blog advertising is good for you

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"'I went through a custody situation some years back with my son Ludwig, and I wanted to make a body of work that featured objects going through things, but not becoming distorted. It is important in life, when you’re faced with a challenge, not to have that cause trauma or make you lose your path. I believe in being able to keep your life energy in a very optimistic direction, not allowing trauma to take place. I was in Rome and saw this tree growing through a chain link fence, and I looked closely. It was interesting, but I was a little turned off by the trauma and the distortion. So I thought I could make these things, and they would go through other objects but they would maintain their course, and remain optimistic.' This is narrated deadpan, and with evident sincerity. The child-like candour of (Jeff) Koons’s remarks does indeed feel like he is casting a spell. I feel, after listening to his analysis, that there is no disjunction whatsoever between the world of inflatable pool toys and the symptoms of psychic well-being. A fake lobster has become a signifier of mental resilience, suddenly invested with the moral seriousness of a Crucifixion scene. The custody battle, after all, was palpable enough. It came after the breakdown of Koons’s heavily publicised marriage in the early 1990s to Ilona Staller, better known as La Cicciolina, porn star and Italian politician, who absconded to Italy with their son, now aged 16." (FT.com)



"A scathing confidential memo by a senior Norwegian diplomat leaked to the press yesterday has taken public what up until now has been the quiet and increasingly despairing concern at the United Nations about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Indeed, Ban might now be facing what must have seemed unthinkable only a few months ago: a single term as the head of the United Nations. In her damning memo, Deputy U.N. Ambassador Mona Juul called Ban -- the South Korean foreign minister elected secretary-general in 2007 -- 'spineless,' 'charmless,' and, most importantly, 'incapable' of setting an agenda. Her critique echoed a series of pieces in the international press -- in The Economist, The Times of London, and by yours truly in Foreign Policy -- that in recent months have called Ban out for his miserable performance, citing his lack of vision, leadership, or policy prowess." (ForeignPolicy)



"THE Left Bank refuge of François-Marie Banier lies hard by an ancient cobblestone lane where gallant musketeers once hatched royal intrigues. Now Mr. Banier, a noted photographer of celebrity portraits, is at the center of an epic feud sundering the family of Liliane Bettencourt, the aging heiress to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, in a drama of intrigue and recriminations worthy of 'The Three Musketeers.' Mr. Banier, 62, whose glossy work has regularly appeared in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, has long traveled between Paris and New York, befriending celebrities since he was a striking youth with the sleek physique of a Jean Cocteau drawing — charming the likes of Salvador Dalí and Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s and, more recently, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Johnny Depp. By September, though, the peripatetic Mr. Banier will exchange private island sojourns, Mallorca vacations and Caribbean yachts for a spare courtroom in Nanterre outside Paris. He faces criminal charges and a potential prison term of three years for 'abus de faiblesse,' essentially exploiting the frailty of the 86-year-old Madame Bettencourt to reap gifts valued at about 1.3 billion euros in cash, life insurance policies and art." (NYTimes)



(image via newsweek)

"When Bonnie Hammer renewed her contract at NBC Universal last year, she was given the additional responsibility of leading an entirely new entity: Universal Cable Prods. Although there was some uncertainty then as to just how the new production arm would fare, that is no longer the case. Universal Cable Prods. has proven to be a lean, inhouse machine, churning out hit shows such as 'In Plain Sight' and 'Royal Pains' for No. 1 cabler USA and the 'Battlestar Galactica' prequel 'Caprica' and "Warehouse 13" for Syfy. With all the development and production under the same hub, it reflects the need among basic cable networks for a more streamlined structure as they greatly expand their original programming. The hope is that by doubling down on inhouse projects, the financial rewards will be immense. If a series catches on, it's a win-win, plus there's ancillary income -- DVDs, syndication -- down the road. Plus, as TNT learned when Fox Television Studios recently decided to halt production of 'Saving Grace' even though TNT wanted to renew the show, holding all the cards is better than being beholden to a partner." (Variety)



(image via nytimes/business)

"Hollywood studios tell me tonight that Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is playing much bigger than expected. It looks like it will get to a $14M opening Friday from 3,165 theaters so that's likely a $35M weekend. (The most moolah anybody projected for Friday-Sunday had been $30M.) 'The Weinsteins live to fight another day,' quipped one rival studio exec about the World War II film on which The Weinstein Company has hung its financial future (along with next weekend's reboot sequel, Halloween 2). Basterds will score Tarantino his best North American opening since the $25.1 million earned by Kill Bill Vol 2. And ease Harvey Weinstein's fears of another Grindhouse flop." (DeadlineHollywoodDaily)



"The danger of an Iran-type contested election outcome is not the only legitimacy problem facing the next government. Early indications are that less than 50% of registered voters showed up at the polls amid widespread fear of violence by the resurgent Taliban, which had warned it would attack voting booths. Sporadic violence occurred on election day, but the specter of retribution from an insurgent force that is able to operate in as much as half of the country clearly had a dampening effect on turnout. Should the result that emerges in the coming days give no candidate a clear majority and force the top two contenders, expected to be Karzai and Abdullah, into a runoff race, political tensions are likely to escalate sharply. However, an inconclusive poll that fails to clearly legitimize the next government may not be a setback for the Obama Administration's Afghanistan strategy. On the contrary, it could offer an important opportunity to remake a system of government so dysfunctional that it has enabled a massive Taliban resurgence. When a broken bone heals badly, it often leaves doctors no option but to re-break and reset the limb in order to allow the bone to properly do its job. Long before Thursday's election, U.S. officials had identified the Afghan political system — not simply the Karzai government, but the very manner in which the Afghan system created after the U.S. invasion is organized, and allocates power and resources — as an obstacle to the goal of defeating the Taliban." (Time)



"Last night’s performance by the extraordinary multi-national DJ duo N.A.S.A. (North America/ South America) was, to put it simply, out of this world. And if you’re not into predictable puns I would suggest you stop reading this post right now and just check out the pictures. I must admit, I was at first unimpressed by opener Hollywood Holt, whose set seemed more like a sound check slash mediocre stand up gig, although he did have a few solid one liners. If nothing else, Hollywood was confidently self-aware of his rep: 'How many people in here know who I am?,' he asked, and after a brief headcount he gratefully concluded 'nine mothafuckas' were aware of his greatness. The highlight of Hollywood’s set in my opinion was a little ditty that began with 'nigga, shut the fuck up about my outfit.' I’m not sure of the real title, but you get the idea. Then there was something about 'ballin’ ass Versace shades' and a brief lesson in 'jukin' before the man clad in 'love-suspenders' introduced our main act. N.A.S.A. is the musical brainchild of Squeak E. Clean (Sam Spiegel) and DJ Zegon (Ze Gonzales) 'conceived in a crowded party in Sao Paulo and nurtured by a shared love of vintage Brazilian soul and funk records.'" (Papermag)



" It appears that Grace Coddington may have found a new muse in the form of R.J. Cutler. The duo lunched together yesterday at an undisclosed location..." (Fashionweekdaily)



"NATO's 60th anniversary, celebrated in April with pomp and circumstance by the leaders of nearly 30 allied states, generated little public interest. NATO's historical role was treated as a bore. In the opinion-shaping media, there were frequent derisive dismissals and even calls for the termination of the alliance as a dysfunctional geostrategic irrelevance. Russian spokespeople mocked it as a Cold War relic. Even France's decision to return to full participation in NATO's integrated military structures -- after more than 40 years of abstention -- aroused relatively little positive commentary. Yet France's actions spoke louder than words. A state with a proud sense of its universal vocation sensed something about NATO -- not the NATO of the Cold War but the NATO of the twenty-first century -- that made it rejoin the world's most important military alliance at a time of far-reaching changes in the world's security dynamics. France's action underlined NATO's vital political role as a regional alliance with growing global potential. In assessing NATO's evolving role, one has to take into account the historical fact that in the course of its 60 years the alliance has institutionalized three truly monumental transformations in world affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long 'civil war' within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy; second, the United States' post-World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against Soviet domination (resulting from either a political upheaval or even World War III); and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War, which ended the geopolitical division of Europe and created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union." (ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI/ForeignAffairs)

No comments: