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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via thesun)

"THE scenemakers of St. Tropez are keeping our spies busy. At Club 55, where the chic set likes to see and be seen, Naomi Campbell was in with her Russian boyfriend, Vladislav Doronin, who was described as 'very nice and he speaks French very good.' King Abdullah of Jordan was there with Queen Rania, who looked regal in a simple yellow dress, 1960s style. Lunching with Gucci billionaire Francois and Marie-Yvonne Pinault, former French president Jacques Chirac annoyed his wife, Bernadette, with his 'very obvious ogling of the parade of blondes.'" (PageSix)



"In a state of pre-orgasmic tension and anticipation, I sail into Nat Rothschild waters off the north-east tip of the island. Just across the narrow channel lies Albania, the land that God forgot for close to 75 years. Greeks are known to dislike Albanians, but young Taki is an exception. Albanians are fair with blue eyes and are totally committed to stealing, as well they should be after 75 years of great poverty and Godless communism. As the crow flies, or better yet as the dolphin swims, two miles separate one of the world’s richest and best-connected families from Europe’s poorest schmucks. The Rothschild peninsula and compound is the green light of West Egg to Albanian Gatsbys pining from afar. After a very long and very drunken night in Paxos I sailed into Corfu just in time to see the modern Talleyrand’s easyJet flight disappear over the horizon .. Mind you, having missed last year’s Corfiote extravaganza, it was typical of yours truly to be present at this year’s non-event. Instead of Dionysian festivities and Tinseltown excess, I dined with Lord Rothschild, his son Nat, and the efflorescing Florrie von Preussen, a rare beauty whose mother Victoria’s name is inscribed in my Hall of Shame (the list of ladies who got away)." (Takimag)



"(Bernie) Madoff’s secretary, she said, set up hotel meetings before the Willard encounter and made reservations in person 'to ensure that the room would not turn up on his credit card.' Weinstein describes herself as smoking marijuana to relax. Madoff said his wife did too. (Sheryl Weinstein) said she didn’t know if that was true. By the time they reached the Willard, Weinstein wrote, she had learned that Madoff was a great kisser, a bad tipper, a name dropper, and a narcissist who may have obsessive-compulsive disorder or Tourette’s syndrome. He bought Savile Row suits and had 25 blue and 25 gray ones in his closets, numbered so as not to mix up pants and jackets, she said. He carried his cash in a paper clip and didn’t drink even though he was knowledgeable about wines. He stuck to Diet Coke or San Pellegrino mineral water at their trysts. She guessed in hindsight that he wanted to remain in control so he wouldn’t tip his hand about his massive fraud. He was superstitious about some things, refusing to read fortune cookie predictions when they went to Chinese restaurants like the Shun Lee Palace for fear it would bring bad luck. He sometimes blinked his eyes uncontrollably, leading her to nickname him 'Winky Dink' when she disclosed her affair to some close female friends." (Bloomberg)



"Kanye West's shy and retiring girlfriend Amber Rose bared pretty much everything in this teeny-weeny dental floss bikini as she lounged in the Barcelona sunshine yesterday." (Thisislondon)



"Earlier this summer, when Brian Graden announced in an email to colleagues that he would be stepping down as the president of entertainment at MTV Networks at the end of the year, he didn’t cite the reasons typically invoked by media executives on their way out the door. He wasn’t starting a Huffington Post–meets–something-or-other Internet company, nor would he be founding a nebulous PR consulting firm, nor would he be retreating to academia to meditate on the future of media. He was leaving MTV Networks, he explained, to finish writing a musical. 'I know you’re shocked,' Mr. Graden wrote to his colleagues. 'A gay man who loves musicals.' Also: He’d be writing two books." (Observer)



"Last weekend Richard Holbrooke made another visit to Pakistan in his capacity as Barack Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. More than anything else, what struck me most about this was that Richard Holbrooke made another visit to Pakistan in his capacity as Barack Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan .. Every Holbrooke visit, and every follow-up press conference featuring a Pakistani diplomat telling the assembled media that Pakistan will do all it can to eradicate the terrorist threat, makes it easier to paint Pakistan's leaders as marching to the tune of American drummers. If this is Pakistan's war -- and it is -- then Pakistanis and Americans must act like it. As things stand, the monthly visits from American officials look too much like acts of lecturing and prodding rather than the symbols of close cooperation they are designed to be. Given that Holbrooke can conduct his business over secure telephone lines or video conferencing (I don't recommend Skype; the connection is often suspect), it behooves him and his office to consider doing more of it behind closed doors. Out-of-sight out-of-mind diplomacy promises the same benefits as the status-quo arrangement, without the appreciable P.R. costs of the latter. It is an option Holbrooke would do well to keep in mind." (ForeignPolicy)



(image via NYSD)

"The new issue of Vanity Fair (with its alternating Farrah and Michael Jackson covers) also features this year’s International Best- Dressed List. The 'List' was begun 69 years ago, at the outbreak of the war that became World War II in Europe ago by the late Eleanor Lambert, the public relations doyenne of the American garment industry .. By the 1990s when I was asked by Eleanor to join the committee, fashion as it was known during the four decades before had changed along with the mores and the folkways of the century .. After Eleanor Lambert’s death, at her request Vanity Fair took over the List. I dropped off the committee (benign negligence) because it seemed to me that my contribution was more than negligible. In my experience, the List is a matter of personal tastes and likes and dislikes of its committee members. I remember a meeting (during the Lambert days) when one of the town’s most fashionable women was suggested and one of the committee members very loudly said 'NO NO NO!' Another member – the late John Galliher – remarked in defense to the naysayer that this particular woman not only spent a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars annually) on clothes but also wore them beautifully but, as John put it, 'you just don’t like her.' Everyone knew what John was saying was so. The woman did not make the List." (David Patrick Columbia/NYSocialDiary)



"President Barack Obama now realizes he probably will have to pass health reform with Democratic votes alone, White House officials say. The admission is a monumental shift in Washington’s top fight of the year, with the energy now shifting to differences among Democrats, rather than efforts to lure a critical mass of Republicans. The aides call it more a prediction than a strategy shift, and blame the GOP. 'We were forced into this by Republicans,' one official said. The administration is pointing to increasingly partisan comments by the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassley of Iowa, who said while home for summer recess: 'I’m not walking away from the table. I’m being pushed away from the table.'" (Politico)



"The news that turnaround expert Stephen Cooper has been brought in to replace Harry Sloan at MGM has apparently put a new glint in the eye of hungry Hollywood dealmaker Ryan Kavanaugh. Waxword reported previously that Relativity Media’s backer Elliott Associates had been quietly buying up bonds from debtholders in an attempt to orchestrate a ‘forced bankruptcy’ of the company, in the service of a neat takeover. (I posted documents from the actual takeover plan here.) Now we’ve learned from an individual close to the plan that the buying, which stopped for a while, has recommenced and that Kavanaugh (via Elliott) has amassed as much as $500 million in bonds – much more than the $200 million we previously reported – from among the 180 or so debt-holders. Elliott has been paying about half of the face value of the bonds, which amount to a total of $3 billion in face value. The scheme, which was devilishly cloaked as 'Project Smith' in the documents we previously posted, is known in the finance world as a 'prepackaged bankruptcy.'" (Sharon Waxman/TheWrap)



"Yesterday, I headed to a press preview to check out Rodarte's new fab collection for Target. Afterwards, I snuck to the back to see Kate Mulleavy being interviewed by her new BFF, Tavi, the 13-year-old fashion enthusiast, aka the world's youngest style blogger. She was CUTE. She met the Rodarte girls in L.A. a while ago and came out to see them unveil their upcoming line for Target to the press. (It hits stores this December)" (Papermag)



"Mark McGrath stopped by to promote Sugar Ray's new album, 'Music for Cougars,' and said his music wasn't that good: 'Thank god for Autotune and all that...I wrote these songs with a bunch of people and divine intervention.' Howard thought Mark was selling himself short, but Mark disagreed: 'Bono? I couldn't even be in the same room...but Fly and Every Morning weren't easy songs to write.' Mark admitted that playing music was an "f’ing good job to have" but a difficult lifestyle to maintain. Howard (Stern) questioned how 'difficult' it was to bag Pamela Anderson – but Mark denied it: 'That never happened.' Howard went further down the list of Mark's reported conquests, and Mark commented on each. Jordana Brewster: 'Never banged her either.' Paris Hilton: 'I may have...one night. Done.' ... Mark claimed he wasn't able to please Paris in the bedroom due to his small penis: 'I'm Irish, man. I got the curse...I did my best...it was sloppy, you know, 3AM.' ... Mark explained that it was a one-night stand: 'I don't think either of us was looking for this long-term, let's-ride-off-into-the-sunset kind of a thing.'" (HowardStern)



"After pit stops all over the world, Quentin Tarantino's much anticipated new film Inglourious Basterds finally made it to New York on Monday night. Brad Pitt, its star, was notably absent (he escaped to France over the weekend), but that didn't mean there was a shortage of manly merrymaking. 'You can hit anyone you want in here,' said the movie's executive producer Harvey Weinstein by way of greeting the Rose Bar's Nur Khan. 'You let me do that in your place, so it's only fair. If there's anyone that you want to whack, just do it.' Tarantino was equally animated. Taking the mike to introduce the film fresh from his appearance on Charlie Rose, the director screamed, 'Do you want to see some bastards kill some Nazis? Make some noise, m*****f******. I can't hear you!'" (Style)



"Not to beat it to a bloody pulp, but True Blood set another record Sunday night with 4.46 million viewers checking in on average for the 9pm airing on Sunday night. That eclipses last week’s 4.43 million. Sunday night’s 9pm airing also scored a 2.3/6 (rating/share) with adults 18-49 (same as last week) and was the #12 most-watched program in primetime for the week in the 18-49 demographic." (TVBytheNumbers)

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