On Tuesday night, Wenner Media No. 2 Kent Brownridge –quintessential right-hand man to Jann Wenner for these thirty-two years — was fêted with a heartfelt farewell at the Four Seasons Grill Room before 150 well-wishers, business associates, and colleagues. Fishbowl had a spy or two in attendance, and they ate hors d’oeuvres on our behalf.
Before giant mock-ups of Us Weekly and Rolling Stone covers featuring his face (a party trick inspired, no doubt, by similar mock-ups for Wenner’s birthday), Brownridge mingled with attendees including his girlfriend Alex Carlin, Wenner (who one-upped him with TWO dates, boyfriend Matt Nye and wife Jane Wenner); Us Weekly EIC Janice Min ; Wenner CMO (and Canadian!)Gary Armstrong (pictured right); Vanity Fair columnist and Michael’s-eschewer Michael Wolff; John Rasmus (who launched Men’s Journal with Jann back in the day, and is now EIC at National Geographic Adventure); recently-ascended Men’s Journal editor (with Wenner) Tom Foster with MJ publisher Will Schenk; Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana and deputy managing editor Joe Levy; Us Weekly publisher Vicci Rose and News Photo Director Peter Grossman (below, joshing with Brownridge); and Wenner alumni including Michael Hess (former associate publisher of Rolling Stone, now associate publisher of the New Yorker); Carlos LaMadrid (former publisher of Men’s Journal before jumping to Jane), as well as newsmen including Nat Ives (AdAge) and Keith Kelly (NYP). (Funnily enough, there were no bloggers in attendance. People, read the memo!)
Wenner toasted his deputy — known as the guy who “kept the editorial and publishing trains, and Wenner himself, running on time” (also known as “Dr. Evil” by Simon Dumenco) — and reminisced about their early days together, specifically about how they used to go out cycling and race the younger Rolling Stone staff. On one trip, Wenner and Brownridge faced a big hill. As Wenner told it, Brownridge (apparently quite the athlete and still an active cyclist to this day), pulled up alongside Jann and put a helping hand on his back, while still steering and pedaling his own bike, all the way up the hill. Which is kind of a great story.
Wenner thanked Kent for his loyalty and friendship over the past 30-plus years, and then it was time for presents: Framed Rolling Stone covers of the first and last issues where KB appeared on the masthead (1975, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and the 1990/91 year-end double issue).
Brownridge made a short speech thanking everyone he’d had the pleasure to work with, and randomly mentioning Michael Wolff, joking (?) that he wasn’t invited, but Wolff was either hiding or had ducked out early, because he didn’t appear. Probably snuck to Michael’s to reclaim the glory of Table #5. At any rate, it sounds like it was a lovely party. Best of luck to you, Kent Brownridge! Best of luck to you, Jann Wenner! God bless us, every one!