The Boardman Review captures northern Michigan's vibe
The Boardman Review is a quarterly publication founded by brothers Nick and Chris Loud.
They recently published their third issue, a winter edition.
“We definitely wanted to do video, we wanted to do short films and we wanted to figure out a way to have long-form pieces while remaining accessible," Chris explains. "That led to travelogues and photo essays that have a different flow than just a long-form article might.”
One of the first things that sticks out about the publication are the photos — snow-covered dunes overlooking Lake Michigan, a winding, half-plowed road — it captures the bleak beauty of the area in winter.
The publication is more than those photos though. There are things like poetry by a local high school student, and an essay from a young woman returning to her northern Michigan roots.
Chris says he wants The Boardman Review to capture the feel of northern Michigan, even if he can’t quite put into words what that means.
“We don’t really have an answer to that and that’s kind of why we started this," he says. "We know what it is and people up here know what it is but I don’t think it’s easy to define with a sentence.”
Chris grew up near Ann Arbor, then moved to Los Angeles for awhile where he worked as a writer for some travel shows. Then he got married and moved to Traverse City.
The winter issue of The Boardman Review highlights Bike Leelanau, a small nonprofit group trying to grow the mountain bike community in the county.
In the digital version of the magazine, there’s a short documentary about Bike Leelanau’s efforts to make mountain and fat-tire biking more mainstream in the area. Chris says their main focus is to have the subjects themselves tell the stories.
“Whether it’s a nonprofit, a local business, or a short-story writer, a photographer – we want them to tell their story and that in turn tells the story of the area ... much better than my brother and I could ever do,” he says.
Chris and his brother have drawn on other magazines for inspiration for The Boardman Review. Ones like the Desert Oracle, which is published in Joshua Tree, California, and is about all things desert. Chris says that concept is pretty specific but it’s working.
“Their concept is sort of similar to ours where they want to capture the vibe of an area," he says. "But also be able to reach people who maybe live in a desert but somewhere else, or are curious about it."
Whenever a new issue is published, Chris organizes a release party at a places like The Little Fleet or Earthen Ales. The party is basically a live version of the magazine. Chris says it might be his favorite part of the publication.
"And that means we show the short films that were created for that issue," he says. "We have readings from people who submitted – maybe it’s short fiction or maybe it’s travelogues – and in the future we want to have music involved.