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"Outweek' ousts editor

Outweek, the New York-based gay and lesbian magazine that has been trying to attract mainstream advertisers, dismissed its editor in chief last week after he refused to submit his resignation. Steven Polakoff, the publisher, said the magazine needed to become more engaging than it had been under Gabriel Rotello, the editor and a founder of the two-year-old weekly. "The reader doesn't always want to be lectured and bored," he said. Polakoff said Rotello's dismissal had nothing to do with "outing," the practice of exposing public figures who are gay and lesbian, which has brought notoriety to the magazine. "I can say that Outweek would not have existed without Gabriel Rotello, but it would have gone out of existence if he had remained," Polakoff said. "The magazine is getting stale." Rotello said he had been dismissed because Polakoff wanted Outweek to become less political. The magazine is considered more radical than The Advocate and many other gay publications. Its articles are often controversial, with arresting headlines like "I Hate Straights." "I conceived and founded Outweek to be a political journal that would reflect the very difficult issues that confront the gay and lesbian community in the age of AIDS," Rotello said, adding, "There has been a certain amount of resistance by advertisers who do not want to be in a journal that reflects the political values that they do not subscribe to." So far, Outweek has attracted only a few mainstream advertisers, like Absolut vodka and Remy Martin Cognac. Most of its advertising comes from local businesses _ gay bars, restaurants, doctors and travel agents _ and from sexually explicit telephone services. Polakoff said Outweek had a circulation of 40,000. But the circulation is not audited and people at other gay publications said the figure sounded high. Andrew Miller, Outweek's news editor, will become editor in chief. He said the magazine would continue to publish exposes and politically aggressive articles. "As far as radical, you ain't seen nothing yet," Miller said. Movie paraphernalia on tap

There may be no Batman among this year's summer movies, but well-hyped Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which opens Friday, should give the Caped Crusader's top-selling paraphernalia a run for its money. Among goodies Robin will be trying to sell kids: a fruit-flavored cereal, toy action figures, Sherwood Forest playsets, leather and suede jousting clothes. Prime competition is expected from Terminator 2, featuring "Thirst Terminator" soft drink cups, cyborg skeleton neckties, comic books, jigsaw puzzles and a "totally cool" toy line.

The ages of fitness

Lynn Snowden, billed as New York Woman's lifestyle monitor, has studied workout trends in the past 20 or so years and come up with the following historical classifications:

The Stone Age, early '70s: Drafty gyms, cold showers, medicine balls, volleyball.

The Renaissance, late '70s: Health clubs, indoor jogging, stationary bicycles.

The Industrial Revolution, early '80s: Bodybuilding gyms, weights/Nautilus machines.

The Machine Age, late '80s: Treadmills, StairMasters, rowing machines, Nordic track.

The Age of Reason, early '90s: Relaxation rather than fitness, spa vacations, massages, aromatherapy and crystals.

The Future: Deja vu, the new minimalism includes boxing gyms, medicine balls, jump rope, basketball.

Playing the game

If practice doesn't make perfect, Golf magazine's classified ads offer an assortment of possibilities for improving the game: One cassette suggests that duffers "gain a mental edge using self-hypnosis"; a video teaches yoga exercises specially designed for "golfing muscles"; "subliminal tapes" purport to improve scores and help golfers avoid hazards.

Pet shopping?

There's a new way to shop for pets that will appeal to all of you catalog shoppers. It's "Pet's Preview," a free, monthly photo directory of all kinds of pets, including pot-bellied pigs, with little character sketches and phone numbers printed underneath. The magazine was created by animal lovers Marla Denzer and Susan Bushard, who charge pet owners a fee to feature their pet, much like a car ad in the newspaper. To order, write to Pet Preview, 617 San Jose Ave., Suite A, San Francisco, Calif. 94110, or call (415) 824-9340.

The general's next job?

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf has been invited to be a judge at this year's Miss America pageant but hasn't decided on whether to accept the honor, says the Washington Post. This year's hosts will be Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin, distinguished heretofore by their work as hosts of the morning talk show Live _ Regis and Kathie Lee. Whether Bert Parks will be invited to put in an appearance hasn't been decided, officials said last week.

Snack time

Steven Spielberg's mother, Leah Adler, is proprietor of The Milky Way, a kosher dairy restaurant in Los Angeles. Among the items on the menu, says Playboy magazine, are pot stickers, chimichangas, potato latkes, fish and chips, blintzes, Oriental stir fry, guacamole and stuffed cabbage.

Sinister meaning?

A Boston College study reported in Health magazine found that left-handed women were more likely than right-handed women to have been tomboys as kids, and that they grew up to have fewer traditionally feminine personality traits, whatever the heck those are.

_ Compiled from Times wires