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WHAT THE CRITICS SAID:
 

Factsheet Five (May 1995) A literary satire zine that is both sophisticated and quite silly at the same time. [Review of AVSM, Issue 23] 


The Baltimore Sun (June 16, 1991): "More sophisticated than Mad, less sarcastic than Spy... (a) pocket-sized humor publication that satirizes everyone from Madonna to Marion Barry."
The Washington Post Magazine (March 10, 1991): "The tiny magazine pokes fun at serious literary journals, with characters like Ailene Overr, Mona Lott....The latest issue is an ambitious ode to Washington..." [AVSM issue 15]
NEXT EXIT (Kingston, Ontario, CANADA), "I wanna be just like Beth Blevins when I grow up. Every issue of AVSM is very small and very perfect. [Reviews issue 15] 

WHAT WAS AVSM LIKE?
 
Excerpts:

Finding Your Inner-Julia Child [from Issue 23]


More and more American men and women are discovering that there is an angry, hurt "inner-Julia Child" inside them, an "inner-Julia Child" which has been abused by a culture that cares more about calories, convenience and cholesterol than it does about (in Julia Child's words) "wonderfully good eating". Your inner-Julia Child may have been wounded in any of the following ways:

  • By adherence to the too long-lingering, low-fat, non-cholesterol dietary fad of the last decade.
  • By your worrying more about what your food might do to your waistline than how it tastes; as a result of this, you have been far more likely to drink diet sodas all day than to let yourself have one satisfying glass of dark beer; to glop chemical goo on your potatoes rather than risk the extra but pleasurable calories of real sour cream; to forego the unique richness of butter for the plastic taste of margarine.
  • By your inability to plan or shop ahead, causing you and your family to rely upon your microwave to quickly cook or, more likely, to thaw out your frozen dinner.
  • By your so readily accepting the great cultural lie that a night at McDonald's offers a great evening of dining, or that pizza, hot dogs, and french fries constitute the extent of our national cuisine.
While you fill your belly, meal after meal, without truly savoring anything you chew, your inner-Julia Child is secretly yearning for gigot en chevreuil, filet mignon with madeira sauce, triple chocolate mousse. It is begging you to roast a succulent pig, to whip a cup of heavy cream and ladle it onto a bowl of sweet red strawberries which have been lovingly and lightly dredged with confectionary sugar.... [full text of essay]


Le Showdown by Court Atchinson [from Issue 23]


Slapping the sunbaked ochre trail dust from his Vuitton chaps with a faded ten-litre hat, Jean-Buck "Howdy" Flambeau surveyed the dusty boulevard outside Le Chien Noir Saloon -- the meanest, orneriest little bistro in the panhandle of Bordeaux. He tethered his horse, Maurice, and despite a terrible thirst, hesitated at the café doors. Somewhere inside, the ominous strains of "La Vie en Rose" played softly on an accordion. It was the sort of place where a stranger might find a very easy death; a milieu where all men are mortal.

Inside, it was not much cooler, and the air was sour with Gaulois fumes and the scent of stale and criminally overcooked crépe de gendarme au trois. ...


THE LAST/LOST POEM OF SYLVIA PLATH (Feb. 11, 1963) [from Issue 22]


A long-overlooked neighbor of Sylvia Plath's overheard the poetess muttering this poem as she gassed herself in her London flat in Feb. 1963. Not realizing at the time that Ms. Plath was destined to be on the summer reading lists of thousands of suicidal teenagers, the neighbor never bothered to tell anyone of this last poem until years later when she saw Ms. Plath's photograph in an exhibit at a bookstore, in commeration of the 30th anniversary of her death. The neighbor, Mrs. Eleanor Wooster, said she realized, "My god, that's that crazy neighbor I used to live next door to." When she told the bookstore clerk that she remembered "Mrs. Hughes" screaming poems and obscenities in her kitchen and bathroom, which she could hear quite vividly, even on the day of her death, the clerk excitedly suggested that there would be much interest in Ms. Plath's last words. With the help of a hypnotist, the neighbor was able to piece together the following words, which we have arranged into a poem. We feel that this final poem of Ms. Plath provides new evidence that she died as a result of her intense loathing of housework, and not because she let herself be ultimately victimized by her unfaithful schmuck of a husband.
 
 

I'D RATHER DIE THAN CLEAN THIS OVEN AGAIN


This oven
reeking of the remains of past suppers, orgies of satiations,
Waits to be cleaned, silent as a drowned kitten.

The dark sweet blood of cherry pies
the burned black fat from the haunches of lambs
and the vivid anger of hissing potatoes
cover its walls.

I could dig into it like a miner,
excavate this stinking cave with a steel wool pad,
attack the charred stalacites with a dull knife,

But instead,
I shall make its darkness my own
Here my oppressor and liberator -
I leave it for another woman to clean.


Finally---the complete text of Issue 25 is available online.


Subpages (1): AVSM Samples
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