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Boy do we have an eclectic mix this month. Two magazines especially deserve some attention, some big fat (or phat?) new re-launches and reintroductions from Granta and Grand Street. We'll get to the tongue depressor in nest and Eric Waters' new color Xerox zine in a bit. And Cabinet's most unique offer of land in New Mexico if you buy their mag ...

Grand Street issue 71, titled "Danger," features cover art of clay figurines playing ice hockey. It's art--the whole mag is art--a delicious blend of essays, photos, poetry, stories and paintings. You never know what you'll find turning the page. There are few magazines out there that are as palatable to the eye AND the mind. Here's a magazine that boasts Dennis Hopper and John Waters as contributing editors, features new fiction by William Vollmann, and a handful of "portfolios" of artworks.

Recently hyped by both the Village Voice and the Times Literary Supplement, the latest reinvention of Grand Street is in no danger of having a short shelf life.

To survive, many literary magazines are joining forces in a sort of co-op advertising plan, sharing ad space in each other's issues. You'll notice it first in Bomb, Bookforum and Granta. The little mag industry is wise to hook up with the British oldster, 81 issues and 23 years the wiser.

The latest Granta is their "Best of Young British Novelists" issue, an every-10-years must-read. In 1983 they tapped Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, and Pat Barker among others. This year folks are very excited to see the recognition and new works by Robert McLiam Wilson, Zadie Smith, Sarah Waters and A.L. Kennedy. This is the short story anthology to tuck into your backpack for the summer or take to the beach, or simply flop on the sofa and turn off the TV for a week. Granta offers cute mug shots and bios of each writer selected and 350 pages of brilliant, eclectic, very-promising short fiction.

Ever want to put out a magazine? Well Eric Waters just went out and did it. The Durham native had some time, some ideas, some friends and access to a color Xerox machine. I mean what else do you need, right? Some late nights and a handful of quarters later, he delivered the premiere copies of the newest zine on the block, rock & roll space pilot. Waters is the editor-in-chief, interviewer and photographer. He does some layout and record reviews, too. I liked the "Some Bad Advice" column by Timmy and the sheer fun and surprises of the whole issue.

The music Issue of the Oxford American really is on the way, nest really does shrink wrap an arty tongue depressor in their latest over-the-top bible of interior decorating, and we'll give Cabinet a few more inches when we have the time to figure it out. It looks like a keeper, too.

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More by John Valentine


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