Free Magazine Review: RSVP (Sept/Oct 2010)

It has indeed been a while. So many free magazines piled up around the house. Time to get to reviewing them again! It’s Lost in Montgomery’s only semi-regular feature, Free Magazine Review! Click here for past editions. Today, we just couldn’t pass up reviewing another issue of the local mag that is our go-to source for rich white people comedy.

What’s it called? Montgomery RSVP. As you may recall, RSVP is actually an acronym, standing for “Rental Space Vogue Parties.” They have a website.

Giant furries promote loyalty to higher education

What is it? Well, they claim in their subtitle to be “The River Region Guide for All Things Social,” but that obviously depends on your social scene. If you’re younger than 30, make less than $50,000 a year, or you don’t resemble Bob Costas or Martha Stewart, you may well decide that there are some “things social” that aren’t covered by the sweeping umbrella of RSVP’s claim.

Where’d we find it? Likely at one of the businesses featured in the many advertisements within the pages of the magazine. Our best guess after digging this issue out of one of our stacks of unread detritus is that this issue was grabbed at a local salon.

What’s the deal? We’ve reviewed RSVP twice before. First we looked at their March/April 2009 issue. Then we examined their July/August issue of the same year. Both were hilarious editions, but we took some time off to see if RSVP could get it together. But like awful adult contemporary singer Richard Marx sang, we just “keep coming back.”

RSVP is, after all, clearly the leading publication in the field of Montgomery’s vast and competitive free magazine landscape. You might say that it stands astride the world of free magazines like a Colossus towering over a giant pile of wasted paper.

RSVP appears to be plugging themselves into the municipal scene in a way that the somewhat-harder-to-find Montgomery Living is failing to do. Maybe it’s RSVP’s snazzy party planning business, or maybe they’ve simply got better connections. Maybe it’s because RSVP’s magazine is free, while Montgomery Living has a cover price (though we’ve never paid for one). RSVP is hooked into the young urban professional network in a way that has caused it to cross our paths several times over the past year.

What sections do they have? RSVP seems to have settled into a fairly regular set of features. They’ve got two stories under “Singled OUT,” which, we guess is about dating or something. There’s a feature story; the “socially SEEN” section; “Look, Listen, Lounge;” and the usual bunch. There’s no real reason why the sections are distinguishable. Music info could be under “Look, Listen, Lounge,” or maybe under “Now Hear This,” or as a “reason to gather” or “friends, trends, odds & ends,” or perhaps the catch-all category, “when? what? where?” Either way, the whole thing is advertising, so it’s not like there are firm editorial categories here.

Obviously, the most important section here is “the list,” which features several pages of photos and biographical information about “young leaders.” And trust us, if you have a job and are under 50, RSVP’s list considers you a “young leader.” One featured leader has been in the Air Force for 22 years.

Who advertises? The usual suspects. We’ve been through this in our previous two reviews of the mag. The first ad after the inside cover is for the Alley Bar, touting the fact that you can watch football there. Well, it says, “Game on!” and has a picture of an offensive line about to snap the ball. Wouldn’t that lead you to think you could watch Saturday morning college football games at the Alley Bar? Yet, do they show games there?

We went on a Saturday during October and they were closed. Do you think they’re open for the NFL on Sundays? Nope.

Game on!

In fact, if you’ll entertain a brief sidebar about the Alley Bar, we called their phone number on a Sunday morning and not only were they closed, they didn’t even have an outgoing voicemail explaining their hours. You get get a recorded message: “Memory full. Enter access code.”

Huh. OK. Maybe there’s info on their blog. Nope. Instead of info from the bar itself, you get posts from customers complaining about being overcharged on their credit cards.

Ah, downtown revitalization.

What’s interesting in this issue? Football! Like, totally, uh muh Gah!

Look, we love college football. More importantly, most people around here love college football. Thus, it’s a good cover choice and a defensible theme for a fall issue. There’s good fodder for a featured cover story and it’s likely to be a popular issue.

That said, it helps to have some idea of what you’re talking about before you pick something to be your cover story. Take the six ladies on the title page, for example. Usually, this is where you get a note from the editor. This month, we get six notes from various white ladies, each talking about autumn and football. Kim, the publisher, likes to “get [her] booty back in the gym.” Amanda watches Grey’s Anatomy and loves Auburn football. Amanda says, “since retiring my pom-poms years ago,” she is mostly “an avid fan of shopping.” Chandler enjoys picking out the perfect game day dress, while Mallory applies football terms to her dating life, talking about “steering clear of yellow flags” and not “jumping offsides” by texting or calling too much. Shopping and fashion and dating! Football!

Pages 12-15 are light on text, heavy on fashion, mostly trying to tell you brand name college-themed crap to buy to wear to football games. No faded lucky t-shirts for these ladies. We’re talking semi off-the-shoulder tops for “flirty fun looks.” And for the dudes? Shut up and drink your embroidered flask.

Also, while it’s nice that they threw Alabama State and Troy State (yes, we still call it that) into the mix with Bama and Auburn, there’s no mention in the fashion spread of other in-state teams like Samford, UAB, or LOCAL team Huntingdon.

The Hawks do make it into the “spirit of the game” section, which consists of “facts about these colleges that we downloaded off the Internet.” In the section about Alabama State (p. 28), the editors/writers manage to misspell both “Pittsburgh” and “Steelers.” Yay, football!

But what can we really expect from a publication that on the front end says several times that “every Southern girl” waits year-round for football season and then towards the back of the magazine alongside the printing of SEC football schedules includes this fine image:

Ladies like football ... unless it is boring torture that they endure because men force them.

One response to “Free Magazine Review: RSVP (Sept/Oct 2010)

  1. Funny! You guys rock.

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