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Monday, November 30, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The city has not been this ablaze with speculation since Monica Lewinsky’s relationship with President Clinton hit the front page of The Washington Post in 1998. This latest sensation might have gone unreported had The Post’s Roxanne Roberts not been among the media watching arrivals at the White House. When she saw the Salahis she was immediately suspicious, checked the guest list, saw their names were not on it, and broke the news. Saturday night at a casual buffet dinner at Juleanna Glover’s, her guests – all insiders of one stripe or another – had their own stories to tell. It seems the Salahis were notorious around town and masters of the grab and pose when a famous face was near. Polo and a family winery were their entrée. No one seemed to know Tareq’s exact nationality, though I was told he is American born with a Belgian mother and a father who is either Israeli, Palestinian or Syrian. He went to Randolph-Macon College and, according to one of Juleanna’s guests, 'is actually a good polo player.' Michaele is 'a local girl made good.'" (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"Historically, young women and men who sought to thrive in publishing made their way to Manhattan. Once there, they were told, they would work in marginal jobs for indifferent bosses doing mundane tasks and then one day, if they did all of that without whimper or complaint, they would magically be granted access to a gilded community, the large heaving engine of books, magazines and newspapers. Beyond that, all it took to find a place to stand on a very crowded island, as E. B. White suggested, was a willingness to be lucky. Once inside that velvet rope, they would find the escalator that would take them through the various tiers of the business and eventually, they would be the ones deciding who would be allowed to come in. As even casual readers of media news know, those assumptions now sound precious, preposterous even." (David Carr/NYT)



"Hollywood appears to be on the cusp of a new chapter, in which a smaller group of major entertainment companies, fortified by bigger libraries and deeper distribution channels, will hold a larger concentration of power. With Comcast in the final stages of acquiring NBC-Universal, and MGM up for grabs in the next several weeks between Time-Warner or News Corp, the tableau of power players is set to shift in potentially significant ways. For one thing, the oft-evolving MGM is almost sure to see the end of its ride as an independent and once proud Hollywood studio – a blow to already-struggling producers and directors seeking an outlet for their work. If it succeeds in staving off bankruptcy, MGM seems likely to live on as a small moviemaking division of Fox or Warner Brothers, not unlike New Line, which was folded into Warners in 2008. Meanwhile, in buying NBC-Universal, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts and COO Steve Burke, based in Philadelphia, will instantly become power brokers in Hollywood in ways that never interested General Electric. For GE, NBC-Universal was meant to be a profit center no different than any other division. One never saw Jeff Immelt at Oscar parties. The Roberts are likely to be quite different Hollywood players." (TheWrap)



(image via nysocialdiary)

"On Thanksgiving Day afternoon around a quarter to four I went down to the Four Seasons restaurant to meet my old friends David and Helen Gurley Brown and their old friend Charlotte Kelly for our annual repast ... The Four Seasons is always full on the Thanksgiving holiday. And the Browns always have the same table in the pool room (next to the pool). It’s a real New York crowd – families, friends and families, couples, groups. They roll the turkey right up to your table and carve it before you, giving you your choice of the meat. On Friday, after Thanksgiving, Liz Smith and Cynthia McFadden gave a brunch at Osteria del Circo (120 West 55th Street) for about a dozen friends including Cynthia's son Spencer Hoge as well as her friends' kids, after everyone (except this writer) took in the Holiday Show with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall ... Meanwhile, that morning was the legendary Macy’s Day parade beginning on Central Park West. Our friend, artist and children’s book illustrator (Blackie, The Horse That Stood Still) Paige Peterson gives a pre-parade get together the night before at her Central Park West apartment." (NYSocialDiary)



"Audiences feasted on leftovers and drove the North American box office to a new record for the busy Thanksgiving holiday frame. Moviegoers were almost evenly split been vampire love and football heroics as The Twilight Saga: New Moon remained at number one while Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side held steady in second place with just $2.4M separating the two. That was a far cry from the $108.7M gap between the pair last weekend when they both opened as Twilight tumbled and Blind Side rose this weekend. The disaster film 2012 placed third as no new release managed to make it into the top three. The Top 20 over Thanksgiving weekend has consistently delivered $150-160M over the last six years but this time it soared to $181M, a new industry high ... As the vampire saga tumbled from last weekend's gross, the football hit The Blind Side enjoyed a strong spike in ticket sales rising 18% to an estimated $40.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Still in second place, the Sandra Bullock raked in an amazing $57.5M over five days to propel its cume into nine-digit territory." (BoxOfficeGuru)



"'It’s incredible—I’m 60, and I’m playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies!' (Meryl) Streep says to (VF's Leslie) Bennetts. 'Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave.' And while Streep’s success is no guarantee that other actresses will fare any better than they traditionally have, it’s a step in the right direction. 'She broke the glass ceiling of an older woman being a big star—it has never, never happened before,' says Mike Nichols." (VanityFair)



"'Truthfully, I don't come here as often as I should,' said director Darren Aronofsky as he entered the New York City Ballet's Opening Night Gala. 'But my next movie will be set in this world and society, so I'm sitting back and learning.' The little project that the auteur was talking about was the currently in-production Black Swan, an elegant thriller starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as competitive and ruthless ballerinas." (Fashionweekdaily)

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