If you have been looking for the skinny on pop culture, look no further. Rowan students have introduced new arts and entertainment magazine, Halftone, that is meant to give a unique perspective and voice to what’s hot and what’s not.
Halftone is an online publication that currently has tabs – literally and figuratively – on film, television, music, games, books and more. It publishes reviews, columns and essays so that media-lovers of all sorts can enjoy the experience.
According to Assistant Professor Jason Luther, the general idea for Halftone was conceptualized three years ago at a CCCA Showcase with Matthew Berrian and alumnus Connor Buckmaster.
“Writing Arts did not have a publication that was one, exclusively digital nor two, focused on arts and culture,” Luther said. “We publish an incredible literary journal with ‘Glassworks’ and a glossy and gorgeous undergrad creative writing publication called ‘Avant,’ but nothing that represents the other significant voice in creative arts, which is criticism.”
Halftone was created through Luther, Berrian, Buckmaster and alumnus Destiny Hall. Luther wanted students to learn to write in unique genres such as reviews, interviews and essays.
Readers can find content surrounding different anime and manga, “Star Wars,” pop music, cosplay and even soul going back to the 1960s. The magazine is open to old things, new things and things that have not even come out.
So far, Halftone writer Cat Reed provided a piece about the depth of certain popular manga and anime, Frank Saponare expresses concerns over the future of “The Book of Boba Fett” and Jay Norton shares the importance of the boy band and the new Disney and Pixar film, “Turning Red.”
It also looks into problems in media like the lack of proper representation of marginalized groups, as well as lighthearted essays about an author’s love of theater. Reed’s piece on Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop” goes into particular detail about non-binary representation and why that is problematic, and Owen O’Brien’s essay “tick, tick…BOOM!: A Theater Love Letter” recommends media for both lovers and non-lovers of theatrical productions.
The student-run publication seeks to share information and insight with readers, giving them a chance to think critically about something that may have previously seemed set in a particular headspace that could not appeal to many audiences.
“Halftone’s mission is to produce thought-provoking, student-created content about popular culture,” said Casey Wang, editor of Halftone. “We want our work to advance current public discourses and also inspire new conversations.”
Essentially, Halftone is not meant to be a gossip magazine like many arts and entertainment publications are. It is meant to project unique voices and perspectives on media. All are welcome to read, write and think in the space that Halftone provides.
Halftone is welcoming anyone who loves to write to join their team so that more topics and opinions can become open to the audience. While the Halftone writers have already covered a variety of topics, virtually nothing is off the table, and there is no rule that one topic cannot be covered multiple times. Writers and editors of the magazine are currently talking about fanfiction, live show reviews and magic to join the publication.
For anyone interested in writing for Halftone, there is a content submission form under the “Write For Us!” tab on their website. The team also holds “pitch parties” every Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. over Zoom. All voices, topics and ideas are welcome to be shared. More on this the importance of Halftone can be found on their Twitter and Instagram pages.
“I think we all really like the idea of using Halftone as a space to open a dialogue on all the things in pop culture that fascinate or frustrate us,” Wang said.
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