*crooked children, yellow chalk
writing on the concrete walk
their king died
drinking from a Judas cup
looking down but seeing up
sweet red wine
‘cos papa don’t allow no new ideas here
and now you hear the music
but the words don’t sound too clear
one of my favorite things about the magazine industry is our cyclical nature. each month we get to try again, hopefully outdoing ourselves. there is definitely no better compliment than when someone says this is our best issue so far. the cycle enables us to plan (haha), follow a routine (yeah right) and rely on measurable tactics as milestones in our evolution (well, at least sometimes). everything becomes a rubric of the publication cycle, which in turn becomes the bigger system. our legendary monthly cover parties always follow the release of an issue. the production calendar is always set in the summer for the following year. patty always bakes on tuesdays and makes breakfast the day we close the issue (see page 14). there are many things we do behind the scenes as well, but my favorite is probably our gatherings. each month, all the pulse people get together to share feedback on the issue, express likes and dislikes, offer suggestions and ultimately try to learn from each other about this thing we do, hoping again, to do it better next month. but it’s not a meeting—each gathering is also a time to experience some of the treasures in our editorial. last month we visited the plaza cinema & media arts center here in patchogue village, a 65-seat art house theater that plays films ranging from the weird to the met opera live in HD. our feature was searching for sugar man, the story of rodriguez (the artist whose lyrics i’m quoting on this page). i introduce each edition of pulse with my notes to you, quoting a song that i think reflects the tenor of the issue—this one is like a funky night on the town. rodriguez’s music is textured, rich and honest. you might think dylan and neil young have their fingerprints on him. i’d say it might be the other way around, too. and if you watch the movie, you might come to agree with me. but rodriguez, the man and the story, is also a redemption song. and who doesn’t like a comeback kid? a brilliant singer-songwriter, “bigger than elvis” in south africa, becomes the voice of the anti-apartheid movement, though he scarcely sells a record in the states. he was finally brought out of obscurity to pack stadiums in his “home” country and is at last gaining attention stateside, though his first album, cold fact, dropped in 1970. wow, anything is possible. i love that. i think we all have to believe in that.
but what does any of this have to do with this issue or why rodriguez was my choice of artist to quote this month? well, for one thing rodriguez’s music was in our heads as we were digging in putting these pages together. perhaps you can feel his influence in certain hooks we’ve embedded in the language. or a vibe that’s informing some of the design elements. or not. maybe i just wanted to tell you about something beautiful.
or maybe it’s because some may find april to be the cruelest month, but it is time for spring, the point in our natural cycle that is about rebirth. like rodriguez. like us. like some of the things you may be thinking about doing this month. maybe you’ll go out and see a new film in a new place or (re)discover our fair borough to the west to sample a little brooklyn honest. escape to manhattan for a little midtown modern or a late night of the confidential sort in the secret city. perhaps you’ll honor national poetry month with poetry in vision, pass an afternoon in one of our arboretums or just stay home and feather your nest, sourcing the many wonderful stories and professionals in our expanded home section.
there are other “comeback kids” in this issue, too: mike tyson, the NBA’s danny green and wrestling’s mick foley among them. whether it’s one of their stories, or rodriguez’s, or one of our other editorials, we hope this issue inspires you to have a very spring spring.
mama, papa, stop
treasure what you got,
*from “inner city blues,” rodriguez
the performer comes around this month, details on page 163