Continuing a theme here at Lost in Montgomery, it’s time for another installment of Free Magazine Review!
What’s it called? Montgomery RSVP– the RSVP seems to stand for “Rental Space Vogue Parties” (really, we’re not making this up), and this magazine seems to be the publicity organ for a company with the same name.
What is it? “The River Region Guide for All Things Social!”
Where’d we find it? Cool Beans, a a very tasty and attractive place downtown. We should do a review of it here on Lost in Montgomery later, but the basic deal is that the people who run it are super nice and the food looks quite tasty and is just a wee bit too expensive.
What’s the deal? Well, pretty much this is a high-end glossy magazine about social activities in Montgomery (and the greater so-called River Region). It’s the kind of thing that tries are hard as possible to be pretentious and it offers a great look into the world of the wealthy whites who have largely fled inner city Montgomery. In our experience, magazines like this will grunt and strain to cover various social events, but ultimately fail due to: a) bad writing and b) running out of things to write about. This issue is the one-year anniversary of this particular publication. Also, this magazine appears to be largely produced by (and directed at) women. It is published by Kim; edited by Brianne; the contributing designers are Kasey, Summer, and Erika; the writers are Shannon, Amanda, Blue, Janine, Jamie, Jennifer, and Jonalan; and the interns are Mallory and Kimberly. Also, there is an Events Coordinator, which, from the look of the magazine, is VERY important. That job is done by Tiffany.
What sections do they have? Singled Out: The 411 on Single Life; Connections: Reasons to Gather; Two Are Better: Ideas for Couples; Socially Seen; Look, Listen, Lounge: Hot New Music, Movies, Books, and Places; and a few special features.
Who advertises? Usual suspects of rich white people boutiques and shoppes (although, to be fair, many of the people pictured in this magazine appear to be orange). As expected, the “articles” are also pretty much ads, like the first piece on how to buy sunglasses (sponsored by stores that sell them). This story is especially hilariously out of touch with Montgomery living – it suggests we can justify buying $100-$250 sunglasses by saying “I’ll skip a few lunches out.” There are also ads from a few regional events (some tennis tournament and the riverboat that our city just purchased for some reason). But mostly it’s crap like wedding photographers and belly dancing lessons.
What’s interesting in this issue? The dating article is so bad, it makes my eyes hurt to look at it. It includes valuable gems about the importance of being honest when dating someone. It is written in some kind of first person perspective that seems ripped from a 12-year-old’s journal. There’s a four-page piece on wine for people who know absolutely nothing about wine but want to seem like they do. All of the articles are heavily interspersed with pull quotes, subtitles and double spacing — pretty much anything to make them seem longer than they are. As evidence of how starved for content this magazine is, this March issue contained a wrap up of some New Year’s party.
The cover story is about awful band Saving Abel. How do I know they’re awful? Check out their most famous song. The lyrics are near the very top of the Unintentional Comedy scale. Turns out these dudes are from Corinth, Mississippi, so they’re sort of, um, regional or something. They have played in Montgomery, which is more than you can say about, well, any other band that’s selling records these days. Still, they list Three Doors Down as one of their influences, so it’s hard not to dismiss them out of hand. The write up is hilarious because it alternates between referring to the musicians by their last names and their first names.The article gives the impression of being pieced together after a 10 minute conference call with the band. And their publicity photos are, well, terrible. They’re touring with a bunch of other shitty bands, so, um, be on the lookout for that.
The other big centerpiece of this issue is called “The List.” It’s a group selected by Montgomery RSVP as “the young professionals and business leaders who bring culture and energy to our area.” We’ve got a woman who was in a fashion show once and also plans weddings! We’ve got a woman who is a tax accountant who “is linked to over 10 organized causes!” We’ve got a guy who is “a multi-album recording artist!” I wish so much I could meet these people. One guy works at a bank! What does he do to enrich our community? He spends time with his family!
Things like this make me feel like the community is even more impoverished than it really is. Still, it’s not all negative. I did learn from this magazine that our town has a ballet. So, even though that’s not my favorite art form, it’s cool to know that there’s some dance culture here. And the calendar is helpful, I guess, even if it’s super depressing that Larry the Cable guy is coming to town, but we’d have to drive to Birmingham to see Dave Matthews.
All in all, I’d pick up this magazine again, even if 95 percent of the reason was to make fun of it and/or be depressed by it. There are a few glimmers of valuable information in it and the remainder of the time spent with it can be spent reading chunks of it out loud to the delight/horror of all who may be around you.