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Ballyhoo Stories - Spring 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date: Spring 2005
The debut of Ballyhoo Stories, a biannual print magazine aiming “to reach the broadest audience possible,” is solid. It loses points for presentation – a less than elegant black-and-white cover, oddly shifting black-on-white with white-on-black text pages, and distracting borders and page number fonts – but the content is stronger. The eight stories loosely collected under this issue’s theme of “Portraits and Snapshots” are character-driven works that are at best quietly ambitious and at worst tend toward the sentimental, an understandable side-effect of fiction grown from personal photographs (and from a journal concerned with establishing a large readership). Several works stand out, including Michael Hartford’s “Call Me Pearl” and Amy Brill’s “The Pursuit of Joe Kahn.” “Kahn” seems a bit gimmicky on the surface, as a scruffy journalist is mistaken as the lover of an heiress, but Brill collapses the experience around the journalist’s life in an unexpectedly poignant way. It’s possible that the most engaging aspect of Ballyhoo Stories is a feature on the magazine’s website: the “Fifty States Project,” fifty stories devoted to each state of the Union with the goal of illustrating “the similarities and differences” within our country (only three states down – forty-seven to go!). Ambitious and worth keeping an eye on. [Ballyhoo Stories, 18 Willoughby Avenue, #3, Brooklyn, NY 11205. Email: . Single issue $8.] – Sean Bernard
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Review Posted on July 31, 2005

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