— Chantal Goupil
THEY GET MARRIED JUST LIKE US: Us Weekly, the purveyor of everything celebrity related, is out to act as a wedding planner for those hordes of everyday folk seeking their own 15 minutes of fame. The magazine has partnered with WeddingChannel.com in a contest that will award a couple a megawedding, complete with a celebrity stylist, personal trainer and designer wedding dress. The winners' pictures will run in the Oct. 20 issue, as well as on the title's Web site and on WeddingChannel.com.
Why would Us want to tread on ground already heavily plowed in a similar fashion by NBC's "Today" show? Us said the contest began as an idea from its edit staff — but now the title sees the chance to sell some ads in new categories. Publisher Vicci Lasdon Rose said the magazine is in talks with a few high-end travel brands (which would be new to Us Weekly) in addition to brands that currently only advertise in bridal publications. "This could be a long-standing franchise in Us Weekly," she claimed. "This year, it will be mainly promotional and added-value opportunities available to advertisers since we don't have much time. But it will evolve and the advertisers that participate will really depend on the wedding [and the couples' taste level]."
But will pictures of the newlywed Mr. and Mrs. Joe Blow really sell more copies than shots of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's new twins?
— Amy Wicks
BRING ON THE ALKA-SELTZER: The food world may be practiced at revelry, but the next few days might prove overwhelming even for those with the highest tolerance for gluttony and excess. The James Beard Awards will be held this weekend at Avery Fisher Hall, cohosted by Bobby Flay and Kim Cattrall (whose culinary bona fides seem to be made up of the numerous sexually suggestive uses her "Sex and the City" character found for food). Bon Appetit will host its annual Chef's Night Out on Friday, just after the media awards are handed out at the Hudson Theatre, with editor in chief Barbara Fairchild and James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro holding court. On Saturday evening, Gourmet will hold its first official Beards event at the newly renovated Terrace Room at The Plaza — the magazine's headquarters were in the Plaza's penthouse between 1945 and 1965 — to induct the members of the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. The fact that the Beard Awards were pushed back a month to secure the venue also means many of the same celebrity chefs (Flay, Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia, David Chang, Drew Nieporent and more) will scarcely have time to sleep off the hangover before the finale of "Top Chef" next Wednesday and, later that week, Food & Wine's annual Classic festival in Aspen, Colo. Maybe the just-released "Everyday Drinking" by the late Kingsley Amis, with its compilation of hangover remedies, should be in the gift bags.