Even though there are seemingly fewer magazines and media outlets in Seattle right now than at any point in recent memory, it is surprisingly difficult to get a publication off the ground. It takes a lot of hard work to remind people to come to a website on a regular basis — hey, thanks, reader! — and Facebook won't allow publishers to find a new audience unless they pay a disgusting amount of extortion money.
That's why I admire Cascadia Magazine for launching a publication at a time when other media outlets are dashing themselves against the rocky shore of public indifference. Bolstered by a daily news email and featuring a voracious mixture of fiction and non-fiction, Cascadia has worked hard to establish a place for itself in the landscape.
Cascadia is a fine balance of a publication: it's smart but not snarky, engaging but not needy, and opinionated without being smug. Billed as "exploring ideas and cultures from the bioregion," Cascadia features author interviews, true explorations of homelessness and equitable pot farming, fiction from writers like Donna Miscolta, and poetry from writers like EJ Koh. In case you can't tell from that list, they are not screwing around at Cascadia.
On Friday, the magazine hosts its first meatspace get-together, in the form of a reading program at Vermillion, the art bar on Capitol Hill that is as close as Seattle gets to a literary hangout. Here's Cascadia's description of the readers:
You’ll hear Donna Miscolta and Anca Szilágyi read new fiction, listen to poetry from Michael Schmeltzer and Montreux Rotholtz, view photographs by Daniel Hawkins, and hear journalists Niki Stojnic and Matt Stangel talk about issues that matter to people living in the Cascadia bioregion.
All that for the low, low cost of free? Why wouldn't you show up for this? At the very least, it's important to show your support for an organization that's happily dumb enough to try to make it in the current media scene. If you find Cascadia publisher Andrew Engelson at the event, buy him a beer and toast his impeccable taste in windmill-tilting. We need more people like him.