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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"At an art shindig on Park Avenue, I spotted Baz Luhrmann, the director of the latest and very noisy version of The Great Gatsby. I found him a charming man before I was shocked—shocked √† la Captain Renault—to hear the dwarfish mayor of the (NYC) suggest an honorary American citizenship for that Russian son-of-a-bitch Roman Abramovich. Too bad I didn’t have my American passport with me, because I would have thrown it at him and told him to keep it. I can understand why some broken-down English toffs need to kiss Abramovich’s behind because they mistakenly think it beats working, but the grotesque Bloomberg is a billionaire many times over and needs not genuflect in front of a former plastic-duck salesman who belongs behind bars. The ex-duck salesman parked his monstrous floating brothel downtown and came to Park Avenue with his floozy la Zhukova, both posing as art connoisseurs. If any of you reading this feel like puking, go ahead—I’m amazed that I didn’t, and I actually was close enough to touch them. Yuck!  Then I thought of poor old Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote Gatsby, sold only 24,000 copies, died very much in debt, and now his masterpiece sells 500,000 paperbacks every year, the novel has been turned into a movie five times, and the latest version cost $105 million. How’s that for irony? I’d say worse than Bloomberg and the duck salesman posing as gentlemen. The actor playing Nick Carraway, Tobey Maguire—who’s as tall as Bloomberg at 5 foot 8 inches—was asked whether he had loved the book and answered, 'But I read the script, of course.' No Fitzgerald expert he. The movie is exactly what I had predicted a couple of months ago: Pearls, cloche hats, dropped waists, and lots of fireworks. It’s a tumultuous work that has about as much style as the fictional Gatsby parties." (Taki Theodoracopulos)


"If you were a veteran columnist for a well-known weekly paper, and increasingly the only reason people picked up a copy of that paper, and that paper laid you off after 25 years, you might be tempted to say some negative things about that paper. But Michael Musto refrained from doing so in his Facebook farewell to the Village Voice, which unceremoniously canned him this week. In fact, the only mention he makes of the publication by name is a glowing one ... If Musto has his next move lined up, he hasn't made it public, but he told Gawker on Friday that 'so many people have come out to offer their love (and opportunities).' Given the enduring affection readers and his fellow media types have for the guy, we're sure he'll land on his feet." (NYMag)


"Nancy Pelosi is beaming as she bustles into the House of Representatives dining room on Capitol Hill, which combines the busyness of a staff cafeteria with the grace of a late 19th-century reception room. A large painting of George Washington on the battlefield hangs on the wall, gazing across a full room of congressmen and women and their advisers and guests. The smile might seem odd, as she has come straight from the House floor, where the Democrats have lost another vote. It is a predictable enough event in the Republican-dominated chamber but Pelosi marks down the vote on the country’s labour standards board as a victory by a different standard. 'We didn’t lose a single Democrat. That was very big for us,' she says, taking pride that not one member of her party had voted with the Republicans. In Congress, if a measure is certain to be defeated, leaders sometimes give members leeway to break the party line so that they can vote in a way that helps them in their districts. This is not a practice that sits well with Pelosi. 'Desertion?' she says. 'Would ‘desertion’ be the word?' With Congress in session, often sitting from morning until late at night, she has little leeway in her choice of venue for lunch, a short walk down a flight of stairs from her office." (FT)


"The social calendar is still in high gear. This past Wednesday night was another busy one. Over at 583 Park Avenue GenerationON was honoring Chelsea Clinton with their Humanitarian Award. I did get to that one. There were almost 400 guests and they raised more than $720,000 for their very good cause inspiring children to give service to other children and their communities. A week ago Wednesday, New York lost one of the last of its great characters of the Beat Generation and Warhol Factory stars, Taylor Mead, who died in Denver at 88. Mead was a member of the Warhol Underground – which is the way it seemed in its earliest days. What seemed far out and even weird back then is so mainstream nowadays that it hardly seems relevant to mention. There was no SoHo, no East Village, no Tribeca, no Chelsea and the artists-then-sleek-downtown culture. However, at the time, this group, these people – the poets, the actors, the painters, the characters – were at the center of the bursting art and media scene in the early 1960s in New York. They were pre-hippie yet certainly reflected in the hippie movement. Mead turned out to be one of the very last of them. He lived his last days as an indigent downtown resident, a habitu√© of the local bars where they’d fill his glass(es) on the house and appreciate or at least respect his then ancient poet’s point of view. He was born into a well-do-family in Grosse Pointe, and came to New York as a very young man to pursue a career as an actor, and to pursue life as he felt like it as have so many millions of Americans who made the city what it is. Leaving Grosse Pointe, he shed himself of all touchstones of bourgeois respectability, and apparently enjoyed every minute of it. He was never famous in the American media sense but he was certainly famous to generations of students and fans of the Beats and the Warhol Factory, as well as the poets and artists of the city." (NYSocialDiary)


"The New York Times Book Review is modernizing under the editorship of Pamela Paul, who was appointed to the positon in early April. The section announced three changes in a new column in this Sunday’s issue (it was posted online today). Starting this weekend, the e-book bestseller list, which first joined the printed list in early 2011, will be online only. Additionally, book prices will no longer be included for any books. 'The e-book list has migrated online, the digital world being its natural habitat,' the Times announced. 'Given the fluid variety of pricing in today’s marketplace, we have also stopped including cover prices on the lists. The third change is the one you’re reading right now.' The third change is a more bloggy look." (NYTimes)


"Jo Wood, the second ex-wife of Rolling Stones’ rocker Ronnie Wood, claims in her new memoir that she and the musician once 'smuggled smack' into the Bahamas back in 1978. In an early excerpt from her tell-all, 'It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll: 30 Years Married To A Rolling Stone' published by RadarOnline, the former model claimed that an alleged 'sharp suited' dealer named Victor had them sneak cigarettes laced with heroin during their vacation to Nassau. She wrote that while Victor was on their flight to the island nation, he was 'acting like a mad man as he was smoking ‘dirty cigarettes’ or DCs – little roll-ups containing smack – which he was intending to take in to the Bahamas.' Jo claimed that Ronnie snuck into the plane’s bathroom, allegedly to indulge as well. 'I didn’t touch them, as they had the most revolting smell — if I think about it even now I gag — but Ronnie went into the bathroom for a sneaky puff.' She recalled, 'Shortly after he stumbled back to his seat, a flight attendant came over and crouched next to me [and said], ‘Excuse me, but I think your friend has left this in the toilet.’' 'Oh god, I’m sorry,' he said. 'Thank you ever so much. I’ll get rid of them.”
Jo wrote, “She smiled warmly. ‘Not to worry. Would you like another drink?’' As the flight descended, Jo wrote that Victor then 'dumped the bag of drugs' in her lap. 'As he was a drugs trafficker, I assumed that Victor would already have a plan in place to smuggle his stash through Customs, but as we started our descent he suddenly dumped the bag in my lap. It turned out that I was the plan.' Jo claimed that Ronnie then 'got a carton of duty-free cigarettes, removed all the cigarettes from the middle packet, stuffed Victor’s stash in there, then carefully packed it up again to look like new.' As they went through Customs, she recalled that agents 'immediately zeroed in on me; I must have been giving off guilty vibes.' She continued, 'as they went through my bag, I offered up a silent prayer of thanks that we hadn’t hidden the stash in there. Then the inspector held up the duty-free bag containing the carton of cigarettes. ‘Is this yours?’ he asked me. '’No,’ I said, pointing at Victor. ‘They’re his!’ I was damned if I was going to risk life in prison for him." (PageSix)


"'It’s ballet at speed,' Malcolm Borwick, captain of the Sentebale team, said Wednesday morning, referring to polo, the so-called sport of kings. Like many top athletes in the sport, Mr. Borwick follows a peripatetic international circuit, playing 110 games a year that take him from Florida to the Gulf States to Brazil. Most prominent among his three teammates on Wednesday, the man who had drawn the satellite trucks and the camera crews and 200 members of the international press and another couple of hundred paying guests to the Greenwich Polo Club on a cold and rainy Wednesday morning was, of course, Prince Harry, the ginger-haired rake who currently stands third in line of succession to the British throne. 'If you’re super optimistic, and very positive, as Harry is,” you’ll be effective on the field, suggested Mr. Borwick, a six-goal player. As it happened, the prince’s optimism, if that’s what it was, carried the Sentebale team, named for the charity he sponsors in the African nation of Lesotho, to success. As polo goes, it was a middling game, notable for some strategic defensive plays by Dawn Jones, the sole woman player; some spirited runs by Nacho Figueras, the Argentine heartthrob (and six-goal player) and Ralph Lauren model; and for the reality that nobody in the stands paid the slightest attention to the doings of anybody but the English prince.
'It must be so hard, being Prince Harry all the time,' said the Canadian model Jessica Stam, who despite the suburban setting and soggy weather, was dressed in a severe structured black dress by Thom Browne and a pair of that designer’s stiletto wing tips." (NYTimes)

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