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Friday, March 16, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"One of the most prurient aspects of reading the personal emails written to and by Bashar al Assad that were obtained by The Guardian has been the chance to observe the dictator’s strange shopping habits on iTunes. Apparently, the Syrian dictator is a big fan of contemporary party music. But Bashar is far from the first dictator to have a strange relationship with pop culture. From Frank Sinatra to LMFAO, TNR takes a look back at the odd cultural tastes of some of history's most ruthless rulers. Bashar al Assad. The Syrian dictator's recent purchases on iTunes include music by LMFAO, Chris Brown, Right Said Fred, and New Order. Of course, picturing Assad dancing to 'I’m Sexy And I Know It' is an image that most of us would prefer to block from our minds. Saddam Hussein. The palaces of Saddam Hussein were found to have been adorned with fantasy art that included depictions of 'naked blonde maidens menaced by dragons' and 'warriors wrestling serpents.' It seems the former dictator had an aesthetic taste that was closer to that of an adolescent boy than that of a head of state. Kim Jong-il. The diminutive and departed former leader was a noted film lover, with over 20,000 DVDs in his personal collection. His taste in movies can hardly be considered highbrow, however, with titles such as Rambo and Friday the 13th listed amongst his favorites. Not just content to watch movies, he once kidnapped a top South Korean film director to make a bizarre version of Godzilla entitled Pulgasari ... Idi Amin. Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda in the 1970s, was fascinated with Scottish culture, giving his sons Scottish names and declaring himself King of Scotland. He also had a deep appreciation for bagpipe music—even attempting to create a personal bodyguard comprised of 6’4” bagpipe-playing Scotsmen." (TNR)


"In the past couple of weeks, we have been given a couple of foretastes of what may lie ahead for 2012. First, there is the fuss over President Barack Obama’s failure to disassociate himself from or apologize for statements by the comedian Bill Maher, who has given $1 million to a super-PAC supporting Obama’s re-election. Second, there’s the ludicrous attempt to make an issue of Obama’s embrace (literally -- there’s video), while at Harvard Law School, of a professor named Derrick Bell. The Bell story, with video, is the parting gift of Andrew Breitbart, who died of a heart attack March 1 at the age of 43 - - much too young even for a right-wing hit man. Conservative critics compare Maher, who used vulgar language about Sarah Palin, with Rush Limbaugh, who is in hot water of his own for vulgar on-air comments about a young woman who testified before Congress in favor of Obama’s plan to require health insurers to cover birth control. Liberals pressured an apology out of Limbaugh. Why aren’t they demanding a similar grovel from Maher -- or returning his money?
I wrote last week about the competitive sensitivity game that dominates our politics these days, in which all sides leap to take insincere offense at remarks by others and demand apologies which, by their very nature, are equally insincere. Maher actually defended Limbaugh, calling the campaign against him a “fatwa.” For his troubles, he was attacked by a Wall Street Journal columnist for using an Islamic term as a metaphor. Typical liberal hypocrite, was the columnist’s point. You can parse the difference between Limbaugh and Maher if you want -- one is an overt political pamphleteer and the other a comedian whose scorn is bipartisan, even if on average it tilts left. But the ideal solution would be if everyone just developed a thicker skin." (Mike Kinsley)

Andrew Criso via NYSD
"A number of years ago, there was a major scandal in New York having to do with S&M and an art gallery owner named Andrew Crispo. There was more than one story that went around in certain social circles about a death that came about, the result of certain people having their way with another, i.e., S&M. In both cases, the 'M' (for murder) was a male. The principals in this den of aficionados were both American and European. Some of them were very rich and more than a little powerful; and more of them were either famous or very well known in that part of the community known as Society. Mr. Crispo went to jail, although I don’t recall the reason. I don’t think it was murder. Probably tax evasion, that catch-all for legal obfuscation. He may even be out now. Several participants who were 'engaged' in the fatal activity are still around and about. Now most are so old that toting that whip or lifting that swing requires more than they can muster. It’s not a new story. A number of years ago, a friend of mine was working on a story about dominatrixes here in Manhattan. He found one woman had who a lot of famous clients and was willing to talk about it. Mainly private equity and hedge fund guys were on her list, often guys who also entertained the notion when plied by the publicity, of being 'Masters of the Universe.' Also back in the early '90s, on one of the tonier tree-lined lanes in one of the tonier Hamptons, there was a young tycoon who hired a lady to fight with his wife. Beat each other up. While he watched (and did coke and drank), and etcetera. This was a fairly frequent at-home entertainment and sex play was part of it. Then one day one of the 'girls' was beaten so badly she had to have medical treatment. That weekend cost the host more than twenty-five grand. So it can be expensive in more ways then one. But then that’s an old story when it comes to sex." (NYSocialDiary)


"I had too much to drink the night before, but I managed to be early for my appointment at a Washington, DC hotel to talk with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, stars of the Major Motion Picture 21 Jump Street, a rebootery of the successful Fox TV show that launched the careers of Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco. In real life, Mr. Tatum's neck does not appear as disproportionately large as it does on the movie screen, and Mr. Hill appears thinner than when he was on the Oscars broadcast, in which he was a Nominee for Best Supporting Actor. Both gentlemen are very congenial. Mr. Hill and Mr. Tatum were behind schedule, so I spent a lot of time alone in a nice hotel suite, where I promptly fell asleep in a comfy chair. I was awakened by a Movie Industry Person, who then opened the door to the suite I was in and then the door to the suite across the hall opened, and I saw a police officer shaking hands with Ice Cube, who is also in the movie as the grouchy Police Captain, and then I figured out it was Channing Tatum, in a Bicycle Police uniform, just like the one he wore in the film. Jonah Hill was dressed similarly. Channing Tatum: What's up, man. I can't get Jonah off the couch in there. Me: That's OK. It's nice to meet you. (Handshaking—straightforward thumb-up square handshake.) Me again: My name's Joe. Channing Tatum: Joe? Nice to meet you Joe; Chan. (pause) Chickitty-chang-chang-cha-chang-cha-chickin. Me: (thickly, through mouthful of chocolate chip cookie, over top of the 'Chickitty-chang, etc.') Chan?  Chan: Yessir. Chan. Yeah." ( TheAwl)


"In 1987, shortly before the release of 'Ishtar,' Columbia Pictures realized the film was going to flop in catastrophic fashion. But rather than cut advertising spending to minimize the financial damage — as the studio’s top marketer advised — Columbia did the opposite, pouring even more money into ads. The reason? The studio was desperate to stay on good terms with the two stars of 'Ishtar,' Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. 'Ego trumps logic in Hollywood,' said Peter Sealey, who was Columbia’s marketing chief at the time.Studios have repeatedly pledged in the 25 years since to modernize their clubby business practices, but the more Hollywood promises change, the deeper it seems to fall into its ruts — as evidenced by 'John Carter,' a big-budget science fiction epic from Walt Disney Studios that opened Friday and flopped over the weekend. Disney spent lavishly (some say foolishly) on the movie in large part to appease one of its most important creative talents: Andrew Stanton, the Pixar-based director of 'Finding Nemo' and 'Wall-E.' 'John Carter,' which cost an estimated $350 million to make and market, and was directed by Mr. Stanton, took in about $30.6 million at the North American box office, according to Rentrak, which compiles box-office data. That result is so poor that analysts estimate that Disney will be forced to take a quarterly write-down of $100 million to $165 million." (NYTimes)


"Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the four-day festivities for British billionaire Sir Philip Green’s 60th birthday in Mexico. The actor is partying away with other stars, including Kate Moss and Simon Cowell, at the lavish bash at a luxury resort in the Riviera Maya. Topshop and Arcadia boss Sir Phil has flown in more than 100 friends by private jet from London and Miami for the birthday bacchanal, rumored to cost $25 million. The bash, masterminded by Sir Phil’s wife, Tina, will also include a party for their daughter Chloe’s 21st birthday, with performers including Rihanna and Bruno Mars. We’re told guests are also being issued Spanish-themed costumes to wear on one of the big nights." (PageSix)


"'Has it been 25 years already?' Sir Paul Smith said. 'It feels like eight!' The British designer was in town last night to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his first U.S. store on lower Fifth Avenue, and as the times have changed, so have the shoppers. 'American men are a lot more stylish today—well, you can say that of all men really,' Smith observed. 'Everyone is more informed with technology and everything, but it's also because there are jobs where you can dress more creatively now.' As if on cue, in walked the photographer Mick Rock and The Good Wife's Josh Charles. Barneys CEO Mark Lee, who had arrived earlier in a trim suit, said, "Paul is so much fun. After all these years, he's not jaded at all.' At Chelsea's Pace Gallery, a cool crowd including editors, designers, and models toasted Acne Paper's 13th issue, which focuses on the body." (Style)


"It's official! Nobody in fashion stayed home last night with the exception of Diane von Furstenberg, who wisely brought everyone to her studio hosting the the CFDA nominations on West 14th Street. Dvf and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb revealed the nominations (exactly as scheduled at 6:30 p.m., thank you very much!) starting with the announcement that SNL's Seth Myers (the CFDA president's "one great wish") would be hosting the show on June 4th at Lincoln Center.
DvF announced that Andrew Rosen (the recipient of The Founders Award given in honor of CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert) was in Tokyo, but they spoke earlier in the day, and she told him that his "father would be very proud of you. I knew his father very well." The crowd included longtime CFDA members Carolina Herrera, Francisco Costa, Dennis Basso, Reed Krakoff, and Narciso Rodriguez mixed with relatively new kids on the block Patrick Ervell, Suno's Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, Simon Spurr, Phillip Lim, Trina Turk, Peter Som, Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Roy, Sophie Theallet and Irene Neuwirth. Major CFDA supporters Nadja Swarovski (underwriting the awards for the 11th year) and Anna Wintour were MIA, but Jim Moore, Glenda Bailey, Ted Stafford, Cindy Weber Cleary, Eric Wilson, Joanna Hillman, and Joe Zee seemed delighted in the choice of Johnny Depp as the first male recipient of The Fashion Icon Award." (Fashionweekdaily)

1 comment:

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