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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The setting was what NBC called its 'infront,' because it took place a couple of weeks before the traditional upfronts. The upfronts are a high-stakes effort to convince advertisers that commercials are still worth buying — despite the faltering economy and the digital revolution. If it works, scripted shows with good production values can be made for at least another year or two. So at these annual sessions—attended by thousands of advertisers in venues like Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall — the networks reveal their fall schedules .. (Ben) Silverman, who has established a reputation as NBC Entertainment’s party-hearty co-chairman and who now appears to be growing a beard, said NBC’s mission is 'to create culture rather than just reflect it.' That was right before Donald Trump made an appearance to chortle over the previous night’s edition of Celebrity Apprentice. 'You had a two-hour show about Chicken of the Sea tuna!' Trump marveled. 'They paid a lot of money for it and they couldn’t have been happier!' 'I can’t thank you enough!' Silverman said earnestly. 'You exemplify what we do well!'" (Kim Masters/TheDailyBeast)



"OPERATION Kennedy Family is heating up. Who Will Follow Ted into political headlines is the issue. There is talk -- talk, only talk, quiet talk, not loud and shrill demands, just slow low mumbles -- that Caroline -- of whom you may have heard in terms of wanting to raise her public profile -- is a possibility. But: a senator from Massachusetts? She lives in New York. Well, Bobby Kennedy, who lived in Massachusetts, was a senator from New York. Kennedys can't even spell the word 'obstacle.' The eureka fact being Caroline has a Martha's Vineyard house. Another maybe is running Joe Jr., Ted's wife or another of the kin." (CindyAdams)

"The first Summit of the Americas, in 1994, was a moment of great promise. Thirty-four countries of the Western Hemisphere -- including the United States, plus many newly democratic states busily opening their economies -- signed a declaration affirming their mutual commitment to representative democracy and social justice and to negotiating a single Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). But by the second summit, four years later, that promise had already begun to dim. Brazil showed less interest in hemispheric free trade than in consolidating a subregional trading bloc, and the ambitious goal of free trade for all was sidelined and eventually abandoned. The fourth summit, in Argentina in 2005, was dominated by noisy counterdemonstrations (headlined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez) that overshadowed any official business. The fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago last month, marked the further eclipse of the original inter-American dream -- an open, U.S.-led network of stable democracies with free markets, effective governments, and strong social policies. In the presence of a rock-star U.S. president, Chavez behaved himself, famously approaching Barack Obama to say, 'I want to be your friend.' But at the conclusion of the weekend conclave, Chavez and his political allies (members of his Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, or ALBA) refused to sign the summit communiqué -- a rare break in the protocol of such normally heavily choreographed meetings." (ForeignAffairs)



(image via broadwayworld)

"BEBE Neuwirth getting married quietly at The Players Club on Gramercy Park in front of 80 guests to Chris Calkins, founder of Napa Valley's Destino vineyard, in a Buddhist/Christian ceremony performed by actor Peter Coyote." (PageSix)

"CBS' bubble comedy series 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' is assured of a 22-episode fifth-season order. ABC has closed a back-up deal with series producer Warner Bros. TV that guarantees a full-season order to 'Christine' if CBS doesn't pick up the show. This is the second consecutive year ABC has made such a pact for the multicamera sitcom starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a neurotic divorcee. The network's chief, Stephen McPherson, is considered a big fan of the show. For now, the odds are in favor of CBS renewing 'Christine,' which helped the network open a second comedy block on Wednesdays. But with the comedy going down to the wire every year with 11th-hour pickups at CBS, the back-up deal with ABC gives reassurances to 'Christine's' producers, who are seeking to sell the series in syndication." (TheHollywoodReporter)

"With the Pentagon and other government agencies storing ever more of their data on networked computers, cybersecurity experts warn that the United States is losing the battle to safeguard itself from cyber-espionage. And ongoing neglect of the problem could produce foreign cyber-attacks that could bring some of the nation’s most critical technologies to a standstill. 'Cyberwar' attacks — i.e., deliberate bids to penetrate or immobilize sensitive computer networks and programs that operate central security infrastructures such as weapons systems and energy grids — are difficult to trace to a single national source because hackers can easily mask their online forays by using borrowed service providers and dummy online accounts. But the growing consensus among students of cyberwarfare is that China is effectively targeting many U.S. computer networks and poses the greatest emerging challenge. In just one in a long list of recently reported incidents, accounts of a software breach in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter development program surfaced last month citing sources that traced it to computers in China." (CQPolitics)

"The Costume Institute Ball started out, like the Costume Institute itself, a creation of the garment industry, as it was known then – around the time time of the Second World War -- and fashion industry, as it is known now. It was under the direction of Diana Vreeland in the 1970s which turned it into an exclusive society affair heavily supported by the fashion press. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the most prominent woman in New York despite her Garbo-esque traits, attended and added glamour transformed. The ball was very successful, very commercial and very controlled by a small group of men and women who knew what they wanted. And who they wanted. It was the social event of the year in New York. Today the ball is controlled by a magazine editor of almost mythic proportions, considering all that is around her, Anna Wintour. The ball is now a cavalcade of movie actors and models, a Conde Nast production. Diana Vreeland for Tar-get. However, according to Michael Gross’ history of the Met, the Costume Institute Ball remains everything it was intended to be: an attention-getter for the hoi-polloi and a chance to raid the corporate largesse moved by the obvious: a pretty girl is like a melody." (NYSocialDiary)



"Promptly and properly at 10 a.m. the doors opened to the press breakfast held to introduce the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute's 'Model as Muse' exhibit, to get folks riled up for night's 'East Coast Oscars' as the gala has been dubbed. Fast, furiouis and filled with celebrities, they will be dodging raindrops and lifting hemlines hihgh to void the New York smush, while climbing the many steps to the Met. Usual camera waries like Vogue's Anna Wintour is always gracious and accessible at this event, and Marc Jacobs is always gracious and accessible period!" (Papermag)



"Models, shmodels. Last night's Costume Institute Gala, as many papers this morning would have you believe, was all about Madonna. Screw the vintage Scavullo photographs of Lauren Hutton, screw Brooke Shields's infamous Calvins from the eighties, screw Gisele in her fabric scrap of a minidress, but most of all, screw Kate Moss's turban. None of those things matter when Madonna shows up looking like a cleaning lady moonlighting as a stripper who washed her Xanax down with one too many margaritas before she changed outfits. And it was a genius, if not very attractive, fashion moment for her and Marc Jacobs, who designed the Louis Vuitton ensemble. Because on a night dedicated to the world's most beautiful women, no one — especially a non-model — could win by trying to look the most beautiful." (NYMag)



"We got to experience 'Kelly-time' first hand this past Friday, at Kelly Bensimon’s Birthday party, held at the Gates, the latest Chelsea hot spot. The entrance, which literally looks like a set of midieval gates, led into a lounge of hot guests, signature drinks, and bartenders that were almost as smoking as the fireplace. But most importantly, there was the Birthday girl, holding court in what looked to be some form of shiny Mexican poncho, with strands of beaded fabric down to her knees over a pair of ripped jeans (and I would have put money on her wearing something short and tight)." (Guestofaguest)



"We haven't heard much lately from Moqtada al-Sadr, the erstwhile leader of the Sadrist movement and the Jaysh al-Mahdi who is reportedly living in Iran. Sadr has not been officially been seen in public since June of 2007, and last appeared on the media in al-Jazeera interview in May 2008. So it is a bit of a surprise to see him suddenly appear in Turkey for two days of talks. What's he up to?" (ForeignPolicy)

"When I caught up with Jason Kilar the day the Disney-Hulu deal finally was announced, the CEO was in a rental car in Atlanta on a mission to woo advertisers—a task that should get a boost by adding ABC and Disney programming to the News Corp-NBCU joint venture .. But combine that additional programming with user growth fueled by buzz and a catchy ad campaign, and the image is more like Fantasia with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice serving up ever-increasing amounts of ad inventory instead of buckets of water. When we talked about advertising and Hulu’s business model, Kilar insisted the video service was ahead of schedule for 2008, Q109 and on the same pace for Q209, although he stuck to the same script he has since joining NewCo in the summer of 2007 when it comes to financial details: none. Hulu did send out some numbers it likes just before the deal was announced, data for March from comScore Video Metrix that show the site breaking into the top three places for video served. Here are some edited excerpts from our conversation about advertising, windowing, Hulu’s potential role in authentication/TV Everywhere and more." (Staci Kramer/Paidcontent)



"ChiChi212 first wrote about Serge Strosberg last May and he has been doing phenomenal work ever since. Last night was the vernissage of 'Les Demoiselles de New York' at his SoHo studio. His works explored the sexuality and gender roles of transgendered New York Nightlife icons and was curated by Stacy Engman of the National Arts Club. There was wine, there were canapes and there were some of nightlife's most influential people. Attendees included Kenny Kenny, Jordan Fox, Malik So Chic, Atarah Valentine, Adrien Field, Alexandra Alexis, Patrick McDonald, Steven Knoll, Valerie Geffner, reps from Christies Auction House, the Chelsea Art Museum, and the National Arts Club." (ChiChi212)

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