From the Stacks: July 28, 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 they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

Good Medicine, created by the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine, focuses less on pharmaceuticals
than diet and nutrition. Flipping through, one gets the message
that food can be the difference between long-term illness and
health. The Summer issue appears to have a pro-animal theme to it,
with a piece about vegan athletes speaking to Congress and another
imploring readers to help end animal testing. In the cover story on
the cancer risks of eating grilled chicken, ?Playing With Fire,?
author Jennifer Reilly rules out grilled, fried, and undercooked
chicken, leaving the reader with a few healthy grilling recipes,
including veggie burgers and ‘barbecue vegetable brochettes.’ —
Suzanne Lindgren

Those interested in the
‘Korean American experience’ might pick up
KoreAm Journal, a glossy that seems able
to transcend age and gender by covering topics that reflect an
audience with diverse interests. From blind dates and new movies to
updates on the continuing tensions between North and South Korea,
the magazine runs the gamut of concerns. In a poignant feature
excerpted from Brenda Paik Sunoo’s
Seaweed and Shamans: Inheriting the Gifts of
Grief
, the author tells of the death of her artistic
teenage son, Tommy. Sunoo discusses the unexpected benefits she
encountered as she healed, such as the honor of one of her son’s
friends having a drawing of Tommy’s tattooed on his torso. —
Suzanne Lindgren

My favorite thing to do when
visiting a new city is to pick up the local alternative weekly. Not
only does it tell me which bands are in town and what restaurants
to hit, it also helps shed light on the locals and the issues
they’re probably talking about. We get stacks of weeklies from all
over the country at Utne, so I didn’t need to venture to
Detroit to enjoy Metro Times. The alt-weekly’s July 12th
cover story, sprawled in black and white with Technicolor splashes
in the headline, is ‘Color Commentary,’ a look at the melding of
race and music in the Motor City. The featured dialogue between two
musicians, Panamanian-born Mary Ramirez, guitarist for the
rock/soul Detroit Cobras, and Amp Fiddler, an African-American funk
musician, uncovers differing opinions on how and if the music scene
should be racially integrated. — Rachel Anderson

For design lovers, the September edition of
Dwell
is nothing short of inspiring. This month’s Sustainability Issue
spotlights rooftop gardens, bamboo floors, and straw bale walls
among other earth-friendly innovations. It’s not all treehugging
either; the package also includes a piece on Architecture for
Humanity, a nonprofit that recruits designers to shelter some of
the world’s most despairing people, and a light-hearted pictorial
on communing with nature in modern-day tree houses. Dwell presents
itself as forward-thinking, in design and in sustainability: In her
note, editor-in-chief Allison Arieff announced her prediction that
the label ‘green architect’ will soon become a redundant term. —
Rachel Anderson

BITCHFest (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,
August) is vacuum-packed with 10 years of feminist, queer-happy,
body-positive, and media bashing essays. The articles, culled
from Bitch magazine by founders/editors Lisa Jervis and
Andi Zeisler, vary wildly in topic (fat suits as the new
blackface, Martha Stewart’s single status, gender politics in
slash fiction, the effect of ‘girl power’ on feminism, and MTV’s
now defunct Loveline), but the bottom line is clear: Pop culture
will always influence how we view ourselves and the world around
us — unless we take a stand, criticize freely, and, sometimes,
just bitch. — Kristen Mueller

What do a man in a chicken suit, neon signs illuminating Times
Square, a steel-desk-crushing machine, and trippy ’60s concert
posters have common? All are featured in July’s
Creative Review, an oversized magazine
showcasing ‘the best in visual communication,’ be it found in
cyberspace, in advertisements, or pasted across a rock venue’s
wall. The monthly publication is more than just a pretty
package, as demonstrated in ‘Protecting Brand Mandela,’ an
article exposing the South African political icon’s attempt to
free himself from, well, himself. Nelson Mandela’s face is
regularly found printed on signs, his body cast in bronze, and
his name splashed on everything from an art gallery to a town
square. — Kristen Mueller

Seeking to carry the
discussion forum beyond the classroom, three professors from the
University of Liverpool created
The Reader, a literary journal dedicated
to ‘bringing books to life.’ Published by a nonprofit group bearing
the same name, this issue (#22) offers new poetry, essays on
Tolstoy, several reviews of contemporary and older literature, and
a recommendations section featuring seven authors whose works soon
will be making their way into my reading pile. (Reader‘s
readers can submit their own recommendations to the editors.)
Several of the essays are topped-off with smatterings of quotes
from Dostoevsky and Donne. This journal is like a perfect hybrid of
your favorite class in college and a really productive book club
filled with people who love to read. — Miriam
Skurnick

Artists live in their studios. Writer Adam Ward lived in a
truck. Thor and Liv Heyerdahl live on a remote island. The Desert
Parents and Thomas Merton live within the same pages as Bif Naked
and the Rev. Creflo A. Dollar Jr. Welcome to the second issue of
Geez, the Canadian quarterly taglined,
‘Holy mischief in an age of fast faith,’ with creators who mean
much more than mischief. Issue two explores materialism — money,
stuff, space, the ways we use them and they use us, and how they
affect our spirits. The sarcastic humor is a springboard to serious
explorations of religion, society, and the painful, rewarding,
baffling search for something more. — Rachel Jenkins

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