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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(Goldman Sachs C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein and C.O.O. Gary Cohn via VF)

"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner disputed claims by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives that the bank could have survived the financial crisis without government help and said it and other Wall Street firms should show some restraint in handing out bonuses this year. 'It is very important that we change the way these executives are paid, the form of compensation, this year,' Geithner said in an interview yesterday for Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt, which is being aired throughout the weekend. 'We have to end that era of irresponsibly high bonuses' ... Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank are set to pay record combined bonuses this year, according to analysts’ estimates. Goldman set a Wall Street pay record in 2007 when its compensation totaled $20.2 billion, including $68.5 million for chairman and chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein. Blankfein told Vanity Fair magazine in an article published online this week that he thought the company could have survived the financial turmoil on its own without government help. Goldman’s president, Gary Cohn, was more definitive. 'I think we would not have failed,' he told the magazine. 'We had cash.'" (Bloomberg)



"Naomi Campbell has a very good reason for hitting Art Basel in Miami with a bodyguard -- she has a stalker. After we reported that the supermodel was flanked by a burly security guard at a charity auction in South Beach, Campbell's rep in London, Alan Edwards, called us to say that Campbell has had a problem with an aggressive female stalker while in Miami ..Page Six also reported that Campbell and an unidentified woman got into an argument at the W hotel at a party hosted by Vito Schnabel and Stavros Niarchos. Edwards says that woman was Campbell's stalker, though he declined to offer any specifics as to her identity. An eyewitness at the W tells Page Six: 'Naomi and her people were talking to DJ Mike Noveau when some crazy British girl came over, shoved Mike out of the way, and started screaming at her. She yelled, 'How could you do that, you [expletive]! She was quickly dragged away. Naomi started walking in the opposite direction, and yelled back at her.' Authorities in Miami wouldn't say whether Campbell had formally filed a complaint. Campbell, a notorious hothead in her own right, has had a busy Art Basel, making the rounds with boyfriend Vladislav Doronin, a Russian real-estate tycoon. She was spotted chatting up Jamie Foxx at art dealer Larry Gagosian's dinner at Mr. Chow on Wednesday, and had dinner with Nicky Hilton, Eva Chow and Stephen Dorff at real-estate developer Aby Rosen's dinner at Solea on Thursday." (PageSix)



"Collectors and gallerists worried about the art market after last year's dreary recession-plagued sales can take heart -- if Sylvester Stallone can whip out some things he painted in his garage and bank $90,000 for Galerie Gmurzynska, well, they just might be able to unload those Arnold Schwarzenneger scupltures purchased after Terminator II. Kidding about the Governor, though he has gotten pretty creative of late. But we're not joking about Sly -- that really was Mr. Rocky Balboa himself showing off his work at Art Basel Miami Beach this week, and the man scored a technical knockout by selling two paintings that weren't so critically acclaimed. 'I'm not just painting for painting's sake. I want to be truthful,' Stallone told the Daily Mail, though he gives most of his work to relatives and admitted, 'I wouldn't exactly say I have a following.' One buyer was Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul and collector, which means Stallone may want to be a conservationist as well: Wynn famously stuck his elbow through Picasso's Le Rêve, causing tens of millions of damage and cancelling a $139 million dollar sale. That Wynn is vision impaired should by no means communicate anything at all about Stallone's worth as an artist." (NBCMiami)



"On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appeared in his eighth annual televised séance with the Russian public. More than 2 million questions poured in by phone, e-mail, or text message, and, for a record four hours, Putin fielded some 80 of them from Russians across the country. All told, it was an odd spectacle. For one thing, Putin looked uncharacteristically weary, as if he was tired of putting on his populist hat and hearing the umpteenth pensioner complaining about a bad apartment -- something he's normally very good at. It also made for a striking contrast with President Dmitry Medvedev's state of the nation address to the Russian political elite a month ago. Granted, it was for a different audience, but Medvedev, in calling for urgent modernization, struck a very negative tone: Russia was behind; Russia was backward; Russia needed to modernize or drown in the riptides of history. Stop whining, he said; start doing. Putin's address, on the other hand, resembled an extended episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. He kicked off by answering some T-ball questions from the anchors about how well Russia had weathered the financial crisis. 'With a big dose of certainty, we can say that the peak of the crisis has been overcome,' Putin said, to the anchors' seeming relief. And then to the mailbox. Even for what was obviously a scripted event, the range of questions was stunning. In his answers to these requests, Putin sounded a bit like a genie. Someone writes in, 'I am a diabetic but haven't been able to get free medicine for more than a year.' Putin: 'What region is this?' Irkutsk oblast, Angarsk. Putin: 'We're going to see what's going on in Irkutsk oblast, and in Angarsk in particular. This I promise you.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"From the time he was a kid growing up in suburban Atlanta, the son of a lawyer father and homemaker mother, (Ryan) Seacrest’s goal was to become what he calls 'a classic iconic broadcaster' in the vein of Merv Griffin and other media ringmasters. 'I enjoy being in the middle of someone else’s time and spotlight,' he said, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees as he spoke. 'I’m happy to sort of get in when I need to, and then just step out and hang back. And those guys are all masters of it.' Now, as a producer and co-host of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, he’s officially one of those guys. His name was added to the title last year, and it will remain there, solo, when Clark, who had a stroke in 2004, decides to step down ..But it’s the career of the late Merv Griffin, with its arc from television host to media mogul, that Seacrest covets most. 'I said to him, I want to figure out a way to be you,' said Seacrest, who worked for Griffin in the late ’90s as the host of a teen quiz show called Click. The key to Griffin’s success, in Seacrest’s eyes, was his entrepreneurial drive behind the camera, not his on-camera popularity; he created several mega-hit shows, including 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune.' 'He was likable and accessible and smart and funny and charming,' Seacrest said of Griffin, 'but he would also leverage that to build assets so he wouldn’t have to work every single hour of every single day to have a return.'" (NYTimes)



"The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been on a tear against the porn industry and its often unhealthy ways. On Friday it convened a UCLA symposium of health-care groups in a step toward getting the state to force male porn stars to use condoms. God bless them for it, but it's going to be a harder row to hoe than putting Ron Jeremy on a diet. The porn industry and state legislators have faced this issue before: An HIV outbreak in 2004 saw four performers test positive. There was a lot of talk about requiring condoms, but virtually no one in the state legislature wanted to touch the issue. The latest industry HIV outbreak, the third by our count, happened in June. In 2004 a California assemblyman from Tahoe City attempted to introduce a bill that would have put Jim-hats on all male performers in state-made porn, but it went nowhere, and a spokesman said porn lobbyists 'have enough clout' to make the job of regulating the industry politically difficult ... (AIDS Healthcare Foundation associate director of communications Lori) Yeghiayan notes that porn workers confront not injury or stress but the possibility of death when they work without condoms. 'HIV, while things have changed and there are effective medications, it still can be a fatal disease,' she said. 'There is no cure.' The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has active investigations open into unsafe practices on porn sets as a result of complaints levied by the foundation, Yeghiayan says. 'We filed complaints with Cal/OSHA on those grounds -- the spread of blood-borne pathogens in the workplace,' she said. 'It is something that we will continue to press them on.'" (LAWeekly)



"I thought, 'The greatest success, I’ll live in (dad Ivan Reitman's) shadow. Greatest failure would be a very public failure.' My father, while I was at school, convinced me to come back to L.A. and to tell stories. And within the film festival system I found a democratic system in which I could submit myself to the same Darwinian process which every young filmmaker goes through. And if my short films are successful, it would be my success and I could have a career on my terms. The directors who made me want to be a director were Richard Linklater and Alexander Payne and Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez and Wes Anderson. It was the people who came out of film festivals in the '90s that really spoke to me and helped me find my own voice. So, while I always have enjoyed movies and I’ve had magical moments as a kid on set, and I went to see movies like crazy my entire adolescence, it really wasn’t until I got to college and I started to watch American indies that I thought, 'Y’know what? I think I can do this myself.'" (Jason Rightman/TheWrap)

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