Travel magazines depress me. For no particular reason, I've always imagined that they're read mostly by unhappily married women in the Midwest. I envision these women longingly gazing at one posh villa after the next, all the while knowing that they'll never have the time or financial means to visit any of them. Then I slap myself back into reality and return to the task of slogging through another bloated commentary on "Tuscany's Secret Treasures." This is not a glamorous job that I have.
I'm an obsessive foodie. Cooking is my yoga. The food network is my background music and my porn when I can't sleep in the middle of the night. So when I saw a new magazine called Chow with a delectable cover shot of summer barbecued ribs on the newsstand, I grabbed it immediately with sweet anticipation of a picnic table filled with a fine summer's meal.
Today's mission, should you choose to accept it: Play along with benevolent Uncle Larry as he attempts to locate a scintilla of bona fide editorial content in the August 2005 issue of Lucky. Ready? Seatbelts fastened? Helmets, elbow pads, and protective cups (men only) in place? Let's begin.
I hate Rolling Stone. Actually, let me amend that statement: I hated Rolling Stone when I stopped reading it and cancelled my subscription around seven years ago. By that point, the magazine I grew up worshipping had become a complete joke, devoting covers to acne-scrubbed teenyboppers with a projected eight-month career trajectory and meting out credibility-eradicating five-star reviews to lousy Mick Jagger solo records. I hated the magazine so much that I went on a borderline-psychotic quest to get my money back from the subscription clearing house. After roughly 13 phone calls, I received a check for something like …
Colors magazine, the multi-cultural magalogue owned by Benetton, isn't moving the world in a big way. Or at least in the way that it did when it first burst on the scene in the early 90s under the dramatic art direction of the late Tibor Kalman. Then, the provocative images of poverty and AIDS victims told readers that the owners of the Italian apparel company cared more about the world than sweaters. Now it seems that fashion has won out. Kurt Andersen has now taken over as editorial director and spent a year revamping the book. The magazine is …
Let's be honest: Cowboys & Indians might be a fine name for a children's game, a near-defunct film genre or an enormously unoriginal fraternity mixer. But for a magazine attempting to be the highest of high-end chroniclers of all things western? Not so much. While it beats a generic and thoroughly non-evocative moniker like Western Spirit or Ranch Livin'!, a title as dopey as Cowboys & Indians could well undercut the mission of any magazine bearing its imprint.
What happened to Teen People? Not that anybody ever confused it with Scientific American, but I recall that it was once anointed the hottest publication in a hot category. In fact, in a story I wrote on the teen-mag category four years ago, the president of a since-shuttered magazine acknowledged that Teen People heralded the move away from the "oh-my-God-my-mother's-a-drunk-and-I-had-to-raise-my-brother-and-sister stories" that once dominated the genre.
At the moment, I've escaped my West Village studio and am spending the month nesting in a charming white cottage on the beach in Long Island. The premier issue of Domino magazine, the much-awaited new home book from Conde Naste, arrived and hit just the right spot. In the table of contents, there is a picture of a white cottage and a hand written note from the editors saying "This bucolic paradise costs less than a NYC studio. See page 48."
As a lad of advancing age, I was distressed to see Jessica Lange, one of the crushes of my youth, on the cover of More. Doesn't every celeb who claims that slot have to be at least, like, 52? And what of my other daydream mainstays, like Debbie Harry and Catherine Bach and Bernadette Peters (only in "The Jerk")? How old are they now? Fifty-nine? Sixty-seven? We're all going to die soon.
I don't think there's a magazine on the planet as meticulously organized and certain in its mission as Black Enterprise. For evidence, merely turn to the table of contents pages in its July issue. Each item is appended with a short subject header, a three- or four-word headline, and a concise blurb, followed by the author's name. Not that anybody should read too much into the precision and layout of a contents page, but clearly this ain't a publication that dawdles. That quick first impression is confirmed by the rest of the issue, which is equal parts Forbes and Oprah-ish …