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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Peter Baker, White House correspondent for the New York Times, and Susan Glasser, Foreign Policy's executive editor, caught up with Clinton there for an expansive conversation about identity, virtue, and riding the steppes with Genghis Khan ...'Robert Kaplan has written tons of books about what's going on in the modern world, and if you read The Ends of the Earth and these books that say we are de facto, no matter what the laws say, becoming nations of mega-city-states full of really poor, angry, uneducated, and highly vulnerable people, all over the world, we would have a lot of slumdog millionaires. If that's right, then terror -- meaning killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority and go beyond national borders -- could be around for a very long time. On the other hand, terrorism needs both anxiety and opportunity to flourish. So one of the things that the United States and others ought to be doing is trying to help the nation-state adjust to the realities of the 21st century and then succeed. Resolving energy, ironically, could play a major role in reducing the appeal of terror because if we change the way we produce and consume energy all over the world, it would create opportunities for education, for entrepreneurs, for work, for involving women and girls in positive economic encounters, at every level of national income from the richest states to the poorest. Therefore, I think all of the creative energy thinkers need to be brought to bear on this because the world as it integrates has to have a source of new economic activity.'"(ForweignPolicy)



"Arrivals are fini, welcome dinners have already been digested, and leisurely pool time at the W is now practically vervoten. Art Basel officially opened with a bigger-than-ever VIP preview featuring more booths, more bold-faced names, and more European millionaires drinking cappuccinos at this year's posh addition to the event--The Collector's Lounge. And while the doors officially opened around noon, everyone from Mary Boone to Andrea Rosen to Larry Gagoasian already locked deals on some big pieces as early as Sunday. "This is a nice little off-season trip for me,' said John McEnroe. 'I'm here with a wide mouth and an open mind. I'm a Basel virgin.' The same cannot be said for Calvin Klein. The avid collector straight went to a surprising destination: Gmurzynska (a Zurich gallery) to greet good pal and Rocky-turned-painter Sylvester Stallone. 'I've had some success in Europe, which was amazing,' explained the excited actor. 'But this is a brand new start for me in America and it doesn't get any bigger than this.' Elle McPherson had her favorite stop at Tony Shafrazi. "Sit down, you have to look though everything," he instructed. 'I can't just yet!' responded the model. 'I have to look at your David LaChapelle Michael Jacksons first. How much do they go for?' A lot, it turns out." (Fashionweekdaily)



"At lunchtime I went down to Michael’s to have lunch with Caroline Weber, the author of Queen of Fashion; What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. Caroline and I are new fast friends and quickly found that our mutual interest in history -- contemporary and past -- led to multiple conversations at once. Michael’s was its busy Wednesday self and while I didn’t make a list (which I should have), there were a number of interesting guests including the Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong with Bob Zimmerman and Joan Gelman; around the room: Leonard Lauder and guest, ditto Stan Shuman and guest; the Kramer/della Femina/Greenfield/Imber/Bergman bi-monthly pow-wow ... Linda Wachner and friend, Marie-Josee (Mrs. Henry) Kravis, and at a table nearby Jesse Kornbluth with Carolyne (the previous Mrs. Henry Kravis) Roehm. Did they see each other? Do they speak? Do I know; never saw either in proximity to each other." (NYSocialDiary)



"Yesterday at the Mondrian Hotel in Miami, Florida, Interview Magazine and Fred Perry collaborated to host a ping pong tournament in the sun. If today reminded you of how much you love warm weather, wait until you see yesterday’s celebration. The event for Art Basel Miami Beach attracted an eclectic group of artists and art-lovers alike to enjoy the spin-off of Europe’s biggest art convention. Guests including nightlife celebrity Sophia Lamar, Zane Lewis, photographer Casey Kelbaugh, Renata Merriam, as well as DJ’s Geordon Nicol, Greg Krelenstein, and Leigh Lezark. The supermodel posing in black? Not a model at all, but Korea’s table tennis champion, Seeyeon Lee. The woman playing in a wheelchair? 1996’s Paralympics bronze medal winner, Terese Terranova." (Guestofaguest)



"Why Is Lady Gaga Always Dying Onstage? No, I don't mean bombing. She does quite well, actually. But why do so many of her numbers seem to climax with her falling down drenched in fake blood and bubbles? As the superstar tells Elle magazine, 'I feel that if I can show my demise artistically to the public, I can somehow cure my own legend. I can show you so you're not looking for it. I'm dying for you on domestic television-here's what it looks like, so no one has to wonder.' It's the same thing so many divas do, but in this case it's scripted." (Musto)



"As Russia proudly boasts its prominence at G-20 summits, gatherings of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), and other global economic round tables, an embarrassing question arises. Does Russia really deserve to be a BRIC? The country's economic performance has plummeted to such a dismal level that one must ask whether it is entitled to have any say at all on the global economy, compared with the other, more functional members of its cohort. I have just returned from Moscow, which is always dreary around this season. But this year, the mood among the capital's eloquent liberal economists has hit a new low. For the last seven years, Russia has undertaken no significant economic reforms. Instead, the state has been living off oil and gas, like a lucky but undeserving rentier. With oil prices hovering just above $75 per barrel, the elite can stay afloat without much effort and even less development. Russians talk about a new Brezhnev stagnation, a reference to the 1970s slowdown that a post-Soviet Russia had hoped to avoid. Meanwhile, the Kremlin identifies itself with the BRICs -- the world's leading emerging economies. But Russia is clearly falling behind." (ForeignPolicy)



"While Hollywood goes chasing to Abu Dhabi and Mumbai for ever-scarcer funds to finance its movies, the industry might do better just heading to 7-11. The latest film fund, $30 million to make romantic comedies, thrillers and faith-based dramas, comes from the lottery winnings of Cynthia Stafford, a single Hawthorne homemaker who shared $67 million with her father and brother in 2007. Now she wants to make movies. 'What I like about movies is it's something ongoing,' Stafford said. 'Movies from the '20s, '30s, '40s -- I still see them today and think, 'Wow, this is something that can go on forever.' The film fund, which follows the creation of her production company Queen Nefertari Productions, will be repped by the Gersh Agency. The banner already has four projects lined up." (TheWrap)



"A GESTURE can speak volumes, something few people grasp as viscerally as does Blue Logan, a London-bred fashion illustrator who will show off his flair at Art Basel in Miami Beach this week. On Dec. 3 and through the weekend Mr. Logan will be at the Standard Hotel committing to paper the stray signals and shrugs of socialites, collectors and glamazons gathered inside the lobby and lounge. Few will likely escape Mr. Logan’s wicked pen. 'Art Basel, with it’s strange, fickle paradise of sunbathers and party people, celebrities and hangers-on, will be a nice change from the fashion world,' he said, noting, however, that 'there is a similar mentality among these people and the fashion types who are just as smitten with secret locations and exclusive worlds.' Mr. Logan, 29, is but one in a clutch of young artists to have snared the attention of the style world and, in the process, revitalized an art form that has long been eclipsed by photography." (Ruth La Ferla/NYTimes)



"The prostitution scandal that forced (Eliot) Spitzer to resign is not the kind of thing that ever fully recedes from memory, but the history of American public life is filled with second acts-and Spitzer appears to be in the early stages of crafting one for himself, even if his days running for political office are behind him (and many aren't sure that they are). I met him on a recent Friday at his father's office in midtown Manhattan, which looks north toward Central Park and has served as his base of operations since he resigned as governor. We sat at a table in the corner, and he fixed himself a cup of coffee." (Interview)



"While the success of films like Little Miss Sunshine, Once and Precious prove that the Sundance Film Festival still holds some pretty serious weight in Hollywood, something about the grandaddy of them all has—shall we say—dulled. Perhaps Sundance lost some edge around the same time it featured heavily in a plotline on Entourage. Sensing this, new festival director John Cooper tried to push this year's competitive selections back to the festival's roots, meaning you won't find Vincent Chase here, just soap opera actors like James Franco! Huh. Kidding aside—especially since Mr. Franco's Howl, about beat poet Allen Ginsberg, is already one of the more anticipated films coming in 2010—this year's indie-rrific slate is actually chock-a-block with ambitious projects." (Observer)



"The joint was jumping today at Michael's as usual, but there's always room for one more when the random headline-grabbing celebrity makes an unannounced appearance. No matter that Jermaine Jackson showed up with publicist Marilyn Crawford without a reservation -- they got a prime spot in the dining room. 'Next to the wall!' commanded Marilyn after declining the first table offered up and settling in for what must have been a dishy lunch. We can understand why Jermaine was accompanied by a bodyguard (although he needn't have worried as the Michael's crowd tried their best not to stare), but we're a bit confused about the man purse he was sporting." (FishbowlNY)



"GE is selling a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal, the TV, cable, film and theme-park operator, to Comcast Corp. in a deal that creates an entertainment company valued at about $37 billion, the companies said today in a statement. Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE will get a net of $8 billion in cash when the transaction is complete after merger costs and a buyout of partner Vivendi SA’s 20 percent stake. Selling NBC Universal lets Immelt, the ninth chairman in GE’s 117-year history, shift resources to the company’s main businesses and engines of future growth: power generation, aviation, rail and medical-imaging equipment, plus a finance arm -- GE Capital -- to serve them. 'We believe there are going to be multiple investment opportunities with attractive returns,' Immelt said today on a call with investors. 'And we think we can put our capital into the businesses that most fully utilize GE’s core strengths.' By unloading NBC Universal, Immelt, 53, is shifting away from one of GE’s highest-margin businesses historically at a time when advertising revenue and profit from traditional media are under threat from new outlets such as the Internet." (Bloomberg)



"Afghanistan, (Secretary) Gates said, 'will look a lot like Iraq, where some districts and provinces will be able to be turned over fairly quickly, with the U.S. in a tactical and then strategic overwatch -- sort of cavalry over the hill, if you will, for a time.' Gates did not mention that the deadlines for the turnover in Iraq were repeatedly pushed back before a final U.S. withdrawal date of the end of 2011 was set in a bilateral agreement between Baghdad and Washington at the end of Bush's presidency. Several lawmakers mentioned the months of deliberation, which resulted in what Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called a policy with 'a little something for everybody.' 'There's an old adage that a camel is a horse designed by committee,' Flake said at the House hearing. 'In many ways, I think this looks to be a policy designed by committee.' 'Camels are very sturdy animals,' (Secretary) Clinton replied. 'They are patient and may be plodding, but they eventually get to where you hope they will arrive.'" (WashPo)

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