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Give Me Thirteen Minutes

Give Me Thirteen Minutes

The covers of the pre-publication issues of Thirteen Minutes magazine. Picture courtesy of www.thirteenminutes.com

Read about the latest and greatest fashion, entertainment, food, travel, and more – in Thirteen Minutes. This stylish and luxurious lifestyle magazine may well become the savvy Asian-American shopper's new Vogue.

Thirteen Minutes magazine may be the best thing to emerge from Orange County since the television show that made it famous. The creators describe Thirteen Minutes as a bicultural Asian magazine that aims to shed light on the beauty, heritage, and lighter side of Asian people. The bimonthly publication has sections for entertainment, fashion, sex & relationships, culture, health & beauty, travel, and cuisine, with celebrity contributors to boot. Publisher Quinn Bui and his brother Mai, the editor-in-chief, have tapped into the budding market of Asian-American consumers, recognizing the dearth of media products that cater to them.

Two issues of the Thirteen Minutes have been circulated thus far, though the formal Issue 1 won't hit stores until the end of this month. The premiere issue of the magazine debuted in September 2005, and a 2006 preview issue for advertisers was released in December. APA examines the two pre-publication issues to gauge the magazine's probability of success.

A Diamond in the Rough

Actress Nancy Yoon (CSI, Days of Our Lives) graces the simple, artsy cover of the premiere issue. Inside, Yoon is the subject of an interview and a stunning fashion photo editorial with a theme of black and yellow. The shoot has an air of sophistication and professionalism rare for a magazine barely on its feet, not to mention a fabulous wardrobe. But that seems to be the story for Thirteen Minutes -- sophisticated and professional in spite of its age.

Aesthetically, the magazine is everything it sets out to be: simple, elegant, and fun. The layout is very modern with clean lines and stark white backgrounds, decorated by solid color silhouettes of plants and graphic designs. The first fashion spread, unfortunately, was not as visually impressive as Nancy Yoon's photo shoot. The editorial traverses the decades of fashion and depicts the trends of each decade, but lacks the photographic drama and high fashion feel of the other. But Andrew Matusik's photo feature in the end more than makes up for the mistakes of the first. The beautifully framed black and white pages are truly a work of art, with stunning scenery and brilliant use of light.

In terms of content, this issue is heavy on laconic advice articles, but lacks investigative features and the abundant advertisements by which mainstream fashion and lifestyle magazines are characterized. The articles are diverse in terms of subject and quality -- there's a banal list of pick-up lines, an interesting perspective on interracial marriage, and diet advice with a catchy title, to name a few. The writing, like the photos, is sophisticated and professional, though some fine-tuning is needed to present a more unified whole.

The bottom line: It's a little rough around the edges, but an excellent endeavor for the first time. Open it for some entertaining, short reads and an array of beautiful photography.

“Haute Knockout”

The 2006 preview issue of Thirteen Minutes features actress Naureen Zaim (Wedding Crashers) on its cover, with the headline Haute Knockout. The sophomore issue has the same clean, modern lines and sophisticated professionalism as the first, but something feels different. At the beginning is a fashion spread starring the clothes of LA designer Coco Kliks, with some not-so-subtle plays on color and negative photography. These photos set the tone for the rest of the issue: modernity and sophistication, but with an aesthetic edge.

Page after page, this magazine offers strong photography and talented writing. A series of photos featuring three models in traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai dresses is the highlight of the issue. The shoot emphasizes the warmth and maturity of the Ao Dai with its soft lighting and earthy colors. Another special treat is an interview with celebrity chef Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook), who was kind enough to include a recipe from his personal cookbook. The aptly titled travel portion, “Heaven on Earth," places the spotlight on Thailand with breathtaking photos and a description of the people, culture, and urban lifestyle.

Like the premiere issue, the majority of the written articles in here are on the short side. But this issue offers more in terms of quality, excitement, and audience appeal. From a story about a woman's affair with the little black dress, to a step by step breakdown of natural daily makeup, and an instructional article called “Impressing Chinese Parents 101," the written content is clever and well-developed. The magazine closes with two attention-grabbing pages of runway photos from designers Coco Kliks and Sue Wong, and was overall a very enjoyable read.

By releasing two magazines of such high caliber for their pre-publication issues, Thirteen Minutes is setting high standards for itself for issues to come. It's a real “coffee-table” magazine in terms of aesthetics. It's a winning combination of simplicity, artistic flair, maturity, and edge. It doesn't hurt that the magazines are printed on thick, high-gloss paper of better quality than the vast majority of magazines on newsstands. All things considered, we encourage you to keep an eye out for the magazine once it hits stands later this month. Please, spare some time for Thirteen Minutes!

Stay tuned for our next issue to see APA's interview with the staff of Thirteen Minutes!

For more information, visit: www.thirteenminutes.com

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Published: Thursday, February 9, 2006