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 edition.
In her funny one-shot zine Nuns I've Known, Prunella Vulgaris presents a series of vignettes recalling the habit-clad instructors who shaped her Catholic-school upbringing. Nuns I've Known is very short -- 12 pages on 5.5' x 5.5' paper -- but each nun gets her own lengthy paragraph or two. Sister Clement, the school's 'Disciplinarian,' had an unusual penchant for spike heels (as opposed to the 'nurse-type shoes' universally preferred by the others). This oddity, Vulgaris writes, 'belongs in a smutty novel, or as a character I portray in a one-woman spoken-word anger-comedy show.' Many of these often grouchy nuns fit my public-school-cultivated stereotypes: Sister Susie was a 'crackpot,' Sister Mary was 'honestly evil,' and Sister Germaine 'should never have been allowed to work with kids.' Maybe my high school wasn't so bad after all. -- Danielle Maestretti
The July issue of Sight & Sound, the monthly magazine of the British Film Institute, features a special report on this year's Cannes Film Festival in which writer Nick James offers a blow-by-blow list of the film mecca's highlights and lowlights. A photo of directors Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo and Barton Fink) adorns the issue's cover, teasing a review of the brothers' upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men. Bertrand Moullier's essay recounts how the late Motion Pictures Association of America chairman Jack Valenti was never the American imperialist scrooge that European cinema thought him to be. And Variety's Mideast correspondent Ali Jaafar interviews German filmmaker Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas; Wings of Desire), who laments the death of the American dream. Sight & Sound serves up a healthy blend of industry and art, finding nothing too Hollywood nor too art-house for its own taste. -- Eric Kelsey
At their best, cocktails are the warm or refreshing companions to an elegant meal. Sometimes, though, by force of sheer sophistication, they can become the centerpiece of an evening. The trouble is finding the right drink. Fortunately, Imbibe, a magazine of 'liquid culture,' has done the work for us. The bimonthly educates readers on the subtleties of rare liqueurs and the polished art of mixology. Imbibe encompasses more than just cocktails; articles in the July/August issue look at such disparate beverages as gourmet seltzer, Peruvian coffee, and the perfect beer for a summer barbeque. Each issue also includes a handful of cocktail ideas and recipes. -- Chris Gehrke
When the Gay & Lesbian Review called for papers on 'psychological issues for GLBT people,' many of the submissions dealt with the phenomenon of 'ex-gay' therapy. So the theme for the July/August became 'Weird Psychology.' Peter Gajdics writes about the psychiatrist who abused and overmedicated him in 'Surviving a Therapeutic Cult.' Also in the issue, gay pastor Stephen Parelli talks about his experience with years of failed therapy and self-help groups in 'Why Ex-Gay Therapy Doesn't Work.' Their stories illustrate the deeply disturbing nature of groups that still buy into a truly weird psychology that posits homosexuality as a treatable mental illness. -- Julie Dolan
Battles over women's reproductive rights are continually being won and lost, and Conscience tries to cover the gamut of them, both nationally and internationally. This 'newsjournal of Catholic opinion' is published quarterly by the advocacy organization Catholics for a Free Choice, with the intention of shaping public discourse and policy. In the Summer issue's '51 %,' Bill Albert, deputy director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, focuses on the failure of pregnancy-prevention education to reach Latin Americans in the United States, citing his organization's statistics? that 51 percent of Latinas become pregnant as teenagers. Part of the problem, Albert writes, is that many awareness campaigns simply translate messages crafted for a general audience into Spanish, instead of creating messages culturally relevant to Latinos. Elsewhere, other features examine abortion rights in Poland and Portugal. -- Natalie Hudson
With an elegant aesthetic, the 40-year-old British magazine Resurgence manages to be both critical and optimistic by dissecting traditional lifestyle paradigms and presenting sensible approaches to a harmonious existence with the earth. In the July/August editor's note, Satish Kumar counters the all-too-common doomsday predictions warning that we are at the 'point of return.' Humanity, Kumar writes, can still save itself by taking a step back, enforcing moratoriums on fossil-fuel consumption, and tamping down on our consumerist ways, for fulfillment and prosperity. -- Natalie Hudson