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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"China overtook Germany last year to become world export champion, official figures confirmed on Tuesday. December trade figures for Germany highlighted the hit Europe’s largest economy took in 2009 from the collapse in global economic confidence at the start of the year. German goods’ exports fell by 18.4 per cent compared with the previous year – the biggest year-on-year fall since 1950, according to the federal statistics office. Overall, German exports last year were equivalent to $1,121.3bn, which compared with the $1,201.7bn exported by China. In Germany, the loss of the 'Exportmeister' label is not seen as a massive blow, however. China had long been on track to take the title and its loss might deflect some of the international criticism the German government has faced for not doing more to boost domestic demand. German imports fell by 17.2 per cent last year – almost as fast as exports." (FT)



"It would be fun to report that the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, which were announced February 2, were the result of brilliant maneuvering or diabolically clever stratagems, of masterstrokes and counterthrusts carefully planned in studio war rooms. But despite often justifiable skepticism about the process, Oscar nominations—one of which, of course, went to Bridges—can’t be bought. Not exactly, anyway. There is a reason why they call the run-up period to the Academy Awards the 'Oscar campaign.' It is, to use a familiar analogy, like an election, with an electorate of 5,777 people (the size of McKenzie County, North Dakota), unwilling to be influenced by anything but their own opinions, yet still, perhaps, more swayable than they’d like to admit. There is no war room, per se, but there are early front-runners that fade, grassroots insurgencies, even primaries. Ultimately, most of the nominees emerge from a combination of good planning, good movies, and good luck .." (NYMag)



"Friends of Russian tycoon Vlad Doronin are surprised Naomi Campbell is still hanging on to him. Whenever he's in London, he lives with his wife, Katya, and his teenage daughter. And the couple, who have an open marriage, have no immediate plans to divorce. Vlad supposedly bought Naomi a penthouse in Rio last year for $18 million, and she gets to fly private with him everywhere. But why put in so much time with a married man?" (PageSix)



"Art Los Angeles Contemporary is a new fair directed by Tim Fleming, who defected from Michael Cohen’s five-year-old—now 'resting'—Art LA. Some gallery higher-ups hoped the fair’s novelty would generate a positive buzz (that would, presumably, expand beyond buzz into sales), but many others didn’t quite get the point. By the vernissage’s end, Art LA Contemporary’s unique angle, its hook for the global art-fair circuit, still seemed unclear. At around 9 PM, however, a raison d’ĂȘtre of sorts began surfacing across the street at a reception for the Calvin Klein Collection and Shamim Momin’s Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), a classy if over-the-top affair that promised, and delivered, fame: As Penelope Cruz and Kate Bosworth (and Neville Wakefield) walked a red carpet to the glare of paparazzi flash, one glimpsed—at least for a moment—the worlds of celebrity, fashion, and art intersecting with smooth, choreographed precision." (ArtForum)



"Last night Judy Licht and Jerry della Femina had a book party at their Upper East Side townhouse for their friend Dr. Gerald Imber, who is considered one of the top three plastic surgeons in New York ... Last night I was telling Gerry Imber about my luncheon conversation with my friend and her thoughts on plastic surgery, and how so many male readers especially – comment on the situation. He nodded in agreement. Since he is known as a prominent plastic surgeon I asked him what his opinion was. He told me that he had rules. First of all, he performs all his own surgeries. Second of all, he thinks 'wrinkle-free' is in 'bad taste for both the doctor and the patient.' He said the result of his work should leave the patient looking natural, looked “rested” and looking like themselves, but not like somebody different -- not like a mask (my words, not Dr. Imber’s)." (NYSocialDiary)



"This morning on her infamous blog, 13-year-old fashion writer Tavi addressed the often critical, sometimes nasty things people have been saying about her as of late: She’s selective when it comes to freebies. 'I realize that if every post of mine was talking about something I got in the mail, my opinion wouldn’t be valued or as pure.' Outsiders are way too judgmental when it comes to how her parents handle her being absent from school. 'My parents and I are the ones who know my school’s absences policy, how my teachers feel about my missing school, and what my grades look like — not anyone else.' If she’s wearing a hat and it’s blocking your view at the shows, ask her to remove it and she will. 'If you happen to be sitting behind me and you’d like to be able to see, just ask.'" (FashionIndie)



"The 'Bomb Iran' crowd is making a big return to the political center stage after months of puzzlement over what to do about developments in the Islamic Republic. Hawks such as Daniel Pipes and John Bolton are arguing that Iran is dead-set on its pursuit of a nuclear arsenal -- and point to developments such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement this weekend that Iran would enrich its uranium stocks to 20 percent to argue that diplomatic avenues have reached a dead end. The would-be bombers fear that the mullahs will leverage their nuclear capability to expand Persian influence through the Arab world and beyond -- and argue that the United States must do anything in its power, including the use of force, to stop them. This movement had its heyday in neoconservative circles in 2006 and 2007, following Iran's official announcement that it had started to enrich uranium and the subsequent U.S.-led push in the U.N Security Council for additional sanctions" (ForeignPolicy)



"Massive Attack have commissioned a series of short films to accompany tracks from their new album 'Heligoland' - including one that focuses on legendary porn star Georgina Spelvin. The 73-year-old Spelvin starred in 'classic' adult flick 'The Devil In Miss Jones' (1973), and the vignette – which accompanies Massive Attack track 'Paradise Circus' – is called 'Life Of A Pornstar'. Directed Toby Dye said the film shows Spelvin reminiscing on her role in the film." (NME)



"After taking a look at the Letterman-Oprah-Leno Super Bowl commercial, Howard (Stern)questioned Oprah's commitment to SiriusXM. In particular, he noted that she is paid $50 million by the company but only calls into her channel once a week--for a half-hour show with Gayle King. Howard said he'd like to see Oprah promote SiriusXM like she does all her other projects: 'When you've got a sweetheart deal like that...do something for the company.' Howard begged SiriusXM not to offer Oprah a contract extension: "She can't turn down a goddamn thing." (HowardStern)



"In the four years since Relativity began operations, (Ryan) Kavanaugh’s stature in Hollywood has appreciated tremendously—and much attention, scrutiny, and even scorn have been focused on him—thanks to his access to the one key ingredient that major studios and independent filmmakers alike are having an increasingly difficult time securing: money. One source close to Relativity’s business estimates that over the six-year life of the company, much of it during a particularly lean time in Hollywood history, Kavanaugh has raised close to $10 billion in film financing. That’s almost as much as the total $10.6 billion rung up at U.S. and Canadian box offices in 2009—a record if you don’t adjust for inflation—but that second plump figure masks an otherwise ailing motion-picture economy. In the first half of the decade, the movie industry was flush with what one financial source calls 'dumb money' as Wall Street charged into Hollywood to invest tens of millions of dollars in motion-picture production as if it were real estate or oil. But these starstruck Gordon Gekkos got their hats handed to them by Hollywood’s Sammy Glicks, who have long been skilled in taking outsiders’ money and kicking them to the curb." (VanityFair)



"The grudge match will have to wait a little longer. The first race of the 33rd America’s Cup was postponed Monday because of fickle wind off the Spanish coast. The best-of-three match between teams led by the rival billionaires Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli will now begin Wednesday, weather permitting. Bertarelli’s boat, Alinghi 5, and Ellison’s, USA-17, each a massive multihull capable of extreme speeds, left Valencia’s harbor in the early morning, with both sides hopeful of finally racing after two and a half years of legal skirmishing over the match and its terms." (NYTimes)

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