MUSIC AND THE MAN: The big joke going around the City of Hope black-tie dinner Wednesday night at Cipriani was that Phil Collins and Richard “Mad Dog” Beckman were so alike that they might have been “separated at birth.” The British-born Beckman, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Condé Nast, presented his boss, Steven T. Florio, president and chief executive officer of Condé Nast, with a Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope, a Los Angeles cancer treatment and research center. Tony Smith, Collins’ manager, presented the Spirit of Life award to London-born Collins.
Beckman praised Florio’s character and “killer sense of humor,” and even went so far as to call him “the most influential executive in the magazine business in the world.” And all that bootlicking seemed to work — Florio then took the mike and said, “OK Richard, you can have the raise and the new car.”
BAD HOUSEKEEPING: When Roger Ebert saw the indie film “Good Housekeeping” at Cannes, he called it “very funny” and compared the director’s fascination with “people who live without the benefit of education, standards, hygiene, and shame” to John Waters and Todd Solondz. But when the folks from Hearst Publications got wind of the film’s premise, the laughing stopped. The company publishes the magazine Good Housekeeping, and they weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of sharing the title with a black comedy — much less one the New York Times referred to as a “White trash ‘War of the Roses.’”
Hearst notified the film’s director and distributor, Frank Novak, and told him to change the title or face litigation.
“Good Housekeeping is one of Hearst’s oldest and most important titles,” a spokeswoman for the company said. “We will aggressively protect that mark if it is in danger of being violated.”
So Novak complied and the title was changed to “Better Housekeeping.”
Just don’t expect him to write a note of apology to Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black. “I know the deal with copyright laws, but would people really confuse this movie with that magazine?” he said by phone. “Our lead character is a crackhead living in a Chrysler Cordova in his brother’s driveway!”
— Jacob Bernstein
BRING ON THE CHOLESTEROL: In the age of macrobiotic diets and $200-an-hour trainers, it’s nice to know that some people still appreciate good old-fashioned high calorie food. Liz Smith, who wrote a piece last week for William Norwich’s “Style and Entertaining” section of the Sunday New York Times Magazine, is in the beginning stages of a book on celebrities and food that her agent has begun shopping around. Her famed piece on the insuppressible appetites of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for Cosmopolitan from 1968 — which was reprinted in Norwich’s magazine three seasons ago — will run in the book and Smith will also add new stories.
“I’m going to try and go down to visit Dolly Parton and have her cook for me in the middle of the night. We’ll go from caviar to boiling lard,” she said. A possible title floating around? Death by Mayonnaise.
FELIX THE POET: Felix Dennis, poet? Some might think all the chairman of Dennis Publishing would be able to do is recite bawdy limericks, given his laddie mags. But Dennis has just published his first volume of poetry called “A Glass Half Full.” Published by Hutchinson, a division of Random House, it will be available only in the United Kingdom. Dennis wrote a coffee-table book, “Muhammad Ali: The Glory Years” that was published earlier this year. The new book contains 200 poems Dennis wrote during the past two years, accompanied by a free spoken-word CD and a series of woodcut-style illustrations by Bill Sanderson. As of now, there are no plans to publish the book in the U.S.
This week, Dennis launched his British book tour dubbed, “The Did I Mention the Free Wine Tour” covering 13 towns and cities. The magazine mogul clearly knows a thing or two about marketing — he’s sure to draw a crowd because he’s taking the contents of his wine cellar with him to share with the audience — and there’s no entrance fee.
Also in publishing news, Plum Sykes and Lauren Weisberger aren’t the only fashion scribes penning their first books. According to sources, People Magazine’s Steven Cojocaru has inked a deal with Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, to publish an account of his career in the spring, titled “Red Carpet Diaries.” Well, at least it’s not poetry!
— L.L. and J.B.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: The spring campaigns are continuing to gear up. In addition to his role as the photographer for Dior, Nick Knight will be shooting the Levi’s campaign with model Carmen Maria. Mario Testino has shot the Miss Sixty campaign with model Maja Latinovic as well as the D&G campaign, which will feature Naomi Campbell and Amanda Moore, among others. Craig McDean, meanwhile, has shot for Chloé and Donna Karan, the latter of which will again feature Milla Jovovich. Paolo Roversi has shot the BCBG campaign with Inga Eiriksdottir. The perennially frisky Terry Richardson has done double duty for Eres and Costume National.
YURMAN’S CREW: St. Barth’s will be swarming with models this weekend when David Yurman starts shooting its spring print and TV campaign there. Amber Valletta, Naomi Campbell, Jessica Miller, Adina Fohlin, Matt Duffie, Aaron Ward and actors Peter Coyote and Mike Pitt are all headed to the island for the shoot, which will be directed and photographed by Peter Lindbergh. Barry Markowitz is director of photography, and the ad campaign is created by David Lipman, owner of Lipman, the New York ad agency. “It’s about relationships and intimacy. It’s couples together and a bit of escapism as well,” said Lipman, reached in St. Barth’s.
MENEFEE TO ANNE KLEIN: Lansing Menefee has joined the marketing division of Anne Klein as senior director of public relations. She succeeds Basia Irzyk, who resigned to start her own p.r. consulting firm. Most recently, Menefee was senior director of men’s publicity and marketing at Polo Ralph Lauren and, before that, was with Calvin Klein in special events.
NEW LIFE FOR LIFETIME: Sally Koslow, editor in chief of Lifetime, has practically filled in all the blanks on the masthead of her magazine — thanks in large part to the defunct Rosie. Lifetime, a joint venture of Hearst Magazines and The Walt Disney Co., will be launched next spring as a bimonthly with a 500,000 circulation.
Leslie Smith, former managing editor of Rosie, has become managing editor, and ex-Rosie senior beauty editor Kathy Miller-Kramer has been named beauty director. In addition, Donna Duarte, who had been at Real Simple as market editor, is Lifetime’s fashion director; Siobhan Hardy, former art director of Marie Claire, has been named design director; Cynthia Grey Harris, formerly deputy design director of More, joins as art director, and Pamela Guthrie O’Brien is the new executive editor, having been at Meredith Corp. in the Magazine Development Group, and before that, executive editor at Ladies’ Home Journal.
MUSICAL CHAIRS: Veteran stylist Laurie Schecter has joined new men’s lifestyle magazine Ramp as fashion director…Kusum Lynn has been named senior fashion editor of Nylon, effective Dec. 2. She takes over duties formerly handled by fashion editor Anne Marie Creskey, who will become a freelance stylist. Lynn had been W’s accessories fashion editor for 2 1/2 years.
Meanwhile, Carl Swanson is moving out of Details magazine. The writer at large will continue to write for the magazine as a contributing editor…Susan Schulz, the deputy editor of Cosmogirl, has been promoted. She is now the magazine’s executive editor, replacing Sabrina Weill, who left the magazine to become editor in chief at Seventeen…Lola Ogunnaike has left the New York Daily News for the New York Times, where she will become a reporter for the paper’s arts section. And, Trey Speegle, creative director of YM, has joined US Weekly as art director. He succeeds Shanti Marlar, who left the magazine.
— L.L. and J.B.