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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"It's two o'clock in the afternoon when a pretty brunette interior designer breezes into Yigal Azrouël's funky West 14th Street boutique, attempting to look casual. Checking her reflection in a mirror she scans the space, taking in the $250 featherweight tees and thousand-dollar frocks. But this Yigal devotee isn't here to shop. Well, not exactly. Instead, she confesses, she regularly pops into the store on her lunch break in the hopes of a brush with the designer himself. If she's lucky, and the darkly handsome 37-year-old Israeli designer Azrouël is in his store, she lingers, feigning fascination with a display of prewrinkled scarves or grabbing the nearest low-cut top and heading for the dressing room, all for the chance of a little more time in his presence. 'He's dark and brooding and stylish, and he's got that rough-around-the-edges thing going on,' gushes Azrouël's secret fan ... In the fashion world, an available, heterosexual man with palpable sex appeal (and an umlaut in his name) is a rare thing indeed. He's an urban legend in the flesh: The Straight. Hot. Single. Male. Fashion Designer ... On the subject of his swarthy good looks, (Emma) Snowdon-Jones caves a bit. 'I always go, Yigal, you're so pretty, he has this Andy Garcia thing that makes you melt.' Indeed, Azrouël, who has been in business for 12 years, taps into the psyche of a certain type of woman—the sort who dines uptown with mother at Swifty's and then throws on a leather jacket and heads downtown to slum it at The Box. The now-defunct New York Sun called his core customer 'chic, artsy, thin, and beautiful.' As another socialite puts it, 'He's a type of uptown woman's wet dream: Who wouldn't want a guy who's sociable, straight and loves clothes? For women who can't get their husbands to pay attention to them, it's almost too good to be true.'" (PageSixMagazine)




(image via JH/NYSD)

"The story of Dubai World and its debt is turning into a soap opera that it really does not deserve to be. Some simple facts are being ignored from all sides, which suggests that we are all either naive or simply hoping that somehow the realities of a debt burdened company will simply change by 'talking' their way out of it. There are also some essential media mistakes that Dubai government officials have made, making it all the more difficult to handle than it should be. Firstly, bondholders and lenders always knew that they were lending to a government owned entity without the explicit guarantee of the Government of Dubai. Whether their argument that they didn't need the guarantee to be explicit is really worthy of being tested in a court of law remains to be seen. As a former banker, I am clear that the sole shareholder of the company doesn't mean all the debts of the company are guaranteed by said stockholder, even though it may place moral responsibilities on him. From a strictly legal point of view, such a guarantee is never explicit unless stated in the debt documents. This the bankers and the bondholders knew when they lent the money -- even though they may have believed, and would argue the assumption was that the risks of lending were less since Dubai World was a Government Related Entity (GRE)." (Anwer Sher/NYSocialDiary)



"In the 1990s, (Helena) Christensen was one of the original 'supermodels', together with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, who became notorious for Evangelista's statement that they "wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.' All have enjoyed a career renaissance this year despite their advancing age, and Christensen put it down to personality. 'They all had interesting personalities and were fun. They were versatile in their way of posing and expressing themselves. They had a certain depth to them that made you interested in more than just the facade.' The 'supermodel' label is 'silly and cartoonish, but to be a part of that whole group of girls - at the end of the day, I was there. I did it. I am a million experiences richer.' Christensen has pursued a second career as a photographer, and also runs her own shop in New York." (Telegraph)



"Celebrity scandal biographer Ian Helperin stopped by to promote his latest book, 'Brangelina: The Untold Story,' about the rocky lives and relationship of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Ian said he went to great lengths to research the book, even checking into the same mental hospital Angelina had stayed in under the name 'Billy Bob Jackson' (a salute to Angelina's ex-husband and Michael Jackson). IAN'S ALLEGATIONS Ian listed a few of the allegations in 'Brangelina,' saying he'd sleep naked in Times Square for a month if anyone could disprove them: 1. After their public make-out session, Angelina's management decided she should never be seen with her brother in public again: 'And they're still very close.' 2. The strict media control regime has ruined Brad's looks ('He looks like a wreck.') and turned him into a heavy pot and alcohol user. 3. When the couple met on the set of 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith,' the crew was shocked by the chemistry: 'They said they've never seen two people more compatible from the get-go.'" (HowardStern)



"The ruler of Dubai on Tuesday sought to deflect criticism of his economic policies by attacking the media for its coverage of the crisis and global markets for misreading an announcement by Dubai World, a state-owned company with debts of $59bn. Responding to questions on the global fallout from Dubai World’s request for a standstill on its debts Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: 'they do not understand anything'. His comments were his first in public since the debt crisis erupted last week." (FT)



"It's about time TV foodie Padma Lakshmi put on some weight – and it's all thanks to her coming baby and her healthier attitude about life, she says. 'One of the reasons I think I've gained weight pretty quickly during my pregnancy is that I'm not exercising as much as I do normally ... I can't. I'm feeling tired, and I have this business to run,' Lakshmi, 39, tells Page Six magazine in an interview to run Thursday. 'You hope that with age, what you pay for in gravity, you gain in gravitas. I'm sure my thighs looked better when I was 25, but I think my mind is better today.'" (People)



"Before he became famous for donning ridiculous mascot headgear to make his weekly picks on ESPN, Lee Corso coached the Indiana Hoosiers football team for ten mostly forgettable seasons. One year, one of his overmatched squads managed to score an early touchdown against mighty Ohio State, grabbing a 7-0 lead - at which point Mr. Corso called a time-out so his team could pose for a picture in front of the scoreboard. Then the game resumed and the Hoosiers lost 47-7. Rick Lazio might want to borrow the same trick right about now. The latest Siena poll has the former Long Island congressman pulling ahead of Governor David Paterson by three points in a 2010 trial heat. This would be a good point for Mr. Lazio to pause, pat himself on the back for his minor achievement, and maybe even frame a copy of the results for posterity." (Observer)



"Jon Meacham is clearly an intelligent person and skilled writer, but his judgment about America and what America needs is somewhat inferior to that of my cat Lexie. Last November, he was telling us that the election affirmed the nation’s conservatism. Now he is urging Dick Cheney to run for president in 2012. It would be 'good for the country,' he argues, 'because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people.' Let’s leave aside dated comparisons to leftwing parties in Europe urging stark choices between left and right in the hope that the right would discredit itself, and let’s just talk about America. This country has functioned best when there is a widely shared worldview about Constitutional government (e.g. separation of powers), equality (e.g. safety net for those at the bottom), and America’s role in the world (e.g. important, but not imperial). Think of America under Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy, for instance. Much of our current woes – epitomized by the sheer craziness of the Republican Congress after 1994 and of George W. Bush’s two terms – is the result of the erosion of that consensus from the right, and the emergence of a frankly supra-Constitutional nationalism on the right. Cheney began his career as the rightwing of the Old Guard Republicanism of Gerald Ford, but he became sometime during the ‘90s a spear carrier for this new, dangerous right. It amazes me that someone who has written books about American history, and presumably knows something about the subject, would assume that stark choices between left and right bring about a plausible middle-ground. Politics doesn’t work like mathematics." (John B. Judis/TNR)



"It’s been five years since Sirius lured shock jock Howard Stern to satellite radio with a $500 million contract. Whether Stern can re-up with a similar deal when his contract expires at the end of next year is anyone’s guess, but it ought to be entertaining. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is preparing himself for negotiations with the self-proclaimed King of All Media. In a meeting with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit on Monday, Karmazin gave us a thumbnail sketch of his version of 'The Art of the Deal.' 'I could tell you, it will start with Howard feeling that he is working too hard and doing too many shows and not making enough money. Our side would say, ‘We want you to do more, and get less money,’ Karmazin said." (Reuters)

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