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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via smh)

"Warren Buffett said that China’s growth will outstrip the U.S.’s and that Bill Gates’s charity, to which he pledged most of his fortune, is best able to put his money to good use, according to Zhao Danyang, the Chinese hedge- fund manager who paid more than $2.11 million to lunch with him. Over a 3 1/2-hour meal of steak and seafood in Manhattan that began at noon yesterday, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. told Zhao that the general manager of Hong Kong-based Pureheart Asset Management Co. is lucky to be living in an era of Chinese ascendancy, comparing it with the benefits he gleaned from the U.S.’s strength in the past few decades. Buffett, 78, said he’s bullish on China’s future, though the U.S. wouldn’t fare poorly either despite slower growth, Zhao said .. Zhao, 36, placed the winning bid for the charity lunch last year and brought seven of his friends and relatives to yesterday’s meeting at Smith & Wollensky’s steakhouse, said Pureheart. Proceeds from the auction go to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco-based charity, where Susan Buffett, Buffett’s late first wife, volunteered .. He declined to repeat Buffett’s views on the dollar, saying the topic was 'too controversial.'" (Bloomberg)



"Madonna turned to her old mucker Lenny Kravitz while she was desperately trying to adopt her daughter Mercy from Malawi. Lenny, who kicked off the UK leg of his Let Love Rule tour with the reissue of his 20th anniversary album yesterday, told our Danielle: 'It has been tough for Madonna. But she's doing good. She's been staying in my place in France while it was going on. I'm glad it's worked out.'" (3AMGirls)



(image via crainsny)

"ANNA Wintour hasn't given up on her dream of becoming an ambassador just yet. The Vogue editrix, who's been on a publicity tour lately, was seen wooing White House social secretary Desiree Rogers at the Monkey Bar last week. Also at the table were Graydon Carter, Jennifer Garner and designer Nicolas Ghesquiere. Vanity Fair writer Vicky Ward stopped by the table to say hello as Princess Firyal of Jordan, Ron Perelman and Clive Davis looked on." (PageSix)



"Tony Blair is the highest paid public speaker in the world now, receiving approximately $400,000 a pop, but he sat down with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on Tuesday evening free of charge to talk about everything from his relationship with former President George W. Bush, to Iraq and his work in the Middle East, to the memoir he is writing, for which he is reportedly being paid $9 million and will be published in 2011. In front of a crowd that included Barbara Walters, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, Diane von Furstenburg and Barry Diller, Ben Bradlee, Katie Couric, Oscar de la Renta, David Lauren, Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Hitchens, the former British prime minister said he hasn’t yet adjusted to his higher income bracket and hasn’t made any big purchases. 'But ask me in a few years,' he added." (WWD)



"Which Tony Award–winning belter from the '80s was spotted in a nightclub dressing room down South recently, and it turns out she wears some show-stopping diapers? Which ex-president supposedly has 46 Secret Service agents around him at all times because he's that unpopular? Which star who died kinkily once grabbed a male friend of mine's crotch in a crowd by way of a come-on? Which faux-socialite with sticky fingers likes to get slapped around in bed? (And there are plenty of people who'd love to line up and do it, believe me.) Which young guy who pals around with a media heiress started crying when a pudgy trick of his couldn't get it up? ('How could you do this to me?' he whinnied in understandable agony. Been there.) Which club personality's much younger boyfriend has already had Botox injections? Which fashion arbiter gets snickered at every time she demands a car when she's invited somewhere? (Or business-class seats—and cars, of course—when it's on the other coast.)" (Musto)



"An economic bailout? A move of desperation? Big news for small films? A ploy for better TV ratings? Amidst the cacophony of tweeting today about S.C. governor Mark Sanford, Insiders and observers also reacted immediately on blogs, via email, IM, Twitter and Facebook to the AMPAS announcement that ten films would be nominated for best picture this year. And, what will the move mean for indie, specialty, foreign and documentary films, we asked insiders .. 'It will only help the indie movies with distributors willing to pay for the nomination,' one acquisitions executive told indieWIRE, requesting anonymity, 'Precious [from Lions Gate] and An Education [from Sony Pictures Classis] seem likeliest at this point,' said the buyer, who doesn’t work for either LGF or Sony .. 'I think it is the most amazing and impressive thing I’ve seen the Academy do in the ten years I’ve been paying attention to what they’ve been doing,' praised Oscar season blogger Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily. 'I’m slightly curious about what prompted them to do this, as the heat of the race has always been on the nominated five. After The Dark Knight was snubbed last year in lieu of The Reader they lost a lot of public support they could ill afford to lose. This is a great way to get it back, or at least to open up the race to many more studios, films and fans. It’s all good.'" (IndieWIRE)



"There is a growing sense among Democrats that they will not be able to accomplish the entire agenda leaders set for 2009, pushing major policy debates into the midterm election year. Concerns over the cost of overhauling the nation’s healthcare system have served as a wake-up call to lawmakers. They had planned for a busy summer of healthcare and climate change debate, a dozen spending bills, a defense authorization and hearings on President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even promised to add a sweeping overhaul of immigration to that list. But the revelation that revamping the nation’s healthcare model could greatly exceed $1 trillion over the next 10 years, along with an intra-party debate in the House on climate change legislation, has lawmakers feeling the weight of the packed agenda and sensing the need to narrow the list .. 'It’s a very ambitious agenda,' said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). 'The healthcare debate is much more mature and I’m glad we’re moving first on it. I think this energy piece is just going to have to stew a little bit,' she said." (AlexanderBolton/TheHill)



"Paul McCartney: 'I'm very well off, but I don't know how much I'm worth and not sure my accountants know, either.'" (CindyAdams)



"In the past few months, pundits and politicians have started hinting, ever so cautiously, that an economic recovery might be just around the bend. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke kicked off the festivities in mid-March when he told 60 Minutes that he saw signs of 'green shoots.' Since then, just about everyone has been crawling on hands and knees searching for this curious plant. In June, the OECD suggested that the economy may have finally hit a nadir, while Paul Krugman recently predicted that the U.S. economy could start growing again by September. But before anyone gets too bright-eyed, it's worth remembering that green shoots are, by nature, delicate and easily trampled. And they face one particularly nasty threat right now: rising oil prices. Indeed, an oil-price spike could easily squash the budding recovery before it even gets underway -- or worse, hurl the economy right back into another severe recession. The hand-wringing has already set in, as crude futures have climbed from $44 per barrel in January to about $70 a barrel today. 'We can argue whether it is $75 or $100 a barrel that will start to impact economic growth, but it will happen,' a recent J.P. Morgan memo warned." (ForeignPolicy)



"Hundreds gathered last night to celebrate the honorees of the Observer 100, a list of the most powerful people in New York Real Estate. The event was held at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons and featured speeches from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. To see the Observer 100 list itself, click here." (Observer)



"A shaggy-haired Adrien Brody put in a front-row appearance at Hugo Thursday. While the actor often dons Hugo Boss in his movies and for the red carpet, he said it’s unlikely his next role, in horror movie 'The Experiment,' will see him suited up. 'I’m gonna play an inmate so I don’t think there’ll be an opportunity,' he said. The movie, by 'Prison Break'’s Paul Scheuring, is the remake of German thriller 'Das Experiment,' where a role-play between guards (one played by Forrest Whitaker) and prisoners goes horribly wrong. Brody is enjoying his last few days of freedom before shooting starts next month, cruising Paris using the Velib bike system. 'It’s one of the first things I do when I get here,” he said. 'They should implement it in New York.'" (WWD)

"In the It’s-Wednesday-and-must-be-Michaels crowd, there were the likely suspects and a few of the occasional West Coasters who liven it up for the home team. Looking around the room: Charlie Rose et al, super agent Jim Wiatt, Pamela Fiori of Town & Country, Cosmo’s Kate White with the Linda Fairstein; Faye Wattleton, Stan Shuman; Sarabeth Schrager with Judy Bressler; super-literary agent Ed Victor with Sir Harry, joined by Tina Brown and child; Lisa Caputo with Adam Miller; Amy Rosenblum with Randy Jones (author of 'The Richest Man in Town') .." (NYSocialDiary)

"RSVP for tomorrow night's free Vice/Colt 45 Party at Glasslands with Apache Beat and US Royalty. Be there at 10 for free malt liquor. (Glasslands Gallery, 289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn. 9 p.m.)" (Papermag)

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