Xtra is growing up. Our first issue was published on Mar 3, 1984, and that makes us sweet 16. Not so sweet, though, as it turns out. Our redesign this issue is perhaps a rite of passage into adulthood. But, as you’ll see, Xtra is a brazen hussy of a teen: a horny stud who has honed his skills as a seducer; an elder Lolita with who has mastered her powers as a temptress.
Good design is about seduction. It draws you in. Clues you in. Piques your interest. Stimulates you. Pleases you. It leads you where you want to go, and draws you into places you might have skipped over. It’s engaging and helpful. Seduction is a central part of what we do at Xtra. Our mission statement implores us to “entice and incite.”
Design is a valuable communication tool, and good design makes for good communication. Our editors have been more involved in this redesign than any in our history, and we think the result is a design for our paper edition which complements the words and images which comprise our publication, bringing them to you in a manner which is both practical and pleasurable. Designer Lucinda Wallace has produced a stunning look that we believe will help you navigate easily and facilitate your rich interaction with our publication.
Our redesign shows that the gangly years are over, and that we’ve learned to wash behind our ears and be clean where it counts. We hope you’ll find Xtra’s various sections more clearly defined, our pages cleaner and our stories more helpfully flagged and identified for you. We’ve decided upon simple, direct coding for sections: Letters, News, Views, Arts, Listings, Classifieds. And we’ve changed some of our regular columns, highlighting the types of stories and the columnists themselves. And so you’ll see words like Books and Music replacing the more obscure titles of the past.
We’re also launching several new features this issue. On the break page of the News section, you’ll find Nik Sheehan’s Memo To: This Magazine. Memo To: is our new community review column, where various writers will offer their opinions on current events or endeavours in – or addressed to – our community. It’s a focus on actual work being done in the community, interpreted and evaluated by those that work is meant to address.
In our newly renamed Views section, you’ll find Relations, our new column about the different kinds of relationships in our lives, be they with lovers or ex-lovers, friends or enemies, or people we know by trick or trade. In this issue, Christina Starr explores her relationships with her daughter’s classmates. (Christina has also wrapped her Visibly A Parent column, and we thank her for that groundbreaking series of frank and funny insights into an emerging area of gay life.)
Also on the Views break page in our paper edition is The Steps, a poll of local homo-on-the-street opinion. In the Arts section, you’ll find Harlot’s Web, which highlights bizarre or otherwise intriguing websites. And we’re adding shorter arts reviews.
We at Xtra find ourselves in the prickly position of parents aroused by the fine specimen of robust youth our child has suddenly become. We hope that our new design seduces you, too, and that you’ll succumb to the temptation and have a blast.
David Walberg is Editor In Chief for Xtra.