Gutes Guterman, Byline
Following the demise of downtown New York newspaper The Drunken Canal, cofounder Gutes Guterman has now launched online magazine Byline.
The Drunken Canal caused a splash with its coverage/parodying of the Dimes Square art and social scene, drawing plenty of attention from larger publishers desperate for a ‘scene’. The newspaper closed last year, and now Guterman has turned her attention to a digital project that runs to a monthly themed schedule, promising ‘culture, life, romance, style, internet behavior, and our very own New York City.’ As she shares her week of travel, she discusses the rise and fall of The Drunken Canal and explains the thinking behind Byline.
What are you up to this Monday morning?
This Monday is a particularly unusual Monday, as I’m somewhere over the great Atlantic Ocean flying to Copenhagen. Everything I know about Mondays and beginning my week is 10,000 feet below me. Today I’m tired, a puddle of flesh and bones, and I’m bloated from all the travel. I’m not sure if I’m enjoying myself, it’s a mix of dread (six more hours of travel) and joy (I’m sitting next to my best friend and co-founder, Megan, as we begin the 2nd leg of a very long trip).
But if today was anything like my usual Mondays, I’d be sitting on my couch sipping a mug of Matcha (sweetened with maple syrup from Maine) and petting my cat while my brain turns on. If I’m feeling sluggish, I’ll listen to really loud pop music to supercharge my senses. Nothing says ‘get the fuck up!’ like Kim Petras reverberating through my wired headphones on repeat.
Even though today is unlike most Mondays, I am the same level of optimistic as I’d be on any given week. I am ready to receive the world and its ready to receive me back. We have a beautiful relationship, me and fate. We figured each other out, and we’re madly in love.
Where are you today?
I’m on Delta flight DL9468, a 10 hour and 10 minute excursion from LAX to Amsterdam. Then I have a three hour layover before a quick flight to Copenhagen. Byline is covering Copenhagen Fashion Week, our first international dispatch!
What can you see from your desk/ through the window?
If I’m at my normal setup, a giant blue desk by the brand “Malibu”, I’m looking at my computer, my monitor, and some art books/references I’m thinking about. Outside my window is a mulberry tree and a church with all its curtains closed. When mulberries are in season, I’ll open up my window and pluck one straight from the tree. Then I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh because I can’t believe how beautiful life is, and how lucky I am to live it the way that I do.
Which magazine do you first remember?
The first magazine I remember must have been US Weekly, or Life & Style, some sort of gossip rag that my mom put in her cart on the way to checkout at a grocery store. When I got a bit older, tweenish years, I’d start to consume them myself. I remember reading Lady Bunny’s commentary on the worst dressed list. I remember always looking at, but never picking up, the National Enquirer.
This is all to say, my love for print and publishing was born out of tabloids. What probably started off as a desire to be in them, turned into a desire to make them. Tabloids will outlive us all.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
They all always matter.
Describe Byline in three words.
Let’s be friends!
Explain the hullabaloo caused by The Drunken Canal for our non-NY readers
I think The Drunken Canal was just a group of fearless people at a time when people were fearful. I think everyone involved and present was so hellbent on having fun that it either endeared people or scared people. It was an art project that broke all the traditional rules because it didn’t know what the rules were. I wish I had a better answer, but ultimately two brilliant girls did the right thing at the right time in the right place. And we were damn good at it!
As for why it ended, sometimes you have to know when the finish line is. Not everything is designed to exist in perpetuity, or to scale upwards, or to become an entity. It’s okay for things to wrap up once the story is complete, and our story was finished. It’s okay for things to have a lifespan, to be precious.
And of course it informs some of Byline, as the co-founder of both The Drunken Canal and Byline, that’s a shared brain. I am/was one half of both of these projects. First with Claire, now with Megan. You can take the girl out of The Drunken Canal, but you can’t take The Drunken Canal out of the girl.
Tell us about the print-style publishing schedule for your new online project Byline.
It was an interesting transition to move from print to digital, and a big fear we had was contributing to the endless fodder of meaningless information. As the machine gets bigger, and output expands, and the amount of things to consume multiples at warp speeds, it was important was us to ground our content in both place and time. By operating on a thematic schedule, we’re able to tell a comprehensive story about each theme/idea.
What advice can you offer a wannabe publisher?
Don’t wait for permission, don’t wait for distribution, just figure out what you need to make it happen and do it. It’s a lot of work, and the work never ends, but I’m not complaining about that. Being able to tell stories is the most amazing thing I can think of. To be a vessel for creativity, that’s what life is all about for me!!
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
I’m in Copenhagen working on my magazine, I have everything in the world to look forward to!