Thursday, May 31, 2012

Media-Whore D'oeuvres



"There are many memorable lines in Henry Crumpton's new book The Art of Intelligence. Here are some of them: --"I never met a North Korean diplomat who did not want porn, either for personal use or resale." --His take on working with the FBI: "This was a tribe that valued oral stories and history. I came from a tribe that treasured the written intelligence report." --Another difference between the FBI and the CIA was size: "The FBI's New York field officer had more agents than the CIA had operations officers -- for the entire planet." -On British intelligence: "The British were good, but not as good as they thought or acted. One issue was their failure to realize the growing radical threat within their own borders." --His reaction to the insistence of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's that the 9/11 attacks had to have been sponsored by a state, and probably by Iraq: "What is he smoking?" (ForeignPolicy)



"Down at Michael’s, the city’s roar was slightly subdued (chilled might be another word) – but only slightly. Nevertheless, it was a classic Wednesday, and when you read through, you can catch the drift of the clientele that defines this chic and art-filled den of conjurers, dramatists, coin-gatherers and ego-respiring hawkers of The Word. Michael McCarty, the proprietor, is one of the original California cuisine chef/ restaurateurs in post-Fifties America. So the quality of his menu is foremost. He’s also a personality who extends his hand to as many guests as possible, greeting them like an ebullient good will ambassador. He’s the CEO around the place. He’s seconded by his equally personable and out-going General Manager Steve Millington. The hospitality is informal, but the place is run impeccably. The waitstaff, the busboys, bartenders and the breakfast and lunch time receptionists, Joanna and Loreal are your friend at the restaurant: pleasant and helpful. Each guest is welcome, and the mission is to accommodate. That’s a big draw, even for the high mucky-mucks who come through those doors." (NYSocialDiary)


"On the west side of Crosby Street in Soho, the new Superga shop—lined floor to just about ceiling with the Italian-made plimsolls in every color of the rainbow, plus a few not glimpsed therein—threw open its doors for the first time. Across the street, the entrance of the Crosby Street Hotel was more tightly guarded. The reason: Superga's creative directors, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, were in the house, celebrating the new shop surrounded by Steve Madden, Superga's distributor in the States, and a slew of friends ... Uptown at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Lauren Bush Lauren was fêting five years of her ground-breaking FEED Projects with a Million Meals concert sponsored by Clarins. "You all came," Lauren said, looking out on the audience, where Jason Wu, Joseph Altuzarra, Donna Karan, and Cynthia Rowley were helping her raise money for over a million school meals for underprivileged children across the globe." (Style)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Birth of The Trumper Movement


It has been widely said that Donald Trump is in fact a short-fingered vulgarian. I would endeavor to attempt to argue in this essay that Donald Trump is, in fact, a long fingered, mischievous form of  macaque intent upon bringing about the destruction of the human race!

I mean how do we really know that Donald Trump is a man and not something feral that thinks it is a man but really isn't? We assume much about Trump's humanity when his behavior speaks to something quite other than the community of man. He boasts of picking up pennies!  And where, pray tell, is Donald Trump's certificate of humanity? I demand The Donald submit to a DNA test so that we can confirm or deny once and for all the proper sequencing of his chromosomes. How can we be sure he is in fact actually not a quadruped that has amazing balance? My arguments:

The hair. This blogger's detractors will argue that in bringing up Donald Trump's unruly mane he is grasping at low-hanging comedic fruit. In fact, you will see as this argument unfolds that it is not this blogger grasping at the easy ... it is Donald Trump grasping at highly situated bananas. If Donald Trump is in fact a maccaque or some other higher ape pretending to be a human, imagine the ambition. It has put its damned, dirty ape name on our skylines; it has polluted our politics at its highest levels!

Human beings quite simply don't have hair that behaves in the manner that Donald Trump's hair behaves with the possible exception of Rudy Giuliani (and this blogger has his lingering doubts about Rudy's citizenship in the family of Man as well). Certain members of the Great Ape family do, but not Man, QED.

Apes throw their own feces. And what is it, pray tell, that Donald Trump does in our commons? Witness: "The big question is: What does John Jr. see in Daryl (Hannah), if anything. I have seen her on many occasions, and she is, quite simply, a 'six' - and badly in need of a shower or a bath." Do human beings talk like this? It comes from the boiling id, clearly. But the boiling id of what animal? I would argue a maccac. If that isn't an instance of tossing feces in public, witness this, regarding Rosie O'Donnell: "Rosie fails at everything. She had a variety show, it failed. I mean, she — I don’t understand now, somebody else, some moron will come and hire her again to do something else and that will fail." Again, this is violence towards a woman, behavior only tolerated in the animal kingdom and in some parts of the former Soviet Empire. Further, it should be noted in passing that an alarming number of Donald Trumps wives belong to countries in the nimbus of the former Soviet Empire. Just saying.

Apes mock charge. And what is it, pray tell, that Donald Trump does when he frequently runs pseudo-Presidential campaigns. The sheer animal spectacle of it all! Kurt Andersen, one of the best contemporary social philosophers of our time said of Trump and his latest "mock charge":

"What will his excuse be if he says 'I've decided not to run' ... The boy can cry wolf only so many times. So, he has done this again and again and again. I mean, sometimes he does it as a kind of left-wing Democrat saying that we have to have universal health care, and George Bush is the worst President in history, what he said a few years ago and now he says it as I love the Tea Party and I don't believe he was born in this country and he's the worst president in history. So it's an amazing spectacle, he is an amazing spectacle, which is why I guess I've been a sort of a student of Donald Trump for I guess these 25 years."


To be a student of Donald Trump is to be a student of the kingdom of the Great Apes. More zoology than sociology, this blogger would argue.

What is to be done? First: join the revolution! Do not let Trump, some form of great ape, bring about the downfall of man. Do not let he and his taxonomic family do this to the Statue of Liberty:



The blogger -- The Corsair -- believes that the #Trumper hashtag should be used for Tweeters that have serious and enduring doubts as to whether or not Donald Trump is actually human. The monkey revolution is in full effect and Donald Trump is their Monkey King. This blog will be the herald that rouses mankind from its slumber. Further, any print or digital publication that wants to interview me in my role as CEO and President of the Trumper movement can contact me via papermag@yahoo.com

I am, until the time as this matter gets resolved,

yours,

Ron Mwangaguhunga
The Corsair
CEO and President, The Trumper Movement
Why Hasn't Gore Vidal Written His Summa?


Eugene Luther Gore Vidal always reminds his readers that his long life has spanned one-third of the life of our common great American Experiment. At the ripe old age of 86, Gore Vidal has outlived all of his enemies, his sometimes allies and his lovers. As a prolific writer and perhaps the best practitioner of the Essay -- that forgotten art -- in the English language, the question arises: Why hasn't he written his summa?


Granted, Vidal's Great Subject -- America -- has been his major concern throughout his entire literary life. America has been, and always will be Gore Vidal's great love. His magnum opus -- his great work -- is his America series. Neoconservatives who like to minimize Gore Vidal as being a crank, a "conspiracy theorist" and, worst of all, a leftist have probably never read his loving, extensive portrayal of America in his astonishingly good historical novels chronicling these United States from the era of Aaron Burr, a relative, to the end of the second world war when, Vidal notes with more than a touch of melancholy, the country of his birth ceased to become a Republic and became an Empire in full. When he writes on America's Fall, he sounds more like Tacitus than Hemingway. It will be interesting to see how Vidal tackles the Mexican War -- imperialistic -- in his upcoming and final historical novel of the series.

So we know Vidal has done a magnum opus, but what would form his summa take? It certainly wouldn't look like Proust's labyrinthine Remembrances, that is for sure. Gore Vidal is a hardened realist, almost more patrician ancient Roman Senator than American writer/ statesman manque. Vidal, a true American pragmatist, has always more concerned with Power and how it is exercised than with the vagaries of nebulous Consciousness; no European, he. Then again, the Founding Fathers always looked more towards the antiquity of Rome than Athens or, for that matter, to London. In this sense, Vidal's hard realism spans time beyond the relative youth of his beloved and not so beloved American Empire.

And so we will be left, when Vidal finally shuffles off the mortal coil, with only the pretentiously titled Palimpsest and the godawful and hastily written Point-to-Point Navigation as reference to what the man made of the man. We will never ever know the juicy affairs he embarked upon beyond Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac; we will never quite know the poignant inner gossip of Old Washington or the relatively new jet set; we will never quite know the intrigues of the Kennedy White House or even the workings of the literary set in the postwar from the acidic perspective of Gore.

What will Gore Vidal's legacy be? He no longer has a literary heir (my former mentor Christopher Hitchens was disinherited). In the end, Gore Vidal will be remembered by his essays and his America series. And while that is probably how Vidal would like to be seen by the cold, clear eyes of History, I worry. In the age of low attention spans and tablet readers, will anyone go in for that type of late 20th century longform? The essay -- not quite a blog post -- is in grave danger. And historical fiction not involving fucking vampires is also in peril. That bodes, at least for now, badly for History's rememberance of Vidal. After all, Gore didn't call America "the united States of Amnesia" for naught. And if in one hundred years Gore Vidal is a literary footnote like his old friends the nearly forgotten Vance Bourjaily and John Dos Passos, that would be a terrible shame. In that case Vidal's legacy in the 22nd century and beyond would be almost entirely determined by the Master's dissertations of precocious American Literature majors. Then the dreaded "hacksd of academe" would have truly won and that would be an American tragedy.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"There are few second acts in political lives. This is a truth Tony Blair appears to be discovering the hard way. The former British prime minister, now most famous for being the most eloquent salesman for the American-led war against Saddam Hussein, has kept a low profile since he left Downing Street five years ago. Even his work as the Quartet’s representative to the Middle East has attracted little attention. Now, however, the word on the London Street is that Blair wants to 're-engage' with British politics. This week, he testified before the Leveson Inquiry investigating the links -- complicated and often humiliating -- between the British media and political elites, a many-tentacled monster spawned by the News of the World scandal. It was a classic Blair performance: plausible and impressive, yet shameless too. No, he insisted, despite being godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children, Blair was never that close to the English-speaking world's most powerful media mogul. They only developed a more than "working" relationship after Blair left office. Believe that if you will. And if you do, perhaps you still believe that Iraq had mobile chemical weapons labs? Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Blair has been meeting with the new Labour leader Ed Miliband and hosting small gatherings of freshmen Labour MPs at which he offers tactical and strategic advice on how best the party can take advantage of David Cameron's weaknesses. Despite his years away from the fray, few doubt Blair’s instinctive ability to understand Middle England, but even so his return prompts an awkward question: What is Tony Blair for? " (ForeignPolicy)


"Democrats are grappling with how to approach another standoff with Republicans over raising the debt limit after abandoning demands for a “clean” increase last time around. In talks last year, Democrats campaigned vigorously for a debt-ceiling increase that was not paired with spending cuts or deficit reduction, only to drop the demand when the deadline for default approached in early August. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who spearheaded the push for a clean increase, acknowledged the 2011 agreement has forced Democrats into a corner. “We made a grave mistake,” said Welch, who voted against the debt-ceiling deal. “You pass that Rubicon, and you are essentially allowing one side to hold hostage America’s reputation for paying its bills.” Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), have laid out clear conditions for the next debt-limit vote: Any increase needs to be paired with a greater amount of spending cuts or reforms. Boehner’s unequivocal demand has created a dilemma for Democrats, who must decide whether to renew their call for a clean boost, or instead demand that the debt increase be paired with a “balanced” deficit-reduction deal that combines spending cuts and higher revenues. In the meantime, they are blasting Republicans for tying the debt limit to fiscal reforms, noting that the last debt fight rattled markets and contributed to the first-ever credit downgrade of the United States." (TheHill)


"Nicolas Sarkozy’s brother Olivier Sarkozy has moved on from Stella Schnabel and is now dating Mary-Kate Olsen. Sources say the former French president’s 42-year-old younger half-brother, who’s managing director of the Carlyle Group, has been seeing 25-year-old Olsen for about a month, and they’re 'head over heels' for one another. The couple was spotted in the Hamptons over Memorial Day weekend. Olsen dated artist Nate Lowman for two years until splitting in 2010. Divorced Olivier dated Schnabel for more than a year before they parted in March. Neither Sarkozy nor a rep for Olsen responded to us." (PageSix)


"As the (Cannes) film festival closes, we look back on one of our favorite moments: Alec Baldwin’s pre-elopement declaration to fiancé Hilaria Thomas, whom he plans to whisk away once he’s finished screaming at Harvey Weinstein. The anger-management sessions seem to be working, though: it only took one day for the notoriously hot-headed actor and the even more bearish producer to kiss and make up via handwritten letters of apology. Unfortunately, British Airways forgot to leave a note for Kim Kardashian when they rifled through her bags during a trip to the French coast the reality star was taking with boyfriend Kanye West. According to Ms. Kardashian, items of 'sentimental value' were stolen from her suitcase. We can’t even imagine what the purloined pieces might be, but we’re guessing that at least one of them might be a plaster of paris replica of Ray J—or certain parts of him, anyway. The man who put Ms. Kardashian on the map with a dirty video that went viral only recently recovered, after a perilous hospital stay, from an almost-fatal blood clot. But if we wanted to talk about Sex Lies and Videotape, we would have gone to see Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ controversial Post Tenebras Lux, which was greeted by boos from an outraged audience. Apparently no one wants to watch a movie involving animal torture, orgies and demon genitalia these days." (Observer)



"Mickey Boardman does have quite the fan base, for this sparkly Citta fund raiser there was in attendence an English Dandy (dressed down a bit), a very very influential N.Y. Times Editor, A Superstar, A Wildfire NY Reality Housewife (you know the pretty one), and quite possibly one of the wealthiest DJ’S Well, Just Ever. Above: Mickey Boardman, Sally Singer, Jennifer Sample. " (NYClubbing)


"A Hamptons weekend party for Jason Binn, James Cohen and Gilt Groupe’s soon-to-launch Du Jour magazine nearly went up in smoke. Binn and Cohen entertained A-listers at the Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club and were giving guests — including Bobby Flay, Beth Stern, Nigel Barker and Dan Abrams — sneak peeks at galleys of the magazine. But a few of the pages got loose in a breeze and headed straight into a beachside bonfire. Luckily, Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan saved the day by jumping into action, snatching the pages from the pyre. (A spy said that nearby Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert seemed less concerned about the potential loss when he learned that none of the pages were from the magazine’s culinary section.) Also at the beach bash were Mickey Drexler, Rosanna Scotto, James Lipton, Charlie Walk and Dr. Howard Sobel. The new luxury magazine’s scheduled to launch in September." (PageSix)


"Last night the Frick Collection hosted a preview reception for an exhibition which opens today and runs through August 19th: Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court. The Frick, one of the most precious jewels of the city, is lavishly glorious in its understatement of its treasures. As museums go in this faster-and-faster culture of ours, the Frick confidently retains its steady and substantial place as a Collection, rather than a museum per se – although it is every bit that too. This new exhibition of the works of Johann Christian Neuber, includes some extraordinary porcelain from Meissen, and is a perfect example of the Collection’s charter which began with the Founder/Creator and his daughter Helen Clay Frick ... The center of this intriguing exhibition is the Breteuil Table. This is the artist’s masterpiece. It is regarded as one of the most extraordinary pieces of 18th century ormolu furniture ever made – distinguished not only by the materials used and the remarkable skill of its creator, but also for its prestigious history. It was created especially from the Baron de Breteuil in 1781, presented as a gift by Friedrich Augustus III as recognition for the role the baron played in the negotiating the end of a war (of Bavarian Succession) fought between the Hapsburg monarchy (Austria) and the Saxon-Prussia alliance. All of which means nothing to us today, but back then it was about Austria grabbing Prussia (now part of Germany) for itself. The baron’s name is familiar to Francophiles and historians as he was Prime Minister to Louis XVI on July 14, 1789 and the fall of the Bastille." (NYSocialDiary)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The Egyptian presidential election was held last week. No candidate received 50 percent of the vote, so a runoff will be held between the two leading candidates, Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq.Morsi represented the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and received 25.3 percent of the vote, while Shafiq, a former Egyptian air force commander and the last prime minister to serve in Hosni Mubarak's administration, received 24.9 percent. There were, of course, charges of irregularities, but in general the results made sense. The Islamist faction had done extremely well in the parliamentary election, and fear of an Islamist president caused the substantial Coptic community, among others, to support the candidate of the old regime, which had provided them at least some security.Morsi and Shafiq effectively tied in the first round, and either can win the next round. Morsi's strength is that he has the support of both the Islamist elements and those who fear a Shafiq presidency and possible return to the old regime. Shafiq's strength is that he speaks for those who fear an Islamist regime. The question is who will win the non-Islamist secularists' support. They oppose both factions, but they are now going to have to live with a president from one of them. If their secularism is stronger than their hatred of the former regime, they will go with Shafiq. If not, they will go with Morsi." (STRATFOR)


"A new Associated Press report reveals that a C.E.O. of “a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011.” C.E.O.’s of atypical public companies made either more or less, depending on whether the word “atypical” is being used in a passive-aggressive way (“Huh! What an . . . atypical haircut!”) or in a superlative way (“Oh God. No, don’t worry! Your hair grows atypically quick!”). In addition, company heads are receiving more stock options and fewer cash bonuses.According to the A.P., the $9.6 million number is “up more than 6 percent from the previous year, and is the second year in a row of increases. The figure is also the highest since the A.P. began tracking executive compensation in 2006.'" (VanityFair)


"With Mitt Romney and Donald Trump scheduled to appear together at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas today, the GOP candidate has opted not to ask the reality-TV billionaire to cut it out with the relentless birther stuff. "You know I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney told reporters yesterday. "But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.' The Obama campaign, however, isn't going to let a blissfully ignorant shrug be the end of it.In a new video titled "Two Republican Nominees," the Obama team declares: "As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party." McCain is seen correcting a woman who calls Obama "an Arab," telling her, "No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with." The video then asks, "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" before a barrage of clips that show Trump acting like a clown." (NYMag)


"On Sunday night, I dined out with JH and his wife Danielle Rossi Hirsch at one of her favorite East Side restaurants – Sette Mezzo, Lexington between 70th and 71st. No objection there. JH had his camera handy. Delicious ... I’ve had pets all my life. There was a dog around the house when I came into the world, a beautiful, loving mutt named Brownie. And there have been many cats too. (I took five cats with me -- and a dog, Rex -- when I moved to California back in the late 70s). I see now in retrospect that I am more thoughtful about my animal friends than I was when I was younger and often took their ability to adjust for granted. I am also more patient with myself too, which might have something to do with my attitude about my furry residents. Or it could be that their presence has taught me, conditioned me, to enjoy the patience and pleasure they surround us with ... They were celebrating that this weekend out East at the Animal Rescue Fund’s (ARF) preview cocktail party at the ARF Thirft and Treasure Shop at 17 Montauk Highway in Sagaponack. The shop was transformed into 11 rooms of Designer Showhouse, the work of some of the most talented interior designers in New York including Nancy Corzine, Gary Crain and James Alan Smith, Gigi Mahon, Jeff Pfeifle, Scott Salvator, Jeffery Howard Brodersen, Rob Southern, Tony Urrutia. " (NYSocialDiary)


"Kim Cattrall, best known for her role as sex-crazed Samantha on 'Sex and the City,' is dating wealthy artist Clifford Ross, sources tell Page Six. Ross is a visual artist whose landscape and wave photos are housed in several New York museums including the Metropolitan, the Whitney and the Guggenheim. Ross, 60, and Cattrall, 55, made a public outing earlier this month at the Frieze Art Fair and turned up together at last week’s Party in the Garden at MoMA. Ross is currently divorcing his wife, Betsy Finkle Ross. He is the son of the late Arthur Ross, an investment banker and philanthropist who donated heavily to the arts and is the namesake of the Arthur Ross Pinetum in Central Park. Ross, who is described as “extraordinarily wealthy,” grew up on East 72nd Street, and had a weekend house next door to Steven Spielberg on Georgica Pond. Friends say he is also 'very low-key,'and 'private.' 'He has no agenda with Kim, he’s not the type to date a celebrity; he likes her,'
 says one source." (PageSix)


"Glamour senior online fashion and beauty editor Danica Lo has been named executive editor of Stylebistro.com.Starting June 1, she will oversee daily operations of Stylebistro.com, a style blog from the same parent company as celebrity photo cache Zimbio.com. And it sounds like they’re expanding. According to a press release, Ms. Lo’s duties include 'building a Manhattan-based team of editors, honing the site’s voice and scope of coverage, creating new features, columns, and sections as well as representing the site on broadcast and special events.'" (Observer)



"Calvin Klein's event in Seoul, South Korea, last night was all about making connections—digital and analog. For realization of the concept, the destination had to be special. And, yes, the rooftop party zone above Seoul Station did surprise, kitted out as it was with a long gray carpet, bars, lounges, and media galleries, as well as a terrace overlooking a 23-story building across the street. Projected onto the structure's facade was an installation by New York-based digital artist Rafaël Rozendaal, MuchBetterThanThis.Com, featuring multicolored silhouettes of people kissing.Adding to the evening's glamour quotient were Kate Bosworth and Chloë Moretz, making rare appearances in Korea." (Style)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Posting will resume tomorrow


Sorry about the sporadic posting the past 2 weeks. Ramping up regularly starting tomorrow

R

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




"Nothing inspires Democrats like the Barack Obama swagger — the supreme self-confidence on stage, the self-certainty in private.So nothing inspires more angst than when that same Obama stumbles, as he has leaving the gate in 2012. That’s the unmistakable reality for Democrats since Obama officially launched his re-election campaign three weeks ago. Obama, not Mitt Romney, is the one with the muddled message — and the one who often comes across as baldly political. Obama, not Romney, is the one facing blowback from his own party on the central issue of the campaign so far – Romney’s history with Bain Capital. And most remarkably, Obama, not Romney, is the one falling behind in fundraising." (Politico)











""On a Monday, May 21, The Frick Collection welcomed a large number of high-level members to its annual "thank you" black-tie event, the Spring Party. The nearly 250 supporters in attendance were able to enjoy the Frick lit for evening on perhaps its most elegant night of the year. A jazz quartet greeted folks just inside the door, keeping the Reception Hall livelier than ever ... and the galleries were open, including the new Portico Gallery, which looks out on the Fifth Avenue Garden (one conspicuous, central room was not: the Oval Gallery, where as we speak, the curators are installing the next decorative arts show Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court.) A critical mass of dancers found one of the most loved swing bands in NYC holding court in the Music Room (George Gee's "Jump Jivin' Wailers") ... and it was amazing to watch a wide swath of guests respond to 1930's Benny Goodman hit "Sing, Sing, Sing" (which is pretty energetic, I must say) as much as to Lady Gaga and the hits of today, all of which were part of the mix."

"My moment of glory came and went in a jiffy. It was actually a whole afternoon of filming onboard without a single retake, temper tantrum, or even the planned fight between Alec Baldwin and yours truly. The name of the movie is Seduced & Abandoned, and it has nothing to do with the Italian golden oldie of long ago. It is an original nonfiction story—the great Greek thespian Taki plays himself—of seeking funds for a movie among the Cannes Film Festival’s labyrinthine circus. Alec and James Toback also play themselves, as does producer Michael Mailer. I had prepped for a totally different scenario where Alec and I would fight for real on the deck and both crash into the sea. This is what Michael had led me to believe. The morning of the shoot before the crew came onboard Bushido, I did my stretching and some shadow-boxing for at least ten minutes to be ready. Sir Roger Moore sent an email imploring me to fake the fight, as real brawls look phony and vice versa, “and reapplying the makeup after every dive into the sea will take up most of the day. Once the cameras were installed and Alec, Jimmy, Michael, and I sat down to lunch on deck, I finally began to relax. The wine flowed and I began jabbering away as I have a tendency to do, and the cameras rolled and rolled. I do not know how much of Taki will end up on the cutting-room floor. Alec Baldwin turned out to be as nice and polite a person as he’s handsome and well-read. He’s the exact opposite of that disgusting lowlife Brett Ratner, a so-called director whose manners are as ugly as he is, and he’s very, very ugly." (Taki)


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Night's Party: Next American City


Last night this blogger ventured downtown to the Puck building where Next American City celebrated Forefront, a series of longform journalism on urban politics, along with NYU's Wagner school. The subject on the minds of many was the fate of serious longform journalism and whether or not it can be profitable. The answer, in the form of Forefront, is yes. It's subject is that most fundamental political unit: the city. Cities, everywhere -- from Charter Cities in Honduras (by a former Mediabistro colleague, Greg Lindsay) to Berlin -- are centers of dynamic innovation. And, it seems, so is Next American City.
Spotted among the crowd: Hannah Miet, often of The New York Times, David Barish of EastVillageLive, Next American City Executive Editor Diana Lind, Anthony Smyrski, andAriella Cohen.

for your carnivorous consideration via mlandherfriends



Afterwards headed down to Camper's House of Shoes party on Prince street in Soho, where the prosciutto -- aged 15 months -- was sliced razor thin right in front of guests, and the beer flowed well into the night. The party continued until they got down to the hambone. Spotted in the crowd: the ubiquitous Lori Cheek, founder of Cheekd, ML, Gregg Moss, Nadine Johnson and Guestofaguest's Marielle Sales.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Amr Moussa stood on a rickety stage, battling the summer heat and feedback from a defective microphone, promising the Egyptian people the world. 'We're making a Second Republic, a renaissance for Egypt,' he told the audience of several hundred. 'It is the time to rebuild the country, to fight poverty and unemployment, which has resulted from mismanagement.' He went on in that vein, ticking off the boxes of socioeconomic development: health care, education, wages. Children played with posters featuring the visage of the former Egyptian foreign minister and Arab League secretary-general and a simple message: 'Create jobs.' It was the spectacle, not the speech, that counted. Moussa's campaign bus had been joined by a convoy of honking cars as it entered the town; a makeshift band played on the back of one pickup truck. Moussa's first stop was to the town's mosques, where he prayed briefly among the crush of locals trying to get close to him. Outside one mosque, the crowd thronged around the door in anticipation of his exit, cheering expectantly. A man from the town exited before Moussa and waved to the masses. 'Thank you, thank you,' he joked. 'Yes, I am the prime minister' ... But what does Moussa's success say about the state of Egypt's politics? The word "revolution" has been thrown about for the past 16 months to describe the upheaval in the country; a victory by the 75-year-old veteran of internecine battles within Hosni Mubarak's regime and the old Arab order suggests something closer to a course correction. Moussa, for better or worse, is not the culmination of anything approaching a revolution.Many Egyptians recognize this, and resent it. Dissenters trail the crowds of cheering supporters at Moussa's every campaign stop. His earnest speech in Beni Suef was interrupted when a youth of no more than 20 burst into the tent to denounce him as felool -- a derogatory term for 'remnants' of the old regime" (ForeignPolicy)


"It’s not exactly news: there’s a swath of the nation that can’t stand Barack Obama. Voters there didn’t like him in 2008 and on Tuesday their disdain for the president resurfaced in Democratic primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky, where Obama won with less than 60 percent of the vote – an anemic performance for an incumbent. The region in question is the Upland or Upper South: its borders range roughly from eastern Oklahoma to western North Carolina and northward to include Appalachia. It’s similar in many ways to the Deep South but still culturally, politically and economically distinct. The heart of the Obama resistance is located in the coal country of Kentucky and West Virginia, places that first signaled their opposition to Obama in 2008 when they voted for Hillary Clinton in overwhelming numbers. Then, in the November general election, John McCain carried both states easily while getting shellacked elswehere. Since no one expects those Kentucky or West Virginia – or Arkansas, Oklahoma or Tennessee, for that matter – to be competitive in the general election, Obama’s weak showing in the region is little more than a curiosity. The worst is behind him: all the states in the president's region of doom have now held their primaries and the remaining states that will vote over the next month will likely restore his luster." (Politico)

"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with a friend. They were busy. In the bay behind our table were several Very Busy Ladies Who Lunch together about once a month; pals: literary agent Esther Newberg, Linda Fairstein, Faye Wattleton Lynn Scher, Kimba Wood, Jurate Kazickas, Lesley Stahl, Ellen Futter (I’m not sure she was present yesterday). I have no idea what they talk about but it would be interesting considering that these are some of the most dynamic/can-do/get-things done women in New York. Every one of these women has a major career as well as full lives of extra- activity both social and cultural, and philanthropic. At the table next to them was Bryant Gumbel with the Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, and next to those guys: Donny Deutsch and producer Jonathan Wald. Nearby, Harry Benson was lunching with David Friend of VF; Charles Grodin with Gil Schwartz." (NYSocialDiary)


"Monday morning’s big fall in Facebook’s stock hardly came as a shocker. It was clear on Friday that, at the offering price of $38 a share, there were more sellers than buyers. The only reason the stock held up was that Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter on the initial public offering, stepped in and supported it. At the opening of trading this morning, the stock fell $5, to $33, before rebounding a bit. (At 2:30 P.M., it was at $34.75.) That’s bad news for investors who thought their luck was in when they were allocated some Facebook stock. It’s also worrying news for I.P.O.s and the capital markets in general. In fact, a strong argument can be made that Facebook’s shaky start as a public company demonstrates that the entire I.P.O. process, which is supposed to spread the rewards to innovation, is broken. By the time Facebook’s stock started trading on the public market, insiders—the company’s founders, employees, and venture-capitalist backers—had bagged most, if not all, of the company’s value for themselves. That’s fair enough, you may say. Mark Zuckerberg and some Harvard pals created the company. It was Facebook’s professional managers, such as Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, and David Ebersman, the chief financial officer, who turned it into a real business. And it was some savvy venture capitalists, such as Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, and David Sze of Greylock Partners, who first spotted its potential. Surely, these are the folks who should be rewarded. (Bono’s investment, which my colleague Virginia Cannon wrote about, also falls into the reasonably early category. In April, 2010, Elevation Partners, a venture-capital firm in which Bono is a partner, paid ninety million dollars for one per cent of Facebook.)Up to a point, I would agree with you. But the I.P.O. system only works if it preserves a balance between public and private investors. If this balance is upended, and virtually all of the rewards are reserved for insiders, ordinary investors will refuse to play the game." (New Yorker)
"To be a true rock star, in the most Almost Famous meaning of the term, you need to do three things: 1) Rock and roll all night, 2) Par-tay ev-er-y day, and 3) Have a ridiculous sex life. You think Megadeth became a huge band because of their musical ability? Ha. It’s because the ladies told true stories about how Dave Mustaine is a 'considerate lover.' How do I know this? It’s not because my mom told me. Rather, I read about it on Groupie Dirt, a website last updated in the early 2000s that chronicled the sex lives of famous musicians, as told by the people who'd know best: groupies. And your mom told me. Here are my 10 favorite 'stories.' You'll never think of Billie Joe Armstrong in the same way again." (Uproxx)
"Washington’s old-line diplomatic community once delighted in telling tales about one Arnaud de Borchgrave, a cool-named foreign correspondent who worked 30 years for Newsweek in the heart of the Cold War. There was the one about how de Borchgrave kept 14 military uniforms hanging in a Geneva closet, according to a 1980 Washington Post report. And the one about how he called Al Haig on his direct line to ask about a high-risk rescue operation. Or how he ducked in and out of 18 wars during his career. The latest story about de Borchgrave, who went on to become the top editor of The Washington Times and still writes a column for the paper at age 85, will not add to his legend. The Times announced late Monday that it would undertake an 'internal assessment of Mr. de Borchgrave’s columns,' after allegations that he repeatedly lifted passages from reports previously published on the Internet. The questions relate to de Borchgrave’s writing in his capacity as a columnist for the Washington Times and United Press International and as a program director for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Times also said de Borchgrave would be taking a three-month hiatus from his column to work on his memoirs." (WashPo)


"Paul Allen’s Cannes bash is being talked about as one of the most rocking Film Festival parties this year. Guests, including Antonio Banderas and Jeremy Irons, danced until the early hours to the Microsoft co-founder’s band (in which he plays guitar) at Monday’s party. One guest told us, 'Paul has a new band, and they are actually really very good — people were dancing until 4 a.m.' Also there were Cyndi Lauper, Ray Liotta, Tom Freston and Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. All braved bad weather to get onboard Allen’s 303-foot yacht Tatoosh, which was moved to a new mooring for the bash because of heavy swells and 'to stabilize the boat.' The party-goer added, “Paul told the crowd, ‘I have got a funny song for you,’ then launched into ‘Purple Rain,’ poking fun at the bad weather.” Over at the Chopard bash, also on Monday, Sean “Diddy” Combs was walking around with a camera crew filming a documentary for his new network." (PageSix)

"Holy cow. The most rapturous audience reception at the Cannes Film Festival has gone to "Holy Motors," a disorienting, whirling dream of a movie by French director Leos Carax. Starring Denis Lavant as a man who adopts a dozen wildly different personas during the course of a long Paris day, the film includes surrealist scenes, tender moments, a song by pop star Kylie Minogue and the unexpected appearance of bonobo monkeys." (SeattlePi)