• Mass Appeal
    When Adrian Moeller started Mass Appeal magazine in 1996, it was a stapled zine about graffiti and edgy urban culture published out of an apartment in Green Point, Brooklyn. Ten years later, yuppie moms (granted, those who wear hip-hop sneakers and gold jewelry) and baby strollers are taking over that turf. Ironically, Mass Appeal now has mass appeal. Among the music and local Brooklyn clothing ads, there are ads from mass marketers such as Nissan, Puma, and Pepsi; the bi-monthly book now reaches 781,000 of what the marketers like to call "urban culture-artists and trendsetters."
  • Red Herring
    When Red Herring spit the bit following the puncture of the tech bubble, I chalked it up to kismet. Astonishingly, given the ebb-and-flow nature of the publishing and technology worlds, the mag had developed one whopper of an ego. During a function somewhere around 1999, one of its editor types bragged to me that Red Herring was only considering folks from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for staff and freelance gigs. He wore an ill-tailored black suit over a neon-yellow shirt. He didn't appear to be drunk.
  • Women's Health
    Women's Health is the latest play from Rodale after the phenomenal success of Men's Health, the magazine that got American men's abs back in shape. So it's not surprising that the lead cover line of the July/August issue of this women's spin-off is "Amazing Abs! A Beach Ready Body in Just Three Weeks." Women's Health is for the health conscious, outdoorsy, earth mama who cares just enough about kayaking, fighting PMS, what men find sexy, tan leather wedges, and "Six Feet Under" star Rachel Griffith's second pregnancy to keep this mag afloat. There's not that much to set this …
  • Pages
    Darting through the aisles of Barnes & Noble the other day, it dawned on me that gaggles of publications exist for people who love music, showbiz, theater, television, and just about anything else that can vaguely be considered an artistic medium - except mass-market literature. Sure, there are plenty of artsy-fartsy literary journals for which the intellectual price of admission is the ability to complete the first chapter of "Ulysses" without losing consciousness. But lovers of books that bear the dreaded "mainstream" tag have comparatively few places to look for a magazine quick fix. Clearly there's an entertaining, practical …
  • Body + Soul
    Now that Martha's taught women to glue gun and garden their way to perfect homemaking (and done yoga in prison), it was only a matter of time until she turned her brand of domestic self-help toward women's inner lives. Now her media empire is publishing Body + Soul magazine, the new-age antidote to all the neurosis created by trying to be the perfect host, perfect wife, and perfect cook. At a time when whole foods, yoga, and wellness has gone mainstream, it is also the perfect ad play.
  • Tennis
    When Tennis announced plans for a top-to-bottom revamp, it seemed inevitable that the venerable tips-n-grips title would go the leisure-activity - as - a-lifestyle route. I envisioned a publication fat with tennis fashion spreads, tennis makeup advice, tennis cars, tennis décor, tennis recipes, and tennis celebrity gossip. I assumed, naturally, that it would suck. The good news, then, is that the Tennis renovation confines itself mostly to graphic redesign. The grey blobs of text find themselves replaced by shards of bright color and a handful of slender sidebars. Out of necessity, the photography remains mostly the same: Few tennis …
  • Dwell
    Dwell combines quirky stories, a little high-brow architecture, modern design product reviews, and low-cost, do-it-yourself ideas. The magazine launched in 2000, just before the onslaught of mass-market décor books hit.
  • WeightWatchers
    I went in for my semi-annual physical last week. After the usual poking and prodding (not to mention a cold, cold stethoscope on a hot summer afternoon), the doctor noted that I'd gained a few pounds since we'd last made each other's acquaintance. He said, "Usually people blame this on having eaten a big lunch before coming in"; I responded, "No, I've just been mainlining soft-serve ice cream over the last few months." I pledged to lay off the hard stuff and promptly left the office in much the same light mood that I entered.
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