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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The first question for Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th secretary of state, a woman who has lived in the spotlight--and has been a crucible for public opinion--for more than three decades, is exactly how she does it. At 63, when she could be raking in money from speaking engagements or lying on the beach, she is more invigorated than ever. Theories abound among her close friends and staff: 'She has a 'for country' gene,' observes her counselor and chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. 'A fifth gear,' says longtime adviser Philippe Reines. 'I really don't know,' others say.A different gene? 'Hmm, it could be,' Clinton ponders. She looks trim, her hair longer of late ('You like it this way? Thanks!' she responds girlishly to a compliment), and she's wearing a tailored gray pantsuit and two strings of South Sea pearls. She seems vibrant, engaged ... There must be days, though, when Clinton doesn't want to get out of bed. 'Oh, God, yes,' she says. 'The mornings are okay, but by the end of the day, I'm sometimes so tired that I just go home, put my feet up, read magazines, watch TV, try to take my mind out of where I've been all day.' Thankfully, Clinton is a diligent organizer of her own time. She has a personal trainer who 'comes and tortures me' at her Washington residence at 6:00 A.M. up to three times a week. 'Not that it shows,' she chuckles, 'but it does energize me.' She is also a champion napper. Reines notes that in her cabin on her Special Air Mission plane, Clinton can sleep through both takeoff and landing. 'I often sleep through both, yeah,' she says. How? 'Because I'm so tired! I think I'm chronically exhausted.'" (Harper's)



"When Jared Kushner bought The New York Observer in 2006 from its benefactor and owner, Arthur Carter, New York City’s salmon-colored staple had been losing about $2 million dollars a year. But the paper, which had always been financially troubled, had incalculable cachet. For the cultural and media elite it chronicled, it was a must-read, and a significant voice in local politics and real estate. Created in its storied form by Graydon Carter, who would go on to edit Vanity Fair, briefly edited by Susan Morrison, now of The New Yorker, and then guided by longtime editor Peter Kaplan, the paper’s relatively small circulation of 50,000 understated its influence. Kushner, a then-25-year-old real estate heir, paid nearly $10 million for this cachet. He saw the Observer not only as a way to improve his standing—as one of the paper’s former reporters has written, 'owning the Observer opened doors real estate never could'—but also to prove himself. By running the Observer like a business—marketing the brand, building a Web presence, and providing more editorial resources—he would add profitability to the brand’s coolness and clout. In so doing, he would demonstrate his own value and maturity." (ADWeek)



"Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl-turned designer, was showing off her fall ready-to-wear collection to a small group of editors on a chilly Sunday afternoon in New York when some in the room quietly took her earnestness and used it against her. In the past, Beckham has always mounted intimate presentations during which she would informally describe each new garment, offering up a few details about the fabric, the construction, and how the silhouette fit into her particular tastes. This time, the show, in an empty Upper East Side townhouse with elegant architectural bones and a cozy fireplace crackling in the corner, was in front of a larger audience and included a more formal runway. No matter. Beckham, who was there to greet her guests as they arrived, kept with tradition and described each and every frock ... The front rooms of the townhouse were filled with the editors in chief of most of the major fashion glossies and Beckham seemed a bit nervous, never making eye contact with anyone in the audience. This woman who has performed on stage in front of millions seemed acutely aware that she was being judged by an extremely tough crowd and afterward she said, 'I'm just so glad it's over' and joked that she was practically having hot flashes of nervousness. She needn't have worried. The collection was lovely. It wasn't filled with razzle-dazzle, but rather the kind of clothes that women—at least those with money and the right sort of figure—would be happy to wear. And Beckham, a wife and mother who is pregnant with her fourth child, noted that the collection was a reflection of her own maturity. But if one might have thought the audience would have been encouraging and well, equally mature ... you would be so terribly wrong. There were muffled giggles, knowing glances, and plenty of eye-rolling over the non-stop narration." (Robin Givahn)


"Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna's visit last week to the United Nations was supposed to provide New Delhi with an opportunity to shine on the world stage, to show that India is a serious emerging power that deserves to sit with other world powers. It didn't quite turn out that way. Krishna, in his first appearance before the U.N. Security Council since his country began a two-year stint in January as a temporary member of the U.N. security body, read the wrong speech. For three minutes, Krishna read from the official statement of the foreign minister of Portugal, Luis Amado, noting with a gracious smile his 'satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese speaking countries' addressing the 15-nation council.' (See the video: Krishna begans at 1:08:10) The gaffe has fueled calls from India's opposition politicians to have Krishna step down, saying his mistake has brought 'shame' to India at a time when it is trying to prove to the world that it is a serious player on the world stage." (ForeignPolicy)


"The graffiti-splattered walls at Paul Sevigny's recently revamped Don Hill's made for an appropriate setting at last night's glammy, rock 'n' roll presentation from up-and-comers Bess. Then again, the collection was shown as part of a larger party, DJd by John Cameron Mitchell, called 'Fuck Fashion Week,' -- not really fodder for a runway show at Lincoln Center." (Papermag)


"Up in Harlem at the legendary Apollo theater, Deborah Roberts, Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, and Leslie Uggams (a Foundation board member) hosted a 'Dining with the Divas' benefit onstage 'celebrating Extraordinary Women.' The mission, according to Jonelle Procope, was 'to pay homage to these influential women and give back to our community' ... The Apollo is one of Harlem's – and New York's – great cultural institutions, as well as landmarks, right up there with Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, and, like them, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was one of the first theaters in New York, and the country, to fully integrate, welcoming traditionally African-American, Hispanic, and local immigrant populations in the audience, as well as headlining uniquely talented entertainers who found it difficult to gain entrance to other venues of similar size and resources. It seems like nothing now in our vastly changed world, but for more than a century century it was a trail blazer and a pathfinder." (NYSocialDiary)


"Imagine the A-Team, but for tech-savvy networking, and you’ve got a good picture of the Hashable Evangelists headed down to SXSW Interactive this year. The festival has been the launching pad for some of the biggest mobile/social apps in the game, helping to put Twitter and Foursquare on the national stage. The deluge of parties and events happening in Austin makes the perfect laboratory for digital hustlers looking to find that next great tool for managing the onslaught of real-time interactions. So Hashable is seeding this year's event with 15 power users—ringers who earned a free ride to the festival based on their high volume of connections, low level of spammy behavior and diversity across geography and industry. Being really good-looking doesn't hurt either. Silicon Alley scenesters will recognize some of these names ..." (Observer)

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