box of baby chocolates by qimmy shimmy

Letter From the Editor

By Mikki Halpin

Candy Babies by Qimmy Shimmy

Welcome to Damn Joan No. 2, (Re)Birth!
• • •

I’ve always been somewhat terrified of eggs. They seem like they’re caught in some weird space between fertilization and fuel—their cycle of life has been interrupted and changed to an entirely new one. Conceived and hatched in hopes of barnyard life, they instead become fodder for humans. The story is kind of beautiful and also grosses me out.

And that’s the thing about rebirth, right? It’s more than the beauty and wonder (and some grossness) of birth. It’s also a radical change from the expected narrative, an almost unrecognizable new existence that still refers back to the old. Growth, change, repetition, renewal—these are all things that were on our minds as we made this (Re)Birth issue.

I love everything here so much that it’s hard not to re-create the entire table of contents in this letter, but here are a few of my favorite things: Hunter Schafer, an artist, activist, model, and aesthetic radical, created an incredible art piece for us called Hatching, which reads like a high-fashion shoot, but is actually a narrative about birth and regeneration. We dove into the (fake) history of Sea-Monkeys, a species that can go into cryptobiosis for centuries and then be brought back to life. Deesha Dyer and Symone Sanders delivered a powerful discussion about black women in politics, as well as an insider look back at Inauguration Day 2017. Our supercut for this issue goes even further than last time. And of course Aunt Freckle is back serving advice on the most important issues facing all people today.

However, the centerpiece of the issue, its heart, its core, its pièce de résistance, is Modern Senator. It’s a real(!) paper magazine we created and delivered to every member of the United States Senate as well as a few other choice government officials (and ex–government officials—Steve Bannon, yours is on its way). Modern Senator has makeover tips for individual lawmakers on how to cut waste, handle their crazy boss when he tweets in the night, avoid sexually harassing people, and step up their fashion. It’s got a topless Bernie Sanders on the cover, people!

Modern Senator is more than a hilarious, spoofy satire, although we love that. It’s also a sincere and earnest call to action for the Senate to get its act together and actually represent the people of this country. You know, us. And the most vulnerable among us. We need them to act with kindness and generosity, to have impeccable ethics, to listen, work together, and put petty differences aside.

The first 100 readers to email will get a beautiful physical copy of Modern Senator in the mail. Old-school paper and ink! However, everyone can download and share an electronic copy here

We’re not against calling your senator—do it often, and with purpose—but this was way more fun. Hope you enjoy Modern Senator, and everything in the issue!


Mikki Halpin

Editor in chief

QIMMY SHIMMY (artist) is a sculptor who confuses the cute and the creepy

MELISSA DECKERT and NICOLE LICHT (photographers) are two halves of the soon to be born whole, Party of One Studio.


Author: Mikki Halpin
Artist: Qimmy Shimmy
Photographers: Melissa Deckert and Nicole Licht
Published: 01–16–2018