From the Editor: Beginnings

By Andy Lien July 28, 2011

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Lives

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It’s 4:45am, the morning of my first photo shoot for a cover feature as the Managing Editor of Lavender Magazine. Lavender, the same magazine I can recall from my first year in college in black and purplish newsprint that’s grown into the lasting voice of the GLBT community in the region. Lavender, the magazine I’ve watched mature and become more colorful and full of content whether in times of feast or famine—the one that remains free to its community, in both print and digital formats. Lavender, the magazine that carries with it the hopes and dreams of my bleeding heart, shouldering the heavy weight of representing a multi-faceted community while requiring doses of business and whimsy as well.

Andy Lien and Wanda Wisdom as Wandacup.

This morning? A photo shoot with a drag queen and tap-dancing sailors.

I’ve got your whimsy in spades. It’s the rest of it that keeps me up at night.

A litany of other thoughts cross my mind. The niggling thoughts of a new editor. Important thoughts about whether or not my cupcakes will melt in the skyrocketing heat index before we’ve gotten a shot with their cute branded fondant decorations. Wait. Worse, will my drag queen melt under the same atmospheric duress?

Am I showing bias toward St. Paul by shooting at Selby and Western? How many shades of skin tone will be shown on the cover? Will socioeconomic status be evident? Will it somehow be obvious that we all went to school on Financial Aid? Will my next cover shoot involve lesbians to make up for the men on this one? Trans folks? Bisexuals? Wait, how do I know? Is the feature content consistent with the tone and timbre of Lavender? Is it pertinent? Eye-catching? Will people want to pick it up? Will our advertisers find value in its pages? Does a white drag queen cancel out all of the other diversity points? It’s equitably representative if a large percentage of our readers are blonde, white men like Wanda Wisdom, right?

Stop.

At a certain point, I have to settle down and be confident that my cognizance is to be trusted and my instincts are good. This is the first shoot of many with Lavender. My business savvy and interdisciplinary background make for an appropriate foundation on which to build content for a niche-to-norm publication such as this for the GLBT community in the Twin Cities and beyond. Our photographer, Mike, is a talented professional with a portfolio of highly artistic fashion and product shoots. Our Wanda, Brad, is an extremely conscientious and humorous commentator and entertainer. And the sailors of H.M.S. Pinafore? I’m prepared to be floored by their professionalism and panache.

We’ve got this.

These are exciting times at Lavender. While refreshing our approach to our print magazine with defined story arcs and editorial focus, we’re also developing a new content-rich website that will roll out in August. We’re switching our thinking from the two-week print constraints to open up the floodgates to the content of the community. My baptism by fire started the weekend of Pride and hasn’t slowed down yet. The deadlines are every-other-week and the content is flying at me at a fast and furious rate. Our events ensure that I get to meet readers and hear news of what can be covered online or in future issues. Already, at one First Thursday event, I came away with multiple story leads from looking into the award-winning film, Au Pair, Kansas, by J.T. O’Neal, to the still-filming work by Pam Colby, Fertile Ashes, based on an underground lesbian club in St. Paul back in 1972. I met potential writers for Lavender. I learned about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival thanks to Terry, Nita, and Kim. I was introduced to folks from the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, OutFront Minnesota, and the Twin Cities Human Rights Campaign.

I’ve only dipped a toe in the pool and I am absolutely thrilled by what the future will bring.

Most immediately, my future brings me tap-dancing sailors…which is more than just a little bit delightful.

With pride and thanks,

Andy

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