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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"A high-profile U.S.-Israel meeting has again been overshadowed by new Israeli construction plans. Just minutes before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama in Washington last night, the municipality of Jerusalem announced the approval of a plan to construct 20 new appartments for Jews in an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The U.S. government had demanded that the project be suspended when it was initially approved last July. The latest announcement is reminiscent of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel earlier this month, during which Israel announced the construction of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem officials say that yesterdays's approval was just a procedural measure for a plan that has been in place for months and that opponents are blowing it out of proportion to create trouble during Netanyahu's visit. But opposition lawmakers see a deliberate provocation: 'Is this another unfortunate mistake? Is this another misunderstanding?' said Labor MK Eitan Cabel. 'Netanyahu decided to spit into Obama's eye, this time from up close. He and his pyromaniac ministers insist on setting the Middle East ablaze.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"In the 2002 documentary Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, mused to fellow comic Colin Quinn, 'I have no idea what the curve is, of when it’s gonna… feel like it used to feel.' Coming off Seinfeld, one of the biggest shows in television history, Seinfeld was returning to his standup comedy roots, and finding the adjustment both humbling and painful. In response to Seinfeld, Quinn said: 'When you’re killing, and you’re up there killing, and you’re miserable. That’s how you’ll know.' With his new show, The Marriage Ref, one hopes that Seinfeld is at least happy, because he is not killing. The show—which had a strong, post-Olympics start in the ratings, but has since settled into middling numbers—has been eviscerated by critics. In The Newark Star-Ledger, Alan Sepinwall described the show as 'celebrities being smug, mocking ordinary couples with arguments so obviously ridiculous and one-sided that they would seem justified picking on the wrong side, and cackling at each other’s lame punch lines as if they were all attending the Friar’s Club Roast... Painful, pointless, obnoxious…' Time’s James Poniewozik wrote that Marriage Ref 'proved that, if you are Jerry Seinfeld, NBC will put any program you want on the air, and will give you no network notes. For the sake of my fond memories of the sitcom Seinfeld, I am going to make myself believe that Seinfeld knew this, and was deliberately punking the network.'" (Nicole LaPorte/TheDailyBeast)



"Last night at the Pierre, CASA (the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University) held its 18th annual Awards Dinner. The theme of the evening was 'A Celebrating of American Leadership in Combating Substance Abuse.'
CASA was founded by Joseph Califano, a former Johnson and Carter Administration aide and advisor and lawyer. His interest in addiction and substance abuse grew out of his experience as Secretary of HEW under Jimmy Carter. The people of the United States, he told us last night, make up 5% of the world’s population and consume two thirds of the world’s illegal drugs and abuse substances. An amazing statistic, which as commentary gives one pause for thought: who are we? Joe Califano is looking to rescue the family in American life. He doesn’t say it like that but that is where he’s looking to right things ... Last night at the Pierre (black tie), they honored Rep. Patrick Kennedy and the Honorable Jim Ramstad, former Congressman from Minnesota with the CASA Inspiration Award ... was seated at one end of a long center table. On my right was former Florida governor Jeb Bush and on my left was Kathryn Ramstad, wife of the awardee and Patrick Kennedy. Mr. Bush and Mr. Kennedy talked to each other like old friends although I can’t be sure they know each other very well." (NYSocialDiary)



"Why did I write Loving Mailer (Phoenix Books, April 6)? I wanted to offer my understanding of Norman Mailer. We had an affair for nine years--longer than five of his marriages. In 1983, Norman and I met on a date I had with his friend, Buzz Farber, who took me to Elaine's Restaurant in NYC. My first impression of Norman was that he was a sweet, funny man, not at all the wife stabbing tyrant that he was reputed to be. The next day I read in the Times that Norman would be speaking about his films at the Thalia Theater on the upper West Side. That snowy night I trudged to the Thalia and got the last available seat. After Norman spoke, he signed autographs. Because I wanted his opinion of a 500 paged manuscript I had written, I invited him for a cheeseburger the next day at a coffee shop. To my surprise he accepted my invitation and read part of my manuscript as we ate. After lunch, outside in broad daylight, he kissed me on my lips and I fell in love. That evening I flew back to my home in Hollywood. A few months later Norman came to L.A. We met at the Bel Air Hotel where he read more of my manuscript and then we made love. Our affair continued for nine years during which he gave me writing lessons each time we met. We would make love and then go to lunch or dinner. If he had been drinking, I would not allow him to make love to me." (Carol Mallory/HuffPo)



"With mutton-chop sideburns, a gone-fishing hat and a Ratatouille-style accent, Thierry Guetta is a character that documentary filmmakers pray for: gregarious, oddball, dogged and hungry for fame. In April, a documentary about Mr. Guetta—who’s either an overnight art-world sensation, or wholesale bogus creation—opens in New York, directed by British art-star Banksy. But fans of Mr. Guetta, whose nom de graffiti signature, or tag, is Mr. Brainwash, can see his work now at a pop-up gallery in Manhattan’s meatpacking district. Banksy’s film, Exit through the Gift Shop (the title is a swipe at aggressive museum merchandising), has made Mr. Guetta something of an ersatz star. It races through the world of street graffiti as Banksy helps Mr. Guetta, an ardent fan, become an overnight sensation selling artwork he doesn’t even make himself." (Observer)

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