VCE Top Designs—frankie Editor Jo Walker Talks to Media Students.


Last Thursday frankie editor Jo Walker spoke to VCE students studying media and design at Melbourne Museum, as part of their annual VCE Top Designs exhibition.

The forum was also headed by two VCAA State Reviewers, who got the event off to a promising start when they asked the students if any of them read magazines as inspiration for their projects, and a tumbleweed blew by.

But you know what high school kids can be like: in the words of Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull, “I’m glad I never was one!”

Walker can count me as one of her loyal subjects, and I hung on her every word.

Granted, a lot of it is stuff I’ve heard before, as it’s been five and a half years since I graduated from high school, but interesting nonetheless.

She spoke about frankie’s humble beginnings, the founding editors Louise Bannister, who left not long after the mag’s inception to backpack around Canada, and Lara Burke, who’s still there as creative director today.

Walker described frankie as a “general interest magazine for hipsters”, which I have to say was a turn off, as I can’t stand hipsters! But, like my friend Zoe, who looks like a hipster on the outside, but is really just a normal, cool, great person on the inside, frankie is similar.

Walker said it’s easier to describe what frankie isn’t than what it is: it’s not a colourful, mainstream mag about how to please your boyfriend in bed. frankie readers already know how to do that, according to Walker!

The mag is inspired by “random conversations in pubs”, bookstores, news shows like ABC’s Australian Story, the internet, social media and frankie staff’s favourite blogs (no word on if The Scarlett Woman is one of them!). But essentially, if editors Walker and Burke  like it, it goes to print.

frankie has stopped using models for its fashion shoots (though not for the cover evidently), instead using musicians in what could be seen as a token gesture to silence its critics.

Stepping away from the typical frankie-esque story, this month has a “frankie weddings” special, which Walker described as “not just another [Cosmo Bride] wedding story”.

Ultimately, Walker says she looks to give each issue the balance, flow and rhythm of a “mixtape” (though I don’t think many of the kids knew what one is; “an iPod playlist”, if you will.)

I was so inspired by the talk and the amount of references to the current issue, I went out and bought a copy, even though I don’t get paid til next week and had already exhausted my magazine allowance!

Related: George Michael Paper Dolls in Independent Zine ZINm.

 frankie Review: January/February 2011.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Why It’s Worth Talking About frankie Magazine.

Image via Girl with a Satchel.

TV: The Devil Works at W—Gossip Girl “Damien Darko” Review.

 

With Blair well on her path to becoming a magazine power woman, she nabs an internship at W. It just so happens that her frenemie Dan has been hooked up by Lily for an internship at the same magazine. Hijinx ensue.

The feel of the episode is very The Devil Wears Prada, and editor Stefano Tonchi’s assistant, Epperly Lawrence, brings this up when Blair fantasises over the fashion closet:

“I saw that movie too, but this is real life, not some Hollywood chick flick, where a girl with a scrunchie gets a makeover and triumphs in the end.”

But back to Dan VS. Blair, which includes a Chanel No. 5-spiked coffee, a dangerously close stapler incident, and culminates in Dan sabotaging Blair’s attempt to save the day by inviting her own author to W’s launch party for their blog. Phew! The softening of Blair’s heart is evident in the fact that she didn’t try to scheme Dan out of accompanying his own author to the event, and the hardening of Dan’s means that perhaps he’s spending too much time with the Queen of the Upper East Side.

The two end up getting fired from the magazine, but Dan takes pity on Blair, who won the internship on her own, without any help from her meddling mother, and calls Epperly to tell her the stunt (a full on brawl between Dan and Blair!) at the party was all his fault and she should hire Blair back, despite it being “easier to get a guy paroled than it is to get an internship in this town,” a reference to Ben’s release from prison.

On a side note, I do love Blair’s pink short ensemble, but it’s the middle of winter! Put some clothes on, girl!

Related: Come Together Right Now… Over Gossip Girl: “Gaslit” Review.

Gossip Girl Proves There’s No Such Thing As Wonder Woman.

Sexual Healing: Gossip Girl Takes a Page Out of John Irving’s Book.

Pretty But Dumb: Serena’s Tertiary Education Predicament.

Surfing the Third Wave: Second Wave VS. Third Wave Feminism on Gossip Girl.

The Last Tango… For the Season. Gossip Girl Season 3 Final.

Images via OVFile.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The latest Teen Vogue with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale on the cover worryingly espouses using dieting to achieve “Your Best Body”.

Minnie Mouse meets beatnik meets Gala Darling is the latest “blog girl” trend.

A superb 2004 Andrew Denton interview with media darling/mogul Ita Buttrose.

Charlie Glickman on the perils of alternative male and female sexuality.

Pop music=guilty pleasure no more. (However, stay tuned next week for an alternative view on this subject.)

Girl with a Satchel laments the unattractive “View from the Glossip Stand” in Zoo’s UnAustralians of the Year feature.

“Stereotyping is a fun and useful tool… to categorise interests and make harmful blanket statements” about your favourite magazines. For example, Lula is for those who “never spend money on U.S. fashion magazines because they just don’t ‘get it’; they’re so dull”, while Details has “a strong Patrick Bateman vibe”.

More on Gwyneth Paltrow’s unlikability, this time from New York Magazine:

“Gwyneth is also kind of a jerk. Her perfection is judgment on the rest of us, and she makes this known in interviews and on her lifestyle website, Goop, the tone of which suggests a domestic personality just one degree shy of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.”

The Freudian nature of the vampire.

How women are reclaiming “bitch” as their own.

New research indicates that women’s bodies may protect themselves from rape. And so opens a whole other can of consent worms…

“Are Music Video Girls Exploited?”

This article puts to the rest the “you can’t be both beautiful and smart” way of thinking.

Magazines: Independent Zine Zinm Preview.

 

Last week I was lucky enough to be featured in a friend of a friend’s Melbourne-based zine, Zinm by Marc Bonnici.

Our mutual friend Anthony had been urging me to check out his self-titled blog for the better part of a year, until I happened upon last month’s copy of Zinm that he’d brought to a get-together.

I was instantly drawn in as I briefly flicked through the pages, a picture from Mean Girls staying most clearly in my mind. (“Burn Book” is a regular feature of Zinm.)

Try as I might, I was never able to get my mitts on a copy of last month’s edition, but better still, I was able to be featured in this month.

As Australia Day rolls around again, guest contributors Anita Calavetta, Marc Bergmann, Dodie Smith, and Muriel Barbery, as well as Marc himself, muse about what Australia means to us. Yours truly continues on her plight to get the safety net for footballers behaving badly removed, as I feel that is a strong part of Aussie culture.

Unfortunately there are not any copies of the latest edition available, as there is a limited print run. But the title has doubled in demand since its inception three issues ago. If you are interested in bagging a copy, I suggest you check out Marc’s blog and drop him a line.

Us independent writers have got to stick together.

Related: Beauty & the Bestiality.

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Elsewhere: [Marc Bonnici] Homepage.

“She Just Wants Attention”.

 

I’ve written about this before, but thought I would elaborate some more on it. And by I, I mean Tavi in this Jezebel post, “Women Who Want Attention”:

“People really, really hate Megan Fox. If you have an Internet connection, you know this, but in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a hate-driven Tumblr, the description of which reads: ‘Fuck you, Megan Fox. No, really. Keep your trap shut.’

“Megan Fox is a pretty talkative person. Wait, no, she’s a pretty talkative woman. She’s a pretty talkative woman who makes a lot of dudes happy by playing the sexy chick. And on top of that, she’s talked about how her male boss, Michael Bay, can be kind of a jerk… [for making] her wash his Ferrari wearing a bikini in order to get a part in Transformers. Which she should apparently be really, really grateful for, since whenever people talk about her, they like to throw in the ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ admonishment. To which I say, what if that hand is also trying to grab your ass?

“People seem to get pissed that their sex symbols have to come with opinions, and like, emotions, and things to say. Fox is dismissed by Bay and the media as an attention whore, an egotistical bitch who just wants to find something to complain about so people will look at her… Fox, you see, is similarly famous but also desired, so she should have nothing to be upset over. Surely a woman’s needs and problems can’t go deeper than that! She just wants attention.”

Related: The Beautiful, Bigmouthed Backlash Against Katherine Heigl & Megan Fox.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Women Who Want Attention.

[Fuck You Megan Fox!] Homepage.

Magazines: Goodbye TV Hits, It Was Nice Knowing You.

 

The first magazine I ever bought was TV Hits.

I remember sticking posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, George Michael and Dean Cain of Lois & Clark fame on the wall of the room I shared with my sister.

I remember knowing the words to every Top 40 song that was released from about 1996 to 1999 (when I graduated from primary school and onto Dolly), thanks to the lyric card cut-outs each edition came complete with, which comes in handy for ’90s themed dance nights.

I remember hiding my latest copy under my desk at school and reading it cover to cover during class, then again when I got home.

I remember friends commenting that they were jealous of me for being a walking Wikipedia for all things celebrity.

TV Hits was where my love affair with pop culture began, and I was known to lose sleep waiting for the latest issue to come out the next day. My mind was a sponge back then, and after much sorting, I can usually recall some of that info.

But Girl with a Satchel reports that TV Hits is to fold, and while it has become a shadow of the magazine Mecca it once was, its nostalgic influence makes me sad to see it go.

But with blogs and mobile phones and Twitter and what not, the tween music mag has become obsolete. While back when I was its number one fan, the mag was much more of a TV Week meets the entertainment section of Famous or NW publication, it had devolved (evolved?) to strictly music, with a little bit of light TV and movies on the side.

The news comes at a time when fellow Australian mag Notebook: has released its final issue, highlighting the fact that unless a magazine is selling desirable numbers year on year, month on month, week on week, and if similar content is available elsewhere (online), there’s no place for it on the newsstand.

So, in honour of TV Hits, let’s break out the Spice Girls-style platform sneakers, spin some Best of 1998 albums and trek to the Reject Shop for some hair mascara and butterfly clips, and party like it’s 1999.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] TV Hits R.I.P.

[Girl with a Satchel] A TV Hits Clarification.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

After my Mick Foley rant last week, I’ve started reading his blog, Countdown to Lockdown, and I’m loving it. Here are some choice articles:

Remembering female pro-wrestling pioneer, Luna Vachon, who passed away on August 27 this year.

“That Time I Met… Tina Fey… and Alec Baldwin!”

“That Time I Met… President William Jefferson Clinton!” (I really love this one; some heart-warming stuff.)

“Mick’s Favourite Things: Top Ten Matches”, three of whichCactus Jack VS. Randy Orton at Backlash 2004 (above), Mankind VS. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell in June, 1998, and Mick Foley VS. Edge in a Hardcore Match at WrestleMania XXII (that’s WrestleMania 22 in 2006 for you wrestling laymen)I 100% agree with.

In defence of Buffy’s whining.

“To the Teenage Boy in Your Life”:

“An important thing to remember is that girls are not from a different planet, nor are they even a different species. They’re just people, they’re just like boys, except with vulvas instead of penises.

“Mainly you need to remember this when you’re trying to figure out what a girl is thinking. See, if you didn’t know what a BOY was thinking, how would you go about finding out? You might ask him, right? The same goes for girls.”

I’m a bit behind the eight-ball on this one, as No Make-Up Week was a month ago, but Alle Malice’s guest post on Rabbit Write goes over the reasons “Why We Wear Make-Up”. I especially like this one:

“It makes me look good in photos. Almost everything we do now is documented by someone and posted in Facebook albums for the world to see, because if you aren’t having fun on Facebook, you aren’t really having fun. And if you aren’t pretty on the internet, you aren’t pretty in real life. Enter makeup.”

Nick Sylvester, on Riff City, discusses “How Kanye West’s Online Triumphs Have Eclipsed Kanye West”:

“Maybe there are people working with him… but I get the sense that Kanye is generating the [sic] lot of these ideas. I imagine he likes being in control of every aspect of the production, the medium being the message and so on. Online he is a wise fool, first playing into people’s perceptions of ‘Kanye West’, then off those very perceptions, sending himself up, pulling back his own veil… Despite many attempts, Kanye West is incapable of being parodied, largely because Kanye West has already figured out a way to be a parody of Kanye West.”

Much like Megan Fox in this New York Times Magazine article. Could I even go as far as to say that blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson has employed this strategy? I believe I could. And for that matter, Lindsay Lohan sending herself up on Funny or Die and promos for the MTV VMAs are along the same lines.

Sylvester goes on to say that “artists like Kanye West have to be ‘good at Twitter’ in order to put a dent in the zeitgeist.”

Furthermore,

“‘Nowadays rappers, they like bloggers,’ is what Swizz Beatz says… Slowly the work itself becomes secondary, less ambitious; slowly people becomes ‘really proud of their tweets’.”

Is it “The End of Men”?

Disney’s latest offering, Tangled, based on the story of Rapunzel, takes us back to a time when the Disney Princess reigned supreme, according to io9.

Feminist Themes examines Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” clip:

“… the objectification, glamorising of lesbian fetishism, and excessive girl-on-girl violence… [are aspects of the video that] feminist Gaga fans can try to justify… as another example of how she subversively turns what we usually find hot into something that leaves a nasty taste in our mouths and therefore makes a statement, but if any other artist (particularly any male artist) incorporated this much objectification and violence against women we would be outraged. Is it any different just because it’s a woman, or because it’s specifically Gaga?

“… What sets Gaga apart from other sexpot pop stars for me is that I just can’t imagine men being honestly turned on by hernot because she isn’t gorgeous (she is), but because she is so avant-garde, aggressive and self-driven which takes that arousal and turns it into something atypical, uncomfortable, and threatening.”

Also at Feminist Themes, the cause of the she-blogger in “Why I Blog”.

In other Gaga news, The Cavalier Daily reports that the University of Virginia is now running Lady Gaga classes! This sooo makes me want to re-enrol in university in a post-grad, transfer to UV, and take this kick-ass class!

The Daily Beast puts forth two differing opinions on Glee’s stereotypes: Andy Dehnart discusses the show’s “Harmful Simplicity”, while Thaddeus Russell applauds the walking stereotype that is Kurt Hummel, as “history tells us that those unafraid to be ‘too gay’ won far more freedomsfor all of usthan those who dressed the part of straights.”

Beautifully satiric The Frenemy reveals the recipe to “The Teen Romantic Comedy”, which “does not work for Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, or John Hughes films”, unfortunately. The truth about Disney Princes is also profiled, in which Eric from The Little Mermaid “wanted to kiss a girl who doesn’t speak words and doesn’t know how to use a fork. What the hell are you, caveman?”, while Mulan’s Captain Shang is in truth, a “gay liar” who made young, susceptible viewers the girls who have “crushes on a lot of her gay friends. [A] big Will & Grace fan.” Hey, that’s me!

Rachel Hills discusses intersectionality in feminism:

“For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, ‘intersectionality’ is a way of talking about power and privilege that recognises that recognises that these things operate on multiple axes. People aren’t just female, or Black, or Asian, or straight, or working class, or trans, or a parent, or prone to depressioneveryone falls into a number of different categories that colours their experience of the world in specific ways. In the feminist context, it serves as a useful reminder that not all women have the same experiences, and calls into question the still dominant notion that the neutral ‘female’ experience is one that is white, heterosexual and middle-class.

“I’m also a fan because it just makes feminism a whole lot more interesting.”

Girl with a Satchel profiles Melissa Hoyer’s media career, which is a must-read for any budding wordsmith.

I am staunchly pro-choice when it comes to the abortion debate. In fact, I lean so far to the left that I’m borderline pro-abortion. (I’m sure that’ll ruffle some feathers!) But no matter what your feelings on the subject, MamaMia’s post, “The Couple Facing Jail Because They Tried To ‘Procure an Abortion’. Hello, Queensland? It’s 2010” is worth checking out.

Jezebel’s “5 Worst Mean (Little) Girls of All Time” includes Willy Wonka’s Veruca Salt and, from one of the most heart wrenching films of all time, A Little Princess, Lavinia, who looks a lot like modern-day mean girl, Angelina Pivarnick, from Jersey Shore.

“Why Strawberry Shortcake Was a Progressive Pioneer.”