Arts and culture all part of ‘jawn’

What’s the deal with McJAWN?

It’s a blogosphere sensation and up-and-coming arts and culture magazine that is all about Philly and its funky-fresh scene. From hip-hop to hipster trends and indie rock, McJAWN’s got you covered.

Seated on a weathered couch at a local coffee shop, Wen Vo, co-founder of McJAWN, told The Temple News what it’s all about.

The Temple News: Where did you come up with the idea for the magazine?

(Julia Wilkinson/TTN)

Wen Vo: Actually, it started at the Last Drop [Coffee House]. Yis [Goodwin], co-founder, and I, we’ve been friends for a while now. We were talking about how it’s a shame Philadelphia’s art culture is misrepresented or not represented enough. He wanted to create a magazine, and I wanted to create a blog, and we just kind of combined the ideas.

TTN: So where did the name come from?

WV: It’s funny because we were thinking about different names. We definitely wanted something that encompassed the Philadelphia culture, the art scene and something that fit our personality ­– something funny, something down-to-earth. We thought of the word jawn because it’s a Philly slang word. Jawn is just basically a noun for everything and anything. [But] when we tried to register [Jawn], it was already taken. So we thought of the movie Superbad [and the character] McLovin and were like, “Hey, let’s just combine the two.” So that’s how McJAWN came about.

TTN: Is it more of an online format or is it hard copy?

WV: We started off as an online magazine. The blog was actually supposed to be the buzz for the magazine, but then the blog took off. We get over 3,000 hits a day. So that took off and we just basically spent a lot of time on the blog, and it took us a while to get the first issue out. Now that it’s out, we can’t wait to get the second one out. It’s a bi-monthly magazine, and it’s available online for free at McJAWN.com.

We do have hard issues. As of right now, we have an art zine, and it’s distributed all over Philadelphia in cafés and local stores. With the second issue, we hope to reformat the online magazine into a hard copy, and we’re going to distribute it to over 100 locations.

TTN
: What kind of stories do you like to feature?

WV: Mainly, we like to focus on Philadelphia’s culture. When we started off, we wanted to focus on the art scene here. The first issue was kind of like a trial-and-error thing, and it came out great. We want to make sure that art is our main focus. So I guess you can say [we feature] art, life, music, fashion, entertainment and food, with art and life being the two most important things that we focus on.

TTN: McJAWN seems to focus on a lot of hipsters and hip-hop kids. What is it that McJAWN finds inspiring about the subcultures of Philly?

McJAWN founders Wen Vo and Yis Goodwin started their magazine and blog in a coffee shop (Julia Wilkinson/TTN).

WV: I guess you could say that our target demographic is the hipster and sneaker-head community. We find them inspiring because they stick to what they believe in and [are] typically more passionate, creative and outspoken. And they’re open-minded ­­– that’s what I really like. With McJAWN, as you can see, we’re very random. We also like the spontaneous behavior that they possess.

TTN: What’s going to be in the new issue released on Feb. 4?

WV: I know we have a piece with the local band Cortez! Cortez!! We have an awesome fashion spread. We’ve been working with our stylist Nargiz Alekperova, and she’s pulled amazing looks for this new issue. Its funky-fresh, so we’re trying to bring it back to the whole ‘80s, Fresh Prince of Bel Air scene. We have another piece about Chris Wright. He does custom bikes, and he’s on our cover. And one of our photographers did this fake advertising campaign of American Apparel called American Appalling. It’s really cool, so I suggest you guys check that one out, too.

TTN: What are your top favorite things about Philly?

WV: How we really don’t care about what people think about our city. We’ve been in New York’s shadow for way too long. I think Philadelphia has its own thing going on, and I really appreciate that. Number two, how we have such a good, young art scene, and everyone is so into it. Three, how people are willing to talk to each other and how interpersonal people can be here. Four, we have great sports teams. Five, all the local businesses that are sticking to Philadelphia and believe in Philadelphia – I really like that.

TTN: If you had to use one word to describe Philly culture, what would it be?

WV: Jawn-errific.

Dianca Potts can be reached at dianca.potts@temple.edu.

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