From the Editor

When in the summer of 1999, an announcement of this position somehow landed in my mailbox, my first reaction was “It’s about time!” I didn’t mean the possibility of my getting a job as an editor; I meant the conversion of Buffalo Spree—at long last—to a real city/regional magazine. So I spent most of my initial interview congratulating my soon-to-be bosses.

And then the work started. I soon found that it would take time before our readership, our advertisers, and even some of our staff would be able to fully adjust to the new model. It involved aspects of magazine production that Spree had never been too concerned with before. Instead of choosing short stories and poems from unsolicited submissions, feature stories had to be assigned. Issues were crafted around relevant themes. Design and photography became much more important. We had to think about the types of articles that would most interest a local readership. This is all old hat to most city/regional magazines (such as Philadelphia, Chicago, or Boston) but Spree had never had such priorities. So it took some time before we got into the groove of creating a publication that was truly relevant, useful, and—most of all—local.

I’m happy to say that for the most part the process has been great fun. It’s fun working for a publisher as flexible, creative, and sympathetic as Larry Levite. It’s fun working with our diversely talented art department, led by Chastity Taber. It’s fun working with our two associate editors, Ronald Ehmke and Christopher Schobert, both of whom bring an encyclopedic range of interests and expertise, especially in arts and pop culture, to the table. Indeed, I could run through the whole masthead, including freelance contributors, sales, finance, marketing, production, and circulation and commend every individual not just as an able professional and respected colleague, but also as a nice person who’s a pleasure to hang out with. No wonder we have so many parties!

I think the central reason we all enjoy working together is that we are all very proud of what we produce here. Buffalo Spree has won major awards from the City and Regional Magazine Association, but I think the casual compliments I hear almost daily at meetings and events outside the office are even more gratifying. I hope that people will continue to talk to me about Spree, not just to compliment but to share ideas, comments, and criticism.

Thank you for reading.

From the Publisher

Well, well, well—here we are, turning forty. I guess it’s a big deal because lots of great literary minds have come up with words of wisdom on the “Big 4-0.” Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Dostoevsky, George Bernard Shaw, Gail Sheehy, and my personal favorite, Benjamin Franklin, have all weighed in.

But the following (anonymous) anecdote is my favorite:

When Nature first created man, monkey, and bull, she endowed the man with forty years of life, the monkey with forty, and the bull with twenty. The man wanted more, and the monkey and the bull volunteered to help him out. “Twenty’s enough for me,” said the monkey. “Man can have my other twenty.” “And I’ll give him ten of mine,” said the bull. And thus it came about that man’s life runs to seventy years, on the average, and is divided into three periods: the first forty years of normal life; the next twenty, monkey business; and the last ten, shooting the bull. Draw your own conclusions on what this means for an aging magazine publisher.

It’s really pretty simple how we got here—a talented and terrific bunch of men and women go about the work of producing each issue of Buffalo Spree with unique dedication. Our readers demand the best, our advertisers provide the best, and what results is a very special relationship established over forty wonderful years.

It’s been a fun ride … but we’ve still got plenty of hell to raise.

With my warm and sincere thanks to all.


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