Emdashes, founded in 2004, was the first online community devoted to the writers, artists, history, and readers of The New Yorker. With the addition of eight years, kind praise, a Webby honor, and a host of new contributors, it’s evolved into a general-interest site whose beats include design, comedy, politics, and punctuation. All unsigned posts from 2004 to 2008 were written by Emily Gordon. Bios of Emdashers past and present are below.
Emily Gordon, founder and editor, has worked in print and digital content since 1994 and is currently the managing editor of 20×200, Jen Bekman’s pioneering art e-commerce site. Before that, she was the web editor of The Washington Spectator; before that, she was editor-in-chief of Print magazine, which won two National Magazine Awards (as well as numerous honors from the Art Directors Club and the Society of Publication Designers) during her tenure as EIC and managing editor. She has been on the editorial staff at The Nation, Newsday, PEN America, Legal Affairs, and Grand Street, and taught at New York University and Dowling College. She has a Tumblr called The Beautiful Sentence.
Additionally, she’s written features, reviews, and op-eds for Print, Newsday, The New York Times Book Review, Time Out Chicago, The Nation, Salon, The Village Voice, The Washington Post Book World, and A Brief Message, among others. (Some of her clips are here, here, and in the green footer below.) She’s spoken at SXSW, TypeCon, The Art Directors Club, The Strand, and Eyebeam, among other venues. She has a B.A. in English from Barnard College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University; was jailed very briefly for protesting Rudolph Giuliani’s destruction of community gardens; sometimes works as a painter’s model; and has been a lindy-hop dancer for many years. E-mail her at emily at emdashes dot com.
Pollux is the pen name of Paul Morris, staff writer and art editor, who drew the comic “The Wavy Rule” and wrote Sempé Fi, a column devoted to the art on New Yorker covers. Pollux was born in Beverley, England, and studied medieval history at UCLA and Brown University. He is the author of the graphic novels Ferrex and Porrex and The Golden Helmsman, among others. You can see more of his work at his ImageKind page. E-mail him at polylerus at gmail dot com.
Jonathan Taylor, contributing editor, lives in Brooklyn. His writing for The Believer, The Village Voice, Stop Smiling, The Nation, Newsday, Time Out New York, The Stranger, and other publications, as well as contact information, can be found at jonathandtaylor.wordpress.com.
Martin Schneider currently writes the movie-review site Box Office Boffo and, for Emdashes, wrote The Squib Report, an exploration of The Complete New Yorker’s digital archive and other subjects; he also reported from events in New York City, Austria, and Cleveland. In his paying work life, Martin edits books for university presses and writes book reviews. E-mail him at martin at emdashes dot com.
Benjamin Chambers wrote “The Katharine Wheel,” a column about New Yorker-related fiction; the column name honors Katharine White, The New Yorker’s first fiction editor. Chambers is the editor of The King’s English, a prizewinning online magazine that specializes in novella-length fiction. He received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and has had his fiction, poetry, and essays published in numerous journals, including The Iowa Review, ZYZZYVA, MANOA, and The Mississippi Review. You can find contact information at his website.
Brian Sholis, contributing writer, is the Artforum.com Editor at Artforum. He has written for Artforum, Parkett, Afterall, Flash Art, Bookforum, Print, the Detroit Metro-Times, and the New York Press, among other periodicals, and has contributed to books published by Taschen and Phaidon. He is the co-editor, with Noah Horowitz, of The Uncertain States of America Reader (Serpentine Gallery/Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art/Sternberg Press, 2006). His personal site is www.briansholis.com; he lives in Brooklyn.
Emdashes has also published contributions by various esteemed guests, including The New Yorker’s librarians, Jon Michaud and Erin Overbey, co-authors of the celebrated Ask the Librarians column (which now lives at newyorker.com).
The site was designed and built by Patric King and Su at Pretty; most illustrations are by Jesse Ewing at Inkleaf, with others by Carolita Johnson (who writes and draws newyorkette) and Lara Tomlin (represented at iSpot). The pencil-girl logo, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad, was originally created by Jennifer Hadley.
A guide to the categories listed in the top green header:
Hit Parade collects the posts that have gotten Emdashes readers all whirled up like soft-serve ice cream.
Seal Barks envelops all the posts about art—cartoons, covers, spots, photos, and illustrations. The name comes from the classic 1932 cartoon by James Thurber, in which a fed-up woman says to the man next to her in bed, “All right, have it your way—you heard a seal bark!” In a related category, “O Caption! My Caption!”, we interview the winners of the weekly Cartoon Caption Contest, who must battle nearly 7,000 other entrants to make the grade and claim their prize. It’s an elite and fascinating band.
On the Spot: News and reviews of events, like readings, talks, plays, musical performances, gallery openings, and so on. “On the Spot” is also for announcing events we can’t go to, because they’re in Alaska or something. Emily prefers not to take notes at parties, so you’ll have to rely on others for scuttlebutt.
Looked Into is for focused, critical examination of things (like books and blog posts, but not events).
Pick of the Issue: What to read? We choose the juiciest cuts from The New Yorker and other magazines.
New Yorker Festival: Here’s where you’ll find news and announcements about festivals that The New Yorker puts together, including the New Yorker Festival and the New Yorker Conference. We’ve covered both for several years, so in this category, you can read news, reviews of events, and announcements about future developments.
Eustace Google: We google phrases, names, and other mysteries so you don’t have to. It’s a veritable Katz’s Deli of links in further pursuit of the details in a story, drawing, ad, or news item.
Eds.: Items about New Yorker editors-in-chief since the start of the magazine: Harold Ross, William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb, Tina Brown, and David Remnick.
The Catbird Seat: Friends & Guests is where people we like write about whatever they want.
Jonathans Are Illuminated This category concerns all Jonathans of letters, the ones you know well and the ones who have yet to leap into Bright Young Jonathanness.
X-Rea tracks sightings of and inquiries into the work of illustrator, designer, and man-about town Rea Irvin, who is best known for being The New Yorker’s first art director. He created not only the iconic ironic dandy Eustace Tilley but the magazine’s signature typeface. As you can guess from the category’s title, his name is pronounced “Ray” as in Sugar, not “Ree” as in readerly.
Letters & Challenges: Letters from readers. Never fear—we print only the letters you’ve explicitly given us permission to print, whether with your name or anonymously; just let us know. Here’s how to send one. There are also occasional challenges and contests. And prizes.
Personal: At last, something really bloggy! Read Emily’s Innermost Thoughts, or at least the ones she chooses to share with the wide world web.
Other em dash aficionados:
The Emdash Awards, a prize for artists from Frieze Projects and the Emdash Foundation; the 2011 winner was Anahita Razmi.
Em-Dash Man, a.k.a. photographer Martin Ley
Em Dash: “The Band, Not the Punctuation Mark”
Em Dash Book Publishing, of Victoria, B.C. (Love their tagline: “The beginning of the long dash.”)
More Canadians: Em Dash Design, Montreal
Em Dash, home of a blogger with old-fashioned sensibilities (and we both like using the postal mail)
“Typography from letterpress to web”: emdash
Emdash, a letterpress studio in St. Louis; Ken Botnick, owner
More designers: EMdash Design with Elizabeth E. Maplesden
Emily Raper’s emdash designs
Em Dash, of San Francisco
This Daily Kos contributor; another from 43 Things; a third on the great COLOURLovers
Punk label Em Dash Music (site is down—very punk rock)
Grammar Girl on dashes
Honorary dasher Anil Dash
Finally, a mutineer: en dasher!
Further Emily Gordon note by Emily Gordon: Incidentally, Emily Fox Gordon, author of Mockingbird Years, Are You Happy?, It Will Come To Me, and the essay collection Book of Days, is not me. Nor is Julia Emily Gordon the 19th-century painter; the ubercool Emily Gordon of Gynomite!; Emily Gordon the promising young singer-songwriter; or Emily Gordon the aikido practitioner, who can definitely beat me up, though I’m sure that’s not her style. There’s a contemporary painter, a real estate practitioner, students of all stripes, an incredibly cute toddler, and a British financial reporter, and they are not me, but if they would like to form an organization, I am all for joining it.
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