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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Levine’

Moguls on the Menu: Brian Grazer, Tom Freston and Isaac Mizrahi

1003_mockup.gifWe missed LL Cool J by a day. Oh, well. That’s the great thing about Michael’s: If it’s Wednesday, you can pretty much count on an interesting scene.

Today, there was plenty of tasty people watching. On the menu: Brian Grazer and Tom Preston (together!), one of our favorite designers (Isaac Mizrahi, who, we’re happy to report, wasn’t wearing those unfortunate sandals he chose for a recent appearance on QVC) and, just for good measure, a random reality star (Ramona Singer who, was no doubt dishing the dirt on the newest Housewives to join the New York City catfight. This season’s previews look downright scary!)

I was joined today by EIC Dara Caponigro and publisher Jennifer Levene Bruno, the dynamic duo at the helm of  Veranda, a magazine devoted to showcasing the homes, gardens and passions (by which we mean plenty of jewelry) of the moneyed but genteel set. The typical reader’s median household income is $149,000. Veranda isn’t a magazine to flip through while you’re in the elevator on the way to your apartment, but is best enjoyed sitting in your living room sipping a glass of wine. Get the picture?

This year marks the magazine’s 25th anniversary, and Dara just celebrated her second year at the helm, having assumed the title from founding editor Lisa Newsom, whose new book The Houses of Veranda is a stunning coffee table tome. Dara, formerly a founding editor of Domino (another one of our favorites!) told me she had long been an  admirer of Veranda‘s “gracious tone” and wanted to continue with the magazine’s mission to “make Veranda about living well through the lens of home.” Since taking the top spot on the masthead, she’s expanded the book’s jewelry coverage (“Our readers are collectors”) and “beefed up the front of the book.” I told her I loved the “Personal Luxuries” column where style makers from around the country share their lists of must-haves from perfume to pillows. “That’s one of our most popular features,” said Dara whose love of gracious living was something she inherited from her mother who was a decorator.

Jennifer, who is only the magazine’s second publisher, is equally enthusiastic about the book. “Everything in the magazine is carefully curated,” she told me. Advertisers obviously like what they see. In Jennifer’s first full year with Veranda, ad pages were up 17% with over 95 new brands.

Michael McGraw, Dara Caponigro, Diane Clehane and Jennifer Levene Bruno
L to R: Michael McGraw, Dara Caponigro, Diane Clehane and Jennifer Levene Bruno

Dara and Jennifer have been working as a team for about 18 months. “[Hearst president of marketing & publishing director] Michael Clinton knew what he was doing,” said Dara. The duo spends a lot of time traveling around the country hosting panels with industry leaders and talking to readers.

Some of their stops this year have included Atlanta (“The women in the south love dishes!” said Dara) and Los Angeles, where they hosted a ‘Bucket List’ panel on decorating with celebrated designers, including Mary McDonald of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators. Their winning formula is obviously working. Published six times a year,  newsstand sales are up 7 percent and, says Jennifer, 35 percent of the ad pages year-to-date through July-August are ”new business.” See, gracious living does pay.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Publicist Sued Over Ronni Chasen Reward

Hollywood publicist Michael Levine is accused of not coughing up $25,000 in reward money following last year’s death of Ronni Chasen, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Levine denies ever setting up a $25,000 reward fund to find Chasen’s killer.

“I never arranged for a reward fund,” Levine told TMZ.com “I offered to call some friends, but was told by the family that the Palm Springs Film Festival was handling the reward.”

“John Doe” also named the Palm Springs Film Festival in the lawsuit. They were offering $100,000 in reward money. The unnamed tipster claims he called America’s Most Wanted, which led to the arrest of alleged killer Harold Martin Smith.

The Palm Springs Film Festival believes authorities didn’t provide enough evidence to prove that Smith is indeed the murderer.

Lindsay Lohan: The Whole Town’s Talking

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Lindsay Lohan inspires such strong feelings:

Bernie Brillstein in the NY Times:

“I hope they put her in jail for as long as they can,” said Bernie Brillstein, whose company has represented John Belushi and Chris Farley. “Maybe she’ll realize how serious it is. I believe she’s uninsurable. And when you’re uninsurable in this town, you’re done.”

Michael Levine at ABC News.com

I don’t see how she’s employable for the next 18 months,” said longtime publicist Michael Levine, who does not represent Lohan. “Who’s going to insure her?”

Dina Lohan on Hollywood.com:

I am sick over this. My children, my family–we are like prisoners in our own home because paparazzi (are stalking us) outside (our) home. Lindsay is in a safe place, and we are trying to strategically work out our next step.

Unnamed source in Roger Friedman’s FOX column:

“She’s in some kind of pain that doesn’t stop,” my source said. “She’s done drugs with all kinds of older movie stars, but they can stop when they want. She can’t.”