NYLON UPDATE: Annemarie Iverson is angling for more than just an editing job at Nylon magazine. According to sources, the former YM editor is attempting to line up backing that would allow her to buy a stake in the struggling downtown fashion title. Any such deal would also involve her becoming editor in chief, with Nylon founder Marvin Scott Jarrett stepping aside, according to a source familiar with Iverson’s plans. Iverson’s husband, Alberto Finali, a former managing director of Lehman Brothers’ merchant banking group, is said to be helping to raise funds. Reached by phone, Iverson declined comment, but Nylon chief financial officer Larry Rosenblum confirmed the two sides have held discussions about a range of possibilities short of an outright sale. “It could go a dozen different ways, but it’s too soon to say what those might be,” he said. “You’re always in search of new financing.” — Jeff Bercovici
INSIDE INTEL: Let’s be clear about this: Jared Paul Stern, who is now contributing to New York Magazine, doesn’t get a byline. Spencer Morgan, who is no longer a contributor, does.
It’s just another week at New York, where new editor in chief Adam Moss is beginning to make his presence felt. The most noticeable changes so far have been in “Intelligencer,” the front-of-book news section that includes a gossip column of the same name. Deborah Schoeneman, formerly the column’s number two writer, took over as lead writer in September and in recent weeks there’s been a marked shift in the column’s tone, away from tabloid-style wordplay and bitchy editorializing toward a more straightforward newspaper style. Moreover, “Intelligencer” has been devoting less space to starlets and celebutantes and more to figures from the worlds of business, politics and the media. Schoeneman confirmed the changes come at Moss’ direction. “We’re trying to emphasize more New York power people than celebrities,” she said. “We want to get away from what the other gossip columnists are doing.”
There have been cosmetic changes, too —most notably, the moving of Schoeneman’s byline from the top to the bottom of the column. Schoeneman downplayed the significance of the byline bump, but a source close to the magazine said she was “furious” when it happened — not least because gossips rely on visibility to get unsolicited tips. “To the extent that people need to know who to call, it’s destructive,” said the source.
Against this backdrop, the recent addition of Stern as a freelance contributor has many wondering whether Moss might be orchestrating an “Intelligencer” handoff. Stern, who’s also freelancing as an editor at large for Star and editing the New York Post’s books section, said he’s not looking for a full-time gig. “I like wearing different hats, so to speak.”
As for Morgan, who had been contributing to the column since February on a freelance basis, he is credited in this week’s issue, even though he hasn’t written for New York since early April; Schoeneman said there was a production snafu. Stern, meanwhile, pitched in reporting for last week’s items on Michael Eisner and Narciso Rodriguez but got no credit. He said he doesn’t mind. “I don’t tell them what to do about their bylines.” — J.B.
CINEASTE SMACKDOWN: The critics critique the movies, but who critiques the critics? At The New Yorker, the answer appears to be: each other. In his March 1 review of “The Passion of the Christ,” New Yorker writer David Denby pronounced the film “a sickening death trip” and a “dose of death-haunted religious fanaticism.” Fast-forward to this week, when Anthony Lane, the snarkier half of the highbrow weekly’s reviewing duo, took time out from his write-up of “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” to deliver what seemed to be his response. “To complain that ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is possessed by death makes no sense, because Christianity itself makes no sense without the shroud of death,” he writes. By the decorous standards of The New Yorker, them’s fighting words.
Lane, who lives in London, couldn’t be reached for comment. Denby, who lives in New York, said he’s not certain Lane’s words were meant for him. “I couldn’t make out from that whether it was meant as an answer to my review. I wasn’t complaining about the death. I was complaining about the way the death was represented. It’s the kind of religious expression that makes people frightened and angry.”
David Remnick, The New Yorker’s editor in chief, also questioned the connection — “I think it’s probably more likely that Anthony is responding to his own sense of the film and to criticism and comment in general” — but added that if his writers want to take aim at each other, they’re free to do so. “I would never ask a critic to hold fire in whatever direction.”
Denby, for his part, sounds like he might welcome an old-fashioned critics feud. “I’m all in favor of disagreement. I think movie criticism has gotten much too genteel. When I was starting out in the Seventies everybody was constantly at each other’s throats, and I think that’s healthy.” — J.B.