Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parody Is Glue-Gunning for Martha Stewart

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parody Is Glue-Gunning for Martha Stewart

Article excerpt

FOR THOSE WHO just love Martha Stewart, and for those who've seen, heard and read more of this domestic queen than they can bear, there's a new publication both will adore.

"Is Martha Stuart Living?" (Southport Beach Productions, $9.95) is a parody of her highly successful magazine, "Martha Stewart LIVING," put together by two of her Connecticut neighbors, Tom Connor and Jim Downey.

The living, breathing Martha Stewart is an East Coast caterer, gardener, author, Kmart representative and television spokeswoman extraordinaire who just loves to show and tell others how to cook, entertain and decorate beautifully. She's a woman who apparently thinks nothing of gutting and gilding 20 pumpkins to use as soup bowls for a dinner party, for example, or growing real grass in baskets for Easter.

"We have infinite respect for Martha," Downey says. "She even catered Tom's wedding. But she asks just too too much of women and men. Perfection is a difficult thing to achieve."

The authors found that out as they strove to make their parody as good as her legitimate publication. "We learned how hard they (the magazine staff) must work to make that thing come out. It's lovely to look at, but who has the time?" asks Downey.

With help from photographer J. Barry O'Rourke, it took the authors 18 months to produce a parody with the slick, glossy look of a top magazine. O'Rourke photographed one of Stewart's early coffee-table books and has also worked for Playboy.

He even makes dirt look distinctive. The gardening segment is all about dirt - the best mixes for driveways, potted plants, etc. The accompanying photograph of six little dirt piles has the same attention to detail that Vogue might give to a feature on blusher.

The authors included all the usual "Martha departments" from Martha's monthly calendars to "Homekeeping." On Dec. 18, for example, there's a note to "make napkins, tablecloth, candles & toothpicks for dinner guests. …

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