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Monday, February 28, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The turbulence across the Middle East provides us with unique insight into the behavior of a rare and unusual species: The oil trader. Over the last several weeks, traders have bid up and down the price of oil by almost $20 a barrel, earning millions of dollars in profits. And they have done so based almost solely on one, single fact: No one, apart from perhaps the royal family itself, knows what is really going on in Saudi Arabia. Are the Saudis truly immune to an uprising in their oil-rich, Shiite-majority Eastern Province? Even if Saudi Arabia is safe for now, can it be counted on to increase its oil production to make up for output lost from other OPEC countries, such as Libya, that go up in flames? Will they do so if two OPEC countries, such as Libya and Algeria, go up in flames at once? Because virtually no one outside Saudi Arabia knows the true answer to these questions, we will almost certainly suffer a rise in the price of gasoline at the pump in the coming weeks. That means, when tallying up the beneficiaries and victims thus far of the turmoil in the Middle East, we must include the world's oil consumers -- meaning every person on the planet. One of the few apparent certainties of the upheaval is that it's not over. As we head further into this uncharted territory, Foreign Policy compiled a short list of the most pressing questions about the upheaval in the Middle East's effects on the oil and energy market." (ForeignPolicy)


"Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger and rock-star names from Hollywood, Wall Street and media all rubbed shoulders at Vanity Fair's viewing-party dinner last night, the prelude to editor Graydon Carter's after-party at Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel -- the Oscar weekend's hottest ticket. Among those turning heads at the glam gathering were teen couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. They shared the spectacular dining room specially built over the hotel pool with luminaries including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who brought Ruzwana Bashir, the first British-born Asian woman to become president of the Oxford Union, in 2004. But for all the fun, viewing-party guests didn't seem impressed with Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway's attempts at comedy. Bill Maher tweeted: 'On the lameness of the comedy, Arianna [Huffington] told me, 'It's excruciating for me, I can only imagine what it's like for you.' George Hamilton, Anjelica Huston, Steve Martin and Joan Collins were on Carter's guest list, too, along with the toast of young Hollywood, Emma Stone, plus Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men' and Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer of 'True Blood,' Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, Rob Lowe, Sidney Poitier, Don Rickles and John Mellencamp's soon-to-be ex-wife, Elaine Irwin. Fashion royalty included Diane von Furstenberg, Tom Ford, Tory Burch, Donna Karan and L'Wren Scott. But there could have been a tense moment had Ford bumped into towering Italian investor Jean Pigozzi, who told Vanity Fair last year that Ford had said to him, 'I don't want big fat guys like you in my shop.'" (PageSix)


"The online activist group 'anonymous,' which has used coordinated denial of service attacks -- a crude but effective Internet weapon -- to temporary disable sites belonging to foes ranging from Scientology to WikiLeaks foes -- has turned its firepower on the Koch-backed conservative group Americans for Prosperity, making the group's site intermittently unavailable tonight." (Ben Smith/Politico)



"Loving watching the Oscars: Mandy Moore in her pale silver sparkled Monique Lhuillier looked delicious. Amy Adams in sapphire blue l'Wren Scott sparkle dress is strong but hair is wrong. Marisa Tomei in vintage dark sapphire Charles James dress was a good surprise and a shout out to great designs of the 50s. Nicole Kidman in white Dior made a mistake. Natalie Portman, pretty pregnant in lavender. Cate Blanchett in lilac Givenchy had me puzzled. I personally dislike the dress with its silly bib but I am getting emails from pals saying how great it is. So chacun à son goût I guess." (NYSocialDiary)


"The new online TV show, created by Dazed co-founder Jefferson Hack, launched on Wednesday and brings you new ideas, underground music, breathtaking fashion and radical art. Dazed TV Party, a new and exciting online music and pop culture show that brings to life the innovative and anarchic editorial spirit that has made Dazed & Confused one of the trendsetting magazine brands of the last 20 years. Hosted by Dazed's literary editor Stuart Hammond, and created by Dazed co-founder Jefferson Hack and deputy editor Tim Noakes, the Dazed TV Party will be an ongoing audiovisual experiment produced by Juliette Larthe at Warp Films. Paying homage to the lo-fi public broadcasting aesthetic of Glenn O’Brien’s cult 1970s TV Party, the first episode features interviews and exclusive performances from Florence Welch, Jake Chapman, Alice Dellal, Dominic Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Factory Floor, Dave I.D, Marques Toliver and Theo Adams." (GaryCardiology)


"Yesterday afternoon, the mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, presented Duran Duran with a style icon award. The mayor is clearly a John Taylor girl, judging by the way she monopolized the dashing bass player at the Teatro Dal Verme, where Hogan's Diego Della Valle and Vogue Italia's Franca Sozzani threw a dinner party in the band's honor last night. Afterward, Simon Le Bon and the boys returned the favor with a set of old and new songs. Fendi treated some of the same fashion insiders to a Duran Duran concert in Paris last October, but as the band's upcoming album says, All You Need Is Now. From the way the crowd jammed into the aisles, it looked like everyone who got an invitation turned up, and then some. Anna Dello Russo couldn't sit down, not because of the crush but on account of her House of Worth tutu. 'It also comes in handy if there's anyone I don't want to kiss,' she laughed. Donatella Versace sat in the third row with her daughter Allegra—that is, until the band launched into their monster hit 'Rio,' which had her bopping up and down in her corset dress." (Style)


"In interviews for NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America, Charlie Sheen toned down the name-calling from his recent radio rants a bit but continued to attack CBS and Warner Bros. for shutting down production on his hit comedy Two and a Half Men. In the GMA interview, he vowed to sue for tons. 'I'm gonna sue for what I'm worth and what I deserve and what they think they can take from me. They can't,' Sheen said. 'I don't have a job. I got a whole family to support and love. And -- people beyond myself, people a lot more important than me, are relying on that money to -- fuel the magic.' 'I'm here to collect. They're gonna lose. They're gonna lose in a courtroom. So, I would recommend that they do an out of court settlement and fix this whole thing, and pay the crew, and get season nine back on board,' he said. And how much would it cost Warner Bros. to have him back on Men? In the Today interview, Sheen demanded that the studio more than double his current salary to $3 million per episode. 'Look what they put me through,' he said." (Deadline)


"New charges against John Galliano were filed by an unnamed woman in Paris on Saturday morning. The woman alleged that she was the victim of racist remarks made by the designer in a Paris café called La Perle, where Galliano was arrested last Thursday for similar accusations of verbal assault toward a man and a woman, now identified as Philippe Virgiti and Géraldine Bloch. Galliano's lawyer, Stéphane Zerbib, confirmed that the latest plaintiff's reported altercation with the designer happened several weeks ago. The news preceded the release of a video this morning by British tabloid The Sun, which was filmed with a handheld camera at La Perle and depicts a wine-swilling Galliano slurring, 'I love Hitler ... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed.' When the woman recording him asks if he has a problem, he responds, 'With you. You're ugly.' She then asks where he's from, and he says, 'Your asshole.' It is unclear whether the video was filmed by the same unnamed woman who filed charges on Saturday. As previously reported, Galliano was suspended from Christian Dior on Friday after Géraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgiti accused him of saying to them, 'Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead ... Fucking Asian bastard, I will kill you,' also at La Perle. Galliano responded on Friday by filing charges of defamation, injury, and menace against the pair." (NYMag)


"Dear John Galliano, What happened to you on Thursday night at this nice Parisian cafe, La Perle, fighting with this couple? I know that you are not at all racist —whatever you said, drunk or not, to them! Your multi-ethnic shows, celebrating the beauty of nomadic worlds, and looking into visual languages of forgotten minorities (from everywhere on this planet), has brillantly proved it to everyone from collection to collection since years. We are living in a dark world where the fashion system can celebrate talented people like you, use them as long as they want and fire them from a day to the next —exploiting an unfortunate private incident (and thusfar unproved anti-Semitic allegations), to get rid of an artist. Letting the international media suspect that you could be a racist, is not acceptable! I hope that you will be able to keep your position at Dior and I can’t wait to see your new collections in Paris next week. Love, Olivier Zahm" (Purple)



"'Thou shalt not overspend' is rapidly becoming a tenet of the evangelical belief system, rivaling social issues like gay marriage. Can the gospel of thrift save our economy? The priorities of white evangelical Christians, about 60 million strong, have driven the culture wars for decades. It was they who formed the Moral Majority in the 1970s, which helped elect Ronald Reagan in a landslide in 1980. And it was their children—some of them, anyway—who strayed from their parents' interpretations of faith and helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. Politically active, evangelicals have fought with varying degrees of success against abortion, same-sex marriage, and the teaching of evolution in public schools. But a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that white evangelicals may, in fact, have more pragmatic concerns than their reputation indicates. "They, like everyone else, are concerned about the $14 trillion national debt. And true to evangelical principles, it's an issue they have started to talk about in moral terms. According to the Pew report, released earlier this month, most Americans are pessimistic about the economy and believe the government should cut spending, but at the same time want it to spend more on education, health care, and veterans' benefits. White evangelicals are concerned about the deficit, too, but the way they want to deal with it is with spending cuts that are somewhat less merciful." (TheDailyBeast)


"Author Michael Lewis was sued by Wing Chau, president and principal of Harding Advisory LLC, who accused the writer of defaming him in his 2010 book 'The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.' Chau, a manager of collateralized debt obligations, according to a complaint filed Feb. 25 in Manhattan federal court, claims the book unfairly casts him as one of the 'villains' responsible for the 2008 financial collapse. The book 'depicts Mr. Chau as someone who ignored his professional responsibilities, made misrepresentations to investors, charged money for work that was not performed, had no stake in the CDOs he managed, was incompetent or reckless in carrying out his responsibilities, and violated his fiduciary duties by putting the interests of ‘Wall Street bond trading desks’ above those of his investors,' according to the complaint." (Bloomberg)

"The contrast between Libya and Saudi Arabia on Feb. 23 couldn't have been more striking. As Qaddafi loyalists fought rebel forces east of Tripoli, oil majors such as Total (TOT) and ENI (E) cut or suspended their Libyan oil production, while the U.S., Britain, and Italy prepared to send ships and planes to evacuate their citizens. On the other side of the Arab world, Saudi King Abdullah returned from three months of medical treatment abroad laden with gifts for his subjects. Abdullah, known as the people's king, announced $36 billion worth of new jobless benefits, education and housing subsidies, and debt write-offs. The government even unveiled a new sports channel. The world is focused on the tragic events unfolding in Libya, which have alarmed U.S. policy makers and spooked markets into bidding oil above $100 a barrel. Yet a nonevent—the unrest that is not occurring in Saudi Arabia—could prove just as important in determining the future of the region and the world economy." (BusinessWeek)


"Oscar Night in Los Angeles is like Easter in the Vatican City: it’s a celebration that just about everyone takes very seriously. But you don’t have to attend the awards themselves to be a part of it—not when you can mingle with the nominees and a few hundred carefully selected power brokers from the worlds of entertainment, media, tech, and finance. Graydon Carter’s 17th annual Academy Awards dinner and after-party gave the winners of Hollywood’s highest honor a chance to show off their hardware to a crowd that knows a thing or two about being on top. The festivities began at approximately 4:30 p.m., as guests for the awards-viewing dinner began arriving at the Sunset Tower, where the pool area had been converted into a dining room complete with TV screens embedded in foliage." (VanityFair)


"Sure, every Oscar weekend there are the Friday night agency parties -- Ari Emanuel's WME fete, and Jim Berkus' UTA party for the Coen Brothers, and Bryan Lourd's CAA bash (where the valet parkers screwed up the parking situation so badly that the Triple-A crowd had up to a 2-hour wait for their cars). But the place to really see the Big Media moguls, past and present, and their assorted pilot fish on parade is Barry Diller's Saturday afternoon lawn luncheon ostensibly in honor of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. This year drew a particularly good 300+ crowd to the tent on Diller's Beverly Hills estate for Hollywood's major meet'n'greet. Guests included in no particular order: Sir Howard Stringer (eating the repast of veggie chili and fried chicken and poached salmon with Rupert Murdoch), David Geffen ..." (Deadline; image via PurpleDiary)

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