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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"KISS lead singer Gene Simmons called in to The Howard Stern Show Tuesday morning .. Howard Stern Show listeners could hear Gene Simmons beaming with pride through the phone after he pitched his new line of KISS-related products that will soon be adorning every corner of every Wal-Mart in the country (Ed Note: WTF?!). Gene Simmons is known for hocking KISS-related products on the internet. Simmons admitted to Howard Stern that he had sold his own kidney stone on eBay for $15,000. Gene Simmons had plenty to say about David Letterman's recent blackmail debacle as well. When Howard Stern asked the KISS lead singer if he had ever been blackmailed, Gene Simmons replied nonchalantly: 'It happens all the time.' Simmons stated that he receives regular requests from women claiming to be former lovers stating that they have his illegitimate child, demanding large sums of money to keep quiet. His solution? Simmons contacts the blackmailers and tells them that he's thrilled and ready and waiting to set up a DNA test to confirm his paternity. After that, the sneaky KISS-er never hears from them again." (Examiner)



"I headed last night to the party at The Standard for Good Hair, hosted by Andrew Saffir's Cinema Society and Target. Despite fab faces like stars Chris Rock, Nia Long and Ice-T, Bevy Smith, Guy Oseary, Genevieve Jones, Olivia Thirlby, Zoe Kravitz, Joey Jalleo, Veronica Webb, Daniel Benedict, Jennifer Missoni, Cator Sparks, Fern Mallis and Rachel Zoe in the crowd, and despite the curvy combo of Ice's girl Coco and Kanye's woman Amber Rose (in shades, natch), all eyes were on Gabourey Sidibe, the soon-to-be-super-duper-famous star of Precious. Sidibe and her Precious co-star Mo'nique will both be nominated for Academy Awards and Ms. Mo'nique will take home that Oscar next March." (Peter Davis/Paper Magazine)



"Wild Things is a stupendous achievement. (Spike) Jonze and Dave Eggers’ adapted Sendak’s story—so spare it seemed untranslatable—about Max, an angry boy in a wolf suit who escapes in his imagination to a place where he becomes king of sharp-toothed monsters, gets lonely and returns home. In the film, when Max gets to the place where the Wild Things are, Sendak’s colorfully drawn, silent monsters have taken on distinct personalities. The giant monster suits and CGI facial expressions are impressive, but the vibrant characters—a brainy bird with Chris Cooper’s voice, an independent redhead voiced by Lauren Ambrose—make the film come alive. The dominant monster, now named Carol, sounds tough yet feels as insecure and left-out as Max, and there is an extra resonance because his voice is James Gandolfini’s. 'It was definitely early on that I got excited about him,' Jonze said about casting Tony Soprano. 'I wanted somebody who had a huge presence—charismatic, able to dominate a room,' yet 'who was very sensitive, whose emotions were right under the surface.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"I went down to Michael’s, which was jammed and sounded like a dull roar, to lunch with Caroline Graham, in from Los Angeles, and Dereck and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic photographers from Botswana who are in town for a booksigning of their book 'Eye of the Leopard' last night at Rizzoli. The Jouberts are South African but have lived in Botswana for many years .. Those who know the Jouberts’ work already know what interesting lives they lead compared to us Americans and/or city dwellers. They are also involved deeply in a 'Big Cats' initiative launched by the National Geographic 'First Step: Halting Decline of Lions.' Two millennia ago there were 1.5 million lions roaming the earth. Today across the continent of Africa there are perhaps 20,000 lions, and the numbers are declining fast. We’re their predators naturally, and we’ve done them in .. Dereck Joubert told me that with the extinction of the lions, the entire ecosystem of Africa will collapse. He said there are 4,000 in zoos across this country although every one is infected with FIV which is an animal strain similar to HIV. He said that if even one of them is taken ill with it, all of them will die." (NYSocialDiary)



"TINSLEY Mortimer's reality show is not living up to its billing. The CW project claims to 'lift the curtain on New York's most talked-about Park Avenue Princess and her young, elite society friends' -- but we hear none of Mortimer's friends want anything to do with it. Her half-brother Peter Davis said over the weekend on Facebook that he has 'zero interest in playing a warped, twisted version of myself on television.' We also hear that Zani Gugelmann and Dani Stahl turned down starring roles. 'The only person definitely on board is [sister] Dabney Mercer,' says our source. A message left for producer Andrew Glassman was not returned." (PageSix)



"Life was cyclical, Mr. Letterman had learned. Decades earlier, he had moved to Los Angeles with his first wife, Michelle, to try and make it in comedy. His career took off, and his marriage fell apart. As it turned out, comedy clubs put Mr. Letterman in too close proximity with too many beach girls from San Diego State. 'It was embarrassing and superficial,' Mr. Letterman later said of his behavior, according to The Late Shift, by Bill Carter. 'It was just me being a dork: Hey, young girls!'And, now, here we were again. This time around, just to spice things up, life, that bitch, had given things a new twist—namely, the ominous arrival of a man named Joe Halderman with a big ego, a quick temper and a graying goatee, who came armed with photographs, emails and (in a retro plot twist Jane Austen would approve of) diary entries allegedly detailing Mr. Letterman’s furtive indulgences. 'The whole thing is surreal,' said Mr. Letterman on the Late Show. 'Normally when I’m shaken down for money, it’s my relatives.'" (Observer)



"Unlike the United States, which does not do much business with Iran, Russia has important economic stakes there, which it hopes to increase. While Moscow doesn’t want Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons, it doesn’t want to impose sanctions that would damage Russian economic interests in Iran either. What Russia wants, then, is to cooperate just enough with the United States to convince Washington that it is working with it responsibly (and perhaps obtain some concession for doing so) while at the same time preserving its important relationship with Iran. And as for Russia encouraging Israel to cooperate with the IAEA, sign the NPT, and give up its nuclear weapons: Moscow could hardly do otherwise at a time when the Obama administration has intensified the longstanding U.S. call for Israel to do all these things. But perhaps unlike some in the Obama administration, Moscow knows full well that Israel is highly unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Israel’s position, then, allows Moscow to argue that Iran cannot be expected to make progress on nuclear disarmament unless Israel does. Israel’s likely refusal to do so, then, is a convenient excuse for Moscow not to seriously join with the United States to push Iran on this. The Obama administration is trying to get Iran, Russia, and Israel to all change their policies. But while Iran, Russia, and Israel do not like one another’s policies, none of them is willing to change its own." (MiddleEastStrategy/Harvard)



"Warner Bros. has set RZA to star alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in 'Due Date,' the Todd Phillips-directed comedy. RZA joins a cast that also includes Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx in the story of a man with a mismatched travel companion who races home in hopes of arriving before his wife delivers their first child. Phillips is producing through his Green Hat banner with Daniel Goldberg. Scott Budnick is exec producer. WB is partnered with Legendary Pictures on the film, and Susan Downey is exec producing. RZA's also attached to Paul Haggis' 'The Next Three Days' for Lionsgate and is scoring producer Robbie Brenner's film 'Warriors Way' for Relativity Media." (Variety)



"It was clear that Michelle Obama was partial to Rothko when she chose that daring dress, with its swathes of red and black, for election night. Now there's proof: two Rothkos have been loaned to the White House since President Obama came to power. The full list of works borrowed from museums for the White House is copied at the end of this post. What can we extrapolate from it? Rothko is not the only modern artist to make the cut. The Obamas have also selected work by Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Josef Albers and Sam Francis. These are the great giants of postwar art, quintessentially and ineluctably American, yet, at times, acerbic critics on the national condition. It seems clear the Obamas have a personal liking for abstract expressionism, but they are also projecting a clear message: they are thoughtful, comfortable with abstraction, aesthetically sophisticated. And patriotic. Unsurprisingly – and pleasingly – the Obamas have also chosen to hang works by African-American artists, including two works by Glenn Ligon, a selection of William H Johnsons, and a piece by the African-American abstract expressionist, Alma Thomas. Less predictably, there is work from Native American artists and makers too, including by the 20th-century painter Leon Polk Smith, and 69-year-old ceramicist Jeri Redcorn. And so the image projection piles up: to modern and sophisticated add inclusive and multicultural. There's a sense of an attempt at gender balance: included are works by 20th-century sculptor Louise Nevelson and the New Mexico based Susan Rothenberg." (Guardian via TheAwl)



"'It worked,' as the leaders of the Group of 20 leading high-income and emerging countries claimed after their summit in Pittsburgh. One indication is the upward revision of the IMF’s forecasts since July: world output is forecast to shrink 'only' 1.1 per cent this year and then grow 3.1 per cent next year. This is 0.3 and 0.6 percentage points better than forecast in July. In the 12 months from the fourth quarter of 2009, high-income economies are forecast to expand 1.7 per cent and those of emerging Asia 7.8 per cent, with China up 9.2 per cent. We must not forget what such a recovery would mean: few economies are likely to see a fall in unemployment or in excess capacity over the next year. Moreover, the recovery is hugely dependent on the surge in government spending and the inventory cycle, particularly in the US (see chart). As the IMF stresses, 'the main risk is that private demand in advanced economies remains very weak.' Despite the recovery in confidence, the financial system remains damaged. Private sector deleveraging has barely begun. The rise in savings rates in countries such as the US and UK may also prove permanent. So growth might weaken when the inventory bounce and fiscal boost have worked through." (Martin Wolfe/FT)



"One of the most talked about films of the year had its world premiere in London's Leicester Square last night. Model and actress Lily Cole, who wore a full-length tiered Chanel dress adorned with jewels and shells, said she was pleased with how The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was completed after Heath Ledger's death. 'I feel extremely proud of how everyone managed to finish it (despite) such a huge obstacle. I feel really honoured we managed to take all the energy Heath put into it and show it so people can see it. At the same time I obviously still feel sad.' Director Terry Gilliam choked up as he admitted it was 'hard work' promoting the film in the memory of its late star, Heath Ledger. Ledger died of an accidental overdose while making the film, and his part was later finished by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law." (Thisislondon)



"'It stinks like my feet,' sniffed one French editor upon walking up the plywood stairs of the Grand Palais this morning ... Claudia Schiffer sat down the row from Rihanna, who is beating out Katy Perry in the race for this season's ubiquitor. Top editors gawked at Karl's latest concept--a massive barnyard constructed in the middle of the palace, complete with a sheltered haystack (from which the models would soon emerge) decked out with hanging lanterns. Models strutted out in wooden platform clogs and beigey tweed suits, accessorized with the occasional straw basket bag and rosary 'tattoo' around the thigh." (Fashionweekdaily)



"There's an unofficial book club in the White House these days, George Stephanopoulos reported late last month, and the manuscript in question could not be more pertinent. As the Obama administration rethinks its strategy in Afghanistan, officials are turning to Gordon M. Goldstein's Lessons in Disaster -- an account of analogous moments of decision in the Vietnam War. And though most historical comparisons are approximations at best, the resemblance between those crucial Vietnam inflection points and today are uncanny: Casualties are rising, public opposition is growing, the host government's legitimacy and effectiveness is in doubt, and the U.S. commander in the field is calling for more troops to stave off defeat. Surely, if Obama has a Vietnam moment, it will come in Afghanistan." (ForeignPolicy)



"The Museum of the City of New York's annual New York After Dark gala may not have been in the actual museum this year (heading up to 105th Street is quite a trek for some chicsters), but the Plaza Hotel had its own sort of exhibit for the evening. Gorgeous mannequin types draped in furs stood on platforms above the formally-dressed crowds. 'Does this party have a theme?' wondered one partygoer upon entry; it's Fendi, darling! The Lagerfeld-helmed brand sponsored the evening along with the Plaza, which meant that luxurious fur toppers abounded. (Désolée, PETA.) Inside, fashion flock members Hamish Bowles (fresh from Paris, and still sporting that mustache), Amy Fine Collins, Douglas Hannant, Mark Badgley and James Mischka mixed with social types like Helen Lee Schifter, Jennifer Creel, and Zani Gugelmann while a director's council of Phoebe Gubelmann, Cynthia Lufkin, Shafi Roepers, Allison Rockefeller, Calvert Moore, and Mark Gilbertson presided over the festivities." (Fashionweekdaily)

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