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Monday, August 17, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"IN the wee hours of Friday morning, Quentin Tarantino stood in a West Village bar that had opened for him and his entourage — cast members of his new movie, 'Inglourious Basterds,' and his longtime producers, Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Swinging a blue cocktail in one hand, he held forth about the time that Harvey told him he’d like to invest in a restaurant. The goal, Harvey explained to Mr. Tarantino at the time, wasn’t to schmooze, or to get the best table. New York City had just banned cigarettes from restaurants and Harvey, then an avid smoker, didn’t approve. 'He said, I want to light up in my own restaurant and blow smoke in the fire marshal’s face,' Mr. Tarantino recalled. Vintage Harvey chutzpah. The story killed, and when the laughing died down, Bob smiled, waited a beat and added another punch line. 'A million dollars,' he sighed, 'for a cigarette.'" (NYTimes)



"After seven and a half years in office, Bloomberg, who is now sixty-seven, has amassed so much power and respect that he seems more a Medici than a mayor. Liberals of both the Upper West Side and the Park Slope generations, not inclined to recognize 'businessman' as a compliment, refer to him, with some pride, as 'the only Republican I’ve ever voted for.' Yet some of Bloomberg’s friends still can’t bring themselves to call him a politician, no matter how expertly he broadens his electoral base. 'You know, it just doesn’t feel right,' Tom Secunda, a co-founder of Bloomberg L.P., the financial-software-and-media company from which the Mayor derives his billions, said recently, after running through some of his old colleague’s former identities: entrepreneur, C.E.O., philanthropist. To the business √©lite, who have done extraordinarily well under Bloomberg’s stewardship, New York’s remarkable rebound after September 11th is a credit less to good government than to management. The attitude, reinforced at galas on the Upper East Side, seeps downtown with some of Bloomberg’s appointees, who, years after trading their upper-floor offices for cubicles in the famed City Hall bullpen, have been known to bristle when colleagues use the word 'politician,' asking, 'Is that how you see yourself?'" (TheNewYorker)



"That may have nothing to do with Mad Men but Mad Men had nothing to do with much of anything tonight, the frictionless maneuverings of the characters suggesting a dream ballet without the ballet. After you've had a near fling with a blonde stewardess who looks like a cross between Lee Remick and Tuesday Weld, there's nothing like coming home to the solacing comfort of the family bedroom for one of those ironic yet tenderly sincere tableaux that are a staple of Mad Men, where January Jones' beatific blondness really gets to shine and the kids are allowed to come out of their room for a bit of screen time before being returned to the Norman Rockwell play set." (VanityFair)



"A columnist for the online news magazine Slate once proposed the month of August be banned as 'it has a dismal history' and 'nothing good ever happens.' A week ago, President Barack Obama might have co-sponsored the suggestion. The first week of the month, congressional Democrats, on their summer recess or district work period as some call it, were on the defensive; the 'Astroturf' anti-health-care- overhaul demonstrators took over constituent sessions, forcing Democratic members to cancel town-hall meetings. Republican derision of the Obama stimulus plan dominated the political debate. By last week, the dynamic had shifted some. Democrats and health-care proponents didn’t have the edge as angry demonstrations against health care continued, but a counteroffensive was gaining ground. On the economy, and to an extent on health care, the president and Democrats were giving as well as getting ... The fate of health care is inextricably linked to the economy. It is a test of the administration’s competence: if they can’t get a stimulus right, how do you expect them to overhaul 17 percent of the nation’s economy? It also forms the perception of the financial climate for any other measures." (Al Hunt/ Bloomberg News)



"Federal prosecutors, who have worked for nearly six months to figure out who helped Bernie Madoff pull off history’s biggest Ponzi scheme, are poised to make multiple indictments in the weeks after Labor Day, according to two people familiar with the investigation. Moreover, an FBI source tells The Daily Beast that investigators have compiled additional evidence against members of Bernie Madoff's family, specifically his brother Peter Madoff, and his sons Andrew and Mark Madoff. 'There is enough hard evidence [against the family members] that the U.S. Attorney’s office could provide to a grand jury,' says the FBI source. 'Whether they will is anybody’s guess. They’re in a mess over there. They really don’t know what they’re doing.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"I finished Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now. What is most compelling is his method of story telling. The characters – all of whom live in and around London in the last quarter of the 19th century – could be living in New York right now. If the novel had been published today you’d be trying to figure out who the characters were in real life. The center of almost every one of them is money. The motivation is money. The ambition is focused on money. And the verdict is: guilty." (NySocialDiary)



"Last night Gilt Groupe, along with Lucky magazine, co-sponsored the after-party for the premiere of Post Grad, starring Alexis Bledel. The premiere was held at the Chinese Mann Theatre, and afterwards, droves of young women, from assistants to magazine interns to fashion bloggers, headed across the street to the famous Roosevelt Hotel ..The first person I saw on the wall was Cameron Silver, from vintage empire Decades. We also caught up with LA Times fashion writer Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn, where they discussed their upcoming weekend trip to San Diego for Tiki hunting. We even bumped into two old friends, fashion stylists George Blodwell and Tod Hallman .. Afterwards, some of the revelers went poolside at Teddy's, but Alexis and I went back to our hotel, Chateau Marmont, for a nightcap. Amid the dimly lit tables on the terrace we saw our friends Adam Lippes of ADAM and Graziano de Boni of Prada, and over in the corner I even spied Amy Winehouse." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Network TV may be a cyclical business -- but for bruised and battered broadcasters battling the worst economy in a generation, there's little evidence to suggest a bounce back is in the cards anytime soon. If anything, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Some observers are even beginning to question whether there will ever be a turnaround, predicting that business model which has sustained broadcasters for close to 60 years has begun an irreversible decline. The latest blow: A disastrous upfront advertising market that saw revenues plunge an estimated 15 percent from last year, dropping from $9.2 billion in 2008 to around $7.8 billion, according to estimates by several publications. 'This is a turning point,' argues Bob Garfield, author of the just-released media doomsday tome 'The Chaos Scenario' and the long-time critic for Advertising Age. He believes networks will continue to bleed ad dollars, which will lead them to reduce original scripted programming, thus causing deeper ratings declines.... and even further drops in ad revenue." (TheWrap)



"But on Friday, yet again, it was not their marriage, but a friend's - Guards officer Nick van Cutsem, who quipped to the couple: 'Your'e next!' All the talk after the ceremony in London was of 'pressure' on the prince to finally pop the question to his long term girlfriend. But such talk will not faze them. For the News of the World can reveal Kate is at the heart of a new palace strategy for the royal family. We have been told the couple, both 27, have reached 'an understanding' that their eight-year relationship WILL end in marriage. It is no longer a question of if but when." (Newsoftheworld)



"Davis Guggenheim’s 'It Might Get Loud' topped all specialty openers this weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon. The doc - which features rare on-the-road discussions with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White - grossed $101,078 from its 7 initial screens. That made for a promising $14,439 average, the third highest for a specialty doc so far this year (after 'Valentino: The Last Emperor' and 'Food, Inc,' which notably opened on just 1 and 3 screens, respectively). Sony Pictures Classics will expand the film in the coming weeks as it attempts to become the distributor’s top 2009 doc, a title currently held by 'Every Little Step,' which averaged $8,563 from 8 theaters in its opening weekend, but held on to gross $1,684,591." (IndieWIRE)

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