Stopsmiling is a magazine that is in a bizarre world â€“ take an issue of ARTnews and make it not as interesting, not as funny, and one will have an idea of the general gist of Stopsmiling. The zine begins like many of the other glossy publications with an absolute assload of ads â€“ 17 pages before anything remotely zine-related starts the zine off. The layout of the entire issue is incredibly Spartan, incredibly minimalistic â€“ and the font they end up using is the same throughout, with a size small enough that I would virtually have to squint to read an article. Stopsmiling tends to go a little heavier on the actual artists than the musicians, and when they do end up covering musicians, it is with individuals that would pander mainly to the slightly older indie set â€“ newer Jazz musicians, acts that have been around for a few decades (Liquid Liquid). Some pieces, especially Peter Relicâ€™s one to finish off the magazine, completely and utterly fall on their face as a whole â€“ the story related is far too poorly written to even fall into a column in something like Maximum Rockâ€™nâ€™roll. Pretty much the only redeeming thing for me in this issue would have to be Jim Testaâ€™s â€œAnti-Folk Superstar: Jeffrey Lewisâ€ piece. Aside from having a writing style that I have always admired, Jim in the piece discusses a genre that is absolutely fabulous in its own right, making sure to mention a number of acts that became before Mr. Lewis.
Stopsmiling #16 / Full-Sized / 100 Pages / $5.95 / PO Box 577999, Chicago, IL 60657 / http://www.stopsmilingonline.com / Reviewed 22 December 2003 /