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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lunch at Michaels

Trump cast his characteristic pall over the Chattering Class today at Michaels restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. It seemed no matter where one turned, the conversation inevitably inched towards Trumpworld. "Is he really going to win?" everyone seemed to be asking. As The Corsair walked in to meet David Patrick Columbia at Table 8, we were greeted to the site of Judy Collins, she of the ethereal voice, crouched under a large summer hat, going incognito (Isn't the point of Michaels on a Wednesday to be highly visible?). Still, she can do no wrong in The Corsair's blog. We have loved Collins madly ever since watching her on Sesame Street in our youth, singing "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow."(Long sigh)

There was a lot of "Yesterday" -- of nostalgia -- underpinning the general fear over a Trump planet. Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Josette DePres on Dark Shadows was among the well-heeled. She has just authored a new book Last Dance at the Savoy, her memoir and has been on the circuit promoting. Her husband, who passed away, gave David his first job at Los Angeles magazine. They did some catching up while The Corsair caught up with AdAge and Mediabistro's awesome Diane Clehane, on Dark Shadows, on Outlander and why she really ought to watch #GameofThrones.

The conversation was largely about politics, about pop culture: the OJ telemovies, Paris Hilton (heralding the death of the traditional socialite, the Kardashians, the financial crisis, the Presidential election, Bernie Sanders, the cell-phonification of restaurants nowadays and why men when they get older love History. And, of course, Writing. I have wanted to become a professional writer since I was about eight and was happy to learn that roughly the same was true for David. Do kids today have that sense of what they want to do and the desire to do it even if it does not always mean great wealth? Is vocational happiness worth pursuing even with the knowledge that wealth on that career path will be elusive?

Also in the crowd: Star Jones, Dennis Bosso and Jack Meyers. Things slew down after Memorial Day, summer house season, especially as the Cannes Lion events are being held a world away. Can Trump really win? The general consensus, among those that The Corsair spoke to this afternoon, is a general sense of fear at the possibility.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

MacBeth Unhinged Starring Olivia Maxwell

Macbeth Unhinged Trailer from angus macfadyen on Vimeo.

400 years ago today, Shakespeare shuffled off the mortal coil and left this world. This is a perfect time to pivot to an interesting new film about the man's work. Lyme disease activist and all-around swell gal Olivia Maxwell has a substantial supporting role in Angus Macfadyen's new feature Macbeth Unhinged. "I saw the final cut- I am blown away," said Olivia. "My dad spoke and lead the Q and A it he compared the filming to Truffaults, 'Day for Night' and Kurosawa, my dad was blown away."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Harvey Keitel and Taki

Strange friendships in NYC. Jewish NYC actor Harvey Keitel is friends with rambunctious paleoconservative Greek writer Taki. To wit:

"My friendship with Harvey Keitel began the first time we met, at a Chuck Pfeifer lunch for people who don’t move their lips while reading. It was at a gentlemen’s club in New York about twenty years ago. I asked him what a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn was doing in the Marine Corps instead of “being on Wall Street screwing Christians.” He roared with laughter and asked no one in particular, “Who is this guy? I like him.” Well, it was a fun night at Carnegie Hall, not even spoiled by a ghastly neocon by the name of Max Boot interviewing the general and sounding as though a valet were asking the questions. General Petraeus got a very raw deal—only in Anglo-Saxon countries does one lose his job for bedding a woman—but Boot should stick to fluttering like a moth around celebrity flames and leave the questions to, well, yours truly. "

Stranger things, I suppose, have happened in this crazy city.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

John Gutfreund, RIP

"I knew of John Gutfreund long before I ever met him. Because of his wife Susan and their widely publicized glamorous and bi-continental life both here and in Paris. The Gutfreunds created a social splash that was worthy of reporting for its extravagance and style. Mrs. Gutfreund, a brilliant Francophile, an autodidact of history, society, and the decorative arts, created for herself and her husband, an interesting life hobnobbing with the international world of tycoons, European aristocrats, politicians, bankers, and scions of the lifestyle which she herself achieved. It was said that her husband, a major Wall Street banker, very much enjoyed the fruits of his labors through his wife’s interests and pursuits. I later learned more about him as a businessman when he fell from grace – after a long and financially profitable ascent – at the Wall Street investment bank of Salomon Brothers & Hutzler, later just Salomon and then finally Philbro which acquired it. That acquisition was, in a way, John Gutfreund’s coup d’etat in the final wresting of control of the firm. It was also the beginning of the end of his career because of legal problems which arose  in the trading department shortly thereafter, and he resigned his position at the behest of his new boss Warren Buffet, and paid a multi-million dollar fine. At the time of his legal problems, his reputation as a businessman became more public in newspaper accounts of the matter. The personality profile that emerged was a man who was very sharp mentally and could detect the weakest link in a deal or an individual involved in a deal with a split-second instinct. His personal executive style in presiding could be harsh to put mildly, and could provoke anger and resentment. His resignation provoked great public interest – particularly among his peers both socially and financially, as well as those of us who read those pages in our newspapers." (NYSD)