Live from the West Coast

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by Steve Watson in November 2022
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I’ve really missed running the Stack podcast over the last few months – I love the process of sitting down with an independent magazine maker and speaking about what they do, then turning that into something that makes sense as a podcast episode. It’s a time-consuming process, though, and I’m afraid I can’t fit it into my week at the moment, so I was very pleased when the opportunity arose for me to release a one-off episode instead.

I was invited over to San Francisco at the start of this month to run an independent magazine event at Dog, the new pop-up events space operated by design studio Landscape. They wanted to open up their lovely, homely space and fill it with great independent publishing, so we provided a selection of Stack subscriber magazines, and also put the call out to some of our favourite West Coast publishers to come and join us.

Anja Charbonneau travelled down from Portland with Broccoli and Mushroom People, and she also brought Broccoli deputy editor Ellen Freeman, with Mildew, her brand new fashion magazine dedicated to second-hand clothes. Victor Gonzalez travelled up from Los Angeles with Gross, his contemporary art magazine laced with dual-release vinyl stickers. And Michael Ray (and his wife and managing editor Anne) turned up with San Francisco’s own Zoetrope, the extraordinary literary magazine published by Francis Ford Coppola and designed by a different guest artist every time. (The current issue was designed by Matt Dillon and previous designers have included David Bowie, Lou Reed, and David Lynch.)


Dog sits on a lovely, quiet residential road, and it was wonderful to see the range of people who dropped in over the weekend. Some had travelled specifically to see the magazines, but others just wandered in on their way to or from the local cafe, curious to see what was happening around the corner from their apartment. It was fantastic to meet so many people and introduce them to the magazines, and on the Saturday evening we held a panel discussion to explore some of the similarities and differences between the magazines, and to get into the details of what it means to be an independent publisher on the West Coast these days.


We had a great time and I hope you enjoy listening to the discussion just as much. If this is the first time you’ve come across the Stack podcast, check our archives on Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts and you’ll find tons of other conversations with independent magazine makers talking about what they do. And rest assured that the next time I get the chance to stick a microphone in front of some editors, I’ll turn it into an episode of the podcast as quickly as I can…

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