J.C. Gabel

Step Into the Light: An Interview With Radiohead's Stage Designer Andi Watson

As a lighting and stage designer, Andi Watson is unrivaled. I first witnessed his work on the Radiohead tour for “Kid A” 10 years ago. Since then, every time I’ve seen Radiohead perform live, I’ve looked forward to the muted yet intoxicating stage show theatrics as much as the music itself. Watson’s sets seem...

The Gordon Geckos of Grunge

This year marks the 20th anniversary of “grunge,” or as David Markey aptly named his documentary about Sonic Youth’s European tour, 1991: The Year Punk Broke. The film, which came out the following year, captured the post-punk subculture on the verge of mass appeal, a time when jocks and stoners alike rallied behind dissonant...

Five Questions for Vintage Art Director/Designer Megan Wilson

While cataloging my home library over the holiday break, I found myself wondering who had designed some of my favorite book covers. I made notes to myself in series of notebooks. When I tallied up my final list, it turned out that at least half of them were designed by Megan Wilson. For the...

My Best and Worst of 2010

I usually deplore list stories, but then again, the Internet is ripe for them. Pitchfork, for instance, does a wonderful job contextualizing lists of reviews, interviews and articles about music. The following list doesn’t follow any semblance of order, but the headers in all CAPS say it all. A week and a half into...

Five Questions with the Trio Behind Open Letter Books

Just over two years old, Open Letter Books, based at the University of Rochester in upstate New York, have made it their mission to introduce American readers to international authors through foreign translations. OLB, a non-profit organization, publish 12 books a year, in addition to running the online literary website, Three Percent, which aims...

The Vibrating Type Cover for Listen to This

In 2007, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, released The Rest Is Noise: Listen to the 20th Century (FSG), his obsessive study of classical music, to international acclaim. The writing is studious and nuanced but unpretentious and inviting; even someone like me, with no background or interest in classical music, was sucked...

Five Questions with William Bird, Smithsonian Curator

In the summer of 2008, as the historic presidential election was building steam, I traveled with photographer (and regular Print contributor) Ian Allen to Washington, D.C., to do interviews and photo shoots for STOP SMILING magazine’s second-to-last issue, themed around the nation’s capital. One of people I met was William L. Bird, Jr. (Larry...

Five Questions with Steven Heller About Alvin Lustig

Six months ago, I wrote to Steven Heller about an idea I had for a book on the subject of designer Alvin Lustig. I asked if he would write the introductory essay, outlining Lustig’s role in modern design history. Readers of Print may remember Steve’s homage to Lustig from the Jan/Feb 2004 issue. Not...

Five Questions with Paul Buckley, Penguin Art Director

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Penguin Books, art director Paul Buckley chose 75 book covers to investigate the design process behind each one. What worked and what didn’t? What did the designer or illustrator think? What did the author think? These questions are all collected in Penguin 75, a book I wrote about...