Heeb magazine has never been shy, especially about tooting its own horn, and a recent press release is typical. Under the headline, "Jewish Culture Mag Launches HEEB100.COM, Publishes 'The Chosen Issue,' " we were told that the "self-proclaimed voice of young Jewish America" was proud to announce the launch of the Web site, "an online gallery of 100 of the most fascinating young Jews you need to know about ... "
These nearly famous types include "bloggers and newspaper publishers, comic artists and novelists, chefs and fashion designers." Though these feisty youngsters may already have "stellar" résumés, the magazine believes "the best is yet to come from each of them."
The Heeb 100 is a central feature of the fall issue of the magazine, which just hit the newsstands. The issue also includes articles on Superbad "potty-mouth" Jonah Hill, "freak-folk songstress" Marissa Nadler and "the most definitive portrait of Joan Rivers ever written." In addition, there are articles on a "D-level stalker, a grown man who gets circumcised and a 31-year-old Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience named Mayim Bialik."
Heeb, of course, was cooked up in Brooklyn back in 2001, as the press release explained, "as a take-no-prisoners zine for the plugged- in and preached-out. ... Covering arts, culture and politics in a voice all its own, Heeb has become a multi-media magnet to the young, urban and influential."
So when you read all this, you expect that the new Web site is going to be something to really crow about -- something so dynamic it will knock you out with one blow.
The graphics on the home page, though, resemble something out of "Monty Python's Flying Circus." You have to click on the logo to move on. The next page is composed of two rows of thumbnails of the newest "bright young things" and the following intro: "They're young, smart and innovative ... and oh yeah, they also happen to be Jewish. No, we're not talking about the staff at Heeb magazine; we're talking about the second installment of the Heeb Hundred ... . We asked some of our favorite photographers to shoot portraits of the honorees and chose 20 stunning images to display in the pages of the Chosen Issue." What follows on the 10 subsequent Web pages is the entire collection of those images.
So you click on "Art," say, or "Books," "Comedy," "Food" or "Film/TV," and on each of these pages you see 10 subjects. Click on them and you see the portrait full-size, as well as a brief summation of his or her work.
Under "Art," for example, I clicked on Liz Magic Laser -- that name's for real -- and there the artist is doing something funny to her face. The synopsis reads: "Please forgive Liz Magic Laser if she's looking at you a little strangely. She's just picturing you dripping in primordial ooze and crawling out of a damp underground burrow. The 26-year-old artist is obsessed with the feral unpredictability of human interactions ..."
Now, that's not a typical Top 100, right?