today’s Very Short List:
intro 15 Feb 2012

by Kurt Andersen and
Michael Jackson, VSL co-founders.

  • Welcome to the new VSL.

    In 2006, and our partners Bonnie Siegler and Emily Oberman were feeling somewhat frustrated by the cultural feast available to us. That is, on the one hand there were more cool, intriguing movies and books and music and videos and TV shows and sites and apps and images than ever. On the other hand, we felt like we needed some trustworthy guides to help us systematically cull through the ever-expanding cornucopia of interesting stuff, and point us directly to wonderful things that weren’t necessarily being publicized and marketed like crazy.

    And so we recruited some very smart friends (including Simon Dumenco, Sara Vilkomerson, Jonah Lehrer, John Schaefer, and Alex Abramovich) who in turn recruited some of their very smart friends (including Maud Newton, Matthew Cavnar, Whitney Alexander, and many more) and with their help created Very Short List. That extended family has unearthed and vetted more than 1,500 excellent cultural creations, and we’ve sent them every weekday to you and anyone else who shares our tastes.

    Not long ago, we got a call from some enthusiastic longtime VSL subscribers who had previously worked together creating GOOD, the six-year-old magazine and website of which we had been enthusiastic longtime fans. They proposed that we hand them the editorial reins of VSL—to take the curatorial sensibility we’ve established over the last six years but pretty radically reinvent the format. We talked, and discovered we and they were deeply simpatico, then talked some more, and finally we said sure, let’s give it a go.

    You’ll continue getting a recommendation of a one-of-a-kind movie or book or show or record or gadget or other cultural jewel. But from now on, a different contributor will serve as VSL’s guest curator each day, and on the same day each week you’ll get the harvest from one of five broad categories—technology, culture, style, design, and food. The biggest change will be VSL’s new look—beautifully designed by the folks at Open—in the form of big images and a very telegraphic text. In fact, six years in, Very Short List is finally, literally becoming ... a very short list.

    The baton has been passed, and here we are, with a relaunched VSL that we have every hope will be as interesting and cool and useful as the best VSL iterations of the last six years. And maybe even cooler, more interesting, and more useful. Enjoy.

    Kurt Andersen and Michael Jackson, VSL co-founders

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