GIRL MAGS GROW UP: Somewhere around the mid-'80s, a monthly
teen magazine called Sassy emerged and took the
industry by storm. That is, it gained a reputation for blowing
hot air and stirring up a lot of dust, which was just what the
climate was lacking. While other teen magazines were recycling
the secrets for beautiful hair and How to Make Him Notice You,
Sassy was busy breaking taboos surrounding more pressing
issues confronting young women: like eating disorders and date
rape. And Sassy, though its circulation was small, was
flying off the stands. Unfortunately, the issues-oriented attitude
that brought Sassy to the forefront also became its downfall.
A cover story on abortion received a backlash from advertisers;
and as other teen magazines jockeyed to recapture the market by
emulating Sassy's "cutting-edge" approach, the
pioneering publication was forced to go mainstream; and eventually,
out of business.
Its mark, however, remains indelible. A recent perusal of Young and Modern--the revamped, redesigned version of historically prissy Young Miss (who ever liked to be called that?)--reveals that Sassy's spunk lives on. Although the magazine shamelessly rubs its body copy up against advertisers like Pepsi and Maybelline, the thrust of its message is that girls are powerful and cool, with or without the right clothes and make-up. ...Although buying make-up, and lots of it, is definitely encouraged. Especially if it's Maybelline. (Though well out of our teen years, our scribbled answers to the quiz answering the question, "Are You Possessed By The Beauty Devil?" yielded the surprising conclusion that we were, in fact, still in the "beauty beginner" category, which seemed to be largely determined by the number of tubes of lipstick we owned. "Don't be shy about learning a few beauty tricks," the editors advised. "Knowing how to maximize what you've got can give your confidence a major boost." Here's a new lip color for them: Kiss-My-Ass Carnelian.)
Among the August issue's highlights: the letter-of-the-month from Scottsdale grrrl rockers The Peeps; reader responses to previous articles on incest, full-figured models, and cosmetic companies that support PETA; 10 types of guys to avoid (a refreshing spin on the traditional how-to-win-over-the-male-species spread); and a cover story on the seriously non-boy-crazy Spice Girls (gussied up to be awfully conventionally beautiful for a group of supposedly convention-debunking pop-hipsters). YM is still more brass than sass; but it's a well-heeled step in the right direction. Perhaps it's the strongest indication of progress, to see the whole "sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves" approach has become unapologetically mainstream. Beats the hell out of Day-Glo t-shirts and peace signs.
ROCK AND RHYME: The words and images of Bero Gallery's Poetry Gallery--3 exhibit turn multi-dimensional this Saturday, with a closing reading by exhibiting poets.
Lesser-known local talents James Marshall and Robin Lauzon warm up the floor with original poetry and prose, respectively, starting fashionably late around 7:30 or 8 p.m. Established poet, musician and co-curator of the exhibit, Maggie Goldston, takes the middle slot; and featured poet Richard Siken will sweat out 30 minutes in the limelight with a variety of personal favorites and proven crowd-pleasers, grinningly referred to by the poet as "dirty, adult stuff." Serious? we asked. "Serious."
Siken's at once familiar and eye-averting interpretations of the human experience have delighted and converted poetically challenged local audiences for years. His works have graced the pages of both local and national journals and magazines, including The James White Review, Many Mountains Moving, Jackleg, Indiana Review, and Chelsea. A polished performer as well as poet, his voice is even better in person than it is in print...and this is his final hometown reading before he sets the U-Haul's course for Brooklyn, and (we hope) a brilliant publishing career.
A straight-ahead rockabilly set by The Terp (two guys from James Dead), with the fabulous Al Perry, and should get underway between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. All events are Saturday, August 30, at Bero Gallery, 41 S. Sixth Ave. Call 792-0313 for information.
LIP SERVICE: From the looks of it, Tucson isn't slated for a personal visit from the creator of the "national, multimedia Art of Kissing tour," but you can check out and perhaps even add to the findings of Boston College prof Michael Christian by logging on at http://www.kissing.com. It's research he appears to be quite proud of, though he publishes under the pseudonym William Cane; and most of the site is devoted to selling his various books on the history and how-to's of lip locking.
The site is disappointingly text driven: A promising link slugged "slides" reveals only pie graphs (though sexy pie graphs they are; the full-color, three-dimensional kind your computer manual brags anyone can learn to make, though you rarely meet anyone who's ever figured it out). Here you can glean a variety of fun facts for free: Eight percent of men surveyed like the taste of lipstick; about 66% of women dislike stubble; and both men and women overwhelmingly agree their favorite kisses include Frenching, biting and kissing in public. (The biggest discrepancy suggests nearly 98% of women favor being kissed on the neck, with less than 10% of men sharing that predilection; though nine out of 10 guys say they like it.)
There's a forum for asking your own burning questions, though we can cut to the chase and tell you the answer: "Buy my book, The Art of Kissing, which has a full chapter devoted to...." Hey, you can't blame a guy for trying. Besides, it's no small accomplishment to have what seems to be a silly book (apparently, it isn't) translated into 18 foreign languages, the most interesting of which include Hungarian, Icelandic, Hebrew and a "pirate edition" in Czech. (The American version is available in paperback from St. Martin's Press for $6.95.)
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