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Monday, June 08, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The rainbow-colored floor at the Palazzo Grassi, created by artist Piotr Uklanski, was thoroughly subdued when a swarm of dazzling celebrities traipsed across it for Friday's L'Uomo Vogue's Art Issue Opening Party. Marc Jacobs, en kilt, arrived early with Lorenzo Martone. 'I'm just having a fabulous time!' he exclaimed as Naomi Campbell descended with billionaire Russian boyfriend Vladislav Doronin. Nearby, art dealer extraordinaire Larry Gagosian was surrounded not only by his girlfriend Shala Monorque but also by one of his star gallery directors Victoria Gelfand-who was at the helm of his recent Russian endeavors .. Editorial luminaries Corine Roitfeld and Franca Sozzani mingled alongside Bee Shaffer. 'This trip coincided with my recent college graduation,' she said.. 'Right now I am looking for a job, but I also want to study acting.' On the top of her list for schools is none other then David Mamet's Atlantic Theatre Company." (Fashionweekdaily)



"David Letterman will continue his late-night show on CBS through August 2012 – and maybe longer. The host and CBS have worked out a new contract, though an announcement may not take place for some days. Executives who have been involved in the negotiations said Tuesday that Mr. Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS have agreed on the details of the contract, including, for the first time, a reduced license fee for the 11:35 p.m. program, 'Late Show with David Letterman,' and now are waiting for a 'deal memo' that will lay out the terms in formal language .. The most significant parts of the new deal, according to one senior executive involved in the negotiation, were the concession by Worldwide Pants that CBS will pay less for the show over the next two years, and the absence of any specific stipulation that this will definitely be Mr. Letterman’s last run in late night. The star is now 62 years old. But Mr. Letterman and CBS did limit the new deal to just two more years (his current contract runs until August 2010). His previous agreements were generally three years apiece. And in his last published interview, Mr. Letterman said he was not sure how much longer he wanted to continue hosting 'Late Show.' However, the senior executive, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations, said that Mr. Letterman did not give any indication that he had made up his mind to step aside at the end of this new deal." (Bill Carter/ NYTimes)



"When rapturous Germans tore down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago it symbolized far more than the overcoming of an arbitrary boundary. It began an intellectual cycle that saw all divisions, geographic and otherwise, as surmountable; that referred to 'realism' and 'pragmatism' only as pejoratives; and that invoked the humanism of Isaiah Berlin or the appeasement of Hitler at Munich to launch one international intervention after the next. In this way, the armed liberalism and the democracy-promoting neoconservatism of the 1990s shared the same universalist aspirations. But alas, when a fear of Munich leads to overreach the result is Vietnam—or in the current case, Iraq. And thus began the rehabilitation of realism, and with it another intellectual cycle. 'Realist' is now a mark of respect, 'neocon' a term of derision. The Vietnam analogy has vanquished that of Munich. Thomas Hobbes, who extolled the moral benefits of fear and saw anarchy as the chief threat to society, has elbowed out Isaiah Berlin as the philosopher of the present cycle. The focus now is less on universal ideals than particular distinctions, from ethnicity to culture to religion. Those who pointed this out a decade ago were sneered at for being 'fatalists' or 'determinists.' Now they are applauded as 'pragmatists.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"Francis Ford Coppola stopped by (The Howard Stern Show) to promote his latest film, 'Tetro' .. At Howard's request, Francis briefly discussed his other pursuits, like winemaking and screenwriting (Howard noted that Francis' writing credits included, among a few of his own films, 'Patton') and broke down his 'Godfather' compensation package: $75,000 and 6% of the net. Francis said he was almost kicked off 'The Godfather' set several times: 'The rumor was that I was getting fired every week. They didn't like my casting...even Brando was considered poison at the time...a lot of his style [was] trying to remember a line.' Francis added that he got nearly the same amount of grief for casting Vincent Gallo in 'Tetro.'" (HowardStern.com/Rundown)



"After snatching up the William Morris Agency, Rahm Emanuel’s younger brother, Ari, is vying to become the next Hollywood strongman, says Kim Masters. But does he have the muscle? Hollywood hasn’t had a real strongman since Michael Ovitz built up the Creative Artists Agency in the 1980s and called the shots from his sleek I.M. Pei-designed headquarters in Beverly Hills. There’s been such a long gap since he took a fatal step by accepting the No. 2 job at Disney in 1995 that a person had to wonder whether nature really did abhor this particular vacuum. But in the past few weeks, agent Ari Emanuel is looking to some like a contender. His agency, Endeavor, snapped up the far larger William Morris Agency, then, with the speed of what was lurking in the waters in Jaws, dispatched top man Jim Wiatt to that nether region where Ovitz now resides. Can you hear that scary music? Hollywood certainly does. 'He pulled a real coup,' says one of the town’s more successful producers. 'He got the William Morris Agency to pay his agency top dollar and then took it over and fired the guy who made the deal... It is the Hollywood equivalent of the Six-Day War.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"Sarah Palin could have stolen the show without uttering a word at Monday night’s $14.45 million Republican congressional dinner. But she didn’t. It was the keynote speaker, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who ultimately dominated the end of a day on which the Alaska governor’s whereabouts — her attendance at or absence from the Washington Convention Center — had seemed to captivate the nation’s capital. Gingrich held forth for nearly an hour, delivering a policy-heavy address that few Republicans, and surely fewer Democrats, think Palin could match. Deemed both 'too long' and 'cogent and well thought-out,' by Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, Gingrich’s speech sounded a bit like the rough draft of a State of the Union address. He articulated policy visions both broad and specific on such a wide array of topics that it was hard to keep count: taxes, education, energy, regulation, affirmative action and the role of religion in American life, to name a few. It was a bad scene for Palin, according to GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. 'She has to sit there and agree with him, knowing it’s a speech she cannot give, that she is not equipped to give,' Mackowiak said." (CQPolitics)



"Lionel Richie will be counting his money 'all night long' tonight after a healthy payday from Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green. The Arcadia boss reportedly paid the pop legend a whopping ($1.6 million) to perform at his private party last night. The Hello singer gave a thumbs up and a smile as he left the venue, The Dorchester hotel in Park Lane, and now we understand why. Guests at the bash included Sir Philip's daughter Chloe, his colleague and pal Kate Moss and her boyfriend Jamie Hince, and Geri Halliwell. We're told: 'Lionel was paid ($1.6 million) to sing 15 songs - old hits like Dancing On The Ceiling and All Night Long - while ($323,424 USD) was spent on a white carpet for the event.'" (Thisislondon)



"There were a couple of small private gatherings Nancy hosted while she was here, but the main events were Wednesday, with the formal unveiling of the statue in the Rotunda in the morning, and then an evening cocktail party and dinner. At each event, while needing to sit more often than stand due to a hip injury, she had the glow and poise of a star. The Reagan era and Republican power structure showed up in force to pay homage and, it’s worth noting, the GOP’s current figurehead, Rush Limbaugh, was not in the room. Imagine – from Reagan to Rush in only two decades. Quite a downhill. The Wednesday evening candlelight dinner at the Capitol was Nancy’s through and through – she did the guest list, the seating (Mort Zuckerman on her right), the flowers (peonies, of course), the menu (a California-style avocado and orange salad and gorgeous tenderloin), and decided who would give toasts with the California wine. They included Frederick Ryan Jr., board chair of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation; Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California; Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican House Leader John Boehner of Ohio - 'my heart and soul are with Ronald Reagan;' Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, Simi Valley Congressman Elton Gallegly, and John F. W. Rogers, who is a partner at Goldman Sachs, but at age 23 was a wide-eyed White House staffer rendered speechless when left alone in the Oval Office with President Reagan. Rogers gave $250,000 to help underwrite the statue and the dinner." (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"Last night, June 8, New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue was beaming. He couldn't keep from smiling, despite the fact that he was missing Apple's announcement of their new iPhone 3G S in San Francisco. He blogged about it anyway .. Naturally, Mr. Pogue, a gadget addict and the Times' 'official personal shopping coach,' was armed with a fancy digital camera, and snapped pictures of all the Web celebrities who had shown up for the Webby Awards dinner that night--from host SNL's Seth Meyers to Arianna Huffington to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone .. Before the ceremony began, Mr. Meyers told the Observer that despite the fact that SNL is one of the most-watched shows online, the first YouTube clip he remembers watching on the Web was a sketch from Late Night With Conan O'Brien of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, bantering with Star Wars fans waiting in line for the Attack of the Clones. That was way back in 2002. 'I came to SNL right when clips were getting on the Web so that counts,' Mr. Meyers explained." (Observer)



"THE Stephanie Seymour-Peter Brant divorce got even crazier Saturday night when the supermodel was issued a public-disturbance summons after she yanked the keys out of a Brant-hired security guard's car, threw them in the bushes, and then used her Range Rover to block the driveway of the couple's Greenwich, Conn., estate, Police Lt. Richard Cochran told The Post's Dan Mangan. On Thursday, a Brant guard was busted for allegedly shoving Seymour. Cochran said Seymour since has hired her own guards. Brant's rep, Howard Rubenstein, said Brant, who was in Europe, 'was disappointed' by his wife's actions." (PageSix)

"There is, however, a deeper embarrassment, one which verges on a form of psychological or ideological crisis. To nationalise major financial institutions would mean that the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism had failed. The level of state intervention in the US and UK at this moment is comparable to that of wartime. We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system. There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism . . . there is no such model. It just isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened. It’s for this reason that the thing the governments least want to do – take over the banks – is something that needs to happen, not just for economic reasons, but for ethical ones too. There needs to be a general acceptance that the current model has failed. The brakes-off, deregulate or die, privatise or stagnate, lunch is for wimps, greed is good, what’s good for the financial sector is good for the economy model; the sack the bottom 10 per cent, bonus-driven, if you can’t measure it, it isn’t real model; the model that spread from the City to government and from there through the whole culture, in which the idea of value has gradually faded to be replaced by the idea of price. Thatcher began, and Labour continued, the switch towards an economy which was reliant on financial services at the expense of other areas of society." (LRB via TheAwl)



"Elton John had a very successful Sunday night at the Tony Awards. His show Billy Elliot won the most awards of the night including Best New Musical and Best Leading Actor in a Musical, and he made a very gracious acceptance speech in which he thanked audiences for opening their wallets and their hearts to the musical that was first opened in London. He just had one small misstep and fortunately it was away from the cameras. Standing on a small stage in the media room after accepting his award, he went to step off the stage and everyone gasped as he missed the edge of the stage and fell off. He caught himself before falling on his face, but it definitely looked like he could have twisted an ankle! After recovering, he quipped, 'I haven't fallen off the stage in years!'" (Papermag)



"The usually fuzzy cuddly James Gandolfini sat with all his friends. Alone. All alone. Because long ago I'd scooped his divorce, he talked to me only to say, 'I won't talk to you.' The man sat, arms folded, off the side aisle of Radio City. His arms unfolded only to applaud the ensemble onstage. So, not like he hates everybody -- just me .. Edie Falco was hunting 'my TV husband, James Gandolfini.' So, Edie, Gandolfini, he ever pleasant? Edie, who never says anything bad about anybody and probably would have a good word for Jeffrey Dahmer, put it this way: 'He was great on the set. He's uncomfortable with the media' .. Gandolfini called me 'Satan.'" (CindyAdams)



"Ten months after the launch of a billion-dollar film fund designed to put Abu Dhabi on the moviemaking map, insiders in both Hollywood and Abu Dhabi are wondering whether the fund is a reality, and what the media strategy really is for the tiny, oil-rich territory. Led by Abu Dhabi Media Company CEO Ed Borgerding, the Imagenation film fund that kicked off at last year’s Toronto Film Festival has announced deals with Participant Media, Hyde Park Entertainment and National Geographic, representing $600 million in film co-financing agreements." (TheWrap)



"When Ahad Neysaghi needed a job, he wrote to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking for help. He got a $27,000 low-interest loan from a state bank, bought his own minibus and was hired as a driver for a government ministry. 'Of course I’ll vote for him,' said Neysaghi, 27, from the western city of Kermanshah. 'That he replied to my letter is valuable enough.' Ahmadinejad, 52, has reinforced his support by touring the provinces and handing out cash on promises of redistributing oil wealth. Since taking office in 2005, he has visited each of Iran’s 30 provinces twice. Rivals in the June 12 presidential election accuse him of mismanaging the economy and inflaming tensions with the U.S. and the European Union. Still, Ahmadinejad’s diligence in pressing the flesh may buttress his bid for a second four-year term. 'The West identifies with the more educated part of the Iranian population,' said Geneive Abdo, an Iran analyst at the Century Foundation, a New York-based research group. 'They overestimate its influence, versus the more traditional, religious part of the electorate that backs Ahmadinejad.'" (Bloomberg)



"The 11 o'clock number from last night's Tony awards--done at 11:03--came when host Neil Patrick Harris belted a ditty that used the melodies from West Side Story and Guys and Dolls to sum up the night's zaniness with all new lyrics. At the after-party, Harris told me composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) were backstage working on the song all through the show, and he'd consult with them to decide which things were funniest and should be kept in. Best lyric: 'This show could not be any gayer/If Liza was named mayor/And Elton John took flight.'" (Musto)



"Fran├žois Pinault swung open the doors to his much anticipated Punta della Dogana museum last night with a party that attracted all sorts of royalty, from fashion (Stella McCartney) to art (Jeff Koons) to, well, royalty (Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco). It was quite the event: For a number of years, Pinault has been renovating a dilapidated building on a prime piece of Venice real estate—and stuffing it with his own collection of Cindy Shermans, Cy Twomblys, and Chapman brothers works. 'This place rocks,' said Marc Jacobs more than once." (Style)



"Singer Pete Doherty was arrested after he was allegedly caught taking drugs on a plane. The troubled 30-year-old was held at Geneva airport in Switzerland on Friday after he was found slumped in a lavatory on a British Airways flight. He was believed to be intoxicated and was taken back to his seat, but flight staff alerted police when they later found a hypodermic needle, which they wrapped in tissue." (Thisislondon)



"'How Did I Get Here? And No One Cares!' is what Bradley Cooper decided to name his non-existent book about his experiences in Las Vegas. The same couldn't be said about the Details-sponsored Cinema Society screening of the actor's latest film The Hangover. 'This is pretty neat,' Cooper observed, admiring the crowd gathered at the Tribeca Grand Hotel .. The after-party moved a few blocks down to Yard of the Soho Grand Hotel, where Will Arnett caught up Zachary Quinto and Zach Braff, Lake Bell, and Gerard Butler showered Cooper and co-star Justin Bartha with compliments. The most intriguing question posed about The Hangover: What was more difficult, sharing screen time with Mike Tyson or a 300-pound tiger? 'The tiger was definitely harder to work with,' declared Cooper. 'Tyson was somewhat of a dream. And that's saying a lot, considering he was a heavyweight champion of the whole world.'" (Fashionweekdaily)

"Audiences embraced two very different films as the animated blockbuster Up from Disney/Pixar won a close race to retain its position at number one while the raunchy new comedy The Hangover opened stronger than expected finishing close behind in second place .. Sensational word-of-mouth, glowing reviews, and a lack of offerings for young children now starting their summer breaks all contributed to the fantastic performance .. Looking like the first big clunker of the summer movie season, Universal's adventure-comedy Land of the Lost debuted weaker than expected in third place with an estimated $19.5M. The PG-13 pic launched ultrawide in 3,521 locations but averaged a mild $5,545." (Boxofficeguru)

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