New Coilhouse Merch Coming Tomorrow!

Achtung! Tomorrow, we will be updating the Coilhouse shop with several new merch items, some of which we’ve been working on since January. In addition to a new, snug unisex hoodie and a relaxed-fit eco-heather summer dress, we’re also issuing our first “luxury” item: a boxed set of three small porcelain plates, encased in a silver-stamped black box bearing a custom Coilhouse inscription.

In addition to the new round of merch, we will be offering a very small number of copies of an out-of-print issue of Coilhouse at a reduced price. Which issue? Check back tomorrow to find out!

This is a super-limited merch run. There are 50 hoodies, 50 dresses, 50 boxes of plates (3 plates in each box), and 25 copies of the mystery issue. Because of the small quantities, we anticipate that this round of merch will sell out fast. Stay tuned for the full reveal.

Announcing the 2010 Coilhouse Magazine Media Kit

Download the media kit here!

After weeks of streamlining, updating, researching and grooming, our media kit is finally done. We’re so proud of it, comrades! It might seem a little strange to get the warm fuzzies over something intended for cold, hard commerce, but we feel that this is a respectful and elegant representation of Coilhouse and its readers. We’re excited. Especially when we think back to 2007 and realize just how far this good ship has traveled. For those interested in learning more about advertising in Issue 05, as well as in future issues, the 2010 Coilhouse Media Kit is available for download here. In addition to that reveal, we have three more bits of very interesting information to share:

  1. Our biggest news is that we’re dropping the magazine’s price to $12.99 in stores. We’re doing this to give back to all the readers who’ve supported us through the years, and for everyone who wishes the magazine was slightly more affordable. The quality of the magazine (number of pages, paper stock) will remain the same. In fact, the overall quality of Issue #05 is going up, as we’ll be trying out a dazzling special effect on the cover, and including a large fold-out poster inside. For the time being, the mag will remain at $15 in our online shop and will include a special surprise (to be divulged at a later date), for those readers who buy directly from us. We’re committed to making the magazine more affordable both in stores and on the web, but we need to take it one step at a time. This is the first step.
  2. We’re more than tripling our distribution in Barnes & Noble stores across the country. It will be in more stores than ever before! A list of locations will be posted. In addition, Issue 05 has been accepted into the Barnes & Noble Endcap Display Case – you know, the one that you see when you first walk into the magazine aisle, under the heading “Featured Titles” or “Just Arrived.” Issue 05 will be there for four whole weeks. This is a huge win for us, as we hope that we’ll be able to introduce more readers to Coilhouse than ever. Especially with such an intense cover, which we can’t wait to reveal to you. Eeee! We’re sitting on our hands to keep from spilling the beans. Soon. SOON.
  3. Issue 05 will be appear in more independently-owned shops than ever before. We just got picked for distribution by Last Gasp, a respected distributor of all things alt, who recently celebrated their 40th birthday. They’re amazing. In addition to its history of publishing underground comix, Last Gasp is known for distributing items such as the RE/Search books, the Gothic & Lolita Bible, Hi-Fructose, Fantagraphics titles, and a lot of other more obscure counter-culture stuff. They can get us into a lot of cool mom and pop shops that other distributors don’t have access to.

Issue 05 will have more reach than any issue we’ve ever done, and it’s our most ambitious, colorful output to date. It’s so hard to keep the content of this issue under our hats! We’re sitting on our hands again. But there’s some beautiful stuff. You already know about the Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer piece, and some of you may have heard online whispers of Chet Zar and Zoë Keating and Gibbous Fashions and Crabapple illustrations… babies, that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Just you wait.

For small businesses looking to advertise in Coilhouse, this is the issue. We considered putting that sentence in flashing, grunting, neon porno marquee lights for emphasis, but we are classy ladies. (Besides, we couldn’t figure out the HTML coding.) If you’ve been on the fence about taking out an ad, please note that this is probably the best issue to start. With the lower cover price, more people who haven’t heard of the magazine will be inclined to buy it. Combine that with special display promotion at Barnes & Noble, and it’s a guarantee that more folks will be picking up and leafing though it than our previous issues, which were often relegated to the back shelves of periodical purgatory.

We’d much, much, muchly much rather survive with the help of small independent businesses than large corporate sponsors. We cannot overstate that. Which is why we’ve kept the Small-Business Ad Format rates the same as they were before. It’s still possible to advertise in Coilhouse for as low as $99 per issue. We’ve hired a kick-ass Ad Manager, longtime Coilhouse reader Samantha Chin-Wolner, to help small businesses get their ads squared away. Sam will assist you with every step of the process, and she’s a total sweetheart.

For those interested, please contact Samantha for details.

For everyone else, thank you, as always, for your support and kinship on this journey. We remain gratefully and giddily yours. Up, up and away we go!

A sneak peek at some original artwork by Greg Broadmore, created expressly for Coilhouse #05.

Friday Afternoon Movie: North Korean Double Feature

I’ve been on a bit of a North Korea kick, if one can call wanting to learn about a impoverished, starving nation under the heel of a totalitarian dictatorship such a thing. Having recently completed Barbara Demick’s excellent book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea I’ve since moved onto Bradley K. Martin’s Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, making for an interesting, though not particularly uplifting, reading marathon.

Along with that I have been trying to find as much as I can watch about North Korea as well, and thus far the most interesting, especially in relation to one another, have been 2001’s Welcome to North Korea by Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema and Vice’s unsurprisingly slightly irreverent, The Vice Guide to North Korea. Both are fascinating separately but also in what they reveal as being the same. In the seven years separating them little to nothing has changed except, perhaps, the erosion of North Korea’s building and, of course, its people.

Little changed is the North Korean government’s control over information leaving the country. Tetteroo and Feddema perhaps have the upper hand here, relying less on anecdotal evidence and more on their surreptitiously shot footage. Vice, on the other hand, gives a more complete idea of the showmanship here and a detailed look at the facade erected to impress the few visitors allowed inside its borders. The images of Vice’s Shane Smith, alone in a banquet hall, set for hundreds who will never arrive, each plate carefully arranged with what he describes as “fried matter”, might be laughable but watching the workers carefully put away all the uneaten food and unused tableware, to be presented to the next, state-authorized guest, renders it terrifying.

The fascination, should there be any doubts, lies firmly in the lack of information, the mystery of this place. We live in a society that is awash in information. Right now you have, at your fingertips, more of it than you will ever be able to consume. Yet this country, it’s public image so meticulously (if futilely) preened, its infrastructure so decimated that at night it is seen by satellites as a great black pit above the glowing affluence of South Korea, allows only the smallest drips and drabs to escape, and then only under duress. The reality of North Korea is one that must be stolen. It must be secreted out of the country. It must be extracted from those who have escaped its sphere of influence, and having done so have banished themselves from their homeland. I hope that, in time, this will change. In the meantime I am thankful to those brave people have allowed me this glimpse into what is effectively a nation of shadows.

Tea and Cookies (And Housekeeping!) with Coilhouse

Kurt Komoda’s editor illustration for Issue 04 of Coilhouse. Tea and sympathy (and tentacles). Arsenic and old lace (and absinthe). Information, inspiration, infection!

Morning, sinners! That’s Warren’s line, but then it’s a Warren kind of morning (the kind of morning that all Coilhouse readers should begin with a bottle of whiskey in hand.) Because this morning, and all week, we’re taking your questions and answers over on Whitechapel! Step right up, ask us anything your heart desires. There are a lot of different beakers bubbling in the CH lab that we probably can’t discuss directly… but we can hint! And we can certainly get into more general chat: Coilhouse’s history, our personal inspirations, magazine theory, internet curating, etc. We’re basically game to discuss whatever parts of the process you’d like to hear more about, and we’d love to ask you some questions as well! What periodicals do you read? What you think the future holds for mainstream print? For indie mags? For tastemaking blogs? For fringe/alternative culture in general? If you’re a Coilhouse reader, what subject matter would you be interested in seeing more of in our future issues? Down the rabbit hole we go. Let the Coilhouse/Whitechapel tea party commence!

Additionally, this a courtesy post is to let all readers know that Issue 04 is almost gone. Issue 03 is walking out the door pretty fast as well (we had more 03’s in stock originally), but Issue 04 disappeared at an alarming pace that even we weren’t prepared for. 800 copies are gone since we put it up on sale on December 21, and 200 copies remain (with about as many copies left of Issue 03). So for any stragglers who were on the fence about buying one or both issues, now’s the time. Now or never, because we’re not in the position to reprint. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. This one’s pretty special to us, so we hope you get a copy. You can pick it up in our online store, at Wildilocks in Australia, Barnes & Noble and Borders in the US, and Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. An exact list of store locations will be posted today or tomorrow.

Top row: Caryn Drexl, Elle Moss, Katie West. Middle row: Hilary McHone, Diana Lemieux, Zoetica Ebb. Bottom row: Laura Kicey, Natalie Dybisz, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir.

Finally, there’s a self-portrait competition in the last days of voting with several members of the extended Coilhouse family in the running, as well as some talented folks we’ve not encountered before. The artist who wins the popular vote will receive a $1,000, and the grand prize is a residency in Manhattan. We’d like to urge you to support an artist by taking the time to view and vote for their portfolio. The contest’s site unhelpfully does not list a guide to the portfolios entered, so we’ve selected a few artists who we believe deserve your time. Photographers Caryn Drexl, Laura Kicey and Katie West should be familiar to anyone who’s read the blog long enough; our articles about their work appear at the bottom of this post. Additionally, our very own Zoetica has entered the contest with several phantasmagorical interpretations of reality. Other photographers whose work we found fascinating include Elle Moss, Hilary McHone, Diana Lemieux, Natalie Dybisz, and Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if there are other entrants we should be aware of, please let us know in the comments!

On a related note:

Issue 04 on Sale Tomorrow! Cover Revealed!

At last! After days spent trembling in post-production anticipation, we’re unveiling the Coilhouse 04 cover. Words can scarcely express how happy we are to finally share a glimpse of our most ambitious issue yet.

Tomorrow, all Issue 04 articles will be revealed, and the magazine will go on sale. For now, huge congratulations to our cover girl, mysterious self-portrait artist Kristamas Klousch. Kristamas’ work is integral to the Coilhouse 04 concept and you can expect to see an array of her intensely haunting photographs nestled within the new pages.

Every issue, we try out a new visual effect in print. In Issue 02, we had a fold-out map. For Issue 03, we embossed the cover. This time around, we’ve experimented with a silver ink overlay. The tattered lace and title of the cover contain a subtle, frostbitten shimmer, as can be seen below.

We can’t wait to reveal the contents of this issue. Check back soon!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COILHOUSE! Happy Halloween, too!

Today is Goth Christmas. We wish you all happy hauntings.

It’s also the very last day of October and an opportune moment to observe a very important milestone: two years ago this month, the Coilhouse blog officially launched.

Despite being on completely different sleep schedules in three different time zones (hell, in two different hemispheres) we three wanted to make sure we got together to “properly” commemorate  what is, for us, a pretty huge milestone. Drinks were drunk, cupcakes were flambéd, cherry pie plasma was snorted, and lascivious nekkid dancing in the dark may or may not have occurred:

WOOPWOOPWOOP! DING! (“Happy Birthday” song by Altered Images.)

Two years ago, none of us had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. We were relative strangers with tons of enthusiasm and not a whole lot of experience. A little over 24 months and incalculable hours of work later, Coilhouse has published over 1000 blog posts, 3 issues of a glossy bookazine style print mag, and there’s a splendid 4th issue in production unlike anything we’ve yet attempted.

We’ve got an incredible group of brilliant, self-motivated contributors working with us, and our cherished readership has proved itself time and time again to be as passionately in love with fringe media and alternative culture as we are. We’re a community. You know, we might even be some sort of post-nuclear, pre-singularity extended family.

This place is proof that a small, close-knit, somewhat green group of folks can saddle up and ride to all kinds of wonderful places. Thank you, all of you, for joining us. We’re in for the long haul, and we can’t wait to see where this journey takes us next.

Zoetica Ebb’s BIOREQUIEM 5.0

We’re SO stoked for Zo today! After a year in aesthetic stasis, her personal website, Biorequiem, has finally relaunched with a gorgeous new look. Our favorite cosmonomad is a busy bee; she barely has time to initiate her patented Zobogrammatronic ambient energy battery recharge system, let alone find a spare moment to whip up sexy new design and code, so she enlisted Nubby Twiglet (our awesome Coilhouse Indie Ad Grid designer) and Star St. Germain to help her. And now the proud mama crows  “here it is – hussied up, blushing and ready to be sent out center stage with a brisk slap on the ass.” Huzzah.

You’ll find all sorts of goodies at Biorequiem 5.0. Art! Photography! Illustration! Memoirs! Bewbz! Chihuahuas!  Anthropomorphic cybercows! Go get some.

Vote for Coilhouse! Only 2 Hours Left!

UPDATE: We did it! Together! We made it into the Top 10. Now, we wait ’til the 24th to find out if we’re selected as one of the finalists. Thank you to everyone who stepped up at the last minute to make a difference.

First off, thank you, all, for your incredible support. We’re currently at 355 votes, placing us only 100 or so votes shy of breaking into the Top 10 (out of 3,994 nominees!). Not bad for being in the competition for less than 12 hours, eh? Most of the businesses in the Top 10 registered on the site back in August, whereas we only found out about this contest yesterday. All we can say is: wow. Thank you.

There are 2 hours left to vote. In those 2 hours, we want to make it to the Top 10. We’re almost there! After midnight ET, it’s in the hands of the judges, who will choose 3 finalists. They’re not necessarily going to be looking at this as a popularity contest; it’s more about the story that each business has to tell. Even though it’s not a numbers game at that point, being at the top will certainly help us catch the judges’ eye. That’s why we’re asking any stragglers who haven’t yet voted for Coilhouse to help us win.

Again, the steps take less than 60 seconds (Tequila timed it, says it took him only 41 seconds)

  • STEP ONE: click here to register as a voter on the site. We know, registration is super-annoying. This one’s petty painless, actually. Just a few fields. Don’t worry about spam – they explicitly say “we will not solicit your email for special offers, product news or other communications.”
  • STEP TWO: click here to view our entry on the site. On this site, click on the blue button on the left sidebar with the words “Support This Story, ENDORSE NOW.” And that’s it. You’re done!

Thank you again, guys, for all your support. It’s been wonderful watching this story spread on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve almost there – let’s close the gap!

We will return to your regularly scheduled Coilhouse programming on Monday.

But even if it gets cut off at midnight, judges aren’t going to go for the most popular contestants, necessarily. There are tons of businesses that have more votes than us that just aren’t interesting or classy enough to get chosen as a finalist. Like that laser tag place that just got knocked out of the top 10.

They’re also looking at how long each contestant has been in the competion. Almost ALL of the contestants in the top 10 were the very, very first to register. You can tell by their ID number in the URL compared to ours. The judges are going to know that they got that many votes over the course of 3 week, and we got 1/3rd of that in a DAY, that we have potential.

Help Coilhouse Win a Small-Business Grant!

Esteemed Coilhaüsers, we need your help. Each and every one of you. It’s important. We’ve entered Coilhouse into a competition for small businesses. The winning prize is a $100,000 grant, and we need your vote. We’re pretty pragmatic when it comes to any sort of contests or sweepstakes, but in the off chance that we win this thing, it would enable us to do things with this magazine that we’ve only dreamed about. We’re already imagining some responsible ways we could spend that money… such as making every subsequent issue of Coilhouse scratch-and-sniff.

The competition is called Shine a Light, and it’s sponsored by American Express and NBC. The goal of the competition is to “recognize an inspiring small business.” We feel that Coilhouse deserves to win, and in order to make that happen, we need your vote. Your support matters!

In order to help us, you need to take two short steps.  Both steps can be completed in under 60 seconds (promise – we timed it). Register (they won’t spam you) and vote (it takes 1 click).

  • STEP ONE: click here to register as a voter on the site. We know, registration is super-annoying. This one’s petty painless, actually. Just a few fields.  Don’t worry about spam – they explicitly say “we will not solicit your email for special offers, product news or other communications.”
  • STEP TWO: click here to view our entry on the site. On this site, click on the blue button on the left sidebar with the words “Support This Story, ENDORSE NOW.” And that’s it. You’re done!

NOTE: We just discovered that there’s no way that people from another country can enter. So for you guys, we introduce the bonus step (can be followed by Americans as well).

  • BONUS ROUND: If you really, REALLY want to support us and take one extra step, get the word out! Let people know we need support. Post this link on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or whatever:

The 60 seconds you take to support Coilhouse will make a world of difference to us. Suggestions for our first scratch-and-sniff issue flavor are welcome in the comments.

Thank you, guys. For this and everything else.


Weeeee! Let’s dance!

My flight arrives in Wellington (one day into THE FUTURE FUTURE FUTURE…) on Tuesday, the 11th. If all goes well *knock on wood* I should be there for quite some time.

New Zealanders, any tips for me? I’ve got one of those little culture/customs/slang dictionaries, but real live advice from savvy weirdo Kiwis would be preferable. Can you think of any great places to visit, particularly in and around Wellington? (I’m definitely hitting the Ian Curtis wall first thing.) Local coffee shops and clothing boutiques, a good comic book store, night clubs, a place to buy a sturdy kite, etc? Inquiring n0obz want to know.

See you on the other side!