Face it: In a celebrity-drenched society dripping with magazines
purportedly devoted to advancing the cause of culture, the last
thing we need is another hipper-than-thou arts rag with yet one
more sunny Beck profile or dark screed on media consolidation. So
when I came across Gadfly for the first time several months
ago, I wasn’t much inclined to browse. But the cover promised a
list of ‘100 Films to Change Your Life,’ a nicely researched canon
of cinematic favorites, and I was soon lost in a wave of drive-in
nostalgia, opinion, and analysis. I’ve been hooked ever since..The
two-year-old monthly offers none of the tired
entertainment-industry fodder served up by most ‘culture’ mags
these days. Instead, the magazine blasts convention: How about an
entire cover section devoted to the life and work of artist Francis
Bacon, or an in-depth analysis of The Exorcist, or a
rollicking retrospective of country music outlaws of the ’70s?
Though the mix leans a bit heavily on countercultural themes
(essays inspired by Manson, Joplin, and Brian Wilson in recent
issues), Gadfly also has taken on the likes of Roger Ebert
and Oprah, as well as Ayn Rand, C.S. Lewis, and Raymond Carver. The
design is a little rough in places, but the feel is open and
expressive–about what you’d expect from a magazine devoted to the

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