by Sarah Boesveld
What better way to celebrate a magazine so devoted to tracking pop culture than to send power chords resounding through an amp, filling an entire room with the energy of rock and roll?
Whitenoisemagazine.com is independently run by a smattering of fourth-year Ryerson journalism students. The magazine paid homage to rock and roll last week at Sneaky Dee’s, presenting a lineup of local rock acts including The Easy Targets, Sadie May Crash and Recordbreaker.
“Music is always at the lead of pop culture. It’s the trendsetter in terms of cool,” said Marco Ursi, editor-in-chief of White Noise, and drummer for Recordbreaker.
Ursi, a long-time rock and roll enthusiast and seasoned music reviewer since high school, conceived the site in the spring of this year. He then began approaching friends and fellow students to help construct the ode to pop culture in the form of a review website.
Ursi didn’t want the magazine to be your average review site — there’s a twist on the traditional. In analyzing pop culure, it is crucial to not only look at what’s popular at the moment, but to also examine what was considered popular in the past (and may still be).
“I feel like a lot of people don’t have a sense of the history of pop culture,” Ursi said. “It’s always the newest thing — corporations shoving trends and products down our throats.”
The magazine is primarily aimed towards the people who “were in high school when the Backstreet Boys were popular” and is not interested in convincing 16 to 30 year olds to purchase what staff is reviewing through rating it with a number. They like to use “clever word ratings” instead.
In each monthly issue, the magazine explores a theme of pop culture. Its debut issue was craftily themed, well, the “debut issue,” and featured reviews of premieres in film, television and music, past and present. This month, the magazine celebrates its relaunch with an issue boldly themed “what the fuck?” It looks at unlikely cultural icons of our time (think Steve Urkel of the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, and occult madman Charles Manson) and pop culture oddities such as the penning of “song-poems.”
These articles, among others featured in the new issue of White Noise, have strayed from their original review format and dug a little deeper, Ursi explained. They’ve involved more in-depth research, thus making the articles more of cultural observations than straight-up reviews.
White Noise‘s masthead includes other fourth-year journalism students such as associate editor Jacqueline Nunes and senior editors Joe Castaldo and Andrea Jezovit. Between story meetings, editing duties, interviews and other technicalities of the online project, the group also balances the heavy demands of putting together the Ryerson Review of Journalism — and of course, in Ursi’s case, rocking out.
“There are a lot of long hours at night after school (involved),” said Ursi, who not-so-casually mentions that the magazine is always looking for new writers.
Ursi believes it won’t be long until readers can take in the magazine’s contents from glossy pages rather than from a computer screen. Setting his sights on next summer, he aspires to take the magazine to the next level by publishing it in hard copy. Jezovit is especially excited about seeing the magazine go to print.
“I’ve always wanted to start and to write a magazine,” Jezovit said. “If we can get (White Noise) to print, that would be great.”
To celebrate the new direction of the magazine, and to give the site a proper introduction to the public, White Noise is hosting a launch party, again, carrying the theme of one of the greatest hallmarks of pop-culture: rock’n’roll.
Tomorrow’s event features the experimental songwriting talents of Andrew Pants and Ursi’s pop-rock band Recordbreaker, along with North York hip-hop artist Tupperware and DJ Diemonds. The White Noise Rock ‘N’ Roll Crusade happens tomorrow night at Supermarket (268 Augusta). Tickets $5, 9:30 p.m.