From the Stacks: October 20, 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.

When one of our
editors was trolling around her co-op recently, she couldn’t help
but notice Theme peeking out from behind

The Nation
. Our library had never seen the likes of
Theme, and when the hefty box of back issues arrived, I
too reveled in the magazine’s impeccable design. This stunning
quarterly of Asian culture and arts draws in readers with arresting
cover art. True to form, the Fall issue introduces its theme —
performance — with a prematurely earnest-looking boy wearing
space-themed underpants, one in a series of photographs documenting
young male gymnasts. Other featured performers span a wide range of
the loosely defined terrain that is art, including musicians, BMX
bikers, dancers, skateboarders, and designers. My favorite piece
includes mind-boggling photos of North Korea’s Mass Games, in which
some 80,000 participants perform flawlessly coordinated gymnastics
and dance. — Danielle Maestretti

White Crane, a quarterly ‘forum for
exploring and enhancing gay men’s spirituality,’ takes its name
from the elegant birds of ancient Asia that symbolized wholeness,
happiness, and independence. The diversity of interviews and essays
in the Fall issue make clear how each interpretation of being both
spiritual and gay is highly individualized. Prominent throughout
this most recent issue is the idea of a charlatan: Those selling
gay spirituality in the form of an expensive cruise or exclusive
retreat, or those, like Greg Marzullo, who have seen an ‘Everyday
Charlatan’ inside themselves. — Rachel Anderson

The
folks behind
ActionLine, the quarterly publication of
Friends
of Animals
, may be hopelessly devoted to furry critters, but
their approach to animal rights issues could hardly be described
as? ‘soft.’ The platform of the magazine is decidedly vegan and
critical of acts sometimes considered animal-sensitive, like
raising pets or buying free-range products. The Fall issue exposes
exploitative and threatening practices confronting a host of
animals, like utility-pole-dwelling monk parakeets and
double-crested cormorants killed by government agencies.
ActionLine backs up its name by offering sources at the
end of many articles so readers can write to express their support
or opposition on each topic. — Rachel Anderson

A glimmering gem of
all things indie, Arthur could be the love child of
Rolling Stone and a SoCal alt weekly. The self-described
‘review of life, arts and thought’ focuses primarily on music, and
the October issue features interviews with LA-area musicians,
including the idealist band the Sharp Ease. Toward the back, Byron
Coley and Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth fame) jam poetic opinions
of underground bands sardine-like into a rambling journey of a
review, while entities dubbed ‘C & D’ give readers a heads-up
on what’s in stores via a conversation that’s both silly and
descriptive. The topics of ‘life’ and ‘thought’ are not neglected,
with nods to goings-on in the worlds of food, design, and
technology. Though we wish he would come out to play more often,
Arthur visits only once every two months. On the upside,
the magazine is ‘free across the US & Canada.’ — Suzanne
Lindgren

The theme ‘The Young Canadians’ runs through the Autumn issue of
C
Magazine
, one of a bevy of stellar publications that comes
to us from up north. Notable among those featured is a Vancouver
‘collecting collective’ (interviewed by Christina Ritchie). The
experimental yet earnest group of art collectors and creators
combine resources to increase their purchasing power. The
collaboration started in 2002 as a project of then-students at
Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Members see the
endeavor as a kind of performance art that supports emerging
artists and creates buzz about work they like (as opposed to the
more traditional works typical collectors invest in). C
Magazine
has an exhibition catalogue feel to it, with several
essays theorizing on artists’ projects. A lovely ‘artist
centerfold’ completes each issue — October’s is a quaint collage
of ‘lace and tattoo images’ by Jennifer Murphy entitled ‘Wait for
Me.’ — Suzanne Lindgren

Notre Dame Magazine covers the basic
university beats, from campus developments to alumni updates, but
manages to distinguish itself from rival collegiate mags. The
Autumn issue — anchored by Paul Farmer’s cover story, ‘If We Fail
to Act’ — focuses on humanitarian plights around the world.
Farmer’s piece calls for ‘mandating the corporal works of mercy’ by
envisioning health care as a human right and broadening the social
justice movement. The piece is accompanied by Sean Kernan’s
stunning portraits of Sudanese refugees in Egypt — a collection
that would have been better presented as a separate photo essay,
given that the exhaustive essay mentions Sudan only in passing as
part of a list of places ravaged by genocide. Elsewhere, Erik Ness
documents the water testing efforts of Notre Dame students and
faculty in Benin, West Africa, and alumnus Ken Storen writes about
his work with children impacted by HIV/AIDS in the tiny African
mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Such wide-ranging coverage may be the
appeal for the one-third of the magazine’s 150,000 subscribers who
didn’t attend the Catholic university. — Elizabeth
Ryan

If you’ve ever eyed a Dumpster with more than just a twinge of
curiosity or despair at what discarded valuables may lay inside,
the Fall trash issue of
LOUDmouth contains a few tips you might
want to thumb through before going scavenging. Aside from the
tutorial on ‘Why Trash is Your Friend,’ and other literal Dumpster
stories, the latest issue of the quarterly zine, published by the
Women’s Resource Center at California State University, provides a
forum to challenge its readers on waste more figuratively
conceived. Liz Ohanesian laments that ‘[w]e are treating bands like
the fad accessories of our junior-high years,’ while Fabiola
Sandoval, who works for a nonprofit housing developer, touts
revitalizing LA without throwing out poorer members of the
community. Jenna Fisher

‘This
is written by teens?’ was my first thought upon reading a piece in
the issue of
New Youth Connections that just landed in
our library. This New York newsprint magazine, started in 1980,
comes out seven times during the school year and is edited by young
journalism professionals. Reading through the September/October
issue I was impressed with the scope of issues and the quality of
writing. An article by Daniela Castillo traces the reaction of
teenagers in New York City to two teens hanged for being gay in
Iran, while Gamal Jones reports in ‘Harlem’s Hazards’ on a day
spent with a nonprofit fighting environmental racism in northern
Manhattan. Jenna Fisher

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.