With Valentine’s Day looming, February greets us with commercials reminding us to buy timeless gifts — diamonds, anyone? — for our sweeties. But some of the most timeless presents cannot fit into a jewelry box or be gift-wrapped. And though some may have been mined as recently as the diamonds Zales wants to sell you, many come from another era and don’t sport a price tag.

In this issue of InTheFray we explore relics of the past and their value to the present. We begin in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, where Sasha Vasilyuk treats us to some Russian intellectual football, better known as “KVN,” a game show of comedy and music sketches in which Russian immigrants participate to hold onto a fragment of their past. In Detroit, Scott Hocking and Clinton Snider look at the city’s cyclical nature, from wasteland to thriving metropolitan area, to deserted area, to booming urban centre. In RELICS, their art installation, the two ask how long it takes the old to be forgotten. Meanwhile, across the pond, Jacquelin Cangro discovers Giants among us on a visit to Postman’s Park, where everyday people’s achievements are commemorated.

We then offer three different relics of love: ITF Literary Editor Annette Hyder and ITF Contributing Editor Kenji Mizumori’s Mixed Media Valentines to loves come and gone; a quilt that Rachel Van Thyn’s mother put together One piece at a time, using squares spanning three generations; and Jen Karetnick’s musings On vintage handkerchiefs passed down by her grandmother.

Rounding out this month’s stories is ITF Travel Editor Michelle Caswell’s interview with Easily angered activist Tom Hayden, who shares a veteran critic’s insight on the Iraq War, desegregation, political apathy, and making a difference.


Laura Nathan
Buffalo, New York

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