A Major Brooklyn Literary Magazine Transforms Itself

01/28/2014 10:53 AM |

tweeds literary magazine brooklyn coffin factory randy rosenthal laura isaacman

In 2011, Randy Rosenthal and Laura Isaacman founded The Coffin Factory, a thrice-yearly literary magazine published out of Brooklyn that featured an impressive array of names: the first issue alone included work by Joyce Carol Oates, José Saramago, Milan Kundera, Roberto Bolaño, and more local talent like Justin Taylor. After five issues, they’ve folded the magazine—according to a crowdsourcing site, because national distribution is wasteful, with thousands of unsold magazines getting tossed—but are hoping quickly to start publishing a new one, Tweed’s, for which they’re hoping to raise the funds through an IndieGoGo campaign that ends this week. We touched base with Laura and Randy to figure out what was going on.

What will be the major differences between Tweed’s and The Coffin Factory?
Well Henry, what’s the difference between a pug and a bulldog? And, I mean, imagine if you put red lipstick and a pair of pink panties on grandma, and then you spun her around a few times—would grandpa want to shtup her again? You’re damn right he would.

You think we’re just joking, but metaphorically that actually explains the difference in the conceptual approach: Tweed’s will be more powerful, with punchier writing and art that stirs up the pot. And—believe it or not—with The Coffin Factory we were trying to appeal to a mass market, but Tweed’s will be aimed at a more specialized audience—you know, peeps who like the finer things in life. Think small batch, artisanal, boutique.

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Why change the name as well? Did “The Coffin Factory” prove too bleak for casual newsstand buyers?
We went to a fortune-teller and the gypsy woman told us to abandon “The Coffin Factory” because it was bad feng-shui. On the way home, we cut through the cemetery and passed Boss Tweed’s tombstone. Since he’s a symbol of American greed and corruption, we thought, Why not?

Will “Coffin Factory Productions” do more than publish Tweed’s?
You betcha! We’ve got ourselves a band, and made two short films for our Indiegogo campaign. So it’s whatever we can kick a groove to.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart