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Despite his two-year golden handshake (he's still got the limo!) from Hearst Magazines (only requirement-no talking to the press about the past), Claeys Bahrenburg reportedly talking to Lehman Bros., the big investment bankers. Looking for backing? Or a brilliant new career?

Fashion-watchers fear an outbreak of hostilities, not in the Taiwan Straits, but even more desperately, between Women's Wear Daily and The New York Times. During the recent European ready-to-wear collections, Amy Spindler of the Times wrote of one especially hideous collection, "The show was so bad that the venerable John Fairchild, head of Women's Wear Daily, actually started satirically clapping. .*.*." John Fairchild "venerable"? Why, the lad's barely out of Princeton! You can assume Ms. Spindler will be flogged soundly for her impertinence in the pages of WWD.

I missed the March 11 debut but they're on cable (ESPN2) with a monthly "Sportstyle" show produced by a Fairchild Publications trade mag called Sportstyle, sponsored by Subaru America.

Ellen Levine and Alan Waxenberg of Good Housekeeping hosted a book party for "Joan Lunden's Healthy Cooking," just published.

Big Oscars parties in Manhattan tonight. Premiere magazine takes over Tribeca Grill with cocktails, dinner and a private screening room. Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, holds its posh bash at Elaine's hosted by Editor Jim Seymore and Publisher Michael Klingensmith.

A hot book is Walking, the bi-monthly taken over in June 1994 by Cowles Enthusiast Media. Since then circulation rose from half a million to a new rate base of 575,000 effective now. April runs 60 pages of ads compared to 53 in the issue last year. They credit gains to boomers turning 50 and the Surgeon General's warning a sedentary lifestyle is hazardous to your health.

Chris Meigher's revamped Quest magazine, from new editor Brooks Peters, is a classy one indeed.

Rick Beispel says Tennis (a New York Times Co. mag) is expanding into "event marketing" in partnership with Grand Slam Sports Marketing, a firm owned by such tennis legends as Rosewall, Stolle and Emerson. The new venture is called Tennis Events.

Annie Gilbar of Live!, the new mag from Ticketmaster out of L.A., signed Steve Pond as a senior writer and radio host Peter Tilden to do monthly celeb Q&A.

Ad director Rick Smith says Food & Wine "was the only Epicurean magazine to post a circulation gain last year according to P.I.B. figures....a jump of 1.1%."

Amy Wilkins of Health, the Time Inc. book, reports their March/April issue is 75-plus in ad pages, the title's biggest ever.

Parade Publications' react magazine for teens signed The Baltimore Evening Sun as its 104th newspaper.

One of my favorite magazines, American Cheerleader, boosted its ad pages April '95 to this April by 130%. Let's hear a hearty Rah! Rah! Rah!

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