Magazines Matter: Vol. 6 - March 2011

In the month of March, my favorite magazine published would have to be Vanity Fair. March is its annual Hollywood issue. It's the magazine's 17th such edition. The cover had Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Unfold the cover and it expands by two more pages, revealing Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Mackie, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Eisenberg, Mila Kunis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, Garrett Hedlund, and Noomi Rapace.

Vanity Fair this month is 352 pages, mostly of fashion and cosmetic ads, but the book has several interesting articles. One of which was Peter Newcomb's look at the top 40 salaries in 2010. Michael Bay was at the top of that list and Brad Pitt was at the bottom. The book also has a ton of great photos. "The 2011 Hollywood portfolio" has a spread that was very well done. The two best is the photo of Ben Affleck labeled "The Comeback Kid" by Annie Leibovitz and the photo of Nicole Kidman labeled "The Star" by Norman Jean Roy.

Sound + Vision magazine had on its backpage this month a parting shot from Ken C. Pohlman called "Netflixzilla Attacks," which took a little shine off all the Hollywood glamour. Yet, the magazine's cover was all about its list of favorite things from Hollywood and for Hollywood. Its "2010 Editor's Choice Awards" gathered 20 best video and audio components. Al Griffin, the Technical Editor, placed Panasonic's TC-P50VT25 3D Plasma TV. It retails for about $2600.

If you're able to shell out that much cash for a 3D Plasma TV. You're probably going to want to add that magazine's #1 pick for its "2010 Entertainment Awards," a list of the top Blu-rays and CDs. #1 is Avatar, the 3-disc Extended Edition, which doesn't include the 3D version, but is certainly an exceptional addition for home 3D material. #9 on the list was Inception. Ken Korman's review notes no director's commentary but recommends it as "a Blu-ray package that actually outshines the movie contained therein."

AARP magazine this month isn't exactly celebrating Inception. Instead, it's celebrating its "10th Annual Movies for Grownups." With Robert Redford on the cover, Bill Newcott edited the list of ten best films from 2010 that are less about special effects and action sequences, not that your typical AARP reader can't do action. Gretchen Reynold's article "Super Athletes" would seem to suggest otherwise, and the mag did recognize Helen Mirren in Red. Mirren proved that you can be a middle-aged woman and do over-the-top action. At the top of AARP magazine's list was the Oscar-winner The King's Speech. I do give kudos to the mag for honoring Phylicia Rashad as Best Supporting Actress in For Colored Girls. Also kudos for honoring City Island as Best Comedy!

Speaking of comedy, the February 14th issue of New Yorker had a hilarious piece by Tina Fey that was more or less a memoir. A month later in the March 14th issue, she contributed "Lessons from Late Night," another memoir summing up things she learned while working with Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live.

What the 31 days in March are best known for in the United States is NCAA basketball or March Madness. Sports Illustrated was of course all over it. In its March 22nd issue, Kelli Anderson explored the most inspirational story of the month, "Making a Run at Perfection" about the UConn female players. Michael Sokolove profiled Perry Jones, the Baylor University forward, for New York Times Magazine. Yet, while Jones and the Lady Huskies are riding high, Eric Spitznagel's article for Bloomberg Businessweek showed that the high doesn't always last or last in ways that are always glamorous. "Life After March Madness Immortality" had Spitznagel writing about hoop stars that are now used car salesmen.

Going back to Sports Illustrated, March 14th's issue saw an excerpt from Kostya Kennedy's book on Joe DiMaggio. The article titled "The Streak" dealt with his 56-game hitting streak in 1941. This month, the magazine wasn't all fun and games though. The March 7th issue published a cover story that was written in conjunction with CBS News. It was the culmination of a 6-month investigation into the criminal records of college football players. "Rap Sheets, Recruits and Repercussions" by George Dohrman and Jeff Benedict revealed that over seven percent of players have been in trouble with the law and 40 percent of them committed serious offences, including violent crimes.

Washingtonian magazine introduced us to the nation's best young soccer star. Luke Mullins asked, "Who Made Andy Najar?" The online article similarly asked, "D.C. United's Andy Najar: Where Did This Guy Come From?" Grant Wahl also profiled a young soccer star, Charlie Davis, of D.C. United too. Wahl's "Rebuilt to Last" about Davies' recovery from a horrific car accident can be found in the March 14th Sports Illustrated. Janine White wrote "Can You Hear Us Now?" for Philadelphia magazine, which was all about Generation X and Y taking over the city of brotherly love. She spotlights several residents, including 16-year-old, up-and-coming soccer star, Zach Pfeffer.

Yet, if team sports aren't your thing, the March issue of the Yoga Journal had Matt Pesendian on the cover. Pesendian was the first man to be on that magazine's cover in eight years. Pesendian is a yoga teacher at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and is a former surfer.

Some people may need yoga to handle all the sad and depressing articles I came across in March. Wired had articles that were powerful, but had me on the brink of tears. Amy Wallace's "The Fury" takes us into Amy Bishop and her shooting rampage at the University of Alabama. "My Gadget Guilt" by Joel Johnson responds to the 17 suicides in an iPhone factory in China.

Quite a few articles commented on the state of America and how to address its problems. The political magazines took their usual slants, but Fareed Zakaria laid out the facts when he pondered "Are America's Best Days Behind Us?" If anyone thinks that his March 14th article for Time was itself too slanted, David Van Drehle offers a counterpoint. Last month, Businessweek offered a solution to the country's problems. Mary Meeker envisioned the United States as a corporation in "USA, Inc." The editors at Time, however, in the March 28th issue came up with "10 Ideas That Will Change the World for the Better."

The piece is hopeful, but the slew of articles I read that aren't for the better is astounding. Steve Fishman kicked off the month with his cover story for New York magazine, "The Madoff Tapes." Jason Zengerle concluded the month in New York mag's March 28 issue with "The Sins of the Coach" about Bob Oliva, Catholic high school coach turned child molester. The most heartbreaking story appeared in the March 7 issue of Time. Mark Thompson wrote about Matthew Magdza's murder-suicide in "A Soldier's Tragedy."

The Best Magazine Articles of March 2011
  1. "A Marked Man in America" by Andrea Elliott for The New York Times Magazine.
  2. "The Man Who Spilled the Secrets" by Sarah Ellison for Vanity Fair.
  3. "A Soldier's Tragedy" by Mark Thompson for Time.
  4. "The Sins of the Coach" by Jason Zegerle for New York.
  5. "A Boom Behind Bars" by Graeme Wood for Businessweek.
  6. "My Gadget Guilt" by Joel Johnson for Wired.
  7. "Your Data, Yourself" by Joel Stein for Time.
  8. "Broke Town, U.S.A." by Roger Lowenstein for The New York Times Magazine.
  9. "The Reinvention of Me" by Larry Mendte for Philadelphia.
  10. "How Harvey Got His Groove Back" by Bryan Burrough for Vanity Fair.


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