Monday, July 21, 2008

periodical perusing: interview, may 2008

I am a little behind on my magazine reading, and as most of you know, I'm rather fond of too many periodicals for my own good. I've finally finished the May 2008 issue of Interview. I was eager to read it for three reasons: Interview is one of my favorite magazines because it's consistently brilliant, Maggie Gyllenhall (who may be my current favorite actress) graces the cover, and it's the first issue after Ingrid Sischy's sudden departure (she was the editor in chief for eighteen years). It didn't disappoint.

The issue began with a fantastic angry letter. I can't quite explain my fascination with angry letters to magazines, but this letter may be the best, most delusional ever written.

  • Less Sex, Please
  • Do not ever send me another issue of your magazine. I hate it. It is so inappropriate. The pictures in the “Dream a Little Dream (of Me)” [fashion story] in your March 2008 issue are totally inappropriate. You've got a sexually inappropriate female spread out on a sofa looking at a kids, a female smoking by a kid eating, and a female spaced-out with a cocktail in her hand vacuuming next to a kid. Who's the sicko who dreamed up these weird photos? I'd love to talk to the pedophile. How dare you insult the readers. This is the worst magazine I've ever seen that is supposed to be for the general public! - Gail Stevenson, Oshkosh, WI
Sweet, Gail, why do you subscribe to a magazine you consider so vile?

I am a huge fan of Interview's music coverage. I've discovered so many lovely, non-mainstream artists through the magazine. May's issue featured the hilariously brilliant subheadline about the rock band, The Virgins: "a rock band that's easy to like and hard to google." The headline ensured the band's name would remain at the forefront of my mind.

This issue's increased amount of art coverage was fantastic. My favorite piece was the interview with photographer Yasmine Chatila. I was as captivated with her work as her words:
  • Spending time with strangers has brought me closer to humanity. When I walk in the street I no longer feel surrounded by anonymous drones. I see people with their insecurities and their vulnerabilities. It has inspired a feeling of being connected to others.”
The photography throughout the issue was especially strong, but Sebastian Kim's photographs of young women in "The New Crop" had more frame-worthy photographs than my house can handle.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Berens' interview with author Sebastian Horsley. They both live in London, and I smiled widely when Jessica told him, "There's a left-wing terminally jaded intelligentsia of urban America who might like you." I quickly added his book to my "to read" list. When the interview ended with Sebastian saying "Without language--without these so-called ideas--that aren't even our own, we're just a howling emptiness," I moved his book nearer the top of my "to read" list.

There are simple changes to format in this issue as well. Although it maintains it's bulky size, the font size is now smaller. Somehow it makes me feel more literary to read interviews in this smaller font. It seems Ingrid Sischy has two replacements: Fabien Baron and Glenn O'Brien, who share the title of editorial directors. Interview prizes its emphasis on collaboration, and I think it's fitting to have two editorial directors. I clearly need to continue playing catch-up so I am ready for the September 2008 issue, which will debut the magazine's brand-new format and design.

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