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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"As labor groups take to the streets around the world to protest high unemployment and harsh austerity measures, who has the most to complain about? Recognized as a national holiday by more than 80 countries, May 1, or May Day, has become firmly identified with International Workers' Day. The event originally commemorated the bloody 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when police opened fire on demonstrating workers, killing dozens. Over the years it has become a day for labor unions to rally around the globe. This year, with unemployment soaring and governments cutting back to reign in budgets, we take a tour of the protests." (ForeignPolicy)

"Obama’s first apartment in New York, which he shared with Phil Boerner, a friend from Oxy, was at 142 West 109th Street. Heat and hot water were scarce commodities. When the nights turned colder, the roommates took to sleeping bags for warmth and spent as little waking time in the apartment as possible, holing up in Butler Library, at 114th, parts of which were open all night. Some mornings, eager to flee their quarters, they walked to the corner of Broadway and 112th to eat at Tom’s Restaurant, the place immortalized later as the fictional Monk’s, a familiar meeting place for the characters on Seinfeld. A full breakfast went for $1.99. The loneliness of Obama’s New York existence emerged in his letters to Alex McNear, a young woman from Occidental who had enchanted Obama when she was co-editing the literary magazine Feast, and with whom he reconnected when she spent the summer of 1982 in New York. Alex had always been fond of Barry, as she called him, and 'thought he was interesting in a very particular way. He really worked his way through an idea or question, turned it over, looked at it from all sides, and then he came to a precise and elegant conclusion.' When Alex came to New York, she gave Obama a call. They met at an Italian restaurant on Lexington Avenue, and, as she remembered the night, 'we sat and talked and ate and drank wine. Or at least I drank wine. I think he drank something stronger. It was one of those dark, old Italian restaurants that don’t exist in New York anymore. It was the kind of place where they leave you alone. I remember thinking how happy I felt just talking to him, that I could talk to him for hours. We walked slowly back to my apartment, on 90th, and said good-bye. After that we started spending much more time together.'Alex remembered it as a summer of walking miles through the city, lingering over meals at restaurants, hanging out at their apartments, visiting art museums, and talking about life." (VanityFair)


"Richard Grenell, the foreign policy and national security spokesman for Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, announced his resignation yesterday, giving up the kind of high-profile political job he had coveted through much of his professional life. Here at the United Nations, where he served for 8 years as the Bush administration's press spokesman, Grenell's political fall set off some reflexive expressions of glee from insiders, who had been stunned by Grenell's appointment and initially thought he'd been ousted for posting inflammatory and derisive tweets targeting everyone from Michelle Obama to Calista Gingrigh. But as people began to realize that Grenell may have been forced out of his job because of opposition from social and religious conservatives -- not on his merits or lack thereof but because of his sexuality -- a twinge of guilt set in. 'I take back the snarky comment,' said one U.N. insider, who initially hailed news of Grenell's political demise with a laugh. 'He had to resign ... because he is openly gay!' In a statement posted on Jennifer Rubin's Right Turn Blog, which broke the news, Grenell said he decided to resign because 'my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.' He thanked Governor Romney 'for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.' R. Clark Cooper, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Grenell made his decision because it is 'best for the Romney campaign' if it was unfortunate that 'the hyper-partisan discussion of issues unrelated to Ric's national security qualifications threatened to compromise his effectiveness on the campaign trail....' 'Ric was essentially hounded by the far right and far left,' he said." (ForeignPolicy)


"Over at La Grenouille Francie Whittenburg hosted her annual birthday luncheon for her friend Amy Fine Collins. Besides the stellar guestlist of Amy’s nearest and dearest, Peter Duchin himself provided the only in New York musical background. Farther up the avenue on Park at the Colony Club,  the American Federation of Arts held its annual luncheon and Adam Gopnik was the speaker. Clare McKeon, Elizabeth Rohatyn and Capera Ryan were chairs of the event.  Mr. Gopnik has a piece in this week’s New Yorker, coincidentally. It’s in the Talk of the Town and it’s something we know very little about Francois Hollande who some people think may be the next President of France. He also has a very French private life. Or rather, what Americans perceive as very 'French.' I’ll let you read it and see. He’s also the conservative in the crowd, so to speak. French-speak, that is. Last night down at Alison18 on 15 West 18th Street, Susan Magrino was celebrating the 20th anniversary of her public relations business. When I first came back to New York from Los Angeles, Susan had just started on her own and she was well known in the business as the public relations for Martha Stewart who was number one in the public recognition department. Since then she’s taken on numerous high end/luxury clients nationally and internationally." (newyorksocialdiary)


"'Have you ever met the Mad Russian?' Animal Fair founder and dog lover Wendy Diamond asked The Observer at dinner last night. We had been covertly smoking outside on the lush patio of publicist R. Couri Hay‘s Upper West Side apartment after watching 'Buddhist Priestess' Robin Cofer christen Mr. Hay’s dog, Webster Westbrook Alexander Hay, by rubbing behind the long-haired dachshund ears and whispering something in his ear. Webster was being named after Mr. Hay’s good friend, Roger Webster, who died last year. Earlier in the evening, Mr. Hay had lead a group sing-along to classics like 'No Business Like Show Business.' We had not heard of the Mad Russian, but it seemed like that kind of night.
We followed Ms. Diamond to a dark table, lit on only by candles, where she was sitting with a bottle of chilled champagne, and introduced me to her dinner partners: Greta Giordano director of membership at the Core Club; model Kurt Lingenfelter, and Erik Bottcher from Mayor Cuomo’s office. 'So if you ever want to quit smoking, you go to the Mad Russian,' Ms. Diamond told us. 'I went to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and was asking Graydon Carter if he had gone yet, and Salma Hayek walked by and said ‘I love the Mad Russian!'' The Mad Russian, Ms. Diamond continued, could also get us to drop 15 pounds, work out three times a week, and be happy for the rest of our lives. All in one session ... It didn’t help that we couldn’t figure out what the Mad Russian did, exactly, although we (correctly, as it turned out) assumed he was some sort of hypnotist." (VelvetRoper)

"Howard (Stern) said Al Roker is there so he has to get him in there. Howard said he has another TV show to promote today. Robin asked if any of his shows last. Howard said that's a good question. Al came in and said that their show DEA ran for 3 seasons. He said he has Coast Guard Alaska that just started. He said they have a spin off of Coast Guard Florida too. Howard said he heard that Al found this bounty hunter for the new show through J-Lo. Al said it was someone from her production company found him. Howard asked if they compare him to Dog the Bounty Hunter. Al said they do. He said this guy is a little cleaner ... Howard said he will be on the Today show in May. He will be doing an interview with Matt Lauer.Howard said he will do The View too ... Howard asked Al if he sits down with his agent, when he sees Matt Lauer making a $30 million deal at NBC, and asks for more money. Al said he has a couple more years on his contract and he thinks that NBC will be fair. Howard asked if he thinks that they'll make changes now that Matt has that deal. Al said he thinks they'll be fair. Howard asked Al if he's afraid to ask for that kind of money because he's afraid that they'll get rid of him. Al said they don't even know for sure what kind of money he's really getting. Howard said he saw the check and it was 30 million. Howard asked Al what he makes. Al said he will never talk about what he makes. He said no one cares. Howard said he should brag. Howard asked Al if he's allowed to endorse products. Al said he can but he hasn't. He said he turned down a 7 figure deal to endorse a hospital group. Howard asked if he gained back the weight he gained after his surgery. Al said he did but he lost it too. Howard said he does look good. Al said he needs to have a goal. He said he does weights and yoga and things. He said he tried the hot yoga and it was disgusting." ( Marksfriggin)


"Vito Schnabel, the curator, dealer and son of Julian, has organized a show of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Laurie Anderson. Ms. Anderson, who is married to Lou Reed (a longtime neighbor to the Schnabels), is best known for her work in performance, as well as the song 'O Superman,' one of the stranger selections in the pop music canon. Last year, Ms. Anderson exhibited her drawings at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia in a show, which also included text, sculpture and projections, called 'Forty-Nine Days in the Bardo.' Mr. Schnabel saw the show and said he was 'blown away.' 'My father knows her and I was introduced to her at a young age,' Mr. Schnabel said. 'As a kid growing up, I’d seen some of her performances. But before I saw her show in Philadelphia, I had never seen work like that come out of her.' Ten drawings from the Philadelphia show will be on view, as well as drawings made on fabric, paintings and a sculpture that will project an image of Ms. Anderson and her dog Lola Belle (who passed away last year)." (galleristY)


"With only twenty months on the job as CEO of Johnson Publishing—home of Ebony and Jet —former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers had about as much magazine experience as the second-year j-school students she addressed at Columbia University Thursday night. 'The first year was extremely intense,' Ms. Rogers told students assembled for the year’s final Delacorte Lecture. 'I learned to love my new friend, Pepto Bismal tablets.'It was also a little lonely. In the first year, Ms. Rogers completely turned over the sales staff, adding brokers in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Detroit and hiring 65 people. Only chairman Linda Johnson Rice, the daughter of late founder John H. Johnson (and Ms. Rogers’s 'dearest friend') and the CFO remain, she said, and she was acting as publisher in order to learn the business on the fly. 'I pulled myself back. I was kind of boring,' she remembered. 'I was exhausted. I was too tired to have fun-fun. I’d stop by the end of the dinner and have a drink.' 'I’m back now,' she added." (Observer)



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