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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Is the White House trying to insulate the president from the unfolding drama in China? Of course they are.The uneasy compromise reached today over Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s request for asylum in the U.S. presents a serious political vulnerability for the president who has recently and increasingly made his record on foreign affairs a prime argument in his reelection bid. Coinciding with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s visit to China for meetings on security and economic issues, the ongoing struggle to find a diplomatic solution to the case of Chen Guangcheng has put Secretary Clinton directly in the crosshairs and made her the subject of criticisms that she has not gone as far as she could to protect Chen and his family, who he says have been threatened by Chinese authoritiesMeanwhile the White House has gone to great lengths to insulate the president from the unfolding drama in China. On Friday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she’s pleased that China announced it will let blind activist Chen Guangcheng apply to study abroad--marking the second time in three days that American officials thought they had an agreement, with firm guarantees, from the Chinese side.This latest compromise is unlikely to get substantial direct comment from the White House, save general approval of the ultimate result achieved, as the president has been all too happy to leave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deal with the fiasco and maintained his administration’s silence on Chen Guangcheng’s fate when asked about it at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday." (Doug Shoen)

"ONE rainy morning in April, members of the Bettencourt family, heirs to the vast L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, strode into the Palais des Congrès de Paris, the grand convention center here, for a meeting with L’Oréal shareholders. One person was missing from their entourage: Liliane Bettencourt, the wizened matriarch of L’Oréal and one of the world’s richest women. Mrs. Bettencourt, 89, had stayed behind in her mansion in the Paris suburb of Neuilly, having given up the board seat she held for 17 years after a bitter family fight that captivated France and even shook the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Taking her place was a willowy figure, Jean-Victor Meyers, Ms. Bettencourt’s 25-year-old grandson, a sheltered, publicity-shy scion with a taste for fashion but little experience in business affairs. His main qualification is his family name. (NYTimes)

"Although I have the address, it is impossible to pinpoint the entrance to Anish Kapoor’s studio in Camberwell. It turns out that the artist owns all the buildings in the street – a low-rise row of former rollerblind factories that line one side of the road. On the other side is a construction site, piles of rubbish and an abandoned Routemaster bus – nothing to do with Kapoor. All around are the tower blocks of south London. 'I’ve been here for 25 years,' says Kapoor, a trim, small figure with floppy silver hair and matching grey glasses, when he emerges at the end of the terrace. This is where, a few months ago, the last factory was converted into a huge, glass-walled, white-painted box, the atelier where he works alone, undisturbed by the 20-strong technical and office staff on the rest of his site. 'Life’s gone pretty well and I’ve been able to get the whole street,' Kapoor explains, speaking softly but precisely, with a slight Indian accent – he was born in Mumbai in 1954. 'I hope it’s not just megalomania – well, a certain amount of it is, of course! – that drives all this.' ... At this rather hubristic instant, there is a loud, resounding bang: a mirror piece crashes down from the wall, shattering into fragments. Kapoor strolls over, phones a technician and shrugs: “Stuff happens.” But he hurries from that studio into another, packed with a cement mixer and a work-in-progress of piled-up cement turds, then invites me into a long pristine room with oak floors, white walls, two white chairs and a white table set with salads and platters of fish. Kapoor’s studio manager, Lucy, offers drinks: he chooses Coke, I request mineral water. The food has been ordered from the fashionable delicatessen Ottolenghi. Its rich western/Middle Eastern/Asian mix of colours and flavours offsets the streamlined purist interior in a way that almost parodies Kapoor’s aesthetic of late-minimalist abstraction revitalised by brilliant hues and sensuous textures. The artist, however, surveys the luscious offerings mournfully, presumably thinking of what might have been. “Have you been to La Petite Maison?” he inquires. 'You must go, Jackie! It’s superb, Provençal food done so well – and owned by an Indian!' Nevertheless, he tucks in readily." (FT)

"When I was 22, I was a year out of college and living at home. I had no money, and I spent all of my time reading blogs and applying for jobs that never got back to me. But then I received an unexpected major inheritance from my step-grandfather. I received a lump sum of $66,000 after  taxes—more money than I could comprehend, really. My dad immediately took me to the bank and helped me open a CD, a deposit account with a high interest rate, stressing that the money would grow, and then one day I could use it on a down payment on a house. That sounded nice, but also very far away. Buying houses was for old people! I was young, and it had been a hard year—didn’t I deserve something nice now? I put $61,000 into the CD, and $5,000 in my checking account ...My first major purchase was a fancy DSLR, a Nikon D80, a solid camera that all my favorite lifestyle bloggers seemed to love. I got it off of Amazon with a kit lens for a little over $1,000. I had an interest in photography; it seemed like a practical purchase, necessary, even.
I remember asking my boyfriend if I had made the right decision. That was the single biggest purchase I had ever made in my life, and it seemed like something worth debating. ... If I wanted to be a photographer, a good camera was the perfect starting point. Naturally, all my purchasing decisions would follow as such. Right? ... A highlight of that time was when Tavi Gevinson commented on my blog, complimenting one of my purchases. That meant something to me. That initial $5,000 was gone in a month, and then I started tapping into the reserves." (TheBillfold)


"Though a layer of dew and drizzle ruled (and sometimes rued) the week's weather forecasts, the atmosphere inside the Crosby Street Hotel Thursday night wasn't dampened in the slightest. A stylish crowd assembled for a screening of Hick hosted by Cinema Society and Phase 4 Films, including the film’s stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Rory Culkin, director Derick Martini, writer Andrea Portes, producers Teri Duke-Moretz, Trevor Duke-Moretz, Charles de Portes, and Christian Taylor. Guests flocking to SoHo to check out the coming-of-age story included Emma Roberts, Charlotte Ronson, Fern Mallis, Kieran Culkin, Shaun White, Matthew Settle, Russell Simmons, Ben Rappaport, Pablo Schreiber, and Aaron Carter. The film follows the adventures and misadventures of 13-year-old small town girl, Luli, who runs away from alcoholic and abusive parents and sets out on a trek to the starry lights of Las Vegas. Moretz, looking lovely in a floral Dolce & Gabbana, was kind enough to share a short synopsis pre-screening for your Daily's reference: 'it's about a young girl who is fed up with her life.' Hormone-fueled mood swings? No, not exactly: "her parents leave her, she’s abandoned, and she decides she’s going to run off to Las Vegas to become a star.'" (Fashionweekdaily)


"It is an unglamorous end to a life that symbolised exotic Hollywood celebrity, lavish living and sheer female bravado. For Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born actress who is renowned as much for her nine marriages as for her films, is at the centre of a family feud that was back in the Los Angeles courts last week.Her husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, is locked in a legal battle with Gabor's daughter, Constance Francesca Hilton, over control of the 95-year-old's financial affairs and medical care. But if that sounds as if it has the dramatic potential to be a final movie for Gabor, it would be a tragedy. For although the two parties clashed in court last Wednesday, it is not clear how much Gabor herself is aware of the legal situation. She is bedridden in hospital and has not been seen in public for months. In February her husband threw her a lavish birthday party, though she did not take part – she had had part of her leg amputated and could not eat solid food. Hilton has claimed that her mother is generally kept sedated. In the 1950s Gabor became a sex symbol noted for her quips about her love life and an ability to changes spouses with the frequency that other people got new cars. 'I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house,' she once said." (Guardian)


"Prince Albert of Monaco’s new wife Charlene Wittstock has become ‘depressed’ at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir, it was claimed today. Princess Charlene is said to have struck a ‘deal’ with the principality’s playboy ruler to bear him a child after she tried to flee before their wedding last summer. But the 33-year-old South African is now unable to get pregnant, France’s Voici magazine reported Albert already has already fathered two love-children, but neither can succeed him as they were both born out of wedlock. Voici magazine said: 'Charlene has made the subject of pregnancy a taboo topic around the Royal palace.'" (DailyMail)

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