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Monday, September 13, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Carla Bruni -- who had a reputation as a 'man-eater' before becoming the first lady of France -- had three former lovers as houseguests when she took French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Riviera on his first vacation in her Mediterranean villa, a new book claims. The Times of London obtained an advance copy of 'Carla: A Secret Life,' an unauthorized biography of the Italian supermodel that will be published this week. Author Besma Lahouri writes that Bruni neglects her charitable works, lives a solitary life and drives her husband mad with jealousy. Her past lovers are said to include singers, philosophers, lawyers, journalists and politicians. Bruni's most famous boyfriend was Mick Jagger in the early 1990s. 'The young supermodel had long set her sights on the older and married Rolling Stone, and she called the shots once she had snared him,' the Times of London says. Notoriously cheap Jagger even once splurged on a Concorde flight from New York to Paris especially to visit her. Some of Bruni's partners went to pieces when she dumped them. According to the book, one was lawyer Arno Klarsfeld, who told Jack Lang, a former French Culture Minister, Bruni was 'a real tigress.' But Bruni has met her match, Lahouri writes -- she was unhappy when Sarkozy seemed smitten with Catherine Zeta-Jones at a dinner in New York." (PageSix)



"Iggy Pop, in all his full shirtless and sweaty glory, stood gripping the mic stand on stage at Dasha Zhukova's Pop Magazine party at Don Hill's last night. It was the most buzzed-about event of Fashion's Night Out and chances are, if you were there, you were there for a reason. Too bad Iggy Pop doesn't give a fuck about your reason. 'I think we're all aware it's Fashion Week in New York City,' Iggy growled to the mass of beautiful attendees. 'Just remember, fashion people, your pretty face is going to hell.' That set the tone for what can only be described as a raucous bash at Paul Sevigny's just-opened and hotly anticipated new project, Don Hill's. The civilized Soho shop-hopping of earlier that night was like a far-off memory now that Iggy and the Stooges had plugged in." (Observer)



"It’s hard to top a kick in the nuts. Especially when the kicker is Linda McMahon, the Connecticut Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Pure comedy gold. Jon Stewart watches the tape and doubles over with laughter. He and fifteen of The Daily Show’s writers, producers, and performers are gathered around a 40-inch flat-screen TV inside the show’s Eleventh Avenue offices early on a Thursday morning in August. Creating a segment for tonight’s Daily Show around this footage, from one of World Wrestling Entertainment’s harmless little skits, would seem to be easy. Maybe they can just run the nut shot repeatedly. Along with another clip of McMahon, the co-founder and former CEO of WWE, chugging a beer and drooling foam down her cheek. Except that the goal here isn’t simply topping the kick in the nuts—it’s using the scrotum slam in the service of a larger point. Oh, Stewart & Co. enjoy a lowbrow laugh as much as the folks over at South Park; heck, next week they’re publishing a book that includes some excellent masturbation jokes. But Stewart and The Daily Show became America’s sharpest political satirists by aiming at least a little bit higher." (NYMag)



"YOUR blogger spent 11 hours in the (paper and ink) company of Tony Blair yesterday, and a very odd experience it was too. The former prime minister's memoirs were published in the morning, leaving just enough time to read the whole thing, then write a print column for this week's newspaper (it was a late night). Bagehot should perhaps start with a confession. Perhaps because I watched Mr Blair from abroad for almost the entirety of his term in office, I have never quite fathomed the visceral loathing he inspires in so many British people. I think his term in office was a disappointment in many ways, and regret that he only came to see the need for deep structural reforms of the public sector once it was too late, and his political capital was almost all spent. I can see how divisive a figure he was, even before the defining crisis over Iraq. He has a staggering self-belief, which comes across in his memoirs, and he has a taste for the finer things in life which sits awkwardly with British ideas of how left-wing politicians should behave. He himself admits in his book that he is manipulative, and that he was ready to trim and shade on the truth to advance his political goals. But none of these flaws make him unique as a politician. Yet he inspires unique levels of dislike." (TheEconomist)



"I've learned that Jennifer Lopez had been negotiating for a guaranteed 'go' motion picture and TV pilots at Fox to accompany an asked-for $15 million American Idol judging paycheck. But the powers-that-be who produce Idol -- Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment -- balked. It was her manager Benny Medina (whom she once fired) who first orchestrated the meeting with the Idol producers in June, and, by the end of July, J-Lo accepted the offer to be a new Idol judge. Since then, she, Medina and her producing partner Simon Fields have been trying to milk the gig for all they could get from the movie studio and broadcast network/television programmer to further her stalled career in the film/TV area. One bargaining chip they had, I can report, is that Simon Cowell already asked JLo to be a judge on the U.S. version of his The X Factor when it debuts on Fox in Fall 2011. Among JLo's demands, 'she was angling for an overall deal at Fox, including a put picture, to keep the movie career going. But Fox said no,' one insider tells me. 'In the old days, these were called a 'vanity deal' for good reason. They simply don't exist today ..'" (Deadline)



"There are two things any respectable international film festival must be sure to have in ready supply: cigarette-consuming, suit-clad Bulgarians closing international distribution deals over half-drunk Stellas, and lyric French documentaries about manic-depressive artistic geniuses and the practical people who love them. You’ll have no trouble finding the former in the hotel lobbies of downtown Toronto, and the quota of the latter is fulfilled at this year’s festival by L’amour fou, the documentary about Yves Saint Lauren. Pierre Thorreton’s quiet little film is guaranteed to satisfy the Francophile and the fashionista in one fell swoop, with equal parts romanticism, elliptical French philosophizing, and a tasteful dab of decadence. Following on the heels of successful fashion documentaries like Valentino: The Last Emperor (directed by Vanity Fair’s Matt Tyrnauer) and The September Issue, L’amour fou focuses its eye on the unwavering love of Yves’ partner and lover, Pierre Berge. Set against the backdrop of Christie’s auction of Saint Laurent’s massive art collection following his death, the documentary is dominated by Berge’s face while he reminisces and packs their personal effects off to the auction house." (VanityFair)



"This past Friday marked the beginning of Fashion Week in New York. The Couture Council of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology kicked things off with their annual benefit luncheon at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and honored Karl Lagerfeld who made the trip from Paris for his award ...More than 550 guests gathered just before noon. The luncheon was completely sold out with a waiting list of more than 200. More than $600,000 was raised for the Museum at FIT. There were many women wearing their best Chanel and Lagerfelds to pay their individual respects. About 12:30 the white-haired/pony-tailed master arrived with entourage in two large black vans, dressed in his trademark suit (this one in a blue/grey) by Hedi Slimane with its high collar matching blue tie and studded driving gloves (also blue/grey). The designer’s arrival had all the hoopla of that of a movie star and he conducted himself accordingly in a very relaxed and engaging manner ... At the center of that was Daphne Guinness, whose shoes looked like (probably were) white ballet slippers poised on a very steep Lucite heel and accessories with (presumably) rhinestone clips. Ms. Guinness has a look that is all her own beginning with her chocolate and vanilla coif which she wears up, also accessorized. On the back of her dress was a black velvet bow to which was attached a brooch with a canary yellow diamond in the center. Someone told me that it was in fact a real diamond with a value of approximately a million dollars." (NYSocialDiary)



"When 100 young adults gathered in Hong Kong for summer school, they didn't brush up on French or calculus. Instead, they learned about the dangers of marrying without a prenuptial agreement, how to buy art and how to safeguard an inheritance. These are no ordinary students. Together, these 18- to 34-year-olds—scions of some of Asia's wealthiest families—are heirs to combined fortunes of about $50 billion. Yet their concerns as they seek to safeguard their wealth while establishing their own identities will be familiar to their peers around the world. Their classrooms were the maple-paneled library and ballrooms of the Island Shangri-La hotel, where Citigroup Inc.'s Citi Private Bank was offering a free five-day crash course called 'The Next Generation of Wealth.' Attendees' families had to have at least $10 million at the bank and pay their own travel costs ... After lessons, the young aristocrats hit the local nightclubs. Many trailed in late in the mornings or didn't show up at all. One Thai teenager with orange-tinted hair turned up late for the first session and confessed to the group he had been out partying until 4 a.m. 'The most memorable part of the Next Gen was the parties,' said Stevenson Lau, 29, who has attended the camp several times. His father wants him to take over the firm he founded, Minwa Electronics Co., but Mr. Lau, a graduate of Syracuse University, is exploring other options, having launched a 2-D bar-code venture with two friends he met at the camp in 2005." (WSJ)



"Citigroup, the most bailed out and dysfunctional of the big financial houses, has been acting extra-stupidly lately by barring an influential analyst who had the gall to question the bank’s accounting practices from meeting its senior executives. Following reporting by myself and others at Fox Business Network, Citi CEO Vikram Pandit has relented: The analyst, Mike Mayo, will get his long-awaited meeting with Citigroup brass, including Pandit himself. But the Mayo pissing match—he will be doing a victory lap of sorts this week, making the media rounds, including an appearance on Fox Business at approximately 1:30 p.m. Eastern today—shouldn’t obscure a larger story. Specifically, how this behemoth, even with all the management changes it has endured during its relatively short (12 years) and tortured history, still breeds contempt for the needs of investors and the American taxpayer, who will be on the hook once again if Citi begins to falter, a distinct possibility. The cost of Citigroup’s crappy (some would say corrupt) corporate culture became crystal clear last week, when the Securities & Exchange Commission released documents that showed just how many people inside Citigroup’s management team knew about its massive risk-taking, and the losses that would ultimately doom the bank." (Charlie Gasparino/TheDailybeast)



"Ryan Reynolds isn’t someone anyone should feel sorry for. He’s handsome, talented, and more or less guaranteed to be rich beyond his wildest dreams in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, thanks to his upcoming role as Green Lantern. According to Hollywood insiders, or at least the handful I know, he’s seen as a future megastar, and his performance in Rodrigo Cortes’s Buried, which screens Tuesday at the Toronto International Film Festival, is the type of tour-de-force that can lift an actor out of the ranks of rom-com McDreamies and onto the picture-opening A-list. It’s not just that Reynolds spends the entirety of Buried on screen; it’s that he spends it in a wooden coffin, buried under the Iraqi desert, with little more than a Zippo and an Arabic-language cell phone to keep him company. That we wind up not only feeling his pain but truly understanding him, both as an individual and as an Everyman whose predicament mirrors that of down-on-their-luck American schlubs from coast to coast and beyond, is a testament to his remarkable skill, endurance, and ingenuity as an actor." (VanityFair)



"In a nationwide referendum yesterday, Turks approved 26 amendments to the country's constitution, which supporters say will reign in the power of the military and make the government more accountable, but opponents believe will give Turkey's Islamic-oriented government too much power over the judiciary. Turkey's current constitution was originally adopted after a military coup in 1980 and has become a battleground between Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdogan's government, and the country's secular military elite. The amendments will make military officers more accountable to civilian courts, allow civil servants to go on strike, and strengthen anti-discrimination laws for women, senior citizens and the disabled. The changes were meant to bring Turkey more in line with European law and advance the country's troubled bid for EU membership. Erdogan said that Turkey had 'crossed a historic threshold toward advanced democracy and the supremacy of law'. The European Commission welcomed the vote as a "step in the right direction.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his college dorm room six years ago. Five hundred million people have joined since, and eight hundred and seventy-nine of them are his friends. The site is a directory of the world’s people, and a place for private citizens to create public identities ...Zuckerberg’s Facebook friends have access to his e-mail address and his cell-phone number. They can browse his photograph albums, like one titled 'The Great Goat Roast of 2009,' a record of an event held in his back yard. They know that, in early July, upon returning from the annual Allen & Company retreat for Hollywood moguls, Wall Street tycoons, and tech titans, he became Facebook friends with Barry Diller. Soon afterward, Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, 'Is there a site that streams the World Cup final online? (I don’t own a TV.)' Since late August, it’s also been pretty easy to track Zuckerberg through a new Facebook feature called Places, which allows users to mark their location at any time. At 2:45 A.M., E.S.T., on August 29th, he was at the Ace Hotel, in New York’s garment district. He was back at Facebook’s headquarters, in Palo Alto, by 7:08 P.M. On August 31st at 10:38 P.M., he and his girlfriend were eating dinner at Taqueria La Bamba, in Mountain View. Zuckerberg may seem like an over-sharer in the age of over-sharing. But that’s kind of the point. Zuckerberg’s business model depends on our shifting notions of privacy, revelation, and sheer self-display." (TheNewYorker)



"Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian metals magnate and owner of the New Jersey Nets, figures he knows just what New York City needs: another snob. Mr. Prokhorov this week is bringing Snob, a Russian-language, general-interest magazine that caters to that country's global elite, to the U.S. Currently distributed in Russia and Britain, it will hit New York Wednesday with an initial run of about 20,000 copies of its September issue. The magazine's U.S. hub will be a small office in Dumbo. 'Russians living abroad have been rediscovering Russia,' said Masha Gessen, deputy editor in chief of Snob. For years, she said, Russians were imbued with the mentality that succeeding abroad meant permanently cutting ties to their home country. Now that so many Russians have achieved enormous financial success overseas, many of them are feeling 'secure enough to go back to the culture that unites us,' Ms. Gessen said. The name of the magazine does not mean to Russians what it means to Americans. For readers, the title Snob is 'obviously ironic,' Mr. Yakovlev said, and in fact the title is an acronym of the Russian words for accomplished, independent, educated and thriving. For Russians, a snob has come to mean a self-made man, or a person who has gained the right to snobbishness." (WSJ)

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