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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Not everyone loves the World Cup. Already dealing with a soft domestic market, movie distributors are worried that the popular soccer tournament, which kicks off Friday in South Africa with 32 teams spanning 32 countries, will dampen the booming international box office. 'It factors in a whole lot for everybody,' concedes Disney theatrical distribution president Chuck Viane. 'You always try to find those spots on the calendar that are your best launching areas, but with the World Cup, you’re going to be in a much tighter competitive landscape.' 'This is a huge deal,' added another studio distribution executive. 'Cinema attendance, particularly in Europe, plummets.'" (TheWrap)



"Every country has its diplomatic style: Protocol matters to the British; elusiveness matters to Russia; and fortitude matters to France and Brazil. For China and its military, it's all about ambiguity. Beijing has become the master of winning arguments without actually having them. Witness the defense ministers' meeting at this week's annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates used his remarks to openly criticize Beijing for resisting U.S. efforts to improve the military-to-military relationship. Speaking immediately after Gates and in response to a question from the floor, Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), accused Washington of 'creating obstacles' to such cooperation by continuing to support Taiwan and interfering in China's sovereign affairs. At first glance, it was all quite predictable: The United States approves an arms transfer to Taiwan, and China balks. But in truth, Beijing's reluctance to commit to meaningful high-level military-to-military talks is part of an agenda to deliberately foster ambiguity -- a well-established approach in both ancient and contemporary Chinese competitive thinking. It's an infuriating strategy for Beijing's Washington counterparts, but a rather brilliant one for the PLA and China more broadly, so long as it's pulled off right. China has to engage just enough to be a partner and hide just enough to remain a threat." (ForeignPolicy)



"The King is now planning to move to Greece and last week he celebrated his 70th birthday. His son, Prince Pavlos and his wife, Princess Marie-Chantal, threw a wonderful dinner to celebrate it. Their house is near the river and has a garden to end all gardens. A clear-sided tent had two long tables allowing intimacy, and drinks beforehand were indoors, where some of us could rub shoulders with the royals. And royals were there galore. The Queen and Prince Philip, the Queen of Denmark and Prince Henrik, the Queen of Spain and her son Prince Felipe, the Queen of Greece, of course, and all her family. Princess Anne, the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Michael and Marina of Greece, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Andrew, in a particularly jovial and pleasant mood. The first speaker was Prince Pavlos, who spoke movingly about his father and the dignity he has kept throughout a volatile period, and I was happy he mentioned that the King as Crown Prince had won the first Greek Olympic gold medal in the post war Rome Olympics. Then came Pavlos’s young son, who in his childish voice told his grandfather how he and his brothers wished him a happy birthday, er—then he got kicked by his sister—and added, and my sisters too. That got a big laugh and I thought to myself, there goes a real Greek. Girls don’t count in the land of macho and moustaches. Queen Anna Maria followed and then it was the King’s turn. Seated next to Queen Elizabeth—on her other side was my very old friend Nicholas Soames—Constantine talked about the 'spring of my senility,' and made us all feel included. It was as graceful as it was touching, and he mentioned Princess Chantal of Hanover, who was also celebrating her birthday. Who else was there? I’ve already done all the name dropping I will ever do, but it’s not every day that a King turns 70 and does it in such style ... Oh yes, I almost forgot. I did not see who dropped coffee on the Queen’s dress, but I sure have my suspicions." (Takimag)



"I have lived in America for half my life now, and spent a lot of ink in my time detailing the charm the Kennedy family, in particular, has for people here, and I just don't get that, either. Born as I was in England, I see it as an American search for a surrogate royalty and a quite intentional search at that, as through royalty would be a good thing in this country. Americans don't know how they lucky they have it, and yet they glom on to these political families in a showbiz way that I find that depressing." (Christopher Hitchens/ChicagoTribune)



"Diplomatic relations between the US and the UK are testy with the approach of Saturday's World Cup match. E-mails leaked to the Times of London reveal that Louis Susman, American ambassador to Britain, approached his British counterpart in Washington to make a wager on the game between the US squad and England. 'We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter," US press secretary Philip Breeden in London gibed. The US beat England 1-0 in Brazil. But Martin Longden, repping British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald in DC, replied: 'I regret that I cannot immediately recall the encounter to which you refer. No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however.' Longden proposed the terms: dinner at a Washington, DC, steakhouse if England wins, supper at a London pub on Longden's dime if the US wins. Breeden accepted, but Longden got the last word: 'You should know that the ambassador takes his steak like American soccer victories -- somewhat rare.'" (PageSix)



(image via nymag)

"Howard (Stern) started the show talking about how busy the show was going to be today. Joan Rivers was coming in to promote a movie about her life. Howard said he saw it yesterday and it's very good. He said it's kind of depressing but fascinating. He said she's an unusual woman. Howard said he's a big fan of Joan's but he's never seen insecurity like she has. Howard said she's yelling about not being called an icon in one moment and then she's got such nervousness about going out on stage that you'd think she was just starting her career. He said she never sees herself as someone who has made it. Howard said Joan is seen without her make up on and it's very good and very interesting. Howard said she's had a lot of plastic surgery and she's very consumed with that make up. He said she freaks out on a make up woman when she doesn't have any make up on herself. Howard said Johnny Carson is discussed in the special and they talk about the whole betrayal of Johnny and things like that. Johnny never got over that and never had Joan on his show again. Howard said he learned a lot from that movie. Howard said they show Joan's apartment and she thinks she has very little money and thinks she's almost broke. He said they looked at her calendar and she goes nuts if she sees any blank spots on it. Howard said he dreams of the blank calendar. Howard said she wants no space on it. Howard said Joan had a million club dates and show bookings when she was on Celebrity Apprentice. He said it's an amazing movie and he applauds her for opening up her life like that." (Marksfriggin)



(Kristin Gore, Al Gore, Tiper Gore, and Karenna Gore Schiff via NYSD)

"I was lunching with my old friend Ashley Schiff Ramos who was in town for a moment, having abandoned the hectic Noo Yawk frenzy for the quiet of Palm Beach, motherhood and matrimony. (Her husband Mike works with Jimmy Buffett.) Someone sent me the link to the NYTimes blog yesterday morning about the Al and Tipper Gore family marriages ending. Besides mama and papa, and daughter Kristin, who was divorced a year ago, yesterday it was revealed that Karenna Gore and her husband Drew Schiff were living apart. This announcement came from an anonymous source, and not the family. Ashley didn’t know about this until I mentioned the Times blog item. This was not sudden. Friends and family have known for several months. I hadn’t printed it because in these delicate matters nothing is final until it is final, and there are young children involved. Had Karenna’s parents not made their announcement last week, the Schiff-Gore matter may never have seen the media light. I didn’t ask Ashley about the divorce or the family because although we’re friends, her family comes first and having been in the public relations business herself, she knows the ropes: the less said the better." (NYSocialDiary)



"My original intention was to write a piece about how putrid this summer movie season has been so far. Then I figured, everyone kind of already knows that. So what would be the point? Perhaps after, I could crank out that other essay I’ve been meaning to write: 'Why the Gulf oil spill is not a good thing.' But the idea did get me thinking (this is rare): In a blockbuster season that’s been so disappointing, so lacking in real emotion, why are people so quick to dismiss this weekend’s release, The Karate Kid? The new version of The Karate Kid wasn’t high on my list of films to see when 2010 began. I certainly had nothing against the concept of the film, but I didn’t have its release date circled on my calendar. But there are two things I found surprising about the film. The first was that both my editor and I found ourselves teary-eyed on more than one occasion by the end of the film ..." (VanityFair)



"WHAT: Whitney Art Party and and auction benefiting the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and educational initiatives. WHERE: 82 Mercer. WHEN: June 8,2010 WHO: Lubov and Max Azria, Maggie Grace, Christina Ricci, Carly Cushnie, Michelle Ochs, Jennifer Esposito, Sarah Brown, MisShapes, Eva Amurri, Adam Lippes, Emilie De Ravin, Jen Brill, Bonnie Morrison." (Papermag)



"The pic comes out Friday following almost 10 years in development, millions of dollars in script costs, all for a movie version of a forgotten TV show that 20th Century Fox already is predicting to reporters may not gross more in its opening weekend than the recent 4th installment of the Die Hard franchise." (Deadline)