Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out

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(image via drudgereport)

In: Maureen Dowd Bitchslaps Judith Miller. When we put down our morning Kenyan blend coffee and turned, serenely, to the Op-Ed page of The Old Gray Lady, we were quite, well ... surprised -- yes, that's the word -- to see Maureen Dowd crisply bitchslap her colleague Judith Miller.

(A considerable pause) It was like an embarrasing but brilliantly sarcastic on-the-"hush-hush" intra-office email that, somehow, gets on Gawker; only, this one makes it all the way to the Op-Ed page of the most powerful paper in the world. And it's harsh. Really and truly, it's harsh. Here's a taste, via Romenesko:

"The traits [Judith Miller] has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy -- her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur -- never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

"... She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers

"... Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover 'the same thing I've always covered -- threats to our country.' If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands."

Wow. And we didn't even mention the time Judith audaciously pulled rank on Dowd, grabbed her seat at a press briefing and forced her into the back of a briefing room. More here.


From the Karanina show. (image via British vogue)

Out: LA Fashion Week, Bizarro-World. On the left coast a sort of bizarro universe called LA Fashion Week has emerged (Averted Gaze), with activity swirling aroung Smashbox Studios in Culver City and "Reality TV stars" and the ex-wives of B-Listers populating the front rows (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). Charmed, I'm sure; if you go in for that sort of thing. Says the LATimes, archly:

"Outside the tent at Los Angeles Fashion Week, a guy in white angel wings waves C-, D- and E-list celebrities from the valet line to a postage-stamp-size photo backdrop. Mike Tyson arrives with a pair of blond playmates, flashing a gold-toothed grin. Internet pinup queen Cindy Margolis puffs out her chest for the cameras. Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett almost sneaks by, dressed down in geeky glasses and jeans.

"... At L.A. Fashion Week, which wrapped up Friday with the first L.A. Fashion Awards, the front row isn't filled with masthead queens like Vogue's Anna Wintour, or socialites of the Aerin Lauder breed. Instead, there are reality show stars, stylists, model groupies and Hollywood rich kids. Here, anyone can design a collection. It doesn't matter whether you've apprenticed with Oscar de la Renta for five years or received the blessing of Wintour. If you have made a bikini for Paris Hilton or you are the wife of a 1960s rock icon, that's enough to jump-start a business.

"... As casual as it all seems, an invitation and a seating assignment are needed to attend the shows, though there are plenty of crashers, usually people calling themselves 'stylists.'"

Mike Sonnenschein of FishbowlLA summed it all up brilliantly, "(I)f you do a Google news search for 'Los Angeles Fashion Week', you mostly get news from England or Canada or India. So: Los Angeles Fashion Week! Very influential on the streets of Mumbai!"


Denise Kassell (l.) and indie director Christine Vachon. (image via variety via wireimage)

In: Denise Kassell. Blame it on timing, or the high end year-round residents, but the HIFF is growing in clout. We actually wouldn't mind schlepping out to the Eastern tip of Long Island at this ungodly time of year to see "Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" and some of the Human Rights fare in the salt air. Denise Kassell, the HIFF Executive Director, deserves a shout out for that. According to Newsday's Gene Seymore:

"'The more visible (The Hampton's International Film Festival has) become, the more studios are calling us,' says Denise Kassell, in her eighth year as the festival's executive director. 'And it's not just here but all over the world where we're becoming a brand name for producers and distributors.

"Before Kassell took hold of the festival reins, there had been what Variety had characterized as a 'swinging door' of executive directors and programmers. 'We knew back about seven years ago that if this festival was going to continue we needed commitment from the [Hamptons] community and stability within the organization,' she says.

"'And we needed to do some real work in strategic, long-term planning. We needed to develop programs that gave this festival a genuine identity.'Among those programs is Films of Conflict and Resolution, in its seventh year, which showcases movies that deal with human-rights issues throughout the world.

"'These are films that may make it to the Human Rights Festival but may not draw people from our area,' Kassell says.

"...'The way the film calendar has shaped up in recent years has worked to our advantage,' (Rajendra) Roy says. 'Oscar campaigns tend to start at about this time of the year, and there are a lot of industry people living out here in the East End who vote [for Academy Awards]. What's also helped our profile is that there are fewer and fewer places in America where foreign films are marketed and exhibited. Here we have an audience base that can really get behind these films.'"

Box office info here.


(image via dallasnews)

Out: Harriet Miers. As we said Thursday, we cannot possibly see -- logically -- how Miers could be confirmed if the Democrats and Republican conservatives combine forces on the perfectly defensible charge of "Swell Person: but clearly unqualified; Next?" (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

Of course, The President would want -- but probably not ask out-and-out directly -- for Miers to gently withdraw from consideration, thus saving the embarassment. There is nothing in Ole Harriet's psychological profile, by the way, that suggests that she has ever denied the President any of his whims. This way, politically at least, The President could, ostensibly, save the next three years (A public Borking and Senate defeat of Miers would all but certainly signal with a brutal finality the utter "lame-duckness" of this Administration). Says the conservative Washington Times (link via HuffingtonPost):

"The White House has begun making contingency plans for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as President Bush's choice to fill a seat on the Supreme Court, conservative sources said yesterday.

"'White House senior staff are starting to ask outside people, saying, 'We're not discussing pulling out her nomination, but if we were to, do you have any advice as to how we should do it?' " a conservative Republican with ties to the White House told The Washington Times.

"The White House denied making such calls."

Can someone say meltdown?


(image via bitforms)

In: Mark Napier. Artist Mark Napier, husband of the magnificent Liz Sabater, is exhibiting his work at Bitforms on 529 West 20th Street tonight -- opening reception -- that continues until November 31st. He works in such interesting mediums, among others, as "custom software," and -- this is intense, people -- "plasma." (The Corsair sips a glass of port) Says Bitforms:

"Mark Napier, painter-turned-new-media-artist, is a pioneer in the realm of Internet art. Through his early web-based artworks such as �The Shredder�, �Digital Landfill�, and �Feed�, Napier explores the potential of worldwide networks as a public space for virtual art. His experience as a software developer informs Napier's software craft- he uses code as an expressive form, and the Internet as his exhibition space and laboratory. Napier's online studio,, is an open playground of interactive artwork. Napier creates a wide range of projects that appropriate data from the web- transforming content into abstraction, text into graphics, and information into art. "

Don't miss this show.


Sarah Conner said...

Hi Ron, Greetings from New Zealand!

I think your blog is really interesting and entertaining - well done and keep up the excellent work!


Ron said...

Blog love, Sarah