Thursday May 15, 2008

Map magazine

Finally, a local magazine that does it right. This is the 4th (quarterly) issue of Map magazine, and the quality has been consistently great, so I’m finally letting myself get attached. Splitting the difference between local and non-local content — this issue’s cover, of the Ravonettes, is the first non-local — the magazine focuses on art, music, and culture.

This issue opens with a story on downtown club promoters, follows with a great interview with artist Aramis Gutierrez, and along the way features Del the Funky Homosapien, Luis Gispert, Dino Felipe, Gustavo Matamoros, the Postmarks, Jaco Pastorius, Paul Auster, and Rachel Goodrich. That, my friends, is a damned good list. Oh, and …

right smack in the middle, an article on Sweat Records. Perfect.

Editor Omar Sommereyns is a longtime Miami journalist, having most recently kicked ass at the Sun Post and Flavorpill. You couldn’t have picked a better guy to head up a magazine, as evidenced by the results.

For the gallery walk this month, Map threw a party next to Snitzer gallery, with a coffee bar, funky user-configurable seating, and a rock concert. They gave away the magazines, and distributed a card that guided folks through a carefully-picked group of the best galleries on the circuit, with step-by-step instructions. A nice touch.

Oh, one other thing I need to gush about — it’s beautiful. Map lets its graphic designers toss visual caution to the wind with each new spread, and you get stuff like the pages above — eye-popping but smart, and complimenting their topic. A series of grayscaled upside-down photos over a color gradient on one page, multi-colored plaid graph paper at 45-degrees on the next. It’s held together by a tight grid for the copy (set in a nice san-serif) and printed on lavish matte paper.

You can pick up Map free at lots of places around town, but why not spring for a subscription — your $25 is well worth it and supports what will hopefully be a long-running institution. Oh, and you can also flip through the magazine on their website and download a high-res PDFs of any of the 4 issues. Go read!

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  1. JD    Thu May 15, 10:25 AM #  

    The design is catchy, the topics are great, I love the idea of local stories and the focus on the indie and arts scene, but the first two issues I read had really bad writing. Perhaps the last two have gotten better?



  2. l'elk!    Thu May 15, 10:42 AM #  

    JD: from what i heard, the first two issues were under a different director.



  3. Mike aka mefx1    Thu May 15, 11:23 AM #  

    any local miami magazine that shows you what’s awesome in miami will fail because the ones that care are already aware of all it or is apart of it.It’s not like Miami has this huge awesome stream of hipsters…we are rare,few, and under the radar (also the name of a decent magazine)maybe if the magazine was about finding the best pastelitos or coladas in miami…maybe then…possibly…



  4. alesh    Thu May 15, 12:23 PM #  

    Nasty comment deleted. Next time you get your IP permanently blocked from commenting, asshole.



  5. Maria de los Angeles    Thu May 15, 12:59 PM #  

    The original mission of MAP was to make the arts more hip among younger people based on the fact that an older generation of patrons is passing away. I think it’s a great magazine that’s definitely different than other publications out there. The two founders of the magazine were very enthusiastic and passionate about making this work from the get-go.



  6. Adam    Thu May 15, 01:14 PM #  

    There are a lot of us who used to be hipsters, but now are just living the pleasant life wishing we knew what was going on.



  7. mae    Thu May 15, 02:58 PM #  

    rarely do i hear people actively identifying as hipsters. it used to be an insult. has it reached its tipping point, where its now okay to call yourself a hipster?



  8. nemo    Thu May 15, 03:22 PM #  

    hipster = the new punk. not really. ster = the new punk. actually heard that from new world kids on the metro. thought they were talking about steroids. i am 25 and feel so old.



  9. Mike aka mefx1    Thu May 15, 03:28 PM #  

    let’s put the hipster drama to rest: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster

    i would say it’s a compliment in Miami…in places where it’s overwhelming it may seem annoying but i greet any Miami hipster with open arms.



  10. Duran    Thu May 15, 04:29 PM #  

    uhhh as someone who studied magazine feature writing and production there are several things wrong with this magazine that aren’t apparent on the surface but if you sit down and study it you’d realize its target audience is off (it can’t decide if its going for the hipster crowd or older more well-rounded art enthusiasts and collectors). an editor-in-chief should have realized that from the get go because advertisers like niche audiences and you have to prove to them you are targeting one. and unfortunately without advertisers, there is no magazine. subscription only makes up about 10% of a magazines total operating budget. although i’ll admit they are improving with every issue. but i wouldn’t call it a great magazine by a long shot.



  11. Chris    Thu May 15, 04:40 PM #  

    There are a lot of people in Miami that have no idea what goes on East of I-95. I wouldn’t say they don’t care, they just don’t know.

    These magazines just need to reach them. People cannot find out about things highlighted in the article (such as Sweat Records) if the magazines are only available there (as an example).

    (FYI, I wouldn’t want to be called a hipster.)



  12. nemo    Thu May 15, 04:49 PM #  

    anyone who quotes urbandictionary is not only not a hipster, but a complete dork from marrow to mind.

    btw, there’s an episode of seinfeld where elaine calles kramer a hipster dufus.

    if you want an education on the eclectic mix of miami hipsters, hit up vagabond thurs and fris.



  13. alesh    Thu May 15, 05:24 PM #  

    Re. “hipster,” all I know is that I used to catch major shit whenever I’d use the term, so I stopped.

    mefx1~

    I am aware of Sweat, Postmarks, etc, but actually this makes me MORE interested in reading an article about them, not less.

    nemo~

    !!

    Duran~

    They may not be adhering to traditional magazine niche targeting, but from my perspective this is either irrelevant or a plus, certainly not something that bothers me or much influences my perception of the quality of the thing.

    It may well make attracting advertisers more difficult. On the other hand, attracting advertisers is difficult for any new magazine. All we can do is hope that Map’s business side is as smart as the editorial side and wish them the best.



  14. Duran    Thu May 15, 10:10 PM #  

    as utopian as that is, there is no room for identity crisis in the magazine business, making it very relevant. i’m just saying, if they are going to survive, no amount of great writing is going to keep them afloat if they can’t tighten their focus. that’s probably the #1 reason most magazines in the area fold. again, they have come leaps and bounds from their first issue, but i still think there is work to be done (few magazines are perfect). don’t take this as hatin’, it’s just the reality of the game.



  15. Lolo    Thu May 15, 10:44 PM #  

    I love MAP, and not just because they wrote about us. Besides being an aesthetically exciting publication, they really want to expose the true currents of culture going on down here and so far are doing a great job. I spoke with Mayor Diaz last month and recommended he pick up a copy because quite simply it’s making his city look GOOD.

    MAP has a wide appeal, and that’s fine because the categories of target audiences are blurring more than ever with the rapid spread and availability of information (along with people being plain ol’ bored of the same damn thing). One of Miami’s best qualities is it’s diversity, and our city is full of people with eclectic tastes and open minds, regardless of age, income or occupation. Hopefully those that are still uninformed/bored/closed-minded will stumble across this mag online, at Books & Books or somewhere and realize there’s more going on in their backyard than they might have thought, and that is truly awesome. Go MAP!



  16. Maria de los Angeles    Fri May 16, 09:07 AM #  

    This magazine is produced by a company that already has another business, so the issue of advertising may not be as crucial.



  17. Miami Danny    Fri May 16, 09:11 AM #  

    …and let’s not forget, the best food writing in miami…
    The Art of Hunger #1 p.34 Bernstein, Schwartz, et. al.
    The Art of Hunger #2 P.46 Organic?
    The Art of Hunger #3 p.44 Molecular Gastronomy



  18. Mike aka mefx1    Fri May 16, 10:08 AM #  

    ok fine, i’ll never use the “H” word again and for the record (lil’ nemo) i did not quote from urban dictionary, i simply posted the address for the less informed (and remembering the episode of seinfeld where elaine calls kramer a hipster dufus would make you the UBER DORK my friend).

    I guess i agree mostly what Duran said…I’m sure MAP is a great magazine, it just didn’t strike me as something i would find worth my time so to speak…but thats my personal take on it, so for the rest of you…read on and enjoy.



  19. Carlos D    Fri May 16, 11:54 AM #  

    I disagree with Duran for plenty of reasons here.
    It seems like he’s defending the homogenization of print, radio and television media to fit into demographically friendly niches.

    Duran, this is exactly what’s wrong with traditional media today and exactly the reason that most of us turn to the internet instead of picking up the New York Times or download music instead of listening to 93 Rock.

    Before the internet provided an actual choice in what you consumed, it was easy to pick a demographic and assume that if you targeted them, they would read. These days, nobody likes being a told what to read and what to feel. Even something so demographically perfect as Maxim is becoming a relic in the face of the more versatile Esquire and Details or the UK knock-offs that actually have topless ladies.

    The most exciting print journalism today comes from magazines that are more than willing to boldly cross boundaries and talk about things that are interesting instead of things that are related. I’d rather pick up an issue of Radar than an issue of Rolling Stone or Filter.



  20. Mike aka mefx1    Fri May 16, 12:31 PM #  

    Carlos-

    I’m sorry but any magazine that features Del the Funky Homosapien,Luis Gispert, Dino Felipe, Gustavo Matamoros, the Postmarks,etc. does indeed shoot to a certain demographic due to the fact that most common people have no idea who they are (at least in Miami).



  21. Duran    Fri May 16, 01:06 PM #  

    Carlos D, Esquire and Details survive because they are reputable names, with a pretty strong focused audience of professional older men and sexually confused men in the 20s and 30s. Fact is you are right, print is going the way of the dinosaur, primarily because advertisers are realizing it’s cheaper to advertise on the internet and reach far more people. The availability of ad opportunities for print is quickly diminishing, hence why you have to prove to an advertiser their money is being well spent.

    Buddy, you aren’t going to win this argument with me.



  22. Mike aka mefx1    Fri May 16, 01:15 PM #  

    Duran knows his shit…



  23. nemo    Fri May 16, 01:33 PM #  

    UBER DORK?! oooh, we having ourselves a dork-off! two dorks enter, one dork leave! ok, i’m done. this is silly. see you next blog!



  24. bangs    Fri May 16, 03:57 PM #  

    i <3 map.



  25. Miami Danny    Fri May 16, 04:15 PM #  

    1) Niche magazines are one of the fastest growing industries, with former internet gurus starting new ones all the time (I read that in the NY Times-also going nowhere, from what I hear).
    2) Yes, I’m sorry to report, internet buddies, there is no porn in MAP, nor any tips on how to get better abs-just something new, daring, different, and adventurous. If that works for you, pick up a free copy somewhere, and read it, or email me, and I’ll bring one to your house. You won’t be disappointed.
    3) Haters are a dime a dozen. MAP will prosper because of the love…



  26. Map    Fri May 16, 10:54 PM #  

    i happened to be at Books and Books and randomly picked up a copy, I think the 3rd issue. I’m just very unimpressed by anything that concerns art in Miami, especially art criticism…. The magazine and the writing felt dead…Trust me, this won’t last very long. How much can you say about our local art-ect scene, before you bore your readers to death?…



  27. CB    Sat May 17, 02:12 AM #  

    “…and let’s not forget, the best food writing in miami…”

    I prefer Culinary Cagematch over on Miami.com ;)

    Duran, maybe 10 years ago readers of Details were confused, now they are definitely gay!



  28. Carlos Miller    Sat May 17, 06:35 AM #  

    I haven’t yet seen an issue of Map, but I wonder if they are going to fall into the trap that all Miami magazines do and pay the writers shit.

    Because once they start doing that, the only writers who will write for them will produce shit.



  29. Hector    Sat May 17, 01:44 PM #  

    Where do I pick one up in the Southwest Dade Wasteland?



  30. Robert    Sun May 18, 09:09 PM #  

    So I hope this magazine survives but its going to get harder and harder to make the magazine I mean how many cool record stores are there? why has sweat records won their new times title so many times? they are good but sadly they have little competition. what are they going to do for issue 6 and 7 when they have written about sweat and ANR and pop life and all their other fiends? this will be their real test. good luck its going to get harder but I hope MAP will find their voice and stick around. Ocean Drive seams to have survived for so long why cant there be a better cooler Miami magazine?



  31. nemo    Mon May 19, 09:08 AM #  

    sweat is great in concept but has not yet reached its potential, imo. i love the owners and the workers there are more times than not knowledgeable about music in all its eclectic varieties. well, more now than before. however, i feel like sweat is simply someone’s private collection with price stamps on the cases. they should amplify their product and base. i wonder how the addition of rag trade to the lolo empire will affect the shop. i hope in a good way. nothing but love for her.



  32. Lolo    Mon May 19, 05:02 PM #  

    Thanks for the kind words! I’d be horrified if people thought Sweat had already reached it’s full potential… The store is and will always continue to be a work in progress – especially since having to start over from scratch last November. We just put in a bad-ass new AC this week and have tons more store improvements and inventory additions planned for the long run. I’m sure Amoeba Music (18 years old), Waterloo Records (Austin – 26 years old), Newbury Comics (the Northeast – 30 years old with 27 locations!) and the like didn’t start where they are today.

    And to Robert – I don’t think MAP will have too hard of a problem finding more exciting locals to write about. South Florida is huge and every day new people seem to pop out of the woodwork who have been plugging away at something amazing in their little corner of Miami… Not only that but Miami ALWAYS has people moving to and from here, which creates a great influx and current of ideas, talent, etc.



  33. adam    Mon May 19, 10:13 PM #  

    The more you build it, the more they come.



  34. Dissenter    Tue May 20, 02:06 PM #  

    I don’t like MAP magazine at all, especially the graphic design—it’s as if the fluffiness of the articles is disguised by the graphics. There’s a ton of space on the page and very little information. I think MAP is more of a marketing juggernaut than a periodical of merit.



  35. Miami Danny    Tue May 20, 10:54 PM #  

    “…and let’s not forget, the best food writing in miami…”

    I prefer Culinary Cagematch over on Miami.com”
    Yeah, I’ll admit that’s pretty good, too.

    “I haven’t yet seen an issue of Map, but I wonder if they are going to fall into the trap that all Miami magazines do and pay the writers shit.

    Because once they start doing that, the only writers who will write for them will produce shit.”
    Luis Bunuel once said “If I won’t do something for a dollar, I won’t do it for a million dollars.” Pick up a copy of MAP, and then feel free to judge whether or not we’re doing something exciting and new, regardless of our paychecks, my brother.



  36. Carlos Miller    Wed May 21, 02:47 PM #  

    Miami Danny,

    Good for Luis Bunuel, but I can assure you there are many jobs I would do for a million dollars that I would not do for a dollar.

    The problem I have with many of the local publications is that they charge thousands of dollars to advertisers to place a single ad, yet they pay writers a few measly dollars to fill the same amount of publication space with content.

    And too many writers are just thrilled with the fact that they are getting a byline, so they don’t mind getting shortchanged.

    That’s one of the reasons I blog. If I am going to give my work away, I’ll give it away to myself, not to somebody else who is going to rake in money from my content.



  37. Miami Danny    Wed May 21, 02:59 PM #  

    Perhaps you are right, Carlos. If someone who is in the media, like yourself, feels the need to comment on a magazine they haven’t read, and then, in addition, offer a theory about something they are only guessing at (how much MAP pays its writers), maybe MAP isn’t for you. Stick with your celebrity-gossip rags.

    And the point of the Bunuel quote is to point out that not all of humankind’s best work can be directly correlated to how much someone got paid for doing it. Also, just because you feel you are “giving your work away”, that doesn’t mean we at MAP do. And in any event, even if I were giving it away, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.



  38. Carlos Miller    Wed May 21, 03:24 PM #  

    Miami Danny,

    Where have I commented specifically on MAP?

    I specifically said I was not familiar with it. I was commenting on other magazines in general.

    I was asking a simple question and although you have not given me a direct answer, you pretty much have answered my question.

    We can tell ourselves that “not all of humankind’s best work can be directly correlated to how much someone got paid for doing it” and that might even be true, but my bill collectors will never understand that.

    I just think writers should get paid a fair wage. There is no crime in that.



  39. Miami Danny    Wed May 21, 04:21 PM #  

    I just scrolled up to the top of this page, and there appears to be a whole blog post about MAP Magazine. Sorry, I must have misunderstood.