Archive for the 'Celebrity and entertainment' Category

Moss (Heart): New York Honch’s Limited Engagement

My unofficial experiment with the Nov. 3 issue of New York involved lots of pain medication and 15 minutes earmarked for a flip through Adam Moss’ redux of this grotty Gotham bible.  The results?  Five minutes left over to cut the more direct transmissions from Planet Lortab and also plan my dream wedding to the new editor-in-chief.  Anyone who can make New York digestible in under 10 minutes is clearly worth keeping around.


0:00-0:15…02:15-02:50:  Barack Obama Cover and Story

New York banner is almost completely obliterated by the first portrait of Obama I’ve seen where he actually looks black.  Inside, this new “urbanization” of Obama reveals itself as “let’s just not light him.”


00:30-01:05:  Intelligencer Page

Where’s Kurt Andersen?  I actually read the Justin Ravitz item on Lindsay Lohan.  I’ll make up the time later.  Li.Lo’s no account father is slamming Li.Lo’s gal pal Samanthan Ronson, but at the end of the item dad retracts because he’s a “Christian.”  Shouldn’t he just stone them both and get it over with?  My favorite mention is the one about the father’s “noncelebrity son.”  Son’s name appears in bold anyway.


01:05-01:27:  Intelligencer Page Two

One of those cheap New York cutouts of either Sarah Palin or Tina Fey: really tired of trying to discern those two.


01:27-01:37:  Intelligencer Page Three (math+teachers=who cares?)

Weird, early Todd Haynes-styled art really slows me down.  I think the portrait of Mattel’s Ken and Barbie might portent one of the real reasons I read New York.  Maybe a cashed-crazed Hamptons wife offed her hubby?  Perhaps there’s some big deal art heist?  Maybe someone famous had plastic surgery?  Turns out to be about Lehman Bros.  Bummer.  If Li.Lo stays out of the rest of the issue, I’ll make up the time.


01:37-01:55:  Party Lines!

I’d light a cigarette if I smoked.  This page is a triumph.  Tab-collared Karl Lagerfeld looks like his head is now levitating two feet above his neck.  Patti LaBelle’s starting to look Asian.  Stay away from those red, silk kimonos, Patti and Karl, but more Party Lines!


02:50-03:40:  Second Feature in the Well

There are three Billy Elliots on Broadway.  This feature seems remarkably reminiscent of one that ran in Time Out London when there were three Billy Elliots on the West End the summer The Tube blew up.  Next!


03:40-04:10:  Third Feature in the Well (But I Think I’m Still in Thatcher’s UK)

Unwittingly stumble into New York Knicks feature, thinking, wow, one of the Billy Elliots is really hairy.


04:10-04:15:  British Airways ad Separating Features from Strategist.

Come on, I’m not the only reader who saw Billy Elliot in London.  Get on the stick, Adam.


04:15-04:30:  Best Bets

Really bad layout on hoodies.  Candy Pratts Price, where are you?


04:30-05:15:  Look Book

Hot boy in a McCain/Palin hat assuming the traditional Republican “do me” position.  I probably would.  Oh, this is that stupid fashion thing where they highlight what “real’ New Yorkers are wearing.  I’d settle for Corky Pollan at this point.


05:15-05:27:  Food

Restaurants I can’t afford unless I’m reviewing them.  Hey, I thought Gael Greene was dead?  Can’t wait to hear what Pauline Kael makes of High School Musical 3: Senior Year.


05:49-06:22:  More Winter Travel

Shotgun shooting really close to Syracuse in Milford, Penn.  Cool.


06:30- 06:46:  Art

Since when did New York snatch up Jerry Saltz for their art page?  Not bad for a former truck driver.  He’s on about some art fair in London: those British Airways adverts don’t pay for themselves.


07:37:-08:00: Approval Matrix

Woo-whoo!  Liza on Broadway.


08:00-08:41: Agenda

How is just Billy Corrigan still Smashing Pumpkins?  Sarah Silverman, take a break.


08:41-08:47: Movies

Don’t tease a good movie (Rosemary’s Baby) with a better movie (The Bad Seed).  Pauline?


08:47-08:54: Still Movies

Zidane is starred.  Now here’s a listings ed. I can live with.  I mean, if Adam’s open to that type of arrangement.


–Tony Phillips



Red, White, & Vogue


The nation is at a turning point in politics and policy, and what better time for Vogue to get in touch with its patriotic side? The magazine has consistently featured prominent men and women from politics, but the November issue had that and so much more.  Vogue provided money-saving tips for the sour economy, and dressed the whole issue in our nation’s colors.


The cover featured all-American girl Reese Witherspoon, who was placed full mast with lips painted red and ivory shoulders bare in a strapless blue silk dress. Not to mention her shining blue eyes, which invited any warm-blooded American to stop and flip through the magazine.


Vogue captured Witherspoon while doing a photo shoot in Paris for designer Nina Ricci. Her past and current co-stars sang her praises while Witherspoon sang a few, literally. 


Writer Robert Sullivan validated the actress’ singing ability and touched on her memorable performance as the legendary June Carter Cash. Her portrayal in the movie “Walk the Line” won her an Oscar, and a new level of respect in the world of cinema.


How much more American can you get, when you talk about June Carter Cash and the Man in Black?


Since patriots are far more money conscious than in years past, Vogue certainly took notice and included headlines that were rather different compared to the last few issues. One article was focused on the “wallet conscious” and the other was for someone “shopping on a budget.” And, correct me if I’m wrong, but the big, bold, red cover line “Brighten Up!” sounds as much about surviving the economic crisis as jazzing up your wardrobe.


Inside, Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour used her pre-election editor’s note to point out how the magazine has featured several political women such as future first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Cindy McCain, and in November’s issue, Jill Biden. Wintour also reflected on a piece about Gov. Sarah Palin that ran in February, which turned out to be one of the few sources the country had on her when she was first announced as the GOP vice presidential candidate.


In this month’s FOB, Vogue informed readers where both parties took their fashion cues from.  Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain were featured a few times each in the issue because their fashion was all the chatter and each lady respectively scored big on the style watch. 


The magazine also offered an inside look into Vice President Elect Joe Biden’s family and more specifically, the women in his life that have inspired him.   


Hands down, this was one of our most historic elections ever, and Vogue was smart enough to see that even before the results were in.


Despite the current state of the economy and the nation’s struggle to cope, Vogue decided to provide a few money saving ideas and a window into the world of one of America’s sweethearts to lighten the load we bear, and spread some patriotic cheer.


God bless America and its glossies.



  Farah Pike




Radical Design

Smart, sleek, and sexy, Elle’s design makes you think you’ve been on a fabulous diet. Its professional but still cool style can appeal to readers in any age group. The book is like an avant-garde collection coming down the runway—unique and stylish.

Elle’s design has a certain sensibility that radiates a particular style, and delivers huge quantities of images and information without clutter or confusion.

The display-type font looks modern and feminine – the sans-serif equivalent of the magazine’s own chic image. Using it in almost every layout might get old, but the designers find new ways to use it each time.


The “Meet the Machers” article is in “Elle’s Power List” department, and this month it portrays great women in Hollywood. The design plays off the thin font by using long rules to break the writing into mini-columns. Each actress honored in the spread is featured in her own respectively slim column, and photos of some actresses are placed in separate columns—weaving the design together nicely.

Sticking with the slender theme, Elle uses a grid system for the fashion merchandise pages. The design would have looked like some expensive clothing had erupted up on the page, but the graphics team cleverly placed a barely-there grid behind all the fashion spreads. The intent is conscious—but the result is smartly subconscious.

Simple and clean lines can cure any graphic disaster. So now the reader won’t get dizzy trying to pick out a particular item.

But even when the grids aren’t there, they still are. Invisible, but evident, the grids line up fur items evenly so the reader doesn’t confuse furry coats from shaggy dresses.

Everything Elle—that is everything minus the ads—is done neatly and in new fashion. The reader doesn’t get lost trying to find out what hair product or eye shadow to use. Every page has a scheme and every scheme is interesting and fresh.

Risky business is what it’s all about in Elle’s design. Not scared to use up space and do something new, Elle blows up images of boots, bags, stunner shades, and bling watches. These items are sprinkled throughout six pages, making the accessories department pop out.

Elle’s design is not a race to see how much can fit on one page. It’s a puzzle, but the kind with oversized pieces so that it’s easy to put together. Everything is there for a reason, and everything just makes sense. It’s not design overkill, or underkill—it’s a job well done.

 Danya Shaikh

The Real McCain?


Whoever thought Jill Greenberg’s photos of John McCain in October’s Atlantic Monthly were unflattering clearly hasn’t picked up the last—and I do mean last—issue of Radar. Radar, the entertainment slash fashion slash politics magazine, recently announced that it will soon close all print and online divisions, but not before taking jabs at the Republican presidential candidate.

Hidden toward the end of the issue, Washington editor Ana Marie Cox’s article is a two-page interview about McCain’s taste in entertainment—from his admiration for the show Dexter to his opinions of Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. Sure, anyone can get that from reading the interview. But from the photo of McCain on the feature spread? Not so much.

Beside a large red circle with the headline “The Real McCain” is a close-up, perhaps too close for comfort, image of McCain’s face, untouched and, well, a little disturbing. Not only does the circle on the opposing page make McCain’s head look like a large bowling ball, but the blatant details of his face make him look, honestly, like a “72-year-old GOP nominee,” as the article calls him. 

Every aspect of McCain’s elderly appearance is dramatically emphasized in this photo: his wrinkles, crow’s feet, white hair, scars, balding scalp, and age spots. And his red blemishes are very noticeable in this shot, as well as his chapped lips and mustache stubble. 

It’s evident retouching wasn’t a top priority for this shoot. Rather, it appears the goal of this photo was to bring out the worst of McCain’s physical features. And compared to the highly stylized and sultry photos of Shannen Doherty’s cover story or the cleverly crafted photo shoots of Bill Maher portraying a devil, McCain’s photo is bland and unappealing. Yet it still manages to stand out.

Lacking any real connection to the content of the interview that follows it, the photo was clearly a reflection of the magazine’s opinion of McCain, just as Greenberg’s own political beliefs influenced her portrayal of him in Atlantic Monthly.

Though I don’t agree with using this photo with the content of the article, I have to give props to Radar for doing this just in time, both before the election and the magazine’s demise. Looks like Radar can proudly cross “publish a horrible photo of John McCain” off its bucket list.           


                                                   -Krista Scarlett

Flying High Under the Radar

When I saw Under the Radar on the Barnes & Noble newsstand, I couldn’t help but smirk at the paradoxical juxtaposition. A subversive music magazine displayed at a corporate chain store?  How…punk?

Already familiar with seven of its 10 cover subjects, I was ready to dismiss UtR.  But before I could contradict its title, I discovered I was too quick to judge.

The magazine relies on the unexpected, generously sprinkling quirky bits of both design and editorial content throughout the issue. While perhaps not completely living up to its tagline of being “The Solution to Music Pollution,” UtR at least tries, making trolling through the smog of music industry offerings an amusing ride.

UtR is almost deliberately difficult to read. Departments are squished together without much distinction or explanation. Type is often microscopic. Editorial content is sometimes lost among ad pages, especially in the front of the book. The masthead, letter from the editor, and staff song picks are all compressed to a single half-page.  It’s enough to make you claustrophobic.

Still, there’s much that clears the air.

One nice touch is the bylines. These are written in the same fashion as musical collaborations, with credits for writer and photographer attributed as “Words by” and “Photo(s) by.” Contributors bond with their subjects, and readers, with the message that each piece is crafted as carefully as a song or album.

Another unique choice is the inclusion of an appendix to the previous issue. While a different magazine might relegate overflow content solely to its website, UtR brings it directly to its readers. This decision was probably made easier by the desire to publish a photo of the protest sign: “EAT MORE BUSH george.”

There are many more little pieces to praise, like the vast variety of albums reviewed (including one with piano covers of the Footloose soundtrack). Or whoever decided to sell an ad to the record-label home of the Fuck Buttons.

But UtR’s greatest strength is its ability to glean unabashedly honest and unflinchingly candid responses from its subjects. 

Okkervil River’s singer/guitarist Will Sheff perhaps sums up the magazine itself when he talks about the trappings of the indie lifestyle:

“You sort of start to realize that indie rock, as things go, is not the most revolutionary, politically incendiary, world-remaking genre.  It’s pretty affirming of how things already are.”

Under the Radar and its subjects may not be revolutionary.  But they present the way things are with enough style and substance to make you believe that they can be a solution.

— Katie Nowak

Spoof Squared:Re-creation of New Yorker Cover

            Entertainment Weekly, a popular culture magazine, generally features a photo of a celebrityon the cover that doesn’t allude to a controversial issue. The October 3 cover, however, is a spoof of the controversial July 21 edition of The New Yorker magazine, which featured a taboo illustration of the Obamas.

            Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, known for their insightful satire, grace the cover in a redo of The New Yorker’s cover that portrayed Barack dressed in Muslim garb and Michelle dressed like a militant afro-wearing soldier.

           EW and photographer Jake Chessum go beyond the boundaries of the usual cover photo by meticulously recreating the caricature with political comedians Colbert and Stewart. Colbert portrays Michelle and Stewart, Barack.


             Like the original, the scene appears to be the oval office, Bin Laden’s picture is over the fireplace, the eagle printed rug is beneath Colbert and Stewart’s feet, the bookcase and chair are flush left. Colbert and Stewart’s facial expressions scarily mimic the illustration.

            One large difference was the absence of the burning flag—I guess that was a controversy EW found worthy to steer away from. 

            It was a bold idea to spoof a spoof that was so notorious and EW succeeded in doing it in a humorous and brilliant way. It’s timely, the choice to use Colbert and Stewart is smart, and it fits the topic of its feature titled “Mock the Vote.”

            The eye-grabbing cover promises to give readers a report on “the most entertaining race ever,” and the story calls politics “the new reality TV.” This is exactly what EW delivers as they convinced Stewart and Colbert to take a break from the screen and switch to the glossies.

            The article, an interview between EW, Colbert and Stewart, has the same cynical tone found in the cover photo. They talk about serious issues with a comical twist.

               For instance, the EW reporter asks about Palin and how prominent the press has made her in the election. Stewart responds by referring to the press as “6-year-olds playing soccer. “Nobody has a position, he says, it’s just  ‘Where’s the ball?” Where’s the ball? Sarah Palin has the ball!’”In the interview Colbert refers to Obama as a “hope-ronaut,” suggesting that his hopes are so high that they are possibly out of this world. Colbert says Obama is in a “rarefield level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us.”

            The feature and the cover work well together, but maybe the cover isn’t such an original idea after all.  When The New Yorker cover was widely criticized as offensive, editor David Remnick invoked EW’s two cover models in his magazine’s defense.

            “If there’s no possibility for satire, if you always have to look for the joke that every — absolutely everyone will get, you won’t have Jon Stewart, you won’t have Stephen Colbert,” Remnick said.

            Remnick’s reference of Colbert and Stewart was a foreshadowing of this brilliant cover that was a smart choice for EW.

–Barbara L. Jackson



It’s not OK!

When I picked up the Oct.13 issue of OK! Magazine, I assumed they were doing an early Halloween special. So you can imagine my utter bafflement at not finding any Halloween-related articles inside. Surely such a grotesque cover merited at least one story that scared the pants off its readers! It can’t just be a coincidence that Lindsay Lohan looks like a stuffed zombie (in a reject from the Mary Poppins’designer outfit collection) And that smile – if that is not the smile of a psycho before she waves the kitchen knife in your face, I don’t know what is. Hitchcock took inspiration from cover photos such as these.

Matronly as her d d dress is, Lindsay isn’t exactly known to be the most stylish It Girl. So I can almost forgive her the dress, but the bra is beyond my sympathy. It makes her assets head south at least 20 years before their journey is due. (They’re called underwires, Lindsay. Google them.) Luckily for those of us blessed with eyesight, some of her cleavage is covered by what seem to be ugly blonde hair extensions. Limp, lifeless, lackluster, flat – her hair makes Raggedy Ann look like a model from a shampoo commercial.

As you further scrutinize the photo, you’ll notice a rushed manicure, pale pink lipstick that does nothing for her sallow complexion and eye makeup that ranges from strictly OK ( or should I say OK!) to blink and it’s gone. (I know, I know, I am a lean, mean punning machine.)

Incidentally, the cover story is not that bad. The photos in the spread make Lindsay look young, fresh and happy. Even Samantha Ronson, Lindsay’s new love experiment, looks like she might not have descended from Jupiter after all. What prompted them to use such a terrible image on the cover, I wonder? Especially given OK’s entire purpose, which is celebrity photos. 

I’d have let this offensive cover slide if OK! weren’t part of a bigger celebrity-mag conspiracy. They all look alike – so much so that I spent a day walking around with this issue, referring to it as US Weekly, until a friend pointed out my mistake.

Anyway, that is for the branding experts to deal with. I just hope that OK!’s photography experts pay heed to my rant and don’t make their next cover subject look like she just escaped a mental institution.


— Anuya Jakatdar