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Editorial:

Editorial Mission:
Early Spring 2009
Keeping Hope in Trying Times.
by Atim Annette Oton,
editor and publisher,

We continue to print in a market that is contracting and our mission this issue is to highlight people and some issues that we all need to come to terms with. Times are hard, but we are enduring people and as difficult as it seems, things will change for the better.

I hit a milestone in February - 40. Yes, historic, and simply spectacular. I am and have been very much my own person for most of my life...it is in full part due to my parents and to the education I have hard, formal and other wise. Forty is supposed to be dramatic, I left Lagos two days before my birthday from 94 degree sub-Saharan sun to Brooklyn’s 16 degree cold. Yikes - that’s enough drama.

I guess I should celebrate, but I have been celebrating life most of my everyday existence. I was advised to bask in the day and enjoy this decade - it is a remarklable experience. 40 is fabulous. I am where I need to be and thrilled at what is to come. I think I have known that since I became 23, when I had my perceived “30’s” crisis. I went off to grad school in England...it was the best decision of my life. It got me to see the world differently, experience life and to dare to do everything I have wanted to since.

I came back to Brooklyn from Lagos with a renewed sense of place, spirit and purpose. My mission is clear. Too many of us are in a “funk”, dare I say it - depressed. The walls are closing in or so we think. People, come on - this is the most creative time to be alive and the most significant of our lives. From the presidency down to the every life...the ground has shifted and a realignment is happening. Please stop feeling sorry for yourself and act with meaning and purpose. Make change -take that dream to the next level and act like a
winner.

After a few weeks in Lagos, I heard a few cash rich Nigerians talk about a credit crunch. Imagine, 95% of that country has no credit cards...this is a cash-only society. My daily wandering saw a society living fully and intensely about their lives and troubles. It reminded me of a saying in the African-American community - we are not in a recession, we have been living in one already - it’s our everyday.

I am reminded of the importance of life’s mission as I read that Max Bond, the most influential African American Architect, one of my mentors, passed at the age of 73. A huge loss - he lived an incredible life and gave alot of himself. He was an eloquent man who pursued architecture with spirit in a time where architecture was most difficult. A quiet radical, he made you think about life and boundaries, about the importance of having a perspective, and an opinion.

I was an undergraduate student when he was a dean and was lucky to work for him after grad school. He taught me to belive that Architecture is Revolution. A profound idea -but one with an enduring mission - take risks, live, and do it with passion and belief. That simple idea made me understand that change is vital to your existence, and I continue to live it. Max Bond was a thinker, he was vibrant and focused, he will truly be missed.

For us all, this is a time of reflection, of opportunity and of action. A time to rethink how we can change who we were, to who we will become. In chosing to focus on Keeping Hope in Trying Times, our theme, I selected three features that conquer the spirit od reflection, action, and opportunity - Top Home Decor Trends for 2009 targets the past and future; while Sherwin XL brings humor and grit in the trials of the comedic life; and young fashion designer Shirley Ephraim takes her opportunity by transcending her talents into the movie realm.

Columnist Patricia Spear Jones starkly reminds us about the challenges of losing a job and how your PLAN B may not work too. She begs us to come up with something different as it is looking like we are in a sinking ship.
Drama, indeed. But, we are an imaginative country. Food editor, Wendy Taylor tells us to explore Brooklyn food places and head to Chinatown, no - not the one in Manhattan, and go out for some SouthAsian food...or try her recipe. It just might be worth it. And while we are still eating, maybe we should look at our cholesterol levels - and this time, we need to understand what it is.

As early Spring shifts the winter cold away, I am excited about life’s possibilities, aware that people need a hand- a shoulder to cry on, and someone just to say hello and how are things. So, I ask of you, be there for your neighbor, listen to that stranger who is having a hard time, and most importantly, walk with purpose. Life is a beautiful thing and waste not time to bemoan the difficulties and move on to change the future.

Editorial Mission:

CALABAR magazine is a bi-monthly lifestyle publication about Brooklyn home decor, fashion, culture and the arts. It explores people and places of this unique borough through the lenses of some of its resident writers.

The magazine features insights of award winning poet Patricia Spears Jones in her column,Cosmopolitan in Brooklyn, fashion maven Bonnie Sandy-Sterling on Fashion in Brooklyn; essayist and photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayn on Culture, Travel & Heritage with Food Editor and Columnist, Wendy Taylor.

Features:
Each issue of CALABAR magazine contains three distinct feature sections: Home Decor, Fashion, Culture, Travel and the Arts.

The Home Decor section showcases homes and interiors of living places in Brooklyn. Explores emerging trends in home design, interior decoration, furniture and features products made in or from the borough.

The Fashion section covers design personalities, style, trends and businesses found in and exported from Brooklyn.

The Culture,Travel & Heritage section covers sites, vacation places, escapes and holiday destinations in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and South America. Some articles are written by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn.

Our Columns are educational and opinionated.

Cosmopolitan in Brooklyn: Opinionated views of Patricia Spear Jones

Food & Dining: An Insiders’ look at eateries in Brooklyn

Working your Creative Business Enterprise: A business tips column written by Atim Annette Oton.

CALABAR's editorial calendar is defined by the themes:

January/February - Early Spring Fashion and Home Decor Preview:

What's in and what's out? In Central Brooklyn, who and what neighborhoods are setting the standards for Brooklyn: Prospect Heights, Bed Stuyvesant or Crown Heights? Who is hip? Who is innovative and far-out remarkable? Our best of best settingthe standards creates the list by singling out out-of-this world trend-setters. Finally, what is Black History month doing for black people?

March/April: Design and Style and/or The African IssueIssue:

From Nigeria to Brooklyn, African inspired design is taking over the industry. What are the influences, who are the designers and where can you find their work? Brooklyn designers from Moshood to Guereje are African, more precisely, Nigerian. How does the Nigeria factor influence design? Or is it a West African aesthetic? From fabric to furniture, is Africa the source of pleasure and design inspiration? What's going on for Egypt and South Africa in travel and food?

May/June: Travel Issue: Escape to the world from Brooklyn.

What are Brooklynites hottest destination - the Caribbean Africa, Europe or the US? This issue we explore the vacation spots and what types of vacations are available - from spas to resorts to eco-tours. We look at immigration and what changes are occuring in this newest invasion into Brooklyn from Manhattanites to Africans, whose coming to this city.

July/August: Summer and Home Issue:

From bikinis to rollerbrades in Prospect Park and Coney Island, what are the key events and places to hang out this summer in Brooklyn. What are our fashion cues, our health needs and what kind of homes do we open up for the summer. This issue we celebrate Brooklyn homes and apartments. We highlight homeowners and share secrets of buying and selling. We showcase hot neighborhoods and explore summer trends.


September/October: Business and Finance Issue:

Whose managing your finance? Where can you get help and what are the things to do for your business and finance now? This issue takes a look at your personal finance and business needs? We explore money and its affects on your life. Whose making it in Brooklyn and who is not? What are the problems facing Brooklynites when it comes to money and finances?


November/December 2007: The Holiday Issue:

Where do Brooklynites go for Thanksgiving? What Brooklyn's holiday celebrations are unique? From Hannukah, Christmas to Kwanzaa, where do you go to get those great gifts? This issue looks at entertaining, table settings and gifts. It features our Holiday preview and holiday catalog.


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