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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"I came home to learn that Richard Holbrooke had died a few hours before. He and I knew each other only by sight, frequenting Michael’s as often as I do. I’d been in his company in large groups although I never heard him express an opinion privately. So I really didn’t know him at all. Nevertheless when you are in the environment frequently of a public person/persona, where you can observe with alacrity, it is easy to form opinions and considerations about them. He had, from what I could gather, a controversial personality in that he had strong opinions and was evidently very expressive. From an outsider’s eye, he conducted himself publicly in a congenial, unassuming way. He was tall and had a commandingness to his presence. He had a bit of a western lope to his gait (at least after leaving the lunch table) and he wore a lot of tension in his shoulders when he moved. He also had an expression of slight irony when his face was in repose." (NYSocialDiary)


"In September the Prado made news. It announced that this painting, 'The Wine of St. Martin’s Day,' a panoramic canvas showing a mountain of revelers drinking the first wine of the season, and a few of them suffering its consequences, was by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Only 40-odd paintings by this 16th-century Flemish Renaissance master survive. This one, from around 1565, came from a private seller, whose ancient family, unaware and clearly unconcerned, had kept it for eons in the proverbial dark corridor, in Córdoba, where it accumulated dirt. Then the Prado conservators took a look. What seemed to be the artist’s signature turned up beneath layers of grime and varnish. What is it about the discovery of a new work by a textbook name? Headlines over the years have trumpeted this Bruegel, a possible Velázquez unearthed from a university museum basement in Connecticut, a supposed Michelangelo in the foyer of some New York town house where countless people over the years passed it before anybody made a peep." (NYTimes)


"Could she someday be Lady Courtney Love? Word is that the rocker has given new British beau Henry Allsopp, a blue-blooded London art dealer with Phillips de Pury, power of attorney over her newly unfrozen assets which she and estranged daughter Frances Bean Cobain share. Love, who's now staying at Allsopp's house in London, told The Post's Mandy Stadtmiller that he's 'saved her' and is letting her stay at the house while she detoxes from a prescription drug. Love said the up-and-coming dealer has a 'brilliant eye,' and doesn't rule out a future with him in England. In fact, Allsopp is also the godson of Camilla Parker Bowles and will eventually be a lord. Since Love met Allsopp at a Larry Gagosian party in early November, the two have been inseparable. 'He's a really good person,' Love says. 'Frances would love him.'" (PageSix)


"There is no graduate-level course in princeling etiquette that I know of, but the latest WikiLeaks cables suggest that diplomatic schools should perhaps offer one. Consider Azerbaijan's first lady, Mehriban Aliyeva (above), and her family, who according to a cable written in January control a bank, insurance, construction, media, telecommunications, real-estate and cosmetics companies, in addition to Baku's only Bentley dealership. The cable, sent January 27 by Charge Donald Lu, is an impressive profile of Aliyeva. One section relates a story regarding her 'substantial cosmetic surgery.' During a 2008 visit to Baku by Lynne Cheney, the wife of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, the youthful-looking Aliyeva and her two daughters mingled with White House, U.S. embassy and security staff while they awaited the arrival of the Cheney vehicle. 'Which one of those is the mother?' a puzzled U.S. Secret Service agent asked of his colleagues, referring to the three Aliyeva women. No one could figure it out on sight, before one finally decided, 'Well, logically the mother would probably stand in the middle.' On the other hand, Lu found a downside to the facelift: 'On television, in photos, and in person, she appears unable to show a full range of facial expression.' Of course, the bluebloods include not only the Aliyev family, but extend to old pals of late President Heydar Aliyev, the father of current president Ilham Aliyev. Such people are the equivalent of dukes." (ForeignPolicy)


"The Anthology of Rap by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois (Yale, 920 pp., $35) Two academics put together book of rap lyrics, append analysis with some rappers and Henry Louis Gates Jr. They also, as infamously noted by Slate, get a few lines wrong. But what could have been an insufferable rap-snob collectable ended up being one of the first truly encyclopedic, essential anthologies on the form, one making that other rap book from 2010—Jay-Z's Decoded—look amateurish by comparison. It's an Ivy League master class in the language of hip-hop. Register today. Quoteth KRS-One: You. Must. Learn. (Foster Kamer/ VillageVoice)


"Mr. Holbrooke was hospitalized on Friday afternoon after becoming ill while meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in her Washington office. Doctors found a tear to his aorta, and he underwent a 21-hour operation. Mr. Holbrooke had additional surgery on Sunday and remained in very critical condition until his death. Mr. Holbrooke’s signal accomplishment in a distinguished career that involved diplomacy in Asia, Europe and the Middle East was his role as chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace accords, which ended the war in Bosnia. It was a coup preceded and followed by his peacekeeping missions to the tinderbox of ethnic, religious and regional conflicts that was formerly Yugoslavia. More recently, Mr. Holbrooke wrestled with the stunning complexity of Afghanistan and Pakistan: how to bring stability to the region while fighting a resurgent Taliban and coping with corrupt governments, rigged elections, fragile economies, a rampant narcotics trade, nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and the presence of Al Qaeda, and presumably Osama bin Laden, in the wild tribal borderlands." (NYTimes)


"An only-at-Cinema-Society tablueau: Joan Rivers, balancing two DeLeon tequila cocktails in the basement of the Tribeca Grand Hotel, loosely holding an unclasped black croc Ricky bag while taking in an eyeful of Alessandra Ambrosio as an aubergine Gaultier-suited Fabiola Beracasa approaches to express her fandom. Bridget Moynahan was momentarily mistaken for Sally Singer. Michelle Williams, in a tiered white chiffon strapless mini, braves the snow barelegged, indulges the step-and-repeat, and hits the cocktail, where a gaggle of chicettes wonder what she does, exercise-wise, to get calves like that ... After the credits, Greta GerwigHarvey Weinstein, and Paul Haggis trekked over to the Soho Grand---well, some drove---for the after-party, where Boardwalk Empire's divine Paz de la Huerta was enjoying her current bout of notoriety in a leather minidress." (Fashionweekdaily)


"The Golden Globe nominations have been announced, and some silliness ensued. That's all per usual with this high-profile awards show with the meshuggeneh format (an award for Best Drama and another for Best Musical or Comedy is good for nothing, except Burlesque) administered by the meshuggeneh foreign critics, a collective body that really loves movie stars. In fairness, some not-silliness ensued as well. The nominees for Best Drama — Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network — reflected the coalescing common wisdom about the Oscar front-runners (which isn't good news for 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right, and especially True Grit, which got completely snubbed). Less by the book? The Tourist: Best Comedy or Musical nominee. And many other such absurdities." (TheVulture)


"It's been a long time since MTV was known primarily for music. 'The day that you play me/ It'll be the same day MTV played videos/ That was a little joke/ Voilà!' raps Kanye West on his latest album. But today the venerable arbiter of pop culture launched a new site that hopes to help user discover new music. The MTV Music Meter tracks conversations on social networks and surfaces artists who are generating the most conversation online. Instead of showing the most popular artists, like Lady GaGa, the list surfaces less well known bands who are gaining in momentum. 'This list is a pure hotness list,' Shannon Connolly, Vice President of Digital Music Strategy at MTV said in an interview with Wired. 'We are intentionally presenting artists to the user that are high-ranking in velocity.'" (Observer)

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