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.
The premiere issue of Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(O).I(T).Y(OURSELF). PARENTING collects posts from Sky Cosby's Pirate Papa blog. Cosby's writings on parenthood and love are endearing, as is his wonderment at his twin daughters' linguistic additions to 'their already formidable arsenal of boogadies, moes (more), nos, uh-ohs, la-las....' He gracefully puts into words the changes young parenthood has wrought -- among them, his 'crumbled and reshaped' relationship with his partner -- and lightens things up with links to punk parenting sites, occasional recipes, and photos of his adorable girls (sometimes clad in pirate gear). A great resource and a fun read for parents and non-parents alike. -- Danielle Maestretti
The experience of reading Hi-Fructose lies somewhere between the uninhibited glee of a five-year-old sucking on a glazed donut and an LSD-laden trip to a Tokyo Toys 'R' Us. Opening with an image of San Francisco built entirely of jewel-like Jell-O molds, Vol. 3 of the magazine continues with sweet spreads of artists who delve into the darker side of childlike reverie. A historical piece introduces us to the fascinating life of Marvin Glass, the genius behind games like Lite-Brite, Perfection, and Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Inner child not yet satisfied? Flip to the back of the magazine and make your own macabre toy art: a paper pink cyclops or drooling skull. -- Elizabeth Oliver
If you're looking to read beyond film publications that feed the celebrity of actors and actresses, you might want to pick up Cinema Scope, a Canadian quarterly that explores international film. Here, directors and writers are the stars, and the study of acting is far more analytical, moving the emphasis away from whether or not performances are Oscar worthy. The Fall issue spotlights the homeland's pride, featuring not only a range of pieces on the country's filmmakers, but also a roundtable discussion with Canadian writers, directors, and critics on 'a certain tendency of the English-Canadian cinema.' -- Rachel Anderson
Light Work has been promoting up-and-coming photographers for more than 30 years, and the organization's publication, Contact Sheet, is one of the oldest art photography magazines available. Issue No. 137 is the special Light Work Annual, showcasing the work of photographers selected for their exclusive artist-in-residence program based out of Syracuse University. Some highlights are Angelika Rinnhofer's modern-day take on paintings of Christian suffering, and Hank Willis Thomas' pictorial collaboration using GI Joe action figures to portray his cousin's violent death. -- Rachel Anderson
The Austin-based Texas Observer calls itself 'A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954.' Writers and editors plug away at that mission with tenacious political reporting (the Observer took top honors in political coverage in last year's Utne Independent Press Awards), but there's also fine fodder for the mind in the magazine's 'Books and the Culture' section. The Sept. 22 literary lineup is diverse, with a local focus, containing an interview with '[p]oet, professor, human rights activist, and well-known Austinite Raúl Salinas,' and poems on death and deadbeat dads by Jesse Herrera and Trinidad Sanchez Jr., respectively. In 'The Real Facts of Life,' a review of Texas author Antonya Nelson's Some Fun, Emily Rapp picks apart the complexities of Nelson's novella, citing characters whose lives oscillate between their external social lives and their secret lives of pleasure and disaster. They are characters, says Rapp, who find grace within the messes they make of life. -- Suzanne Lindgren