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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"He was the ultimate diplomatic weapon: tough, suave, fluent in five languages, unafraid to parachute into a war zone or go toe-to- toe with the bad guys, and -- yes, it helped -- devastatingly handsome. Sergio Vieira de Mello had a smile as wide as Copacabana Beach and a distinguished U.N. pedigree nearly as long. An admiring journalist described him in 1994 as 'a cross between James Bond and Bobby Kennedy' -- a rare blend of dashing, by-any-means-necessary man of action and soaring idealist. By time of his tragic death on Aug. 19, 2003, the Brazilian diplomat had spent nearly 35 years inside the U.N. system, sent from hellhole to hellhole as one of the international organization's most dependable troubleshooters. Representing the United Nations in Iraq, a job he reluctantly accepted at the behest of then Secretary-General Kofi Annan and George W. Bush's administration, was to be his final assignment in the field. He was, as biographer Samantha Power put it Monday at a Washington event previewing Sergio, the moving documentary based on her book, the world's 'go-to guy.' The film, which airs May 6 -- on HBO, of all places -- is both a celebration of Vieira de Mello's life and a gripping account of his final moments, trapped beneath the rubble of the Baghdad hotel that served as the United Nations' headquarters in Iraq while two woefully underequipped emergency workers tried desperately to free him." (ForeignPolicy)



"It’s enough to make 'Private Chefs of Beverly Hills' — a new Food Network show that debuted this month and follows a group of chefs as they cater Botox parties, pampered-pooch play dates and 'glamping' (glamorous camping) trips — look like a walk in the park ... 1. Jay-Z loves chicken wings so much he reportedly hired a 'chicken wing chef' to feed him and his entourage. 2. Dieting designer Karl Lagerfeld employs a personal chef to whip up Slimfast-style protein shakes — and a 'Diet Coke butler' to deliver him his favorite fizzy drink on photo shoots. 3. Madonna has a chef to make her twig tea and to help her follow a strict macrobiotic diet consisting of at least 50 percent whole grains. 4. For breakfast every morning, Michael Jackson required fruit juice, granola, almond milk — and a tank of oxygen. 5. Strict vegetarian Paul McCartney has been known to travel with his private chef — who then instructs hotel staff on how to prepare his meals." (NYPost)



"The Weinstein brothers’ five-day negotiating window to try to seal the deal to buy the Miramax library from Disney expires on Wednesday, and it’s not done yet. That said, the architecture of a final agreement has come into place, as dozens of lawyers crawl over every financial statement and document before anything is signed. The broad outlines include: -- A $625 million purchase price in exchange for ...-- Miramax’s 611 films, including five unreleased movies (Disney will keep ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’) -- Ron Burkle will put in $325 million in equity, Fortress and Colbeck Capital will provide $300 million in debt; Burkle will own most of the company. -- The Weinstein Company will be paid a fee to distribute and manage the library, somewhere over 10 percent of the annual revenue it produces. If and when the deal is sealed, it will make Burkle, a billionaire who made his fortune in supermarkets, a new player on the Hollywood landscape." (TheWrap)



"Pablo Picasso liked to work fast. When no new canvases were handy, he painted over what he already had. He reportedly completed his masterpiece of the Spanish Civil War, Guernica, in six weeks. And, living in the south of France in his 80s, he had a pair of master print makers relocated from Paris to work at his convenience, having them zip up and down the narrow country road by motor scooter, so that if he cut a plate in the morning, he could inspect the proofs over lunch. The Met’s massive spring exhibition, 'Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,' featuring 300 works by the Spanish master, was assembled with comparable speed. 'It was actually a bit of a last-minute show,' said Samantha Rippner, the Met’s curator of prints and drawings, which make up about half of the exhibition." (TheObserver)



"Last night, Vanity Fair fêted the ninth annual Tribeca Film Festival with a cocktail party featuring a wide-ranging cast of characters. Lining up at the State Supreme Courthouse was everyone from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to Martha Stewart to festival co-founder Robert De Niro. Queen Noor of Jordan, who's become a regular fixture of the TFF circuit on behalf of the King Hussein Foundation, was eager to chat about the Media and Humanity Program she launched in 2007. 'This year we're showing a film called Budrus, which humanizes both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, so it's a wonderful message,' she said." (Style)



The big change at this year’s Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival bash is that dinner wasn’t part of the program. 'I only found out five minutes ago that we won’t be eating,' smiled Diane Von Furstenberg. 'Did everyone think that too?' Apparently not. A solid number of guests made their reservations at the Waverly Inn and Monkey Bar (where Graydon and wife Anna were hosting a nightcap) and came to the State Supreme Courthouse for two hours of power schmoozing and boozing. 'I’m having a liquid dinner this evening,' admitted Patricia Clarkson. 'I guess I’m drinking Chardonnay, but I’m not even sure!' David Hyde Pierce had a different strategy. 'I’m just going to stuff myself with those hors d'oeuvres and call it a night.' And lack of seating anxieties this year actually made this year’s guests more excited about the networking opportunities. Anna Wintour talked covers with Patrick Demarchelier, Edward Burns talked movies with Brian Williams, and Robert De Niro gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg some welcome hugs. 'Now I have to find time to see a movie downtown,' smiled the Mayor. The cocktail space was filled in nicely by billionaires (Ron Perelman and Barry Diller), Oscar winners (Barry Levinson, Robert Zemeckis, and Precious writer Geoffrey Fletcher), Condé czarinas (Ingrid Sichy and Sandy Brant and Linda Wells) and Queen Noor of Jordan, just for kicks." (DailyFrontRow)



"We're just back from the Empire Hotel on Manhattan's Upper West Side where CNBC threw a party for anchor Maria Bartiromo on the publication of her new book, 'The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.' We talked with several of Bartiromo's CNBC colleagues including anchors Trish Regan, who pulled out the Blackberry to show us a picture of her twins, now four months old. 'I'm turning into one of those people.' As we were chatting, NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker came up to say hello. He was shown the baby pictures too. Also here toasting Bartiromo, Melissa Lee and Melissa Francis, who's just weeks away from delivering her second child. 'Another boy,' says Francis. 'I feel like I'm starting to be surrounded.'" (TVNewser)



"Yesterday in New York was sunny and mild. Spring is here. Last night at the Café Carlyle Elaine Stritch opened with an encore of her show 'Singin’ Sondheim ... One Song at a Time.' The Broadway legend and I have mutual friends, namely Liz Smith, and so I’ve had the pleasure of her company a few times, including, at a couple of her birthdays which she shares with her longtime friend Liz. To her friends she’s 'Elaine,' as in 'oh Elainnnne,' the girl with the Midwest, All-American work ethic and a workerbee’s approach to business. In the world of Broadway legends, however, she’s simply 'Stritch' to her countless admirers and fans." (NYSocialDiary)



"Jay-Z tore up the desert last Friday as the main headliner at the 2010 Coachella Fest, and when Beyonce walked out at the end of his set and performed 'Forever Young' it seemed like the huge crowd watching swelled even more. Saturday night was even more jam-packed with performances from Gorillaz, MGMT, Muse, Tiesto, Hot Chip and Faith No More. Several of PAPER's latest feature subjects played including our cover girl Beth Ditto, and last year's Beautiful People Matt & Kim, Sia, and our 25th Anniversary Issue cover boy Wale, all played lengthy (two-hour!) sets. Sia's light-as-air voice was backed up by a heavy rock band and even with her self proclaimed 'tummy ache' she gave us all goose bumps. Thom Yorke, Devo, Phoenix, and De La Soul all gave stellar performances, while Sly Stone apparently pre-partied a little too much and his crowd quickly disassembled while booing. Poor Tokyo Police Club was also abandoned in the hot afternoon heat as dehydrated fans opted for the shaded cover of the beer gardens." (Papermag)



"The summer movie season isn’t exactly best known for independent film. With billions of dollars set to be spent on the countless sequels (Shrek 4, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), remakes (The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street), adaptations of video games (The Prince of Persia), adaptations of TV shows (MacGruber, The A Team), and sequels of adaptations of TV shows (Sex and the City 2), one wonders how much space is really going to left over for the littler guys. But, while summer will never be the independent film hotbed that is the fall, in recent years there have actually been quite a few indie breakouts during the studio’s favorite months. Last year, for example, summer brought the eventual best picture winner in the middle of June (The Hurt Locker), the best documentary winner in August (The Cove), and a bunch of specialty financial success stories in films like (500) Days of Summer, Food, Inc., Away We Go, Moon, In The Loop, and The September Issue. That said, summer can be a particularly risky time to release an independent film, partially due to the mass amount of studio pictures with huge advertising budgets that are bogarting three or four screens (or more) in some multiplexes. So, it’s also important to look outside the box office." (IndieWIRE)



"USA Network last week regained its lead among the core TV demo, edging TBS among viewers 18-49 by some 50,000 viewers. For the week ending April 18, USA averaged 1.07 million viewers 18-49 in primetime, topping TBS and its 1.02 million members of the dollar demo. USA also cruised to another win among total viewers, serving up 2.76 million on the week, of which 1.17 million were adults 25-54. All told, USA accounted for four of the 10 most-watched prime time programs on ad-supported cable, winning the week outright with the April 12 installment of WWE Raw. The Monday night wrestling block averaged 4.7 million viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:04 p.m., and finished fourth among viewers 18-49 (2.32 million). USA also got a lift from a pair of NCIS reruns, as Wednesday night’s 8 p.m. telecast scared up 4.38 million viewers and the WWE Raw lead-in drew 3.89 million viewers. Fox News Channel moved up a notch to finish out the week in second place, drawing 2 million viewers in prime." (THR)

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