Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I've seen folks hand out weekly newspapers on street corners in New York and Toronto, earning money for themselves by selling similar (and flimsier) publications. This is the first time I've seen a magazine-quality publication tackle similar issues. I read its 32 pages literally from cover to cover.
I ran across it in the 7th Street Public Market while waiting for a drink at Not Just Coffee. The distribution box asked for a $3 donation, which would go to the woman responsible for it. (She bought copies for $1 and sells them for $3, or whatever you care to give above that.)
The cover shot, a picture of a woman climbing avidly down into a dumpster, caught my eye. In that article, "Dumpster Diving for Awareness (and dinner)," writer Kaitlyn Tokay explained why she has spent the last year -- by choice -- gathering and eating the majority of her food from among the things stores throw away. I was hooked.
The topic made me wonder if the stories would be downbeat, sanctimonious or asking for donations. They weren't. I learned about artist David Alan Goldberg and musician Denison Witmer, Buskapalooza organizer April Denee, a soccer World Cup for homeless players and urban pioneers who started the Free Store in Charlotte with the motto "Give what you want, take what you need."
All the articles were connected to life on the street or among the poor in some matter-of-fact way, but they were diverse and never maudlin. (Go to speakupmag.org/issue1 to see what I'm talking about.) They reminded me that, even in a crowded and diverse media market like this one, there's always room for a smart niche publication.
And I am going to find out what's up with that Free Store when the smoke from the DNC clears....
Posted by Lawrence Toppman at 1:27 PM