It was March 29, 2006, that Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers launched Dealbreaker, the first of her grown-up internet ventures. Just a few weeks more than a year later, that new media party is over. From her email, just sent: "My partners and I have an insurmountable difference of opinion regarding long-term strategy for the company and we've come to point where I would like to do some projects that are materially riskier and more experimental than Dead Horse's existing properties, and they would prefer to pull back and focus solely on the sites we have." We always thought the safe, happy years for talent came when you stopped working for the millionaire and went out in partnership. Guess not. (Who were we kidding? Oh right, ourselves.) So how long until Ken Lerer turns on Arianna Huffington? How long until Michael Jackson and Barry Diller turn on Kurt Andersen? Heck, how long until Barry Diller tries to spit-roast the College Humor boys? Jon Fine has more.
The author needed to meet some very important person from the world of publishing, and his tightly-wound editor let him know it by waving frantically and then physically dragging him over to the corner of the bar. Dana Vachon had been born wealthy and healthy and handsome and he was right to view himself as entirely blessed, especially considering that his first novel, Mergers & Acquisitions had already gone to a second printing that very day. No one wore costumes on the night of his book party at Felix, that Eurotrash magnet on West Broadway, but there was no need for costumes to have a masque ball. Everyone knew their role and played it.
Today marks the debut of snarkiness-inventor turned stand-up comedienne Elizabeth Spiers's Dead Horse Media empire's girly blog, Fashionista. Like Spiers's stand-up, it's pretty impervious to our signature brand of joshing (Damn her! Did she build in that mechanism somehow?!) They've inaugurated a few promising recurring features — our favorite so far is Streetwalker, a street-snaps analysis that's better than 90% of all NY Mag Look Books by dint of these two quotes alone: "his giant gold Marc by Marc bag is both undeniably adorable and totally not okay" and "jeans that are skinny but somehow not anorexic." Even better is 'Deal or No Deal,' wherein fashion experts weigh in on whether a discounted item is worth its reduced price. The first one features the expertise of our fave punching baguette, Tinsley Mortimer:
We toddled over to Comix last night to catch the Fresh Meat set by Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers. Shockingly, given our well-known affinity for the Meatpacking District, we had never been to the venue before, and found its "Albert Speer designs a comedy club" aesthetic a little bizarre. The lineup was pretty strong: Apart from Ms. Spiers, the talents of Jessi Klein (decent bit about Lindsay Lohan as a "slutty little unicorn" and mom Dina as a "skanky old Rockette"), Annabelle Gurwitch (oddly mannered TV-person style; told some interminable cat story), Jonathan Ames (if you've seen one Jonathan Ames performance, you've seen them all, i.e., he told a story involving his mom and his dick; he did keep the crowd happy, though) and David Rakoff (what does it say about the world that David Sedaris can write for the New Yorker whenever he wants but David Rakoff is forced to share a stage with a blogger and the chick from "Dinner and a Movie"? Nothing good, that's for sure. The man is a genius.) But how was Elizabeth?
It was reported today that a new magazine from Bauer, which publishes the ever-classy Life&Style and InTouch, will debut this fall. The mag will be titled Cocktail Weekly, though it won't have anything to do with booze, instead covering "a mix of celebrity news, relationship advice, health coverage and fashion and beauty spreads." Why Cocktail? The easy answer, we guess, is "because Cosmo was taken," but on further reflection (and a bit of perusal of Elizabeth Spiers's blog), we realized that naming a servicey blog or publication for the ladies isn't so easy. Spiers settled on Fashionista.com for the blog that will join her Dealbreaker empire on Wednesday, after realizing that the Sizezero.com domain was too damn pricey (not to mention too damn much of a grossout for readers who can't get past the rexiness to the supposed tongue in cheekiness there, but we digress.) Anyway, it turns out that naming a lady mag is harder than we thought. But still, they ought to be able to come up with something better than these cheesy choices. Please, leave your suggestions in the comments.
Busy on the 23rd? No? Then head over to Comix, the Meatpacking District's new chuckle hut, and catch Fresh Meat, a monthly comedy show hosted by Catie Lazarus. This month's installment includes the comic stylings of Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers, who will more than likely be performing her famous smashed-watermelon routine. In a related note, Jesse Oxfeld will be doing a couple of sets at the Montclair, NJ Rascals sometime in March.
We were disturbed to learn, via a Dealbook profile of Dead Horse Media (Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers' burgeoning online empire), that "Spiers registered some other interesting Web domains, including Size0.com and the provocatively named GawkerKiller.com, and has even started posting content to some of them". Could it be? Did Elizabeth really plan to damage our livelihoods? Or persons? Reached for comment, Ms. Spiers chuckled.
Are you sitting down? Good. We've got some news that's going to shock and awe you: Dead Horse Media, Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers' ever-growing stable of blogs, will tomorrow launch Supermogul.com, "another business site targeting C-level executives/management." (That's C-level as in CEO, CFO, CMO, which is a smart demo to target, since those are the people most likely to be surfing the web instead of doing real work.) Ms. Spiers says that the site will provide "more aggregation than gossip," and that, for the time being, she'll contribute items alongside the site's primary (and pseudonymous) author. Sounds good to us; who knows better than Liz what erratic, blog-reading company heads want to see on the Internet?
On October 27, Dealbreaker.com moved on the rumor that "the new head of MTV [Ed.—as in the channel] will be Mika Salmi, who is currently the CEO of Atom Entertainment (a recent MTV acquisition)." So confident were they that 'breaker-in-Chief Elizabeth Spiers promised, if the rumor proved false, to eat her blog. Well, the following memo just came over the transom:
• A celebrity is openly doing lines while wearing a dirty brown shirt. Fine. But smelling like drugs? That's just tacky. [Hotel Chatter]
• Lance Bass goes on a gay date with his gay boyfriend. Because he is gay. [TMZ]
• Literary journal n+1 successfully raises $3,000 to give to thief. [NY Sun]
• Comedian earns spot in NY Post's list of "25 Sexiest New Yorkers." Which makes sense, as he has been running through our mind of Mencia all day. [The Apiary]
• Hurricane Ernesto leaves devastating puddle in its wake. [One Park Reality]
• The originator of the Valerie Plame leak steps forward. Not Karl Rove or Dick Cheney, yet still very, very ugly. [NYT]
• Elizabeth Spiers' racy tell-all about the founding of Gawker omits the sexy scene where she and Nick Denton meet at a Metafilter party. [BeE Magazine]
In his first scoop as newly-minted media reporter for The Observer Michael Calderone reports that Jesse Oxfeld, the former editor of this very site, has taken a job as senior web editor for New York magazine. According to Oxfeld, the opportunity arose when, "I was at July 4th fireworks at a New York staffer's place. That's where I met Ben Williams, who is running their web project." We're thrilled for Jesse and glad to hear that he's still hanging out with the right sort of people. But all those comparisons between Oxfeld and Elizabeth Spiers?
Here's a sad example of vlog Beet.tv video-stalking bloggers — bloggers! — through the party celebrating the launch of Wired editor Chris Anderson's book The Long Tail on Wednesday night at Tribeca Cinemas. Thrill to blurry footage of the top half of Dealbreaker's Elizabeth Spiers's head, plus Gawker Media's own Nick Denton, shot monolithically (and unawares) from below. Oh yes, and musician David Byrne. He probably has a blog too, the sumbitch.
• The news is still big; it's the newspapers that got small. [Slate]
• David Carr asks: Is CNN news or entertainment? What, it can't be both? [NYT]
• Pissing off Dick Cheney was not, in fact, the Times' reason for running its financial-records-spying story, says Bill Keller. [NYT]
• As we already told you, WWD media man Jeff Bercovici is going to Radar. WWD media woman Sara James, however, is not. She's leaving Women's Wear — we're sure of that — but it's just unclear where she's going. [Jossip]
• Roger Ailes thinks with Fox Newsies aren't working hard enough. [B&C]
• Wednesday will be Charlie Gibson's last day at GMA, and his feeling will be hurt if he doesn't get as many video tributes as Katie did. [USAT]
• Spiers steals David Lat from slutty sister Wonkette for her nascent juggernaut. Next time, she'll just twist Denton's nipple directly, without the intermediary. [WWD (second item)]
• Bigshot VCs give people like Rafat Ali — proprietor of the distressingly capitalized paidContent.org and, years ago, an intern where we used to work — money. [WSJ]
• Hearst mags get move-in dates for new tower, where the cafeteria will serve sushi five days a week. [NYP]
• Four Time Inc. mags will move their TOCs to the first page, sponsored by Philips Electronics. Finally, the cure magazines have been searching for. [WSJ]
• Housekeeping no longer so good for EIC Ellen Levine? [WWD]
• High-end book pubisher Rizzoli looks to enter U.S. magazine market with a title that's "Time Out meets Star magazine with N mero kind of fashion," whatever the hell that might mean. [FWD]
• Critics should stop worrying so much about the Times and focus more on the sins of local TV news, says Brian Montopoli. Coming soon from Public Eye: Is your weatherman really jolly?! [Public Eye/CBS]
• More Times blogs: Now covering state politics. (Oh, shit. Were we not supposed to be talking about the-paper-that-cannot-be-named anymore? Sorry.) [The Politicker/NYO]
• Elizabeth Spiers popularized the word "snarky" when she worked for Gawker. It's a testament to our precocity, then, to have been miraculously using it even before blogs existed. [Downtown Express]
After two long, dry months of waiting, our thirst has been quenched: Gawker alum Elizabeth Spiers launches Dealbreaker, her Wall Street blog, today. The initial report? Morning roundups, amusing eBay finds, Scientology, a columnist named Muffie — the usual. It's expectedly witty in a financial sort of way (knowing little to nothing about finance, we're just assuming that "sort of way" exists).
• Will Katie go to CBS? We continue to not really have any idea. [USAT]
• What did Bonnie Fuller learn from getting fired from Conde Nast? "Blatant disloyalty is never the smart course of action." Who knew? [NYT]
• Kurt Andersen thinks — hopes! — that the celebrity moment might finally be over. [NYM]
• Elizabeth Spiers is starting a blog about Wall Street. Also, she used to work here. [IWantMedia]
• Esquire has a funny spoof in its new issue written by — who else? — a Foer brother, in this case champion memorizer Joshua. [WP]
• Simon Dumenco isn't sure newspapers will survive, and he can't believe it took the Times until now to get rid of the printed stock tables. [Ad Age]
• Jim Surowiecki thinks newspapers will survive, and he can't believe it took them until now to get rid of printed stock tables. [NYer]
• WWD media reporter Jeff Bercovici breakfasts on spelt toast with almond butter and a home-brewed cappuccino. [Jossip]
• Syd Schanberg quit his job as the Village Voice's Press Clips columnist just after the New Times deal closed, feeling that the company was no longer interested in media criticism. Friday he won an award for his Voice media criticism. [VV]
Gawker alumnette and former mediabistro editor Elizabeth Spiers has informed FishbowlNY that this Wednesday will mark the launch of her latest bloggy venture, Dealbreaker. The Wall Street blog is intended to be the first in Spiers' forthcoming blog network, for which she will presumably craft individual blogs the way Condé Nast crafts magazines—each one carefully aimed at some ineffable, deluxe readership. They will all be, however, in niches that target high-spending, well-educated readers—such as gossip, sex, and politics. Spiers' aim is to hit the sweet spot: big readerships, but not hoi polloi.