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Monday, November 01, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Paris Hilton had a style scare with her Halloween costume. At her Hollywood bash over the weekend, she dressed up as a sexy Indian warrior princess. But her skimpy top kept slipping down and nearly exposed more than she wanted to." (USWeekly)


"I see where the U.S. government has disclosed that its total intelligence budget is $80.1 billion. (I was surprised to see that the military chunk of that is so big -- $27 billion. I am guessing that a lot of that goes to satellites, probably the part of defense spending most neglected by reporters.) That means the U.S. intelligence community as a whole has a larger economy than any these countries, going by the IMF's estimates for nominal GDP, 2009 ... Luxemborg .." (ForeignPolicy)


"'Oh, Joe!' Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, said to the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. It was Monday afternoon in an emptying auditorium across from the Empire State Building. 'Are you going?' Mr. Stiglitz asked. Mr. King, a man who looks like his name should be Stamp Brooksbank or Delillers Carbonnel, apologetically nodded his silver head. He said that Mr. Stiglitz, whose work he's been keeping up with, should let him know when he's in Britain. Mr. Stiglitz, wearing a scratchy beard and a blazer with dandruff on the shoulders, turned. 'Laura?' 'Nice to see you!' said Laura D. Tyson. 'You, too,' said Mr. Stiglitz, who succeeded her as chair of Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers when she left to become director of the National Economic Council. 'How've you been?' she said. A dreamy song by Beach House, the Baltimore duo, played outside, in the reception with Caribbean empanadas and assorted arepas.'I've been fine!" said Mr. Stiglitz. 'How are you? This is kind of a fun thing!' 'Oh,' said Ms. Tyson, holding a Naked juice, 'even better than I thought it was going to be.' It was the end of the first day of The Economist's Buttonwood Gathering. This was only its second year, and it had another day to go, but the auditorium already had that brawny and lacquered feeling certain spaces in New York City get when very important people are talking about very important things." (Observer)


"'Top Chef Master' Marcus Samuelsson may be late in opening his new Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster, but at least some people got to sample his work at a recent party thrown by the developers of Fifth on the Park, a luxury condo across from Mount Morris Park, where Samuelsson cooked up spicy shrimp and grits, Swedish meatballs and mini red velvet cupcakes. While he sliced and diced away, he talked up Harlem's history and how the cuisine at his new place will reflect that heritage when it finally opens in a few weeks just a block from Sylvia's on Lenox Avenue." (PageSix)



"Halloween is here, and it’s making monsters out of my favorite news publications and blogs. Yes, it’s that time of year, when the journalistic ritual known as The Shaming of the Sexy Halloween Costume rears its smug head, chastising Raggedy Anns who dare show too much cleavage. All month, articles like Happy Slut-o-Ween, 2010 Edition and Sexy Costumes Get Even More Horrifying have been popping up left and right. This, even while there are more of us opting for sexy costumes than ever before, according to the National Retail Federation. There’s also the usual crop of 'Hide your daughters!' editorials like this one, bemoaning the immodest options parents face when costume shopping for their little Emilys and Madisons. Never mind that the media seems to have no problem with the overwhelmingly violent crop of costume selections for young boys—everything from Freddy Krueger to machete-wielding convicts. Apparently teen pregnancy is still a threat but aggression in teenage boys has been handily resolved." (TheDailyBeast)


"Is there anything this old broad can't do? The only surviving Golden Girl, 88-year-old Betty will be featured in the Female Force comic-book series available in late November, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) per the request of Betty herself." (Musto)


"WHAT: Halloween at Alison Sarofim's WHERE: Greenwich Village, NYC WHEN: Saturday, October 30 WHO: Alber Elbaz, Marc Jacobs, Lorenzo Martone, Richard Phillips, Carlos Mota, Linda Fargo and Virginia Madsen." (Papermag)

"I had planned to do the Diary today on the New York City Opera Gala that I attended at Lincoln Center last Thursday night, but last minute this weekend, I got a ticket to the opening night at the Lyceum Theater of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s 'Scottsboro Boys' directed by Susan Stroman with book by David Thompson. So there’s more. Stroman and I have mutual friends, including my friend Mrs. DeWoody who got me the ticket last minute. So I have spent time in her company. She has won the Tony five times, but she’s so unassuming in manner. She’s like your really pleasant, courteous, friendly next door neighbor: she’d always be there if you ran out of anything. And share it with a smile. However, that’s all hyperbole in view of the woman’s resume. We saw her in the theater lobby last night just before taking our seats. She was gracious and seemed as if she was only there because she was waiting for a friend. It actually never occurred to me that she might be nervous until halfway through this incredibly brilliant production that I realized she might have been nervous. That’s not her style. She told me about this show at a little dinner hosted by our friend George Farias last June or July at '21' when I asked her what she new projects she was working on. A lot of people never heard of the Scottsboro Boys. It was the biggest news in the area of Civil Rights and racism in the national press throughout the 1930s and the Great Depression. How, I wondered aloud was she going to tell that story and be even funny at times, at moments? In life was tragedy, terminal for many lives and seminal for many many others, (including last night’s audience at the Lyceum). Well, she did." (NYSocialDiary)


(Javier Bradem via VF/Best Dressed)

"You know what gets me hot under my Brooks Brothers collar? It’s the goofballs who go off the rails into fantasy-land when it comes to formal wear. What do you suppose it means when the invitation calls for 'black tie'? There you go, Mr. Mensa—you’re supposed to wear a black jacket and trousers, a white shirt, and a black bow tie. Silk facing on the jacket, a stripe of similar ilk down the trou, a piqué shirt with French cuffs, and some patent-leather shoes properly complete the outfit. Black tie does not mean some cockamamie, off-the-wall, colored cravat with matching cummerbund that make the wearer look like a carnival freak-show barker.  A fine point: Ironically, the best tailors, Anderson & Sheppard, make their formal outfit in the darkest midnight-blue material. Mr. Halsey, their now-retired boss man, told me that blue is more flattering under artificial light than jet-black. The key is that the blue is so dark that the fellow in black doesn’t know why he looks not as nice." (BunkyMortimer)


"By the time he arrived at his office at Universal on the morning of Monday, January 4, Jeff Gaspin had already made up his mind about what was going to happen. The longtime head of NBC’s hugely successful entertainment cable channels, Gaspin was just five months into his added duties leading the network’s struggling entertainment division. Faced with the threat of massive station defections if Leno’s show continued at 10, Gaspin, after consultation with the NBC Universal C.E.O., Jeff Zucker, had finally settled on an elaborate remodeling plan, one designed to keep both NBC late-night stars in-house: Jay would be offered the chance to return to late night, and his old 11:35 p.m. start time, but only in a shrunken, half-hour format; Conan would hold on to his title and control over the storied late-night franchise The Tonight Show—but not its storied time period. He and the show would slide back to 12:05 a.m. The moves had contractual rationales. Gaspin believed he could finesse Conan into agreeing because Conan had no legal recourse to refuse to work on a Tonight Show moved 30 minutes later. Leno’s situation had been made more challenging by the contract he had squeezed out of NBC in exchange for his agreement to forsake ABC and instead test prime time. NBC had signed an apparently unprecedented guarantee to 'pay and play' Leno—meaning he could sue, or possibly even seek an injuction, if NBC tried to yank him off the air. Winning Jay’s agreement to go back to late night rather than initiate an ugly court fight was the first linchpin in Gaspin’s plan." (VanityFair)


"Call it being a team player. If you’re a Republican House candidate flush with cash and poised to win, you can score points with leadership if you donate to competitive races. That cred could lead to good committee assignments down the line. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) followed that model in 2006 and ended up with a prime spot in leadership. Now he’s advising candidates from South Carolina to Missouri to do the same, even suggesting which contenders are most in need of funds for new ads. In a great year for their party, some House Republican challengers are doing more to grow the incoming freshman class than just winning their own races. Several of these not-yet-elected candidates have supported their potential classmates in tougher races late in the campaign cycle, contributing not only to the National Republican Congressional Committee but also directly to fellow candidates. South Carolina state Rep. Tim Scott, the prohibitive favorite in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Brown (R), said he gave to about 30 Republican contenders earlier this week. He might be the most prolific giver in a growing group of candidate-donors. 'I tried to find people who were philosophically consistent with where I am,' he said." (CQPolitics)



"Those lucky enough to experience a Lanvin show in Paris know the drill: lots of drinks and treats, loads of applause, and plenty of hugs given by Alber Elbaz. Well, Lanvin took those joyful essentials and multiplied them times a hundred with a Halloween extravaganza at the brand's new Madison Avenue boutique. 'I missed Halloween terribly after I moved out of New York,' explained Elbaz. 'I used to work for Geoffrey Beene, and that was by far his favorite holiday. Once, I even made a pretty good geisha!' The store was decorated with over 2,000 balloons, while Dolly Parton and Cher impersonators danced alongside Kenny Kenny, Sophia Lamar and more in a special creative collaboration between the brand and Paper magazine. 'I love how our porcelain dolls were turned into these splendid, shiny dancers,' exclaimed Elbaz. 'It just puts a smile on my face!' Others who were grinning? Anne Hathaway, Constance Jablonski, Robert Burke, Rachel Zoe, Mary Alice Stephenson, Padma Lakshmi, Kate Lanphear, and The Daily's best-costumed of the night, Linda Fargo." (Papermag)

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