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Happy Couple Down Mexico Way

January 3, 2005 12:00 AM

The spectacular three-home compound atop the Las Brisas resort in Acapulco, Mexico, where last month Viacom co-President Leslie Moonves wed longtime girlfriend Julie Chen, "CBS Early Show" anchor, was once owned by Warner Bros. Beginning in the late 1970s, Steve Ross, the entrepreneur who built Warner and merged it into Time Inc. in 2001, used what he called Villa Eden as a place to pamper top stars like Barbra Streisand and Sylvester Stallone. The lavish retreat was sold after the merger in a wave of cost cutting, and at one point was owned by Haim Saban. The cliffside villa, overlooking Acapulco Bay, has indoor and outdoor pools, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and lots of luxurious rooms. The Moonveses' very private wedding, presided over by a Mexican judge, was attended by about 30 guests, mostly family and close friends. It concluded with a fireworks display. Afterward the newlyweds honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas. Blink wishes them a long, happy and prosperous union.


Lighthouse Life

Bill Baker, the president of public TV powerhouse WNET-TV in New York, knows that living a dream is not easy. His longtime fascination with lighthouses led to him to buy in 1992 an island four miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Henry Island came with a 102-year-old lighthouse-of which he is officially the keeper and the Canadian Coast Guard is the owner. The house had not been occupied in 40 years. The price was "about the cost of a bathroom" in Manhattan, he wrote in "Lighthouse Island: Our Family Escape," a picture-filled history. "It is not a place you go to casually," said Mr. Baker, who spends three weeks each August there with his wife, two grown daughters and son-in-law. "It is a big production." The pilgrimage starts with a two-day trip in a car with necessities for a stay on an island with no electricity or running water and a bathroom facility that is enclosed but whose workings don't qualify as indoor plumbing. A one-hour boat ride is followed by a schlep uphill to the clearing in which the lighthouse, house, outhouse and storage shed are clustered. The Bakers cook and cool food with propane and stay in touch with the world via hand and marine radios. The lighthouse was automated in 1966 and runs on solar power. When he is on the island, Mr. Baker raises the flag every morning, shines the lens and touches up the paint. As lighthouse keeper, Mr. Baker is not compensated. "It costs me money," said the TV executive, who started the not-for-profit Henry Island Lighthouse Preservation Society to help pay for maintenance. It's an expense he said he's happy to pay for the opportunity to spend three weeks a year in a pristine setting he visits "365 days a year in my mind."


Dressed for TV

Bravo's newest reality hit, "Project Runway," has also been a hit for show sponsor Banana Republic. On "Runway," 12 over-the-top fashion designer wannabes compete for a chance to develop their own clothing line. The winning creation, a black silk capelet dress by designer Wendy Pepper, was included in Banana Republic's winter line. Within hours of being offered on the retailer's Web site, it was oversubscribed. "We were excited to see how fast Wendy's dress sold out, but not completely surprised," said Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick. "These designers have true talent and that has obviously translated to the consumer." If Ms. Pepper's simple yet elegant design is an absolute must-have for 2005, fear not-it's available at select Banana Republic stores in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. -CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA