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Monday, November 16, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Last night, celebrities like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Eva Mendes wandered through galleries filled with Warhols and Pollocks at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for a lavish benefit to raise money for the once-struggling institution. Though the museum just opened its massive 30th Anniversary show, featuring 500 works from its permanent collection, the main attraction last night were the tuxedo and ball gown-clad stars themselves — and a rousing performance by pop star Lady Gaga ... Speakeasy caught up with Christina Ricci, in a delicate, navy blue dress, as she checked out the artwork before dinner. Though she’s an art lover, she’s not yet seriously started collecting the stuff, she told us. 'I would love to if I had the money.' One of her favorite artists, Mark Rothko, has an entire room of his works in L.A. MOCA’s show, which she said she was looking forward to checking out .. The gala raised over $3.5 million for L.A. MOCA, which was famously on the verge of collapse less than a year ago before a $30 million bail-out by billionaire-philanthropist Eli Broad, also the evening’s co-chair. 'What a difference a year makes,' declared David Johnson, a member of the museum’s board of trustees." (WSJ)



"He was a small man, with a very neatly trimmed black mustache, seated in a corner, leaning forward on his walking stick, smiling, sipping Scotch from a glass that seemed too large for his frail hands. His face brightened with a smile as he reminisced about the dictator’s wife who once locked herself in the bathroom of his private jet and the star-studded, five-day extravaganza he threw for his 50th birthday. Oh, the memories of a fallen billionaire arms trader. 'My personal philosophy is I don’t regret matters that happen, good or bad,' said the man, Adnan M. Khashoggi, who is 74 years old and these days prefers to be remembered as 'Mr. Fix It,' rather than the arms dealer involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. 'I just accept this as my destiny. It’s a personal attitude' ...But his behavior also won him notoriety. He was the arms dealer in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which senior Reagan administration officials sent arms to Iran in violation of an arms embargo to secure the release of hostages and financing for the American-backed forces in Nicaragua. He also was indicted — and acquitted — on charges that he helped the Marcos family loot hundreds of millions from the Philippine treasury before fleeing Manila. He had a reputation as a playboy and as someone who hired high-priced prostitutes to win over some of his clients and benefactors. It was all part of his game, one that he ultimately lost." (NYTimes)



"Diddy is promising the 'party of the century' to celebrate his 40th birthday on Thursday. Sean Combs will take over the Plaza Hotel's Grand Ballroom. He's hired event planner Bronson Van Wyck to create a 'fantasy dreamland' with fashion installations, a labyrinth, performance art and a display by 'wizard of light' Bentley Meeker, who promises the lighting will grow 'dimmer and sexier,' punctuated by a 'blizzard of light.' Those expected include Queen Latifah, Russell Simmons, Spike Lee, Zac Posen, Lil' Kim and a 'very special' musical guest." (PageSix)



"So when Obama administration officials say America needs to start paying more attention to China, they’re not talking about the American right. It’s only because the right’s attentions were elsewhere, in fact, that U.S.-Chinese relations—the relations upon which global security and prosperity depend—have remained so calm. And they’re not really talking about the American left either. Liberals don’t want to confront Beijing militarily, but many do want to confront it economically. Back during the Clinton years, the activist left mostly opposed 'most favored nation' trading status for Beijing and demanded restrictions on Chinese goods until its government improved workers’ rights and environmental protection. Today, the left is also unhappy about China’s devalued currency, which makes its exports artificially cheap. The only thing keeping liberals from declaring trade war on China now is that China isn’t high on their priority list: health care, global warming, card-check, Afghanistan and various other issues all come first. Herein lies Team Obama’s problem: They want to pay more attention to China. But the result of all their attention is likely to be arrangements that codify China’s newfound economic and political power." (Peter Beinart/TheDailyBeast)



"Tatler is the oldest magazine in history (it started in 1709!) and Diane Von Furstenberg and Tina Brown had a party at DVF's space to celebrate the UK society magazine's 300th anniversary. The NYC bash follows the Tatler 300th in London, which had a guest list of Brits including Peaches Geldof, Manolo Blahnik and Viktor & Rolf. I went with Tatiana von Furstenberg and Thomas Whiteside to DVF's studio and we ran into Barry Diller, Alex von Furstenberg and Ali Kay, Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman ... and Euan Rellie to name just a few. After cocktails, some people headed to Art Rocks! at the Bowery Hotel while DVF VIPs walked down the block to The Standard Grill for an intimate dinner." (Peter Davis/Papermag)

"Best known for such classic guy films as "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator," director Ridley Scott is now an executive producer for CBS's "The Good Wife." He discussed with The Wall Street Journal what attracted him to a quiet television drama about a middle-aged woman who rejoins the workforce after her politico husband's sex scandal." (WSJ)

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