I really like this publication, Stay Free! I’ve come across the last couple issues in Park Slope, where it’s available for free — imagine that! — and the latest issue, #24, is particularly excellent. They seem to combine a anti-consumer culture message with a great sense of humor. What is particularly refreshing in this digital age, what with the “blog phenomenon” and all that, is they remind me of those halcyon days of the 1990s and the zine explosion. They’re a zine!
I don’t know anything about their origins or who runs them, but I admire their pluck. They publish amazing back cover ad parodies, reminiscent of the glory days of Mad. Last issue they showed the cover of a fake — and completely plausible — magazine called American Gentrifier, which showed a happy Caucasian yuppie family, and asked the question: “Bed Stuy: Still Too Black?” That’s brilliant stuff!
Some of the highlights of the last couple of issues were a sensitive, in-depth interview with a homeless guy who hangs out on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, a wrap-up of the short-lived flash mob craze, a hilarious dissection of McDonald’s TV advertisements, and a fascinating history of marketing to the masses. I love the way they use humor to make a point and never stoop to nihilistic irony. The closest they come to that is a column in this week’s issue called “Around Town with Eugene Mirman” that reviews chic Brooklyn restaurants that’s filled with lies and ridiculous exaggerations. Here, check it out for yourself….
Stay Free is really pro-Brooklyn, is gratis in many parts of the borough, and even occasionally publishes fiction. Look for it.