Introducing Durham Beat Magazine

For as long as I can remember, I have loved flipping through bound pages of printed material. Magazines, newspapers, books, zines, even catalogs. There’s something about that tactile feeling, holding paper in your hands, wafting its scent, running your fingers over slight blemishes—the distorted texture of coffee stains, the rough edges of a well-read book, almost like tracing lines on a lover’s skin. As a writer, it makes sense that I would have an affection for paper, that I would covet the experience of holding a body of work in my hands. These bound pages are more than just paper and ink. They are ideas, expressions, creations. 

Throughout the history of printed matter, the magazine has been an enduring and beloved format. Filled with dozens of stories and photographs and artworks spanning a variety of topics and mediums, reading a whole magazine is an intensive affair. As a journalist, I am very familiar with the mad dash of preparing many different pieces for a single issue. As a reader, there is so much material to get through that I often find I can’t seem to get to it all. I’m sure you have had that experience as well. Feels a shame to leave so many pages unread, untouched, unfelt.

So what’s in a name? A magazine exists to tell stories. What if we choose to slow down a bit, quit the mad dash, and focus on what it means to tell a story in the first place? And that’s where Durham Beat comes in. 

It was just an idea. One might dare call it a dream. I have never much cared for dreams though. And while to some I may seem a tad dreamy owing to my irredeemably romantic nature, I have always been a doer. I wanted to reimagine the magazine, so that’s what I did.

The first iteration took the form of a zine. A blurry interpretation of my anti-dream state, the idea was to tell one story. Simple, plain, singular, focused. These are a few of my favorite things. 

Durham Beat’s early zines became a vehicle for collaboration, a free space to fill however I wanted for a given project. But this approach proved a little too chaotic, even for me. So I retreated into the private thinkspace we lovingly refer to as “my brain” and ruminated for quite awhile.

The pandemic was raging, all of our events lay in ruin, and suddenly I had time to think. Over the course of several months, through pondering, research, endless conversations with a long-time friend and confidant, and lengthy correspondences with Durham Beat’s Chief Designer, Gabi Guerra, we found our way. We had inspired ourselves. And now, today, I can publish these words, which themselves represent the culmination of a singularly proud moment in my life and that of Durham Beat.

At long last, I introduce Durham Beat Magazine. Published quarterly, our print magazine offers an in-depth and focused exploration of a singular broad topic, which we approach through collaboration with a featured artist and present to you in 4 different sections:

Introduction: the opener; a two-page philosophical expression of the pages that lie ahead.

Interview: in-depth, exploratory ​and personal conversation with the featured artist​.​

5 Spot: an examination of inspiration and where it comes from; 5 inspired recommendations by the featured artist.

Story: a highly subjective narrative think piece written by me, your author.

Those are the basics.

Every issue of Durham Beat Magazine will also pair with:

1. A limited run collaborative t-shirt featuring original artwork by the featured artist. Profits from the shirt are split with the artist.

2. An Issue playlist. Think of it as a collaborative mood board in the form of music. I ask the featured artists to keep track of what they are listening to while we work together. I then take some of those tunes and curate them in a playlist with what I have been listening to throughout our collaboration. The result? A very emotional and wide-ranging selection of music, 30 songs deep and available on Durham Beat’s Spotify.

Can you subscribe to Durham Beat Magazine? Yes, soon. Later this year, we will unveil two levels of subscriptions. More on that later.

In the meantime…

ISSUE 01 and its limited run collaborative shirt featuring Miserable Art, a Durham-based painter, is now available in our online shop.

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