Owen Lipstein, 1980s Publishing Wonderkind, Launches 'Santa Fe Magazine'

Here’s a story to watch: There is a new regional magazine in New Mexico called Santa Fethat purposefully doesn’t have a website and won’t include lists of the hippest places and best doctors. Ever.

Equally interesting are the founders.

One is John Miller, former art director at Esquire and Vanity Fair. The other is Owen Lipstein, a media veteran and entrepreneur who makes any short list of the true wonderkinds of the 20th-century magazine industry.

Lipstein founded American Health in 1982 at the age of 29. It won a National Magazine Award in 1986. In 1985, he acquired Mother Earth News. In 1988, he acquired a controlling interest in Psychology Today. Then he launched Smart Magazine with another famous magazine-industry figure from that period, Terry McDonell.



But Lipstein got badly overextended and sold half the company in 1990 to a Japanese media magnate. That same year, his company finally shut down entirely, with staff and vendors alike left holding the bag. Psychology Today and Mother Earth News were revived a couple of years later by Sussex Publishers, with Lipstein serving as editorial director. In the 1990s, Sussex acquired the iconic Spy magazine, where Lipstein served in a senior editorial capacity.

Still later, Lipstein founded a theater company in the Hudson Valley, Shakespeare on the Hudson, and a magazine, Inside Out Hudson Valley.

Lipstein and a friend, Alfred Meyer, wrote an apparently unpublished book in 1998 titled, (borrowing a line from Hamlet), “A Truant Disposition. Trust, Betrayal & Adventure in the Magazine Trade.” In it, Meyer describes Lipstein during the 1980s as “a magazine luminary, a cafe-society celebrity, a minor media star and a multimillionaire.”

Now Lipstein is back, with a typically fresh approach.

“We talk to Santa Fe’s poets, outlaws, artists, mystics, entrepreneurs, healers, builders, saints, sinners, lovers, and lunatics,” the new quarterly magazine promises. “If we do our job right, we will produce a chronicle of the most exciting city we know, a city always becoming.”

“We will not be a primer on 25 Things to Do in Santa Fe,” Miller and Lipstein continue. “We will not be your guide to the 18 Hippest Places to Go. We will not do a roundup of the best boot stores in town. Actually, we will not review anything.

"We will not puff up. We will not put down. We will not be pious. We will be more interested in who people are than what they do. (Which doesn’t mean we’re not interested in accomplishments, but more so in how they make them who they are.)

"Finally, we will not be boring or predictable, because the people of this city, at least the ones we are talking to, are definitely not that.”

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