From the Stacks: December 8, 2006

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

The literary magazine
Pindeldyboz offers, thankfully, an
explanation of its name: it is a ‘feeling of confusion and/or
anxiety, when ingeniously anesthetized by obese amounts of levity.’
After reading the sixth issue, I must admit that it’s a strangely
fitting title. The stories’ quirks and dark humor keep them from
venturing into the pedestrian territory of many other literary
magazines. Amy Havel’s ‘The News,’ which could easily have been a
trite story about an affair,?veers happily off-course by revealing
that its protagonist eats clothing — his lover’s and her
husband’s. Another gem, Greg Sanders’ ‘Choco,’ chronicles the
relationship between a woman and her live-in bear.
Pindeldyboz is funky enough to read cover-to-cover. —
Danielle Maestretti

Juxtapoz is one of those rare art
publications that is smart, but not snooty; powerful, but not
pedantic; hip, but not obnoxious. True, it is sometimes overwhelmed
by its advertising (at times, it can be hard to tell content from
commercial). That said, the ads are cool-as-hell, and so is the
content. An arts and culture monthly out of San Francisco,
Juxtapoz features young, edgy, under-exposed artists who
have a penchant for the political, gritty, and guerilla. Whether
the genre is ‘psychedelic Southern gothic’ or ‘social surrealism,’
the art in this publication is fresh, exciting, and communicative.
— Elizabeth Oliver

In the post-9/11
scramble to prepare Americans for disaster, the Department of
Homeland Security launched, a website that turned out to be
laden with questionable and confusing advice. (A disclaimer on the
site even warned the information may not be ‘accurate, complete, or
current.’) So a young college student working with the Federation
of American Scientists took it upon herself to make things right,
creating to fill in the government’s
gaps (especially the gaping hole of advice for people with
disabilities). The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
profiles the effort — deemed ‘counterproductive’ by the government
— in its November/December issue. The Bulletin, tagged as
a publication of ‘Security, Science & Survival,’has been
nominated for two
Independent Press Awards
in 2006. — Rachel

The 35th issue of
What Is
(Jan.-March 2007) centers heavily on
evolution. Founder and editor in chief Andrew Cohen kicks off the
edition by reminiscing about how the magazine has evolved from a
20-page newsletter to a quarterly magazine since its inception in
1992. What Is Enlightenment? addresses the theories of
evolution from a spiritual standpoint, offering a timeline from
early theorists such as B?hme and Kant, to the modern thinkers
still writing the history of evolutionary spirituality. In ‘The
Real Evolution Debate,’ the publication rejects the mainstream
approach of ‘Darwin vs. God’ and finds not just a third point of
view, but a dozen different schools of thought on how life began..
— Rachel Anderson

A photo of a cluster of small
boats forming an enormous starburst installed to hover over Lincoln
Center in New York City was enough to get me to share the contents
of Public Art Review‘s Fall/Winter issue with
everyone in my general vicinity. Equally fascinating is the photo
of a combat tank covered in pink yarn as a protest of Danish
involvement in the Iraq war. Though the magazine drew me in with
the pictures, the latest issue is dedicated to ‘Suggested Reading,’
articles recommended by poets, novelists, and critics. Pieces like
‘Whose art is it?’ — excerpted from a 1992 New Yorker
article — provide important insight into public art, political
correctness, and artists’ perpetual, and thankfully often
successful, struggle for survival throughout the last few decades.
— Jenna Fisher

A new addition to our library is The Gate, the
quarterly publication of
Admission Possible, a Minnesota-based nonprofit
that aims to make college admission a reality for low-income
students. Now in its seventh year, the program is remarkably
successful; 98 percent of participants get into college. With help
from AmeriCorps members, participants receive testing guidance,
application assistance, college preparatory classes, and
scholarships. The Fall issue of the group’s newsletter features
photos of participants and their feedback on recent volunteer
experiences (students volunteer a minimum of eight hours annually
in return for Admission Possible’s services). Also included are a
brief history of the organization and a list of supporters.
Elizabeth Ryan

a card? it’s a zine?it’s Motto! This postcard zine flies in the
face of convention and defies anyone who thinks a zine needs to be
more than a side of one small page. In doing so, it captures the
renegade spirit of the genre better than many of its relatively
traditional competitors. Motto brings to mind the days of
subversive and playful mail art and will likely lift the corners of
your lips. — Suzanne Lindgren

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