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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Middle East sources report that prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and president Hosni Mubarak agreed on a joint strategy when they talked at Sharm el-Sheikh Monday, May 3; it was to go for a partial solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict based on setting up a Palestinian state within temporary borders. Although this idea has been repeatedly rejected by the Obama administration and Palestinian leaders, Netanyahu and Mubarak found that it was the only realistic path toward progress. According to our sources, the understandings reached between the Egyptian and Israeli leaders rest on a common appreciation that the Palestinian, Iranian and Hamas issues are intertwined and require an integrated policy approach. Every move for containing Iran's expansionist drive in the Middle East bears on coordinated Egyptian-Israel tactics for reining in Hamas' rule of the Gaza Strip; this in turn ties in with the diplomatic process about to begin on the Palestinian issue." (DEBKAFile)



(image via Annie Leibovitz via VF)

"In 38 days, it begins. The World Cup captivates more people around the globe than any other event, sporting or otherwise. Every four years, in pubs and corporate boardrooms, thatched huts and flophouses, fans of 'the Beautiful Game' gather around televisions and transistor radios—and now, for the deep of pocket, iPhones and 3-D flat screens—to cheer for their heroes. They watch and listen by the billions, holding their breath at every corner kick, falling to their knees or leaping for joy at every goal scored. That this year’s tournament is in South Africa, where apartheid was the law of the land until 1994, only adds to the heightened sense of celebration—this is about a whole lot more than just soccer." (VanityFair)



(image via style)

"The Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute benefit was all about stateside roots this year, celebrating as it did the opening of American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity. Proceedings inside had a turn-of-the-century feel, with wicker chairs at the dinner tables and a hot-air balloon inspired by one from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair looming over the Great Hall. Appropriately, the first guest off the starting line was NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. He was followed by co-chair Anna Wintour, who arrived in a gown designed for her by Karl Lagerfeld. 'He's the master, so whatever he says, I obey,' the Vogue editor in chief said. Influential types have also been known to have that kind of relationship with Oprah Winfrey, who came in soon after Wintour and issued a gentle commandment of her own: 'I want everybody to not just look at the glamour of this evening, but to actually come to the exhibit.' America's favorite TV host had done the glamour part too, of course—with help from Oscar de la Renta. As her friend Gayle King noted, this was one night where 'the last person she needs fashion advice from is me.' With Gap's Patrick Robinson serving as Winfrey's fellow co-chair, the fashion world's biggest party (following 2008 and 2009 editions celebrating superheroes and supermodels) seemed to be making a symbolic nod toward Main Street." (Style)



(image via NYSD)

"Last night was also the Met Costume Institute Ball. I haven’t been invited to this since it was taken over by Anna Wintour and Vogue Magazine. Over the years, Ms. Wintour has transformed not only the event but even the 'society' who patronize it. 'Society' is the wrong word in terms of tradition but as legitimate today as the term 'socialite,' which has also undergone a re-definition. (In other words, it means 'something' to somebody.) Twenty years ago, the star of the evening was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and The Costume Institute’s newly launched exhibition. Today, the center of attention may be somebody you may never have heard of, but who is very famous among the 20- and 30-somethings. Or it may be the dress or suit. But it’s all transition and we are at a time of extreme transition, whatever that portends. The guest list these days is heavy on the celebrities – models, actors, rock stars, and anyone else who is attracted to that milieu and can afford the ticket, which I was told starts at $7500." (NYSocialDiary)



(image via style)

"It could have gone any way last night, considering the theme of the Costume Institute exhibition: 'American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.' There could have been neo-jazz babies, flappers, debutantes, feminists, disco queens, Hollywood sirens, Nouvelle Society matrons and Playboy bunnies. And that’s just a few archetypes off the top of a stack. But most of the women attending the gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among the 725 guests, dressed elegantly, more so than in recent years, and they did their best to heed Anna Wintour’s e-mail messages to be on time. At 6:30 p.m., Ms. Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue, was waiting at the top of the red-carpeted grand staircase, a tiny figure in a gold Chanel dress and jacket. If the gala’s other leaders, Oprah Winfrey and Patrick Robinson, the executive vice president of design for Gap, had ascended the front steps, they still had a climb before they reached Ms. Wintour and the receiving line. Asked if she felt any pressure to wear clothes by American designers, Ms. Wintour smiled and said, 'Well, if you see the exhibition, they’re all wearing French clothes.' Ms. Winfrey wore a design of Oscar de la Renta, who had invited Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Barbara Walters, among others, to sit at his table." (CATHY HORYN/NYTimes)



"When former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) announced recently that he wouldn’t enter the 2010 Senate race and challenge Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, many of us crossed the state off our list of competitive races. Maybe we were a bit premature. Two more Republicans — former state Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel and businessman Ron Johnson — are joining the two GOPers already in the contest, businessman Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake, and the newly expanded field is just one reason for reconsidering my knee-jerk judgment. None of these four hopefuls possesses all of the qualities of the ideal challenger. But this cycle, Republicans may not need ideal challengers to win, even in the Badger State. Let’s be clear: Russ Feingold isn’t damaged goods the way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is, and he isn’t running in a Republican-leaning state, the way Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) is. He’s an aggressive campaigner who has always tried to avoid the Washington insider label. But Feingold’s numbers suggest a serious GOP challenger could make his life uncomfortable, and the fact that the three-term senator would go up with his first television ad in April is reason enough to take another look at the race." (CQPolitics)



"What Jennifer Lopez is going through is more of a brand transition into a softer, maternal, possibly more relatable J.Lo. What's still uncertain is if her career will come out the other side with the same cultural relevance it had a decade ago .. coming off a hiatus to be with her new twins, Emme and Max, age 2, it remains uncertain as to whether she can still lead a hit. The latest evidence, her rom-com 'The Back-Up Plan,' while not disastrous, certainly is troubling for the woman whose acting career appeared so promising, starting with a credible effort in 1998's 'Out of Sight,' alongside George Clooney. Through Sunday, 'Back-Up Plan' -- which was shot on a modest production budget of $35 million -- had taken in just under $23 million after two weeks in theaters." (TheWrap)



"'I feel about Washington the way my mother used to feel about me. She used to tell me: 'I love you, I just hate the things you do,' said David Axelrod, Barack Obama's senior advisor. It was Friday night on the rooftop at the W Hotel, at The New Yorker's first-ever party on the White House Correspondents Dinner weekend. Though The New York Times made a big stink two years ago about how it didn't want anything to do with the dinner, this other venerable institution did not follow its lead. With Obama's second year under way, and with David Remnick's Obama book out, here was The New Yorker making itself a very visible part of the circus ... Rosario Dawson and Judd Apatow mingled with the likes of Jeffrey Toobin and Sy Hersh. Legal scholar Cass Sunstein literally swept Samantha Power off her feet until Mr. Sunstein lost his balance. 'I'm sorry!' said Ms. Power, as she nearly fell into Mr. Remnick. Mr. Sunstein tried again and cradled Ms. Power, successfully. She laughed long and hard as they went toward the elevators. 'I can’t call him. I’m too nervous. I have his number, but I’m too nervous to call him,' Mr. Axelrod was saying nearby. Who exactly was he too nervous to call, we asked? 'Sandy Koufax,' he said. While we chatted with Mr. Axelrod, person after person came up to say hello. 'This is Carl Hulse of The New York Times, a friend of Rahm’s, and a friend of mine,' said Mr. Axelrod. 'Washington is a fucked-up town,' said Zach Galifianakis, the actor. 'It’s a very odd existence, this hobnobbing and rubbing of shoulders. It’s kind of how TV shows are made.'" (Observer)



"I want you to read a book. I know that's asking a lot. You've got to buy it, you've got to dedicate time, and I'm not even sure you'll be riveted. But you will be stunned. Because you'll see yourself in it. 'Juliet, Naked' is the latest Nick Hornby novel. Yes, the guy who wrote "High Fidelity". Please, please, please don't confuse the book with the movie. As much as I love Jack Black, and I do, he does not accurately represent the shop clerks in the book. Record store clerks are pissed off. And that's why they treat you so badly. Because in an alternative universe they should be kings, but instead they're locked up in this musty room telling idiots like you what to buy. Music is a passion, a belief, a creed. And Duncan's one of us. Intricately analyzing the work of Tucker Crowe, who went into a bathroom in Minneapolis twenty years previous and came out retired, never to make music again. But his one great album, about Juliet, it was even nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys, didn't win, but for a moment everybody knew who he was, now only a few do. But those few...they live for him." (LefsetzLetter)



"Billionaire Ron Burkle is selling Americold Realty Trust in an initial public offering at double the value of property funds worldwide, while giving his firm the option to buy shares at a 35 percent discount. The warehouse operator owned by Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. is raising $688 million in this year’s biggest U.S. IPO at a price of $2.32 per dollar of the company’s tangible net assets. The median real-estate investment trust trades at less than a dollar, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Yucaipa holds warrants that allow it to purchase stock from Americold at $9.81 each, below the midpoint offering price of $15, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Burkle, who made his fortune buying and selling supermarket chains and employed former U.S. President Bill Clinton as an advisor, is seeking investors for a company that has lost money for four straight years." (Bloomberg)



(image via artinfo)

"Art dealer Jeffrey Deitch's last opening in New York was a doozy. More than 1,000 people came to the exhibition: Shepard Fairey's 'May Day' show. 'They had to shut the street down,' says a spy. Deitch is off to LA to head up the Museum of Contemporary Art. Among those who made it in: Salman Rushdie, Adrien Brody, Cynthia Rowley, and Debbie Harry, who was the subject of one of the pieces. The show is sold out." (PageSix)

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