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Friday, March 27, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(Andre Balazs with Daphne Guinness via NYSocialDiary)

"Last night’s opening at Phillips de Pury was fun. There was a big crowd but lots of space in the galleries so that you could see both the works and the people. And last night’s gallery with people looked as if it had just stepped out of a picture hanging on one walls. A young crowd over all, and very interested. (Charlie Scheips) started pointing out photographs he knew would interest. There was a series of Richard Avedon photographs (one lot) with a picture of our friend Carmen, the now legendary model, smoothly leaping off a curb. You know who I mean by Carmen. Carmen dell’ Orefice, famous all over again for having known and invested with Bernie Madoff. Famous also for looking like a million bucks for longer than most of us have been alive. She doesn’t need Bernie Madoff ..About eight o’clock Charlie and I walked up 9th Avenue to 21st Street and the Gagosian Gallery at 522 West 21st Street, to see the Picasso; Mosqueteros show curated by John Richardson, the Picasso virtuoso biographer and friend of the master .. Gagosian also is a great space for looking at the master’s works, and it is beautifully lighted. The crowd was a bit older and more glam. I saw Nicky Haslam, in from London; and Andre Balazs with Daphne Guinness." (NYSocialDiary)

"'To the best of my recollection,' Bernard Madoff told the judge in his guilty plea on March 11, 'my fraud began in the early 1990s.' He seemed detached, as if reading a statement about a stranger. Maybe that’s why his recollection was wrong. Prosecutors say Madoff was Ponzifying since the early 1980s, even the 1970s. By various estimates, Madoff netted $10 billion to $20 billion (the $65 billion cited in the guilty plea is adjusted for past distributions to clients). Yet the mind goes numb trying to grasp what the billions signify in these days of multitrillion-dollar bailouts and shareholder losses from Citigroup Inc.’s collapse into a penny stock. Let’s measure the numbers on a human scale. Even estimating conservatively, Madoff stole more than $1.6 million every workday of his criminal career. Based on my calculations, Madoff’s bilking rate topped $200,000 an hour, or almost 60 bucks a second. He may have been the most efficient thief in history.Compare that with the most expensive lawyer in the U.S., who, as of January billed at $1,260 an hour. Even Tiger Woods, the world’s priciest athlete, is a piker by comparison, earning in recent years about $60,000 an hour, based on 40-hour weeks." (Bloomberg)

"Brace yourselves for a tsunami of punditry this weekend, when the much-married Newt Gingrich is received into the Catholic Church. This would ordinarily be a private occasion, but Newt Gingrich is not ordinary. He is (I hedge) probably the most interesting putative candidate on the right at this point. Google 'Gingrich' and '2012' and your hard drive will melt under a trillion hits. So attention to this event must and will be paid .. will be an undercurrent of anti-Catholic bias in the commentary about Mr. Gingrich’s embrace of Rome. As the saying goes, anti-Catholicism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectual class .. Mr. Gingrich’s marital history is a matter of public record, and it is not tidy. He first married at age 19, to his 26-year-old former high-school geometry teacher and then, so the story goes, presented her with divorce terms after she was wheeled out of cancer surgery. Mrs. Gingrich #2 was dumped after her husband had carried on an extramarital affair with a fetching, blond congressional staffer named Callista Bisek, who went on to become the present Mrs. Gingrich #3. This Family Values paradigm was complicated by the fact that whilst Mr. Gingrich was filibustering Ms. Bisek over the Speaker’s desk, he was simultaneously leading the impeachment charge against a naughty president of the United States." (Chris Buckley/TheDailyBeast)

"Marvel Studios has started a writers program. The goal is to put more than half a dozen film writers on staff, give them an office, and 'work them like horses!' one of my sources says. I've confirmed this smart move. (Makes you realize how backwards Warner Bros is by comparison on their DC Comics film development.) *UPDATE: Marvel comic book writers are not excluded from applying.* One source tells me the terms of the program "are apparently more onerous than the terms of the Disney Writers Program. Before the writers are even allowed to come in and meet, they must sign a non-disclosure agreement and a 70-page, non-negotiable contract. Among other things, the contract gives Marvel ownership over everything the writers create during the one year term of [the] deal, plus a first look and last refusal to any and all projects the writers have previously written or will write for 24 months in the future.'" (DeadlineHollywoodDaily)



(Veronica Webb via Patrick McMullan via Fashionweekdaily)

"Upstairs at West Village restaurant Bobo Wednesday night may have been ASmallMagazine's Volkswagen-sponsored dinner honoring four design standouts, but to any spectator, it simply seemed a reunion of friends. Sabine Heller embraced honoree Maria Cornejo warmly, Alice Temperley (another honoree of the night) and husband Lars von Bennigsen chatted with third honoree Andy Spade, and the final honoree, interior designer Antony Todd, mingled around the room for cocktails before sitting down to dinner. Pretty young things Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Byrdie Bell, and Poppy Delevigne chatted with Voguettes Meredith Melling-Burke and Valerie Boster, while chic set regulars Cynthia Rowley, Veronica Webb, and Lauren Goodman all were happy to come out to pay tribute to the designers." (FashionweekDaily)

"It will be another two years before radio ad revenue begins to bounce back. In the meantime, smaller markets are weathering the recession better when it comes to radio, according to a report from BIA Advisory Services released yesterday. While the medium as a whole ended 2008 down 8.5 percent compared to 2007, with ad revenue of $16.7 billion, smaller markets recorded a lower rate of decline. Markets ranked No. 51 or above on size were off an average 6.6 percent, the report finds. Further, that pattern will continue into 2009, when BIA predicts that the top 50 markets will see declines of 11 percent while small- and mid-sized markets will be off 9.64 percent. The report suggests that online revenue, the only area to see growth last year, could help offset declines in traditional radio, especially in larger markets." (Medialifemagazine)

"Am listening to the new Iggy Pop album Préliminaires. Iggy sounds like all his children -- Nick Cave and Tom Waits, for example -- rolled into one with a bit of Serge Gainsbourg thrown in. It's my favorite of his solo albums -- nothing can touch The Stooges -- but what's really weird is that Préliminaires, which means 'foreplay' in French, is score music inspired by Michel Houellebecq’s 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island. Who knew Iggy was a francophile!" (David Hershkovits/Papermag)



(Pixie and Alice Dellal via Thisislondon)

"Poor old Pixie Geldof had an attack of embarrassing dad syndrome last night. The 18-year-old was spotted red-faced with her head in her hands when she was forced to listen to a speech by Sir Bob about learning the banjo in a bid to be sexy. Pixie - at a table with close pals model Alice Dellal and designer Henry Holland, during the Institute of Contemporary Arts fundraising event - heard how her father only learnt to play the instrument so he could "shag" away and win the heart of Mary Priest as a young lad. An onlooker told us: 'She was mortified at what he was saying.'" (Thisislondon)

"The rapper 50 Cent is among the legion of stars who have recently embraced Twitter to reach fans who crave near-continuous access to their lives and thoughts. On March 1, he shared this insight with the more than 200,000 people who follow him: 'My ambition leads me through a tunnel that never ends.' Those were 50 Cent’s words, but it was not exactly him tweeting. Rather, it was Chris Romero, known as Broadway, the director of the rapper’s Web empire, who typed in those words after reading them in an interview. 'He doesn’t actually use Twitter,' Mr. Romero said of 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, 'but the energy of it is all him.'" (NYTimes)

"Japan on Friday ordered its military to prepare to intercept any dangerous debris that might fall on its territory if a missile launch planned by Pyongyang goes wrong. Pyongyang has said that between April 4-8 it will launch a satellite, but regional powers believe the real purpose is to test its longest-range missile, the Taepodong-2. It has already positioned what is believed to be the missile on a launch pad. 'I have issued an order ... to prepare to destroy any object that might fall on Japan as a result of an accident involving a flying object from North Korea,' Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters after a meeting of Japan’s Security Council. North Korea this week put a long-range missile in place for the launch, which the United States has warned would violate UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for past weapons tests. Top nuclear envoys from Japan, South Korea and the United States were to meet in Washington on Friday in a signal of growing concern over the possible launch, the first big test for US President Barack Obama in dealing with the prickly North." (FT)



"Last night the Museum of Natural History hosted its annual Museum Dance. The theme of the dinner portion of the evening was the 'The Green Environment,' and guests were served seared Chilean sea bass amid recycled cardboard centerpieces surrounded by genuine moss and soy candles. Powerhouse designers were represented in full force -- Julia Restoin Roitfeld wore Balmain, Milla Jovovich wore Prada, Jessica Alba wore Narciso Rodriguez, Barbara Bush wore MK & A's The Row and Leigh Lezark wore Chanel. In the beautiful Rose Center, there was dancing till almost dawn." (Papermag)



"The same weekend that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez celebrated Mauricio Funes's election as El Salvador's new president, his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. The election in El Salvador and the meeting at the White House are manifestations one of the most important trends that will shape Latin American politics in coming years. Funes was the candidate of the former guerrilla movement, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, and his election marked the peaceful transition from two decades of government by its archrival, the Arena party. Thus a right-wing government closely allied with the United States handed power to a leftist party whose most prominent leaders have a long history of confrontation with Washington. As significantly, Obama's invitation to da Silva marks the end of a long period of estrangement between the United States and Latin America and opens new possibilities for rebuilding tattered relations between Washington and the region. According to Chávez, Funes's victory 'consolidates the historical current that has been rising in Latin America in this first decade of the 21st century,' referring to the left's ascent to power in several countries of the hemisphere. Does this mean that El Salvador is the newest member of the 'Axis of Hugo'? In addition to Venezuela and Cuba, the core of that axis is formed by Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Honduras and Paraguay are also part of this alliance, though their governments have an internal opposition that prevents their leaders from becoming full-fledged members. While the axis countries build their anti-Yankee alliance and try to implement what the Venezuelan president calls '21st-century socialism,' the Brazilian government is successfully developing a very different geopolitical project: ensuring Brazil's presence at the table when the world's most important decisions are negotiated." (ForeignPolicy)

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