Points of Pride

What you see  above is the opening spread from our November 2005 feature “Game Show,” in which writer Dennis Cass chronicled the 2004 Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. This spread, conceived and executed under tight deadline pressure by Minnesota Monthly art director Brian Johnson, has just been awarded a silver medal for distinctive achievement in the annual competition conducted by the Society of Publication Designers (SPD). Other SPD silver medalists this year include The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Texas Monthly.

As you can tell by the level of competition, winning an SPD medal is a big deal—particularly for a magazine of our comparatively modest size. Having worked closely with Brian for nearly three years, I’m not surprised that his exceptional design skills have been recognized in such distinguished company. But I am immensely proud of the work he does, and I’m delighted to bring this honor to your attention.

I’m also proud to be able to let you know about a new book with MNMO connections. Before the Mortgage: Real Stories of Brazen Loves, Broken Leases, and the Perplexing Pursuit of Adulthood, edited by Christina Amini and Rachel Hutton (our associate editor) and based on their much-admired zine of the same name, will be published April 11 by Simon & Schuster. Utne magazine’s Laine Bergeson calls the book “unflinching and hilarious…mandatory reading for people of any age who’ve ever wondered if they are ill-equipped to lead an adult life.” Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket, author of the Series of Unfortunate Events novels, says it’s “a road map for the times when you’re not going anywhere” and adds, “If I’d had this book back in the day, my lean and hungry years wouldn’t have been so miserable. What am I saying? Of course they would have been miserable. But at least I would’ve had a good book.”

Before the Mortgage features contributions from such writers as Sarah Vowell, Pagan Kennedy, Joel Stein, Meghan Daum, Thisbe Nissen, Thomas Beller, Shoshana Berger, Davy Rothbart, and Tim Gihring (also of MNMO fame). Rachel’s contribution, “Parents Are the New Friends,” is excerpted in this issue. I hope you like it—and the smart, wise, funny, affecting book from which it comes—as much as I do.

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