’s Newsletter is an
invaluable publication for anyone preparing to hug the podium.
The monthly newsletter, put out by corporate communications
publisher Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc., has served as
‘the insider’s guide to writing and delivering effective
speeches’ for 25 years. The April issue opens with a recap of a
Speechwriters Conference cocktail party that spotlights the
lyrics to the song ‘Speechwriter Blues.’ Other items include an
excerpt of a school superintendent’s moving speech and a snippet
on the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science’s recent move
to hire speechwriters to make those rambling Oscar acceptances
more engaging for viewers. The final page closes with a joke —
about Jesus and a speechwriter — taking a bow with a smile.
— Mary O’Regan

A couple of profiles of
Stanford alums caught my eye in the March/April issue of
Stanford, a bimonthly from the
university’s alumni association. One looks at the work of Edward
Tufte, a guru of the information age. In his books and on the
lecture circuit, Tufte critiques the way information is designed
and presented, and he’s gained some renown for his staunch
criticism of PowerPoint’s pitfalls. Complementing the Tufte
piece is a profile of another information-age star, of sorts:
Dennis Hwang, the ‘Google doodler’ who reimagines the search
engine’s logo for holidays and famous birthdays. I’ll leave it
to Tufte to critique Hwang’s work. — Evelyn

Against the Current injects life into
lefty debates with a socialist bent and a sharp analytic eye.
Sponsored by the socialist group
Solidarity, the bimonthly tackles a gamut of
issues from the worker’s perspective. The latest issue
(March/April) focuses on ‘Women’s Global Struggles,’ featuring
topics as varied as the international sex-work scene to the women’s
movement in Oaxaca. Yakira Teitel recounts the historic
20,000-strong march of women that ended in a nonviolent takeover of
the government-run television station in the Mexican state. And in
the article ‘Feminism at Work,’ Lynne Williams reveals the path
that allowed her to integrate gender and sexual identities into
workplace activism. — Natalie Hudson

Terrain‘s Spring cover offers the
attention-grabbing headline: ‘Spilling the Beans: What you don’t
know WILL hurt you.’ Though the sensationalist teaser from this
Northern California-based environmental magazine may be an
unnecessary over-dramatization, the feature on soy will likely open
your eyes. Mary Vance writes that the acclaimed health food can
actually cause hormonal problems in women when consumed in large
quantities and lead to vitamin deficiencies in infants and children
when soy makes up too large a portion of their diets. While some
soybeans are genetically modified, clinical nutritionist and
The Whole Soy Story author Kaayla Daniel tells Vance that
organic soybeans aren’t entirely safe either as they ‘naturally
contain plant estrogens, toxins, and anti-nutrients.’ —
Natalie Hudson

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.