From the Stacks: June 29, 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
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

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