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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"'I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions,' says Erik Prince as he surveys his heavily fortified, 7,000-acre compound in rural Moyock, North Carolina. 'But when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus.' Prince—the founder of Blackwater, the world’s most notorious private military contractor—is royally steamed. He wants to vent. And he wants you to hear him vent. Erik Prince has an image problem—the kind that’s impervious to a Madison Avenue makeover. The 40-year-old heir to a Michigan auto-parts fortune, and a former navy seal, he has had the distinction of being vilified recently both in life and in art. In Washington, Prince has become a scapegoat for some of the Bush administration’s misadventures in Iraq—though Blackwater’s own deeds have also come in for withering criticism. Congressmen and lawyers, human-rights groups and pundits, have described Prince as a war profiteer, one who has assembled a rogue fighting force capable of toppling governments. His employees have been repeatedly accused of using excessive, even deadly force in Iraq; many Iraqis, in fact, have died during encounters with Blackwater. And in November, as a North Carolina grand jury was considering a raft of charges against the company, as a half-dozen civil suits were brewing in Virginia, and as five former Blackwater staffers were preparing for trial for their roles in the deaths of 17 Iraqis, The New York Times reported in a page-one story that Prince’s firm, in the aftermath of the tragedy, had sought to bribe Iraqi officials for their compliance, charges which Prince calls 'lies … undocumented, unsubstantiated [and] anonymous.'" (VanityFair)



"'The whole world is so young and I'm feeling very old!' joked Chuck Close as he made his way around The Reach of Realism opening at North Miami's MOCA, featuring young talent like Tom Burr, Xaviera Simmons, and Adam McEwen. 'But I'm not complaining,' continued legendary artist. 'There's a beach, there's something to eat, something to drink. The fountain of youth is here in Miami.' Close joined other major talents and an astounding 3,000 other guests (like Eric Fischl and Adam Lippes) for a monumental Art Basel opening that was half art extravaganza and half outdoor festival featuring burgers, hummus, and drinks on the grass. Sandy Brant and Ingrid Sischy have co-hosted the Miami MOCA opening every year that Basel has taken place here, and last night was no exception. The duo got Vanity Fair International on board and provided a buffet of all of their editions. 'We're lucky to be staying at Bruce Weber's home, which is actually at Golden Beach,' smiled Sischy." (Fashionweekdaily)



"Jesse (Ventura) and Howard (Stern) talked about Sarah Palin and how bad she would have been as Vice President. Howard asked Jesse about this ID card he has that shows he was the Governor of Minnesota. Jesse said that's a get out of jail free card down in Mexico. He said they can pull you over and ask you to pay them off to get out of the charges. Jesse said you understand that down there and accept that the government is corrupt. Jesse told Howard about how weird it was being governor of Minnesota and how he used to go home and bail hay after he went to work as governor. He said he was making $120,000 a year as governor and you have to cut that in half because of taxes. Then they charged him for meals there at the mansion. He said it was cheap but they deducted it from his pay. He had to pay for his car there too. He said going to and from his house wasn't work so he had to pay for it. He wanted to drive in on his own but they refused to let him do that. He said it was a Catch 22 and they made him take the car and then deducted it from his pay check. Jesse said he was being governor making about 50 grand a year after taxes and the fees." (Marksfriggin)



"Us Weekly has come forward with allegations of a second Tiger Woods mistress, complete with voicemail and text messages. Juicy stuff. But the most delicious nugget served up in the scandal so far came from the alleged friends of the overly collagened alleged (first) mistress Rachel Uchitel (who looks suspiciously like Eliot Spitzer’s hooker, but whatever): She called him Bear. Bear! I guess when you’re shtupping a guy named Tiger—or not (Gloria Allred, help me out here)—you gotta be super creative with your little nicknames. Let’s be real here. Is anyone really shocked by the fact that Tiger Woods is a tiger? Or a bear? Yeah, we know. He was the Good Athlete, the one who always sank the winning putt, never turned up in the tabloids and married the nice Swedish nanny with the asymmetrical lips. And then there was all that heartwarming stuff about his father. Which was pretty heartwarming. But did anyone who knows anything about the mating habits of professional athletes really think this particular sports animal—who loved his dad, loved his wife and kids, loved his life—wouldn’t stick his putter in a club girl? Or two?" (Lisa DePaulo/TheDailyBeast)



"Reality show personalities and teen heartthrobs come and go as quickly as the tabloids that track their every move in our celebrity-obsessed age. But at last night's Museum of the Moving Image salute to Clint Eastwood, people were reminded what a true star is. The crowd, which included Hilary Swank, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, and Ralph Lauren, found plenty of superlatives for the still-going-strong 79-year-old, who is currently directing his 34th production. 'Clint is a legend,' Marcia Gay Harden offered. 'And gorgeous.' Morgan Freeman went further: 'No matter what, you can't stop looking at Clint,' he said. 'And I'm straight.'" (Style)



(Photo: JH/NYSocialDiary)

"This week is the beginning of the holiday season in New York with the cocktail parties and dinners. This schedule runs till about the 20th when the denizens begin to migrate like nomads, national and international towards the warmer (or snowier) climes through the end of the year. Last night Hilary and Wilbur Ross threw their holiday cocktail at their fabulous Mnahattan penthouse. The party was called for 6:30 (till 8:30) but I didn’t get there until almost 8 so I don’t know how many scores (or hundreds) had come before. The Rosses are very welcoming hosts and their guest list, unlike so many in this town run from people in their twenties to people in their hundred and twenties (just kidding!!)." (NYSocialDiary)



"Without this community I couldn’t make a film like 'The Hurt Locker,' said the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow Monday night in New York after receiving the Best Feature prize at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and with that, many headed out of Cipriani near Wall Street for an after-party hosted by Kodak, HSBC, indieWIRE, Stella Artois and Medea Vodka at the Tribeca Cinemas. 'Hurt Locker' also took the prize for Best Ensemble Cast ... Comedian Kumail Nanjiani picked out actor Willem Dafoe for some jokes in his ceremony kick off. 'It’s good to see so many wonderful actors that have brought so much joy to audiences,' he says. 'And it’s also good to see Willem Dafoe. Who brings us confusion and terror, and more recently, a terrible fear of castration,' referencing his starring role this year in Lars von Trier’s 'Antichrist.' Dafoe presented the Best Feature prize to Bigelow." (IndieWIRE)



"One would think that Senator John McCain would be happy after Obama's Afghanistan speech last night. However, if you made that guess you would be incorrect. Despite the fact that President Obama's speech was closer to the Arizona Senator's Afghanistan policy recommendations than that of the MoveOn crowd, McCain just can't help himself. His inner crank overwhelmed his sense of proper measure." (Ron Mwangaguhunga/Air America)

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