R.I.P. Domino Magazine.

by

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I’m devastated.

Lost, I tell you.

What the hell am I going to do without Domino Magazine?

I don’t watch television. I’ve never seen a complete episode of 24 or American Idol. I abhor reality shows of all kinds. I watch reruns of sitcoms and Yo Gabba Gabba with Tog. I don’t shop unless I have to. Don’t play a sport or participate in nothin’. What do I do?

I read magazines.

I clench my teeth when TheHusband thumbs through a magazine with disinterest before I’ve even cracked it open. I dive across the coffee table to keep my new issue of Esquire out of Tog’s sticky fingers.

Don’t play with my magazines: my smooth, creamy, glossy magazines.

I know, I know. Print is dead. Yeah. yeah. yeah. Right now, my newsstands are full. So I’m not giving up hope.

I used to subscribe to over twenty different magazines when I was first starting out as a writer. I truly believe that I put myself through an unofficial but vigorous version of journalism school. I studied the magazines consistently, making notes on who wrote what and how.

These days, I read for entertainment.

And one of my very favorites has been Domino, a lifestyle magazine devoted to home interiors.

Now. Let me make something very clear. We’ve talked about my fashion reject status.

Well my new house, a starter home we just bought this summer, is also far from catalog ready.

We’re still in triage mode, working on patching the roof, fixing plumbing issues and just planning out how to make the space our own. And our budget is more Ikea than Design With Reach.

But oh how I love kicking up on my over-sized and outdated Levitz couch with a copy of Domino and a cup of hot cocoa.

Where else can I salivate over a wallpapered room that I don’t think my house could EVER pull off.

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How come I feel like this could only work in the pages of Domino? If I did this to one of my bedrooms, I feel like it would immediately smell like moth balls and become really dusty. But in the magazine, it works.

And now, no more Domino?

How else will I know how beautiful and wonderful all the things are that I can’t afford! The custom rolls of wallpaper. The gutting of a farmhouse in the Hamptons. The completely impractical rooms like this one:

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I’m not even sure if I like this room. It sort of gives me a headache. But it’s done. It matches. There’s a theme going on. I salivate over the fact that this room is complete.

Here’s what’s in my bedroom, no exaggeration:

1. A bed from Ikea that was put back together incorrectly by the movers so now one plank is  backwards and off color and has a white IKEA label on it.

2. One dresser, also from Ikea, that is literally falling apart.

3. Two side tables, ALSO from Ikea. And piles of clothes with no home in our tiny closets.

We have no pictures up. No color. No life. And none of our bedding matches.

It’ll come together eventually.

But until then, I just pretended I live in the pages of Domino.

And then, every single person ever featured in the magazine is always effortlessly chic. The type of people who plan a last-minute dinner party and amazingly have matching plates and silverware for all the guests. Or worse yet, they don’t have matching cutlery, but it’s okay because everything is still kitschy and cute and perfect.

I fantasize about being one of those women. The women who say, “Oh that piece? I picked it up at a bazaar  in Marrakech when I lived there a few years back.” Or the women who manage to wrap themselves up in prints and fabrics and not look ridiculous. You know those women. They have homes that make sense, homes that have a theme. They can prop up a picture on the floor against a wall and it looks like it belongs there. I prop up a picture and someone just keeps tripping over it until it falls and cracks.

When I read Domino, I can escape. I can see the good in my house. Like the one hundred year-old hardwood floors that are just begging to be refinished: one day. I see window treatments that could dress up the whackness I’ve got going on in my living room.

I see possibilities. And I can dream.

But no longer. It was announced this week that Conde Nast is shutting down Domino after the March issue. This lack of affordable fabulosity in my life will be sorely missed.

Even the staffers at Domino had it going on. Look at Dara Caponigro, the Style Editor. (We’re gonna pretend we don’t realize how awkward her last name is. And we will NOT wonder if anyone has ever asked her if she’s ever Capped a Negro. We won’t go there.)

Look at those boots!

Look at those boots!

Dara is (was) the Style Director at Domino. And I noticed whenever she was featured in the magazine, she always looked as if she belonged there. The same way I’d imagine Anna Wintour only wants girls who look a certain way to work at Vogue. Could a slouch like me with a bootleg house even work at a place like Domino? I doubt it. I’ll bet they would interview you in your home and ask you about how you made your design choices.

In the above story, Dara said something that really resonated with me:

Don’t let anything into your house that you’re not in love with. Be ruthless!

Now, I totally get this sentiment. But lines like that would make me sometimes want to hurl my issue of Domino across a room. I moved from an apartment to a house and while I did shed a lot of pre-marriage crap, had I followed Dara’s advice, I’d be writing this post while sitting on the floor. I’d have NOTHING. Because I am not in love with ANYTHING in my house. Not one piece of furniture makes me say, “well at least I have this…” Nothing.

But even though the people in Domino always made me feel like a failure. (And a poor failure at that.)  But I still appreciated the magazine for exactly what it is (was):

Porn.

Plain and simple. Magazines like Domino function as porn for people like me who salivate over steamer trunks and daybeds. I’m the geeky guy who might never pull a girl in real life. He fantasizes with his dream girl. I fantasize with my dream living room.

And that one-way love affair ends with the next and final issue. And this makes me sad.

This is not the first time I’ve had to bid adieu to a magazine I loved: There was Brill’s Content, George, Suede, Vibe Vixen. Hell, in the seventies, I was hurt when Ebony Jr. stopped coming in the mail…

Dear Readers: is there any publication that you feel this way about? If Essence or Details or King went under, would you feel choked up? Did you ever lose one of your very favorite magazines. Do you still miss it?

I’d love to hear from you…

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21 Responses to “R.I.P. Domino Magazine.”

  1. rockacandy Says:

    A life without details would not be worth living… So I am with you on this.

  2. Aliya S. King Says:

    Oooh, I’ve always loved Details too. Is it weird that I like to look at the clothes and decide what I would wear if I was a dude?

  3. Chris Wilder Says:

    I felt that way when The Source Sports went down but, I was the editor so, does that count? I don’t really have any magazines that I regularly read these days. The internet has completely taken over. Now, if something were to happen to deadspin.com, I may have a problem.

  4. la negrita Says:

    I died a thousand deaths when TRACE went under, even though I totally saw it coming. But at least I still have Giant.

  5. Katura Says:

    Back when I was in my 20s and in the throes of a quarter life crisis, I loved Mademoiselle. I forget when that one got axed.

  6. Dionne Says:

    I almost cried when Honey went under, but got over it with Suede. But then that went under, too. I also loved Domino something awful and am making sure my magazine collection is intact. It’s my inspiration in my design wayward apartment.

  7. Tmor Says:

    When I was renovating my house, Domino was mandatory. I was so consumed with style, design, feung-shui and form-meeting-function that my close, female friends re-interpreted my name from Anthony Morris to Antoine Maurice (don’t tell nobody!). I had subscriptions up the wazoo and would still go to the shop monthly to buy as many magazine as my arms could carry. It was all worth the effort, and the money because why? Mommy’s happy. And now, no Domino…wah! I hope the rest don’t start to fall like, well, dominoes.

    Shout out to Blaze and Honey Magazines.

  8. Aliya S. King Says:

    @chris: very true, if concreteloop goes down, I am rioting in the streets.
    @la negrita: for some strange reason, I never really discovered Trace until it was already over. How is that possible? I mourned it as I was discovering back issues!
    @katura: quarter-life crisis. ha. what does that entail,exactly?
    @dionne: we must talk about back issues. seriously.
    @Tmor: a moment of silence for Blaze and Honey
    ………………………………………………………..

  9. yes Says:

    I liked Suede and Vibe Vixen which I think is coming back. I mostly miss Honey. I forgot Blaze, I liked that too! I never heard of Domino, but I feel like I should miss it too. I keep hearing about it. So many people are sad about this.

  10. Aliya S. King Says:

    @yes: yup. you should be sad. trust me.

  11. Bridgette Says:

    Funny, I just blogged about Domino too. I will miss it as well. To answer your question about beloved mags that have come and gone, YSB is certainly a big one for me. I loved that magazine as a pree-teen/teenager. Jane mag has left a void in women’s mags too. And of course Honey. The original one. Funny, I blogged about it over the summer and even mentioned you in the post. Kinda creepy when I think about it. :-/ Anyhoo check out the post:

    http://people-places-things.blogspot.com/search/label/Honey

  12. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Bridgette: Yup. Loved Jane. Love it!
    Okay, wanna hear something really crazy? I read your post on Honey when you first published it. I was sitting next to TheHusband on the couch, searching for something online. I ended up on your page and read the post. And when I read my name, I said to TheHusband, How does this work? Is it weird if I leave a comment on her blog and say, “Thank you for shouting me out…” I was such a neurotic blog-novice that I didn’t comment. So silly. I’ll say now, what I should’ve said then: THANK YOU.
    Oh. And the original test issue of Honey, with Lauryn on the cover, still gives me chills. And Sheena Lester wrote an essay about her grandmother in the first issue that makes me cry every. single. time. I read it. A moment of silence for Honey..
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  13. Retha Says:

    Domino was one of my faves too, I think I have some issues around. I’m a magazine junky…I get excited when I pass newstands at airports or Penn Station…could stay there for hours. Seems like there is a magazine for every age, lifestyle, interest, sport…and I feel like I want them all. Seriously magazines were going to take over my small 1 bedroom apt a few years back. And the problem is I never want to throw them out! I’m getting better now, though and I take them to work for the hospitals, etc but when I drop off my 2 large shopping bags of mags, I’m digging through the pile that’s already there. What’s MY problem….I think I feel like I’m gonna miss something…weird. Anyway, my new fave is People StyleWatch…deep, yes, I know. But I would cry if Real Simple were no longer with us.

  14. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Retha: You are me!! Love my magazines. But wait. People StyleWatch? I’ve never peeped that one. And oh lord yes, love my Real Simple: the magazine that reminds me that I’m a lazy, unorganized slob! Yay!

  15. la negrita Says:

    Aliya, I didn’t learn about TRACE until 2005 when I interned at Vibe. By then, it had already been 9 years old! One of my fellow interns put me on. I had a pretty hard time finding it when I went home, too. Thankfully, my local Borders carried it for a while. It was truly a treat seeing it on the newsstand. I can only imagine how much it cost to produce, though. It was huge and printed on some quality paper. Talk about “glossy”! The interviews…the photos…just lovely.

    Another magazine that I wish had a longer shelf life is Girl. Had I not been a Destiny’s Child fanatic, I probably wouldn’t have discovered it. Man, I wish I could figure out how to sell magazines to young people. It’s a shame to see the good ones go.

  16. jay1 Says:

    i feel like one day i’ll be telling my grand children, “back when I was kid, blogs and websites where on paper.”

    I hope not but it’s not looking good.

  17. K Dubb Says:

    One magazine I can’t live without? Pink. Not sure if anyone else loves this thing the way I do, but that joint gives me just what I need to continue on towards my business goals. In an effort to not muck up their purpose/mission.. here’s the skinny from their website: “PINK exists to promote this new generation of women who are making a significant impact on the world through their work and their lives-while being true to themselves.” LOVE IT!

  18. Aliya S. King Says:

    @K Dubb: why in the world haven’t I heard of this magazine!?

  19. southernlady Says:

    I’d have to say Honey, Suede and Vibe Vixen! Is there any hope for us young, fly, multicultural women??? I’m all for online mags, but it’s just something about that print. The glossy pages and the color!!! It just does something to me. I flipped through one or two issues of Domino. I’m not big on interior decorating or whatever, but I do read and buy Lucky, the sister publication. It really sucks all around.

  20. southernlady Says:

    Oh, it’s quite odd that I like Real Simple over Domino. Domino is so colorful and Real Simple is…real simple. Go figure. I like stuff on organization.

  21. Cheryl Says:

    I still want Domino. Who really reads Architectural Digest. Domino had magic on every page. I am sorry I didn’t save every single issue. I wish I could buy an entire archive.

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