Esopus is published biannually in New York, NY. Named after a tributary of the Hudson River, Esopus (and the Esopus Foundation) is a labor of love run almost entirely by Tod Lippy. Each issue is full of interesting articles, design, and material.
The content of the magazine is eclectic. Some of my favorite articles include, ‘Soft Serve‘ in issue 4 (Spring, 2005) by Daniel Tannehill Neely, an ethnomusicologist who writes about the history of ice cream trunk jingles, and ‘Doing Battle‘ in issue 8 (Fall, 2006) with the amazingly detailed drawings of 8th grader, Alex Brown. Michelle Elligott, Archivist at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, has also been contributing articles in recent issues, revealing gems from The Museum Archives. Her article, ‘Dear Miss Miller…‘ (issue 8, Spring, 2007) about the correspondence between artist James Lee Byers and MoMA Curator Dorothy C. Miller is beautifully done. Byer’s letters are tucked into the pages and folds of the magazine and printed on a variety of paper types, giving the reader a tactile experience. Each issue also includes a CD with a themed mix of music. Some of the themes musicians have been asked to respond to are ‘Public Domain,’ ‘Spam,’ and ‘Missed Connections.’
The magazine is very well designed. Each article is treated differently and special paper is often used to enhance the quality of letters and photographs. This quality of touch and feel gives the reader an experience of discovery, something often lost when things are reprinted. Even the website is participatory, as the viewer can thumb through a file cabinet, and turn the pages of a magazine.
Esopus was also the recipient of The Specific Object Publication of the Year Award for 2007. You can purchase issues of Esopus magazine at your favorite independent bookstore or order a subscription – two jam packed issues for only $18!