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Monday, October 12, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Genocide is much discussed and poorly understood. It is regularly decried, yet little is done to prevent it. It is seen to be one of the most intractable of modern phenomena, a periodic cataclysm that erupts seemingly out of nowhere, often in distant places--Indonesia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur--where ethnic conflict or hatred is said to have spun out of control. So we can do little about it. Bill Clinton said as much while Serbs were slaughtering Bosnians: 'Until these folks get tired of killing each other, bad things will continue to happen.' Perhaps we fail to prevent genocides not because they can't be stopped, and not just because we lack the will to stop them, but because we have misunderstood their nature." (TNR)



"Yoko Ono, widow of the best Beatle, John Lennon, and legendary shriek-singer of "Walking on Thin Ice," is still radiating positivity after all these years. I'll never forget when, ages ago, I reviewed one of Yoko's albums and said the only good thing about it was the gurgling sound provided by her then-baby son, Sean, on one track. She promptly telegrammed me, 'Thank you for the nice review of Sean!'" (Musto)



"On Saturday, Paper Magazine hosted a dinner in honor of Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz and their latest film, 'Broken Embraces.' At the brand new Casa Lever (scheduled to open this week), the director and starlette sat with Paper’s Peter Davis and Mickey Boardman, the latter also celebrating his birthday. Diners including Madonna, Debbie Harry, Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Cynthia Rowley, Luigi Tadini and Patrick McMullan enjoyed a set menu including parmesan risotto and swordfish to fete the flick, which closed this year’s New York Film Festival." (Guestofaguest)



"For his first significant film project acquisition, Peter Chernin is taking on a project of Biblical proportions. 20th Century Fox has made a preemptive acquisition of a pitch to tell the story of Moses in '300' style. The tale will start with his near death as an infant to his adoption into the Egyptian royal family, his defiance of the Pharoah and deliverance of the Hebrews from enslavement. Chernin will produce with Dylan Clark, who recently moved over from Universal to become president of Chernin’s Fox-based film company. The script will be written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, who make this their followup to a high-level deal they made to reinvent Herman Melville's 'Moby Dick,' with a graphic novel feel, for director Timur Bekmambetov and producer Scott Stuber at Universal." (Variety)



"The conviction of Anthony "Tony" Marshall last week was the boiling operatic conclusion to the Brooke Astor trial. The 85-year-old son of the socialite of the century was found guilty of an orgy of excess, plundering his own mother's fortune to enrich himself even as the great lady descended into Alzheimer's in a tattered nightgown. The dramatic courtroom event at Manhattan's 100 Centre Street courthouse contained many of the all-too-human psychological forces that one expects from Wagner at his darkest: greed, sloth, wrath, envy. As Ralph Gardner, Jr. put it in The Daily Beast: 'What made the Brooke Astor trial, which ended Thursday with a guilty verdict for the socialite's son and his lawyer, riveting to the very end was that it seemed to hit on almost all seven deadly sins--perhaps even coining an eighth: stupidity.'" (Ron Mwangaguhunga/AWEARNESSblog)



"Well, this is a big surprise. As recently as September 20th, Kater Gordon won the drama-writing Emmy with Matthew Weiner for the Mad Men episode 'Meditations In An Emergency'. Now that Season 3 has wrapped, Gordon is off the Lionsgate show that airs on AMC. Here's what I've learned: Matt originally hired Kater as his personal assistant. She was soon promoted to be his writer’s assistant, and by the end of that same season, Matt offered her the opportunity to co-write the season finale -- a particularly important show for him as Weiner also directs the final episode of each season. Then, without requiring Kater to generate any other spec material on her own (usually required for a writer’s advancement), Matt promoted her to be a full-time staff writer for this past season. (Mad Men has a predominantly female writing staff...) So what happened?" (DeadlineHollywoodDaily)



(image via Justin Lubin/NBC)

"Two weeks into a new season, the talk of television is the Leno effect — and whether it is hazardous to NBC’s health. It is not just a question of how the new 'Jay Leno Show' itself is faring in the ratings, but also what the show’s occupation of the 10 p.m. hour on NBC means to the network as a whole. As Shari Anne Brill, the senior vice president and director of program analysis for the advertising agency Carat, put it, 'It’s really looking like dominoes.' The dominoes in question are the other parts of NBC’s schedule affected by the network’s decision to relocate its late-night star, Mr. Leno, to prime time. Even though, as NBC executives point out, it is early in this experiment, signs of potential collateral damage have already emerged." (Bill Carter/NYTimes)



(image via nysocialdiary)

"One evening in 1953, Minnie and Vincent Astor went to a dinner party at the Manhattan apartment of Mr. and Mrs. James Bruce. There were sixteen at two tables of eight, and seated directly across from Vincent was a very attractive, recently widowed woman of fifty named Brooke Marshall. Vincent had known Mrs. Marshall casually for years. Coincidentally, her late husband had been married to Helen Astor’s sister before he married Mrs. Marshall. After dinner Vincent awkwardly offered Mrs. Marshall his belated condolences over the death of her husband. When the evening was over, the Astors offered Brooke Marshall a lift (they lived just around the corner from each other – she at 10 Gracie Square and they at 120 East End Avenue). Coincidentally, Vincent and Brooke Marshall had come in contact a few months before when he was convalescing in a private retreat for alcoholics to 'dry out' just outside the city, in Connecticut. Mrs. Marshall had 'volunteered' part time to work with patients there, and specifically struck up a bit of a relationship with the man. Years later it was speculated upon by some members of the Astor family that Brooke Marshall had placed herself in that situation especially so that she could meet and get to know Mr. Astor whose marriage situation was not exactly a secret among the social set around Minnie." (NYSocialDiary)



"Whereas once, aspiring actors were trained in poise, dance, and singing, now stars looking to make a mark are taught the valuable art of communicating in 140 characters or less. ID PR—which masterminded the Pee-wee media campaign—offers a presentation known euphemistically as Twitter boot camp to its roster of A-list clients, including Ben Stiller and Natalie Portman. Led by Natalie Lent, ID PR’s self-described 'digital strategy gal,' the tutorial covers everything from the vagaries of Wikipedia to the most effective way to re-tweet. As Web sites like Facebook, YouTube, and now Twitter have gained a foothold in Hollywood, a veritable cottage industry has sprung up around them, introducing new business models. A growing number of public-relations agencies now have individuals devoted to digital campaigns built around social-media Web sites, and entertainment law firms have attorneys devoted to trolling the Web for fake sites and stolen identities." (TheDailyBeast)

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