Zine Reviews

Beauty Across America

Beauty Across AmericaEsther Pearl Watson and Martha Rich

Imagine hitting up a Texas BBQ joint to query patrons about the meaning of beauty over ribs and collards. How about rapping with lingerie retailers in Missouri about orgasms and Darwin?  Two women went on a road trip to do just that –while pondering other aesthetic questions—and the result is Beauty Across America, the ‘zine and blog of Esther Pearl Watson and Martha Rich. The ‘zine is a bricolage of 60’s-70’s era beauty ads, hand-drawn cartoons, and typewritten reports from the road.  Quotes are found on slips of paper that appear to be written by rednecks working at a fortune cookie factory. “Your eyes are beautiful, honey! Are those contacts?” or, “If you don’t have no character you don’t have no life.” The art is honest and loaded with crude Americana, but Watson and Rich are perhaps too eager to push their point: Americans are fed a market-driven notion of unattainable beauty, yet, when questioned, will say true beauty transcends mere appearance. (Matthew Monte)

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