This story first appeared in the October 24, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

GHOUL INTENTIONS: At The New York Times, they’re calling it “the Selma Blair witch project.”

Theactress was just photographed in the abandoned Harlem ValleyPsychiatric Hospital in upstate New York, posing with live snakes,iguanas and a hairless cat for a fashion story that will run in thenext Sunday Times Magazine. To say she was a good sport about it wouldbe an understatement. “Selma was great,” said the Times’ Alix Browne.”At one point, the stylist said, ‘She’s really going for it'” — thatwas right around the moment Blair put a live rat in her mouth.

The real coup, though, was getting Roger Ballen,a South African artist represented by the Gagosian Gallery in the U.S.,to shoot a fashion story for the Times. “The best description I cangive you is, he’s the Diane Arbus of South Africa,” said Browne. “Hehad done some portraits for us in Africa that were more politicalportraits. We thought if ever there was a moment for him to shootfashion, it was now with the sort of dark, Goth elements this season.”

The eerie photos will run on Oct. 30, just in time for Halloween. — Sara James

STAYING ON BUDGET: Launch guru Don Welshcan’t walk down Sixth Avenue without sparking rumors that he’s tryingto sell Budget Living. In the past, he has invited Hearst, Meredith,Gruner + Jahr and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to kick the tires,according to a former employee. “Everyone knows Don’s m.o. is to flip,”added the source.

But that wasn’t the reason for his recentvisit to Hachette Filipacchi Media, where he gave a presentation tochief executive officer Jack Kliger. Rather,according to Welsh, he was there to discuss teaming up for a newsstandone-shot about budget weddings. “It could happen, or it could neverhappen,” he said.

Meanwhile, Budget Living this month increased its frequency to 10 times a year, up from six. Publisher Scott Willett and new editor in chief Angela Matusik hosted a party at Hotel QT last Wednesday to mark the title’s third anniversary. — Jeff Bercovici

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