Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mag Rack: Because they are still making 'em and I am still reading 'em

Some thoughts on current periodicals:

*Entertainment Weekly still ain't what it used to be, but it still surprises every now and then with an interesting piece. I have noticed that much like sister pub Sports Illustrated, it is really increasing the number of "double issues" it publishes, presumably as a way to cut costs by releasing less issues.

I'd hate to see it go away. Somehow it's comforting that even in 2017 it can irritate me by finding a way to devote 10  pages to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

*That reminds me of the incredible shrinking Rolling Stone, the masthead of which still declares "All the News that Fits." A lot less of it fits these days. I can understand the dilemma. People like me want to read about dinosaurs like Tom Petty and don't care about the likes of The Weeknd. So the mag has to scramble to avoid being Classic Rock and runs things like a piece in a recent edition that asks a current band who its influences are. It's like another way to get Springsteen in there while claiming you are covering new music.

But I think most new music stinks and would rather read about Werner Herzog.  I saw a compelling look at the enigmatic director by veteran profiler Erik Hedgaard...that was only a few pages long.

The review section is only the equivalent of 2-3 pages for music, no regular book coverage (apparently), and one single page of movie reviews.

*ESPN the Magazine never gets any pub, not even in the recent flurry of layoffs at the company, but it is actually still producing good work. The most recent issue I've seen features an excellent look at the Raiders' move to Vegas by Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham, plus an interesting account of the Buss family struggle for control of the Lakers written by Ramona Shelburne.

*MAD Magazine is still around, and it produces some amusing content. I don't like all of it, but I enjoy a lot of it, and it's cool that it's still around. In the run-up to the election, it made fun of both candidates, and now it's making fun of the prez, as it should in both cases. The movie parodies are done in the same style and still work, and there are less words in the features, but the graphic design is excellent in many of them. You see clever pieces with realistic-looking mock ads or movie posters that look fantastic and really sell the premise. So I make my semi-regular call to those of you who haven't seen the mag in a while: Give it a look, and you might get something out of it.

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