• Bust
    I think Bust, the iconic post-feminist zine of the 90s, has crossed into the new millennium with a bad case of penis envy, or least overzealous teen girl giddiness over boys. (Note: the editors are in there 30s.) The August issue is devoted to the Esquire rip-off "Men We Love" theme, and we soon learn in the editors note that it is the third such issue they've done this year.

    We also learn that one staffer has actually started stalking one of the guys she profiled, and that "he's sooooooo cute" is the new feminist intellectual speak. The editors ...

  • The Advocate

    The Advocate hasn't blipped on my super-stealth magazine sonar/radar since last year's Marcia Cross is-she-or-is-she-ain't? hubbub. I remember thinking that the mag had played its hand rather transparently and without much class, amplifying the question of the actress' sexuality into the type of mass-media boondoggle (she's gay! no, she's not! maybe she is - gosh darn, you better buy three copies!) that it purported to find distasteful. By the time the issue finally hit the street, branded with the precious and misleading "Anatomy of a Rumor" headline, The Advocate had succeeded only in aping the tabloid mentality of lower-aiming celebrity ...

  • Surf Life For Women
    Surf Life for Women is not a terrible surfing magazine, but it's young and reads like a zine. The magazine captures the spirit of girl surf culture, but it's in need of some serious lessons on the basics of editing.

    The editor-in-chief is a California surfer girl named Sunshine Makarow and she clearly has a true hippie spirit, which is reflected in articles about environmentally correct surf gear and wear, and whimsical interviews. My favorite is called "10 Totally Random Questions," which an editor poses to a random surfer girl. For instance: "Who are you jealous of?" and "Do ...

  • Architectural Digest

    Over the years, Architectural Digest has provoked a single sensation deep in my gut: envy. Unless I scam my way into some heiress' boudoir, I ain't ever going to live in anything remotely approaching the chichi palaces the publication celebrates. So heading into this review, I figured that I'd throw the Mag-Rack equivalent of a hissy fit, sniping at the publication's precious, precious veneer and suggesting that planners' marketing dollars would be better spent on Milk Duds.

  • W
    Ah, fall shopping. There is nothing I like more than the thump of the mega-fat September fashion books chock full of couture fantasy and the season's crisp, beautiful new designs. Thank God, according to the September W, that the 1950s all-too-flowery "Desperate Housewives" look is over. Sophisticated black with a touch of vamp, mod, and glamour is back. Now, I just wish the book's articles were more interesting to read and I could tell the difference between an ad and editorial. With celebrities gracing covers, fashion, and feature pages, all alongside ads for Perry Ellis's 25th anniversary, it's pretty hard ...
  • Vitals Woman

    My first thought upon encountering Vitals Woman at the local newsstand-doohicky place was "already?" Let's face it: Vitals Man hasn't exactly set the publishing world aflame, resonating though it may with my immaculately moussed and/or cardigan-wearing peers. I figured Vitals Woman would be a similarly vacuous consumption orgy, perfect for gals lacking the style and self-confidence to make purchasing decisions on their own.

  • Breathe
    Breathe magazine is not your typical tree hugger yoga magazine. It's yoga for the hip yogi, the one who was reading Wired and Wallpaper in the 90s, probably worked for a dot-com, probably got fired from a dot-com, and then decided to cash in on those stock options (before they became totally worthless) to go to India or Thailand for six months. Breathe is the much needed return to the present for the iPod generation, most of whom spent the last decade living in the future. This new yoga magazine knows its demographic well -- materialism and spirituality mix just ...
  • Cosmopolitan

    After weeks of hurling invective, and occasionally, paper plates, Ms. Magazine Rack and I parted ways a few nights back. Feeling slightly like hours-old soup, I flashed upon what the MPA has been telling us for years: magazines are a "trusted friend," a "beacon in the dark night sky," an "opiate for the masses" (wait, that was Karl Marx talking about organized religion). I thusly resolved to find myself a magazine and weep on its supple, ad-supported bosom.

    It seems, however, that no such "warm, enveloping hug, but with adverbs" exists for dudes, unless you're really into pinstriped ...

  • Jane
    I hadn't checked in on the girls at Jane in a long time. As a devotee of Sassy magazine, the irreverent Gen X book that Jane Pratt started in the early 90s, I just assumed that once you name a magazine after yourself, have a baby, and turn 40, it's no longer possible to be edgy. But I was wrong.

    Jane magazine, albeit a bit corporatized and watered down, does have Pratt's original irreverence and a solid edge. Kelly Clarkson is Jane's August cover girl, and Pratt explains why in her humourous editor's note - she admits she thinks ...

  • New York

    New York is a hell of a town, but it hasn't been much of a magazine for some time now.

    For all its recent tottering on the precipice between relevance and irrelevance, however, it still enjoys genuine media cachet. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe a generation of pundits and marketers remember it from its 1990s glory era, when the publication actually anticipated trends rather than rehashing ones already identified elsewhere. Or maybe self-obsessed media types simply can't help but take seriously anything involving the words "new" and "york."

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