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A Closer Look -- Lonely Boy Mag.

from Lonely Boy Mag.
A new satirical series of men’s magazines is the latest installment from the uniquely clever publishing company Little Brown Mushroom. The first issue of Alec Soth’s Lonely Boy Mag., described as “Midwestern Exotica,” takes a few strange and surreal twists and turns for the viewing and reading experience. At first, I liked the idea of this little publication as an object. It's modest in size and the printing quality and design are very well done. But the more time I spent with it, the more I enjoyed the stories inside. I vividly remember as a kid finding a friend's older brother's stash of literary erotic men's magazines and thinking how bizarre the objects and the stories within them were. Alec Soth did a really great job of replicating this initial experience I had when I was 12 or 13 years old…. it’s kind of an odd rehash of an even odder feeling I had as an adolescent.

Inside of Lonely Boy Mag. are four separate anecdotes beginning with Soth’s own bizarre photo-story Starling. I am not absolutely assured as to how one approaches this narrative that begins with his series Single Goth Seeks Same and ends with an eloquent little photograph of a bird Soth befriended. Regardless of my own inept ability to fully grasp what the photographer is doing, it was good exercise in engaging with a narrative that I found strangely interesting.

from Lonely Boy Mag.
from Lonely Boy Mag.
Following Soth's story is a poetic tale by Jindrich Styrsk titled Emilie Comes to Me in a Dream.  The erotic overtones and dark layers of Styrsk’s narrative are a valued addition to this publication. After Styrsk’s text is a series of photographs of ex-girlfriends from the LBM archive. The photographs, many of them Polaroids, are dated and often if not always allude to sex with tidbits of sadistic humor involved. The first section of Soth's own photographs include a reference to Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and the magazine appropriately concludes with Lolita's protagonist Humbert Humbert’s Wanted, adding a thoughtful final touch to this curious addition to the LBM collection.

Similar to LBM’s other series of publications based on the Little Golden Books for children, if you buy the first Lonely Boy Mag., you will probably continue to collect the subsequent volumes. I bought the first book Bedknobs and Broomsticks and it has now become a prized possession in my collection – rarely bringing it out unless another book collector is in the room. -- Antone Dolezal



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