Sunday, October 28, 2007

Being noticed; being remembered; being released; being launched

As part of its Saturday package redesign, the Globe and Mail has started thumbnail reviews of magazines picked up off the newsstands by writer James Adams. On The Stand's inaugural reviews includes the October 22 issue of the New Yorker, one of Portfolio (both imports from Conde Nast) and (obligatory Canadian content) the fall issue of Geist. Paradoxically, of course, by the time Adams reviews the weekly New Yorker it is no longer available to anyone who's not already got it. And while quarterly Geist is still on the stand, Portfolio already has its November issue on sale. Still, it's nice to be noticed.

A memorial service was held on Saturday for Tom Skudra, who died on October 10. His was a credit not well known to younger magaziners, but resonant with people who have been around the business for some time. Skudra did much of his work for books and such things as the Festival of Festivals, though he did some photojournalism for a number of mainstream magazines. For instance, he did a fine series of photos for Toronto Life about migrant "dirt workers" in southwestern Ontario. Fleetingly, he even starred in a Canadian TV series called Programme X, produced in 1970. He is survived by sons Max and Theo Skudra and Gynts Skudra.


It's become a commonplace for small magazines to defray some of their costs and get some buzz by holding a release party for their newest issue. But this is the first time we've heard of a magazine asking its readers to suggest where the party should be held. Spacing magazine is offering a free subscription to the person who comes up with the best place to hold a party focussed on the impending fall 2007 issue's theme of green/eco consciousness. Presumably, in Toronto.

Three-button black suits were heavily in evidence at the launching last week of Precedent magazine at Kultura on King Street E. in Toronto. It was a crisply run, packed event to mark the debut of the independent title for young lawyers. Some of the talk was about how lame was the "spoiler" issue of a magazine for associates (read: young lawyers) published one day before Precedent's launch by CLB Media's Canadian Lawyer magazine. It didn't seem to dampen enthusiasm. (And CLB might have been very happy to have had such a diverse cross-section of young, hip lawyerdom turn out for one of its events.) Ryan Merkley, associate publisher and husband of publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, told the assembly that soon after they started dating (they got married this summer), Kluger told him she wanted to quit law and start a magazine. "I wanted to keep dating her, so I said I thought it was a great idea." Kluger told the crowd that when she was at General Printing watching the first issue come off the press she turned to Merkley and said "this is the best day of my life!" then added "...except for our marriage." It was also announced that, as part of promotion for the magazine, Kluger was holding launch parties at every law school in Ontario over the next few weeks. [Disclosure: I'm on the advisory board of the magazine.]


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