the refrigerator

Refrigerator logo

The Refrigerator was an early 1990’s broadsheet/zine in Rochester, New York. Twenty eight print editions are archived here. The Refrigerator went online at the end of the nineties and I am slowly moving some of that content to Popwars.

Refrigerator Rochester zine number 25. Cover illustration by Christopher Schepp.
Refrigerator Rochester zine number 25. Cover illustration by Christopher Schepp.

Refrigerator’ Serves Local Menu
By Steve Orr
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester New York 08/14/2000

My favorite part of theRefrigerator might be the step-by-step pictorial on how to burn a pistachio. These nuts, my favorite food in the world, flame like little flares when set afire. Or maybe it’s the painting entitled ”Sparky Shows Me His Colostomy Bag.”

Perhaps it’s bzZb, which could be the first video ever made of someone blowing bubbles with a bubble pipe in below-zero temperatures. Or it could even be the collection of old family photographs salvaged from the trash of someone who had died, which made me want to cry. It’s so hard to choose. 

All this — art, arcana, memorabilia and more — makes up theRefrigerator, to my mind the most thoughtful and entertaining Web site in Rochester. 

Many people likely would disagree. No slick graphics here, no sports, no sex, no e-commerce. Rather, theRefrigerator is a low-key collection of off-beat stuff that won’t appeal to everybody — but might well appeal to you. The creators are Peggi Fournier and Paul Dodd, a wife-and-husband team of artist-designers. They put together theRefrigerator about two years ago and add to it each week or so, Dodd said. 

The site is partly a marketing device for their company, 4D Advertising Design. Instead of a 4D corporate site, they dreamed up theRefrigerator, which serves as a showcase for their design talents. And more. The site’s opening page looks like a fridge with magnets stuck on the door; the magnets are actually links to the content. The freezer door has a drop-down menu that leads to more content. 

Inside, you’ll find photographs — of neighborhood residents, political candidates, a strange pink blob alongside Culver Road, the underside of local bridges and Rochester storefront churches. 

Many of Dodd’s paintings are reproduced. You can hear music by Invisible Idiot, the band in which Fournier and Dodd play. 

Visitors can read an e-mail journal from a couple that lives on a sailboat (aborted in July when someone stole their computer) and a short story-in-progress that has something to do with the old Travelodge motel. 

Much of the creators’ attention is focused on life in Rochester, especially the city’s east side, where they apparently live. TheRefrigerator is very much a local documentary. 

Silly? Some of it. Whimsical? Much of it. But still, it’s appealing. I spend hours a day on the Web and appreciate everything that it offers. Sometimes, though, I feel overwhelmed and put off by the incessant commercial clatter. 
TheRefrigerator is a ready remedy. It has what is lacking in most other personal and commercial Web sites: a cohesive artistic sensibility. It speaks volumes about the understanding that can spring from a keen eye turned on everyday life. 

Stop by for a late-night snack.

Best Local e-zine The Refrigerator 
The Best of Rochester 2000 Critics’ Choice
City Newspaper, Rochester New York 10/25-31/2000

Some may remember The Refrigerator from its previous incarnation as a printed broadsheet, distributed for free and featuring the written work of a bunch of anonymous free-thinkers, artists, and oddballs. Those who miss that noble publication will be glad to discover that it has found a new home on the web. The new Refrigerator relies less on the printed word and more on visuals as befits the medium on which it’s delivered. A recent edition included a brilliant photo-spread of Rochester’s storefront churches, a photo essay on burning a pistachio, reader-submitted reviews of Italian restaurants, and much, much more. Matching a keen eye for style with a compassionate eye for human behavior, The Refrigerator is a cool place, indeed.

TWENTY EIGHT ISSUES OF THE REFRIGERATOR WERE PUBLISHED IN PRINT FORM BETWEEN 1989 AND 1993. 

The circulation ranged from 500 for the first few issues to 5000 for the last ten or so. Click on the covers below for to see PDFs of all twenty eight issues.

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