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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"In the post-presidency world of the Clintons, no one has been a better or more high-profile Friend of Bill than billionaire Ron Burkle. Burkle helped make the former commander in chief fabulously wealthy, while Clinton helped open doors as the two jetted around the globe on the supermarket and investment titan’s Boeing 757. But now the symbiotic relationship has ended with great acrimony, three sources with direct access to Clinton tell The Daily Beast, and the cause is the same ingredient that started it: money. Burkle infuriated the former president by allegedly 'stiffing Clinton out of $20 million or $25 million,' according to one of the sources." (TheDailyBeast)



"Ever wonder why Vladimir Putin is so much more popular in Russia than his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev? Their reactions to yesterday's subway bombings in Moscow shows why. Putin said he'd like to 'drag out of the sewer' the organizers of the attacks. And Medevev? He'd like the Supreme Court and the High Court of Arbitration to come up with some ways to improve counterterrorism laws. 'I think we should give attention to some issues relating to improvement of the legislation aimed at preventing terrorism, including clear work of various agencies in charge of investigating such crimes,' he reportedly said. Later on, Medvedev seemed to understand Russians' need to hear some tougher language, and promised to crush the attackers." (ForeignPolicy)



"After hearing that Jamie (Foxx) had called Robin (Quivers) a 'house negro,' Howard (Stern) exploded: 'Be a man. Come in here and say it right to our faces. Come in here and tell Robin she's a house negro and come in here and tell me how irrelevant I am. Come here man to man and talk to me if you really have a bug up your ass about me and we're on the same team. You know? So come on in here like a real man and confront me. And you tell me what I'm doing wrong. And I'll tell you. I'll tell you your whole story.' Howard continued: 'I don't know what pressures he's feeling in his life. I'm sure it's not easy being an actor finding a role. I don't know how many of his pictures make money. I don't know what his deal is. I don't know if he's washed up or not. Maybe he's got a bug up his--maybe he's trying to get some attention for himself. I don't know. But uh my guess is maybe we're probably not on the same team. I think he's playing for a way different team. Ok? That's what I think. I don't know what team he's on, but it ain't my team. You wanna be on my team? Come in here if you got a problem with me. You come in and tell me what your problem is.'" (HowardStern)



"She & Him, backed by The Chapin Sisters, played the first of their two sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom last night, March 29th. They're celebrating the release of their second album, aptly named Volume Two. The crowd was a full of Zooey Deschanel look-alikes with floppy hats and fancy bows adorning their heads waiting for some sunny vocals and a blue-eyed beauty (and her partner and expert guitar player M Ward). I was hoping (unrealistically) for a guest appearance by Tilly and the Wall who contibute to 'In the Sun' on the album, but no such luck. They did play the song though." (BrooklynVegan)



"New Horizon Capital is one of the most influential and successful participants in China’s fledgling private equity industry. It has billions of dollars under management and a stable of investors that includes Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. But you would not guess any of that from its central Beijing headquarters. The company has no nameplate in the lobby of the Golden Treasure Tower, a nondescript building near the Forbidden City, the traditional seat of imperial power. Its simple 12th floor offices are identified only by a small sign inside the door that reads, in Chinese, 'New Horizon Growth Investment Advisory Limited'. The company does not need flashy suites as it has one of the most valuable assets in China. He is Winston Wen, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg business school in the US who keeps a low profile and bears a striking resemblance to his father – Wen Jiabao, premier of the People’s Republic of China. The younger Mr Wen and New Horizon are in the vanguard of a more aggressive generation of taizidang ('princelings') – offspring of senior Communist party officials – who dominate the burgeoning home-grown private equity industry, where huge profits are to be made from restructuring state assets and financing private companies." (FT)



(image via NYSD)

"A few things you may not know about New Orleans: At dawn in the French Quarter they wash the streets and sidewalks with lemon juice. There are parts of Bourbon Street that are as quiet and residential as there are parts that are raunchy and raucous. Fat Tuesday ends at midnight, when Lent begins, and the police promptly shut down the bars and clear the streets. People are exceedingly friendly, and whether you are black or white, straight or gay, rich or poor, addicted or dry, deviant or devout, from this country or another, needs are fulfilled. New Orleans rolls out the welcome mat, in spite of having been to hell and back. My son and I visited for a week but after only two days he asked, 'Mom, can we move here?' ... We stayed in the elegant French Quarter, in the handsome 18th century home of our friends Harry Shearer and Judith Owen. Harry’s an actor, director and comedian ('The Simpsons' on Fox, and host of 'Le Show,' syndicated on public radio stations), Judith, a singer, is always appearing somewhere (this week, the U.K.). While their base is Los Angeles, for more than a decade New Orleans has been their second home." (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"A cash-strapped Uncle Sam could end 2010 with an additional $8 billion in its pocket after the Treasury completes the sale of its 27 percent stake in Citigroup. The government yesterday said that it soon will begin selling more than 7.7 billion Citigroup shares it acquired as part of the $45 billion lifeline it extended to the bank 18 months ago, saying the sale would be conducted in 'an orderly, measured fashion; so as not to inundate the market with billions of Citi shares, thus dragging down its share price. However, word that the billions in Citi shares were on their way sparked jitters among investors, who sold off Citi stock, which fell 3 percent yesterday to close at $4.18. Citi accounted for 25 percent of volume on the NYSE yesterday. Nevertheless, even accounting for yesterday's decline, the Treasury stands to make some $7.7 billion from the sale of the shares, the details of which are expected tomorrow." (NYPost)



"Vivendi SA and its competitors must extend the reach of content such as video games and music into emerging markets to remain global media leaders, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said ... Last year, almost three-quarters of Vivendi’s total sales came from France, where it owns the second-largest mobile-phone operator, and the U.S., where Universal Music is based. About 8 percent came from Morocco, where Vivendi owns Maroc Telecom, the largest phone operator. The proportion of business from new markets should rise at Universal Music, Levy said. The unit’s artists include Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas ... Last month, India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. agreed to buy Zain’s African operations for about $9 billion. Vivendi had earlier been in talks to acquire the assets to expand service from North Africa, the home of its Maroc Telecom unit, to elsewhere on the continent. France Telecom SA, whose Orange mobile-phone service is France’s most popular, has also targeted African expansion. So far, Vivendi’s ambitions to enter new markets have focused on Africa and Latin America. China and India present complex questions for the communications group, Levy said. 'There are many industries where you can operate in China, and there are also many industries where you can’t operate,' he said. 'You can’t get a telecom license, you can’t get a TV license, and you have to find the right local partners for anything that’s Internet-related. That’s the rule of the game today for us.'" (Bloomberg)



"With just over two weeks until the expected announcement of the Cannes Film Festival lineup on April 15th, speculation surrounding the 2010 roster is intensifying. indieWIRE picked 40 films to consider right now. Cannes is a sort of annual cinematic Olympics, with countless countries vying for spots in the official selection. Already announced is Ridley Scott’s 'Robin Hood' as a big studio opener for this year’s fest, while earlier this week Anne Thompson said that insiders should keep an eye on Oliver Stone’s 'Wall Street 2,' Terrence Malick’s 'The Tree of Life' and Woody Allen’s latest, 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.' iW’s annual Cannes wish list isn’t based on side conversations with distributors and sales agents, but rather is a roster of films we hope are finished in time, good enough, and subsequently invited to join the annual South of France party. Numerous sites, from The Playlist and Ion Cinema, to trade papers like Screen (and many others) have been speculating about the lineup. Such talk will heat up in the next two weeks and then, we’ll know for sure." (IndieWIRE)



"Eighty-year-old photographer Bert Stern is famous for his 1962 Marilyn Monroe shots and is still going strong, having collaborated with Club Monaco on their latest ad campaign. Club Monaco CEO John Mehas had a cocktail party for Stern at their Fifth Avenue store which was sparkling with sociable well wishers like Lorenzo Martone, Vogue's Ivan Shaw, Olatz Schnabel, photographers Dewey Nicks and Scott 'The Sartorialist' Schuman, designers Timo Weiland and Rafe Totenegco, Patrick Duffy and Kristian Laliberte. Stern is quite stern about not being photographed and avoided having his picture taken all night." (Peter Davis/Papermag)



"In Alexandre Philippe’s new indie documentary 'The People vs. George Lucas,' a fan notes, 'I owe George a lot,' while another swoons, "The man unlocked a generation's imagination.' Then comes this condemnation: 'A lot of people view George Lucas as the antichrist.' Indeed, a kind of cognitive dissonance continues to unfold among the aging core group of rabid Star Wars fans. Five years after the much-maligned final live-action Star Wars chapter unfurled in theaters, creator George Lucas continues to be assaulted with fanboy criticism. Yet, with a top-rated animated series going strong on the Cartoon Network, Lucas' global licensed merchandise sales are almost as forceful as they ever were at $2.75 billion last year. There are several new 'Star Wars' projects in the works. And if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs being photographed just the other day carrying a Star Wars pop-up book while exiting Air Force One is any indicator, the property is as culturally relevant as it ever was." (TheWrap)



"Pete Rose made the media rounds today, appearing on Howard Stern's show. The banter was the usual -- the endless Cooperstown snub, the all-time hits record, etc. But the one changeup Rose threw was taking along his girlfriend, who's about to hit the newsstands in Playboy. She's 29-year-old Kiana Kim. (Pete is 68, and we'll let you do the math.)" (something called WorldBuzzNow)

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