The 17th issue of Esopus kicks off with “Metagame: Culture Edition,” a fascinating new game meant to inspire cultural debate specially commissioned for the issue from the experimental gaming collective Local No. 12. Each copy of Esopus 17 contains 120 removable game cards (there are 360 in total, spread across the print run in three different editions). The issue also includes three long-form artists’ projects by Adam Chodzko (incorporating a unique object placed by hand into each issue), Thomas Lawson (with an 18" x 22" poster), and Alyson Shotz (with a 25" x 29" poster), as well as the inaugural installment of “Analog Recovery,” a new series that showcases recovered portfolios from acclaimed photographers who used Magnum Photo’s analog distribution system. This first installment presents Inge Morath’s “Bal D’Hiver,” a series of 16 stunning photographs of a Paris charity ball shot by the late photographer in 1955 (see cover image).
Esopus 17 also contains a suite of new work by emerging poet Jessica Elsaesser, short fiction by first-time author Rick Stinson, and 100 frames from Moscow-based documentarian Sergey Dvortsevoy’s remarkable feature debut, Tulpan (2008). The Emmy Award–winning archival photo researcher Rich Remsberg provides this issue’s found object: brain-twisting rebus puzzles discovered in a bound volume of a Victorian-era children’s magazine. Regular contributor Angus Trumble focuses on 1877 for his meticulously researched, and highly entertaining, “Year in Retrospect” column.
Esopus 17 closes with “Fear Itself,” a compilation CD featuring 13 new songs inspired by Esopus subscribers’ irrational fears. Contributors to the CD include Meursault, Sage Redman, Corey Dargel, Bishop Allen, We Are Augustines, and David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), and Bubba and Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year), whose collaborative track represents the public debut of the four musicians’ brand-new band.