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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"A ritual of Spring for many, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off its 62nd edition on Wednesday in the French Rivera, but does anyone care? Does the festival matter anymore? .. Even if you’ve never attended, the Cannes brand has likely been associated with a certain type of cinema: films that are celebrated but sometimes hard to find, movies that are heady and often dense, work that is eclectic but sometimes transformative. On Tuesday, the rituals of Cannes began again on another bright and sunny day in the South of France. Long lines of registered guests in the Palais des Festivals waited for their badges, while nearby local workers propped up large billboards on the sides of the many hotels that line the seaside Croisette boulevard." (IndieWIRE)

"The Cannes Film Festival opening today looks less like 'The Great Gatsby' and more like 'Risky Business' as 4,000 independent movies vie for the attention of cash-strapped distributors. Advance bookings suggest attendance at the world’s largest film festival will be down about 15 percent, making it tougher for filmmakers to find a distributor. The number of movies at Cannes, known for celebrity sightings and yacht parties, is roughly the same as a year ago, organizers say. The large number of films reflects years of easy financing that ended with the credit crunch last year. Now, tight lending markets are squeezing everyone from distributors like those looking to buy movies at Cannes to industry giants including Steven Spielberg, who is trying to raise money for his newly independent DreamWorks studio." (Bloomberg)



"Last night at the United Nations stars gathered for the 'Welcome to Gulu' exhibition and benefit art sale. The exhibit, organized by artist Ross Bleckner, features 200 paintings by human trafficking victims plagued by rebel groups in Northern Uganda. The event took place in the UN delegates dining room and and benefited the artists themselves and their peers: former child soldiers and abducted girls exploited for violence. Guests who turned out to support the cause included celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Nicolas Cage, Famke Jennsen, 'The View' co-host Joy Behar, designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Rachel Roy, and filmmaker Jason Russell (who has made a documentary on the children of Uganda) among many others." (Guestofaguest)



"Throngs of photographers are nothing new to the Waverly Inn, but a step-and-repeat line on the corner of Bank Street is a relative novelty. Last night, the restaurant was filled to (cocktail) capacity during the hours where the restaurant is usually serving sole and free-range chicken. After all, partners Graydon Carter and John DeLucie can do anything they want--like celebrate the latter's memoir, for example .. But of course, Carter has tried everything the Waverly offers both on and off the menu. 'I come a few nights a week, and in the process, I've ordered just about everything for dinner,' the Vanity Fair editor explained. 'The chicken and steaks are great, and we make a mean hamburger .. Guests like Harvey Weinstein, Nur Kahn, David Zinczinko, Debbie Bancroft, Tom Coliccio, and Nicole Miller got a gratis copy of the book while enjoyed Waverly mini-treats and comparing their experiences of the institutition." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Last night at the St. Regis Roof, the American Cancer Society honored Scott Hamilton and Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson for the 2009 Man of Achievement and the 2009 Humanitarian Award respectively. Nikki Haskell was Mistress of Ceremonies and Diana Feldman gave the welcoming speech .. Donald Trump introduced Scott Hamilton. Mr. Trump is just off of his Celebrity Apprentice Show which Nikki Haskell told us had got the highest ratings of anything of its kind .. After the Awards, Neil Sedaka, the Irving Berlin of American Rock gave a special performance." (NYSocialDiary)



"From 1987 to 1996, Richard Bey hosted a syndicated talk show originating on New York’s WWOR .. He has about 500 episodes burned onto DVDs in his apartment. In 1999, a friend from WWOR’s Secaucus, N.J., headquarters called Mr. Bey and told him the maintenance crew was throwing them away along with other shows, and did Mr. Bey want to come retrieve them? 'One-third of these are garbage,' he said. 'One-third of them are all right. But one-third of them are kind of really funny as hell! If they ran these late night, it's funnier than Jimmy Fallon!'" (Matt Haber/Observer)



"In two weeks, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will make his first visit to the White House since 2004. Egypt is, of course, a key U.S. ally and the United States badly needs its help as President Barack Obama attempts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But Mubarak is not exactly a model guest. He epitomizes the authoritarian Arab ruler, presiding over a system in which opponents are muzzled and imprisoned, and where torture is widespread. Yes, Mubarak greeted Obama's inauguration by releasing Egypt's most famous political prisoner -- opposition politician Ayman Nour. But he has shown no inclination to pursue broader reforms, and seems intent on installing his son as his successor. And he keeps dubious company, having flagrantly challenged one of the Obama administration's priorities by inviting President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to Cairo after his indictment by the International Criminal Court. Mubarak reportedly refused to visit Washington during George W. Bush's second term because of that administration's occasional criticism of his repressive policies. How the Obama administration receives him will tell us a great deal about the importance it attaches to promoting human rights and democracy in the Middle East -- as will Obama's own trip to Egypt in June, where he will deliver his long-awaited address to the Muslim world. Having begun to restore America's moral authority, how will Obama choose to use it in Egypt and beyond?" (ForeignPolicy)

"Youth associates summer with freedom from the slavery of school, especially boarding school. Summers lasted longer back then, when all men seemed to wear panama hats and white suits, and the ladies acted like, well, ladies. It’s all so far away now, but for two brief sweltering days it all came back. Then it was back to reality. A New York magazine described Philip Green and his wife Tina as English nobility due to that handle Tony Blair handed to them so I knew I was back in the real world." (Takimag)



"Jimmy Fallon will be lucky to have a job by the time Jeff Zucker is through with him. The 'Late Night' host introduced the NBC/Universal president and CEO at the Museum of the Moving Image tribute to 'SNL' creator Lorne Michaels on Monday night - and embarrassed the heck out of his boss in the process. 'What do you do, Jeff? Are you straight?' Fallon inquired innocently after dragging Zucker onstage. The CEO's bald head turned bright red when he answered, 'I have your fate in my hands.'" (Gatecrasher)



"2009 marks a big year for the International Center of Photography as they celebrate the organization’s 35th anniversary while kicking off the 25th annual ICF Infinity Awards acknowledging the talent, visions, and contributions of influential photographers and emerging youngsters. This year, world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for an audience of colleagues, fans, and supporters for the awards ceremony held Tuesday night at Pier 60 in New York City." (Guestofaguest)

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