Archive for the ‘Parties’ Category

Christina Ricci Gets Cozy With Gotham at Le Cirque

May 5, 2008

Milena Govich of Law & Order, Christina Ricci, Donna Distephano

Nothing ain’t worth doing if you can’t throw a party to celebrate.  Niche Media may take this adage (made up by me) to the extreme, but in a way I like.  To celebrate its latest cover starlet (Christina Ricci), Gotham threw a little cocktail party at the wine bar at Le Cirque.  No Jason Binn riling the crowd into a celebrity-loving frenzy, but still fun anyway.  Ricci was patient with onlookers and journos.  I was too in awe of Wednesday Adams to bother her with inane, magazine-related questions.

But I did meet a man who, along with his dazzling wife, owns St. Germain, a French liqueur.  We had a drawn out conversation about the quality of cocktails and their general place in the American imagination.  We commented on how every time you clink your ice cubes against the side of your glass a new vodka is born.  And about party liquor sponsorship: It shouldn’t just be about free booze but about adding something to the ambiance of the party.  (Not sure I agree on that one…simply out of personal principle.)

Enjoy more pics after the jump.



Hip Hip Hooray for Editorial Inegrity in Awards Shows: The ANDY Awards

May 1, 2008

It’s always fun to see what top creatives in advertising come up with in the whirlwind advertising awards show season (The One Show is up next on Weds). I liked much of the work last year better than this year at the annual International ANDY Awards — but what do I know? I do know that my heart was warmed down to its very cockles upon seeing the image below:

The One Show ANDY ad

Why? Doesn’t seem like much, right? Well, it’s an ad for ostensible rival The One Show. There’s editorial integrity, something you often see little of in all but the best awards shows. Kudos to the ANDYs. And thanks for the free booze (as always). And click here to see goofy pics of me in the Yahoo! idea chair.

Also, click here for the article on the show in Adweek

Hamptons Kicks off the Season with Isabella Rossellini on a Cold, Rainy Night

April 29, 2008

Intimate Hamptons Magazine party at the Four Seasons

Magazines have parties for many reasons: high-profile new hires, closing an issue, redesign, holidays, etc, etc, etc. But it mostly boils down to publicity. Rare is the magazine that parties just to party, as rock and roll as this industry might seem. Aside from the usual (but usually tasteful) integrated sponsorship deals, both Gotham and Hamptons magazines fit that bill. Publicity and photos good for a page or two in the next issue are part of the bargain. But seeing Jason Binn work the crowd last night, seeing how he opens his home several weekends over the summer to Hamptonites young and old, you can tell he just wants everyone to have a good time. Maybe it’s the business, but that don’t bother me none. What in this world is worth doing if you can’t throw a party to celebrate it?

Thanks to Isabella Rossellini for gracing the cover of the magazine/making it all happen. And thanks to Ketel One for giving me new ideas for my upcoming appearance on the hit Japanese show, Crazy Extreme Drink Making Explosion!!! (The translation makes the show seem just about as intense as it really is. See the inspiration after the jump.)


Atlantic Media Hosts Tea Time with Bonnie Fuller, et al

March 27, 2008

Francois Navarre of X17, Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine, Richard Johnson of Page Six, Brandy Navarre of X17, Richard Samuels, moderator, of the NYU Journalism School, and Bonnie Fuller of American Media

The venue: NYU School of Journalism.  The hosts: The Atlantic and the NYU Graduate School of Journalism.  The attendees: Intellectuals and members of the press.  The mood: Roundtable-y.  The topic: Is Britney Spears crazy?

The panel piggy-backed on the April 2008 Atlantic cover featuring Britney Spears surrounded by photographers for a feature article titled “The Britney Show.”  Though there was some high-minded discussion about the reasons Americans love celebrity gossip (as a replacement for fiction, to connect at the workplace and in other social situations, the morality of the paparazzi, Celebrities, They’re Just Like Us, etc), the conversation often de-evolved into one of the following things:

– “Britney is crazy…”

– “I love that show!”

I heard grumblings in the elevators on the way out that it wasn’t intellectual enough, that they expected something different from The Atlantic.

I disagree.  The rise of celebrity “news” is clearly an important trend in 21st century American society, and though it might be depressing to consider that people are more interested in the minutia of the lives of people they will never meet instead of fiction and what was once known as culture, it is the current state of affairs.  Some of the panelists reveled in this fact (Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine and Francois and Brandy Navarre of X17 and X17online).  Others seemed less enthusiastic personally, though not professionally (Bonnie Fuller of American Media and Richard Johnson of The New York Post‘s Page Six [and “king of New York”, according to Samuels]).  I did get the impression from Johnson, however, that he had personal misgivings about the direction of American interests despite his role (small in comparison to Fuller and X17) in setting that course.  If you were there, and you disagree, please set me straight.  There will be a video of the session on Atlantic Online.

Either way, it all depressed me.   Highlights and a couple more shots after the jump.


Harry McCracken, B2B Media Superstar Editor, Weighs in Online Without Benefit of Performance Enhancing Anything

March 14, 2008

“There’s no such thing as resting on your laurels online.  If you do that even for one day, you’re in trouble,” Harry McCracken, Timothy White Award (for an editor who displays courage, integrity, and passion), and 2008 Neal Awards Committee Chair, and VP/EIC of PC World, a mag that took home two gold Neals).

So, committee chair, award winner, and EIC of award winning magazine?  Do I smell a rat?  I most certainly do NOT.  With almost anyone else in that position, you might say that something stunk.  But Harry is one of the most moral people I know.  Just look at his track record.  At min magazine, we made him one of our 21 Most Intriguing People of 2007 precisely because of a moral stand that he took earlier in the year, resigning from his post over a church/state issue.  I take today’s awards as further evidence that nice guys can finish first.  Congrats, Harry.

And I’d like to congratulate ABM for awarding Harry even though he was the committee chair.  When running an awards show, there is a tendency to make sure not to give too many awards to one organization, no matter how deserving they are.  I’m glad ABM understands that to run an awards show with integrity, you just have to choose the best entries and give them the prize no matter who they are.  That’s called editorial integrity.  Kudos.

Neal Awards Honor B2B Brands…and Editors, Too

March 14, 2008

Today’s 54th annual Jesse H. Neal Awards (awards for editorial excellence in business journalism) went off basically without a hitch…except for the boredom of hearing everyone go on ad nauseam on how the industry has changed…and when Boyce Thompson, editorial director at Hanley Wood and this year’s Crain Award recipient, basically called the awards show agonizing: “I won’t talk for long [a bald-faced lie] so we can get back to the agony this ceremony creates.”  He then explained that he was referring to waiting to see if he won.  Fair enough.

First, congrats to the editors at CSO mag for winning the Grand Neal for the article “Red Gold Rush”.  And congrats to all the winners in general.  Because I’m late getting this one in, there’s no new news I have to report here.  So, go here for’s article (a bit of analysis), and here for the official press release on the winners.

I will take this as an opportunity to say that the Neals should be more about the editors than about brands.  Each editor’s name should be mentioned during the rundown of the finalists.  ABM should use the Neals as an opportunity to make its editors feel like rock stars.   You know that every two-bit editorial person at Conde Nast feels like a stud…why not top editors in B2B as well?  I think ABM can help encourage this through the Neals in two ways:

1. Encourage editors to only put one or two names on each entry form.  It’s true that most articles everywhere are a collaborative effort, but let’s give the person who did the most work independent recognition.  That way, when the finalists are read for “best single article”, the emcee will say “Scott Campbell, for his article ‘Beware the Bust Out’ in UBM’s CRN Magazine,” rather than “‘Beware the Bust Out’ for UBM’s CRN.”

2. Tone down the seriousness of the proceedings and let each winner say a word or two.  Give these guys who are public figures in their own industries a public pulpit in ours.

Ladies’ Home Journal Holds Luncheon for Classy ‘Broad’

March 13, 2008

Julie Pinkwater, LHJ VP/publisher, Valerie Bertinelli, and LHJ EIC Diane Salvatore

With well-behaved boyfriend in tow, Valerie Bertinelli presided over 20+ people eating lunch thanks to Ladies’ Home Journal and just, you know, talking. The topics ranged from Bertinelli’s new book, Losing It — And Getting My Life Back One Pound at a Time, to kids, to Spitz, to makeup and hair products, to how many men there were at the table (one of four, thank you very much). Currently, Losing It is number one on The New York Times nonfiction best seller list; the breezy tome is slated for that same slot next week. And I can see why. Bertinelli is frank, incredibly opinionated, yet very easy to like and totally engaging (and, let’s be honest, she’s a total sex bomb, which cannot hurt). Even the bartender at The Beacon, where the luncheon was held, inched closer to the main table, mouth slightly open as Bertinelli weighed in on her son, Spitz’s “bitch,” as she called her, and SPF (15, every day, but wish she’d started sooner).

Click below for highlights and more pics.


ESPN the Magazine the Party

March 13, 2008

ESPN the Mag the Logo

For its 10th anniversary publishing a biweekly, tabloid-sized sports magazine in an age where sports is served so well online (generally by, ESPN the Magazine threw a sports star-studded bash way on Manhattan’s west side at Terminal 5 last night. Though the guest list was heavy with NFLers (Ryan Grant, who carries the rock for the Pack, and Super Bowl champ, G-man Antonio Pierce, just to name two), we were told that LeBron James was going to be a late show after giving the New Jersey Nets what for earlier in the evening (Full stat line for King LBJ: 42 pts, 11 boards, 7 dimes, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and six TOs in a losing effort, 104-99).

Guests (mostly clients of the magazine) spread out to three floors, the top housing gaming tables (poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, etc) and a spectacular view of the throng down below. A cylindrical screen suspended in the center of the room displayed in order every cover of the Mag going back to 1998, the year of the magazine’s birth. At 10:30, Third Eye Blind took the stage (complete with barefoot lead singer bounding on oriental rug) and played a fairly lackluster 30 minute set, which crescendoed surprisingly from virtually no energy to owning a cheering breathless madhouse by closing with the climax of Led Zeplin’s classic Stairway to Heaven. It was an improbable turnaround, but I guess that the best sports stories are.

Speaking of, the real story here wasn’t the party, but the super fat 10th anniversary issue, which newly-minted publishing director of sales, Steven Binder, told me was the biggest issue ever. The company printed each issue with ten distinctive covers — five in the front, five in the back — each with its own advertiser attached. The top cover-boy was King James, with a four-page Under Armour gatefold. He was followed by:

– Sidney Crosby, heir to The Great One, Wayne Gretzky (GNC Myoplex)

– The Bronx Bombers’ new $275 millionaire, A-Rod (Panasonic Viera HDTV)

– Nascar poster boy, Dale Jr. (Subway + Jared + Milk)

– Former Texas current Tennessee signal caller, Vince Young (Verizon Wireless)

And on the opposite side of the book….

– Seattle lead-off threat Ichiro Suzuki (6-page Porsche double-gatefold…holy smokes!)

– Fantasy football stud, LT (Old Spice)

– Mr. Fundamental, Tim Duncan (Absolut Citron)

– Tennis and fashion phenoms Venus and Serena Williams (Chrysler 300)

– The cutest redhead in extreme sports, Shaun White (Jeep)

Click below for more pictures of the party.


More/Wilhelmina Model Search: Models Found

February 21, 2008

 Joan Allen for More magazine.

Joan Allen wasn’t as sassy as last year‘s host, Angela Bassett, but “the thinking woman’s actress” (says Brenda Saget Darling, More’s VP/publisher in this report) had to deal with a raucous crowd that was unafraid to encourage its own.  (Let’s not, of course, forget Bassett’s overall formidable sassiness in this equation.)  Lynn Doyle (51, Newtown, PA) and Julia Jordan (46, Lancaster, NY) both strutted down the catwalk to cheers and catcalls on Wednesday night (2/20) at NYC’s Cipriani for the 8th annual More/Wilhelmina 40+ Model Search.  No matter.  Allen was and is ever the professional.  The show must go on.  And it did.  Jordan’s fan section (comprised of a very enthusiastic husband and hanger on) powered her to a third place finish.  Doyle didn’t mount the podium, but did share in a prize package worth over $90,000 with the rest of the models.

Elizabeth James-Lipscomb (43, West Bend, WI) took second place honors, while the very beautiful Chung Winstanley (45, Short Hills, NJ) took first.  All three winners were signed to Wilhelmina modeling contracts, Winstanley taking home the cherry prize: a $15,000 Wilhelmina contract, a diamond watch from Baume & Mercier, a week-long Princess Cruise on the Mexican Riviera, and plenty of other good loot.

Before the runway show, I caught up with brand new More EIC Lesley Jane Seymour.  A stunning lady over 40 herself, I was surprised that she wasn’t up on stage peacocking: “I’m a total gym rat, but I don’t jog.”  (Me too!)  “I lift weights and I do the bike for 30-60 minutes.”  (Me too!)  “I read a lot on the bike, all kinds of periodicals.”  (Me too!  But what?)  “I need something longer and heavier, like Esquire, or The New Yorker.”  (Well, there you have it: Will you marry me, Jane?)

Later, during the show, Wilhelmina’s chairman, almost stopped the show with a confusing, possibly insulting, and long monologue mostly about I-don’t-know-what.  Here are some nuggets I picked up:

– “I am aging rapidly — every time I come here [To More], the executives are all new.”  Implication: Heavy churn at More.  4 of 10 on the Showstopper scale.

– “I was just talking with Jane Seymour about how many people she was going to fire.”  Implication: New regime, heads will roll.  7.5 of 10 on the Showstopper scale.

– “It is very difficult to keep women happy.”  Implication: I’m not going there.  2 of 10 on the Showstopper scale.  This actually got a little laugh.  More like a rumble.

– “What I see today is inner beauty that must have been polished for a long time because their outer beauty is so great.”  Implication: You’re old.  4 of 10 on the Showstopper scale.  This didn’t come off so poorly because the lead up to this part was long and confusing.  Most people were not listening at this point.

After several more words that nearly stopped the proceedings, Esch and the other emcees saw fit to thank about 1,000,000 people, including sponsors, the designer, the editors, the advertisers, etc, etc, the NYPD, the 101st Airborne Division, and, of course, my man JC.

Enjoy the pics.   And the bonus pics (hit the link and then scroll all the way down).


Golf Digest Celebrates the Invention of the 19th Hole

February 15, 2008

Tom Bair (Vice President and Publisher, Golf Digest); Joanna Havlin (Partner, Associate Director, Print, Mediaedge:cia); David Ginsberg (Global Print Communications Manager, Mediaedge:cia); Bill Kelly (Account Director, Golf Digest)

By Isaac Iselin

Oh, the prodigious feifs, clans, and bounties of New York. Warring Stuarts, MacDougals, and Tyrconnels in New York? No. But Golf Digest roped off the oh-so-Scottish St. Andrew’s, a Time’s Square bar, for a small but hearty celebration on Tuesday night. It was hard to tell if we were coming off the moors or off West 44th street, as any swaths of grass, or asphalt had long been covered by snow and sleet. Were we at St. Andrews or in St. Andrews?

Questions of place aside, GD has put together a roster of “50 Best 19th holes.” A 19th hole, as described by instruction editor Ron Kaspriske, “is the bar, the place where you go after the game to kick back a few and avoid your spouse.” With those sentiments in mind, if not in heart, we sampled St. Andrews’s finest Dry Martini. It all became clear (and rather blurry at the same time); St. Andrews itself had been included in this roster of the 50 best ‘golfer’ bars in America. What better than to celebrate in the house of a nominee.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time with rosters and rankings recently” said Thomas Bair, vice president and publisher.

All the rosters come under a Golf category, as they would in a golf magazine but digest has been able, through these rosters, to extend their readership beyond the preserve of golf enthusiasts. Golf itself is not such a restrictive sport. There has always been a huge fringe following of the game and it’s culture in this country. Perhaps it’s the slow but steady competitiveness that catches the interest of so many businessmen. With several rosters of golfing celebrities, politicians and, coming soon, golfing CEOs, the magazine has done well to widen their audience and appeal.

A quick raffle closed off our night: no luck on that $250 gift certificate to the bar. Kaspriske joked about how hard it was to travel around the country sampling drinks for four months. But it’s clear that GD has put a lot of work into their lists. We look forward to seeing what they fete next.

Click below for more pics.