WORKING IT: When Esquire announced it was holding auditions for the best-dressed real man in America, more than 3,000 people signed up to attend events in 10 cities. Judging all those aspiring Beau Brummels would be quite an undertaking, so it was a stroke of luck, perhaps, that most of them were no-shows. Maybe they lost their nerve: Esquire editor in chief David Granger said contestants “had to walk a little catwalk and show their stuff in front of a panel of local celebrity judges.” It wasn’t quite as sadistic as it sounds, he added. “There were drinks.”
Five semifinalists emerged from among the brave souls who stuck it out. They will appear in the magazine’s September issue and on a “Today” show segment airing soon after Labor Day. Viewers will be invited to vote for the best dressed of all, who will win a car and a Macy’s shopping spree. One was Herbert Sanders, an attorney from Detroit, whose signature is the ascot. “It sounds kind of odd, but he makes it work,” Granger said. Of another, San Francisco real estate salesman Joseph Pineda, he commented: “He walked in looking like a very modern version of Thurston Howell 3rd.” Granger, who had virtually no influence on the judges, said he was delighted by the ethnic and geographic diversity of the semifinalists. “You look at these five guys and it’s a true cross section of America. It’s kind of inspirational.” No doubt the drinks helped.
— Jeff Bercovici
HIGH NOTES: The socially reclusive, though not exactly press-shy, novelist JT LeRoy guest edits Da Capo’s latest compilation of Best Music Writing. Just don’t expect to find any dark humor in its pages. “Snark is the new black, and that is why I didn’t pick any of those articles. They won’t stand the test of time,” LeRoy says in the intro, adding, “Why would a magazine allow a music writer to exercise his or her craft to reflect on an artist when it can just sneer ’em down?”
Instead, the former music writer for The New York Press and current lyricist for a band called Thistle selected pieces from highbrow sonic enthusiasts such as Kalefa “K” Sanneh (The New York Times), Sasha Frere-Jones (The New Yorker) and Dave Eggers, contributing to Spin, for the new anthology, due out in October. There are also not one but two stories from The Believer, which eclipses the snubbed Oxford American as the go-to literary ‘zine for music coverage this year. Also formerly featured but noticeably absent in the 2005 collection: Rolling Stone and CNN contributor Touré.
— Sara James