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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via NYSD)

"Were the New York Times to have a pillow fight with the Wall Street Journal, it would have contend with blows from black satin cushions emblazoned with the Wall Street Journal's nameplate. The cushions were christened at last night's launch party for the Journal's new Greater New York section, which debuted yesterday morning. But it was clear from the talk at the party, held last night at Gotham Hall, that the newspaper war waging between the two broadsheets is a fight not of pillows, but of words and mettle. Mayor Bloomberg, whose trips to Bermuda got big play in the New York Times yesterday, called the Journal's New York effort 'groundbreaking' but noted that 'It took the paper 120 years to realize the city had a street other than Wall Street.' Of course, the mayor had to acknowledge that the company he founded is among the competition. 'I love the Journal. It's my second favorite source for business news,' he said ... The Journal's owner, Rupert Murdoch, spoke plainly. 'I want to give New York a fresh robust paper on their city, the country, and the world,' Mr. Murdoch said. 'New York is the capital of ambition, and it's my firm belief that New York section of the Journal will be a formidable competitor' ... Barry Diller's take on competition: 'I don't really like it myself, but I like to see others compete.'" (NYSocialDiary)



(image via paperheritage)

"The English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder ended his famous 1904 article, The Geographical Pivot of History, with a disturbing reference to China. After explaining why Eurasia was the geostrategic fulcrum of world power, he posited that the Chinese, should they expand their power well beyond their borders, 'might constitute the yellow peril to the world's freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent, an advantage as yet denied to the Russian tenant of the pivot region.' Leaving aside the sentiment's racism, which was common for the era, as well as the hysterics sparked by the rise of a non-Western power at any time, Mackinder had a point: whereas Russia, that other Eurasian giant, basically was, and is still, a land power with an oceanic front blocked by ice, China, owing to a 9,000-mile temperate coastline with many good natural harbors, is both a land power and a sea power. (Mackinder actually feared that China might one day conquer Russia.) China's virtual reach extends from Central Asia, with all its mineral and hydrocarbon wealth, to the main shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. Later, in Democratic Ideals and Reality, Mackinder predicted that along with the United States and the United Kingdom, China would eventually guide the world by 'building for a quarter of humanity a new civilization, neither quite Eastern nor quite Western.' China's blessed geography is so obvious a point that it tends to get overlooked in discussions of the country's economic dynamism and national assertiveness. Yet it is essential: it means that China will stand at the hub of geopolitics even if the country's path toward global power is not necessarily linear." (Robert Kaplan/ForeignAffarirs)



(image via scrapetv)

"Howard (Stern) said Courtney (Love) has a new album coming out called 'Nobody's Daughter.' He asked her what happened to her. She said she was depressed about something. He told her that she should have come in right away then. She said she was on the phone taking care of some business. Howard told Courtney she looks good ... Courtney said she didn't have sex for 5 years while she was working on this new album. She said she didn't even masturbate. Howard said there's no way she didn't fuck a guy for 5 years. Courtney said she really didn't. She said she had to avoid it to make this record ... Howard said he bets that she's good in bed. Courtney said that she has had guy say that she is great in bed. The guy from Blur said she was the best in bed and so did Kurt. Courtney said that she'll also party with girls. She said she's just 'gay enough' to do that. Howard asked Courtney if she will do chicks. She said she will do it but only if there's a guy there. Courtney said she only likes kissing and rubbing the titties. She said she will go further but she didn't want to talk about that ... Courtney said she did have a one on one this one time. Courtney told Howard about how she had this chick chasing her around the room and she figured that was the best person to do it with. Howard asked if it was Janice Dickinson. Courtney said it wasn't, but it was a super model. She said Janice had her day for like a month but that was about it. Courtney did an impression of the model and Robin guessed it was Kate Moss. Courtney said it wasn't her but she was denying it in an odd way like maybe it was true. Howard figured it really was Kate Moss." (Marksfriggin)



"This weekend, Columbia University held its annual spring concert for Bacchanal, the 'get out of the library and meet some people,' weekend-long festival. Students, alumni, neighboring families (with kids?!) and other people who happened to catch wind of the line-up -- which is kept under wraps until a few days beforehand -- came out to see Wiz Khalifa, Ghostface Killah, and Of Montreal perform. (Watching Columbia students twist their fingers into W's during Ghostface's medley of Wu-Tang songs, including 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' and 'C.R.E.A.M,' was almost as entertaining as his set). Headliners Of Montreal hit the stage after nightfall and lit things up, as usual, with some colorful stage antics. (Someone dressed in a Chewbacca suit filmed the crowd as the footage played on a screen behind the band). Somehow, however, this was not the strangest part of the evening. Later, three Columbia students came onstage in diapers and bras to writhe around, while Chewbacca bought some sort of pig person on stage right before the encore, 'The Past is a Grotesque Animal.'" (Papermag)



"Israel’s alarm at the deterioration in its relations with the US is palpable. In Jerusalem recently, even a liberal commentator told me: 'Barack Obama is a disaster for Israel. I don’t think the general public realise just how much of a disaster he is.' Government officials are more careful – but only a bit. Danny Ayalon, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, says that it would be a 'grave mistake' for America to present its own Middle East peace plan, an idea that the US president’s people are known to be considering. Listening to all this, I could not help thinking back to the early stages of the Northern Irish peace negotiations. In part, this is because some of the same cast of characters have moved from Belfast to Jerusalem. George Mitchell, Mr Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, played a crucial role as a go-between in Ulster. Tony Blair Is also on the scene, this time installed in the American Colony hotel rather than Stormont castle. But there is more to the parallel than familiar faces. The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on 'talking to the terrorists' of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperilled." (FT)



(Photograph: PR/Yadid Levy/Alamy via TheGuardian)

"Noma’s victory at the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants last night is a triumph both for the Copenhagen eatery and for the awards, which were stuck in a rut, handing out first place each year to El Bulli. Danish chef Rene Redzepi was there to collect the crown that had gone for the past four years to Ferran Adria for his establishment north of Barcelona. El Bulli has been in the top three every year since the awards were founded in 2002. Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck has been the other big winner, coming first in 2005 and always making the top three since 2004. The U.K. restaurant came third last night, behind El Bulli. The only other winner has been the French Laundry, in 2003 and 2004. Noma, which seats 42 diners, was founded in November 2003. The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants were named at a reception in London’s Guildhall attended by chefs and restaurateurs including Daniel Boulud, whose New York flagship surged 33 places to No. 8. The awards started as a magazine feature and have grown to international prominence. Noma -- which stands for Nordisk Mad, or Nordic Food -- is housed in a converted warehouse by the waterside in the Danish capital’s Christianshavn district. Redzepi, 32, travels the region in search of ingredients and culinary inspiration for his seasonal menu. Noma entered the table at 33 in 2006 and had risen to third by last year." (Bloomberg)



"There are a bunch of interesting exhibitions going on at the moment. Just the other day we showed you the David Choe opening at Lazarides. Here is now a look at the Phil Frost exhibition, that is currently on at Known Gallery." (HighSnobiety)



(image via bliptv)

"I was headed in yesterday morning to (The Howard Stern show to)talk about Lotus Notes vs. Google with Howard’s tech guru, IBM’s Jeff Schick, and get a tour of the studio and its operation. Then Howard invited us in, on the air. We talked geek stuff for a few minutes (more on that later) when Howard asked what I was up to next. I came prepared. I said I was working on a possible book about publicness (new idea) and wanted to talk to him about it. Ask what you have to ask on the air, Howard said. So I asked him whether he had regrets about his public life and about his view that people are better off public. He said he thought his listeners were better off because he was willing to talk about anything, even masturbation and lesbians. I told Howard that he had cleared the way for me to — even inspired me to — talk about my prostate cancer in public. Howard, of course, cut to the blunt question: 'Are you getting it up now?' Answer: no. We talked about the gory, intimate details of prostate cancer: the strange, 'internal' orgasms; the harpoons up the ass for biopsies; the garden hose out of the dick after surgery. The cast groaned at each of these. 'You fucking shut me up,' Howard said. I fear I was discouraging men from getting tested when I meant to do the opposite. And Howard acknowledged, as hard as it was, that he, too, would have opted to get the cancer out. Hell, he can’t stand sniffing brass polish on his condo door without thinking he’s getting cancer. I wish I were funnier and more fun. Over the years, I’ve called into the show about the First Amendment and the FCC, about gadgets and geek stuff, and now about cancer." (Jeff Jarvis/BuzzMachine)



"It’s two a.m., and we’re barreling down a deeply pocked dirt road in Southern Sudan. In the cool of night, the temperature is nearly 100 degrees. Sam Childers, 46, is behind the wheel of a chrome-tinted Mitsubishi truck. Christian rock blares on the speakers. He has a Bible on the dash and a shotgun that he calls his 'widow-maker' leaning against his left knee. His top sergeant, Santino Deng, 34, a Dinka tribesman with an anthracite complexion and radiant black eyes, sits in the passenger seat, an AK-47 across his lap. I sit in the back. Since leaving the town of Mundri, headed toward the Congolese border, we’ve been driving for two bone-jarring days on roads littered with the charred wrecks of armored vehicles and fuel tankers, remnants of battles past. A truck follows close behind, carrying 15 men from the small militia group under Childers’s personal command. The convoy is on its way to a Sudanese town called Maridi. In the area we’re passing through, just hours ago soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.) hacked 15 villagers to death with machetes, then disappeared into the bush. Intelligence sources from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army—the ragtag military wing of the breakaway government of Southern Sudan—have indicated that elements of the L.R.A. are now headed to Maridi. Childers wants to intercept them, and kill their leader." (VanityFair)



"Every couple of years, Rupert Murdoch remembers what he really wants from life. He sets aside whatever international conquest currently sits on his to-do list, and he reinflicts himself upon New York City by purchasing, repurchasing, or reinvesting in a New York media property. All Murdoch wants is for the people of Manhattan to pay homage to him, and for the last 35 years they've basically refused his every advance." (Slate)



"President Obama will be stopping in his adopted home state of Illinois on Wednesday, as part of a whistle-stop 'White House to Main Street Tour' that will swing through the Midwest. He has invited all of Illinois's statewide elected officials to join him in the Mississippi River city of Quincy, including embattled Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. 'I actually think we are going to be there,' Giannoulias said, according to the Associated Press. Giannoulias was invited in his official capacity as state treasurer, not as a Senate candidate. But some are wondering just how strongly the President will be supporting his party's top-of-the-ticket candidates in the state. Last Friday, the Giannoulias family bank was closed by federal regulators after suffering huge losses during the housing market collapse. Mark Kirk, Giannoulias' Republican opponent, has made the failure of Broadway Bank -- and the 'shady' people to whom it loaned money -- a central theme of his campaign." (HuffPo)



(image via nytimes)

"For years, the name Louis Auchincloss was no more than that to me, and in fact I think it may have been tangled or conflated in my mind with that of another literary lawyer, Louis Begley—a preposterous mix-up if so, given that the one survived the Holocaust while the other sailed through Groton and Yale. Then one day I stumbled across a used copy of The Rector of Justin (a fictionalized portrait of a Groton headmaster) and bought it on a whim. Deeply impressed by the novel, I wolfed down four or five more, all out of print. How could it be, I began to ask myself, that such a skillful and addictive novelist had such a low profile? And who was he? Although not generally all that curious to encounter writers in the flesh, I make an exception for those of advanced age, particularly when they’ve closely studied or been engaged with their time; to meet such people is to touch history, to feel the full scope and rollercoaster course of the twentieth century. Auchincloss was almost ninety—who knew how much longer he’d be around. And so I mustered up my temerity and wrote him a fan letter that concluded by asking whether I might stop by to pay my respects. To my surprise, he called two days later to invite me over." (NewCriterion)



"Even now, ten years after the release of Christopher Nolan’s indie hit Memento, people are still trying to figure out what the movie is actually about. On Saturday afternoon, NPR’s Robert Krulwich, the host of a Tribeca Talks panel celebrating the film’s tenth anniversary, opened his discussion with questions not for Guy Pearce or Joe Pantoliano but for the audience: 'How many people think that Leonard was the murderer?' Krulwich asked in reference to Pearce’s character, garnering a few halfhearted hand-raises. 'Does anybody know who Leonard was talking to on the telephone?' (Neither of these is a spoiler, we promise.) Admittedly, the film—which tells the story, backwards, of an anterograde amnesia patient attempting to remember enough from moment to moment to avenge his wife’s murder—is complicated. But we were surprised to learn that even those who made the film can’t be quite sure what happens in it." (Observer)



"It's neither easy nor organic to fill a room with David Salle, Oksana Baiul, Prabal Gurung, Rachel Feinstein, and John Currin—unless you're Richard Phillips, Olga Rei, and The Daily's own Valentine Uhovski, who invited a few friends to dine at The Lion last night. The occasion? The launch of ArtRuby.com, Rei's art news site, and the upcoming Phillips exhibition at the Swiss Institute, which opens May 5.'I've been doing twenty-hour work days in my studio for the last few weeks,' said Phillips, who was squired by Josephine Meckseper. 'This meal was the most pleasant reason ever to leave my canvases for four hours.' Guests like Tom Sachs, Lisa Yuskavage and Matvey Levinstein marvelled at the space, which won't officially open for another few weeks. 'It was a gay cabaret bar,' said Waris Ahluwalia matter-of-factly. 'Streisand used to perform here!' After a few glasses of Moet rosé champagne, the crew headed downstairs to the soaring dining room, which features the best skylight in the Village. (Sorry, August.) 'We're never going to be able to get a table here again, so we might as well enjoy it!' said Carlos Miele, digging into a first course of lobster bisque with bacon." (DailyFrontRow)



"Specialty filmgoers certainly had a varied selection of options hitting arthouses this weekend. On the one end, there was Nicole Holofcener’s 'Please Give,' a light-hearted morality tale about a bunch of inter-connected New Yorkers negotiating the guilt in their lives. And the other, well, there was 'The Human Centipede' - Tom Six’s much-buzzed about horror film about crazy man named Heiter who’s not up for negotiating - and certainly feels no guilt - as he attempts to literally connect three very unlucky people via their gastric system. In the end - according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon - it seems Holofcener’s slice of humanity trumped the human centipede when it came to the box office. On just five screens, Sony Pictures Classics-released 'Please Give' grossed a potent $128,696. That allowed for it to find one of 2010’s best per-theater-averages at $25,739, and suggested a nice road ahead as the film expands across the country. Starring Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall, 'Please Give' also managed to give Holofcener her best per-theater-average ever, topping 2006’s 'Friends With Money,' which would go on to gross an impressive $13,368,437. That said, 'Money' (which averaged $21,047), opened on a significantly wider 28 screens, which is arguably a more impressive feat. But 'Money' also benefited from the star power of Jennifer Aniston, while 'Please Give' likely achieved its success largely due to strong reviews and Holofcener’s growing fan base." (IndieWIRE)

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