From the Stacks: June 22, 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

In a word,
Aranzi Machine Gun Vol. 1 is: cute. And
somehow along its bizarre course through the imagined lives of an
eclectic mix of characters — some animated, some stuffed, some
little more than pieces of felt — it endears the reader. The
recently published first volume of a three-volume book set includes
a disparate array of comic strips, craft tips, and a photo journal
of one puppet’s solitary, westward trek. Originally published in
Japanese by the design duo Aranzi Aronzo, this English language
version, published by Vertical, charts the quirky and often haltingly
minimal interactions and conversations of a handful of characters
the pair have crafted in previous publications. — Chris

After a two-year absence WAVE2.5 has reemerged small
and proud. Despite its slight stature, the now annual feminist zine
is surprisingly fulfilling with an assorted mix of art, analysis,
poetry, puzzles, statistics, stories, and even an emergency sewing
kit! The female-empowering social commentary of the sixth edition
(the zine’s name refers to the space between first and second wave
feminism) takes aim at both Barbie and Barbie bashers, President
Bush, and costly weddings. WAVE2.5‘s latest appearance is
a welcomed return, especially after reading in its pages that the
Utne Reader’s own Independent Press Awards nomination of
the zine in 2005 caused a ‘creative paralysis’ resulting in the
long hiatus. — Natalie Hudson

A perennial favorite of
the Utne staff is
Extra!, the magazine of the national
media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
Extra! is never shy to leave any media outlet pummeled in
the wake of its criticism, and the June issue delivers once again
by diving into the greasy topic of the mainstream media’s love
affair with Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. The
cover story argues that the lionization of Giuliani is more a
symptom of journalists’ personal stances on social and economic
issues than his handling of 9/11. The latest edition also covers
several prominent pundits’ ill-informed skepticism of climate
change, how the media portrays crises in Africa through the
guidance of celebrity activism, and an interview (originally run on
FAIR’s CounterSpin radio show) with Columbia University
government and anthropology professor Mahmood Mamdani, who points a
finger at the misrepresentations of the Darfur genocide in the
American media and what can be done about it. — Eric

‘Written by activists for
activists,’ Left Turn rallies the troops of
anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist groups to unite for
change. The quarterly magazine is gearing up for the first US
Social Forum to be held June 27-July 1 in Atlanta. The July/August
issue exudes an eager optimism, barely kept in check by the
realities of creating a social forum free from the domineering
influence of political parties and global NGOs, which have
overshadowed smaller groups at World Social Forum. Left
goes beyond such internecine sparring, though, to
spotlight the intergenerational and multicultural inclusiveness of
activists’ efforts. — Natalie Hudson

Boston’s Whats Up is a refreshingly youthful,
energetic street paper aimed at ‘bringing arts & awareness to
the streets.’ (The paper’s low-income vendors purchase copies for a
quarter a piece, sell them for a dollar on the street, and keep the
change.) The June/July issue keeps its fringe feel alive with a
first ever ‘Alternative Issue.’ Highlights include an article
positing lab-grown meat as an answer to polluting and
methane-belching factory farms and a piece that looks at street
theater as an innovative, creative way to stage protests and
capture people’s attention. The issue also sports features about
conscientious cooking and alternative methods of self-defense,
along with a profile of comic illustrator and publisher Andy Fish.
Eric Kelsey

After 13 years
Satya, a magazine focused on connecting
animal rights to other social issues, is closing its doors with its
June/July issue. In a letter posted on the Satya
website, publisher Beth Gould explains her decision to move on from
her cherished but challenging project. Consulting editor Rachel
Cernansky echoes the disappointment of many contributors and
longtime readers, Satya having been a haven for her
values. But it’s not all wistful goodbyes. The issue contains
plenty of interviews with ambitious activists — vegan grocery
owners, a farm animal shelter’s director, and a Kenyan woman
leading an all-female village — providing the kind of hope that
Satya always aimed to inspire. — Julie Dolan

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