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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via globalvoicesonline)

"Analysts across the political spectrum – including staunch supporters of Obama’s pledge to engage Iran in respectful negotiations – said that a second Ahmadinejad term seems to dash hopes of a warmer relationship with Tehran and complicate President Obama’s hopes of reaching a deal to stop Iran’s nuclear program by his own deadline of the end of this year. It comes as another target of Obama’s hopes for new engagement, North Korea, is defiantly threatening to test a nuclear weapon, in a dramatic weekend for two countries President George W. Bush placed in an 'Axis of Evil.' 'It seems pretty clear at this point that the Iranians have decided to rig this blatantly and unashamedly in favor of Ahmadinejad,' said the Brookings Institution’s Suzanne Maloney, who said that if the incumbent holds on to power without major unrest, Obama will likely hold his nose and continue trying to strike a grand nuclear bargain.' 'They have to deal with the Iran they’ve got – and if that’s an administration that has shed any trappings of representative rule then that’s the Iran you have to deal with,' she said." (Politico)



"It's not every night you see Henry Kissinger in the same room with gadfly Eli Mizrahi, whose hand was eternally glued to the ass of Russian model Masha Rudenko. Indeed, this was a special occasion, the 50th anniversary of the Four Seasons Restaurant. The Moët & Chandon flowed as hundreds of high profile guests milled around the shimmering marble pool and in the legendary Grill Room, nibbling on sushi, rabbit sausage, foie gras, lobster with truffles, and tiny cones filled with salmon. The gracious charms of owners Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini attracted the likes of Salman Rushdie, Jay McInerney, Ruth Reichl, Barry Diller, Mort Zuckerman, designers Ralph Lauren, Erin Fetherston, Thom Browne and Nicole Miller, restaurateurs Drew Nieporent and Jeffrey Chodorow, the adorable documentary filmmaker Albert (Grey Gardens) Maysles, Star Jones, Hoda Kotb and Deborah Norville (air-kissing and gushing to acquaintances, 'Have a super summer!')." (Papermag)



"Back in 1999, Four Seasons co-owner Julian Niccolini told Charlie Rose that while cultivating a sort of rarefied ambience was key, it wasn’t 'only about see and be seen.' Fast-forward ten years and Niccolini’s still keenly aware of who’s coming and going. 'I’d say I know about 95 percent of the people here,' the proprietor remarked in between hugs, handshakes, and countless congratulations at the restaurant’s 50th anniversary celebration last night. Guests like ... Princess Firyal of Jordan, and Salman Rushdie hobnobbed with Ralph Lauren, Thom Browne, Yigal Azrouël, and Erin Fetherston, the latter of whom professed an affinity for the Philip Johnson-designed restaurant’s retro vibe. 'It feels very old New York, very Truman Capote,' she explained. 'It’s kind of like a moment frozen in time.' Asked whether she’s partaken in any Grill Room deal making, Fetherston replied, 'No, no—I’m not a power luncher!' Turns out she prefers the Pool Room, as perhaps does Niccolini, who recalled one particularly noteworthy afternoon delight. 'Best memories? Naked women swimming in the pool,' he reminisced, grinning." (Style)

"The Four Seasons Restaurant, modernist shrine of food and power, celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday night. It was cold for June, but fortunately the red carpet was made of always-in-season Astroturf ... Star Jones was perhaps the only woman who, on arrival, grabbed Mr. Niccolini more enthusiastically than the other way around. Perhaps she was feeling frisky thanks to the oysters, which she'd tried for the first time this evening. 'If you’re gonna do it,' she said, 'you do it here.' Author Salman Rushdie and his girlfriend, Pia Glenn, were not interested in talking to The Transom. 'We’re sort of in party mode,' Ms. Glenn explained." (Observer)



"'HEY! It’s the gang!' Shawn Wayans, who along with his eight siblings became famous making comedic spoofs like 'In Living Color' and 'Scary Movie,' had just arrived at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem to meet his nephews .. The conversation turned to President Obama’s cool quotient. 'He’s like the Jay-Z of politicians,' Shawn said. 'What are you saying?' Craig asked. 'What about Kanye?' 'He’s like the Jesus of politicians!' Damon shouted to no one in particular. 'Obama is a superhero, man,' Shawn said. 'Obama takes his kids to school and then he goes to work and saves the economy.' 'And that Michelle,' Damien added. 'She is one hot lady.'" (NYTimes)



"'I started off very young,' 'Moon' director Duncan Jones told indieWIRE of his relationship with filmmaking. 'My dad and I used to shoot little one-stop animations on an old 8mm film camera when I was no more than 7 or 8, and when he was away at work, I would keep shooting nonsensical short animated films using Star Wars figures or Smurfs - depended what the narrative was. Growing up I was on film sets occasionally, when my dad was acting, so I got to run around and do odd jobs on films like Labyrinth and others ... I seemed destined to make films…' Jones (who, if you didn’t pick it up from the Labyrinth reference, is the son of David Bowie), has fulfilled that destiny with 'Moon,' an indie sci-fi drama that won over audiences and critics alike at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics, which picked up the film during the festival, is releasing it theatricallly this Friday." (IndieWIRE)



"On the evening of Monday, June 15, at 6 p.m., the High Line in Chelsea will host a big opening party to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the structure and the 10th anniversary of the the city's efforts to revive it. It will honor benefactors like actor Edward Norton; IAC chairman Barry Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg; and hedge fund director Philip Falcone and wife Lisa Marie. Earlier this month, Mr. Diller and Ms. von Furstenberg, who both have offices near the High Line, gave it a $10 million grant—doubling a 2005 gift and challenging others to match it .. The High Line would not release a seating chart just yet, saying that it wouldn't be finalized until the night before. The $100,000 donors, however, will likely end up close enough to the action to eavesdrop on Mr Diller and Mr. Norton's chit-chat. The after-party will be hosted by designer Calvin Klein, by which time the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, also hosted that evening, will have let out and a sizable chunk of the fashion crowd will presumably join into the festivities." (Observer)



"PETER Brant and Stephanie Seymour yesterday jointly decided to shut up about their nasty divorce -- but not before a lawyer for one of Brant's private security guards took a few shots. The guard, ex-NYPD Det. Joseph Babnik, was charged on June 4 by Greenwich, Conn., cops for allegedly shoving Seymour during a confrontation at the couple's estate. But Babnik's dapper defense lawyer Wayne Keeney said there was no shove. He told The Post's Dan Mangan Seymour pulled her car up to Babnik's, where he was filling out paperwork, and started 'going into some rant.' Keeney continued: "She reaches in and grabs the papers. He said, I would like to have that back, and she ends up stuffing it down the front of her shirt.' When cops arrived, Keeney said, it was 'typical Greenwich police: the rich, white lady never gets arrested, it's always the working-class guy.'" (PageSix)



(James Frey and Paula Froelich via patrickmcmullen)

" Usually, the most important guests at Mr. Chow Tribeca are situated at the best possible tables while munching fresh lobster prepared three ways. But last night, the top honchos were all at the bar area while toasting Gigi Levangie Grazer's fourth book, Queen Takes King ..While not too many East Coast studio heads were in the room, Les Moonves substituted well by attending the cocktail party with his expectant wife, Julie Chen. 'My brain is in the pregnant mode, too,' she joked. 'But soon I'll be traveling for Big Brother to Los Angeles a lot, so I'll have that to focus on.' Professed Starter Wife fan Julianne Moore popped in at the last moment, while Andrew Saffir, Daniel Benedict, Paula Froelich, and Candace Bushnell immediately got their hands on fresh-off-the-press copies of Queen. Grazer took time to describe her writing to friends in between champagne and vegetable dumping toasts." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Nicola Maramotti hosted a lavish dinner in Los Angeles Wednesday night honoring Elizabeth Banks as Women in Film’s MaxMara Face of the Future – a precursor to Friday night’s Crystal + Lucy awards ceremony. Banks joined about 60 others—including Joy Bryant, Gina Gershon, Mena Suvari, Perrey Reeves and Keke Palmer — in the lobby of the Chateau Marmont where guests dined on halibut and asparagus with cookies and miniature cupcakes for dessert." (Style)



"Walt Disney Pictures has set 'Wolverine' stars Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins to star in 'John Carter of Mars,' a fantasy epic that marks the live action directorial debut of 'Wall-E' helmer Andrew Stanton. Kitsch, a member of the 'Friday Night Lights' ensemble who made his screen breakthrough as Gambit in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine,' will play the title character, a damaged Civil War veteran who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars where his involvements with warring raced of the dying planet force him to rediscover his humanity." (Variety)



"In March of 2008, during one dramatic week, a crisis of confidence destroyed Bear Stearns, the 85-year-old Wall Street investment bank. The company had taken big risks — and made huge profits — on mortgages and securities. It was the first of many prominent firms that would soon crumble after years of high-wire deal making. And by the time the week was over, after furious negotiations and the intervention of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, the government effectively ordered J. P. Morgan Chase to purchase Bear Stearns for a pittance. Bear Stearns was not Wall Street’s biggest or most important firm. But it was certainly singular. Unlike the roster at blue-blood investment banks, Bear’s stars tended to be underdogs, people from modest backgrounds and lesser-known schools. Ace Greenberg and Jimmy Cayne, the company’s leaders in the years leading up to its demise, were eccentric, often larger-than-life figures. No wonder, then, that more than one writer smelled a story, and dived in quickly to tell the tale of the company and its collapse." (NYT BookReview)



"Lord Mandelson is the closest political friend of Tony Blair, the former prime minister. Gordon Brown spent the best part of a decade trying to oust Mr Blair from Downing St, creating a poisonous feud at the heart of the Labour government. Yet on the night of June 4, at Mr Brown’s darkest hour in Downing Street, Lord Mandelson stepped in to quash an incipient cabinet rebellion, declining to adopt the expected role of Lord High Executioner. Hours later an exhausted and grateful prime minister carried out an emergency reshuffle, bestowing power, prestige and a sprawling new economics ministry on his old enemy. When it came to the crunch, Lord Mandelson, the 55-year-old former EU trade commissioner, made two key calculations. The first was that if Labour ditched Mr Brown, they would have to confront hostile British voters at an early general election, rather than waiting until June 2010 (the last possible moment). Furthermore, he believed that even if Mr Brown was replaced by the most likely alternative – Alan Johnson, a charismatic ex-postman who once admitted he was not up to being prime minister – Labour’s fortunes would not improve enough to avoid electoral disaster. The second calculation was personal. By binding himself loyally to a floundering prime minister, he would put himself in a position of immense political power. His new role as 'First Secretary of State' makes him de facto deputy prime minister, a job performed in Labour’s postwar government by Herbert Morrison, his grandfather." (FT)

"I'm told that on tonight's Late Late Show (which taped Thursday night), host Craig Ferguson takes the piss out of NBC's press release yesterday declaring Conan the 'King of Late Night.' Also, Letterman beat O'Brien again last night in the overnights: 3.5 to 3.0. That's a healthy margin no matter what the key demos show." (DeadlineHollywoodDaily)



"This corner of Soho is the very heart of the kingdom of the Manhattan digerati, a new nexus of power far from the skyscraper canyons of midtown, where News Corp’s tower nudges Time-Warner’s soaring totem, and the New York Times’ new building -- already sold -- beckons from Eighth Avenue. Their days as the gatekeepers of the Fifth Estate are numbered. They will give way to those lingering in the booths, and twittering, down in Soho. Up there, the media moguls and literary brahmins eat at Michael’s. Down here, it’s Balthazar." (TheWrap)

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