Sunday brought the first edition of the new Los Angeles Times Magazine that isn't part of the Los Angeles Times, but that comes in the Times. It's 144 pages and chock full of color ads. I believe in giving new publications a few issues to get settled, so these are just first-glance observations. I can't speak to the fashion coverage at all, other than to notice there is a lot of it. My chief fashion consultant, who devours the New York Times street fashion feature on line every Sunday, has never liked a fashion spread in the LAT and nothing she saw changed her mind. Other quick reactions:
- Editor Annie Gilbar interviewed Michelle Obama, but they don't want you to know it. No stories at all are mentioned on the cover, and the ToC is one-liner minimalist. Under Features a headline says simply Better Half. If you thumb through, you find the Q-A with Obama. It's fawning; I suspect no egos will be harmed in the publication of this magazine.
- Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein wrote Thursday, "If itís happening in this city, it will be in the pages of LA." [The magazine carries both names.] OK, the features this month deliver, in addition to Michelle Obama and fashion: multi-cultural dance venues, UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel, a sea urchin recipe, Kid Rock at home in Malibu, and six paragraphs on painter Rosson Crow.
- The departments go a bit deeper, including a short piece by Samantha Dunn on venerable L.A. architects A.C. Martin Partners, Chelsea Handler's advice on how to treat your server, author Andrew Bridge on memories of L.A.'s foster-care system, actor David Steinberg interviewing Hollywood's Larry David, a Hollywood rules column, columns by Hollywood's Alan Zweibel and Garry Marshall, a column by a Hollywood writer who had a stroke, a column by VintageHollywood's Linda Daly, a food column by Hollywood wife turned author and "conscious living counselor" Kathy Freston — and a pet column.
- Will anyone read this magazine who didn't read the two previous versions launched in the past two years? Hard to say, but it's also hard to see why they would. Stories on and by Hollywood names are the easiest journalism to find everywhere. Rich, savvy magazine writing for Angelenos about their hometown is hard to find, and it looks like it won't be a specialty here.
- It's good, though, to have another outlet for local freelancers and for solid magazine veterans like Gilbar and creative director Rip Georges to have jobs.
- Masthead disclaimer: "LA is published by the magazine staff of the Los Angeles Times and is a separate and independently edited publication from the Los Angeles Times newspaper." Readers might ask, huh?
- Apparently you can't read this magazine on the Web: the only magazine links at LATimes.com go to an old version of the other Los Angeles Times Magazine. Same for Googling the name. I also couldn't find any website URL in the magazine itself.
- Food blogger Pat Saperstein (Eating L.A.) writes, "I guess when the only raison d'etre is to showcase diamonds from Harry Winston and such, there's not much point in being on the web." Her other reactions: "The design is boring and many of the photos, like in the shoes feature, are way too small. Too many first-person, not incredibly well-written stories."
- This LAT Magazine carries a new crossword puzzle from Tribune Media Services. Fans of the Merl Reagle crossword can still find it online at LATimes.com under (cough) Los Angeles Times Magazine Puzzle.
* An L.A. author emails: "Do ANY non-whites live in L.A.???? Apart from Michelle Obama (sans pic), there was only one black model in an ad, no nonwhites in any article foto/illus. that i saw, all caucasian staff writers, and no indication this is a multicultural city. and this replaces the mag that used to give Lynell George (& other great talents) much-needed space to really stretch out and cover the city. (sigh)"