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Friday, June 28, 2013

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"Earlier this week, Bloomberg’s Sarah Shannon reported from London that the famous Harrods department store is seeing what store executives call record sales — courtesy largely of wealthy Chinese nationals. As Shannon writes, Americans are no longer in the top 10 of Harrods’ foreign customers, while buyers from China are 'by far No. 1.' On some level, the most surprising part here is Harrods’ refreshing willingness to give this kind of detail, even though that buyers from China are a huge contributor to the British luxury bottom line is no surprise. The image of the brand-hungry Chinese tourist is a current cliche, much as the bejewelled Russian was a few years ago. Obviously, the growing wealth of China and Russia is a big factor here. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that China now has more millionaires than any countries but the U.S. and Japan — and will surpass Japan this year (you can see a partial chart below or register to see BCG’s full report here). This is an unprecedented expansion of wealth in countries where the newly reach are justifiably anxious about the stability of local markets and the future attitudes of their governments." (Bloomberg)


"The debate over domestic surveillance is not a debate about what we think about Glenn Greenwald. But Greenwald is a fascinating character. His resemblance to Ralph Nader is not one that, so far as I can tell, anybody has thought to make. But the resemblance is striking. It’s not a resemblance of historical place — Greenwald is neither going to lead a new regulatory wave nor get a Republican elected president. The resemblance is characterological and ideological. For Greenwald, like Nader, the lawyer is the key protagonist in his political drama. Political victory is a series of successful lawsuits. He is wildly litigious ... Greenwald, like Nader, marries an indefatigable mastery of detail with fierce moralism. Every issue he examines has a good side and an evil side." (NYMag)


"James Gandolfini's funeral was held this morning at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York. Among the mourners were his 'Sopranos' castmates as well as the show's creator, David Chase, who offered a eulogy for his friend and colleague. Alan Sepinwall, who for 14 years served as the television columnist at The Star-Ledger, Tony Soprano's newspaper of choice, posted a transcript of what he said at HitFix. 'I tried to write a traditional eulogy, but it came out like bad TV,' Chase confessed, and what he wrote instead is sad and lovely, and proposes one last scene for the character Gandolfini played so well." (Indiewire)


"Dyslexia afflicts a quarter of humanity. I am a member of that quarter and I am at the mercy of the misfiring synapses. Spelling, therefore, is a nightmare for me. School was pockmarked with fraught experiences with exasperated teachers. I was frequently written off as a moron (that, of course, is another story). Unhelpfully, my first couple of decades on earth I was ferried to and from the USA and the UK. And so began a lifelong tango twixt the myriad distinctions of American English and English English, where sometimes words are spelled the same but pronounced differently and vice versa. I was deeply confused. I muddled on and learned a few rules but otherwise I have relied heavily on the gamut from moldy old dictionaries to the current luxury of electronic spell check.
When in school, all fourteen of them, some in America and some in England, I felt like saying, look grownups, I’ll learn your crazy system if you can just simplify things. Instead it was the opposite, with opposing sides of the Atlantic clamoring theirs is the true spelling or pronunciation. Since school and the need for ‘perfection’ I have found dyslexia to be a boon. The swarm of possibilities in my mind’s eye throws up a plethora of options. For my style of writing this is useful. As to the spelling, well I rely very heavily on spell check. Though not entirely. Sometimes it says, ‘No Guesses’. I find this a bit rude. At any rate, at that point I resort to the mighty net where I will certainly find my word. In some instances, however, I don’t know that I am wrong. For example, ‘peek’ and ‘peak’. Turns out I’ve been using the wrong one for years- and I only just sorted this out.
I do apologize to those of you who not only know how to spell but are offended by my mistakes, like my friend George who pounces avidly on every error. Please forgive me. It is not done to annoy.
Recently I have toyed with learning Serbian." (Christina Oxenberg)


"This summer New York is chock-a-block with significant exhibitions of major contemporary artists who are either from, or associated with, Los Angeles. 'Light and Space' artist James Turrell, (born in Pasadena in 1943) is having his first New York museum show since 1980 at the Guggenheim. Turrell has created an extraordinary transformation of the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s rotunda entitled Aten Reign (2013). A survey of other works throughout Turrell’s long career are featured in the various galleries that extend from Wright’s iconic central space.  The Guggenheim has always been a difficult space for exhibitions — Wright himself believed that art should be brought out for viewing and then removed back into storage — he didn’t really care for anything taking away from the viewer’s experience of his architectural genius. But over the years, artists such as Jenny Holzer, Mario Merz, and Matthew Barney (to name a few) have successfully created memorable installations by simply confronting Wright’s soaring space head on." (NYSocialDiary)


"What was that quote about London and being tired of life? Or that flickering ecstasy of a long-ago memory of being drunk at dawn and watching people going to work? Surely not at my age and in the year 2013, but there you have it. You can go home again; Thomas Wolfe had it all wrong. I felt at home all last week, both at Loulou’s at 5 Hertford Street and on Gerald Road in deep Oxfordshire.
Let’s start with Gerald Road, where the Bismarcks gave a Pugs dinner to celebrate Bob Miller’s 80th birthday. Bob is the duty-free billionaire who—surprise, surprise—is as nice, down-to-earth, and sporty a man as he is rich. We took the annual picture: The three oldies (Bob, George Livanos, and myself) were seated up front, while youngsters such as Edward Hutley, Leopold Bismarck, Princes Pavlos and Nikolaos of Greece, Roger Taylor, Arki Busson, Tim Hoare, Nick Scott, and Roger Taylor were standing above us. There was a boat-shaped cake, as Bob is a very good and record-holding yachtsman, lots of exotic drinks, and then the gray dawn was upon us. (I did see the sun, but it was in Switzerland before coming over here.) Later on in the day, having chosen to flame out rather than rust out, I managed to stagger to our annual lunch, a stone’s throw from Elizabeth Street where our oldest member, Sir Christopher Lee, was holding court. He is now 91, has been in more than 200 films, and is far more lucid than I could ever be. After I had a very liquid lunch and made some not-so-articulate efforts at speechmaking, Sir Lee got up and was applauded by strangers." (tAKI)


"In the early '70s, Tom Bianchi stepped off the ferry from Long Island into the Pines -- Fire Island's legendary haven for New York's gay community -- armed with an SX-70 Polaroid camera. For nearly a decade the lawyer-turned-photographer captured the hedonistic parties, sun-kissed, chiseled bodies and sexually-charged experimentation of the storied weekend getaway. This summer, a collection of Bianchi's pictures celebrating the euphoric, anything-goes years preceding the AIDS epidemic has been published for the first time in the coffee table tome Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983. Here, we talk with Bianchi about the new book and life on Fire Island." (Papermag)

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