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Monday, June 07, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been spending a lot of time with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lately, to the consternation of the former's supporters at home and friends elsewhere in the West. Brazil, currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, has been unapologetic about its newfound relationship with Iran, which produced a dubious nuclear fuel-swap deal last month; it defends Iran's right to enrich uranium and rejects any idea of tough economic sanctions. The budding friendship has baffled Washington: Why would this Latin American country, otherwise a U.S. ally, insist on cozying up to Iran to the detriment of its relations closer to home? There are several possible explanations. Brazil has long harbored its own nuclear aspirations, and increasingly seeks to define its own foreign policy and emerge as an independent global power. But Lula's motives may be less complicated than all that: There are also $10 billion in Brazilian-Iranian trade deals to be had. Perhaps the most intriguing, and strategic, aspect of those trade relations has to do with sugar." (ForeignPolicy)



"In a week when our New Age baby boomer glamour, exception-to-all-rules couple Al and Tipper Gore get uncoupled, you just know that nothing lasts forever, except oil spills ... Many of the strongest relationships are gay ones, where sexual exclusivity is not required but the relationship is a mutual admiration society of two. The author Gore Vidal, who may be a distant cousin of Al Gore, lived with his lover Howard Austen for 53 years until the latter's death in November 2003. During that time Vidal was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward – who went on to marry Paul Newman, another great marriage – and entertained numerous men with his wit. One of the most melancholy but uplifting moments of my life was at a New Year's Eve party at the old Sebel Townhouse hotel in the 1980s when the champagne flowed and our noses ran like streams. The Sebel put on a dinner for guests who otherwise had nowhere to go. Pathetic, I thought. Unable to be fitted into the dining room, extra tables were put into the foyer and partygoers were given paper crowns, party treats and whistles. Rushing from my booked room to the entrance to greet some friends I noticed a couple of elderly, to me, men sitting quietly facing each other over the remainders of their set menu. It was Vidal and Austen, the world's wittiest, wisest and most eloquent man and his lover celebrating New Year's Eve in Sydney alone together draped in streamers thrown by people who would not have a clue on whose shoulders they landed." (Charles Waterstreet/SydneyMorningHerald)



"Last August, shortly after his arrival at the federal correctional complex in Butner, North Carolina, Bernard L. Madoff was waiting on the evening pill line for his blood-pressure medication when he heard another inmate call his name. Madoff, then 71, author of the most devastating Ponzi scheme in history, was dressed like every other prisoner, in one of his three pairs of standard-issue khakis, his name and inmate number glued over the shirt pocket. Rec time, the best part of a prisoner’s day, was drawing to a close, and Madoff, who liked to walk the gravel track, sometimes with Carmine Persico, the former mob boss, or Jonathan Pollard, the spy, had hurried to the infirmary, passing the solitary housing unit—the hole—ducking through the gym and the twelve-foot-high fence and turning in the direction of Maryland, the unit where child molesters are confined after they’ve served their sentences. As usual, the med line was long and moved slowly. There were a hundred prisoners, some standing outside in the heat, waiting for one nurse. Madoff was accustomed to hearing other inmates call his name. From July 14, the day he arrived, he’d been an object of fascination. Prisoners had assiduously followed his criminal career on the prison TVs. 'Hey, Bernie,' an inmate would yell to him admiringly while he was at his job sweeping up the cafeteria, 'I seen you on TV.' In return, Madoff nodded and waved, smiling that sphinxlike half-smile. 'What did he say?' Madoff sometimes asked. But that evening an inmate badgered Madoff about the victims of his $65 billion scheme, and kept at it. According to K. C. White, a bank robber and prison artist who escorted a sick friend that evening, Madoff stopped smiling and got angry. 'Fuck my victims,' he said, loud enough for other inmates to hear." (NYMag)



"By all accounts, it was a moving ceremony. Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, and Val Kilmer all traveled to Taos, New Mexico, for the funeral of their friend, the actor Dennis Hopper. During the ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, Hopper's son Henry read poetry by Walt Whitman and the actor's other children, Marin and Ruthanna, gave touching eulogies. Afterward, bikers joined in the procession, revving their engines in tribute to the 74-year-old Easy Rider star, who recently died from prostate cancer. But one person was missing among the family members and longtime friends who had come to say goodbye: Hopper's 7-year-old daughter, Galen. Galen didn't attend her father's funeral because her parents' divorce battle turned so ugly in the last six months before the actor's death that lawyers couldn't work out an agreement that would allow her to go. Galen was 'disinvited,' says a confidante of Galen's mother, Victoria. 'So much bullshit,' responds a person on the other side." (Jacob Bernstein/TheDailyBeast)



"Despite the buzz about the iPad or Foursquare, audiences and revenues generated by programming on PCs or wireless devices is still a pittance compared with that on such established mediums as film and TV. But measured by the more intangible metric of influence, even the slightest innovation can portend big changes to come in the evolving media business. Which makes the accomplishments of the 50 men and women highlighted in The Hollywood Reporter’s third annual Digital Power issue worth noting." (TheHollywoodReporter)



"Be So Good They Can't Ignore You. Sounds simple. But most people don't heed this advice. Practicing the piano for ten years does not make you creative. It just allows you to replicate what's been done before. But writing something new? People put in the effort and wonder why they're not famous. The world is filled with journeymen, skilled at their jobs, just check out the band in the lounge, frequently those cats can play. But they're not famous. Because to be famous you've got to make jaws drop, people have to forgo other activities to see you, people have to want to tell others about you. In order to succeed, you've got to innovate. In such a way that a large percentage of the public cares." (Lefsetzletter)



"WHAT: Target and PAPER toast Kim Hastreiter on the occasion of her CFDA Eugenia Sheppard Award. WHERE: Indochine. WHEN: June 6, 2010. WHO: David Byrne, Cindy Sherman, Marilyn Minter, John Waters, Albert Maysles, Fab Five Freddy, Joey Arias, Betsey Johnson ..." (Papermag)



(image via NYSD)

"Last Thursday night, they held the annual Conservatory Ball at the New York Botanical Garden. This is always a great benefit because it is a grand dinner dance in the old fashioned sense. Black tie and long dresses for a garden. It is traditional in its perfection. There are cocktails in the blooming gardens surrounding the conservatory as the Sun is setting (unless the rains come, as they’ve done from time to time) ... The Conservatory Ball almost marks the end of the Spring social season in New York, save for the upcoming Wildlife Conservation Society’s annual gala which takes place this coming Thursday at the Central Park Zoo. And so you can almost see the relief on the faces of the guests, many of whom will be heading off to the beaches of Rhode Island, Nantucket and the Vineyard as well as the Hamptons and the North Fork of Long Island. Friends bidding fareweil until Labor Day." (NYSocialDiary)



"There wasn't a book in sight last night at amfAR's Inspiration Gala at the New York Public Library, but there was plenty of studying going on ... Simon Doonan went around asking the likes of Marc Jacobs and Cyndi Lauper (who later took the stage with Kelly Rowland) to sign his white Band of Outsiders jacket, which he planned to auction off later—'if I haven't sweated it up too much,' he said. One guest not having a problem with the New York heat was Queens native Zoe Saldana. 'I choose humidity any day over dry weather,' she said. 'You wrinkle, you're more prone to skin cancer, your lips are chapped, your hair's dry, your nails are breaking. I can't deal with it.'" (Style)

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