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Monday, November 02, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"STUNNING Stephanie Seymour will have to get by on just $270,000 a month -- at least until her nasty divorce from polo-playing pony breeder Peter Brant is finalized. A Connecticut judge ordered Brant to start coughing up the dough last week. According to the Con necticut Post, the court also cited his continued fury over his wife's thorough bred spending habits. Brant, who nets an estimated $1.55 million a month, has com plained he can't fathom why Seymour pays retail at Berg dorf's, when she could get by with discounted duds from family pal Azzedine Alaia." (NYPost)



"Obama’s thinking on Afghanistan began from a sound premise. He said that President Bush was right to be pursuing al Qaeda in Afghanistan, where it was, and wrong to switch resources to Iraq, where it wasn’t, at a time when capturing or killing Osama bin Laden was still feasible in Afghanistan. But saying the withdrawal of troops was a mistake does not mean that sending more troops in, with a different mission in a different time, is a good idea. Unfortunately, Obama seems to work from his campaign rhetoric into a frame of thought that makes Afghanistan a good idea because Iraq was a bad idea. We are now trying to prop up a corrupt government in a country with a drug economy that breeds faction, crime, and resentment at our interference. There is a larger fallacy at work—that the only way to fight terrorists is to attack countries that do or might give them a base. Modern terrorists do not need to have a country for a base. The bombers in Spain and England did not need to have a Middle Eastern base for their action. Modern terrorists are mobile and can spring up anywhere. They must be sought with cooperative police work around the world, not by armies taking over foreign nations. Terrorism is a crime, not a country. It breaks my heart to see Obama creating his very own Vietnam." (Gary Wills/TheDailyBeast)



"Nigella Lawson has arrived at last. In a poll of the hottest ladies of the moment in the lesbian magazine DIVA, the domestic goddess has come in at number five, only a few places behind the front runners, Pink and Angelina Jolie. 'I am flattered beyond words,' says Nigella. Let's hope Charles Saatchi doesn't get jealous of all the female attention." (Thisislondon)



"In interviews over the years with people born to wealthy families, I have heard many stories from adult men and women who, while looking back, can remember incidents from their adolescence that in one way or another informed them about family money. However, almost all of these memories trace back no further than middle school, or roughly age 12. Questions about times preceding this period in life generally remained unanswered. Impressions that play a role in determining status, though, certainly must begin to arrive much sooner. Not too long ago, I heard an anecdote about a six-year-old who, in the middle of dancing around her parent’s living room at a cocktail party, announced to guests that she wanted her father to buy the Boston Garden so she could play there with friends. Only a few days beforehand, the family had attended a performance for children at the venue, and it clearly had made an impact. The wish of the child to own the place wasn’t a product of arrogance; it was more of a na├»ve hope that flashed across a whimsical, juvenile mind. And it isn’t so hard to understand where the notion came from. A child of social position becomes accustomed early on to the expectation that people will purchase objects of desire. A young mentality gets shaped quickly in this way." (Jamie Johnson/ VanityFair)



"Fifteen years after Arsenio Hall signed off the air, late-night TV is once again making room for hosts who aren't white men. Fox on Saturday launches a weekly showcase for African-American comic Wanda Sykes. Next week, George Lopez becomes the first Latino to host a nightly late-night comedy series on a major network when his 'Lopez Tonight' premieres on TBS. And last month saw the arrival of 'The Mo'Nique Show' on BET. Is this the Obamafication of the late-night wars? 'It may have to do with the fact that we have a black president,' said Eddie Feldman, executive producer of 'The Wanda Sykes Show.' In the past, 'I had been out (in the TV marketplace) at different times with different comedians of color, and you'd go in and say, 'There's nobody of color on now in late night,' and it didn't get a lot of attention from the networks,' Feldman said. 'I do think that it's because of President Obama, that maybe the networks started saying, 'Well, OK, we might need to get into this business.' Michael Wright, who heads up programming for the Turner networks (including TBS), agrees there's something happening here. But rather than looking at Obama's election as the reason for the changes in late night, he's hoping they're both signs of a broader societal evolution. 'I would like to think they're a reflection of a cultural shift that's going on,' he said. 'That maybe, please, we're all growing up and becoming a bit more open-minded and more inclusive.'" (TheWrap)



(Hamish Bowles via Todd Eberle)

"The Polaroids that fashion designer Stephen Sprouse took of his friends in his heyday look a lot like the scene at Allison Sarofim's '1980s downtown New York City'-themed party last weekend at the socialite's West Village home. Partygoers were decked out in everything from Day-Glo, graffiti-print outfits (Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone) to Keith Haring–inspired fashions, to a very convincing Tama Janowitz getup. Even Interview-magazine veterans Bob Colacello and Glen O'Brien were there—in person. Herewith, a sampling of the ensembles that Vanity Fair photographer Todd Eberle captured at the Halloween party of the year." (VF)



"I went down to the New York City Library in the Stephen Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue for the annual Library Lions gala benefit. The New York Public Library is one of the most important institutions not only in the city, but for the country and the American culture ... That said, the annual Library Lions dinner is the biggest and the mostest of the Library’s copious events. It is their fund-raiser of fund-raisers, and last night they took in $2.7 million .. David Monn and Gayfryd Steinberg always decorate this evening. Because Monn has become a very prominent events designer in his own right, I asked Mrs. Steinberg last night what her contribution was. She told me she filled all the breadbaskets on all the tables ... About eight o’clock the crowd began moving in for dining and the program. I saw Mort Janklow, the legendary literary agent who told me that seat to which he was assigned turned out to be the same chair in which he sat for weeks and months as a kid writing his thesis, which was on Propaganda and its effects. It was there, at that chair, in this great room, that he read the 23 volumes of Goebbels diaries, and where young Janklow witnessed firsthand through the written word, the art of the Big Lie." (NYSocialDiary)



"Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire is a movie of many textures, each one illuminating the emotionally gripping narrative at its core. Lee Daniels directs with bold strokes that could go wrong at any moment, but generally serve to illuminate a troubled life and the justified desire to escape it. The story of a troubled Harlem teen named Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) impregnated by her absent father, 'Precious' progresses with a steadily engaging series of starts and stops in the frayed world of its talented star. While fending off her dysfunctional mother (Monique, in a stunningly psychotic turn), Precious gradually learns to surpass her aimless fantasies and come to grips with the troubles at hand. Using lavishly photographed sequences, Daniels contrasts Precious’s daily woes with the happier existence inside her head, but these moments gradually give way to the protagonist’s fulfillment of her actual goals. Moved to an alternative school to meet her special needs, Precious learns from more caring adults (including Mariah Carey as a trenchant social worker) about her obvious potential to mature. A spunky character with an increasing ability to editorialize about her new environment ('they talk like TV channels I don’t watch,' she says of her newfound mentors), Precious makes the ideal heroine of modern times. 'Precious' does not function exclusively as a story of race, but as a universal depiction of real world struggle. The only question is whether distributors can push themselves to get it out there." (IndieWIRE)



"Despite the fact that there are two high powered gubernatorial races up for grabs on Tuesday, New York's 23rd district appears to be the one to watch on election night. Joe Scarborough and former Governor George Pataki have also made--and Tweeted about--appearances in the district. Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee who dropped out of the race, is backing Democrat Bill Owens. Politico reports that high-ranking national Democrats started working on Dede Scozzafava to secure that endorsement immediately after she dropped out of the race on Saturday. Is this some genius plan of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel?" (Ron Mwangaguhunga/AirAmerica)



"At last night's 13th Annual ACE Awards, the Accessories Council honored a fashion icon who's made of plastic (Barbie) and a performer (Lady Gaga) who showed up in headwear that resembled an oversized cotton ball. Those trendsetting blondes were a couple of the more unconventional stars of an event devoted to recognizing the most influential forces in the world of handbags, hats, sunglasses, and—in the words of Accessory Visionary Award winner Diane von Furstenberg—other 'friends you can carry with you and they make you feel better' ..TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie waltzed in with Erin Wasson on his arm and a pair of exotic slip-ons on his feet. 'They are absolutely, 100 percent fake zebra,' he assured us ... Gaga made a vow on behalf of her style team—'We will never do a line; we are not an economy'—and closed the proceedings with an unexpected fashion tip: 'The most important fashion accessory is the condom.'" (Style)



"In the age of the Verified Account, we expect our celebrities and media personalities to be on Twitter. It’s not only the quickest and easiest way for them to reach their audiences, but sometimes it provides us a small window into the minutiae of their everyday lives. 'Famous people, they’re just like us!' we like to think when Martha Stewart’s dog pees in the house or Oprah says she’s tired. But that’s not why it’s a category on our Power Grid. There’s also business. We know who’s going to be on television and when, we click links and witness debate — all in 140 characters, of course. Disparate uses of the service are to be expected; new media must be tried, twisted and broken before its function is decided and opinions vary as much as usage. Maybe to you, Shaq’s frequent inanities are hilarious or maybe they’re a waste of time. Maybe Ana Marie Cox’s links are educational or maybe they’re boring. But to make that judgement, thousands — and in some cases millions! — are pressing 'follow.'" (Mediaite)



(image via Jill Krementz via NYSD)

"I also read Russell Baker’s review of Ted Kennedy’s autobiography in the New York Review of Books. Many of us grew up under the Kennedys’ lights. They dominated the political and celebrity scene for a generation of Americans, and then some. I also grew up in Massachusetts where they were well known before Jack went to the White House, although not in the same bright light. At that time the Kennedys were still regarded plainly as Irish-Catholics, which meant Not Quite Our Class by ruling WASP social establishment ... It was also true that almost everyone I know who actually knew the man, including those who knew him for decades, or even met the man, had a lot of respect and often great affection for the way he’d carried on the family name, as its patriarch and in public service. And there were others who also experienced him and were not kind about him. Women, that is. Baker says Teddy showed no signs in his book of being introspective, which is never surprising for people with so much physical energy. The last time I saw him was about ten years ago. It was on a Saturday afternoon in the summertime at the Bathing Corporation where he’d come with his sister to lunch. He was massively overweight, sweating and bilious, yet wearing shorts which were almost not big enough for all that excess. He looked very uncomfortable in his stride although he moved along quickly like a man on a mission. Reading Baker’s excellent review of the book, I realized that the Kennedys as we have known them – that astonishingly glamorous and vigorous (Jack’s word) American family, have now all left us with the exception of the youngest sister – although older than Teddy -- Jean Kennedy Smith." (NYSocialDiary)



"Tycoon Sol Kerzner today picked up a (USD $24 million) party bill after London's glitterati flew to Morocco to launch his latest hotel. Guests drank more than 5,000 bottles of Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot in the London-based businessman's third hotel opening of the year. After similar multi-million-pound spectacles in Dubai and Cape Town, the spotlight fell on Morocco's (USD $453 million) Mazagan Beach Resort, where Kerzner was joined by 1,500 guests including Naomi Campbell, Yasmin and Simon Le Bon, Natascha McElhone, Lisa Snowdon, Donna Air and Lindsay Lohan. He laid on 100,000 Moroccan roses for the night, which included having specially trained monkeys hand a single flower to each of the female guests. Other entertainments included a firework display, snake charmers, belly dancers and tarot-card readers. Ms Campbell, who flew to Casablanca for just a few hours with her billionaire boyfriend Vladslav Doronin, said: 'It's such a romantic place, the perfect place to be in love.'" (Thisislondon)



"We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we couldn’t be more pumped for Sylvester Stallone’s all-star action extravaganza, The Expendables. If you’ve been tracking this pecs-pumping, pyrotechnics-palooza with us, then you’re already hip to the summer 2010 film’s hulking, Who’s Who he-man cast (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, etc.). You’ve also seen the early photos of a tattooed and totally ripped Stallone and heard that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger would drop by for cameo appearances, pretty much cementing the film as a one-stop shopping site for ’80s blow-’em-up blockbuster lovers." (Popwatch)

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