Martini web site far from dry

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By Adam Segal

After a hard day of brain-numbing work, many twenty-something hipsters love nothing better than a chilled martini, some succulent sushi and a little jazz music to soothe the soul.

With that in mind, first-year graduate journalism student Jay Somerset and a group of nine other young writers and web designers decided to launch, an online magazine devoted to the finer things in life, from food to fashion.

The first issue, entitled MY2K Martini 2000, hit the Net Jan. 30 and includes an array of drink and food recipes, music and movie reviews, a look at the evolution of alcohol’s place in society, sex tips from the “Lounge Lizard” and even advice on how to throw a successful cocktail party.

Filled with glossy pictures, digital age background beats and user-friendly navigation symbols, is definitely a professional Web site.

The magazine’s purpose is fairly simple. “It’s about pleasure,” Somerset says. “Everything is so serious (in the world). This is a take on things that are fun.”

Fun is exactly how the magazine began. While perusing a Playboy Magazine article in 1998, president and publisher Steven Hawryshko spotted the article “Happy Hour Mixology—44 Drink Recipes,” which led the Emily Carr School of Art and Design graduate to think a website based entirely on alcohol was a worthwhile endeavour. Somerset agreed.

“After a while we realized this had too many negative connotations of a raging kegger,” Hawryshko concedes.

So the pair opted to focus on the ‘arts and science of living,’ as the site’s cover page says.
From December 1998 they met each week and began making the magazine a reality.

“It’s difficult putting a magazine together,” Somerset says. “It took weeks [before] everyone agreed on the final image for the logo.”

It also isn’t cheap. To date, the group has invested $5,000 of their own money in, and with a PR firm’s interest in promoting the magazine, those costs could mount.

Somerset says a shrinking bank account does not matter when he recalls how much he has learned. “It’s my first time ever editing on a grand level,” he says. “I get slammed in school for writing in my style, [now I can] test my style without having to stick to established criteria.”

Although there are thousands of on-line magazines, there is reason for the crew to be optimistic. The group has amassed more than 1,000  email addresses in the magazine’s main database, which will help generate subscriptions to the unique magazine.

“ was the first to market this type of site,” Hawryshko says. “It’s got pretty pictures and interesting articles. Playboy for the Gen-Xers.”

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