By the time Adam Moss came to the podium for the fifth time last night to accept the National Magazine Award for Profile Writing for Vanessa Grigoriadis's piece on fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, some in the audience were muttering that a simple "thank you" would do nicely. But, just as he had for the previous four New York magazine wins, Mr. Moss had a speech ready. "You are never going to give us one again!" he said, and the audience tittered. Perhaps they would, and perhaps they wouldn't!
The award for Profile Writing came after the award for General Excellence in the 250,000 to 500,000 circulation category, in which Mr. Moss beat out a motley assortment of other publications, including demon-child mag Cookie. "Last year I got away with not naming any colleagues personally," he said, reminding the audience that his magazine also went home with awards last year. This year, there was also New York's Magazine Section award for its Strategist section; the award for Design, presented by one of the magazine's founders, Milton Glaser; and the award for Interactive Feature, for the Nymag.com's Fashion Week blog-thing.
Mr. Moss's ultimate boss, the canny money manager Bruce Wasserstein, was also in the audience, and one observer sitting near him reported that he did not so much as crack a smile during the entire ceremony.
It was not lost on anyone in the audience that Mr. Moss had totally beat out David Remnick's New Yorker, which had been nominated for a healthy nine awards but came home with absolutely zero. Still, a certain sense of decorum is to be expected. And thus, when Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek who is about to start a new job at NBC, quipped on stage that "Adam Moss is the new David Remnick," there was a collective gasp from the audience. Did he really say that? And perhaps more important: Could it be true?
Graydon Carter was decidedly not the new David Remnick. Not with that anecdote about Christopher Hitchens and waxing that he told on stage! Certainly, the words "the back, the crack, the sac" have never been uttered on stage at the National Magazine Awards. However! These are the new National Magazine Awards, held at night for only the second year, at the sleek Jazz at Lincoln Center. Black tie, except Mr. Carter, who wore his trademark double-breasted blue blazer (you know the one, with the gold buttons) and a pair of cerulean blue velvet pants. This is the National Magazine Awards of celebrity guests and presenters, like Kevin Bacon! Scottish singer KT Tunstall opening, but not with the song that was played in The Devil Wears Prada (though no one was sure whether Anna Wintour was actually in attendance). Carrie Fisher! Ann Curry! And videotaped segments by Ellen DeGeneres and America Ferrera!
For as long as anyone could remember, the ceremony had been a lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria, and editors could return to their desks slightly tipsy in the late afternoon. But those days are over! Now individual tickets cost $465, tux rental for the more junior set not included. The editor of the Paris Review, Philip Gourevitch, had bought two tickets, one for himself and one for his managing editor, Radhika Jones—a wise investment, since Mr. Gourevitch's magazine won its first-ever award, for Photojournalism. "I'm going to use it to defend our office," Mr. Gourevitch said afterwards, indicating the Ellie's pointy metal legs. "Tonight, I'm going to go home and let my kid look at it, and hope that no one gets hurt. It's like a throwing star!"
The editor and publisher of McSweeney's, who was there alone (no Dave! No Vendela! No Heidi!), wondered how he was going to get his award, for fiction writing, home to the West Coast. "I don't like to check luggage," he said.
The director John Waters said that he gets 160 magazines a month. His favorite, he said, is the Capital Punishment Newsletter, a magazine that had not been nominated for an award. If he were to start a magazine, he said it would be called Drip, as his last name is Waters, and it would be about "all the worst places to be famous. You know, the embarrassing side of celebrity." —Doree