From the Stacks: May 5, 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.

Signs of the Times, a slender volume of poetry by Bud
Osborn and prints by Richard Tetrault, was published by
Vancouver-based Anvil
Press
last year but we’ve just set eyes and hands on it.
Regardless, it’s a timeless marriage of ardent words in the
tradition of Pablo Neruda and Walt Whitman, on behalf of those
whose voices aren’t often heard, with striking woodcuts and
linocuts reminiscent of the works of Lynd Ward and Clifford Harper.
Osborn’s poems about the dehumanizing experience of being homeless
in a city express a generic sense of outrage and compassion even as
they describe specifically the lives of suffering junkies,
prostitutes, and ‘binners’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. —
Chris Dodge

The Center for Land Use
Interpretation
(CLUI), based in Culver City, California, offers
a museum; a land-use database; a litany of projects, programs, and
publications; and, when they get around to it, a newsletter
entitled
The Lay
of the Land
. The wait is worth it. The newly arrived
Winter 2006 issue is studded with more gems than a diamond mine in
Africa. Focused on the US, the profiles in the issue leap around:
one minute you’re learning more than anyone should ever know about
corn, and the next you’re reading about an island of concrete in
the Pacific that the federal government is thinking about selling.
The entire time, however, you’re realizing how complex and
fascinating our relationship to land can be, and you keep reading.
Nick Rose

The newest
issue of Red
Pepper
, a monthly digest from the UK, is punchy,
conversational, and engaging. The magazine focuses on green,
leftist, and radicalized news and opinion from around the world.
The April issue strikes a successful balance between news you can
use (‘how to make sure that your shopping is cruelty free’) and
political reviews (an interview the Venezuelan military’s
Commandante General Raul Baduel). The thoughtful takes on engaging
and unexpected issues are complemented by an easy-to-read and
attractive design, making Red Pepper a delightful and
rewarding read. — Nick Rose

There are publications whose pages would appear as
at-home on an art gallery wall as they are bound together and
numbered. Issue two of Ladies
& Gentlemen
is one of these rare, tantalizing gems.
Like limited edition designer prints, there are only 1,000 copies
of each 12’x12′, hand-assembled issue. Carefully peel back the
cover, screen-printed by design duo Aesthetic Apparatus, to find
interviews with Chef Greg Norton, artists Robert A. A. Lowe and
Tyondai Braxton, plus a job application humorously completed by
graphic designer Wes Winship. Utne‘s own Chris Dodge also
contributed ‘Gone But Not Forgotten,’ a list of ‘ten defunct
periodicals.’ (And we must give a nod as well to former
Utne intern Abbie Jarman, whose position is tellingly
designated in the masthead under ‘General Total Helpfulness.’) If
all that’s not enough stimulation, dig up a record player and
groove to the eight-track album stashed within for the ultimate
sensory experience. — Kristen Mueller

As
Canada’s longest running alternative magazine,
This Magazine
has been a bastion of left-liberal thinking since the 1960s. The
newest issue should be of special interest to American readers
because of the exploration into Canada’s guest worker program. The
Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, as it is known in Canada,
provides employers with cheap labor, and provides workers access to
the Canadian health-care system. That is, until workers get sick.
Although our copy of the issue had some pagination problems, it was
filled with thought-provoking articles including a profile of book
publisher Beth Follett, who has run the independent Pedlar Press
for nearly a decade. Also notable in May/June: an article about the
future of digital rights management and a pictorial essay on hope
in Haiti. — Bennett Gordon

In the
latest issue of The
Humanist
, the bimonthly magazine of philosophical and
social criticism has found a kindred spirit in Democracy
Now!
host Amy Goodman. Jeff Nall sits down with the
award-winning journalist to discuss journalistic integrity and the
importance of independent media. Goodman explains how the
traditional political parties are breaking down in the United
States and says it’s up to independent media to fill the void by
bringing people honest, but not necessarily objective, information.
Also in this issue, Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL
Pro-Choice America, explains the problems with parental
notification laws for abortions, and Daniel Consolatore wonders if
Afghanistan is moving toward democracy or civil war. — Bennett
Gordon

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