Visiting Dignitaries

For $35, Sasha Frere-Jones Will Send You Some ‘Tokens’

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screen shot 2012 08 06 at 6 43 55 pm For $35, Sasha Frere Jones Will Send You Some Tokens

(Photo: Quarterly.co)

You may not have heard of Quarterly, a Los Angeles-based startup that raised $1.25 million last April, but its business model is no doubt familiar. In the same subscription service vein as Birchbox (or its questionable cousin Dollar Shave Club), Quarterly lets customers sign-up for “wonderful” deliveries curated by their favorite writers, bloggers, founders, thinkers, or  Silicon Valley design schools every three months.

Quarterly was founded by Zach Frechette, the former editor-in-chief of GOOD magazine (his tenure preceded June’s massive layoffs) and the company has received funding from True Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, as well Y Combinator partner Garry Tan, the founder of Posterous. 

Last month, Quarterly told the Wall Street Journal that New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones would soon join the ranks of contributors, which already includes Mr. Ohanian, Jason Kottke, and Maria Popova (aka Brain Pickings).

Sure enough, SV Angel’s David Lee tweeted out a link to Mr. Frere-Jones contributor page today. At $35 per mailing, it’s a $10 premium from the rest of Quarterly’s 19 other contributors.

What can you expect for that extra Alexander Hamilton? Allow Mr. Frere-Jones to explain:

My work for The New Yorker as pop critic and staff writer is aimed at a general, and international, audience. The aim is to report on and unpack popular culture, as clearly as possible. My Quarterly theme, “tokens,” is smaller in several ways. I will be describing objects specific to New York, items that help non-New Yorkers understand the city, but that also contain a universally useful charge. “Tokens” is about finding things that work here and exporting them in very small bundles.

Our first thought were those defunct subway tokens (RIP, $1.50 fares), but Mr. Frere-Jones is far too shrewd to be taken literally. Find out for yourself when it ships on October 17th.
Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com