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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai recognized the death of Osama bin Laden as an 'important day' for the fight against terrorism, he remains convinced that the Western military presence in his country needs to be reconsidered. 'Year after year, day after day, we have said the fighting against terrorism is not in the villages of Afghanistan, not among the poor people of Afghanistan,' Karzai said, as part of his push for NATO to focus its attention on Pakistan. He's soon going to get to make that decision himself. President Barack Obama has promised to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July; preliminary reports suggest that 5,000 troops could be removed then, with another 5,000 to come by year's end. As the Americans step back, the plan is for the Afghan National Army to step up. The United States has invested a lot in Afghanistan's military: It is drawing up plans to use its special operations forces to mentor Afghan soldiers, and it spent more than $9 billion in 2010 to develop the force." (ForeignPolicy)


"Bernard L. Madoff saved mini-bar miniatures and showed little interest in finer wines. 'He was clearly not a connoisseur, or a serious wine collector,' said Kimberly Janis, director at Morrell & Co. Fine Wine Auctions, which will offer for sale 58 lots from Madoff’s booze collection on May 18. One lot is a selection of 2-ounce bottles of Smirnoff vodka, Bombay Gin and Grand Marnier liqueur. The estimate: $10 to $20. 'That’s hilarious actually,' Janis said. 'Who knew that’s what he’d collected?'" (Bloomberg)


"Why would a German playboy-billionaire industrialist with a large family and lots of old and good friends have dinner in Gstaad with one of his closest buddies, then go up to his chalet and put a bullet in his brain? The New York Times says Gunter Sachs had been diagnosed with an 'incurable degenerative disease,' but I don’t think that fully explains his suicide. Gunter was always somewhat mysterious. I knew him since the late 50s. His maternal uncle, Fritz von Opel, was the heir to the Opel car fortune and lived the grand life in St. Moritz and St. Tropez, where he had opulent houses. Gunter’s father was also an industrialist and was probably richer than the Opels. Fritz von Opel’s son Rikky blew his share while Gunter’s side multiplied it. But his father did commit suicide, so escaping the claustrophobia of life and old age was in Gunter’s genes. 'His friends were his life, even more than the women he collected nonstop.'Gunter and I hung out together a lot during the early 60s in Paris. His close friend Jean-Claude Sauer was a Paris Match photographer who was also a buddy of mine. But after a year or two we went our own ways. Gunter loved to have a crowd with him at all times. He was extremely generous and gave nonstop parties, and his closest friends were not necessarily rich or famous. His friends were his life, even more than the women he collected nonstop. He married Brigitte Bardot after a brief courtship—'I have a tiger in my bed'—he once told me, paraphrasing the gasoline ad campaign at the time. But he soon wandered off with some prettier models." (Taki Theodoracopulos)

"New York's gay A-list and its admirers came out in full force to celebrate the end of Beige. The weekly Tuesday party at B Bar -- forced out by a fun-killing community board -- threw its final party there this week after 16 years, and was packed with 'every power gay in New York,' according to one observer. 'I haven't seen a spectacle this top-heavy since Dolly Parton played MSG," said an other. Spotted there were Lance Bass, Prabal Gurung, Peter Davis, Nick Denton, Mickey Boardman and Maer Roshan. '[It] was like a gay high school reunion,' tweeted Vanity Fair fashion market director Michael Carl. Erich Conrad is expected to move his party to the Standard." (PageSix)
 
 
"Thursday, May 12, 2011. Yesterday was the most beautiful day, weather-wise that we’ve had in the New York Spring this year. There was also a great deal of activity on the charity/culture circuit. Up at Lincoln Center, The David H. Koch Theater, the New York City Ballet held its Spring Gala with a performance of a new ballet by Lynne Taylor-Corbett of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 'The Seven Deadly Sins' with guest artist Patty LuPone. Down at Cipriani 42nd Street, Safe Horizon celebrated its 'Voices of Courage and Compassion' with its 16th annual Champion Awards. While over at Christie’s New York, an Andy Warhol Self-Portrait (taken in a photo booth in 1963-1964) sold at auction for a record $38,442,500. Yesterday’s entire sale came to $301,683,630. Luncheon time, The Children’s Storefront held its 7th Annual Harlem Luncheon with Mayor Cory Booker as the keynote speaker. While over at Rockefeller Research Laboratories Auditorium on 67th and York, The Society of Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was holding its Health Education Seminar, hosted by Linda Wells, Editor-in-Chief of Allure." (NYSocialDiary)


""Last night, in a spectacle of monumental scale, Kanye West took New York City’s Museum of Modern Art community captive. Leaving the opulence to the stage production, Kanye came out in a gray hoodie sweatshirt at MoMA’s Party in the Garden—held this year in honor of trustees Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Mimi Haas, Jill Kraus, and Sharon Percy Rockefeller—and performed both deep cuts from his new masterwork, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and old standbys from his prolific body of work. While putting on 'Good Life' for the crowd, one could have sworn ‘Ye switched the lyrics to say 'I’ma be in a museum, mama'—that is, if the screaming crowd hadn’t been so vocal and aggressive, wielding cell phone cameras like social media LifeAlerts®, letting their less fortuitous friends know in real time that they’d made it inside. The party, held in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, benefits the Annual Fund for the Museum of Modern Art every year and is one of the institution’s biggest fundraising events. The turnout for this year’s party soared beyond expectation following last month’s announcement that West would be lighting up the stage, with both art cognoscenti and celebrity ubiquity sharing shoulder space with general ticket-holders. (Ever the businesswomen, when Kanye performed defunct radio staple 'Gold Digger', Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were heard crying out 'WE WANT PRE-NUP!' louder than all of their companions on the side of the stage.)" (VMagazine)


"How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC's 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC's The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side." (Deadline)


"The joint was jumping when I arrived for my weekly lunch at Michael’s today. Between the bestselling authors, media mavens, and the social swans of the Upper East Side, there was a real buzz in the room — or was it just all that pesky pollen from the azaleas on every table? ... (Table #5) Would love to have been a fly on the wall for this one: KKR’s Henry Kravitz and Universal Studio head Ron Meyer. (Table #6) Most of 'The Imber Gang:' Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina and Michael Kramer (Table #7) The New York Post’s media guru Keith Kelly and MiMedia’s Fred Clark ... When I stopped by to say hello, we got into a lively chat about the royal wedding. Our unanimous decision: Prince William and his princess bride Katherine are infinitely more interesting as a newlyweds than they were as an engaged couple. 'The numbers show that’s true,' said Keith who tracks these kinds of stats for his column. 'Newsstand sales weren’t great for magazines covering the engagement, but for the wedding Us, People and the rest of them did great.'" (FishbowlNY)


"During the autumn of 2007—the exact apex of the financial bubble, as the Dow topped 14,000 points, CDO issuances maxed out and housing prices crested—I had the fortune/misfortune to oversee what might be the largest survey of financial traders ever. The results speak directly to why yesterday’s conviction of hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam matters so much. In polling more than 2,500 professional traders for Trader Monthly magazine, we got all sorts of bubble-era answers: 63 percent loathed Eliot Spitzer above all others, 61 percent thought Goldman Sachs should pay its employees as much as it wants, 55 percent found Jim Cramer 'an annoying blowhard,' and so on. But we also posed a series of questions that go to the heart of Wall Street culture. If you could parlay insider information into a $10 million score, we asked, but stood a 50 percent risk of getting caught, would you? Just 7 percent would take the chance. If the risk was adjusted down to 10 percent, the lawbreakers jumped to 28 percent. And if the risk was zero? A full 58 percent said they would break the law and steal (that’s what insider trading is). Put another way, one well within the margin of error: a majority on Wall Street are thieves—if nobody’s looking. 'It can’t be that wrong,' explained one of the respondents, a short-term equities trader at Madison Trading, 'if I can’t get caught.' That’s why the Rajaratnam conviction—on all 14 counts, which could result in 25 years in prison—and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s other 46 insider-trading prosecutions (36 of which have resulted in convictions or guilty pleas) isn’t the sideshow many observers make it out to be." (TheDailyBeast)


"'This is a nice room,' Nicolas Pol said. The Parisian artist was sitting in an empty white storage warehouse, wedged in a corner of the dirty cement floor, wallowing in the bits of clumping plaster. 'Yeah, it’s great,' The Observer responded. Asbestos was scattered about them. A few rooms over, 'Sick Atavus of the New Blood,' Mr. Pol’s second career exhibition, had lured to the gutted-out space on Washington Street editors of glossy magazines, willowy-eyed French girls in gothic, black-strapped heels and men with chunky Gallic noses. The space where the paintings were hung had been wiped clean and stuffed with hovering trays of Champagne, but the cold room, where Mr. Pol sat with The Observer, had nothing but a crude outline of the continents etched onto a discarded wall. Mr. Pol pointed at the map of the world. 'I wanted it as a piece for the show but no, I can’t,' he said. 'It’s way too heavy.'" (Observer)

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