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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.1)
    Good morning, Whitechapel.

    Warren has kindly invited my co-editors and me to drop in and promote the latest issue of Coilhouse Magazine. For those of you keeping tabs, that's Number Four (the "Onaim Perantes Rasonastos" edition with Kristamas Klousch on the cover):


    Read all about its contents here.

    For those of you who don't know the first thing about us or what we do, Coilhouse is a self-publishing alt culture quarterly co-founded by Nadya Lev, Zoetica Ebb and Meredith Yayanos and produced by a small, devoted handful of bootstrapping staffers. Our tag line is "A love letter to alternative culture" and our motto is "INFORM/INSPIRE/INFECT". Coilhouse.net went live during the summer of '07 and the site continues to be updated daily, more or less.

    We launched our print venture in summer of '08, the latest incarnation of which is singularly strange. To be sure, every issue of Coilhouse is a labor of love for us, but #04 was an especially involved --even a haunted-- production. We delved into semiotics, coding, subliminal messages. We attempted to amplify the sense of connectivity between the articles through design and arrangement. Things got conceptually ambitious, and then they got downright spooky. We're talking House of Leaves territory. Ideally, we aimed to publish a ghostly, thematic periodical-as-self-contained entity-- something that could stand on its own as fully actualized art object. Did we succeed? Bah, who knows. We're new at this. Did we have a blast risking the attempt? Yes. Oh, yes! It's so good to get excited and make things.

    #04 happens to be selling out faster than any of our previous issues. Currently, there are roughly 200 copies left in the online store, and they'll be gone before you can say Klaatu Verata Necktie. I especially urge international readers to get 'em while you can. Once our stock runs out, seekers will only be able to track them down at select Barnes & Noble stores in North America. Let's see, what else... there are a few of the Stratosphere Messenger tees left. Also, for an extremely limited time, you can buy the third and fourth issues together for the reduced price of $23 plus shipping. Alas, I think the stickers finally sold out a few days ago. Rest assured, we've got a bunch of other merch ideas in development.

    Phew! Now that all the ware-hawking's out of the way, we're ready to start our five-day Q&A tea party on Whitechapel. Zoetica, Nadya, Courtney Riot (our invaluable creative director/designer) and various other beloved members of our creative team are psyched to do some sipping, nibbling and mutual brain-picking with you.

    So, what do you guys want to talk about? This is an exciting time for Coilhouse; there are a lot of different beakers bubbling in the lab that we probably can't discuss directly... but we can hint! And we can certainly get into more general chat: Coilhouse's history, our personal inspirations, magazine theory, internet curating, etc. We're basically game to discuss whatever parts of the process you'd like to hear more about, and we'd love to ask you some questions as well! What periodicals do you read? What you think the future holds for mainstream print? For indie mags? For tastemaking blogs? For fringe/alternative culture in general? If you're a Coilhouse reader, what subject matter would you be interested in seeing more of in our future issues?

    Down the rabbit hole we go. Let the Coilhouse/Whitechapel tea party commence!

    Curiously,

    Zoetica, Nadya, and Mer

    (Illustration by Kurt Komoda.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.2)
    Ooh, I do love cookies!

    Who is the crew's number one dream interview subject?
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.3)
    Supercoolness, love teh house of coils.

    I would love to know what provided the initial impetus to get you started - Coilhouse:Origins, if you like.
    Like, was it one specific conversation over late night drinks?
    An email cascade?
    Did Bad Uncle Warren threaten/bribe/mind-control you into doing it? You can tell us, we'll understand.
    I kind of get the feeling that you must have all known each other before starting out as you all seem to work the same wavelengths. Is that right, or was it the project that brought you together?
    also: I am sad that I will miss #4

    Your questions:
    What periodicals do you read?
    Wired. New Scientist. Fortean Times. Sporadically.

    What you think the future holds for mainstream print?
    In its current form? Doom! The print industry will have to adapt radically to survive, I reckon.

    For indie mags? For tastemaking blogs?
    Um, I don't know about these.

    For fringe/alternative culture in general?
    Victory! I'll come back to this if you like, but briefly, I think the established hierarchy of mainstream/alt culture is probably obsolete and dying. A diverse range of specialised "alt" cultures will emerge to replace it with different subcultures swinging in and out of mainstream popularity according to the weather. As mass media continues to fracture and splinter, the word mainstream will become less relevant. What that means for alt culture, which derives so much of its cachet from being "not mainstream", will be interesting to see. Hopefully it will mean a more definite identity emerging that's not predicated on simply engaging with the areas that mainstream culture does not.

    If you're a Coilhouse reader, what subject matter would you be interested in seeing more of in our future issues?
    Well, more of the finest same plz :D
    I'll need to think about this last one some more.
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.4)
    Who is the crew's number one dream interview subject?


    I hesitate to speak for Nadya or Z, but I will say that Diamanda Galas comes up a lot. Alan Moore's my personal dream interview subject... although I worry I'd just end up stammering and drooling on myself. (I've had elaborate nightmares about exactly that, actually.) Interviewing Werner Herzog would be amazing (but again, fear of drooling). Or Scott Walker. Another pipe dream: if we could get Tom Waits to interview someone that he found fascinating, that would probably make for an incredible conversation!

    @citruscreed

    You have great taste in magazines! Did you happen to read the Fortean Times article published last year about The Sisterhood of the Skulls? Awesome stuff.

    I'd like to let Nadya tell the story of Coilhouse: Origins. (This is all her fault, honestly.)

    Did Bad Uncle Warren threaten/bribe/mind-control you into doing it? You can tell us, we'll understand.

    You know what's weird and not quite related but somehow seems relevant? The first time that Zoetica, Nadya and I all ended up in the same place at the same time (in meatspace, that is) was with Molly Crabapple at her Dr. Sketchy's session at Comic Con, 2007. Pre-Coilhouse. Later that same night, Warren and I met up for a drink. I remember I told him that I'd hung out with all of them-- that it felt important, somehow. I'm sure his response was very wise and knowing, but I couldn't make it out because I was severely concussed from the beating I'd just received from his bodyguard after scaling the wall and breaking into his hotel room, and my ears were still ringing.
  1.  (7593.5)
    but I couldn't make it out because I was severely concussed from the beating I'd just received from his bodyguard after scaling the wall and breaking into his hotel room, and my ears were still ringing.


    I hate to tell you people, but the truth is not in Ms Yayanos. She actually sneaked past my security detail, and we proceeded to get so fucking drunk that I have no idea if I said anything wise or not.

    I probably did. I am very wise.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.6)
    Tea & Cookies with Coilhouse
    I know we're not letting you serve cookies. Warren...?
  2.  (7593.7)
    She used the word "cookie" for a very specific reason that makes me retch because she hates me.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.8)
    I know! But are we really letting her give them to everyone else...? I mean, I suppose that's the risk if you accept cookies from strangers, and it's not really our concern.
  3.  (7593.9)
    THEY ARE WELCOME TO HER EVIL FISH COOKIE

    ahem

    Moving on.
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      CommentAuthorMattDemers
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.10)
    I'm an aspiring opinion columnist currently in both journalism school and a tailspin in terms of finding a way to get better (and get paid!). One may be related to another.

    Suggestions? I'm currently writing my ass off via blogs, but I'm wondering what you would look for in an opinion columnist.
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      CommentAuthorDavidForbes
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.11)
    I'll ask one and give my take on another.

    One of the things that first fascinated me when I stumbled upon Coilhouse many moons ago was the top sentence on the blog: "A love letter to alternative culture, written in an era where alt culture no longer exists."

    So, what I'm wondering is: in your opinion, when did alt culture fade into oblivion? what's replacing it? And why do you think this bygone creature needs a love letter?

    On the answering questions front.

    What do you think the future holds for mainstream print?
    Most of my observations are from the newspaper trenches, and supposedly this industry's the canary in the coal mine of the much-heralded Death of Print.

    Which I don't believe, not for a second. Print is not dying, but it is changing drastically, shedding its skin like the snake that should be media's proud symbol. The publications that are adapting realize that the primary purpose isn't to produce a print product, it's to get information (inspiration and infection too!) to people by whatever means necessary. Publications will have to function on every level from 140 characters to well-crafted print product to prosper: each of those mediums has its strengths and limitations.

    In my own half-decade as a journalist, I've seen blogs and Twitter become an integral part of the job. I've heard older hands compare media before the web to production before the steam engine. They're right: the change is that vast, and it's not stopping anytime soon.

    But print itself will survive. If managed well, it's relatively cheap, portable and there's some visceral quality in it humans seem to adore (I sure as hell do). I think it will become less "mainstream" in the process. Instead of an oligarchy of giant publications that everyone reads, there will be a horde of smaller outlets, honed to more specific tastes.

    For all its stresses, it's an invigorating time, and Coilhouse is one of those works that make me excited about print's future. Excellent work, y'all, and I look forward to what's next.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.12)
    ahem, yes

    WELCOME BEAUTIFUL COILHOUSE LADIES.

    Can I get one of you lovelies to post some more photos of the magazine (interiors, if you please) for anyone who hasn't seen them?
  4.  (7593.13)
    I've been waiting for a Whitechapel/Coilhouse interface for months - alas when it finally occurs, I can't think of any questions offhand. Let me just thank all of you for staging it, and I'll be back later with a no-doubt gushingly fanboyish array of questions. How fanboyish? I'm that kid who made a batch of Coilhouse stickers and put up the results on Flickr awhile back; That's how fanboyish.
    • CommentAuthorjcfiala
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.14)
    Coilhouse #4 is my first issue of the mag, and it's astounding, looking through it and all of the astonishing images.

    But... my tired eyes just aren't able to read what I'm guessing is the 'Letter from the Editor' at the front of the issue - the faded typewriter font on the beige background just... fades. Is there a high-contrast or text only version of the letter somewhere? (The ToC has the same problem, but I prefer exploring the pages than worrying about the ToC anyway.)

    Thanks for making my weekend more interesting!
    • CommentAuthorKambriel
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.15)
    @Theremina ~ Another pipe dream: if we could get Tom Waits to interview someone that he found fascinating, that would probably make for an incredible conversation!

    Your desires answered! Tom Waits interviews someone of the utmost in fascination and wicked irony...

    himself.
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      CommentAuthornadya
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.16)
    Hi, guys! I'm so excited to be here! I'm going to answer more of the questions, but first, the big one:

    Coilhouse: Origins. Creatively, Zo, Mer and I had pretty much an equal hand in it from the start. There isn't one person who was, creatively, "the leader" - we all really listened to each other and played off each other from the get-go. Administratively, you could say that I was the leader in that I introduced Zo and Mer and asked them both to do this thing with me, but it's an equal creative partnership. Mildred Von Hildegard (the designer of the incredible Mother of London fashion label) was supposed to be the fourth Coilhouse co-founder. Mil initially gave a lot of feedback on the content and how we should present the entire project, before it launched. Unfortunately, she got too busy to contribute as much as we wanted her to once the ball got rolling, and then the whole Dubai thing happened, so she pretty much fell off the map, although I'm still close friends with her and she still brings us tons of content, ideas and advice.

    So, why start a magazine? I was obsessed with print since grade school, I think. My dad had a Xerox machine (our first big purchase in America... and the most modern thing I'd ever seen) and I just fell in love with the idea of distributing things in print. My sister and I made paper dolls for everyone on the school bus with it. There was never a shining star of a magazine to show me the way: Sassy wasn't distributed where I lived. I hid in the school library during lunch and discovered Ms. Magazine there. I saw Mondo 2000 on the bookshelves, but couldn't buy it. I looked at it at the store all the time, but didn't really understand it (I was 13, my English wasn't great at that point). I just felt its energy, and I believe that it did imprint on me. I stumbled across a book about zine culture called "A Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World," and that's how I learned about zines... though I never saw one (a few years later, in college, I was drowning in them). When I was 15, my boyfriend bought me the final issue of the legendary not-so-underground-by-that-point zine Ben is Dead, and committed suicide a couple of weeks later. I spent weeks perusing every square inch of it. I found Dame Darcy there (and so it comes full circle, as she appeared in Issue 04!). Kurt Komoda, who drew our picture for Issue 04 (above), lent me my first copy of a RE/SEARCH publication (the ICH). So I'd say that Mondo, Ben is Dead, and Ms. really imprinted the most. In high school, I stayed away from the school newspaper but loved the lit mag. Then, I majored in Journalism at Temple University, mostly because the full title of the degree was "Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising," which I thought would sound good on a resume. We had a class called Magazine Editing & Design, and I fell in love.

    At the same time, I was working as a photographer for Skin Two and Gothic Beauty. I had a lot of great ideas for both magazines, and neither of them listened to me, though Skin Two was the more nurturing of the two. Gothic Beauty in particular was really bad, though they let me do three covers in a row. I saw such great potential for them to expand. I sent them such amazing fashion to cover, a lead to a brilliant graphic designer that they never followed up, ideas for articles... but they were only interested in what they know. For me, the last straw came when they rejected a picture of a black girl, my friend Nyx, for the cover because it was "too cultural." That's the reason I was given - verbatim (I still have the email saved). There are so many things wrong with that statement (semantically and editorially), I don't even know where to begin! That's when I really realized that the alternative scene needed a good magazine. And I said "fuck it - if no one else is going to do it, I'm going to do it." After that realization, I spent about two years working as a fry cook in the back kitchen of the advertising industry, coding and troubleshooting online ads. 12-hour work days, abusive boss - it was insane. I had no time to even think about putting together a magazine. But I kept putting away money for it- saving, and saving, and saving. I knew that I'd get a chance. And sure enough, I did: I moved to LA with my job, got moved to another department in the company where the hours were less intensive, met Zoe and Mer in person, and we just kind of... went for it.
  5.  (7593.17)
    For me, the last straw came when they rejected a picture of a black girl, my friend Nyx, for the cover because it was "too cultural." That's the reason I was given - verbatim

    Jesus christ.
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.18)
    Encephalo Ray, I think I have every single one of your Coilhouse sticker-distribution photos saved. Seeing our Stratosphere Messenger circulated in such quantities by someone so far away fills me with genuine happiness and kind of drives the whole thing home.

    Ariana, the inside of a magazine is surprisingly difficult to photograph, as we found out after several editions of Issue 01 exploded in our faces during attempts at doing just that. We've had to improvise with digital composites, like these few examples below.







  6.  (7593.19)
    How do you go about publishing the magazine?

    I'm trying to launch my own magazine, and I'm interested in how others (I was going to say "other small press publishers", my comic-book influenced mind going to the easiest analogy) go about getting it done.
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.20)
    Caffeine is being administered, slowly. To start:
    You know what's weird and not quite related but somehow seems relevant? The first time that Zoetica, Nadya and I all ended up in the same place at the same time (in meatspace, that is) was with Molly Crabapple at her Dr. Sketchy's session at Comic Con, 2007. Pre-Coilhouse. Later that same night, Warren and I met up for a drink. I remember I told him that I'd hung out with all of them-- that it felt important, somehow. I'm sure his response was very wise and knowing, but I couldn't make it out because I was severely concussed from the beating I'd just received from his bodyguard after scaling the wall and breaking into his hotel room, and my ears were still ringing.

    Ah yes. That was also the year that I first met Big Daddy Warren in the flesh, albeit briefly. Drinks were scheduled but didn't work out, because I did not see Warren in my post-Sketchy's stupor, and he, apparently, doesn't like chasing strange girls across bars. The significance of that week was, indeed, palpable. What comrade Meredith leaves out is that I was posing for said session of Doctor Sketchy's. It was the opening night of the San Diego branch and when her and I first met, I was in my underwear. That's the kind of thing that forges a years-long bond, peeps.