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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"White House aides who previewed the speech for reporters Wednesday said that the president would use the opportunity to speak about the Middle East and North Africa region as a whole and how its challenges relate to the United States. 'Now, having wound down the Iraq war and continuing to do so, and having taken out Osama bin Laden, we are beginning to turn the page to a more positive and hopeful future for U.S. policy in the region,' a senior administration official said. 'The president will have the opportunity to speak broadly about the change in the Middle East and North Africa, the implications for U.S. policy, and some concrete proposals for American policy going forward.' Whom will he be speaking to? Leaders and citizens in the Middle East, of course. But several different American audiences will also be listening carefully to what he says. Here are some of them ..." (The Caucus Blog)


"Like any woman in transition, Maria Shriver is bound to hear plenty of advice in the days ahead, solicited and otherwise. As she said on YouTube recently, 'It’s so stressful to not know what you’re doing next.' The events of her life have thrown everything into question, making each next step feel like a possible pitfall. Here are seven dos and don’ts for Maria to follow as she navigates away from Arnold and into the future. 1. You’ve done Oprah, now stay away from talk shows. We know Oprah’s your best friend, your sister, your soul mate. You helped her celebrate her last show and she helped you stand tall. That’s fine. But you want to come across as Jackie Kennedy, not Elizabeth Edwards, so no sitting down with Barbara, Katie, or Diane. 2. Move from the hotel into a pretty house. People have seen you looking for a place for the past couple of months and yet you’re still ordering room service. So have you been looking for the right place? You need something Nancy Meyers-ish. Think Meryl Streep after the break up with Alec Baldwin. You don’t want to stay in Brentwood, and we agree that an ocean view in Pacific Palisades or Santa Monica would be more soothing than Hollywood or Beverly Hills. This Pacific Palisades house (No. 10 on the list), for example, has room for the kids with six bedrooms. And if you make Arnold pay the $14 million asking price, the world will cheer.  3. Go back to work. You need a confidence-building, high-profile project. Think about going back to NBC, perhaps to The Today Show on a manageable contract ...'" (Vanity Fair)


"Michael’s was its Wednesday self; big time clattering chattering and everything else in between. The likely suspects among the fresh new and occasionally visiting dignitaries. Bill Rondina of Carlisle-Per Se lunching with Thierry Millerand; Robert Gottlieb of Trident Media with Pam Friedman; Patrick Murphy with Joan Jakobson; Katherine Bryan with Barbara de Kwiatkowski, Steve Mosko of Sony TV with Jerry Stiller; celebrating a birthday Jon Meacham of Random House -- Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, Richard Cohen and Tom Brokaw; Evelyn Lauder with Christy Ferer; City Councilwoman Christine Quinn with Jamie McShane (her spokesperson) and Jared Kushner ... I was lunching with Wendy Burden, author of a memoir Dead End Gene Pool, who is in for a few days from Portland, Oregon – which is her home now – where she is working on a sequel to her memoir with the working title Machinery of Love and Death. Wendy’s heritage is the Vanderbilt and (obviously) the Burden dynasties. A great granddaughter (by a factor of five) of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. Her families’ great fortunes of the hundred years of New York between 1850 and 1950 carried mighty influence -- both financial and political -- in the nation, even the world." (NYSocialDiary)


"If you were wondering why the streets of midtown seemed a bit quiet today it was because everyone — well, almost everyone — was at Michael’s today. I could barely keep up as the A-listers filed in one after another (Tom Brokaw! Jon Meacham!) and random celebs (Trudie Styler, Joan Rivers) drifted by ... (Table 1) Joan Rivers, presiding over a table full of folks including John Miller and some execs from WEtv. We’re guessing the group was feting Joan over the ratings success of the first season of her reality show, Mother Knows Best. (Glasses of white wine were being raised.) ... 8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and author Wendy Burden. I had a chance to chat with David (quite the early bird today) ... David introduced me to Wendy when she arrived, and the conversation turned to books. David says Wendy’s latest, Dead End Gene Pool (Gotham), is a searingly candid and witty look at her fascinating family life. 'She writes about it all!' he told me. 'Not many people do that and do it well.' God knows Wendy has plenty of material. She is a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt whose family’s eccentricities would make a great Wes Anderson film. 'It’s about the end of my family,' deadpanned Wendy during her tale of the decline of the blue bloods. Not entirely. 'You’re still here!' chirped David." (FishbowlNY)


"Fifteen years ago my daughter brought home a tiny beagle with ears that were much too long and the kind of mournful gaze that brought tears to the eye. We named her Gypsy and she became the bane of our life. Gypsy was so greedy, she made Bernard Madoff look like Mother Teresa. In no time she grew a big stomach, although she remained lightning-fast when in the vicinity of anything edible. She would play possum, then strike like a cobra and grab steaks, sweets—she once even ate a box of paper hankies. She snored and made terrible smells. She bit and growled at everyone, but we loved her more than any other dog we’ve ever had. Last week, two years after her stroke, she had to be put to sleep, because she was suffering. Her last act before a nice vet injected her was to grab a lamb chop and devour it, bone and all. There will never be another like her. RIP, Gypsy." (Taki Theodoracopulos)


" ...It's almost universally agreed that each Pirates movie is instantly forgettable on its own terms, and for all their expensive, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced bombast, Olde World-y set decoration, and exotic locales, the films don't make a lick of sense. 'They all run together, they all merge, and they're not significant in cinema history,' says David Thomson, author of The New Autobiographical Dictionary of Film. 'They throw a lot of money at them, add special effects for horror characters, pretty women—and you still can't remember a thing.' How else but for a kind of willful amnesia and collective embrace of cinematic dreck do you explain the popularity of the third chapter, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, a blunderbuss of untied plot threads in nearly three hours of critically drubbed suckitude that still clocked $963 million in global ticket receipts? Not even the parties responsible for making the films—which have combined to gross a staggering $2.7 billion worldwide—fully grasp what's going on. In a recent interview, Depp related on-set conversations he'd had with Gore Verbinski, director of the first three films. 'I remember talking to him at certain points during production of 2 or 3, and saying: I don't really know what this means.' Depp said. '[Verbinski] said, 'Neither do I, but let's just shoot it.' This guy is this guy's dad, and this guy was in love with this broad. It was like, What?' Hammerhead shark-men dripping with seaweed. A voracious giant squid sucking a pirate ship down to Davy Jones' locker. Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom sucking face in front of a Windex-blue ocean. An armada of sand crabs hefting a landlocked ship on their backs. The non-sequitur sum of the movies' parts can be overwhelming." (TheDailyBeast)

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