Sometime last week, supposedly in the dead of night, a few hundred copies of a new free magazine were quietly “made available” in select areas of Williamsburg and downtown Manhattan. It was an inscrutable, auspicious beginning, kind of like a plague of raspberry scones. No, we’re not stroking out, we’re just responding to the offbeat humor—like, way past syncopated—of this first issue of Hausfrau we’ve been reading.
The press release says, “Hausfrau is not just a new title, it’s a new category: PHOTOGRAPHY MEETS COMEDY.” It feels like the bastard child of National Lampoon and Mad magazine, raised by wolves who spend most of their time playing Indian poker. The first issue features a piece about the ultimate walk of shame (no clothes, just a bedsheet), a bit about tourists tragically paying too much for brunch, and the first episode of The Pharmacologists, set on the Williamsburg Bridge. The monthly’s first print run is 5,000 copies, and it will be available at 150 locations primarily in North Brooklyn, with an app expected later this summer.
Founder and editor Stephen Kosloff’s resume reads like New York birdcage lining: writing and photographs published by The New York Times, Gawker, Time Out New York, The Awl, The New York Post (no photos). Kosloff was also the creator of the legendary downtown speakeasy Deep Dish Cabaret, and a hybrid launch party for Hausfrau and Deep Dish Cabaret event will be held on June 26 at PIPs Table Tennis—$20 gets you free beer and wine, a handful of performances, and a 1-year subscription.
We caught up with Kosloff to talk about what the heck he thinks he’s doing. We’re still not completely sure.People will want to read Hausfrau because it’s funny and because it’s a new kind of magazine.
It primarily features series of photographs with funny dialog and catastrophic outfits, as well as some photo-journalism, flash fiction, essays, etc. It’s a fun, eclectic, visually driven magazine. We’ve shot in Montauk, London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The term “fresh voice” generally makes me want to vomit, but I hope that’s what Hausfrau brings to the table.
In 2000 I started an epistolary magazine called Ghent. Tad Friend almost wrote it up in The New Yorker, and I intend to make note of that on my tombstone. Ghent featured previously unpublished writing by Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Charles Manson. The weird thing about Ghent was that… it tasted like chicken.Isn’t it crazy to get into “hard” magazines in the all-so-digital age? Is there a demand for it? Analog backlash, or just hipster nostalgia?
Print makes sense under certain circumstances. Let’s say, for example, that you’re having a nice cold glass of grape juice, and—pow!—you spill it all over the floor. Good luck cleaning that shit up with an iPad! Hausfrau has been proven in clinical trials to absorb grape juice 95 percent faster than iPads and iPhones.
Deep Dish Cabaret was a roving, quasi-underground alt-comedy event that I created and hosted in the early aughts. I thought it made sense to kick it off again because it dovetails with the magazine. The magazine benefits from the show, and vice versa. And then when DDC re-launched in April—I remembered the shows were always fun, but it was shocking to me how much fun the April show was. I remembered they were great nights, but it blew peoples’ minds. Diabolically funny stuff.
Bradley Spinelli (@13_Spinelli) is the author of “Killing Williamsburg.”