They say you can learn a lot about people by meeting their friends, and Me Magazine ($8, subscription $25)–run by former Index/Visionaire/V Magazine creative Claudia Wu–is proof that "they" are not wrong.
Each issue of this independent quarterly, which debuted in autumn of 2004, focuses on getting to know one special person by interviewing about 15 of their closest confidantes. It goes without saying that Me cover stars aren't trashmen or toll-booth employees–past issues have focused on the likes of United Bamboo designer Miho Aoki, Rivington Arms gallery owners Mirabelle Marden and Melissa Bent, and photographer/former Black Dice member Hisham Bharoocha. Naturally, these people have interesting and famous friends, among them artists assumevividastrofocus and Ashley Macomber, and musicians like Tyondai Braxton and Prefuse 73. As a result, Me can occasionally seem cliqu-ish, but interesting interview questions and compelling photography elevate its voyeuristic pleasures far above those of a Lower East Side art opening.
Wu is also keen to nip the heretofore New York-centric vibe of the publication in the bud by moving the focus of future issues to LA and beyond. "I have a theory that, eventually, every person in New York will have been in the magazine at least once, if not more," she explains via email. "I'm trying to branch out before that happens!" And, contrary to popular belief, Me's cover stars aren't culled from Wu's inner circle. "I have a 'no friends' policy," she says. "I take recommendations from people or try to reach out to [those] who I think are interesting."