In this week's essay about the current state of the small press publishing scene in Chicago—timed with some small National Small Press Month matter—we mentioned a new magazine recently launched called Paper & Carriage. I've been wanting to write about the pub for weeks now, and have no real excuse for why it's taken me this long. In some sense, it follows: the mag is dedicated to a "slow media approach to art and literary consumption." So I just took their approach.
Edited by Green Lantern Gallery founder Caroline Picard (whom we profiled here), and published by her press, in conjunction with ThreeWalls artspace, P&C is a creative nonfiction journal that comes wrapped in a screenprinted cover by artist Dan Macadam (mine is 63/500). It's been a while since a magazine this visually stunning has come across the old desk. The first issue kicks off with a great short essay by author Peter Orner, a vignette about growing up in admiration of his black sheep Uncle Harry. Sam Schwartz checks in with a great piece of literary journalism, about the death of an old-school bakery in Philadelphia. But my favorite piece, by far, was the first installment in a black-and-white, serialized comic by Chicago cartoonist Lilli Carré, called "Hums Like a Bee," about a nightclub crooner who loses his voice.
What impressed me most about P&C, and what makes it seem so vital, is the way it comfortably occupies so many different worlds. It's definitely an art magazine, with an intriguing, self-critical essay about photography by Kathleen Kelley, but Schwartz and Orner lend it a literary flair, and Carré's comic adds yet another dimension. The $18 cover price is a little high, though one can see why, with so few copies made and with each cover screenprinted. And when I talked with Picard about it lo so many weeks ago, she mentioned wanting to get the price down. But even if it costs you a pretty penny, it's pretty enough to be worth it.