These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NEW IN THE NEWSSTAND: Dolls, Doll Crafter & Costuming, Fired Arts & Crafts, Teddy Bear Review

Just into the newsstand are a quartet of popular doll and craft magazines from Jones Publishing, Inc. They cover a lot of ground, from Alabama Indestructible Dolls to the eternal moral question: should teddy bears wear clothes?

Dolls features a doll from Charisma Brands on its February cover (love that topknot!). Back in 1991 Charisma approached Marie Osmond to endorse a line of dolls for the QVC shopping network. She wound up designing the line instead, and eventually became one of the owners of the company! While it has since changed ownership, Marie continues to design dolls for Charisma. I liked the issue's "Talking About Antiques" column, which is full of facts about and pictures of antique Valentines cards. All doll lovers will want to join the magazine in celebrating the 20th anniversary of De Poppenstee, the Dutch gallery and studio famous for its realistic dolls of children from around the world.

The March issue of
Doll Crafter & Costuming has a nice feature about reproducing an Alabama Indestructible Doll, a brand made in Roanoke, Alabama from 1905 to 1932. Ella Smith was inspired to start the line after her dolls won first place at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. They featured plaster face masks covered by knit fabrics and finished with oil paints, so they were washable. The eyes were painted. As Ella wrote in her catalogue, "when the dear little girl drops one of these dolls she don't have to cry her little heart out because dolly has a broken head. She can just pick her up and go on happy and gay because these dolls do not break from being dropped." In the cover story, Susan Parris describes the painstaking work that goes into creating a fashionably dressed Queen Anne Doll.

I was fascinated by an article in the February issue of
Fired Arts & Crafts titled "Framing Porcelain in Silver." It's about a new product developed in Japan called metal clay, which uses the sintering process to turn organic binders mixed with silver powder into 99.9% pure silver after firing. In clay form it can be molded and rolled; when dried, it can be filed, sanded and sculpted. After firing, it can be polished to a brilliant shine. The cover article focuses on a crucial ingredient in pottery: lowly clay. "Selecting the wrong clay could make your creative process more difficult, it could affect the durability of the finished ware or compromise safety," the article warns, before giving you ten useful tips on selecting clay for your project. Fired Arts & Crafts is the official magazine of The American Fired Arts Alliance. Jones Publishing merged its Popular Ceramics title into the magazine several months ago.

Just about everybody's favorite doll publication is the
Teddy Bear Review. We've got the February issue in the newsstand, the one with the Pirate Teddy on the cover. As the cover article explains, he's part of designer R. John Wright's "Bears at Sea" collection, and should give Johnny Depp a run for his money in the Pirate of the Year competition. Christine Pike examines the weighty issue of whether your teddy bear should be clothed or not, something I've never thought much about, but then, I'm not a teddy bear. You are also alerted to the fact that The Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, will soon be offered for sale at Christie's in London. Get your bid in quickly!

You can purchase sample copies of any of these issues from for $2.59, plus $2.00 per order for shipping costs.

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SKYDIVING: Ups and Downs of the Sport

Skydiving is a monthly from DeLand, Florida that describes itself as "parachuting's newsmagazine." It's all of that and a fascinating read, even for stay-solidly-on-the-ground types.

Sports parachuting provides many opportunities for great photographs, and Skydiving often utilizes striking cover graphics very effectively. An example is the new February issue, which shows jumpers tumbling from the open tail hatch of a DC-9 jetliner under the very blue sky of Southern California. The camera was positioned just underneath the open hatch.

The accompanying story is about how the 88-passenger jet, 37 years old, finally received FAA approval to be used for mass jumps. Said the co-owner of the plane, "It takes 30 minutes to do it [remove the tail hatch]―and three and a half years of paperwork to allow it."

Skydiving is a big and growing business, and the magazine serves both the individual sports jumper and the industry.

The most profitable part of the parachuting industry seems to be tandem jumping, in which a novice jumps with an experienced instructor who wears and controls the parachute. Usually another staff jumper, equipped with a video camera, records the jump as a memento for the newbie. This operation can bring in hundreds of dollars per jump, much more profitable that the $50 or $60 per jump that parachute centers charge for taking solo parachutists up.

After many years of fatality-free tandem jumping, the industry suffered two student deaths, one in October 2005 in Georgia and another in May 2006 in Ohio. To the horror of their instructors, both students fell out of their harnesses and plummeted to earth. The two fatalities have caused much soul-searching in the parachuting industry. It's important to note that both deceased students were "special situations": one was a wheelchair-bound man with little leg strength, the other a 230-pound woman.

This issue of Skydiving contains a long and thoughtful essay by tandem instructor Tom Noonan about the two incidents and a number of "near misses" that have been reported―and the many more incidents that were never reported and maybe even covered up. Noonan blames a new generation of blasé, sometimes bored tandem instructors trying more exciting maneuvers for their own entertainment or ignoring established procedures. A touch of drama is added when an instructor involved in one of the fatal accidents responds to Noonan's arguments.

Death and danger are ever-present subtexts in any article about sport parachuting. The issue contains a report about the "Holiday Boogie," a gathering of enthusiasts in Eloy, Arizona during the last week in December that drew more than 500 jumpers who made 9,524 jumps. The story details a variety of injuries and two fatalities during the week.

There's also a long article about a jumper-friendly bridge over the Snake River in Twin Falls, Idaho. Launching yourself into the air from land-attached objects is called "BASE jumping," an acronym for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: Building, Antenna, Span (such as a bridge or arch) and Earth (cliff, etc.).

I enjoyed the article's advice not to linger on the bridge railing, which might upset passing motorists. Also, you should advise the cops that you'll be jumping that afternoon so that when motorists excitedly call from their cell phones about the suicide they just witnessed, the authorities can relax.

We'll end this review with a sweet quotation about the sport from jumper Bill Leonard of Dallas, as reported in Skydiving: "Once you jump, you never look at the sky the same way again. After all, to be touched by a cloud is to be kissed by an angel."

An annual subscription to Skydiving (12 issues) is $16.00 from the publisher. We'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NEW IN THE NEWSSTAND: CYH, Cineaste, Black Woman and Child, Aperture

We're working hard to make sure our inventory of sample copies is fresh. We receive shipments of magazines into the newsstand every day, and plan to give you short takes on these new issues in this column on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can get sample copies of any of these publications from us for $2.59 each.

CYH is a general interest quarterly magazine edited for African-Americans. The cover story of the Spring 2007 issue is about LisaRaye McCoy Misick, star of the UPN network's long-running comedy All of Us. In a Grace Kelly-style twist, she is now first lady of Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. In "Cry Freedom: The Menace of Modern Slavery," CYH editor Ene Taylor explores modern slavery in various parts of the world, an ongoing million-dollar business. You'll also find plenty of practical information in this issue, including tips on picking a college, buying a house and mending your finances. CYH means "Celebrates Your Heritage."

The Fall 2006 issue of the film quarterly
Cineaste features the fetching Gretchen Mol on the cover in a scene from The Notorious Bettie Page. Billed as "our biggest issue ever," the magazine contains lengthy interviews with actors Willem Dafoe and Joan Allen. In Christopher Sharrett's essay "Through a Door Darkly" you'll encounter a less-than-reverent reappraisal of John Ford's The Searchers. There's also a detailed study of Val Lewton's RKO films, including I Walked With a Zombie and The Ghost Ship (curiously, I've watched both over the past month). As usual, there are also dozens of cogent film, DVD and book reviews in the issue.

Black Woman and Child is a magazine for women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant and/or have a child or children aged seven and under. The Winter 2006 issue contains an interesting article on the benefits of yoga. Faduma Mohammed, born in Somalia and later a student in Germany, compares what it means to be a mother in her native country and in Europe. You'll find an article about what to look for if you're planning to send a child to day care. Marlo David-Azikwe complains that hip-hop music and culture ignore the life and concerns of a mother.

Aperture is a lush, oversized quarterly devoted to fine photography. We've received a recent issue that features a cover story about Lynn Davis, who has focused on the architecture of space programs from Kazakhstan to Cape Canaveral. The issue also takes you to Louisiana's fearsome Angola Prison, to the revolutionary magazine design of the Harper's Bazaar spinoff Junior Bazaar in the late 1940s, and to photographer Jen Davis's arresting self-photographs.

Copies of any of these magazines are available from us for $2.59, plus $2.00 per order for shipping.

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Monday, January 29, 2007


We've received a supply at the newsstand of last week's Antiques And The Arts Weekly, a very impressive publication from The Bee Publishing Company in Newtown, Connecticut. It's a large tabloid newspaper of 160 pages, each 11 by 16 inches, and crammed with articles, pictures and advertisements about art, antiques and collectibles of all kinds. It's a prodigious ongoing publishing achievement!

A lengthy article starting on the front page of that January 19 issue provides an appropriate introduction to the world of serious collecting. It's about a new book, Expressions of Innocence and Elegance: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana. Jane Katcher is a Florida-based radiologist who's been collecting American paintings, weathervanes and other folk art for years. The book explains how she got interested in the subject, where and how she accumulated her impressive collection, and of course offers lavish illustrations of the objects themselves.

I can imagine Dr. Katcher and other collectors spending happy hours devouring the contents of Antiques And The Arts Weekly, scanning its articles and ads for news of upcoming auctions and gallery exhibitions, reading reports of prices gained at completed auctions, and exploring all sorts of tangents leading from their main interests to other areas.

While the editorial content and advertising in the publication focus on the Northeastern United States―from New England down through New York―there's substantial national and international coverage as well. For instance, there are a couple of articles, and more than 20 photos, from a huge antiques fair held in December at a former RAF base in Newark, England.

The variety of objects discussed or advertised in the pages of Antiques And The Arts Weekly is wide indeed. In this issue I found Marilyn Monroe's autograph on a letter accepting the terms of her first radio appearance in 1947; a circa 1765 Philadelphia Chippendale chair that was given by Benjamin Franklin to his daughter; a monumental four-piece bedroom set that measures 10.5 feet in height; a collection of old patent medicine bottles from the 19th century (contents included); an on-line auction of artifacts from Harry Houdini and other classic magicians; and autographed palm prints from Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Babe Ruth. Great Men just don't do that anymore.

While some of the wares on sale in the publication are eclectic, they're never cheesy, and many major art galleries advertise in its pages.

The large-size pages make for hefty postage bills for the publisher, but they permit many illustrations in both editorial and advertising. The quality of the pictures is, of course, limited by the use of newsprint.

An annual subscription to Antiques And The Arts Weekly (52 issues) is a bargain $74.00 from the publisher. We'll be happy to send you a sample copy for $2.59.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

BARTENDER: Useful Info for Mixologists

Bartenders have to be chemists, artists, psychologists, entertainers, cops and business people, all at the same time. It's good to know that there's a support group that furnishes advice, training and general information for this demanding profession. Bartender Magazine is part of that network.

Issued quarterly by the Foley Publishing Corporation in Livingston, New Jersey, the magazine is one of a number of services for the bartending and on-premise industry offered by Ray and Jackie Foley. They also operate, a Web site with still more drink recipes, bartending job ads and instruction (for a fee) on all sorts of matters of interest, such as "Recognizing Club Drugs," "Improving Your Tips" and securing a seller/server license in each of the states.

Ray is the author of several books, including Bartending for Dummies, Running a Bar for Dummies and The Ultimate Little Martini Book. That last title features more than 1,000 martini recipes!

Bartender Magazine, which has been around since 1978, is surprisingly light reading. I was expecting articles on how to manage a bar, tips on maximizing profits, explorations of how smoking bans have been impacting the tavern business. But the magazine seems to be designed for weary bartenders to leaf through during quiet moments behind the bar: dozens of recipes for cocktails, shooters and martinis, a page on obscure facts that I suppose the bartender could use in conversations with customers (7% of American women dyed their hair in 1950; 75% dye their hair today), and a centerfold listing 100 Web sites of interest to bartenders, most of which are beer and spirits companies. You'll also find several pages of bar-oriented jokes and cartoons.

The recent issue I've been reading had three short but informative feature articles about spirits, on bourbon, vodka and pink champagne, as well as a "Bartender of the Month" feature. Shouldn't that be "Bartender of the Quarter"?

The ads in Bartender make for interesting reading. The spirits industry has gone way beyond your basic bourbon, vodka and gin; I found ads for pomegranate-flavored vodka and Teton Glacier Potato Vodka ("made in America from selected Idaho potatoes").

There's also an eye-catching poster for sale called "The Urinals of Ireland." The ad announces that it was "created by Buddy Doyle, urinist and photographer, whilst traveling throughout The Emerald Isle." The poster has 45 photos of urinals, several shown in actual use.

An annual subscription to Bartender Magazine (four issues, one of which is the annual calendar issue with a different cocktail recipe for each day of the year) is $30.00 from the publisher. With a subscription you get a number of goodies, including a T-shirt, cocktail book and special access to We'll send you a sample copy of Bartender for $2.59.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BLUES REVUE: As Vibrant as the Music

I've spent an interesting afternoon reading the new issue of Blues Revue, a bimonthly magazine about that vibrant musical genre published in Salem, West Virginia. It's the ideal niche magazine: vastly knowledgeable about its subject, but well-written, entertaining and non-oppressively informative even for the casual fan.

I confess I'm at a loss as to where the blues begins or ends. The entry for it in
Wikipedia talks about blue notes and 12-bar structures, and makes reference to a call-and-response pattern for music and lyrics that has an African origin. I do know that when you're talking about music, the blues aren't necessarily sad, but they do reflect life, and that is often at least a little melancholy.

Every other issue of Blues Revue contains a CD of new blues recordings, a nice bonus.

The magazine starts out with a number of very well-written profiles of blues performers, many of them getting on in years.

The cover story of this issue is about Ike Turner, whose contribution to the music world goes far beyond his notorious marriage to Tina. For instance, as a teenager he played the piano on B. B. King's first hit record, "Three O'Clock Blues," back in the late 1940s. In the early 1950s he sneaked a young white gravel truck driver who wanted to hear Turner play into the backdoor of a blacks-only club in West Memphis. Yes, Elvis Presley hid behind the piano! Ike Turner remembers his next meeting with Elvis even more vividly. It was years after in a Las Vegas casino, and later that day Turner won a $470,000 jackpot.

Fruteland Jackson seems typical of many blues performers, in that he's had many jobs―private investigator, shrimp wholesaler, worker in a McDonnell Douglas missile factory―but has ultimately come back to music. At 53, he believes that experience does count in the blues: "What happens with a lot of young players is that they don't have the life experience for older people to believe. You're 24 years old. How are you going to talk to me about my 'woman'? You just left your mother's house."

In his new CD album Jackson has what some call a protest song, titled "Blues Over Baghdad." He explains, "What caused it was watching public television every night and seeing these silent moments with these young men, with their ears sticking out from their heads and looking green―18, 19 years old. I said, Who's going to speak for them? They're young enough to buy into a lot of things, and there they are."

The issue contains a couple of technical features on blues playing, one on using the bottleneck slide on the guitar, the other on minor playing on the chromatic harmonica.

There are pages and pages of CD and show reviews, and that's where you'll get a sense of the many young blues performers at work, several with prior experience in well-known pop and rock groups.
In the back of the magazine are fascinating full-page obituaries of blues performers, again up to the fine writing standards evident throughout Blues Revue.

I liked one about Robert Lockwood, Jr., a Robert Johnson protégé who died at age 91 in November. A truly cantankerous fellow, he became a featured performer on the legendary regional King Biscuit Time radio show in the early 1940s. Like many blues performers, he was in and out of the business. "I done quit the music business six times," he once said in an interview. "I tried my best to live with the squares, but the motherfuckers run me back to music."

The editors of Blues Revue have also come up with a nice last-page feature. It's called "Cover Stories," and discusses the background of a legendary blues album cover.

An annual subscription (six issues) to Blues Revue is $25.95 from the publisher, and includes those three CDs. You can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

PILGRIMAGE: Tales of Man and Nature

This morning I've been browsing through an issue of Pilgrimage, a unique literary journal from Crestone, Colorado that's published three times a year. Reading it is akin to having your disk drive defragmented.

That's because its editor and publisher, Peter Anderson, fills it with autobiographical tales and poetry that, in his words, "invite reflection, help to illuminate the world's great wisdom traditions, encourage a deeper sense of home and place, and speak out for peace and justice."

The short and spare stories in the issue I've been reading take you to many unexpected places and situations.

In "On the Road to the Cofradia," by Teresa A. Kendrick, an American woman driving in rural Mexico encounters the body of a teenager lying on the road outside a village. She goes into the village to seek help, and finds the few stores deserted. She finally spies movement in one storefront, that of the local photographer. He explains that the villagers have all "gone to tell the patron." She notices that he is assembling a worn black suit and polished shoes, getting ready for the traditional funeral portrait. "Don't worry, senorita," the old man assures her, "an angel is passing today."

Fred Bahnson describes the loneliness of a young Montana boy who arrives at a school for the children of missionaries in Nigeria while his parents are off in the bush several hundred miles away. It's not a pleasant place: there's a tall wall covered with glass fragments to keep the white children in and the Nigerians out. Worst of all, it's to be his home for the next few years. His misery comes to center on the glass of milk he's forced to drink with each meal, a powdered concoction called Friesan Flag that to him has strong overtones of formaldehyde.

Bill Sharwonit writes of hiking down a favorite trail outside Anchorage, Alaska. On this particular day he goes off the trail to inspect a large and venerable paper birch tree that has several dead branches, cracks in others and folds of papery bark that have peeled away from the trunk. He muses,
All these aging marks give the birch what we humans call "character." But they give it beauty, too. Now middle-aged, I hope I'll be able to equally appreciate my own sagging, wrinkling, graying body―and that of my spouse and friends―as the years take their toll on us. Contrasted with the birch's bark are its shining green leaves, adding brightness to the tree, as a sparkling pair of eyes or a rich smile might do for a human elder.

Explorer, mountain climber, mathematician and Asian scholar Edwin Bernbaum writes of his perilous trek to a hidden valley east of Mount Everest perhaps never before visited by outsiders. Tibetans told him it was a place sacred to ancient Buddhism; you'll recognize it as the origin of the "Shangri-La" myth.

To me, the best thing in this issue of Pilgrimage is a short quotation attributed to Philo of Alexandria (a real old dude) that starts off the "Friesan Flag" story: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is engaged in a mighty struggle."

Pilgrimage is published three times a year. An annual subscription is $22 a year; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.