Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via indiewire)

In: Jonathan Sehring. The IFC President Jonathan Sehring has joined the upstart "Cubaning" trend -- think: Dogme95 for the executive class -- and not, we believe, a moment too soon. (The Corsair pours himself a glass of the black wine of Cahors, elixir of Popes) As film recipts decline and the Oscars "Indiefy" (every nominee in the Best Picture category could be construed as having an Indie sensibility with a mid-range budget), this is the perfect opportunity for independent film to branch out and experiment with new business models. According to Marketwatch:

"The film industry seeks to adapt to a climate of declining receipts at the box office, more sophisticated home entertainment systems, and the growing popularity of video-on-demand on cable television systems across the nation.

"Toward this end, movie studios are starting to show a willingness to shorten the period between a movie's theatrical debut and its first appearance on video-on-demand or DVD.

"Comcast and IFC said their on-demand offering, called 'IFC in Theaters,' will make certain films available on Comcast's VOD movie section for $5.99 each. Comcast subscribers will be able to choose from a selection of four to five independently produced films a month.

"Among the titles are 'CSA: The Confederate States of America,' produced by Spike Lee; 'American Gun,' starring Donald Sutherland, Forest Whitaker and Marcia Gay Harden; and 'Russian Dolls,' featuring Audrey Tautou.

"'This agreement isn't about simply collapsing distribution windows,' said Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Entertainment, in a statement. 'IFC in Theaters is enabling independent filmmakers to reach a wider audience in a much more economical manner. The local cinema will always be the first home for film to many film lovers ... Now IFC and Comcast will provide independent films with a unique opportunity to extend and expand beyond traditional distribution means.'"

Cinematicals take here.


(image via Michael Kamber/NYTimes)

Out: The Darfur Genocide. How many years has it been since former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the crisis in Sudan for what it is: Genocide. And yet, still, we do nothing. The inertia of the planet regarding the government sponsored eradication of black Africans in Sudan is utterly disgusting. In times like these, the late Susan Sontag's presentation of "Waiting for Godot" as Europe dithered over the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia seem particularly apt. Sudan is the new Theater of the Absurd: and The West is the unmoved audience. And yet, still, we do nothing. From the NYTimes:

"The chaos in Darfur, the war-ravaged region in Sudan where more than 200,000 civilians have been killed, has spread across the border into Chad, deepening one of the world's worst refugee crises.

"Arab gunmen from Darfur have pushed across the desert and entered Chad, stealing cattle, burning crops and killing anyone who resists. The lawlessness has driven at least 20,000 Chadians from their homes, making them refugees in their own country.

"Hundreds of thousands more people in this area, along with 200,000 Sudanese who fled here for safety, find themselves caught up in a growing conflict between Chad and Sudan, which have a long history of violence and meddling in each other's affairs.

"'You may have thought the terrible situation in Darfur couldn't get worse, but it has,' Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said in a recent statement. 'Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad.'"

And yet, still, we do nothing.


(image via crispwireless)

In: NBCOlympics.com. Dick Ebersole need not mourn; the proper Machiavellian Master of the Universe response -- AKA "the Pimp move" -- to this lackluster thusness would be to downplay the bad television ratings publicly, and tout as well as build upon the digital ratings for the next round of Olympic games.

Although the Olympic games on network television were a bit of a disappointment, they did well online. Very well. Then again, with an international audience, this is a no-brainer.

It seems NBC's isn't "saddled" with a dying franchise. Rather, it is on the cusp of something really, really digital. According to Staci Kramer of Paidcontent:

"NBCOlympic.com Serves Up 9. 1 Million Video Streams, 125,000-plus Hours : The stats are in for the Torino Olympics ... during the official span, NBCOlympics.com served 9.1 million video streams, more than 125,000 hours.

"Just imagine what the numbers would have been had more than one hockey game streamed live. Other site metrics:

"-- 361 million page views, more than double Salt Lake City in 2002 and 44 percent higher than Athens in 2004. (That total likely would have been smaller with fewer steps for some actions.)

"-- 15.1 million uniques. -- 988,058 games played for an average in-game time of 32.5 minutes."
Not bad. NBCUniversal press release here.


c'est chic; c'est freak. (image via thefashionspot via style)

Out: Carine Roitfeld. Was Carine Roitfeld misquoted by the NYTimes' Guy Trebay? When she said that new Madison Avenue shopowner Tom Ford was "finished" we nearly launched our adult beverage into the air. Now, unfortunately, she's backtracking -- did Ford get to her? -- and blaming, alas, her Frenchness for the 'error.' (A considerable pause; Averted Gaze) According to Fashionweekdaily:

"Carine Roitfeld wants you to know she was misquoted. In Guy Trebay�s article about the evolution of sex appeal in fashion last Thursday, the New York Times scribe quoted the French Vogue editor in chief as saying, 'You know, I love Tom Ford, and I love what he has done. But Tom is finished, in a way. We have to find a new way to interpret sex.'

"Roitfeld, as the fashion community is well aware, is a close friend and confidante of Ford�s on his many projects (it is known that Ford seeks Roitfeld�s advice on each of his endeavors), a fact she reiterated at the Versace show, when explaining her argument about the misquotes. 'If I say Tom is finished, then I am finished, too,' Roitfeld stated firmly. 'My English is sometimes not so good, so maybe he misinterpreted.'

"Over the weekend, Roitfeld�who said Ford had not called her about the comments and would deal with it privately and personally�was in better spirits but still wanted to state her case for the record."

Roitfeld has only been in this country for how many years? (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) Full story here.


(image via transalt)

In: Michael Musto. We readily admit that we worship at the temple of Musto (don't ever cross us in a dark alleyway: JC Chasez, assboy!). Musto, Nabokov, Richard Pryor, Spy Magazine, Gore Vidal, and Elizabeth Spiers have all, to some degree, influenced the tone and style of this blog. So, let's give a little love to Musto. (The Corsair raises a toast) According to TheStar:

"Michael Musto is the sultan of snark.

"For his acerbic La Dolce Musto column in The Village Voice alternative newspaper, he gets to troll New York City's bars and celeb salt licks and revel in the drag queen/go-go boys scene.

"... He has been described rapturously as 'one of the wittiest stylists in the English language, master of the Oscar Wildesque segue.'

"... Musto is still a freelancer after 20 years with The Voice. He works from home and writes his notes in longhand � in cramped, spidery handwriting � on single-spaced foolscap. He pulled out his notes from a beat-up yellow envelope that could have contained Winston Churchill's D-Day invasion plans.

"'I've never misquoted anyone,' he said.

"The questions in the seminar from wannabe journos concentrated mainly on Jessica Simpson and how to get Musto's job. But he's not giving it away.

"He's not finished with it yet.

"'Free food, they let me write what I want and I'm well paid,' he explained, ordering Bistro's fabled Meg Ryan chicken."

Meg Ryan chicken? Is that another name for a Russell Crowe? (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). The Musto influence liveth on ...

More here.


(image via heralis)

Out: Barack Obama. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was, until this week, the Golden Boy of the Democratic Party. He is attractive; he won a landslide; he is new to the Senate (the most aristocratic club in the world outside of the Princes at the Vatican, thank you very much), and thus untained by the corrosive stench of Washington's lobbying scandals; Obama is also seen as a future Presidential -- or, Vice Presidential -- candidate.

A funny thing happened on the way to Lobbying reform, though. Few really want it to go down. Let's face it: The only big money in DC is the lobbysists and lawyers (and, fewer and far between, the inherited Old Money). Lobbyist Wealth buttresses the low government wages, providing consolation and sweet solace to the pecuniary perils of Power. There is something of a Madisonian symmetry to it (James' power to Dolly's wealth, namely); it has a perfectly crisp "Kerry-Heinz" vibe, if you know what we are hinting at. It is a beautiful -- if Dark -- combination. That, dear reader, is Washington. (Averted Gaze)

Obama is the prefect, good looking, untainted Democratic face to serve as point-man on lobbying reform but -- and this, dear reader, is the pisser -- the Senator is supposed to be, essentially cosmetic. Face. That's all. Nothing substantial with regards to lobbyist reform must be allowed to fuck-up the sweet thing, this thing of ours, they've got going on in DC. Obama wasn't supposed to really advocate lobbying reform. Heaven forfend; how naive could he be? From TheHill:

"Senate Democrats have declined to support legislation proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to reform lobbying, even though he is their point man on the issue.

"Good-government groups have made enforcement of the ethics and lobbying rules their top priority, and they consider Obama�s proposal the strongest means of enforcement. But lawmakers appear to view the medicine as too strong.

"On Feb. 8, nearly three weeks ago, Obama introduced legislation that would create an independent commission to enforce lobbying rules. Despite reaching out aggressively to Democratic colleagues and a few Republicans, according to good-government groups working with him, only one senator, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), has co-sponsored his proposal."

Cold blooded. More here.

In: The Elton Party Versus the Vanity Fair Party. As the countdown to Oscar heats up, Elizabeth Saltzman and the Vanity Fair Gang -- who throw the party -- are putting on their finishing touches. They must have missed The Corsair's invitation, though. (Averted Gaze). Sir Elton, apparently, is kicking things up a notch. Says the 3AMGirls:

"Our insider tells us: 'Vanity Fair and Elton always throw the hottest parties but this year the competition is stiffer than ever.

"'Vanity Fair's party is incredibly prestigious and always gets a good turn-out, but Elton's party is just as stylish and a lot more fun. Guests really get to let their hair down and hosts don't get much better than Elton when it comes to working the room.'

"... Our insider goes on: 'Elton's going all-out to make this one of the parties of the year

".. Both bashes will be battling to tempt Oscar nominees including Keira Knightley, Reese Witherspoon, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix, left, to celebrate wins or drown their sorrows.

"Guests at Elton's shindig, which is held to raise money for the Peachtree Road singer's Aids Foundation, are expected to include the event's co-organisers Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Donatella Versace.

"Previous parties have raised �55m for the charity, and this year sponsors include top jewellers Chopard - which designed Elton and David's bling-tastic wedding rings, Audi and music channel VH1."

Kim Hastreiter of the Paper Blog has an interesting post -- with which we agree -- about the extreme materialism of the swag and how, perhaps, we may witness a media backlash here.

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