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Monday, May 23, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Ever since International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest last weekend, eye-popping developments have come fast and furious -- most memorably the 'perp walk' the Frenchman took to face prosecutors' accusations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid. Now comes a spectacle that is appalling in a different way: a power grab by officials of the European Union who are insisting that they must retain their prerogative to name one of their own as Strauss-Kahn's successor at the IMF. The Europeans will probably get their way. If so, that will be a travesty. The chorus began to emanate from continental capitals even before the IMF chief had a chance to acquaint himself with the unpleasantries of Rikers Island. According to top policymakers in Brussels, Berlin, and elsewhere in Europe, it is necessary to continue -- at least for a while longer -- the 'understanding' about the management of the Fund that has existed ever since its creation in the 1940s, namely that its head will be a European. After all, they say, the eurozone is in turmoil, and the IMF is playing a central role in the rescue of several countries that belong to the currency bloc. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, and many of their colleagues have made clear that this is no time to be handing over the Fund's reins to someone from another part of the world." (ForeignPolicy)



"In his office at Kissinger Associates in midtown Manhattan, he invites me to sit on his left, advising that one eye no longer works as well as it should. But there is precious little evidence of much other infirmity. The wavy hair is snowy, the broad face is more lined but the analytical mind is still razor-keen ... There are good and not so good aspects of this lofty perch from which he surveys the panorama of national foibles. On the one hand, the Olympian prospect enables Kissinger to see the bigger picture. On the other hand, a lifetime’s immersion in the studious formalities of official business, the diplomatic obligation of wariness, has planed his conversation smooth of the knots and scuffs of the human condition. In the China book, though, human reality is very much present in his warts-and-all portraits of Mao and Zhou, Deng and Ziang Zemin. Kissinger chuckles deeply, as if gargling with pebbles, when he remembers the aged Mao, not going gentle, declaring theatrically that 'God will not want me,' or insisting that he wanted to be 'cursed,' to prove that even at the end he was imperially potent enough to provoke fear and rage. On the fall-out from Afghanistan: ‘An India-Pakistan war becomes more probable. Eventually,’ he says, his voice a deep pond of calm I have tried my best not to like Henry Kissinger for the usual Nixon-Cambodia-Chile reasons ..." (Simon Schama/FT)


"'I’m not going away, I’m just changing,' she said. 'I’m just creating another platform for myself, which eventually will be wider and broader than what I have now.' Skeptics about the OWN venture abound, but Ms. Winfrey has proved skeptics wrong in the past, most notably in the mid-1990s when she turned away from tabloid fare about cheating spouses and scandalous paternity test results and talked, instead, about 'living your best life' spiritually and emotionally. Surprising the television business, she held onto her viewers, and she remains the country’s most popular talk show host by far. People around Ms. Winfrey say they sense that she is nervous about OWN. 'I wish more people were watching,' she said, when asked about OWN’s weekly show about the making of her talk show. But she seems at peace with her decision, made 18 months ago, to quit her syndicated program and the demanding schedule that goes with it ... Ms. Winfrey has economic motives for the pomp and circumstance, of course. Expecting a big audience for the finale, some advertisers have paid $1 million apiece for 30 seconds of commercial time. Ms. Winfrey is likely to use at least a bit of that finale to promote OWN, which is available in about 80 million homes. But no one disputes that she deserves something of a victory lap ... She is a billionaire, but she is also a 'woman of the people,' as The Detroit News said in a headline last week." (NYTimes)



"Running out of slots for comedy series and striking out with new dramas in the fall, NBC and ABC in midseason expanded their existing two-hour comedy blocks on Thursday and Wednesday, respectively, to 3 hours to largely uninspiring results. Going into next fall, the 10-11 PM comedy hours are being scrapped in favor of opening up more traditional 8-9 PM comedy blocks on other nights. In another sign of the resurgence of the comedy genre, for the first time in 6 years, each of the Big Four broadcast networks will have 2 comedy blocks on the fall schedule. Interestingly, both NBC and ABC opted to launch their new comedy blocks in the time periods where they most recently ran comedies. And just like the last time, both NBC and ABC populated the blocks with new comedies. In fall 2006, NBC launched 30 Rock and Twenty Good Years from 8-9 PM on Wednesday, the same time slot the network is using this year for new comedies Up All Night and Free Agents. ABC, which is going with the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing and Chris Moynihan's Man Up Tuesdays 8-9 PM, last tried comedies on the night in the fall of 2007, then-newbies Cavemen and Carpoolers. Something else happened this season - the return of the 10 PM drama." (Deadline)


"I knew Mr. Minnelli very casually when I lived in Los Angeles, during the last years of his life, in the late 70s, early 80s. He married his fourth wife during that time, and they got out among the older Hollywood social scene. He was a small man, almost petite, with a modest bearing that conversely added to his stature. Although hardly recognized for it at that late date in his life, he was a great great talent who will be admired long into the future. When he and his wife Lee went out to more casual outings, like a private screening or a dinner party afterwards in a restaurant, he often wore a bright lightweight sunny yellow jacket, with white shirt and dark thin tie and dark pants. His presence conveyed a sophisticated, yet Technicolor elegance, in that costume – just like his films. He moved slowly, as if tentatively, when he walked, and he had a very kindly, shy manner, almost an innocence – which is not probable considering the world he lived his entire adult life in. But possible nevertheless, for he was foremost an artist. He had a bit of a quiet stutter when he was excited about something, and there is a story that was told about him during those years which provides a key to his endearing character." (NYSocialDiary)

"Patrick McMullan pointed out an old Andy Warhol trick Thursday night at the Waverly Inn. If you're at a party with someone you don't want to be photographed with, just close your eyes when your picture's snapped and the lensman can't use it. It was an appropriate anecdote, since we were at a dinner for Warhol Factory-era acolyte Glenn O'Brien, who was celebrating his tome 'How To Be a Man.' The party, thrown by Gilt Man, was testosterone laden with such guests as John Auerbach, Aziz Ansari, Jim Moore, David Chang, Thom Browne, Simon Spurr, Andy Spade, Serge Becker and Eric Goode." (PageSix)



"In Caviar Kaspia, beyond the deli on the ground floor, past the giant stuffed sturgeon suspended over the bar and the oil paintings depicting traditional Russian scenes, Carine Roitfeld is waiting. Sitting at her favourite table by the window, which overlooks the Place de la Madeleine in central Paris, the former editor-in-chief of French Vogue looks exactly as she does in the fashion blogs that hungrily record her every outfit. Her hair is the colour of burnt sugar on a crème brûlée and falls over heavy-lidded, kohl-rimmed eyes; her figure is lean and petite and she’s wearing a black silk Balenciaga blouse unbuttoned perilously low, black Céline pencil skirt and fetishistic Miu Miu stilettos with laced ankle cuffs ... Roitfeld comes here frequently and likes the flattering lighting – 'very important when you look tired' – and the Russian art, but she avoids it when the rest of the beau monde descends. 'If you want to be cool, don’t come here during fashion week,' she advises. Roitfeld, 55, has built a career on being cool. She made her mark as a stylist in the 1990s, when she and the photographer Mario Testino created risqué campaigns for Gucci, then designed by Tom Ford. As the editor of French Vogue, from which she resigned last December after a decade, she became one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry, famous for edgy, sometimes controversial and frequently erotic photo shoots. Then, with the explosion of street-style blogs a few years ago, she took on a cult status as the queen of the 'French Vogue look' with its lingering air of le rock n’ roll. With this in mind I am a little surprised when Roitfeld picks up her menu and says, in her heavy Parisian accent, 'Me, I love the herrings.' Herrings just don’t seem all that chic." (FT)

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