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Friday, June 26, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Neda Agha-Soltan is the lovely 26-year-old woman who has become the martyred face of the Iranian people. A lover of pop music, she was heading home from a music lesson last week when the car she was riding in was stuck in traffic caused by the demonstrations in Tehran. She got out for some fresh air, and was shot in the chest, apparently by a member of the Basij, the much-feared, government-backed militia that patrol the streets beating, arresting, and sometimes shooting peaceful demonstrators. Instead of apologizing or attempting to make amends for her murder, Iran's government prohibited her mosque from holding a memorial service, and told her family members they couldn't have a funeral. She was engaged to be married.
Soraya Manutchehri was an Iranian wife brutalized by her husband, falsely accused of adultery, and stoned to death by villagers empowered by a corrupt local mullah shortly after the Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Khomenei in 1979. Her death is the subject of a haunting new movie, The Stoning of Soraya M. that is being released this weekend in cities across the United States. If you see this brilliant film, be prepared to be disturbed. You will also emerge with a newfound admiration for Shohreh Aghdashloo, the accomplished Iranian-American actress who plays Zahra, the aunt of Soraya, and the heroine of this film, and also for all the independent-minded women of Iran. I reviewed this movie for Politics Daily in May. Since then, I met Aghdashloo at a reception in Washington, where she spoke to a spellbound audience about her experience in making a movie about the plight of women in her homeland. She had seen a film of an actual stoning two decades earlier, and when Cyrus Nowrasteh, the Iranian-American director, called to inquire about her availability, she simply asked what took him so long." (PoliticsDaily)



"The reason Michael mattered -- continues to matter -- is because he was one of the first truly international stars. Not just transatlantic, not just big in Japan: He was global. The obvious effect was economic. Michael opened markets around the world; he made the world safe for MTV (after first making MTV safe for nonwhite performers, it should be said). He sold records and sold-out tours everywhere. He was, by most accounts, a gracious guest and a kind ambassador. Most importantly, in this moment before communication was instant and cheap, Michael was one of the most powerful access points to American culture from abroad -- his star didn't tarnish at the same rate elsewhere. Perhaps it was the wonder and magic of his music or the subversive hue of his skin that exempted him from accusations of cultural imperialism. Michael belonged to the world -- in part (as illustrated in this Three Kings scene that I've written about elsewhere) because America gave him up." (ForeignPolicy)



"As Jenny Sanford headed off for a boating trip, the day after her husband, Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, told the world he had been unfaithful, she met the throng of reporters waiting outside her South Carolina vacation home, all inquiring about her emotional condition. Jenny Sanford was described by friends as strong willed. 'Am I O.K.?' Mrs. Sanford repeated, from the driver’s seat of a vehicle. 'You know what? I have great faith and I have great friends and great family. We have a good Lord in this world, and I know I’m going to be fine. Not only will I survive, I’ll thrive.' It was, friends and former aides say, classic Jenny Sanford — strong willed, steely, anything but a victim. Mrs. Sanford, a former New York investment banker, largely gave up her professional life and turned to helping her husband’s political career, but those who know her well say she was also never one to abandon her sense of identity, her direction, or her own opinions." (NYTimes)



"When I visited Hayvenhurst in 2001, even eight years before his death, the house seemed haunted by Michael Jackson. Rolling through the iron gates, I passed the unoccupied guard station, which had cobwebs on it, and the video monitors were all off. In the driveway was a collection of fancy cars that seemed to have been bought at least a decade before—a big-engined BMW sat under a blanket with logs on top. The fountain in the front yard was dry and choked with dead leaves. Behind the Disney-like façade of a faux candy store nearby, all the goodie-jars were empty, the ice cream sundae bar dusty. The only Jackson—the only person, actually—there that day was Jermaine, who showed me around the much-in-need-of-upkeep-proto Neverland. Joe, the family patriarch, hadn’t lived there since 1994’s Northridge earthquake; the old man was so petrified of dying in 'the big one' that he had decamped for Vegas. Michael had moved to Neverland Ranch—a two-hour drive to the west—in 1988, the year he turned 30. His father only learned that Michael was leaving when he saw a report about it on Entertainment Tonight. This was typical Jackson family communication, which only got worse after Michael left this house ..Until he got too ornery, Bubbles the Chimpanzee resided at Hayvenhurst, as did the entire Jackson family" (TheDailyBeast)



"On Thursday, June 25, revelers piled into Jonathan Adler's Madison Avenue store to celebrate the launch of his older brother David E. Adler’s new book, Snap Judgment (FT Press). The book is about our instincts with money, and when we should obey them or avoid them at all costs, no pun intended! 'I could probably be a poster boy for the book,' said 6-foot-4 Sopranos actor Alex Corrado, who seemed to feel a tad out of place among the uptown home decoration crowd. ('It’s like reverse Pretty Woman!') .. Also sharing his saving tips was The Observer’s own Simon Doonan, husband to Jonathan and by extension part of the Adler family. 'I would love to be the person who has thousands of pairs of sneakers,' he said. 'I would love to be the male Mariah Carey. But being so freakishly undersized, I can’t find clothes in my size. It’s not hard for me to be parsimonious' .. Breaking news of pop star Michael Jackson's death cast a brief haze of sadness over the party. Mr. Doonan was visibly shaken: 'He was straight, gay, black, white, thin, fat—everything,' he clucked. 'Jonny and I have this big plaster bust of him that we bought at a flea market. ... It looks like a Jeff Koons, but it was really five dollars. I’m going to rush home and put a nice bit of chiffon on it.'" (Observer)



"With the highest metacritic score so far this year, and that expanded best picture lineup, you might be able to catch an Oscar underdog in theaters: Kathryn Bieglow’s 'The Hurt Locker,' hailed by The New York Times’ A.O. Scott as 'the best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq,' is also attempting to become the first financially successful one this weekend, leading a batch of seven limited releases fighting for business in the shadow of 'Transformers,' which has already grossed $60 million since opening yesterday. The other six include Michelle Pfeiffer’s overdue return to a leading role (in a theatrical role, unfortunately that is) in Stephen Frear’s version of Colette’s novel 'Cheri,' which is perhaps a slight Oscar contender in its own right for the performance of Pfeiffer." (IndieWIRE)

"Sources tell me Paramount's Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen is looking like it took in $35M tonight from 4,234 theaters. The studio is now estimating its 3-day weekend cume bigger than expected: $105M vs $90M previously anticipated. That means the robot sequel can get to $195M for the 5-day opening total. 'Any bump on Saturday and it has a shot at $200M,' an exec excitedly emailed me tonight. Because $203.8M was The Dark Knight's 5-day record 2008 opening cume. New Line/Warner Bros' counter-programming with the simpering My Sister's Keeper looks like $5M today from 2,606 venues for an estimated $14M weekend." (DeadlineHollywoodDaily)



"Some gay men tend to avoid relationships with straight men, too. Eric Perry, a gay graphic designer in New York, said he had no close straight friends. 'I don’t know what’s going on in their heads, and I don’t think they know what’s going on in mine,' he said. 'I’m afraid if I have a conversation with them they’ll think I’m hitting on them, so I just kind of avoid it.' Mr. Perry admitted the situation wasn’t ideal. 'There are a lot of straight guys on this planet,” he said. 'I should probably learn how to talk to them.'" (NYTimes/Style)



"Iran and Venezuela could not be two more different countries. Pious Shiites, daily prayers, and no alcohol in one; boisterous Caribbean culture, salsa, and a lot of rum in the other. Chadors and string bikinis; an Islamic Republic and a Bolivarian one. The Iranian supreme leader is a reticent cleric not prone to public speaking; the Venezuelan one never seems to stop talking. While Persian civilization is one of the oldest, the history of Venezuela is, shall we say, somewhat shorter. These two countries should have nothing in common. Yet they do. So much so that the recent Venezuelan experience sheds some interesting light on where the Iranian crisis is headed. The images of the opposition marches in Tehran (massive, mostly peaceful, with no clear hierarchy, and with people of all ages and social classes) are identical to those that used to take place in Caracas, before their ineffectiveness became clear and before the government repressed them. The desperation in the voices of the Iranian youngsters sounds much like that of the Venezuelan students who filled the political vacuum created by the incompetent opposition of their elders. To hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying that those protesting against his victory are just "dust" is to hear Hugo Chávez referring dismissively to the 'squalid opposition" whenever he talks about the millions of Venezuelans who don't vote for him.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"These days Howard Stringer makes his home in a hotel suite in an affluent Tokyo neighborhood not far from Sony headquarters. It's a comfortable but far from palatial space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom, and decent-size living-dining area with a small desk that he has outfitted with a PC and fax machine. Among the few personal touches are photos of his family -- his wife, Jennifer, and two children live in the country outside London -- some books he is reading, and an intricate Spider-Man sculpture made of chocolate that the staff of the hotel gave him on his 67th birthday in February. The confection, inspired by Sony's hit movie franchise and which Stringer is quite touched by, sits in a plastic case on the coffee table by the sofa. While he could not bring himself to eat it -- and it's starting to get a bit discolored at this point -- he can't bring himself to throw it out either. With hotel occupancy down amid the deepest Japanese recession since World War II, Stringer is a coveted guest. 'This room keeps getting cheaper and cheaper," he says. "They give an incredible price.'" (CNNMoney)

"DOESN'T Lou Reed know that booze is the fuel of rock 'n' roll? Reed was performing at the Whitney Museum the other night and insisted the bar be closed because "he didn't want to hear the clinking of glasses," said our source. 'He kept telling the crowd to shut the [bleep] up" before "he walked off stage yelling that the bar was open.'" (PageSix)

2 comments:

Suse said...

It is hard to belive he´s gone...
He was a great person

Ron said...

I agree..

cheers,
R