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Eleven opens its doors for dialogue going on 11/11

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 9, 2009 - For the past two decades, there’s usually been at least one, monthly magazine dedicated to area bands and musicians. Starting with Spotlight in the 1980s, mags like Night Times, Playback and St. Louis Sound would step into the breach, attempting to serve both local players and fans, alike.

Some stayed around for a while, others didn’t; more than one morphed into online-only publications.

Since 2006, the publishers of Eleven (which is billed as St. Louis' intercollegiate music magazine) have always wanted to have a web presence (elevenmusicmag.com/). Mostly, though, they’ve wanted to focus efforts on publishing a local, print publication, with the added twist of having collegiate students as writers and editors, along with a school-year production calendar.

“We feel you have a much more intimate relationship with something that you read, by holding it your hand and feeling it,” says Josh Petersel, Eleven’s CFO and part of the mag’s three-person operations team.

“It gives you a lot more control of the interaction and experience. We also feel that unlike online (where it can feel that you’re staring at a lightbulb) it allows for more length to each piece. That’s comfortable on paper. The online trend is about updating, with little blurbs and sentences. It’s easy to absorb and consume that in 140-character bits. But a full-blown interview with artists, or an extensive review of album … in talking to readers, they enjoy that in print.”

This week, Eleven’s staff and volunteers get a chance to discuss ideas with readers in person, with a party and concert at Eleven’s offices. The Eleven/Eleven event, on (naturally) Wednesday, Nov. 11, will be held at 2603 Cherokee Street, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the band Cold Bear Scout playing at 9 p.m.

Petersel says the magazine’s editors have been eyeing the date for some time, and they “hope it will eventually become a recurring part of our product and our brand. And it’s an easy date to remember. It’s been in the back of our minds since we started making plans for Eleven.”

Ideally the party will get readers “excited about everything that’s going on, in interesting new material. Even getting people to collaborate. Strictly, as far as the party, if everyone comes, smiles and has a good time, that’s as much as you can expect. We do want it to be a launching pad to bigger and better things.”

Thomas Crone is a freelance writer.