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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Katherine Heigl is a bigger star than Denzel Washington. Sandra Bullock has been pummeling Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe. Meryl Streep reeks of gold brick. In 2009, when it came to movie-ticket sales, women came out on top. While male stars grapple with a changing movie scene that favors costumed superheroes over conventional action movies and thrillers, female actresses are still opening movies in a wide range of genres, from romantic comedies to sports dramas. 'This is the year of the woman,' Paul Dergarabedian, a box-office analyst with Hollywood.com, told TheWrap. 'Female stars or female-driven movies have been unexpectedly dominant. I mean, Meryl Streep is just as vital today as ever.' Scan the list of the top 50 grossing movies over the last year and it's clear: Recent hits like Streep's 'Julie & Julia,' along with Heigl's 'The Ugly Truth' and Bullock's 'The Proposal,' and 'The Blind Side,' show that when it comes to star-driven films, female actresses have consistently outperformed their male counterparts." (TheWrap)



"Nearly 40 years ago, I came across a useful snapshot of the creative, chaotic, consequential life that Edward Kennedy lived in the public square. It was somewhere in the bowels of the Senate office building that Kennedy made his headquarters for 47 years–a two-office suite inhabited by two remarkable people. The first office I walked into was run by a young, up-and-coming politician and lawyer whom those of us condemned to follow national politics had first noticed in Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. On any given day, other pols and officeholders, favor-seekers, and would-be allies could be found in this lair, eager to do business with the man who even then was handling just about anything of a sensitive nature on Kennedy’s behalf: Paul Kirk. Within another 20 years, Kirk would help arrange the senator’s divorce, play a role in the Democratic Party’s long march back from Reagan-era debacles, and then join his Republican counterpart, Frank Fahrenkopf, in a two-decade-plus reign staging the general election season’s presidential debates. In the end, the first true moment of comfort after Kennedy’s poignant death was the appointment of Kirk (by then the executor of his friend’s estate) to mind his Senate seat until a successor is elected. In the office beyond Kirk’s sat Dale de Haan, a typically brilliant Kennedy hire from the then-fledgling human rights community and a person of remarkable intellect and diligence. He greeted a decidedly different kind of visitor: diplomats from all over the world, intelligence agents, human rights campaigners fresh from some torturer’s dungeons. De Haan ran one of Kennedy’s most important fiefdoms, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on refugees and immigration. This hitherto ignored unit turned out to be the mechanism that Kennedy used to oppose further escalation of the Vietnam War in 1967 and then move into opposition to the entire, mad enterprise. De Haan’s portfolio would eventually go global as he became one of the leaders in the office of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, whose work would richly earn the Nobel Peace Prize in 1981. Truth be told, there was nowhere in the Kennedy empire–from the mid-1960s right through last year–you couldn’t find workaholic geniuses toiling on the major questions of the day, most of them on their way to distinguished, high-profile careers." (Thomas Oliphant/Democracy)



"After the auction there was a 'dinner' at the Monkey Bar. The Monkey Bar is the perfect party restaurant. I’m sure they knew this when they put it together. It’s dark and movie-theater theatrical in its ambience. There’s almost a film noir feel to it when the lights are low. The 'dinner' came out on large help-yourself trays placed on each table. It’s ten o’clock. Have as much or as little as you wish. Little mini-shrimp rolls. You don’t have just one. Then there was a slice of something, like croque monsieur haute dawg. I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. I had two.
Peggy Siegal was holding forth at the head table (middle of the mural). She had the 4th Viscount Astor (the British Astor who testified at the trial) on her left and the fashionable Marjorie Gubelmann looking throwaway chic in diamonds and black. Everyone was talking about Tiger Woods." (NYSocialDiary)



"Like a lot of people in Clintonland–I covered the Clinton White House for several magazines, including The New Republic, where I wrote the 'White House Watch' column–I was aware that Branch was around the White House a lot, but I had assumed it was either to write a book about Clinton, help with his official memoirs, or simply as an F.O.B. the now little-used acronym for Friends of Bill. I hadn’t realized that they were off-the-record conversations, and most people in the White House didn’t either. The project was kept remarkably secret, especially given all the investigations of Clinton. The candor engendered by this off-the-record agreement is illuminating, but not startling. We knew Bill Clinton was angry at the press and the Republicans and the scandalmongers, and here we see it in fuller detail. We knew he was a late-night work horse, and we see that, too. At one point, Clinton well past midnight, is in sweats, carrying a bowl of bean dip in one hand and chips in the other. He falls asleep in a barber’s chair. He rants like Lear. He’s often wrestling with allergies as much as he is history. And he’s brilliant, offering smart takes on everyone from Sam Nunn to Alija Izetbegovic, the first president of Bosnia-Herzegovina." (Matt Cooper/Democracy)



"Kim and Khloe Kardashian stopped by (the Howard Stern Show) to promote the upcoming fourth season of their E! reality series 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians.' Howard wondered what it was like to be reality show stars and they talked about how much they loved working with Ryan Seacrest to make the show. Howard asked Kim about her sex-tapes, but she would only say that no one likes when something like that happens ...Howard asked Khloe about her new husband, Lamar Odom, who plays for the LA Lakers. Khloe explained how they met at a party and ended up hanging out all night – and then running into each other again the next day by chance. Howard wondered how long it took before they first slept together and Khloe revealed that it was 4 days .. Howard then asked Kim about her relationship with New Orleans Saints’ running back, Reggie Bush. Kim confirmed they were dating but, unlike her sister, would not comment on the size of his penis as that kind of talk made her uncomfortable. Howard asked if she thought they would get married, but Kim explained she was married for 4 years when she was 19, so she was in no hurry this time around. Artie thought it was amazing that the two girls were involved with two of the top guys on two of the top teams in their sports. Khloe joked that they needed to hook their sister up with a NY Yankee, and Artie shot back – stay away from the Yankees." (HowardStern/Rundown)



"Juliette Lewis has not always been as healthy as she looks now. Fifteen years ago she had a major drugs crisis. 'When I did drugs I hated myself,' she says. 'It was a shame-filled time. It was destructive.' That all feels a long way off now, though, she adds. 'I quit drugs at 22 and I'm 36 now so it feels like talking about myself when I was in diapers.' Lewis, the ingénue actress turned punk rocker, was the original wild child. She was arrested for underage drinking at 15 and has admitted to smoking pot since she was 13 .. (She) is still a Scientologist. "It was do or die. I had really reached rock bottom. I needed to push through it to realise my goals and my purpose." Nowadays her only vice is an occasional pint of Guinness. When we meet in the bar of the Royal Garden Hotel, she insists I drink a massive blackberry vitamin smoothie with her. (I obediently down it. She is not the sort of person you say no to.) The purpose she discovered post-rehab was punk - which is now even more important to her than acting." (Thisisshowbiz)

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