January 27, 2006
Utne 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 'From the Stacks,' a new weekly feature on Utne.com. Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of the independent and alternative media.
We've just received issues #7 and #8 of Chimurenga, a pan-African journal subtitled 'Who no know go know,' published from offices in Cape Town, South Africa. Issue #7 includes a report by self-described guerrilla filmmaker Judy Kibinge (a Kenyan who says she was born 'a century ago in Nairobbery') describing the frenetic scene at the annual Sithengi film market. It's Africa's biggest such event, Kibinge says, and it's peopled by everyone from Nigerian lawyers sporting canes to 'White Men in Suits' looking 'anxious and needy.' Issue #8 focuses on Nigeria ('We're All Nigerian!') and contains 'When You Kill Us, We Rule! Some Last Words from Fela Anikulapo Kuti,' a conversation with the influential musician, recorded in Fela's living room in November 1996. -- Chris Dodge
'[C]heck out the number of women's bylines and books by women reviewed in any mainstream publication you can name: it's barely changed since 1983, when Women's Review was founded.' So says Amy Hoffman, editor in chief of the Women's Review of Books. Last fall, after more than twenty years as a woman-focused alternative to mainstream book reviews, Women's Review joined a tide of other small publications forced to suspend operations and lay off staff. Book-lovers and feminists alike will be excited to hear that it has become one of the few to resurrect itself. In its 'comeback issue' (Jan./Feb.), readers will find a top lineup of reviewers (including author Dorothy Allison and Bitch editorial and creative director Andi Zeisler), poetry by Maxine Kumin, a review of peace activist Kathy Kelly's Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison, and an interview with Moroccan novelist and feminist Doha Boraki. -- Beth Petsan
John Peterson, head farmer of the successful community-supported agriculture project Angelic Organics and subject of the documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John($$), has added a cookbook to his pro-produce repertoire: Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. Filled with amusing anecdotes and insights into the human condition, this is not your average cookbook, but it does have recipes for every vegetable from asparagus to zucchini. It's due out in May from Gibbs Smith. -- Bennett Gordon
Child's play takes a haunting turn in a few entries that surfaced this week. From The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Jan./Feb.), Mohammed Omer reports that Palestinian children have taken to playing 'Jews and Arabs' (a.k.a. 'Army versus Militants' or 'settlers and villagers') -- a role-playing game enacted with such realism that adults who overhear the game 'find it unbearable to listen,' Omer says. In another world, time, and genre, author Donna Tartt tells the story of a little girl recruited by a neighborhood boy to reenact his father's death in Vietnam as a daily ritual during a long, hot summer. The piece appears in the literary quarterly Tin House's Winter edition, which is dedicated to the art of the apology. -- Hannah Lobel
Unless you're a web design professional, you might not have heard of EContent magazine. But you don't have to be slaving away on Dreamweaver to find the Jan./Feb. cover story enlightening. Ron Miller writes about a too often ignored aspect of the net today -- accessibility for people with disabilities. While the article focuses on making websites friendly to screen-reader technology for the blind, people with other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, also are considered. It's an issue businesses are taking note of, Miller reports, as an opportunity to bring in more customers. A few companies are even making a name for themselves as web-accessibility consultants. -- Beth Petsan