Thursday, March 22, 2012

GEM Literary Magazine Hits the Streets

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

G_E_M.jpg

The second issue of a new literary magazine dropped in Boise Wednesday. Described as "a paper gallery of sorts, which features anything that can be printed," GEM is an ad-free art magazine that's the brainchild of Boisean Melody English. Contributors for GEM Issue 2 include Alan Heathcock, Boise State professor Martin Corless-Smith and musician Dale Eisinger.

You can purchase a copy of GEM at Bricolage, Flying M Coffeeshop, The Record Exchange, Rediscovered Bookshop and Hyde Park Books. GEM will also be available for $5 at Treefort Music Fest merch tables, today, Thursday, March 22, through Sunday, March 25. Or you can order a copy online at cargocollective.com/gemcollective.

BW spoke with English, Editor-in-Chief of GEM, to find out a little more about the new publication.

How did GEM come to be?

Around the end of last summer in August, I was seeing all this awesome art at people’s houses but nothing was being done with it. I thought, "I should encourage a collaboration. OK, I’m going to make a little magazine." I knew what I wanted from people so I said, "Give me this, give me this." I didn’t want any ads. I didn’t want to have to pay people to fund it either, but I didn’t have a product to go off of. I put my own money into the first one, and in the first month sold 500, and 700 the second month.

The second issue of GEM is a full-sized magazine, right?

Yeah, the first was the zine-y one; the half page. TC Productions, a marketing firm in Boise owned by Ted Challenger, is our backer now and GEM is printed in the TC Productions office. We originally did a deal with Treefort; but I got a better deal through Challenger.

What’s with the Treefort twig insignia on GEM Issue 2?

We are still in partnership with Treefort; we’ll be selling GEM during the festival. We kind of wanted it to be a memento from the Treefort, while also standing alone. It will have its own room and voice away from the festival, as well. I want to have the art speak for itself. It’s so awesome to see every page as text or art, or visually striking.

How did you find the staff for GEM?

Matthew Wordell is amazing and did my layout and design. He got us the funding too, which is awesome. I’ve known Matt since high school through photography, going to concerts, and we’ve just become really good friends. He has truly helped me get this vision realized.

And your current head editor?

I was at Matt’s house talking about GEM, and Matt’s roommate, Gracie Bingham, she said, "Hey, I do editing and I take it really seriously. I’d like to help you however I can." Gracie did all of the fine-tuning and the polishing. Who knows where Issue 2 would have been without her.

GEM seems to be growing quickly.

I really like keeping it small, keeping it intimate. The best part is, there aren’t any rules. It’s really healthy right now. It’s not me screaming at staff.

Do you have an ultimate goal for the magazine?

I want to do it for a long time. I’ve always wanted a magazine. I study opera and vocal performance at Boise State, but I wanted a creative escape that had nothing to do with music. This is the other piece of me that wasn’t getting fulfilled in the practice room.

Do you have plans to sell GEM when you graduate, or are you planning to stay in here?

While GEM is a Boise thing, I can work on it from anywhere. I think it’s going to be more of a magazine in the future—I think that things are going to come from it, I’m not sure what. I want to integrate more music into it. My friend Jeremy composed a piece for it, a piano piece in GEM. I’m trying to cover all the art bases with it.

I’m a junior in college right now, but I do want to make it bigger. I do want to go on with it however I can. I hadn’t really looked at it in a small business tone. Right now we are looking into getting a barcode. I would love to move forward with all of that, but I’m not really familiar with it. It’s a learn-as-you-go-type experience.

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