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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Israel on June 25 for his first state visit since retaking the presidency. The visit was arranged in mid-May, and so at least part of the agenda was set, given events in Syria and Egypt. The interesting thing about Israel and Russia is that while they seem to be operating in the same areas of interest and their agendas seem disconnected, their interests are not always opposed. It is easy to identify places they both care about but more difficult to identify ways in which they connect. It is therefore difficult to identify the significance of the visit beyond that it happened. An example is Azerbaijan. Russia is still a major weapons provider for Azerbaijan, but the Israelis are now selling it large amounts of weapons and appear to be using it as a base from which to observe and, according to rumors, possibly attack Iran. Russia, which supports Armenia, a country Azerbaijan fought a war with in the late 1980s and early 1990s and technically still is at war with, ought to oppose Israel's action, particularly since it threatens Iran, which Russia does not want attacked. At the same time, Russia doesn't feel threatened by Israeli involvement in Azerbaijan, and Israel doesn't really care about Armenia. Both are there, both are involved and both think Azerbaijan is important, yet each operates in ways that ought to conflict but don't. The same is true in the more immediate case of Syria, where its downing of a Turkish plane has created an unexpected dynamic for this visit." (STRATFOR)

"'Speaking truth to stupid.' I never watched 'West Wing'. I did religiously view 'Sports Night', but it was never as good as the critics claimed. But then I went to see 'Social Network' and I became an Aaron Sorkin fan. In a dumbed-down world where I have to spell out everything I say I could barely keep up with the dialogue. Sorkin was assuming I was smart. And no one's done that for a very long time. The critics might kill 'Newsroom'. Along with the PR department of HBO. The problem is these old wave companies still think it's the nineties, that if they employ carpet bomb publicity we'll all pay attention and drink from the trough. As if we are as dumb as all the dialogue in 'Newsroom' says we are. I almost didn't watch this show. Because every review said it was so-so. It is. But that's missing the point. Entertainment, when done right, is all about emotion. That's what's wrong with so much of the paint-by-numbers Top Forty ... It's like our whole country has become the Yankees, an overly ripe, overly rich team which tolerates no dissension and frequently plays well but never wins the big one. Because to win big, you've got to question, you've got to be an outlier, you've got to look for the little things that make a difference. Like talent. Aaron Sorkin's got it. Bristol Palin does not. Nor do the Kardashians. " (LefsetzLetter)


"Rory Kennedy never expected to get her mother Ethel’s blessing to make a documentary that would include her first interview in more than 30 years. 'I called [my mom] up and said, ‘I am sure you don’t want to do this,’ and she said, ‘Yes,’ ' the director said Saturday when the doc debuted at the Nantucket Film Festival a ferry ride from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. But Kennedy added that Ethel, 84, widow of murdered former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, still wasn’t crazy about the title. 'She doesn’t like her name, and I called the film ‘Ethel’ . . . Every time I say the name of the film she cringes,' Kennedy said. A cadre of Kennedys were spotted at the screening at the Dreamland Theater, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy, who stars in HBO’s 'The Newsroom.'" (PageSix)



"A packed crowd of 1,000 VIP collectors and guests attended the opening of Art Greenwich aboard the 228-foot mega-yacht SeaFair. The distinguished crowd was in high spirits despite the less than ideal weather conditions, unanimous in their praise of the inaugural May event. Differing from its returning sister fair in September, which will feature 19th and early 20th Century works, as well as haute and period jewelry, the spring edition boasts 28 contemporary galleries and special installations. Art enthusiasts were not left wanting, with three decks of international artists' works to peruse including works by pop art and post war icons Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein ..." (NYSocialDiary)


"Paper's resident film festival documentarian Henny Garnfunkel hit up the Provincetown Film Festival last week, where indie film movers and shakers including Parker Posey, John Waters, Christine Vachon and Roger Corman gathered to celebrate the best in new indie films, shorts and documentaries. Check out her portraits below and watch Nicolas Jenkins' interviews with Posey, Waters and more .." (Papermag)

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