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Monday, May 06, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The house in Nashville is gleaming white, with symmetrical wings and four twenty-foot-high Victorian columns. Under the soaring portico stands Al Gore, dressed in his casual uniform—a button-down blue dress shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. This is Gore’s White House, a 10,000-square-foot mansion he and Tipper renovated in 2007. It’s currently uninhabited but for his dog, Bo (by strange coincidence, the name of the dog in the real White House, too), a chow mix, who is barking wildly. 'I’ve got the house to myself most of the time,' Gore says ... The image of Albert Gore Jr. as a man for whom the sky is always falling was created in the five weeks after November 7, 2000, a day when he believed he’d won the presidency (and many still believe that he did). The Supreme Court, by one vote (and Sandra Day O’Connor, a retired justice, has just suggested that the court perhaps should not have taken the case), put an end to that dream. 'For two and a half decades, he was on a trajectory that was supposed to end in the presidency,' says one of his closest advisers, Carter Eskew. Then it was ripped out of his hands, and that changed everything. Part of Gore’s gift is that he’s always managed to make light of the situation. He’s developed a big banging laugh and a talent for self-deprecation—'I used to be the next president of the United States,' he likes to say. Or he play-acts. 'How hard was it to be so close?' ­Charlie Rose pressed one recent evening at the 92nd Street Y. How, in other words, could you bear it? Onstage, Gore, in a suit that looked too small for him, mock-blubbered: 'Oh, Charlie, you have no idea.' In the absence of direct testimony, those close to him have filled it in. 'He endured a long night of the soul,' says one aide, echoing the standard view of Gore after 2000. Gore shifts us inside—it’s gotten a bit cold, and the host is hungry. There are relatively few signs of the wealth he’s lately accumulated. There’s a sideboard with dishes on display, a compact living room facing a flat-screen TV, and a dining area where the table is set for three—we’re joined by a young aide, Betsy ­McManus,­ who addresses her boss as 'Sir.'" (NYMag)


"One of the biggest jobs in media is a new position and a high-risk opportunity: running Al Jazeera America.The job running the Qatar-based network recently bought from Current TV has high visibility and no doubt a high salary attached. But it also bears the burden of building an audience in mainstream American with the name of a Middle Eastern brand unfamiliar to most U.S. viewers and probably off-putting to some. TheWrap has learned of several of the candidates that Al Jazeera has contacted for a job that needs to start ASAP for the network to get on the air and running this year, as is planned. As it happens, there are a goodly number of experienced TV news professionals available at the moment. But who will it be?" (TheWrap)



"Which is the most infamous bite in history? Surely Adam’s, but the one Steve Rubell took off Halston’s leg was far more expensive. Let me explain for you whippersnappers who’ve probably never heard of these men  ...I was reminded the time Rubell bit Halston by the story of Luis Suárez, no stranger to controversy in Britain but a hero in his homeland of Uruguay, where biting is the equivalent to our kissing, or so the volatile Liverpool footballer wants us to believe. Suárez bit a Chelsea rival during a match and got a ten-match ban as a result. Mike Tyson, way behind in points against Evander Holyfield years and years ago, bit part of Evander’s ear right off and spat it out on the deck. He got disqualified, hence depriving Holyfield of an out-and-out victory. Rubell’s bite was less violent but almost as expensive ... I broke the Halston-Rubell-Bowes-Lyon-Princess Margaret story more than 30 years ago in The Spectator. I recently saw a documentary on Halston, a milliner who became famous because he designed the pink pillbox hat Jackie Kennedy wore the day her husband was assassinated. Halston was a talented designer, but I wouldn’t know about such matters so I will stick to his constant partying in Studio 54 and his profuse cocaine usage. Halston partied exclusively with gays, which made up the Andy Warhol group. The owner of Studio 54, Steve Rubell, partied with everybody, even unknowns, something Halston and Warhol did not. When Halston’s fame went international, as silly matters like fashion tend to do, he asked his friend John Bowes-Lyon, known as Bosie to the rest of us, to front a party for him in London and to produce Princess Margaret. Bosie did both but also asked yours truly, who dutifully reported the ensuing shenanigans to The Spectator, which back then sold around ten thousand copies if that.  We were having dinner at the Savoy. Bosie stood in front of the dining room with Halston a few feet behind. Bosie did the greetings and introductions until Rupert Galliers-Pratt sauntered in with his faithful wife walking a few paces behind him. (In the original story I called him Rupert-Pilkington-Boreham-Wood upon his request.) 'Hi Bosie,' said Rupert cheerfully and then quickly headed for the bar and free hors d’oeuvres. 'I’m Halston,' said the milliner in his very stiff manner, sticking out his hand. “Thank you, Halston,” boomed Rupert, throwing his Anderson & Sheppard coat on poor Halston’s extended arm while rushing to the bar. (Rupert later said that only Ancient Greeks and butlers had one name, hence the gaffe. Poor Taki.) End of story, but not quite. Once we sat down, Halston was at the top table with Bosie, Steve Rubell, and Princess Margaret. I was later told that the situation was uncomfortable to say the least—downright catastrophic would be more to the point—as Halston was ludicrously polite and inane when not on coke, whereas Rubell was bored, drunk, and falling asleep. He signaled to Halston for the coke and got a furious look in return. After an interminable minute or two he again made the sign and got a loud 'Never!' back. That’s when he decided to take the bull by the you-know-what, slipped underneath the table, grabbed Halston’s leg, and bit the calf hard enough to make it bleed." (Taki)


"Last Wednesday night a week, the Versailles Foundation, Inc./Claude Monet Giverny held its annual fundraising dinner at the Cotillion Room of the Pierre. The proceeds from the evening will go to support the Statues Restoration Campaign in the Parc of the Chateau de Versailles. The foundation’s supporters have financed the recently completed the restoration of the statue Leucothee (1687) by Joseph Rayol who lived in the time of Louis XIV –1655-1718. This year ths Foundation is restoring Claude Monet’s 18th-century cylindrical desk and commode in his bedroom at Giverny. Also, at Monticello, they have commissioned the design and the 'Petit Point' embroidery for Thomas Jefferson’s 18th-century Georges Jacob chairs. The annual dinner always features a guest speaker who belongs to a European royal family, as well as Russian royals. Almost all are descendents or children of deposed monarchs. Queen Elizabeth’s son, the Earl of Wessex has been a guest speaker twice. All of the guest speakers are interesting for their historical backgrounds and knowledge, much of it more intimate than published history, and sometimes more insightful ... This year’s guest was Her Royal Highness, The Crown Princess Margarita of Romania and her husband Prince Radu. Princess Margarita is the daughter of King Michael I. Michael who was born in 1921 was King from 1927 to 1930 and again from September 1940 through December 1947 when he was forced by the Communist Party of Romania to abdicate. A great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, he is a third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1997, Michael officially made his eldest daughter Margarita the Crown Princess of Romania, Custodian of the Romanian Crown and his heir presumptive. Romania is no longer a monarchy but after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the downfall of Ceausescu, the royal family was allowed to return." (NYSocialDiary)



"Hamish Bowles is looking forward to tonight’s punk-themed Metropolitan Museum Ball, otherwise known as the Fashion Oscars, for several reasons — but mostly to see Vivienne Westwood’s outfit. “I will be looking out for Vivienne [Westwood] and Zandra Rhodes, but Vivienne for sure. She’s the godmother, grandmother, the evil genius of punk,” the international editor at large of Vogue told us at the Cinema Society party for “What Maisie Knew” at Gallow Green. He added, “I’m always thrilled to see how people take a theme and run with it. Whether it’s going to be very subtle or overt or oblique or literal.” Others expected at the ball include a host of top designers and stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Debbie Harry, Emma Roberts, Jessica Alba and top models Kate Upton and Gisele Bundchen. " (PageSix)

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