Momma Tried Makes Its Miami Debut

"Hubba Bubba" outtake; photographed by Daniel Ford, art directed by Theo Eliezer.
"Hubba Bubba" outtake; photographed by Daniel Ford, art directed by Theo Eliezer.
Courtesy of Daniel Ford

People buy Playboy magazine for their awesome, award-winning interviews and thought pieces. This is a fact. That there happens to be some T&A thrown in to break the monotony of text; that’s just a minor plus. No, but seriously, Playboy might not be what it used to be, but in the end, Hef and company have always tried to deliver a quality product.

At what point does this quality product become anathema or not is not today’s topic, Playboy was never about following trends or competing with the further ruinous decay of sexual mores in America – if that had been the case, pornography would never have a problem.

The human body is a beautiful thing and if it happens to be in a spread that breaks the tedium of oft-lauded and award-winning journalism, who gives a fuck? Well, plenty of people give a fuck and that’s why it falls upon the shoulders of artists to mirror the situation and enact change.

Momma Tried is an “ad-free conceptual nudie mag exhibiting literary and visual arts, subversive humor, and non-heteronormative perspectives on sexuality” according to their website. Momma Tried, its title a joke about lackadaisical parenting, is published out of that vast vase of sin, New Orleans, privy to levee breaks and biblical punishments of hurricane proportions; a modern Sodom and Gomorrah if you will.

And that’s good, because if you want to be dumb like Lot’s wife, you can turn into whatever pile of salt your ethics and morals will point you to. But if you wanna be hip and with it and be at the forefront of cutting edge artistic informatics presented in the familiar and downright curious print-only format, then you’ll do right picking up the new issue of pub, launched out of that other bastion of sin, your beloved Miami, Florida this past weekend.

This publication is heavy on a kind of artistic pranksterism that is currently ruling the airwaves; the art world has become a bloated mess and it needs some poking with pointy, phallic things. This is satire. This is porn. This is art. This is a happening. This is food for thought. This is a seed planted that will germinate into something that can’t be controlled.

“Though generally viewed as disposable, magazines often exist in a place that is nostalgic, scintillating, and fascinatingly personal. Momma Tried is inspired by this tension between what is treasured and what is trashed, treating the magazine as both an exhibition space for art, writing, and sexuality, as well as a periodical that mimics and mocks the content and layout of the “Golden Age” of print." the organization says.  

So if you’ve kept your back issues of Playboy, hoping to relive a moment with either Kurt Vonnegut’s awesome interview, Momma Tried is equally vital as an object d’art and a deliberate collector’s piece. This is tangible and it is meant to be leafed; the founding editor Micah Learned and artistic director, Theo Eliezer wouldn’t want their product to be treated with white gloves and be sat atop a pedestal. It would ruin all of the fun. 

Edible wall art at the launch.
Edible wall art at the launch.
Theo Eliezer

Momma Tried is aesthetically inspired by art and media from the 1960’s and 70’s, and its design and layout is an homage to the look of Playboy magazine from this era,”  Eliezer says on the eve of the Miami launch. “Although it is print only, Momma Tried is a project informed by the internet and new media, as well as philosophical notions of what constitutes authenticity and reality in media and consumer industries.”

In an environment informed by the internet, by social media, by the relative interconnectedness of all things, Momma Tried brought edible art and music and the lively chutzpah of some of their contributors to the Miami launch at Exile Books. This is only their second issue, but the bonhomie of the creators is telling, if not belying of their true intentions – this is not just fun and games, this is nowhere near the vicinity of smoking jackets and overinflated mansions – this might be humorous but the wit whips with the sardonic, Momma Tried is making a statement about the art world and about humanity and the human body.

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That there happens to be a little sarcasm and actions that inspire a hard-on is a byproduct of the real intent. Pick one up today; don’t expect to be cool down the line when everybody else is talking about it. 

Grab a copy of the magazine at

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