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Monday, December 21, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"'This is like Lindsay Lohan dying,' a studio executive told me, reacting to the news Sunday afternoon that 32-year-old actress Brittany Murphy had been pronounced dead a few hours earlier at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 'It really doesn’t come, unfortunately, as a shock.' While Murphy, the star of Clueless, Don't Say a Word and, most memorably, 8 Mile, may have had a clean-cut image for most of her fans, inside the small world of Hollywood, the sentiment yesterday was unanimous: She was a mess." (TheDailyBeast)



"Friday night I had dinner with a friend, Elizabeth Powell, at the bar of Citronelle Restaurant. The snow had started to fall, sticking to the streets and sidewalks in a pretty blanket of white. In walked Mayor Adrian Fenty and his wife Michelle, with another couple. Blizzards are prime time for urban mayors. A storm poorly handled can seriously damage a career, especially for a mayor, like Fenty, who is up for re-election. But he was smiling, at ease, confident. Maybe it’s because the dinner was to celebrate his 39th birthday, snowstorm or no snowstorm. It seemed he was ready for what Mother Nature had in store." (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"On Dec. 20, 1989, nearly 30,000 U.S. troops invaded Panama and captured the country's military dictator, Gen. Manuel Noriega. The invasion lasted just over a month, and the U.S. military suffered just 23 casualties. Thomas Pickering was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the conflict, and a key advisor to President George H.W. Bush as the United States solidified its position in Central America and ushered in a new age of interventionism in the post-Cold War era. For Pickering, however, the conflict now has a different legacy: He believes that the invasion of Panama helped lead America into the Iraq war. The brief and relatively bloodless war in Panama convinced Americans that the use of force could easily solve their problems overseas -- and, what's more, that the United States could largely accomplish this on its own. The United States did not seek international approval before invading Panama, as it did before the first Gulf War. In a recent interview with Foreign Policy, Pickering noted that before the 1990 invasion of Iraq, '[W]e undertook quite a remarkable series of activities inside the Security Council,' including resolutions that imposed economic sanctions on the country and, after the war, the establishment of a peacekeeping force to protect the Kurds. Multilateralism came with costs, however." (ForeignPolicy)



"Naomi Campbell is suffering 'litigation exhaustion' and has pulled out of her latest court case, incurring an estimated (US $483,336) legal bill. The 39-year-old model discontinued her case against Vanessa Frisbee, a former personal assistant, whom she had accused of breaching confidentiality by selling a story about her in 2000 to the News of the World for (US $40,278). Miss Campbell has appeared in a number of court hearings over the past 10 years. She has run up convictions for assault and won a House of Lords privacy case against the Mirror in 2004 after photos of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting were published. But today Master Bowles, a High Court official hearing her confidentiality case, said that while he could understand the model's 'exhaustion with litigation' she must still pay 90 per cent of Miss Frisbee's legal costs." (Thisislondon)



"Catherine Zeta-Jones gave well-placed fans at her Broadway show, 'A Little Night Music,' a little something to remember by inadvertently flashing her boobs onstage. Zeta-Jones stars with Angela Lansbury in the revival. In one scene, her character is reunited with her long lost lover and opens her kimono to show him what he's been missing. But audience members on the left side of the orchestra the other day also got a spectacular view. One told us, 'I couldn't believe it. No wonder Michael Douglas looks so happy. The couple sitting next to me also saw it and poked each other.' Expect a rush for left-orchestra seats." (PageSix)



"Does the Republican Party have any ideas? The query may have a familiar ring. Five years ago, the question of substance was demanded incessantly of the Democrats. Indeed, in one of those intellectual fads that periodically sweep through Washington, the political class became obsessed with the notion that conservatives had unambiguously won what everybody was calling 'the war of ideas.' The notion was everywhere. The right gloated. ('Conservative thought,' boasted right-wing foundation maven James Piereson, 'has seized the initiative in the world of ideas.') Republicans scolded the opposition. (President Bush chastised Democrats in Congress: '[I]f they have no ideas or policies except obstruction, they should step aside and let others lead.') And Democrats internalized the accusation. ('It makes me realize,' observed labor leader Andrew Stern in 2005, 'how vibrant the Republicans are in creating twenty-first-century ideas, and how sad it is that we’re defending sixty-year-old ideas.'" (TNR)



"When word hit the Internet not long ago that Rashida Jones, the co-star of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, was creating her own comic book series—a spy thriller called Frenemy of the State, co-written with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, that will be published in early 2010 by Oni Press—the response was a resounding 'Yes, please.' Actually, as sometimes happens when attractive women mix with comic fandom, things got a little creepy. Bloggers didn’t hesitate to use terms like 'geek chubby' when describing their excitement. And as one online commentator noted, 'Rashida Jones is so hot, and the fact that she made a comic makes her much hotter.' Jones isn’t the first actress to try her hand at comic book authorship—Jenna Jameson and Rosario Dawson both created their own graphic novels, Shadow Hunter and Occult Crimes Taskforce, respectively—but something about Jones’s comic ambitions seems especially surprising. After all, this is the daughter of Quincy Jones and the Mod Squad’s Peggy Lipton. This is the woman who played the woman who cock-blocked Pam on The Office." (VanityFair)



"A dozen years after scoring the biggest blockbuster of all-time, James Cameron returned to his comfortable spot at number one with his most expensive film to date, the sci-fi epic Avatar, which grossed more than every other film in the marketplace combined. On the other hand, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker failed to charm audiences with their new date movie Did You Hear About the Morgans? which limped into fourth place with a weak opening. A massive blizzard rocked the east coast dumping up to two feet of snow in some areas causing movie theaters to see drastic cuts in attendance. Studios will now fight hard to capture lost business in the days ahead as most holdovers witnessed hefty declines ... Sandra Bullock scored another milestone as her runaway hit The Blind Side became the only film of 2009 to spend five consecutive weeks in the top three. The uplifting football pic slipped just 33% to an estimated $10M and lifted the incredible cume to $164.7M. Warner Bros. looks likely to surpass $200M with this one. Liam Neeson's Taken was the only other film this year to spend five weeks in the top three, although they were not consecutive." (Boxofficeguru)



"There was good news and bad news for guests at Chandelier Creative and Commonwealth Utilities' annual holiday blowout. Le bon? The bash could be entered in the Holiday Party Hall of Fame. But it was a bummer that most guests didn't actually work for the company. Alas! Founder Richard Christiansen thought really big when planning the second annual affair. The invite was bigger than most newborns, the eye-popping Christmas tree stood at about fifteen feet, and the Chandelier Pop Choir (think a four hour-long episode of Glee) dominated the space. And then this! "We have to greet to the Sexy Santa,' quipped Daphne Guinness. 'We can't leave without him.' Well, you get the point. Happy faces like Francisco Costa, Amanda Setton, Stefano Tonchi, Jessica White, Julie Henderson, and Peter Som happily greeted the Santa (a trainer at Christiansen's gym) and munched on popcorn from a huge display, hot dogs from a giant street stand, cupcakes, and lots of champagne. Lorenzo Martone held court by the silent auction that was raising money for the New Museum. His own poolside photograph drew the most bids last night for the second straight year. 'Last year's best-selling picture was of Barack and Michelle Obama," he recalled." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Historically, at least in America, people who seek to thrive in the theatre, publishing, finance, media, or even the gossip columns, make their way to Manhattan. Once here, the climb begins, and it’s tougher than any mountain in Nepal. As E.B. White, the great .. chronicler wrote, 'all it takes is a willingness to be lucky.' But first one must get through the velvet rope. I was kept out until 1978, when Clay Felker, the man who discovered Tom Wolfe, and countless others, decided it was time for the poor little Greek boy to stand up and be counted. I flew from London to New York and went to work almost immediately. He spiked the first piece but then I struck it rich with a story about William Paley, the rich all-powerful head of CBS, and the prominent women trying to land him after his wife, the legendary Babe Cushing Mortimer Paley, had died. I described him as a man so old he was considered middle-aged even in Palm Beach, and gave the women names of various fish, blow fish, the barracuda, shark, etc. Clay was over the moon and called me at five in the morning offering me a job." (Takimag)

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