Partying With BlackBook

Ari Horowitz with Damon Dash — Photo by Jonathan Feinstein

BlackBook celebrated its Music Issue last night with a swanky fete sponsored by St-Germain liqueur. Director and owner Ari Horowitz graciously opened his penthouse apartment to a glittering crowd that included Damon Dash, former Out publisher and current BlackBook president and publisher Joe Landry and disgraced Project Runway designer Keith Michael (who was kicked off season three for hording illegal pattern books).

“It’s really good to be here,” Horowitz said, who stepped down as Vibe president earlier this year to focus more attention on the lifestyle glossy. “I’m really excited about the brand. It’s great to reach a crowd like this.”

Hitting newsstands last week, this year’s Music Issue boasts sultry Cate Blanchett on the cover. Inside, the Oscar-winner talks about her “gender-bending” role in I’m Not There, the much-anticipated epic on Bob Dylan.

Despite previous rumors of money mismanagement — earlier this year freelancer Mike Albo ranted “getting fucking paid from magazines that owe me money like BlackBook” was the most challenging part about being a writer — the publication seems to be thriving under the leadership of Steve Garbarino. Appointed editor-in-chief in June of 2006, Garbarino “vowed to straighten out the mess and make sure the writers get paid.”

Staff camaraderie seemed to be full force as editors and interns alike gobbled sushi and danced to tunes from The Bowery Riots. Horowitz was at ease as he mingled with guests on his balcony.

“We’re relaunching our guidebooks,” he said, referring to the BlackBook Guide to New York. “It’s going to be a newer, hipper online version of Zagats.”

Along with the usual spew of bar and restaurant recommendations, the hipster mini-books will feature interviews with “eccentrics and fashionistas,” neighborhood maps and signature cocktail recipes. The 2008 edition, out in stores on November 5 for $10.95, offers conversations with The Misshapes and The Brazilian Girls.

Horowitz is also eyeing new media outlets for the magazine. “I’m most excited about what’s going on with video and mobile phone,” he said. “There’s a lot going on with technology and new forms of communication. Lots of things to celebrate and look forward to.”

—Stephanie Burton