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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"The death of Gore Vidal in July of 2012 removed a steady mentor from my life—though, as with so many people who live long lives, afflictions other than death effectively removed my half-brother from me several years earlier. Gore and I shared the same mother, Nina Gore (Vidal Auchincloss Olds). She married my father, Hugh Auchincloss Jr., after having Gore with her first husband, Eugene Luther Vidal. I have no memory of ever seeing my mother and father together—they were divorced after five years of marriage—but my first memory of Gore was in my father’s house, Merrywood, at the top of the second-story stairs. I must have been three or four years old. He was in his bedroom, molding a huge clay head of our mutual maternal grandfather, Thomas Pryor Gore, a Democrat and one of the first two U.S. senators from Oklahoma. The next time I remember Gore was in the late 1940s. He had come to Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., to visit our maternal grandmother, “Tot,” Nina Kay Gore. He was unshaven, in a three‐piece suit, sitting in the middle of Tot’s couch close to a clean‐shaven younger man. It was Howard Austen, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. After our mother and my father’s divorce, both Gore and I left Merrywood; I went to live with our mother, and Gore, after graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, joined the army. During the autumn after my 1957 marriage to Newton Steers, I wrote Gore: “I’m pregnant.” By then I was 20 years old. The baby was to be the first of three sons: Ivan, Hugh, and Burr. Gore at the time was under contract with MGM and was said to be one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood. As such, he was frequently out of the country—mostly in Europe—working on scripts on location. Gore responded to me from London on blue Claridge’s stationery, playing the role of avuncular Gore, rather than English professor Gore. He started by declaiming on subjects not normally associated with his work: marriage, working motherhood (with or without a man), pregnancy, and advice on how to live a fulfilling life." (VanityFair)

"Last night at five o’clock, I went up to El Museo del Barrio on Fifth Avenue and 105th Street to see the debut of Karen LeFrak’s new ballet composition 'Bark! In the Park' performed by members of the New York Ballet Theatre. I wrote about the 'preview' I saw a couple of weeks ago at Susan Frank’s apartment on afternoon ...  left right after the performance but got a couple of shots of the room where the kids were joining their parents for the “buffet dinner” (so that everyone could be home and getting ready for bed by 8:30). I went down to Verdura where Ward and Nico Landrigan were hosting a cocktail reception for Michael Feinstein (for whom they also imported a beautiful Steinway grand)." (NYSocialDiary)

"It was fun! Of course it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in a pink bungalow. A legend hews to tradition. But what I was not prepared for was how nice Clive (Davis) was. I've written some awful stuff about him in the past. That's why he wanted to get together. To give me his perspective. Now let me define 'awful.' I didn't use expletives, and I said nothing I wouldn't stand by today, but it's tough to be on the receiving end of criticism. I know, they're beating me up on Twitter as I write this! So I was somewhat trepidatious. These honchos can get on their high horse and dominate. But that's not what Clive did. First and foremost, he was wearing sneakers. Running shoes, to be specific. Not that there was any brand in evidence. Maybe they're custom. But these endeared me to him more than anything else, because they normalized him, they illustrated that it wasn't all about image, that comfort, reality, took precedence. And the first thing I told Clive was that he had to be on Howard Stern. You see on the way down the hill I heard Jewel perform a song Howard wrote when he was in the sixth grade. Because that's what we did back then. We wrote, we played, we wanted to be a rock star. Not what's called a rock star today. Someone who's rich, someone who plays the game, someone who's separate from his audience, but an artist, who speaks his truth to his audience and listens to and takes guidance from no one. That's the way it was. These musicians practiced for years. There were no short cuts to stardom. Sure, there were some teenybopper acts, but we didn't take them seriously, unlike the way the industry and the media fawn over today's TV stars, made famous overnight by 'Idol, ' 'The Voice"' and 'X Factor.' A rock star of yore literally rose from the streets, there was almost never an overnight success. And your audience never made fun of you, they loved you, they were thrilled by you, you were the reason they kept on living. And 'marketing' was a term unknown to the hoi polloi. You either could play or you couldn't. No one's tweeting and Facebooking eclipsed their tunes. And there was a strict dividing line, between those who were signed and those who were not. Professionals and amateurs. Now we're all in it together and chaos reigns. I told Clive I got it. He had to make money for the company. He didn't have the luxury of signing only cutting edge acts. He wanted to impress this upon me. He walked me slowly from Columbia to today, all his choices, all his victories. And I'd be dishonest if I didn't say it was somewhat akin to Steve Jobs's legendary reality distortion field. It would be hard to exit the bungalow without believing Clive Davis truly was Mr. Music, that he was the preeminent leader, a beacon pointing the way. But I still don't like Ace Of Base. But that's not a criticism of Clive. He understands commerciality." (Bob Lefsetz)

"'We don't really like boring art shows,' says Superchief Magazine's 23-year-old co-editor William Dunleavy. He's explaining the ambition behind the 65-piece group show that inaugurated Superchief's year-long residency at Lower East Side bar/gallery Culturefix, where Dunleavy and his editorial and curatorial partner, Ed Zipco, 37, have resolved to host a new exhibition every week. He's also getting at the youthful energy behind their regular performances and parties (so many kids packed into their opening party last month that they reprised it, impromptu, three nights later) and the curatorial vision behind Superchief's shows. 'We've been cultivating this art community amongst our friends for years,' says Dunleavy, 'so we kind of feel like we know everybody who's on our aesthetic.' That aesthetic derives from the Bushwick punk scene and the international anarchist movement -- 'You should just seize all the assets of public life and make something better, I guess' is how Dunleavy describes his philosophy -- and draws on tattoo art, DIY show flyers, underground comics and graffiti. From Zoo Lion's pornographic collages (link very NSFW) to Metro Zu's Day-Glo doodles, the work is occasionally grotesque, undeniably puerile and far removed from the froideur of so many new L.E.S. galleries. The Superchief Gallery owes some of its distinctiveness to its setting, which isn't simply a gallery but a licensed bar. The business model -- based around selling drinks, not paintings -- allows for more stability than in Superchief's previous location in Williamsburg, which operated from May to December 2012 despite a skeptical landlord and inimical neighbors." (Papermag)

"In the 31st-floor offices of SWW Creative, the walls are beige, the carpet is gray and the cabinets are standard-issue wood-grain. There’s no Eames armchair, no runway stills splashed across the walls, not even a lucite coffee table with a copy of Grace Coddington’s memoir. There’s not a flower in sight. While fashion professionals are known to obsess over the color of their pens, SWW Creative’s offices are about as splashy as an insurance agency’s. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is not concerned.
Ms. Wolkoff, who orchestrated Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s Lincoln Center expansion, isn’t in it for Smythson notebooks or a pair of Céline fur sandals. She is an executor first and a fashionist somewhere further down the line, finding more satisfaction in a spreadsheet than an Avedon. Though she’s a front-row fixture and a special-occasion catwalker, she doesn’t scour the runways for her own closet. Instead, Ms. Wolkoff, who stands a statuesque 6-foot-1, prefers the simplicity of a uniform—Ralph Lauren is her everyday." (Observer)

"The controversial John Galliano may be returning from fashion banishment with a bigger flourish than anyone could have guessed. Sources are buzzing that style king Oscar de la Renta may anoint the disgraced designer as his sartorial successor. Galliano, who recently completed a stint in rehab following a drunken anti-Semitic rant, was spotted smiling as he worked from De la Renta’s atelier in the days leading up to Fashion Week. The affection sounds mutual. 'We love having John here in the design studio,' a De la Renta rep told Threads. “He is full of ideas, energetic and a pleasure to work with." But insiders say the 'audition' (officially confirmed as a three-week stint but possibly stretching longer) was orchestrated by the woman-behind-the-curtain herself, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. 'This is totally an Anna-mandated thing — everyone thinks it’s puzzling,' a source told Threads. 'Anna really wants to get John back on the horse.' While the industry buzzed that Jason Wu will take over De la Renta’s line, sources told us that the designer’s CEO and son-in-law, Alex Bolen, has been speaking of Galliano as a potential heir to the brand, and that the collaboration is a test to see if the fashion public will accept him back into the fray." (Alexa)

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