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Monday, August 31, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





Mrs. Astor holding court in her mansion on Fifth Avenue.
Twenty years ago — more than a century after Mrs. Astor and McAllister drew up their “400” list — Quest introduced a “400” list. "Twenty years ago — more than a century after Mrs. Astor and McAllister drew up their “400” list — Quest introduced a “400” list. In 2015, when reviewing the “400 list” we introduced in 1995, it was interesting to note the differences between then and now. There are no private ballrooms like Mrs. Astor’s to reference, and no hostesses sitting like a monarch on a throne to greet her guests. (As The Mrs. Astor did, dripping in diamonds -- they called her the human chandelier.)  The social scene had expanded commensurately with the population of New York. Society had become more democratic in the long run and has become even more so in the past two decades. Our method of identifying those individuals and families for the earlier list was non-scientific." (NYSD)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Ron Mwangaguhunga Tumblr





If you didn't already know, I do more daily updates on media, culture and politics here:


https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ronmwangaguhunga

Monday, August 24, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



  


"The issue of succession is a difficult matter not just for family-run businesses but for the families that run them. Take the Murdochs, for instance. Or the Binghams, the Kentucky newspaper clan that imploded in the 1980s. Historically speaking, transitions in the Sulzberger family, which has run the New York Times for 119 years, have not gone all that smoothly. During the paper’s early days, patriarch Adolph Ochs agonized over which heir should follow him: his nephew Julius Ochs Adler or his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. (His daughter, Iphigene, was never considered.) The competition took a toll on all involved. In 1932, Sulzberger suffered a stress-induced heart attack, which crippled his left hand; a year later, Adler had a nervous breakdown and spent six weeks in a mental institution. Ochs clung to the notion that maybe they could share the crown. “There can be only one head to a business,” Sulzberger replied. Ultimately, Ochs punted on the decision. When he died in 1935, his will essentially left it to Arthur, Julius, and Iphigene to work it out among themselves. Iphigene, being the deciding vote, supported her husband, thus cleaving a fault line in the family that was never repaired. The Adlers and Sulzbergers stopped speaking. In 1959, the final Adler was forced out of the paper. Now, three generations and 80 years later, Ochs’s descendants are confronting a similar dilemma: Multiple capable family members from different branches want the top job. The House of Sulzberger is made up of four families, all descendants of Ochs’s daughter, and each harbors its own ambitions and grievances. The central rivalry is between the two most powerful wings: the Goldens and the Sulzbergers. But the outcome is not just a matter of family politics; the next publisher of the New York Times will be responsible for preserving the independence of the country’s greatest newspaper in an increasingly challenging media environment. In recent months, I spoke with more than 65 current and former Times executives and journalists, plus Sulzberger-family members, advisers, and friends, to learn how the company is grooming its short list of potential successors. Three finalists have emerged ..." (NYMag)


5 businesses murdoch loved lost



"On Sunday night Murdoch put out word, through his personal Twitter account, that "it's time" for Bloomberg, a fellow mogul who completed a third term as New York City mayor in 2013 and now runs Bloomberg LP, the financial data and media firm he founded decades ago.The tweets were intriguing not just because Murdoch seemed to be publicly drafting Bloomberg, but because Murdoch was sharply critical of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump earlier this summer. Murdoch seemed to soften his stance against Trump as the candidate soared in the polls. Now the comments complimenting Bloomberg call that into question. Murdoch framed it this way: "With Trump becoming very serious candidate, it's time for next billionaire candidate, Mike Bloomberg to step into ring. Greatest mayor." A little while later, seemingly responding to Twitter users' complaints about Bloomberg as a micro-managing "nanny state" mayor, Murdoch wrote: "Agree much about Bloomberg, nannystate, etc, but still a great philanthropic executive who, with Guiliani [sic], made NY the greatest." A couple of hours later, he followed up again with: "I did not say I would vote for him! Just a friend I admire." Notions of a Bloomberg bid for president come and go, but Murdoch's tweets are sure to trigger more such talk." (CNNMoney)


Helen Gurley Brown in her office in 1982. Credit Harry Benson/Contour by Getty Images.


"The Sunday papers. There was an interesting real estate story in the “Fashion and Style” section of yesterday’s Times Who Owns Helen Gurley Brown’s Legacy?” by Katherine Rosman. The center of the piece, the elephant in the living room, is the  quadriplex apartment tower in the Beresford that belonged to David and Helen Gurley Brown. David died at 93 in February 2010, and Helen followed him in August, 2012 at age 90. The issue in the Times piece is centered around the apartment which some brokers today say could go for $50 million. It seems that the apartment, like everything else that belonged to the Browns, has been taken under the wing of Hearst Corporation and a woman named Eve Burton, who is a Hearst vice-president as well as co-executor of Helen’s will. In fact the officers of the foundation and trustees of the copyrights on Helen’s material are all Hearst executives. They believe that Helen Gurley Brown and the “brand” (as Burton refers to it in the article) are one and the same. This is not so remarkable since the Browns died with no next of kin or close relatives, so their entire estate went into foundations and on to charities. The board of the Beresford co-op, however, want the apartment sold. It is very unusual for an estate with no heirs but charities to be held off the market for more than six months. It is very unclear why Hearst and Ms. Burton have not sold the property and added the proceeds to the Browns’ foundation. William Zabel, probably the most important and influential lawyer in New York in the matter of rich estates, was quoted in Rosman’s piece saying “This is a strange, strange story. There is no good reason for keeping an apartment more than six months.” For me it was firstly the reminder that as long as I knew the Browns, I was never in their apartment, nor were many of their close friends. Although they were very social they rarely entertained. If they did indeed have people over, it was seldom, and I never knew of it. It didn’t strike me as odd, however, as they, being a working couple, tended to either prefer a quiet dinner at home, or be out with friends.  " (NYSD)         

Friday, August 14, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"This isn’t about whether Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, which is likely. It isn’t even about whether she becomes our next president, which she has a better chance of doing than anyone else. It’s about basic respect — for us and for the truth. Why, when she took office as secretary of state, did she decide to route official e-mails through a server in her suburban New York mansion? There is just one plausible explanation: She wanted control. Clinton was no stranger to the rules of the federal government. She had to know that if she used a State Department account, her 60,000-plus e-mails would become part of the official record. She certainly knew, without any doubt, that her political opponents would delight in rummaging through her communications. Let’s be honest: Hillary and Bill Clinton do have enemies, lots of them, who show no compunction about launching unfair and vicious attacks. She must have wanted to make sure they never got the chance. But all of that is beside the point. If you accept the job of secretary of state, you inevitably surrender some of your privacy. Any public official’s work-related e-mails are the modern equivalent of the letters, memos and diaries that fill the National Archives. They tell our nation’s history and belong to all of us. Even if your name is Clinton, you have no right to unilaterally decide what is included and what is not." (Eugene Robinson)


Brooke Shields with Harrison.Brooke with Squeaky.


"This past Saturday night out in Wainscott in the Hamptons, ARF was hosting its annual Bow Wow and Meow Gala with more than 400 attending. That’s a good number for any fundraiser anywhere including Manhattan. That’s real support. And they raised more than $700,000. In fact it was their most successful event in the 41 years of the organization. They honored Peter Marino, the tycoon of architect/interior designers. In. The. World. If you don’t know who he is, you know his buildings and have probably been in them many times. His designs are of-the-moment contemporary. His costume, which he adapted publicly several years ago, and wears where e’er he goes, is the of-the-moment contemporary for him.He’s a very friendly fellow, in a neighborly way, a major culture aficionado with his wife Jane. They have long been famous for their concert/dinners in their East 57th Street aerie over near Sutton Place. To demonstrate his gratitude for the honor, he adopted two kitties from ARF, Spider and Ferret. He has also underwritten dog runs at the shelter. It was a beautiful summer night out there. Peter Duchin provided the music for the background and the dance. Brooke Shields was emcee, and told the crowd that she hurt her foot giving a treat to her adopted pup. The glam and summery décor was provided by those impresarios of taste and celebration, David Monn and Alex Papachristidis. All of this under a big open tent on the grounds of ARF." (NYSD)









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Mark Wilson/Getty Images


"Much has been made of Barack Obama’s 'fourth quarter,' during which the president’s administration has ticked off a string of accomplishments that range from negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran and normalizing relations with Cuba to unveiling sweeping executive orders on immigration and commuting dozens of prison sentences for non-violent offenders. And now, signs are emerging Obama doesn’t see January 20, 2017—the end point of his presidency—as any reason to hit the brakes. Obama has been judiciously planning his life after the White House, which political insiders believe will come together around a foundation—one that could mushroom to an endowment of $1 billion." (VanityFair)






Across the Isles



"I am on a 125-foot schooner, the Aello, built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1921 by Max Oertz and commissioned by Anthony Benakis, a great Greek benefactor. She has been totally and perfectly refitted by her present proprietor, a Greek shipowner, and I have chartered her for a fortnight’s cruise with my son and grandchildren. The crew is splendid, all six Greek, who love to sail even under these stormlike conditions. Our one and only mistake was to come to this shit island, now overrun by nouveaux riches 'cool' people, which means vulgarity like never before rules the roost ...  As I write, I’m heading back there once my daughter and her hubby arrive to this modern Sodom. What makes this trip fun is the crew and its willingness to put up the sails and travel. I have many friends who have houses in Mykonos, but they use them like Fort Zinderneuf. They venture out only when absolutely necessary. Once upon a time this was a magical island, with unblemished beaches, very clear water, and very few visitors as Mykonos is 90 miles from Athens with an open sea in between. Then Jackie Kennedy Onassis visited the place and bought some local trinkets." (Taki)




"On the avenue. I took this picture  of the very young couple resting by the litter barrel this past Wednesday afternoon about three o’clock on the of the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and East 57th Street.They didn’t look the part – homeless, penniless, down and out. In other parts of the city, the homeless begin to look the part. But this 'look' is now often the case of people you see panhandling on the streets, especially in midtown near Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, which is just about the highest rent for retail and commercial businesses. Your imagination fills in the story. A bag of potato chips, a couple cans of soda, vitamins (?!), and heavy fatigue having set in. If I wanted to leave them a 'gift,' there was no place to put it without waking them up. They forgot why they were there. Many will conclude this is a matter of drugs. Maybe but I’m not so sure. Even if there has been drug taking, what led to this? That is the crucial question. Whatever it was, it happened not very long ago, from the looks of them. Maybe that morning. They were both cleanly dressed and clean. Those very young fragile feet had never seen much walking. Were they runaways? From what? The day. Last Thursday was one of those. I took this picture of the Crown Building at 1 PM, right after I got out of my cab at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. This is on the northeast corner. For many years it was the jewel in the crown for I. Miller shoes. I took the photo because in the midday Sun the gold on the building was glistening. I couldn’t get it with my camera. Ferdinand and Immelda Marcos once secretly owned the Crown. It was bought in 1991 by Elliot Spitzer’s father for $93 million. The Spitzer family sold it last December for $1.75 billion. Bulgari occupies the ground floor." (NYSD)


"The tradition the Grand Bal came into being several centuries ago as a political device and demonstration of power to a society's elite, and to one's adversaries and neighbors.

They were very often masked balls, giving guests — and hosts — the opportunity to expand their horizons of interest and make new acquaintances discreetly. They were what they remain today, although quite differently, the opportunity to bring people together and to entertain. From the 17th century, Louis XIV set the tone with his grand bals at Versailles. Three centuries later, Elsa Maxwell set the tone for New York with the April in Paris Ball (in the 1950s) at the Waldorf-Astoria. The following is a brief compilation of some of those grand bals which I wrote for the August issue of Quest magazine's annual '400' issue. To most Americans, a Bal, a grand ball is a special formal occasion, a dance where men dress in black tie, and women in gowns. Very often it’s a fund-raising effort for a charity. To children, the ball is where Cinderella met the Prince. She meets the prince, then she has to disappear (otherwise she’ll turn into a pumpkin) and the prince, already madly in love with her, doesn’t know her name. It was other worldly, make believe. The tradition of the Grand Bal, however, reaches back centuries to the days when monarchs ruled the world. It was an occasion to demonstrate Power. A king would give a ball to demonstrate his political power, and because he was king, he had deep pockets for for entertaining his guests. Louis XIV is a perfect example. With his personal monument to himself, the palace of Versailles, he had complete control of his “people,” beginning with the nobles. His entertainments served to focus on that reality and to make its site available to confirm it in the minds of others. The intent was also to send messages. His lavish luxury also sent a message to the foreigners, diplomats, businessmen and aristocracy: all powerful. He had the power to amaze." (NYSD




The Virtue of Hostility



"I met Donald Trump during the late ’90s, at a grand party thrown by Lord Black for his wife’s 60th birthday. It was in New York, Conrad Black was at the height of his power as a press lord, and his wife Barbara ditto, writing beautiful conservative stuff for major British and Canadian papers. I was seated next to Melania Trump, The Donald’s third and present wife, and we hit it off extremely well. Our bête noir was that grotesque excuse for a secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. Melania is from the ex-Yugoslavia, and well aware that establishing a Muslim zone in the middle of the Balkans, as the Clinton administration had done, was a disaster in the making. So the two of us blasted away until a certain Richard Burt—former Times man and, I believe, ambassador to Germany—cut in on our conversation rather rudely. Although I pride myself on old-fashioned manners, this was not the time to exhibit them. I told Burt that one more word out of him and he would be sucking on his gums for the next month or so. End of discussion." (Taki)





"I love Belgrade from all angles, even the air. Flying in one banks over a certain house that is distinctly visible, down to its details, and that’s because it’s not strictly a house, more of a Palace, the dimensions of which closely resemble a New York City block. From the air it is marvelous and from the ground it is also pretty swell. Beauty on a grand scale just proves that more is better.
Since I’ve been in Belgrade I’ve rented all over town. I’ve seen the city from the suburbs to the center of the universe. The center of the universe being a bar called Tezga. This would be the equivalent of ‘Cheers’ to some, or the Green Parrot to others. While there are no live bands there are live humans who are reliably intriguing and I’ve had the pleasure of filling my Serbian cellphone with numbers of cool, hot, smart, funny types. All of them introduced to me by my pal Igor (Igor Stojanović whose grandfather was the personal bodyguard of my mother HRH Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević back in the day!). Igor knows everyone and spends so much time at Tezga I’m surprised they don’t charge him rent. Speaking of rent, it is Igor who arranges for my rentals. A side businesses in between hooking up with hotties and frolicking with them on the beaches of Montenegro in summer and skiing the slopes of Kopaonik in winter." (Christina Oxenberg)