Almost nobody picks up a magazine and flips to the editor’s letter. The usual course of consumption begins somewhere about the middle, vacillating until a particular color, pattern or headline catches their interest. The ed letter is the least appealing candy in the jar.
If you’re reading this first, I know why.
Fans of past issues will have noticed a change in our most salient physical feature: our size and shape (new readers, one sec). So let’s face the 800-lb. gorilla on the newsstand. We’ve redesigned our format for all sorts of reasons, but it boils down to, in essence, keeping the belly fire lit and the instincts spry. A healthy portion of imagination was spent in rethinking ways to intensify the print experience. To that end, our advantage as a physical object meant that the actual space we inhabit was one more tool to tinker with; another toy. Making things is fun, and we wanted it to show. And while we’re showing more than “as little design as possible” packing careful hard work into an eyes-forward, claws-out, compact 240 pages, I think we’ve made good on another Dieter Rams creed: “Less, but better.” Consider this, then, the “portable” issue.
At Large* is rooted in travel and adventure-seeking, whether it be psychospiritual (see Paul d’Orléans essay “21st Century Meditation” on p. 162, and Chris Campanioni’s study of virtual reality on p. 90) or literally in vectors and geographical locations (see Matthew Porter’s “Archipelago” on p. 130). As an editor, I’m excited by stories that explore an inward journey through physical feats. New readers, I point you to Seth Heller’s immersive profile of Alex Honnold, the world’s greatest free climber, on p. 36. But the unexpected turns are the ones that are often the most gratifying.
When I sat down with the actor and musician SoKo at the Bowery Hotel (see p. 58), she answered my questions before I had the chance to ask — a good thing, because I could barely read my handwriting in the lounge’s dim light. Often laughing, sometimes misty eyed, but never giving pause, she elucidated her chal- lenges and perseverance; she spoke hopefully about her fears, circumspectly about her triumphs, and with insight and unapologetic honesty about her emotional reality. SoKo’s not fearless, but she’s resolute, and in that spirit she’s become the first woman to appear on our cover. I never saw it coming. It’s as the pinstriped sage, Yogi Berra, said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Here’s hoping so.
— Erik Rasmussen