News Column

Two new Annapolis-based magazines highlight the arts

June 15, 2014

By Theresa Winslow, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.



June 15--There aren't a lot of women with metallic-blue hair riding around the city on stretch bicycles.

And maybe that's point.

Annapolis Underground wanted to make a splash with its inaugural issue. But if 40-somethings Chris Iatesta and Jimi "HaHa" Davies are successful, the underground might not be underground for long.

The first issue of their quarterly magazine, launched earlier this month, features stories, advertorials and images focusing on the local arts scene. Photographer David Hartcorn is profiled, as is artist Charles Lawrance and the band Swampcandy, among others. The magazine is available in print and online. Both versions are free.

"There's a lot more to Annapolis than boating, bars and arguing about City Dock, Crystal Spring and Forest Drive," Hartcorn said.

"This town has such a rich tapestry of artists that are sort of underground."

And if the underground becomes more mainstream, that's OK, Hartcorn said. Another group will take its place.

"There's such a cool, vibrant arts scene around here and nothing gives voice to it," said Iatesta, who is also a photographer and previously worked on food and wine-related magazines.

So much so there's room for a second magazine.

The first issue of SE7EN Magazine includes a tribute to Maya Angelou, profiles of rapper Rob Lo and music mogul Malachi Johns and lots of splashy photography.

The magazine also launched this month, but isn't available online yet. There's no print version. The next issue is scheduled for August.

Produced by 30-somethings Janell Johnson and Tameka Smith, the publication is a reboot of one they started last year for three issues called GEI The Magazine MD.

The new title is a spiritual reference. The idea is that on the seventh day of the week people should rest -- and read the magazine. It has more of a regional focus than Annapolis Underground and spotlights more African-Americans.

Eventually, Johnson and Smith, who both attended Annapolis High School, hope to launch other arts-related businesses.

"We're hoping to be like the Motown of Annapolis," said Johnson, who is an office manager.

Between work, families and the magazine, neither is getting a lot of sleep, but they're satisfied with the results. Smith, who has three children, works in human resources.

"When you see that first draft, it's a feeling beyond words," said Johnson, who has four children and a grandchild. "I cry every issue."

They started the magazine, because, like Iatesta and Davies, they saw a need.

"I don't think people really realize how much great stuff goes on here on a daily basis," said Davies, who is a local arts institution unto himself.

Iatesta, who graduated from St. Mary's High School, got the idea for Annapolis Underground a few months after moving back to the area from California in December.

"I came back to so much cool stuff," Iatesta said. "This is like a no-brainer."

He and Davies, like Johnson and Smith, hope to expand, launching underground publications in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

"We're not necessarily worried about the money aspect," Davies said. "The goal is to put out something beautiful."

___

(c)2014 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)

Visit The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) at www.hometownannapolis.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Capital (Annapolis, MD)


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