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Friday, January 10, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Catherine Robbe-Grillet, 83, is France’s most famous dominatrix, yet, as she tells Toni Bentley in February’s Vanity Fair, she has never, ever accepted money for her 'ceremonies': 'If someone pays, then they are in charge. I need to remain free. It is important that everyone involved knows that I do it solely for my pleasure.' Bentley visits Robbe-Grillet, sadomasochistic author and widow of novelist (and accomplished sadist) Alain Robbe-Grillet, at the 17th-century château in Normandy where she resides with Beverly Charpentier, the 51-year-old South African woman who is her submissive companion. 'Catherine is my secret garden,' Charpentier says. 'I have given myself to her, body and soul. She does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with either or both, according to her pleasure—and her pleasure is also my pleasure.' 'As a dominatrix you must dominate yourself,' Robbe-Grillet tells Bentley. 'Otherwise you take the chance of killing someone or doing serious damage, so you have to know your limits.' For example, 'blood is only drawn with initiates,' Beverly explains. 'I stop at what is irreversible,' says Robbe-Grillet. Except when she doesn’t. Robbe-Grillet recalls an encounter she had with a man named Christian, whom she met in 1986. He wanted her to brand him with the initials of her nom de plume, 'JDB.' She did. 'I fell into my dream,' Christian tells Bentley of his relationship with Catherine, “and I have never left it.” Over the course of almost 20 years, the marks faded and a year ago Robbe-Grillet held another ceremony to burn them in anew. Robbe-Grillet recently staged 'Le Soir de DSK,' Bentley reports. 'The evening took place in four scenes set in a hotel bedroom: a man rapes a chambermaid, a man has consensual sex with a chambermaid, a woman rapes a bellboy, and a woman has consensual sex with a bellboy.' When Bentley asks Robbe-Grillet which of the four scenarios worked the best she responds, her blue eyes twinkling, 'Well, the woman who played the hotel guest was very convincing.'" (VanityFair)



"My friend Nadine invited me out to a laid-back Sunday dinner at Babbo to meet her inner circle of friends. Turns out this casual cast of characters left me far from relaxed. One of them was a TV star I couldn’t stop staring at. The other was a guy named Jacob, who I violently hooked up with one night this past summer. Nadine winks at me, 'Julia and I found each other at my fave place, Chateau Marmont. We’re kindred spirits.'  Jacob responds, 'Yeah, we’ve met. You missing L.A.?' All I can think to say is, “I miss Coffee Bean.” The table looks at me in horror. The TV star with Abercrombie & Fitch looks swoops in to fill the silence, 'I heard they just opened up a really nice one on 14th Street.' Nadine adds, 'Darling, You’re in New York now. We have Sant Ambroeus.' Jacob says laughing, 'Julia, don’t let anyone else hear you say that, or you won’t have any friends.' We share an uncertain glance, until he averts his attention to the wine list. Jacob is dark-haired, is in his early 40s and has the rugged air of a man bear on a perpetual hike up the hills of Hollywood. I focus on the TV star sitting to my right at the head of table, while Nadine and Jacob dive deep into conversation. 'So how do you know them?' I ask.
'Jacob directed me in his movie a few years ago and has become a good friend. I met Nadine through him.' 'You’re an actor?' I say to the heartthrob, pretending I haven’t seen him on TV a hundred times.
'Yeah,' he smiles with believable humility. 'You know what you’re going to get to eat? I’m thinking about the sea bass.'" (Observer)


"Although no longer a regular habit, extended benders now turn me into a sort of magnetic field that picks up pearls as though they are iron filings. They are insightful jewels, not the kind that tarts hang around their necks to alert the viewer of their availability. Take for example a description of a couple I know by a man I have never met but had read about. It was 5AM last week, a heavy snow was blanketing the place, and I had lost my balance and fallen in the bathroom, breaking the glass of a picture of my then 18-year-old first wife Cristina. A memoir by Dan Menaker had also crashed down with my body and while I was recovering my senses and coordination I began to leaf through it: 'For some time now Tina and Harry put me ever so slightly in mind of the duke and the king in Huckleberry Finn, floating down the Mississippi, affecting noble lineage, and fleecing townspeople right and left with their cons and impostures.' Now, there’s no use lying. Yes, I was dead drunk after a party I had given in my house, but after the third reading of the above paragraph aposiopesis set in. How the hell did this Menaker man get it so spot on? Not in a hundred years could I equal his devastating perception of those two, Tina Brown and Harry Evans. So I clipped the page and after a brief sleep and before coffee I had copied the passage down and here it is for you, dear readers. See what I mean by feeling magnetic when under the influence and picking up pearls? It got better with the King of Greece three nights later. He was sober and I was not and I was giving him a tour of my place, showing him old Greek photographs of my grandfather who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and also Prime Minister. They are old and yellowed, but the King recognized most of the players. When one particular name came up I used the F-word and apologized immediately. 'Do you know the etymology of the word ‘fuck’?' asked the King. I did not. 'It is an acronym for Fornication Under Consent of the King,' said my King. Another pearl, but he could have been pulling my leg, which unfortunately is not a hollow one. Some 35 years ago, when I was an Esquire magazine columnist, I used to come back to the office after lunch tipsy and giggling with Jon Bradshaw, an American writer who was such an Anglophile he remained in love with Anna Wintour although she openly had gone off with another buddy of mine, a squash player. Bradshaw affected cynical mannerisms, a curmudgeonly scribe complaining about crude American habits as opposed to refined British ones. It used to drive me nuts and I got my own back while trying out a brand new invention called the Xerox machine. Bending over it was an extremely attractive posterior of the female persuasion, and a rather plump one to boot. 'Stand aside for an important writer,' I said drunkenly but jokingly. The plump posterior turned and she was beautiful. In fact she was a young intern from Yale whom I recognized as the actress Jodie Foster." (Taki)



"Yesterday, being Wednesday was the Michael’s lunch and that place was hot – although with the crowd coming and going through the front door, there was a frequent gust of frigid air that approached my table a few times ... Around the room: Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 (he was with Jill Brooke) andMykalal Kontilal who is a former owner of The Nightly Business Report on PBS; Andrew Stein; Jack Kliger (TV Guide) and Missy Godfrey; Star Jonesand her pal Dr. Holly Phillips; Holly Peterson, who is coming out with a new novel, with Patricia Duff; Anthony Cename of the WSJBizbash’s David Adler; Dr. Mitch Rosenthal; Dini von Muefling with Page Six's Emily Smith;Anne Fulenwider, EIC of Marie Claire; Washington power broker and media lawyer Bob Barnett with Chris Jansing; Pauline Brown of LVMH; Gordon Davis; Jerry Inzerillo; Dave Johnson of Warner Music; Robert Kramer of Adirondack Capital; Wednesday Martin; Ted Levine; Kevin Warsh; John Osborn, CEO of BBDO; Andrew Rosenberg." (NYSocialDiary)


"Getting a rise in the time period is a good signal, but the fact remains CNN’s primetime status needs improvement. In the fourth quarter of 2013, CNN’s primetime lineup showed a significant dip in the ratings, and the gap between its viewership and that of MSNBC and Fox News Channel widened. According to Nielsen data, CNN’s primetime shows captured an average of 477,000 viewers overall in the fourth quarter, compared with an average of about 1.78 million for Fox News Channel and an average of 653,000 for MSNBC. Both of those networks saw ratings rise from the third quarter, while CNN’s quarterly primetime average has fallen since the second quarter of 2013, when the network captured an average of 653,000 viewers.Don Lemon hosted a half-hour program at 11 p.m. for a few weeks, and he and Jake Tapper have been filling in for  Burnett while she’s on maternity leave. After giving Cooper a second hour at 10, CNN has in recent weeks shown some of the documentaries, which have gained favor during other times during the week. And then of course, there are the rumors about trying. 'They need some heavyweights' in the time period, said Billie Gold, vice president and director of buying and programming research at Carat, a media-buying agency that counts General Motors among its clients. Because CNN avoids partisan analysis of the news, she said,the network needs to bring in stronger personalities who will keep viewers interested, even when they aren’t looking to find out the latest on a breaking story. 'They do not have a strong voice, and I think that’s their problem.'” (Variety)

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