Quite a few people have accosted Phil and I on the streets of New York City in the past three months to ask us why we decided to pool our considerable talents to create ducts for all of you. Is it for the money, they wonder. Yes, we tell them, it is. Is it for the lavish praise heaped upon us by adoring fans and female admirers? Yes, it's for that too. But the main reason we chose to found this webzine is: it needed doing. There are an enormous number of talented artists, photographers and writers out there with fascinating personal stories to share, but there is little value placed on good work in our consumer culture. We want ducts to be an outlet for a wide variety of outstanding art that might not otherwise get into the world. This is our fourth issue and we are hoping, as we continue to grow, to create an e-community of people who value, more than money, truth and reason.
This current edition of ducts features a diverse collection of contributors and we are proud, as always, to present them to you.
In our Spring issue we had only one entry in the multimedia duct. But the ducts have sucked in a fresh crop of artists and we are pleased that this section of the webzine is beginning to grow.
Russell Anixter's three compositions are clever and will make you crave more.
Joel Goodman's ethereal film scores are as good off the screen as they are on it. Grab some popcorn.
Boss Gremlin, a group of post-punk hipsters rock the ducts with their sound. Join us in the mosh pit.
And finally, The Full Moon Quartet offers you just a taste of their refined, classic jazz. You'll want to call them and book a gig.
Margaret Hundley Parker returns to ducts with an inspired essay about what it's like turning "30." Apparently, she's been doing it for a very long time.
Tamara Shinobu Loomis writes in "Fear of Frying" about trying to please her very finicky mother. This story will make you glad your mom is not a world class chef.
Randall Woods, ducts' man about Seattle, isn't so sure he understands the logic of tearing down a perfectly good ballpark. His "Kingdome Doom," punctuated by his own and Heather Schenkel's photography, will make you scratch your head and say, "damn, that boy has a good point."
And finally, Randall returns with part II of his essay about his "Thanksgiving in the Valley of the Shadow of Death." All he wants is some privacy and NO turkey. But it seems impossible.
These guys have opinions. Lots of opinions. And they're just busting to share them with you.
Benjamin Malcolm, in his quarterly column, "D.C. - Beside the Beltway," rants about the problems of living in this nation's capital. In this issue he notices that he seems to be missing out on all the protesting. Check out his musings in "Protests... What Protests?"
We've all had or been around pets at one time or another. They require care and attention. Well, try having... lots and lots of pets. Bill Bilodeau in "The Grass Menagerie" will tell you what it's like. He writes a regular column for ducts called, "So, Here's the Thing."
I'm not going to say much about our newest columnist. Because I'm afraid he might come to my house and beat me up. His name is Nick Bhasin. His column is called, "Insanity." It's because he's crazy. But very funny. He has a few suggestions on how to improve the NBA playoffs (sort of) in "Love and Basketball and Pornography."
I have to admit it. This section of our webzine just tickles me. It is ducts distilled to it's purest form: storytellers talking honestly about their personal experiences.
Thomas Fast returns with another installment of his "Naked Man" memoirs. This time, in "Romancing the Naked Man" he finally begins talking about what we've all been waiting for: tales of love and woe (and sex). Thomas has also sent in a feature about a day he spent with two Buddhist monks. His special report, "Close Encounters of the Zen Kind" will not fit into any preconceived ideas you have about monk-ness or Zen.
In past issues I've talked about how certain writers blur the line between the arbitrary categories we've set up to make navigating ducts easier for you. All of our writers are pretty blurry. But Eric Gillin's memoir, "Welcome to Hell," was so blurry we decided to move it from the Columnists duct to Memoirs. In his "Spaniards with Platinum Visas" he talks about an unusual encounter in a bar.
ducts is proud to introduce our newest memoirist, Harilyn Rousso. Her memoir, "Disabled Yet Intact" describes what it's like to grow up a woman with cerebral palsy. Her writing is energetic and displays her blazing imagination and curiosity. She begins at the beginning with "Birth, Mine." Harilyn is also a wonderful artist and her abstract, brilliant paintings help bring her story to life.
This was one of the most popular features in our last issue. It seems there are a lot of folks out there looking for love. Well, Hannele Rubin, aka "Bachelor Girl" can help you. Or maybe she can't. But either way, check out her response to a few of the letters she received over the past few months. And please SEND HER MORE. She's sitting around all day, staring at her computer and WAITING FOR YOUR LETTERS!
This duct has grown more than any other and we continue to receive a slew of entries from talented, insane writers from across America.
Time Warner decided to black out ABC television for a few days in May over some money issues (the usual stuff). Gideon Evans describes his day without one of the principal TV networks in "My Day Without ABC."
David Storck is fascinated by the alphabet. But he can't come up with a good title for his piece. Maybe you can check out "Untitled" and help him out.
Mark Goldblatt, a regular ducts contributor, will make you smile for about a week after you read his satirical take on those United Colors of Benetton ads in , "It's a Man's World."
Laura Buchholz received a lot of feedback about her humorous "Chicken News" that appeared in the last issue of this webzine. In "Chicken News: The Reaction," Laura responds to all her critics. And she's angry. Oh yeah -- and just to prove she isn't a two shot wonder, Laura has given us a second hilarious piece: "Mexican Proofreading Ring Discovered." The name speaks for itself.
Our culture is obsessed with celebrities. And nobody sees how silly this is better than Thomas Blake. Check out the second in his series of odes to TV talk show hosts. This one is called "Ring Around A Rosie."
There are as many reasons to look at a work of art as there are ways to create one. That is to say, there are an infinite variety of perspectives and interpretations. ducts is proud to present six unique points of view in our Summer art gallery.
How many possible worlds are there? We live in this universe and take for granted its consistency. Zackary Lowing does not. His exhibit of computer generated illustrations, "Zack's Worlds" is a fascinating display of other possible planes of reality.
New York City is an impossible place to pin down. It changes moment to moment and, like Zack's shifting worlds, is open to as many different interpretations as there are people. We offer two diverse perspectives of The City in this issue. Brad Wise sees a boldly lit city in full color. His "New York Neon" will have you reaching for your sunglasses. Christine Walters mostly black and white photos in "Urban Grit" offer a more subdued view of NYC. Where Brad sees flashing lights, Christine sees a welding crew.
Three contributors to the art gallery have also contributed text to another section of the webzine. Harilyn Rousso's colorful paintings suggests an extraordinary life lived to it's fullest. Check out her exhibit, "Birth, Mine" and then read her memoir, "Disabled Yet Intact" and see more paintings. Randall Woods, "The Kingdome is Dead, Long Live the Kingdome" accompanies his personal essay, "Kingdome Doom." His photos are both nostalgic and funny. And finally, Thomas Fast (aka, "Naked Man") brings us his views from inside Tibet. Read his special report, "Close Encounters of the Zen Kind" for even more photos.
We have the best fiction on the web. And it gets even better in this issue.
Stephanie Hart's nostalgic "Who Killed Jimmy Dean?" is an absorbing read.
Our D.C. columnist, Benjamin Malcolm enters the ducts fiction fray for the first time with his thoughtful, "All The News."
"The King of the King of Falafel," Jon Papernick's first contribution to ducts, builds to a shuddering conclusion.
And Robert Slaymaker's, "Oh, Lotto God, Deliver Us From Misery," is something any artist who has worked in a corporate office will immediately understand.
I have to admit, Phil and I have been very lucky. Phil is a film editor which means he spends much of his day sitting in a dark room, pouring over film and feeling very happy that he never has to encounter real human beings. But somehow he has bumped into two talented illustrators on his job: Jenny Oh and Jennifer Lauren Pelley. Without their work, ducts would not be nearly as fun to visit. We thank them.
This is the fourth issue of ducts and we are growing and changing with each new edition. We hope you enjoy watching us blossom and will continue to check out our many and varied writers, artists and photographers.
Thanks and welcome to ducts!
-- Jonathan Kravetz, editor