Author Archive

Shooting War in The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

roughguide-graphic.jpgShooting War, the near-future webcomic from Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman that debuted on SMITH, is included among the 60 best graphic novels in The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels. Housed alphabetically between The Sandman (Dream Country) and Sin City (The Hard Goodbye) , the write up for Shooting War concludes with these words: “Whether Shooting War ends up being seen as a pioneer or a piece of specifically noughties satire remains to be seen, but this thrilling, zeitgeist-dripping piece of fiction feels like it is plugged into something big.”

Studs Terkel, R.I.P., One Curious Cat

Friday, October 31st, 2008

index_04.gifIn which we say goodbye to the masterful, inspirational, one-of-a-kind storyteller, Mr. Studs Terkel. Here’s the obit by William Grimes; look for more tributes from across the world in the coming days.

08: Dan Goldman On the Campaign Trail

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

What a thrill it was to open up the January issue of GQ and see an excerpt from 08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail, the forthcoming book from Dan Goldman (who we humbly note was catapulted into acclaim here on SMITH for his incredible co-creation with Anthony Lappé on Shooting War) and big political scribe Michael Crowley. The duo have been deep in the mix on the campaign trail to document the election for 08, which pubs this fall from Three Rivers Press. The GQ piece takes the chicken’s-eye view of Giuliani campaigning in South Carolina. It’s smart, funny, colorful, and perfectly timed for the events before us on these intense primary days. Congrats to D—among the very best artist, thinkers, and men we know.

Two other personal stories of note in the same issue of GQ: In “All My Children,” an anonymous sperm donor reflects on his many possible progeny, and his decision as to whether or not to allow his identity to be revealed to those who believe he’s indeed their father….or at least half their creator. And in “G-L-O-R-Y,” the always incredible Jeanne Marie Laskas gets inside the life and mind of the Ben-Gals, the cheerleaders for the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s a moving, deeply personal portrait of women who make nearly nothing for it, but do what they do because they simply cannot imagine a world in which anything could be better. Both pieces are fascinating windows into other peoples’ obsessions.

One Life. Six Words. What’s Yours?

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Hello to New York Times readers, as well as those from less prominent spots across the media world. If you’re new to SMITH, there’s lots to tell you. But our top story at this moment is our forthcoming book, NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING: Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous & Obscure. Give our video a spin, then come back and submit your six-word memoir, or any personal narrative. SMITH is your place to tell your story. Everyone has one, after all.

The Obama Moment and the WeTube Election

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Atlantic_Obama.jpgAs I flew back from Vegas over New Year’s, I read Why Obama Matters, Andrew Sullivan’s cover story in The Atlantic (yes, that periodical and Vegas make no sense, but it was working for me). Maybe it was the altitude, but I was swept up in the writer’s case for this Obama Moment, a moment America would have days later in Iowa. It’s a great read* about the senator’s chance to push us past the paralyzing battles of the baby boomers and into something that looks like the future. And it got me thinking that Barack Obama really is very much the Personal Media Candidate. Obama is a master at personal media, using his gifts of oratory to electrify from above, and a massive social network to build his base of support from below. His “we” message reminds of many of the tenets of personal media, from peer to peer networking to the wisdom of crowds. And unlike so many politicians, the guy actually wrote a good memoir. Damn if we didn’t try to get his six-word memoir. But you can’t win them all.

*And among the best issues of a print mag I’ve read in a while. Elsewhere in its pages, Bill McKibben writes the piece about the joys and genius of Internet radio I’ve been waiting to read; Michael Hirschorn dissects the “most emailed lists” of the dailies and lays out a plan for their print daily’s relevancy; and there are some very cute photos of pandas, too.

Reading File: The Blog of War

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

olmsted.jpgThis piece was in The New York Times, so it’s not as if it hasn’t gotten some play; if you missed it, writer Brian Stelter offers a nice summation about the life, death and blog of Andrew Olmsted, a 38-year-old United States Army major, and blogger for The Rocky Mountain News. Major Olmsted wrote a lengthy and moving letter—3,000 words—which was to be posted to his blog in the event of his death, which occurred on January 3, 100 miles northeast of Baghdad. Here’s an excerpt of what is titled “Final Post”:

Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven’t agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have learned quite a bit since I began blogging.

Read the post in its entirety here.

LAST MINUTE EVENT: Mix It Up With Lappé and Crispin Miller

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

SW_cover.jpgOn this very Tuesday evening, Shooting War creator Anthony Lappé will be in conversation with New York University professor and media gadfly Mark Crispin Miller at NYC’s coolest independent book store, McNally Robinson, at Prince and Mulberry Streets. The chat starts at 7pm, and if these two media creatures are true to form, is sure to be a smart, intense, and entertaining night.

Happy National Smith Day, Happy Birthday To SMITH

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

196466935_e060d088cc_m.jpgToday we are two.

SMITH Magazine launched exactly two years ago, on January 6, 2006, after we raced to launch timed to what I had learned was National Smith Day. National Smith Day has nothing to do with storytelling (until two years ago, at least), but is in fact a holiday cooked up to celebrate the birthday of one of the country’s original Smiths, Capt. John Smith, the English colonist who led the Jamestown settlers. Here’s what I wrote two years ago about the beginning of the beginning.

I want to thank everyone who has given this storytelling labor of love real legs—none more leggy than cofounder Tim Barkow and senior editor Rachel Fershleiser. We’ll soon* be unveiling a whole new look, feel, and in many ways function for SMITH, one we feel is the natural evolution of a people-powered storytelling site. Assuming lead relauncher Mr. Barkow doesn’t collapse or kill me, this next stage in SMITH’s young life is going to be one giant step. We’ll be celebrating two years of storytelling and the release of our book, NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING: Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous and Obscure, with a big fete on February 9 in New York City, and some events around the country shortly thereafter. Details coming via your next SMITH Newsletter—stayed tuned.

That’s our story on year two. What’s yours?


*What can I say? We had hoped to push the button on the redesign on the exact day of our two-year anniversary. But it’s hard out here for a SMITH. And let’s face it, few of you would have remembered this was the anniversary date without reading the above post, so we figure why unleash this beast before its time. But it will be ready shortly: we’re dancing as fast as we can.

Birthday cupcake via Flickr user and self-described “mama, blogger and overachiever” gisarah, who coincidentally lives in Portland, Oregon, where Tim Barkow toils.

Shelley Winters, Dean Haspiel, Scott Dunbier, and a Wild Brush With Fame

Friday, January 4th, 2008

shelleywinters.jpgOne of my favorite sections of SMITH that I’ve always felt is poised for greatness is Brushes With Fame, the section of the site where we ask readers to recount a story in which a celebrity enters their life like an alien, landing. Typically, these are playful affairs: selling an air-conditioner to Dick Cheney and his daughter, getting a public shout-out from Jason Alexander, playing Jewish geography with David Eigenberg (who turns out is Steve from Sex in the City).

The through-line is this: our reader celebrity encounters aren’t what you’ll find in Page 6 or Gawker Stalker, but stories of an actual, personal interaction with the known or the famous. In other words, a story. Although they’re typically on the lighter side of life, there’s often quite a bit of meaning in a brush with fame. How did Jan Allen end up with Mick Jagger’s urine in her freezer? The scenario’s a scream. But the story works because Mick’s piss truly means the world to her.

SMITH contributing editor and ACT-I-VATE comics collective cofounder Dean Haspiel recently sent around a link to a blog post by Scott Dunbier—a former
executive editor at Wildstorm/DC comics—about Scott’s odd brush with fame. It’s a true tale from New York City in the ’80s about a then-19-year-old Scott was working in a comics shop. It seems a kid—13 or 14, maybe—would come in flashing fifties and buying art. One day the phone rang:


Resolved: To Confess in 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

2094126296_673434ecc1_m.jpgOur friends over at True Confessions—where moms, dads, office workers, and others anonymously spill their guts—are having a ConfessOLUTIONS contest. A ConfessOLUTION, of course, is a New Year’s resolution you plan to keep, but one you’d rather keep to yourself (you’ve got your reasons).

True Confessions high priestess Romi Lassally sent over some of our favorites so far:

Love my body, regardless of size. It created, grew and birthed two children. If I respect it, perhaps I’ll treat it better.

Love my husband better. Show it.

Stop buying things. Things are meaningless. Fill the void I don’t want to acknowledge. Read more. Listen to better music.

Love my children in ways they will remember. I only have one shot at this mothering thing.

What’s yours? Head over to True Confessions and let it all out for ‘08. We won’t tell.

Confession photo from Flickr >> Creative Commons >> jeanineanderson.

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