Editor’s note: The Leader is partnering with Strait Up Magazine for the launch of their first edition of 2019, which can be found inserted in newspapers delivered to regular subscribers.
Photojournalist Justine Gonzalez-Berg lives to capture unforgettable moments of Quimper culture on high gloss magazine paper.
Gonzales-Berg is the co-editor and staff writer of “Strait Up Magazine,” a biannual locally produced magazine that shines the spotlight on various elements of life in Port Townsend. Their inaugural publication was in May 2018.
The latest edition contains about 60 pages, including six articles written by Gonzalez-Berg.
“There is definitely a range to the fun quirky side, but the bulk of the content is pretty quality,” she said. “There is quality art, quality stories that I think are relevant and engaging to this time and this place and the people who are making it happen.”
The magazine has been designed to be a timeless piece of art to be picked up again and again, Gonzalez-Berg said.
“It sits on a bookshelf. You keep it. I think of it as a way to capture a larger zeitgeist of what is happening at this moment.”
Danny Milholland, publisher and editor of the magazine, said the magazine is a keepsake.
“There is really gorgeous artwork. The whole thing is a large piece of art.”
The magazine is produced by a staff of three including Gonzalez-Berg, Milholland and Chen Pollina, the lead designer for the publication.
“My vision is to try and make it flow and make it look good,” Pollina said. “I am pretty satisfied with how the layout has come out.”
Milholland said the first edition last year was an experimental effort.
“It was launched in part by Thunderbull productions, which is my production company and I have been collaborating with both Justine and Chen for many years now. The backbone of it for me was having content from all these different events that we are involved in and wanting to cross-promote various projects and events.”
The trio plans to publish one more edition later this year, and may eventually move to a quarterly release, Milholland said.
“That is a side of this we do want to cultivate moving forward, having more community collaboration and involvement.”
Capturing Quimper culture
Living on the Quimper Peninsula, the goal of the magazine is to report on the unique creativity and lifestyle of area residents, Milholland said.
“There is a lot of place based stories about projects that are very much connected to the land and culture of the events and the creative arts that is in the magazine.”
The content explores both land and water based stories, Milholland said.
“It is this connection to place and creative expression of the people. It is a moving target. It isn’t just one thing necessarily. It is many things and it is our intention that this can help share that culture so it can become more aware of itself and it can grow and strengthen. It is a living culture.”
Milholland hopes the magazine will attract an ever greater following and attract more
“We want it to be a living thing that changes as things change,” he said.
Meet the Strait Up Crew
Milholland us a native of Port Townsend who grew up in his family’s Victorian home, being raised by a unique mix of artists, activists and craftspeople.
Following high school he joined the performing group NANDA as their manager and booking agent. In 2012 he returned to Port Townsend and started Thunderbull Productions with the mission of building community through celebration.
He is a founding member of the Cake Picnic, the All County Picnic the Old School 4th of July, and several other annual traditions in Jefferson County.
Gonzalez-Berg moved to Port Townsend at age 11, but left half way through high school when her family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. She returned here after graduating from Hampshire College in western Massachusetts where she studied political science, nonfiction creative writing and the Arabic language.
As a teen, pieces written by her were published in the Port Townsend Food Co-op Commons. She later became a blogger while living in Ghana during high school and Palestine during college.
She volunteered for five months with the Palestine News Network in Bethlehem, Palestine, where she said she got a taste of journalism.
“One of my greatest joys has always been asking other people questions, so it is natural that I love writing about people and the rad stuff they’re doing,” Gonzalez-Berg said. “One of my favorite magazines is The Sun, specifically for their interviews.”
Gonzalez-Berg said she prefers writing literary journalism.
“Strait Up gives me that freedom.”
Pollina is also a native of Port Townsend who lived for a time as a child in Olympia before moving back home. He is a founding member of the theater group Nanda.
He is a web and graphic designer for his company, Pinecone Design.
Pollina also is an avid listener of heavy rock music, and often represents his favorites bands on his t-shirts.
“I’m maybe like a level 7 dork,” he joked.