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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via nowmagazine)

"JESUS Luz's career as a deejay hasn't been a complete success so far. 'In his last gig at Pacha, in Buzios, guests at the club said his set list wasn't captivating at all, and the dance floor was almost empty,' a source in Brazil says. In Sao Paulo a few nights later, Luz arrived at Royal Club with four bodyguards and three hangers-on. 'I'm going to travel around the world with my own tour, as a deejay,' he told the Glamurama Web site, which snarked, 'To think that only one year ago, he was only an Ipanema boy who earned $200 per job as a model.' Luz was soon packing for Tel Aviv, where he joined his touring girlfriend, Madonna." (PageSix)



"My name is Leslie Cockburn and I directed the documentary feature 'American Casino' on the financial meltdown. I started making little films with a 16 mm camera as an undergraduate at Yale. My first job out of college was 'assistant editor' on a forgettable low budget feature. When I was at graduate school in London, I began working at NBC News, which had a thriving documentary unit. My mentor there was Stuart Schulberg, brother of Bud Schulberg who wrote 'On the Waterfront.' I later moved on to CBS Reports in New York, where I learned film making from very talented people who had worked on classics like Harvest of Shame and the Selling of the Pentagon. My executive producer was Howard Stringer, who now runs Sony .. I have always taken on big, complex subjects, often with a financial component, like the inner workings of the Colombian cocaine cartels, the economic disaster in Zimbabwe or the heroin trade in Afghanistan. I get equally excited about radical fundamentalism in Pakistan and oil speculation in New York. The financial disaster that was unfolding in January 2008 when I decided to take on the project was so important that I dropped everything to do it. Producer Andrew Cockburn and I could see that things were coming apart. I had been reading John Kenneth Galbraith on the Crash of ‘29 and was struck by the parallels: the insane 'leverage,' wild excessive borrowing, on Wall Street, the banks flocking to the Cayman Islands to escape regulation on capital limits, the mad system of building structured investments on the backs of people who could never pay off their loans .. We started shooting almost immediately. The key to the film’s structure was finding people at every level of the crisis, from the blasted neighborhoods of inner city Baltimore to the inner sanctums of the Wall Street banks. This was not easy. It took months for us to persuade one of our bankers, an alumnus of investment bank Bear Sterns, to appear. We filmed the interview in shadow and distorted his voice. We were asking people who were losing their homes to let us into their lives, landing on their doorsteps with a camera after a foreclosure auction. It turned out that the people who were suffering the most were not just the most gracious but also extremely articulate. The film has no narration. There is no intrusion from a narrator’s voice. It is far more powerful that way." (IndieWIRE)



"Sarah (Palin) told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, 'So, are you gonna let me adopt him?' We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid .. Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make 'triple the money.' It was, to her, 'not as hard.' She would blatantly say, 'I want to just take this money and quit being governor.' She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out." (VanityFair)



"Yesterday lunchtime, I went down to Michael’s to lunch with JH and Carol Joynt, our correspondent who writes the Washington Social Diary, and her son Spencer. Carol was up from DC for the day to sign her contract with Crown Publishers for her memoir called 'Innocent Spouse.' The title comes from from her experience when her husband, Spencer’s father, died suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving her a very popular restaurant in Georgetown called Nathan’s and a tax problem that took her years to solve. Carol, who was always a journaiist by profession, as NYSD readers already know, kept Nathan’s going until a couple of months ago when her landlords, certain that their property was worth a great deal more rent-wise, demanded a prohibitive monthly figure and made the situation financially impossible." (NYSocialDiary)



"This past week, the straight-talking John McCain the media knows and loves made a conspicuous comeback. On Face the Nation, McCain struck a decidedly post-partisan note, praising the late Senator Kennedy before sharply contradicting fellow Republican Dick Cheney on torture. After a punishing defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, McCain seems to have regained his stature and his reputation for independence. He's had more media exposure than any other leading Republican, certainly far more than John Kerry in 2005 or Al Gore in 2001. His views on a wide range of issues, from health-care reform to the war in Afghanistan, are thus given far more weight than any other distinguished elder statesman. But despite all that, McCain does not represent the angrier, more combative Republican Party of the Obama era, and he knows it. If McCain is once again the darling of the Sunday talk show circuit, it is for many of the same reasons he couldn't defeat Obama in 2008." (TheDailyBeast)



"The 'Last Song of Summer' with Norah Jones and Rufus Wainwright was a sweet salve for those of us who never want the warm, late nights to end. Even uninvited guest Tropical Storm Danny failed to dampen the spirits of the 700 guests at the sold-out Saturday afternoon concert, which raised an exciting $200,000 for Robert Wilson's Watermill Center. With a last-minute venue change to the Ross School, the Watermill Concert brought out the joyous children in all of us. Arriving in my Gaultier dress, I was astonished by the number of guests that had arrived early. As I worked the crowd to find my fellow co-chairs -- Amanda Hearst, Martin Dawson, Arden Wohl and Dalia Oberlander -- I got a kick out of Jay McInerney and his family .." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Imagine if we had enjoyed the luxury of knowing, two years before it happened, that Yugoslavia would disintegrate in 1991. Or just think if U.S. diplomats had been able to predict years earlier exactly when the Soviet Union was going to collapse. One certainly hopes the United States would have been better positioned to deal with these momentous events. But a current case gives one pause. Sudan might very well split in half in precisely two years, and policymakers have taken far too little notice. In 2011, Sudan is scheduled to hold a referendum that will allow South Sudan to vote on severing its ties with the North and declaring independence. Almost every observer has concluded that if this referendum happens, the South will vote overwhelmingly for independence, sundering in half the largest country in Africa (that's why the road ahead could not be clearer). But it's the actions taken now, by the Barack Obama administration, that may well determine if Sudan's breakup occurs peacefully or is steeped in blood and a return to full-blown civil war." (ForeignPolicy)



"I lived in Los Angeles for two or three years, and although it wasn’t a triumph career-wise, I did a couple of TV movies with Lynda Carter and various other things. Then I had this kind of Hollywood moment when Herve Villechaize was leaving 'Fantasy Island' and they decided to replace him with a young English valet. I went through endless meetings trying to get the part. I even made it to the top of the black tower at Universal, to the point where they asked would I be prepared to sign a seven-year contract. I didn’t get the part -- but it was an eye-opener. Because I NEARLY got it, I had to address whether I really wanted it. I realized I didn’t want to be stuck doing a kind of middlebrow thing, I just didn’t .. started writing film scripts, and one of them was for Bob Balaban, the actor-producer --an adaptation of a novel by Trollope called 'The Eustace Diamonds.' It didn’t get made; in fact, they’re trying to get it going now, but it was that script that made Bob think of me when he was trying to set up 'Gosford Park' with Robert Altman. They wanted to do a country-house murder mystery, and they couldn’t find a writer, thank God, and Balaban rang me and asked, 'Would I like to write a film for Robert Altman.' I went out and I gave myself kind of an Altman festival. Over three days I watched six or seven of his films and I realized it would probably be a multi-character, multi-arc thing. So then I was asked to have a conversation and to outline characters and things, which I did, and interestingly quite a lot of those characters got into the movie. And then I was asked to write a first draft, and all the way through that period, although I was very pleased to be asked and I worked very hard, I never thought it would really happen. It just seemed too unlikely that I was going on with my life and suddenly I was asked to write a film script for an internationally known director, you know?" (TheWrap)



"Lord Turner, chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, has set the cat among the financial pigeons by making highly critical comments about the City of London and financial intermediation in general. He recommended some drastic remedies, and suggested considering a global tax on financial transactions – a generalised Tobin tax. James Tobin proposed a tax on foreign exchange transactions to stabilise floating exchange rates and achieve greater national monetary policy autonomy in a world of increasing financial integration. The Tobin tax was never implemented, which is just as well from the perspective of its declared objectives: it could have increased exchange rate instability and was unlikely materially to enhance national monetary policy autonomy. From a political perspective, it may be more surprising that it was never implemented. Even at a very low rate, the Tobin tax could have been a massive government revenue raiser. Distortionary taxes that raise large revenues, including transaction taxes on financial and real assets – such as the UK’s stamp duty on property – are, after all, a common feature of the political landscape. What problem would a Tobin tax on financial transactions solve?" (FT)



"ASmallWorld, the invitation-only social network for the wealthy backed by Harvey Weinstein, is hosting a private breakfast with billionaire Peter Peterson, chairman emeritus of the Blackstone Group and founder of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, on Thursday, September 17. The social network teamed with the Argyle Executive Forum (a company that produces speaking engagements) and the network's members will receive the discounted ticket rate of $150 from the regular-people price of $275. The location of the event is not disclosed to people who aren't invited—which we aren't!—though according to the Argyle Web site, those who have not been formally invited may inquire as to whether they might be allowed in. There is little information on what Mr. Peterson will speak about, but it's safe to assume that money and the economy will be part of it." (Observer)

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