July 6, 2000
To: Stuart "Stu-meister" Wilk,
Managing Editor, The Dallas Morning News
From: Eric "Bon Vivant" Celeste
Re: Helen Bryant's old job
Consider this my formal application for the position of gossip columnist for the Overnight section of your fine newspaper.
Sorry if this seems presumptuous, since Helen Bryant hasn't technically quit yet. But I recently talked to the former first lady of Dallas gossip, and she says that she tendered her resignation effective August 1. You know the deal: She moved to Austin to live with her hubby, former DMN columnist John Anders. She pitched her superiors an idea where she would still write features, but you're doing all that belt-tightening over there. (Sellin' the Mavs, buyin' back some stock. Speakin' of, I noticed that Belo stock is down 13 percent this year. Ouchie wowchie! Won't be mentioning that in the column.)
"A column about Dallas needs to be written by someone who is there," she told me last week. (She's right, you know.) To keep her busy, then, she's writing a follow-up to her book Fixin' to Be Texan--this one is called Fixin' to Throw a Party--and parting ways with the paper.
But she warned me that her former gig might be a tough job to get. "I think they're going to leave the position open for now. They're in a mood to save money."
Stuie Stuie Stuie: bad idea, bay-bee! You need to fill that hole. Alan Peppard can't cover the fete set all by his lonesome. Right now Dallas wants to know, "Who ate what where last night?" Where shall the answer be provided, Stubie? In the High Profile section? Nope, you're doing away with it soon. In the editorial section? Like anyone reads that. Nope, you've got to give readers what they want, where they want it, and we demand gossip on page 34A.
To that end, you must hire me. I realize my enthusiasm for the job may seem odd, since I have no experience in the tittle-tattle sciences. As well, your organization's hatred--wait, is "hatred" the right word?...um...how would a gossip columnist describe it?...how about "your organization's sassy opprobrium"--toward my current employer suggests you won't take this application seriously. To that I say, pish posh! It is in your best interests to hire me. Only I have the combination of wit, style, and high alcohol tolerance that such a job requires. I'd need a tux, but we can negotiate, right Stuski?
To prove how, like, spot-on perfect I am for the gossip gig, herewith is a sampling of my unique nightlife-chronicling style, wherein I mix reporting, menu updates, and gratuitous mentions of my friends.
(Please understand that although the information in the sample column below is real news, the, ah, circles in which I travel are lower-rent than those I would write about should I get the job. We're talking high six figures, right Stu-baby?)
Think your pockets are too full?
Because on July 19, if you're one of the chosen many at the Gypsy Tea Room, those pockets are going to be saying, "Fill me up," aching to be stuffed with 64 pages of four-color fury, brought to you by Dallas' foremost man-about-town, Eric Kimmel. On that day, Kimmel debuts his smokin' hot new clubbin'/nightlife magazine, Ouch.
"It's a very fresh format, baby," says Kimmel (see pic, this page). "It's pocket-sized, has interviews and reviews, it has restaurants, bars, clubs, fashion, and beauty." The first issue includes a photo-spread shot in the city's hippest bathrooms--seriously!--and something that will rate a club's or restaurant's "fromage" factor.
"Our job is to kick Dallas' ass," Kimmel says. "This city needs to go out more often."
Ouch indeed! But why will it be so tiny, Eric? "Because size matters, baby!"
Say it ain't so!
Our favorite part of the Sunday Dallas Morning News is on the chopping block. (Which is where this gossipmonger likes his illicit drugs--need a toot or two to keep up with the nightlife jet-setters!--but that's another column.)
Word in Media Land is that later this year the newspaper will discontinue its High Profile section. To that we say, Jeepers! High Profile is the thing that made Sunday what it is--which it isn't unless the Morning News arrives. It's a confusing bit of medialgebra that can be shown using the equation X=Z+¥, wherein "X" is "Sunday" and "Z" is "All the sections of the Sunday DMN minus High Profile" and "¥" is "High Profile"; therefore (reading the formula right to left) "High Profile" plus "All the other sections" is equal to "Sunday." Which is why the concept that "Sunday isn't Sunday without the Dallas Morning News" is so in vogue right now. But we digress.
Point is, without High Profile, there won't be anything worth reading in the Sunday paper--unless you're a sports fan, and if you really care about Raffy and Pudge and Troy and Emmitt, you can find out all you need to know about them in this column. Like, Troy had breakfast at Dream Café, and Pudge ate steak tartare at Del Frisco's, and...
Merge 93.3 FM morning show DJ Tim Rogers was seen drinking a lot of beer at the Lakewood Landing last week...
KTCK "The Ticket" 1310 AM personality Gordon Keith was overheard saying, "I never do shots, but just this once..." before downing a shot at the Lakewood Landing last week. Sources say he also drank a lot of beer...
Several salespeople from a big-time alternative newsweekly with the initials DO drank a lot of beer at the Lakewood Landing last week...
The new editor of The Met, Bret McCabe, showed up and drank an undisclosed amount of beer at the Lakewood Landing last week...
Keven McAlester, a Los Angeles-based documentary filmmaker who is spending a lot of time in Austin finishing up his film on Roky Erickson, drank some beer at the Lakewood Landing last week. It was reported to be Shiner.
Other news and notes from this reporter's high-profile beat...
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There's talk that D Magazine publisher Wick Allison is going to be debuting a new stand-alone mag that will focus on Dallas-Fort Worth high-tech. After the rampaging success of D Business, we're all tingly as we wait to see what the Wickster has in store for this offshoot. Can you say "kiss-ass profiles"? We can't, but we sure can write 'em! Freelance city, brutha, starting at a buck a word. Daddy needs some new patio furniture...
The Morning News is going alternative...sorta! The paper recently put out a newsletter telling employees that it would now start saving community newspapers to use for reference purposes. About a dozen were listed, everything from the Dallas Examiner to La Fuente to The Met. One curious omission: the Dallas Observer. Why wouldn't the area's largest weekly newspaper be included in the alt-roundup? Inside sources say it's because the paper is interviewing an Observer staffer to fill Helen Bryant's shoes. If indeed the paper is checking out one of those Observer studs to pair with Alan Peppard, that Overnight page will be the sexiest read in town!...
In closing, Stu-a-rino, I hope you will consider my plea, my excellent sample column, and the cash enclosed as my application for the role of gossip columnist. I really think that it would be--what's the adjective you folks use when you tell your writers to punch up their style...oh, yeah--snappy! It would be very snappy. But remember, we still have to talk about the tux.