The Resurrection of Arthur Magazine
November 21st, 2012
By ROBERT HAM
News of any import is quick to spread on the web. But even knowing that, the number of outlets reporting on the return of Arthur Magazine was pretty surprising, especially for a print publication that focused on various strains of the counterculture: music, drugs, magic, underground comics, and organic gardening. Yet everyone from The Wire to the New York Times expended a few lines of HTML to announce that, after a four year hiatus, Arthur would be returning to print starting on December 22nd.
“Frankly, the culture is in such bad shape that even something this tiny is being taken as something significant,” says Arthur’s editor and founder Jay Babcock. “If that’s become newsworthy, that’s kind of sad. But you’re the journalist, that’s your call to make.”
I’ll gladly make the statement that Arthur’s imminent resurrection is noteworthy. During its initial run, from 2002 – 2008, the bi-monthly magazine (released for free) covered an impressive amount of territory. Its debut issue set the template: featuring BMX icon Matt Hoffman on the cover, and carrying interviews with confrontational electro-clash singer Peaches and psychedelic drug enthusiast Daniel Pinchbeck, comics by Silver Jews frontman David Berman, music reviews by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and an advice column from comedian Neil Hamburger. The magazine gained so much attention and fans that they were able to put on music festivals in their L.A. hometown in ’05 and ’06, and released a batch of DVDs and CDs, including the Devendra Banhart-curated compilation Golden Apples of the Sun, which introduced the world at large to the burgeoning freak folk movement.
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