• Razor
    Razor is trying really, really, really hard to inject itself into the middle of the men's-mag scrum. It has upped the celebrity quotient for its cover gals (recent, um, honorees include Shannon Elizabeth and Carla Gugino), added edge to its content (more contrarian viewpoints, flashier spreads) and allied itself with anything and everything vaguely poker-related. As a result, at times it boasts the manic twitch of Tom Arnold after 18 Red-Bull-and-vodkas.
  • Golf For Women
    Golf For Women (GFW) ranks as one of the more inspired ideas in the recent history of women's magazines. By my highly precise count, there are no fewer than 363,364 women's lifestyle titles on the market today. Yet as opposed to the all-things-for-all-gals approach of its peers, GFW mostly confines itself to blanketing all aspects of one specific lifestyle: that of the golf groupie.
  • Column: Branded - Jumping Over the Fence
    People make much ado about nothing. When we first came to work in advertising after covering it for many years as trade reporters, our former journalist colleagues drilled us. "What's it like on the other side?" they constantly asked as if we had just defected to North Korea.
  • Vanity Fair
    Vanity Fair is the mass-market publishing equivalent of a royal wedding. It gets the most dogged writers for its investigative features and the flashiest celebs for its covers. Each issue weighs as much as a newborn; 96 percent of the women featured in it either look like, or are Uma Thurman. Thus it's almost pointless to analyze any single issue of the mag; there's little I can add to whatever's left of the debate. Nonetheless, we've got 500-odd words to play with and a deadline looming like a twister cloud, so what the hey.
  • Islands
    I've never really seen the point of travel magazines. Reading them strikes me as akin to going to a restaurant when you're hungry and merely watching people eat. Why not just go on vacation? Okay, okay - so some would-be travelers need a little push in the right direction. I get it. Islands, then, would aspire to be that special trusted advisor for archipelago-happy readers. There's one small problem with this: I'm not so sure the mag deserves that trust.
  • Tracks
    When I was growing up, Rolling Stone was my favorite magazine by a very, very wide margin. Ever since it devolved into Us Weekly with a faintly pulsing backbeat, however, I've been looking for something to take its place. As best as I can tell, there are two valid contenders to the sophisticated rock-mag throne: Tracks* and Harp.
  • Marie Claire
    I'd always wondered where exactly Marie Claire fit on the evolutionary chain of women's mags. Then, as now, it struck me as relatively hip - yet I'd been basing my opinion strictly on the publication's semi-sedate covers rather than, god forbid, actually reading the thing.
  • Avery Cardoza's Player
    You know that guy in the cubicle next to you, the one who pontificates about his annual Las Vegas visit with the solemnity and reverence of a Mecca-bound pilgrim? The one who spouts "Vegas, baby, Vegas!" and "whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" as if they were personal credos rather than cheap marketing clich├ęs? Well, gosh, do I have a magazine for him.
  • Saveur
    The cover of the April issue of Saveur does little to rid me of the uninformed notion that all cooking magazines are waaaaay too precious for their own good. It proclaims "CHEESE in the kitchen" as if an order and punctuates it with a photo of what appears to be sludgy leftover pasta. Similarly, the cover come-on "Learning from BISCUITS" evokes the patently silly image of a scone wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, lecturing a class of hungover freshmen.
  • Full House Beautiful
    Most recent magazine launches have been heralded with an eight-trumpet fanfare, the unfurling of ceremonial bunting, and the release of a lone white dove as the publisher rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Alas, 18 months post-recession, the question practically begs to be asked: has there been more fizzle than sizzle?