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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"There had been much anticipation leading up to the bal masqué that Paris Vogue hosted to celebrate its 90th anniversary. Did it live up to the hype? 'This is the best party I have been to in my eight years in Paris," Rick Owens said. 'French Vogue doesn't have very many limits, and they still have the potential to be scandalous. You gotta love that unconventional attitude. That's Carine.' That it was. Among a crowd that included Miuccia Prada, Riccardo Tisci, Hedi Slimane, Lapo Elkann, Lenny Kravitz, and just about everyone else who could beg, borrow, or steal a ticket, the editrix herself was holding court, in a transparent leopard-print Givenchy number. The theme of the party, held in the Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo, was disguise, and the fashion crowd clearly relished the assignment. There were wild, feathered headgear (on Anna Dello Russo, naturally), sequins, and full-body regalia. 'It's just great that people really played the game,' Roitfeld said. 'You can't recognize a lot of them because of their masks. I think that's really exciting.'" (Style)


"(Glenn) Beck has a square, boyish face, an alternately plagued and twinkle-eyed demeanor that conjures (when Beck is wearing glasses) the comedian Drew Carey. He is 6-foot-2, which is slightly jarring when you first meet him, because he is all head and doughiness on television; I never thought of Beck as big or small, just as someone who was suddenly ubiquitous and who talked a lot and said some really astonishing things, to a point where it made you wonder — constantly — whether he was being serious. At some point in the past few months, Beck ceased being just the guy who cries a lot on Fox News or a 'rodeo clown' (as he has described himself) or simply a voice of the ultraconservative opposition to President Obama. In record time, Beck has traveled the loop of curiosity to ratings bonanza to self-parody to sage. It is remarkable to think he has been on Fox News only since January 2009.  In person, Beck is sheepish and approachable, betraying none of the grandiosity or bluster you might expect from a man who predicted “the next Great Awakening” to a few hundred thousand people in late August at the Lincoln Memorial or who declared last year that the president has a 'deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.'" (NYTMag)

"Last week, Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations. The foreign minister is a glossy, silver-haired gentleman, and he delivered a glossy address lauding the new 'Strategic Dialogue' with the United States, his government's commitment to transparency and accountability in the distribution of humanitarian assistance for victims of the epic floods, and so forth. He was asked several terribly polite questions and answered in kind. Then I asked the minister if he worried that his government's lack of capacity and even lack of legitimacy in the eyes of citizens was impeding development. Qureshi blew a gasket. 'I really fail to understand what you're trying to say,' he shot back, 'but I can tell you that there are no capacity issues. The Pakistan Army is working. [The] Pakistan Army is an institution that belongs to the government of Pakistan.… They are working under instructions of an elected government, and that is what it ought to be.'  Of course, nobody believes that, not in Washington and not in Islamabad. The response to the floods has confirmed, with a vengeance, both the fecklessness of Pakistan's civilian government and the dominance of the military. Several days ago, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a direct confrontation unprecedented during his tenure, upbraided the country's president and prime minister, supposedly his bosses, over the government's rampant corruption, demanding that they fire several cabinet ministers." (James Traub/ForeignPolicy)


"On Wednesday afternoon in the News Corporation building on Avenue of the Americas in midtown, John Legend walked quickly out of the glass doors of the sixth-floor elevator bank and into a small video studio across the hall. Two "On Air" signs were lighted up in the hallway. A man almost twice Mr. Legend's size wearing a red polo shirt and carrying a duffle bag followed close behind. Mr. Legend was running late to film an episode of 'WSJ Café,' The Wall Street Journal arts videocast. Down the hall from the studio, row after row of Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal reporters and editors were sitting at their desks working in front of computer monitors in the The Hub. The latest news coming off of different wires was projected on one wall. In managing editor Robert Thomson's glass office at the back of the room, the lights were off. 'Back in the old building people would come into our actual café. Now they come into our fancy studio,' Christopher Farley told The Observer on the phone Friday morning. Mr. Farley edits The Journal's 'Speakeasy' arts and entertainment blog and hosts the videocast. 'It was kind of cool to have people there eating their bag of chips,' he said of the authentic café experience. Since The Journal moved into the News Corp. building, staffers claim the limited number of seats in each performance over email. It's first-come, first-serve." (Observer)


"A historian might pause when asked to write the history of an organisation that has destroyed most of its archive. When told he may not name any member who is still alive and must exclude the period on which its fame is largely based, then he could be forgiven for refusing the commission. Keith Jeffery, professor of history at Queen’s University, Belfast, accepted the challenge. As he writes in his introduction, such restrictions presented big disadvantages for Jeffery in trying to inject life into his history. What he has produced is a measured and scholarly work, but there is, nevertheless, life in it, too – and characters. MI6’s job is to provide intelligence on 'requirements' in the fields of national security and foreign, defence and economic policy. It is primarily a collection agency which is why, in its early days, it kept little of its raw material once it had been supplied to its customers. Its reliance on human sources – 'agents' – who work in difficult and dangerous situations, and the fact that many MI6 officers work undercover to recruit and meet these sources, account for the service’s caution in this era of greater openness, and no doubt for the restrictions placed on this book. But it is a disappointment that the history stops at 1948, thereby excluding the cold war, the greatest period for espionage and counter-espionage in modern times." (FT)


"Anjelica Huston and Alan Cumming were excited over their free trip to Morocco, which they received in exchange for hosting a Red by Marrakech dinner promoting the Moroccan city. Huston is prepared to bargain in the souks, having been trained by Jade Jagger how to haggle when Huston was in India filming 'The Darjeeling Limited.' 'We were buying fabrics in Rajasthan, and they'd show us some great stuff,' Huston related at the dinner. 'I'd automatically pull out my money, and she'd say, Don't you dare do that! That's so insulting! I wouldn't pay half of what they're asking! And then she'd start the conversation.'" (PageSix)



"Generally speaking, dating your co-worker can be tricky ground to maneuver. Comedians Kristen Schaal and Rich Blomquist, who both work on The Daily Show and are a couple, are happily proving this theory wrong. They're also writing hilarious books along the way.\ Blomquist, a writer on the show, and Schaal, the show's 'Senior Women's Issues Commentator,' joined comedic forces to put together The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex, a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek manual that (if you couldn't guess) covers sex in some of the most eclectic ways imaginable. Schaal and Blomquist hosted a 'sextravaganza' launch party for their book last night at Spin New York, where people drank cocktails while hitting balls all over the room." (Papermag)


"Disappointingly, Sir Michael Caine does not, when we are introduced, look me firmly in the eye and declare: 'My name’s Michael Caine.' Nor, during the course of our tea together, does he at any stage say, 'Not a lot of people know that', or – and this admittedly asked too much – 'You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off'. Is there a greater deliverer of catchphrases in the history of cinema than Michael Caine? He is, at 77, still an impressive figure, standing tall and possessing of a rich baritone with which he fires jokes with deft and natural comic timing. The accent is much-imitated and inimitable. 'They’ve got scones and clotted cream here,' he offers, and somehow makes it sound funny. I am not sure about the word 'clotted', I say. It doesn’t have good connotations. 'That’s just what I thought,' he replies. 'If it had just said cream I’d have had it.' A shared concern for cholesterol levels established, we settle on smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches and cups of tea, English breakfast for him and Earl Grey for me." (FT)


"SHORTLY after midnight Thursday (O.K., it was Friday by that time, and the Champagne had been flowing steadily for three hours), Stephen Jones, the English milliner who makes the ingenious hats and headgear seen in the collections of Marc Jacobs and Rei Kawakubo, turned to face another guest at a masquerade ball for the 90th anniversary of French Vogue and promptly freaked out that guest. Mr. Jones wore a rectangular mirror, about 8 inches by 10 inches, strapped to the front of his face so that anyone he spoke to saw only their face reflected on top of the body of Stephen Jones. It was a disturbing, but brilliantly existential, disguise — if one was hoping to discover the deeper meaning of identity within the confines of a fashion party ..." (NyTimes)


"When Zac Posen hinted that he was moving his show to Paris this season, few thought he was serious. But here we were at the Westin Hotel yesterday, when Posen showed in full force for the first time in Europe with Yohji Yamamoto sitting front row and center for support. 'It’s a very brave choice for him,' said the legendary Japanese designer. 'But sometimes you have to make those decisions, especially since Zac feels like his clothes are more respected here in Paris.' Also supporting the New Yorker was the entire Posen clan, Leigh Lezark (who helped design music for the show), Elettra Rossellini Wiedeman, and a very strong American editor presence. Posen also managed to cast a very strong model line-up in Karlie Kloss, Hilary Rhoda, Coco Rocha (who recently got married in his dress), Toni Garrn, and Crystal Renn." (DailyFrontRow)

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