GOOD DEEDS, BAD DEEDS: Attendance was considered an act of kindness Wednesday night at GQ’s Gentlemen’s Ball held at New York’s Edison Ballroom. “You’re all gentlemen tonight, because you showed up here instead of watching the Yankees win game one of the World Series,” said Josh Lucas to a crowd that included Ashton Kutcher, Adrian Grenier, Akon, Kid Cudi, Michael Bastian, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Burke and Thom Browne, along with Demi Moore, Chanel Iman, Emmy Rossum, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Universal Motown’s Sylvia Rhone and a slew of fashion elite. (The Yanks lost later that evening.) The event honored several do-gooder guests supported by GQ’s Gentlemen’s Fund, which helps advertisers enter partnerships with celebrity ambassadors and nonprofits. But other guests’ antics weren’t so gentlemanly. Akon, who performed several songs including his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” asked one woman what color her nether regions were. His crassness didn’t deter Kutcher, Moore and others from dancing with the rap star. And though Kid Cudi was gentlemanly enough to ask GQ publisher Pete Hunsinger if he wanted a shot from the bar before dinner, Cudi later excused his performance to the crowd by saying, “I’m a little tipsy.” Finally, while most guests wore their cocktail finest from Burberry (Restoin-Roitfeld, Lucas), Ralph Lauren (Iman), GQ fund sponsor Nautica (Grenier) and Calvin Klein (Kutcher, Cudi), Wahlberg opted for a more casual jeans and a T-shirt, as he arrived straight from a movie shoot. Attendees gave one suit in particular a standing ovation: Master Sergeant William “Spanky” Gibson, who, dressed in uniform, picked up an honorary award from the Pat Tillman Foundation and Ketel One vodka.
— Stephanie D. Smith
COMING HOME: Richard Beckman, president and chief executive officer of Fairchild Fashion Group, publisher of WWD and FN, is assuming responsibility for the business operations of W magazine as well. W publisher Nina Lawrence, who previously reported to Condé Nast chief executive Charles Townsend, will now report to Beckman. Patrick McCarthy, chairman and editorial director of Fairchild and W, will continue to report to Condé Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. As of June 2009, W had a circulation of 457,000. Beckman took over as head of Fairchild in March.
— Stephanie D. Smith
STONE UNTURNED: Madonna is a tough act to follow, but Lara Stone probably has the modeling chops to pull it off. Word has it the Dutch model has been booked to feature in Louis Vuitton’s spring-summer fashion campaign, to be lensed by photographer Steven Meisel in New York. The Material Girl sat for the last two Vuitton campaigns. Meanwhile, the leather goods company continues to rev up the buzz factor of its press materials, and tapped nightclub impresario André Saraiva to take photos of his groovy friends in Vuitton’s funky and colorful sunglasses for next spring and summer. The likes of Vahina Giocante, Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Olivier Zahm posed for Saraiva at sunset at The Standard hotel in New York for a party-all-night vibe.
— Miles Socha
WORSE THAN EXPECTED: The financial magazines have had a rough go of it lately. Aside from speculation about impending cuts at Fortune as part of expected widespread layoffs at Time Inc., the tally of those let go at Forbes during its latest wave of cuts this week has reached nearly 100 across both the editorial and business sides, according to reports, worse than expected at the publisher given the company had cut nearly that amount of staffers in several rounds of layoffs earlier this year. Forbes declined to confirm numbers. Among those said to have been let go are the editor of ForbesLife, Gary Walther.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal cut nine staffers in its Boston bureau Thursday morning when it said it would close the office. Boston bureau chief Gary Putka will stay with the paper in another capacity. Managing editor Robert Thomson said the downturn in advertising revenue caused the paper to “think the unthinkable” in closing the bureau but, he added, “There are no plans, nascent or otherwise, to close any other U.S. or international bureau.”
MEREDITH MAGAZINE PROFITS RISE: Meredith Corp. reported first-quarter 2010 earnings on Thursday, with total revenues falling below analysts’ expectations. For the quarter, revenues decreased 8.7 percent to $332 million. In the national media group, which includes magazines, operating profit rose 14 percent to $39 million but ad revenues fell 5 percent to $137 million. At Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, the company’s largest titles, advertising rose 3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, during the quarter. Total circulation revenues declined 2 percent. Looking ahead, ad revenues are down in the midsingle-digit range in the national media group.
Unique visitors across the company’s national media Web sites rose more than 30 percent to nearly 17 million during the period and page views averaged nearly 190 million a month. Meredith generated 855,000 online subscriptions during the quarter.