For this Trending Now presentation, I wanted to focus on the two questions that are most on my mind about CURA right now: 1) how to continue innovating the model and 2) how to create a truly inventive live magazine experience that will make CURA stick in people’s minds--a task I’ve been working with the very imaginative Tim and Emily on. When I set out to find information on other magazines doing live creation events, I was disappointed to find so little, but I was also encouraged; this is an area of production that could really help us stand out and reach people in a way they are seldom reached.

What I did end up discovering was a cutting-edge, visually striking online magazine called Paper Darts. It has sections for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, culture, and art. It also has a blogging element. In addition, Paper Darts runs a creative agency wherein they hire out their writers, designers, marketing experts, and project managers, on a one-time or ongoing basis, to help others who want to make a groundbreaking creative product. They also have a press, which, in their words, “is ushering in a new approach to creative publishing, based on the intimate collaboration between an author/artist/publisher. Through unconventional printing practices, beautiful design, and a uniting underdog attitude, we're leading the new Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together publishing revolution."

Initially, I was struck by the beautiful layout of the publication, but later I noticed they had done a launch party that echoed some of the ideas that Tim, Emily, and I, along with the rest of the class, have been exchanging. This event took the form of a dinner-show, or a variety show with a meal element, that featured musicians, artists, dancers, singers, writers, and actors. They offered their audience a chance to, again in their own marketing language, "enjoy rapid fire poetry, live art creation, story interpretation, and some haunting tunes from Brute Heart, all while basking in the heat of a magazine fresh off the press." They had a stylish invite on their website and a pre-event purchase discount, both of which I think we should try to have. They also have a print version of their magazine and included a copy with each cover charge (not that we have to do this but just to get us thinking).

This shock of originality is exactly what all our readings and discussions have shown to be the crucial component of magazine success in this technological, modern moment. At the risk of sounding corny, the best art really does change lives. The question I want us all to be thinking about, for CURA in general and for this event in particular, is how we can combine our talent and insight to make something truly unforgettable. 

--Caroline Hagood