As We See It

Downtown’s new Inspire magazine cafe lives up to its name

Photo: Marvin Lucas

There was a small shock wave, followed by collective gasps and huffy rebuttals when the Hindustan Times quoted Tina Brown last November saying that she no longer reads magazines and that the written word is becoming less relevant. She is, after all, the magazine lady, former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, who launched Talk with a much-coveted interview with then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That Brown’s comments shot across the Internet might have salted the wounds, but magazine readers aren’t topping extinction lists quite yet. This month’s opening of Inspire News Café, catering to the tactile reader, reminds us that there’s just way too much good stuff out there to absorb, digest, debate and relish. Inspire is like an opium den for magazine junkies. Buyers can pluck from hundreds of titles lining the walls of the spacious café on Fremont Street at Las Vegas Boulevard. Mixed in with Harper’s, The Believer, Artforum, Utne Reader, The New Yorker, Atomic Ranch and Scientific American are hard-to-find publications like Bitch, Stone Soup and Urban Farm.

Supermarket staples—Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair—are also on hand among weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies dedicated to art, politics, business, food, design, literature, music and architecture.

“A guiding principle of Inspire is to be inspiring,” says Laura Herbert, entertainment director at Inspire. “I love being part of putting that content into our community. For me, being a New Yorker, newsstands are part of the culture. We’re going to grow it, to try to cater to people’s wants and desires.”

Topping it all off is the Espresso Book Machine, a Plexiglas-covered device that will print public domain books or your own manuscript while you wait. Operated by Drew Cohen, whose husband, Scott Seeley, is planning to open a pop-up store, The Writer’s Block Book Shop at 509 Fremont St., it has more than 7 million books available. So grab a cup of illy coffee, settle into one of the couches at Inspire News Café, read a magazine, wait for a book to be printed and raise a toast to Ms. Brown.

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Kristen Peterson

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