What the hell is SOMA anyway?
Fact: Originally an ancient Indo-Persian word invoking ecstasy, and later used by the Greeks and Romans to refer to the body, the word soma has meant many things over time. Aldous Huxley described it as a holiday from the ordinary and William S. Burroughs used it to hypothesize the posibility of a non-addictive form of opium. SOMA also happens to be the name of one of the longest-running arts and culture publications in the country.
After spearheading a renaissance with numerous bars, clubs and galleries in San Francisco’s South of Market district in the ’80s, Ali Ghanbarian, launched this magazine in the hopes of giving a voice to a blossoming creative community 21 years ago. The country took notice and SOMA Magazine quickly found an eager audience well beyond the San Francisco area (with an impressive distribution in New York, LA, Miami, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Tokyo, London, Montreal, Toronto and Paris).
Today, with an international readership the publication finds itself as always at the forefront of what is possible in the world of fashion, art, music, film and design. It continues to launch the careers of hundreds of editors, photographers, art directors, stylists and designers in the publishing industry and strives to keep a promise made over two decades ago to showcase up-and-coming individuals, pay homage to the legends among us and celebrate the avant-garde. This month our Last Word section stands to dispel the myth surrounding the publication and give voice to the heart of these pages.
Myth: SOMA Magazine is a publication solely based in the South of Market district of San Francisco.