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Friday, September 18, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"In recent weeks, Virginia Senator Jim Webb has ignited a fierce controversy over U.S. engagement with Burma while the Obama administration is still debating its policy toward the thuggish, isolated Southeast Asian state. Webb, a Navy secretary under Ronald Reagan and a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, has plenty of critics, who portray him as a military man distrustful of diplomats and politicians alike. But Webb, who chairs the formerly sleepy Senate Foreign Relations Asia subcommittee, is nonetheless a one-man blur of diplomatic activity, and Asia hands are taking notice. Many, however, see him as a bull in a China shop, gallivanting around Asia upsetting the delicate balance the Washington foreign-policy establishment is working to maintain. Webb's supporters point out that his extensive Asia experience goes back decades and his diplomatic activism is based on his historical perspective and his independent connections there." (ForeignPolicy)



"There is a mordant Eskimo proverb that says a good butler is worth at least three wives. The only trouble being I’ve never heard of an Eskimo with a butler. Gianni Agnelli had two he couldn’t do without: Pasquale, until he reached 40, and then Bruno, until the 'avvocato’s' death. I inherited mine from the Agnelli household. His name is Andrew Rolleston, and he is an Aussie—along with the Kiwis, the Poles, and the Germans, in my Pantheon of best people. On his first day of service, I was having dinner with the mother of my children in Cadogan Square when the telephone rang. 'No, Mr Smith,' I heard Andrew say, 'Mr Taki is dining and he will ring you back.''ho the hell is Smith?' I asked him when Alexandra was out of earshot. 'It was a lady—Francesca—and she wants you to call her…' said Andrew. 'We are going to get along magnificently,' said I, and we certainly did ... It is a tough world out there without good help, as Roman Abramovich has just discovered. This bum thought he could climb Kilimanjaro using 150 baggage-handlers, probably carrying him to the top. He didn’t reckon with the breathing problem. Good butlers can perform miracles, but breathing for you is not something they excel at. Kilimanjaro 1; Oligarch 0." (Takimag)



"In case you haven't noticed, the fashion industry has been realigned--some say plagued--by this recession. Leave it to Calvin Klein Collection to bring back the joy in a matter of hours with the return of its traditional post-show dinner. 'I love showing so late in the week,' said creative director Francisco Costa as top critics (who shall remain nameless) gushed over his Spring collection. 'It gives me more time to prepare!' He ended New York's Fashion Week on just the right note with a visual feast (circa 4 p.m. at CK HQ), then a literal one (around 10ish at the buzzy restaurant in the Meatpacking District). Naturally, the room was of the A-list variety. All the categories were covered--top editors (Stefano Tonchi, Fabien Baron, Alexandra Shulman, Carine Roitfeld), top models (Miranda Kerr, Karolina Kurkova), and yes, top starlets (Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, and Rose Byrne) ...Ingrid Sischy is still on non-speaking terms. From her trusty notepad, The Daily learned that she previously lost her voice 10 years ago--and that she wrote about the experience for the Times." (Fashionweekdaily)



"The 70-acre estate rises behind Governor beach in the lush, wealthy Caribbean playground of St. Bart's. Balinese bungalows with ocean views, tennis courts, swimming pools and music and dining pavilions dot the property. Now, it's the latest home of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, a person close to the deal has told the Journal. With its nearly $90 million sale price, the property is one of the most expensive private homes ever sold, but for the oligarch it will be just one of many spectacular possessions, which also include the world's largest privately owned yacht, a Colorado ski estate, England's Chelsea soccer team and a contemporary art collection valued at more than $100 million. The seller of the Governor Bay property was Jeet Singh, co-founder of Art Technology Group Inc., now known as ATG, the Cambridge, Mass., maker of Web software used by retailers including Tommy Hilfiger and Best Buy. Mr. Singh, 46 years old, had been living on St. Bart's part-time since he left ATG in 2002 until this year, when he moved to Paris. "It was just sort of time to go,'says Mr. Singh, who says he bought the estate in 2000 and 'didn't lose too much' on the deal." (WSJ)



(Susan Fales-Hill and Jim Mitchell via NYSD)

"Last night at Doubles, Quest Magazine held a cocktail reception hosted by this writer and Chris Meigher, the owner/publisher of Quest for the annual Quest 400 List. This list was begun by this writer for Quest sixteen years ago. It was originally the 'New 400,' a play on the original Mrs. Astor’s 400 from a century before. Since then it has morphed into a habit as The Quest 400 and if you can count more than 400 names on it today, then you know how to count. Last night’s cocktail was, like the List, in the tradition of old New York, a real cocktail party – with lots of drinks, canap├ęs (pigs in a blanket) and talk talk talk." (NYSocialDiary)



"President Obama announced that his administration was scrapping of the Eastern Europe missile defense shield on 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. The President instead opted for a cheaper, quicker and more effective military option against the threat from Iranian missiles. The Washington Times, predictably, is calling it 'Obama's anniversary gift to Russia.' Russia, as a result, dropped plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania." (AirAmerica)



"Despite an all-comedy lead-in, Jay Leno fell to his lowest ratings of the week Thursday, but NBC got nice sampling for new half-hour 'Community' while the CW's 'Vampire Diaries' took another healthy bite out of the ratings. And Fox? It actually beat NBC to win the night overall, led by a nice premiere for 'Bones.' Lots and lots and lots of data to go over from last night. Here are some early highlights: --'Leno': Averaged a 2.7/8 in the demo and 8. 5 million viewers, according to prelim national Nielsen data. Smallest audience in four broadcasts. Won the hour in adults 18-49 but lost to a repeat of 'The Mentalist' on CBS in viewers. This was the first night this week where Leno's lead-in wasn't a special but regular NBC programming. --'Community': Score a 3.7/10 at 9:30 p.m. That's a nice number, since 'The Office' averaged a 4.0/11 at 9. Best 'Office' retention NBC has ever seen with series programming." (TheWrap)



"The Weinstein Co.'s release schedule remains fluid, to say the least. After previously juggling late-summer releases, the New York indie now has bounced the comedy 'Youth in Revolt' from Oct. 30 to Jan. 15. Weinstein also soon will announce that "Nine" will get only a limited release Nov. 25 but expand into wide distribution on Christmas. Additionally, Weinstein is poised to slot the recently acquired drama 'A Single Man' for a limited release in at least 30 theaters in mid-December. Just last week, Weinstein moved its literary adaptation 'The Road' to Nov. 25. That made it inevitable that the unofficially slotted wide release of 'Nine' would have to be changed in some fashion. When Weinstein acquired 'A Single Man' this week, speculation spread that it would get only a handful of exclusive Academy-qualifying runs in late December. But the company promised filmmakers it would bow the film this year in at least several markets. Meanwhile, there are likely only so many films the cash-strapped distributor can support during the next few months. But the move of "Youth" into January was motivated less by that than by how best to support a pic with clear commercial prospects, if early press reaction is any gauge. In any event, its new slotting will get "Youth" away from the fourth-quarter clutter, which in addition to a bevy of awards-oriented prestige releases also includes such likely boxoffice magnets as Summit's vampire-romance sequel 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' (Nov. 20) and Fox's 3D sci-fi actioner 'Avatar' (Dec. 18)." (THR)



"Which men will turn up at Wednesday's Important Dinner for Women hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan, Wendi Murdoch and Indra Nooyi? In previous years, Bono and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page served as waiters, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg manned the coat-check. The event at Cipriani -- to promote UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal mortality -- will feature speaker Sarah Brown, wife of Britain's prime minister, and such guests as Tina Brown, Elle Macpherson, Katie Lee Joel, Shania Twain, Diane von Furstenberg and Martha Stewart." (PageSix)



"Tommy Hilfiger closed New York fashion week with a bang on Thursday night. Well, it was more like a series of pops, as in the sound of a million Champagne bottles opening. Bubbly was the beverage of choice at the splashy debut of the designer's new Fifth Avenue flagship, where the likes of Mary-Louise Parker, Emily Blunt, Becki Newton, and Penn Badgley joined Hilfiger in a second-floor VIP area that was packed to the gills with security guards, socialites, crashers, and panicky girls in headsets." (Style)

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