By Mari Wadsworth
PROSE KITCHEN: What do you get when you cross a hometown boy with a few years of the Big Apple under his collegiate belt, a savvy band of graphic arts students, and a community teeming with unpublished writers? The answer's no joke: Prose Kitchen, the newest literary kid on the block, celebrates its debut issue with a tantalizing stew of original art, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and theatrical monologue.
Though assembled and funded by UA undergrads, it differs from its counterparts Persona (an undergraduate literary mag put out by the creative writing department) and Sonoran Review (the graduate journal) by seeking input not only from students and faculty, but from the Tucson community at large. They'll put out two issues this year, with a circulation of 1,000. "Our goal is to strengthen the relationship between the arts community and the university. Creative literary activity is beneficial to any community, and we're working not only to encourage this kind of activity, but also to advance its visibility so that more people may participate," says founding editor Andy Robinson.
An advance glimpse of the goods uncovered John Sulliven's "Edsels and Deloreans of the Gods," a tasty morsel of short fiction sure to make fans of Jack Kerouac smile.
Elsewhere, Rachael Rustigian tackles lost love in a pair of image-laden, free-verse poems: ...and they're tired/of dissecting love through the skin of a zipper/where growing never grows into growth... (from "The Underwear Jar").
A Beat spirit infuses much of the advance copy, suggesting that the magazine's group reading and release party on Thursday, February 5, might be the best place to test Prose Kitchen's heat. In particular, Sulliven's theatrical endeavor, "Gray Sergeant," is an avant-garde ode to postmodernism. (In other words, we don't really know how to describe it...nor does Robinson, for that matter.) But it's surfaced a couple of times previously on Tucson stages, so you may have seen it yourself. Described as "a primarily visual dramatic piece," the two-person one-act's simple yet abstract language and rhythmic vocal uprisings bring to mind performances by that other indescribable Tucson talent, Mat Bevel. So it's particularly well-suited to its venue, the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave., with its colored light show and kinetic-sculpted surroundings.
"When I first got back into town, I went to a poetry slam there. It was great. (The way the) institute has opened itself to public use fits in well with what we're trying to do at the magazine, so I wanted to take advantage of that," Robinson says. Writers will read from original works, not necessarily limited to those published in the magazine. Afterwards, a live band (still TBA) will take over. Show time is 8 p.m., and admission, like the magazine, is free. Call Andy at 903-1197 for information.
BUSTED: On eclectic newsstands now, just in time for Valentine's Day, is the "Girls On Sex" issue of Bust. Past issues of Bust, a feminist 'zine from New York, have tended to be a little preachy, but this one is fascinating, honest, thoughtful and slightly pornographic. A variety of women write about their sexual experiences (and lack of them) from a pro-sex, open-minded, condom-friendly, and compassionate viewpoint. Articles like "I Had Sex with the UPS Guy," and "How I Found Out that My New Boyfriend Liked to be Spanked," elucidate the comic underbelly of nineties sex, while the confessions of a 30-year-old virgin and the story of how testing HIV-positive improved another woman's body image offer more thoughtful insights. The level of frankness in Bust makes Cosmo read like it was published by the PTA. Really, why read a Cosmo article about "How To Please a Man in Bed" when you can hand him Bust's "Sex Tips for Boys"? (They begin with "Don't call me by any other woman's name," and then just get smuttier.) All this is illustrated with goofy cartoons and sexy pin-up gals from the sixties and seventies, hot enough to melt any chocolate heart.
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