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Need a few pop-cult distractions from the balloted heaviness of the day? Put your trust in a pair of wide-open New York City mags, Flaunt and The Fader, to boost your spirits and bust your narrow, on-the-hour news focus. The newest hip-hop style glossy on the planet, The Fader is barely five issues old and is already seeking an international audience with its "Outernational" celebration of globalism. DJ playlists often accompany text and photo essays, and subjects include French hip-hop, ("C'est Word!") the UK's Asian music underground, Rucker b-ball, celeb interviews coast to coast and ... snow boarding on Mt. Hood. Making a big play in the Southeast with Atlanta's Outkast on the cover, The Fader encourages college writers to send along scene and record tips and "partner" location drops with record and clothing stores.The gold, die-cut cover of the second anniversary issue of Flaunt is a tip-off that this mag sips at the over-the-top fountain of excess. Huge spreads for Dior, Valente, Vuitton, Versace, Gap leather, Lauren, Matsuda and Gucci bury the text. But that's the point: In the staff box, the "writers" are listed after "advertising account manager" and the 55 "photographers and illustrators."Flaunt is luscious, provocative, witty and self-conscious, impossible to keep at arm's length. In the most recent issue, Sara Moulton contributes a leftover turkey recipe, Joyce Carol Oates reviews the best used bookstore of all-time, and, yes, November's hot boys of the month, Outkast gets another 10-page spread. (This time it's all fetish and fashion, haute couture's version of hip-hop.)The month's electoral college roll-over wasn't lost on Slick Times. It closed up shop after eight years of lampooning William Clinton. The final issue features ads for every anti-Clinton novelty item imaginable. MAD magazine celebrates its 400th issue this month with "an oval and out" take-off on the children's book Goodnight Moon. The bedtime boy is Bill Clinton. "Goodnight to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And pants that fell. Goodnight lies, goodnight fries. Goodnight soft money with Chinese ties."

More by John Valentine


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