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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via michellerafter)

"It always baffled me why so many on the sidelines rooted so eagerly for Portfolio to fail. Its editor, Joanne Lipman, who was already a star at The Wall Street Journal, came out of the launch gate in April 2007 with a self-assured, smart competitor in the suit segment of boring business books. She ran some first-class narrative journalism such as Lloyd Grove on Sumner Redstone as King Lear and 'Boomtown, Iraq' by Denis Johnson and reinvented Michael Lewis as the most influential commentator on the current economic meltdown. I remember being especially impressed by Robert Priest’s art direction. When I was flailing around at the start of Talk magazine six years before, it took me about 10 issues to get layouts that looked as crisp as the ones in Portfolio’s first issue. I think I was one of the few media snobs who liked the first Portfolio cover , an arty photograph of the New York skyline by Scott Peterman. Even though experience told me it was not the kind of cover that would exactly leap off the newsstand, it showed vitality and sophistication. Love it or hate it, at least it wasn’t the usual portrait of some spruced-up suit peering over a high-concept prop that tends to be the solution of choice in publications aimed at the boys’ club sector." (Tina Brown/TheDailyBeast)



(image via woohoo)

"(B)y accident or design -- I'm guessing accident – 'Obsessed' carries the most social-political wallop entertainment's had to offer since the Obama and Clinton stand-ins got into a tussle on WWE. First, Elba and Knowles play a middle-class, happy-but-bored married couple who are feeling the stress of raising their first child ... And they just happen to be black. What? How'd all that get past the fake liberal studio execs who rarely if ever portray middle-class black families in lead roles in films? And the black man's got a white person working for him. And she's a she. And she's hot for the black man, all of which is a flip on a grip of social fears that have been pervasive on film going back to 'Birth of a Nation.' And to protect her family, the black wife of the black man -- SPOILER ALERT … unless you've seen the trailer -- kicks the crazy white woman's pale backside. That makes the film the biggest black woman's wish fulfillment revenge fantasy that doesn't star Tyler Perry in drag ever!" (John Ridley/TheWrap)



"The wooden dhows docked along the Dubai Creek sail trade routes that are centuries old, connecting this small city-state on the Persian Gulf with the outside world. But the boats have served a double purpose in Dubai's history. A symbol of Dubai's vibrant shipping industry, the dhows have also been used by generations of smugglers exploiting Dubai's strategic position between East and West to move contraband back and forth across the Arabian Sea. Now, despite Dubai's recent rebranding as an international hub for finance and education, it remains a hub for the darker side of the global economy, with modern-day smugglers using Dubai as a base for everything from property-based money laundering and illegal banking to the Afghan opium trade. Dubai's struggles during the global financial crisis will only strengthen its underworld, according to Christopher Davidson, a lecturer in Middle East politics at Durham University and the author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success. "As Dubai's efforts to fully liberalize its economy come undone and its attractiveness to foreign investors declines further, the international spotlight will eventually move away and it may become more attractive than ever to human traffickers, gunrunners, and money launderers," he says. Dubai's new smugglers may be Indian mobsters or Chechen strongmen instead of dhow sailors, but the old dual structure of legitimate and illegitimate business remains robust." (ForeignAffairs)



(image via justjared)

"RENÉE Zellweger rang in her 40th birthday Saturday night at the Core Club with some singles, ex-boyfriend Dan Abrams, Hugh Grant and Bradley Cooper, but mostly Couples, Cheryl and Ron Howard, Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi, Neil Patrick Harris and boyfriend David Burtka, Tory Burch and Lyor Cohen, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, and Madonna and boy toy Jesus Luz, whose dirty dancing was the talk of the party. Renée was serenaded by Harry Connick Jr." (PageSix)



(image via gothamist via nypost)

"Astor Trial Begins Today, Boldface Names to Follow | The trial of Brooke Astor's son kicked off this morning with prosecutors arguing that Anthony Marshall was a liar and a thief who'd conspired to steal $200 million from his ailing mother. More importantly, the prosecution indicated that some 60 witnesses could be called to testify—including Barbara Walters, Henry Kissinger, Annette de la Renta, David Rockefeller, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, New York Public Library head Paul LeClerc, and former Met chief Philippe de Montebello .." (CityFile)

"At the end of the 19th century, the Astor family were the biggest landlords in New York. They owned hundreds of acres all over Manhattan, especially focusing on land on or adjacent to Broadway, running all the way up to 150th Street. The first John Jacob Astor, born in Germany, came to this country in the late 18th century, selling musical instruments. From that he expanded into fur-trading, selling much of his merchandise to the Chinese. With the profits he started buy land in Manhattan. At that time, uptown was Greenwich Village. The only roadway that existed farther up island was Broadway which was originally an native Indian trail that ran in just about the same direction it runs today, being the only street that was not altered when the grid was installed in the early 19th century." (NYSocialDiary)



"This weekend was my birthday. I therefore did what any intelligent person would do. I went to Iguazu Falls. It's in Argentina .. Due to the fact that we were to gift-wrap the day of my nativity, my friend Barbara Walters came along .. Speaking of arriving in Buenos Aires, as LAN taxied in, we went right by a Boeing 707 bearing the Qantas logo, but with a US tail number. Sitting on the tarmac ready for takeoff. John Travolta's VOP. Very Own Plane. What he was doing here, I don't know, but I was told it was a private family visit." (CindyAdams)



(image via fishbowlny)

"Condé Nast folds Portfolio even as it starts Wired in print in the U.K. So which are we to take as the harbinger for the future of magazines? I hate to be calling doom for yet another medium, but I fear that Portfolio is the better indicator. We’ll see magazines fold and it’s going to be a lot riskier to start new ones to replace them — riskier because, just as on TV and in movies and music, it’s harder to create a blockbuster and consumer magazines depend on the blockbuster economy. Magazines don’t make money until they hit magic numbers of circulation (which comes only after renewals reduce marketing costs) and advertising (which is sold at heavy premiums and that market is bound to suffer both in a recession and against unlimited competition from online). In the U.S. market, subscriptions are so heavily discounted ($1 per issue for a product that can cost $5 or more to print and distribute) and marketing costs are so high (subscriber acquisition can hit $20 or $30) that the risk is only greater. Entertainment Weekly, my baby, went through an astounding $200 million before becoming profitable. No one is going to invest that kind of money again. If anybody would, it was Condé. Oh, well, so much for that." (JeffJarvis)



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"Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, recruited by his friend Warren Buffett to join the board at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said he’s committed to the firm for the rest of his life. Gates and fellow Berkshire board member Don Keough, the former president of Coca-Cola Co., said in separate interviews with Bloomberg Television that their role with Omaha, Nebraska- based Berkshire is to protect the company’s culture and values after Buffett, 78, steps down. Buffett has pledged the majority of his Berkshire shares to Gates’s charitable foundation. 'I’ve got a commitment to stay involved with Berkshire as a lifelong thing,' Gates, 53, said in an interview scheduled to be broadcast today. 'We always have to think about what might happen and make sure Berkshire is not just great now, but forever.'" (Bloomberg)



(image via kejda)

"Two very different Democrats are angling to take on Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) next year, and an issue that promises to divide them in the primary could prove a major talking point in the general election. As energy and climate issues generate big headlines in Washington, those who make their living off coal mining still play a major role in Bluegrass State politics. Congress will soon take up cap-and-trade legislation that, at the moment, appears unlikely to pass, but the EPA on Monday reversed a Bush administration proposal to allow disposal of waste from mountaintop mining, a process by which land is leveled from above in the search for coal. Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D), who hails from Eastern Kentucky mining country, is a mountaintop mining proponent. His primary foe, Attorney General Jack Conway (D), takes a much more nuanced view. In November, Conway added his name to a letter some state officials sent to then-President Bush arguing against the administration’s proposal to legalize dumping waste from mountaintop mining near rivers and streams. Both positions could have serious impact on a state hard-hit by the economic crisis. 'Coal is big, and it’s important, and it’s a lot of jobs and a lot of people,' said Jim Cauley, a former chief of staff to Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and a veteran Democratic campaign operative." (TheHill)

"US pharmaceutical companies continue to withstand the global downturn, with first quarter results from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer beating earnings estimates. The figures from BMS and Pfizer follow a run of better-than-expected results from other pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, Schering Plough and Johnson & Johnson. Pharmaceuticals have also been among the few industries to continue with large-scale mergers even as the financial crisis took hold, with at least five acquisitions exceeding $5bn taking place over the last year. Most recently, Pfizer bought Wyeth for $68bn in January." (FT.com)



(Sanaa Lathan via fashionweekdaily via patrickmcmullen)

"With New York playing host to the Tribeca Film Festival as we write, the city can't rid the movies from its collective unconscious. The chic set capped off a gorgeous weekend with an al fresco cocktail fête at the Cooper Square Hotel Sunday night, courtesy of the Independent Filmmaker Project. The group, chaired by Hunter Gray and Anthony Bregman, celebrated its 30th anniversary with the Swarovski-sponsored event hosted by the ever-stylish Katie Holmes, and the balcony at the top of the downtown hotel was teeming with partygoers like Sanaa Lathan taking in the gorgeous views and enjoying the first real weekend of summer-worthy temperatures. Paul Sevigny and Harley Viera-Newton provided the tunes; guests danced along to the Proclaimers and Dolly Parton while sampling from the caviar bar and sipping ChamBull (that's Moët & Chandon topped off with Red Bull, natch) .." (Fashionweekdaily)



"I watched this documentary film over the weekend thinking that I could fall asleep to it but instead I got a second wind and was totally engaged. It was so interesting to see the 'freedom' lives of the Amish youth once they’ve turned the age of 16… This documentary follows 4 teenagers in 'Rumspringa' (Pensylvania Dutch word: running around), which they are allowed to leave the Amish Community to explore the 'English World' experimenting with partying, drinking, drugs, sex, wearing 'normal' clothes, driving a vehicle, going to the malls, watching the television and so on… It shows their reactions and expriences trying to adjust in the 'English World' and as well as the pressure in the 'Amish World.' After they had a taste of the outside world (rumspringa), the teenagers are expected to join the Amish church (according to the film, which 90% of them do) to become baptised for life… or they would leave the Amish community forever and in that case, they would be shunned out by the entire community, including their friends and families ..The Amish teens in Rumspringa also have crazy wild parties… pretty much every night, where other Amish youths from different states would attend." (Suprememanagement)



(image via patrickmcmullen)

"Last night’s Lincoln Center Film Society Gala honoring Tom Hanks was a star-studded event filled with glamour, glitz and lots of people saying 'fuck' on stage ..Once inside, it was evident that the dinner that had been taking place was not totally over.. I saw Jeff Zucker and Lorne Michaels, John Leguizamo ..The tribute itself was even more star-studded than the atrium, featuring colorful tributes from the likes of Mike Nichols, Sally Field, Robert Zemeckis, John Patrick Shanley (f-bomb count: 4), Ron Howard, Jonathan Demme, and Steven Spielberg. Aaron Ruehl performed a jazzed-up version of chopsticks in honor of Hanks’ podiatric musical stylings in Big, and Bruce Springsteen performed a stripped down 'Streets Of Philadelphia' ..The moment of the night, however, went to Julia Roberts who came out on stage, announced that she was paying her babysitter overtime, had to pee, and was wearing the same dress as Hanks’ publicist. Decrying 'Tom Hanks, what the fuck?' and revealing that 'that movie where you walked around the airport, that was a pass for me'" (Guestofaguest)



(image via fashionweekdaily via patrickmcmullen)

"'I feel like it's my birthday!' cried Julia Roberts, entering Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on Monday evening to a hail of cheers from onlookers. And though the superfans cheered and snapped photos of all the impressive figures arriving for the night, the man of the hour was clear. Tom Hanks was honored with the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 36th annual Chaplin Award--named after the organization's first honoree, Charlie Chaplin .. Between Christy Turlington and Ed Burns reminiscing about Burns' turn in Saving Private Ryan with Hanks, Nora Ephron remembering her time working with him in Sleepless in Seattle, and Ron Howard pinpointing exactly where he met Hanks ('It was at this softball game, on the bus,' he said. 'I was going with the Happy Days team to play at a celebrity softball game!'), stars like Sally Field, Steven Spielberg, Geoffrey Rush, Glenn Close, Christie Brinkley, John Leguizamo, and more were more than happy to support the actor." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Last night, the classic American designer Michael Kors celebrated the opening of his new shop on London's tony New Bond Street. While it was rainy and windy outside, inside the store was clean and colorful with clothes that could carry you from the airport to the yacht to an evening dockside dinner. Or, if you are like me, could be worn to the movies on a Friday night. The affair itself featured the usual onslaught of editors, celebs, and social types. I spotted Erin O'Connor, Carmen Kass and Eva Herzigova, and the majority of the guests looked to be hardcore Michael Kors fans, decked out head-to-toe in the designer's Spring designs. I found myself doing a lot of double-takes as I saw the same items on guests as I saw on the shelves." (papermag)



(image via fashionweekdaily)

"Matthew Broderick might just be the busiest working actor in New York this week. He took his opening night bows on Broadway for his role in The Philanthropist on Sunday. On his day off, he and wife Sarah Jessica Parker hopped into a car and took a ten minute ride from their West Village home to Broderick's Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Wonderful World. 'The last few days have been about cheerleading for Matthew,' smiled Parker .. Guests like Jane Rothenthal and Kim Kardashian also caught the film, about possibly the most negative man in Gotham. 'I'm not that moody in real life,' assured Broderick. 'I'm only mid-range negative!'" (Fashionweekdaily)



"The dinner that Chanel hosted for the Tribeca Film Festival drew recent Oscar noms Viola Davis and Melissa Leo, along with Adrien Brody and Matthew Modine—not to mention buzzed-about artists who had donated works as festival prizes. Still, all the girls wanted to talk about was their Karl Lagerfeld creations. Kerry Washington said she chose her cap-sleeve shift because it reminded her of a certain contemporary style icon. 'I liked it because it was period and chic, yet conservative—very Michelle Obama, very hopeful,' she said ..Not that the whole night was diamonds and tweed; some people did have work on their minds. 'I spent all day watching the shorts,' explained festival juror Mary-Kate Olsen from her perch next to Bradley Cooper, who is judging features. 'And when I leave here I've got more work to do.'" (Style)

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