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Monday, September 10, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"With the two political conventions behind us, we now have a clear idea of the difference between the two parties on foreign policy: The Democrats want to talk about it, and the Republicans don't. In fact, the Democrats even want to talk about the fact that the Republicans don't want to talk about it. Did you notice that in his acceptance speech, Mitt Romney never said a word about the vets? Didn't that strike you as, well, un-American? Real Americans cherish and honor the vets. It seems that the core of Democratic foreign policy is ending wars in order to turn soldiers into vets so they can get jobs and health care back home. That, and killing Osama bin Laden. If that monster so much as tries to stage a comeback, President Obama will order him killed again. Mitt Romney wouldn't. He'd be too busy cutting government services to even notice. That would be a fun debate to have, unless of course Israel launches an attack on Iran, in which case there would actually be something important to argue about. As it is, there will be only one presidential debate on foreign policy, and the rest will revolve around the we're-all-in-this-together v. you-had-a-chance-and-you-blew-it attack lines. The American people don't want to hear about the rest of the world. Polls find that no more than 5 percent of respondents consider "national security" or 'terrorism' the most important issue; "war/peace" clocks in at 2 percent. The dead giveaway was former President Bill Clinton's 48-minute lollapalooza on Wednesday night, which included just one throwaway line on foreign policy. Clinton tends to have pretty good instincts on this stuff. It's a dismaying prospect for those of us who had hoped to spend the next two months watching the cut-and-thrust over drone warfare and the New START treaty. As a public service, therefore, I suggest a reconceptualization of 'foreign policy' in such a way as to provoke an actual debate." (James Traub)

"Three looming debates represent the last, best chance for President Obama or Mitt Romney to force a decisive moment in the presidential race. The Romney team will be especially eager to maximize the opportunity, in light of several polls showing that Obama has widened his previously small lead since last week’s Democratic National Convention. The president’s boost from that event might well dissipate in the weeks ahead, but, for now, it has bolstered the confidence of the Obama camp — and deepened worries among Republicans. For Romney, the task he faces is to connect with voters, present himself as a candidate worthy to be considered on the same level as a sitting president and persuade the electorate that his plan for the economy would work and Obama’s has failed. For Obama, the priority is to emphasize once again that the election is a choice and Romney is an unacceptable alternative. The time to prepare is short. The first debate takes place in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 3. The others follow in Hempstead, N.Y., and Boca Raton, Fla., later in the month. Vice President Biden and Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), will debate once, in Danville, Ky., on Oct. 11. Romney, who debated about 20 times during the GOP primaries, spent three days in debate preparation last week at a Vermont retreat. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) played the role of Obama. Obama also has begun to shake off the debate rust. He reportedly has held one practice session, with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) standing in for Romney. Both sides have cause to believe they start with an advantage going in. Obama not only has the polls in his favor, for now. He has also done this before — three times against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) four years ago. But debates between an incumbent president and a challenger tend to have more upside for the latter, according to several experts." (TheHill)

"Variety, the legendary but struggling Hollywood magazine, is still not ready for its close-up. Reed Elsevier, looking to unload the 107-year-old title, its last remaining North American trade magazine, has been forced to cut Variety’s asking price by more than 25 percent and offer 'seller financing' to close the deal, The Post has learned. Reed has recently cut Variety’s asking price to below $30 million from its original $40 million price tag, sources close to the situation said. The publishing giant hopes the move — plus, sources add, the offer to provide some seller financing — entices one of the two remaining serious suitors, Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corp. or Marc Lasry’s Avenue Capital, to cross the finish line. Penske and Lasry believed Variety’s initial $40 million-plus asking price was too high. Before the price cut, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. walked away, sources said, after making a bid in the $20 million range. Lasry, with deeper pockets, would seem to be the favorite — but the discounted price and the offer to help finance the deal could put Penske, the youngest son of auto racing legend Roger Penske, in the driver’s seat with a chance to get to the checkered flag first. The struggling Variety, which has been on the block since March and drawn only tepid interest, may be a good fit for Penske’s PMC. The 8-year-old media company counts the six-year old Deadline Hollywood, edited by Nikki Finke, MovieLine.com and the Bonnie Fuller-edited HollywoodLife.com among a handful of Tinseltown-focused properties." (NYPost)

"Saturday night Peggy Siegal ran a big screening at MoMA in the big theater for Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s documentary based on her book, 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel,' about her grandmother-in-law, the late Diana Vreeland ... A great many people in the audience were not even on the planet when Vreeland died in 1989. Many others were too young to understand who she was. So they didn’t know about her allure and her charisma. And the fun of it. This film grabs them. She was famous in the publishing and fashion world when she was editor of Harper’s Bazaar and then Vogue, but it was a compartmental fame – known in her industry and by her readership. However, her image gained stature with age, with professional reversals, and her moving over to the Metropolitan Museum to run the Costume Institute." (NYSocialDiary)

"Forty-five years ago two Greek shipowners and the most famous diva of her time squared off in a British High Court over a financial dispute. Panaghis Vergottis, a gentleman and philanthropist, had sued Aristotle Socrates Onassis and Maria Callas over the ownership of a tanker the two men had bought for la Callas back when they were best friends. I suspect Vergottis had fallen in love with the fiery coloratura, and once Onassis had dropped her for la Kennedy, he tried to move in, unsuccessfully. Then who owned how much of the ship came up, and it ended up in a High Court. The headlines back then were bigger than the ones covering the two Russian creeps last week. But there were no theatrics. Onassis, the winner, made a brief, dignified statement outside the court saying how sad it was to face a once great friend in a court action. End of story. Callas got her tanker, Onassis was saddled with Jackie and her bills, and Vergottis went back to building villages and museums in Cephalonia .." (Taki)

"ThreeASFOUR based their S/S '13 show yesterday at Bowery gallery The Hole around 'the unseen energies of the human magnetic field.' Through the eyes of the deeply creative and avante design trio, this entailed caped, mod ensembles in vibrant, stained-glass-like patterns of bold purples, pinks and orange. Continuing their galactic F/W '12 theme, ThreeASFOUR also decked the models out in Spock-esque unibrows and chunky shattered-glass platform shoes, giving the whole collection an alien-priestess-meets Carnaby Road feel." (Papermag)

"A Fight broke out at designer Alexander Wang’s after-party at the Emigrant Bank Building across from City Hall Saturday when, sources say, Milk Studios founder Mazdack Rassi was sucker-punched by an unknown man. A witness told us that Busta Rhymes was on stage when Rassi 'got clocked in the face.' Our source said that Rassi had stepped on the slugger’s foot and the unknown man 'freaked out.' We hear Rassi was taken to a hospital where he got stitches. Reps for Milk and Wang didn’t return calls. More peaceful partygoers included Liberty Ross, Justin Theroux, Kate Bosworth, Jared Leto, rapper A$AP Rocky, Karen Elson, Solange Knowles and Russell Simmons." (PageSix)

"Between all the runway shows, street-style galleries, parties, and interviews at Fashion Week, it can be hard to filter out the noise. So now that the weekend is over and shows are at the halfway mark, we've combed through The Cut's 24-hour feed to bring you the best moments from spring 2013 so far. Read on to catch up and get excited for all the coverage still to come in the next five days and on into London, Milan, and Paris.1. The jock-fashion crossover is now an established part of Fashion Week. Aside from the usual crew of basketball players with (Amar'e Stoudemire) or without (Russell Westbrook and Chris Bosh) clothing lines, various Olympians are making the rounds, headlined by Ryan Lochte (who has been the subject of unvarnished, panting lust), Nathan Adrian (The Cut's new crush), and Sanya Richards-Ross." (NYMag)

"While a host of designers held their post-show parties downtown last night, Carine Roitfeld and her loyal cast of collaborators installed themselves at the Frick on East 70th Street for a black-tie affair celebrating the French editor's new CR Fashion Book. As the crowd, including models (Karen Elson, Bar Refaeli, and Karlie Kloss) and designers (Riccardo Tisci, Alexander Wang, and Joseph Altuzarra), made their way inside, they found waiters, some of them offering Champagne and others holding (and closely guarding) copies of CR with Kate Upton on the cover. 'It is not a new vision about the clothes; those stay the same. But there are new people—new models and new photographers—in the magazine. Me, I am not serious at all about fashion. I know it is a big business, but I always have a sense of humor,' said Roitfeld, stationed near the fountain in the center of the room. "It is important to think in the morning, 'What am I going to wear today?' but at the end of the day, you can make an error and it's not very terrible.' Guests slowly started to filter into the adjoining room, where the Brant boys started their own party on the dance floor. That quickly ended when Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto took the stage." (Style)

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