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Friday, August 28, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Teddy was a late bloomer, a long work in progress, a man trying to find who he was, fighting large shadows, finding himself, embracing the legacy, and then sharing the goods with all. I hope he gets as close as the Senate can come to a State-level farewell for a colleague. If we still did those things, if we were the Vatican, he would be buried somewhere in the walls of the Senate side of the Capitol, with a carved sailboat on his headstone. I have this special memory of Teddy, too. I always got a kick out of the way he showed up at various black-tie soirees around town, where all the men were in tuxedos, knowing they looked a little ridiculous, because the event wasn't necessarily all that formal. Teddy would arrive in a pin-striped suit, looking a little superior, of course, but also just right for the occasion, like he had some common sense." (NYSocialDiary)



"In steamy August, my wine of choice is easy-drinking prosecco, the now fashionable Italian fizz that’s still a bargain. This summer, producers are celebrating its promotion to Italy’s A-list wine classification, D.O.C.G., and new European Union rules protecting use of its name, starting with the 2009 vintage. Maybe they should toast Paris Hilton, too. Let me explain .. 'When an Austrian company launched Rich prosecco two years ago in gold soda-pop cans and promoted it with ads featuring Paris Hilton naked, covered in gold paint, Italian producers felt assaulted,' said Vittorio Zoppi, marketing manager for the Consorzio del Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, in a phone interview. 'They felt they had to protect the wine’s image.' Because prosecco is named for a grape, it’s not so easy to give it an official territorial identity. The official solution, starting with the 2009 vintage, is a tangle that involves renaming the grape, elevating the flat plains to a D.O.C. zone that includes the town of Prosecco, and promoting the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene to the higher category of D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). As a result, the region was able to get the European Union to include prosecco in new protected-origin regulations, making it illegal for producers outside these zones to use the name prosecco on a label, at least in the EU." (Bloomberg)



"At 83, Hugh Hefner's legacy is pretty much bulletproof. His Bunnies have their own hit TV series; the Playboy Mansion remains a celebrity hop-stop. Hefner's life is, in many ways, a fantasy blueprint for many an American male: He started a small business (Playboy magazine) that made him a millionaire, earned him fame, and got him plenty of sex with younger women in the process ...Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, highlights Hefner's work as a civil-rights activist and an early champion of women and gays .. This, even though Hefner's existence provided Steinem the opening for her big break. The woman who would later co-found Ms. magazine first gained attention as a writer in 1963, when she penned her now-infamous exposé on working conditions for Playboy bunnies. (The article became a Movie of the Week, A Bunny's Tale, starring Kirstie Alley in 1985.) Something that didn't make it into Berman's documentary is the fact that prior to that article's publication, Steinem and Hefner had been in touch, as a mutual friend was trying to set them up on a date ..Gloria Steinem, declined several requests to appear in the film, citing an overloaded schedule. (Steinem also declined, through a publicist, to comment for this article.) Strange but true, says Hefner: 'Harvey Kurtzman, who had founded Mad magazine, told me he had this hot secretary who he was convinced was made to order for me. He thought she had the same way with men that I had with women. After exchanging letters, I went out to New York for some kind of event we were organizing. We threw a party and Gloria was invited, but she didn't show up. The reason was she was working on that article.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"Action-themed tentpoles and comedies are in, adult dramas are out, 3D really works. And fear not the critics, fear Twitter. Those are the lessons studio executives have learned from a record-breaking summer season at the box office that delivered an impressive ratio of hits to misses, while leaving only one studio, Universal, licking its wounds. 'It’s the quality of the product that counts,' said Disney distribution president Chuck Viane. 'We had a lot of good movies come out this summer.' In fact, going into this weekend, moviemakers have earned more than $4 billion domestically since the summer movie season kicked off May 1 -- nearly a full percentage point above last year’s record-breaking revenue haul, according to Exhibitor Relations." (TheWrap)



"The networks still preach adults 18-49, but the Big Three are all expected to post median ages above 50 this fall -- with Fox not too far behind.
According to a recent study by former Magna Global EVP Steve Sternberg, the broadcast networks as a whole have once again grown older than ever. The five broadcast nets' average live median age this year -- in other words, not counting DVR usage -- was 51. That's a whopping 8-year uptick from 10 years ago, when the nets' median age was 43. In comparison, the median age of TV households has grown much less from 1998-1999 to 2008-2009, to 38 from 36. 'While CBS' average median age remains over 50, ABC has aged up to hit 50 for the first time, and NBC has been hovering close to 50 for a few years now,' wrote Sternberg, in his final report for Magna (which he departed earlier this summer). 'And with Leno taking over the Monday-Friday 10 p.m. time slots next season, it will be hard-pressed not to surpass 50 as well,' he added." (Variety)



"Tickets are now on sale for the Raekwon release party at Santos that lists an insane lineup of rappers. It takes place two days before the release show happening at SOB's which is also on sale. (Ed Note: Lineup at Santos: Raekwon with Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Beanie Sigel, Talib Kweli, Slick Rick, Busta Rhymes, Lyfe Jennings and DJ Kid Capri, hosted by Diddy and Peter Rosenberg)." (BrooklynVegan)



"One of the more fascinating byproducts of the political upheaval unleashed by Ted Kennedy’s death could be an unexpected—and brief—return to the public stage for Michael Dukakis. The former Massachusetts governor’s name has been widely circulated this week as a possible interim successor to the late senator—someone who would hold the seat until next January, when the state’s voters will choose a new senator in a special election. It’s been more than 18 years since Dukakis took the 'lone walk' out of the Massachusetts State House and into political retirement. Back then, he didn’t have much choice. He’d come home from his 1988 presidential campaign intent on pouring himself into state business, but almost nothing went right. A souring economy and gaping budget deficit conspired to wreck his popularity, so running for re-election in 1990 wasn’t an option, and since then he’s largely contented himself in academia." (PolitickerNY)



"Reading Rainbow, the PBS television series and first thing children of the ’80s think of when they hear 'LeVar Burton,' airs for the last time today after 26 years. The reason? Contract expiration. My most vivid memories of the ‘bow are the old-school opening credits, which I usually watched with my sister before wandering away to go read a book. As I haven’t watched them since, I’m in a mild state of shock and awe right now because now I know why, whenever we learned about explorers in social studies or history class, I pictured a giant sand castle next to, like, Vasco da Gama." (Popwatch)

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