Monday, March 10, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Matt Taibbi, the ­former enfant terrible of ­political journalism, limps into a cozy diner on ­Chambers Street, in Tribeca a ­Russian-style fur cap pulled over his ears, a half-formed apology for his lateness already on his lips. 'I am—I must have—did I keep you waiting?'  Informed he is actually seven ­minutes early, his shoulders slump in relief. 'Okay,' the lanky 44-year-old says, with a toothy grin. 'Good. You’ll have to excuse me. It’s been a crazy time for me.' This is Matt Taibbi, circa 2014: ­deferential, polite, very busy. In mid-­February, shortly after the birth of his first child, Taibbi announced he was leaving Rolling Stone, where he has worked for almost a decade, to start a digital magazine for First Look Media, the company owned by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. The last few weeks have been consumed with business matters—hiring editorial staff, signing off on designs. Taibbi won’t discuss the exact format of the new venture, nor its name—that’s still being worked out, too—but he sees it focusing, in part, on the same matters of corporate malfeasance he’s been covering for years. 'What I’m hoping to capture is the simultaneously funny and satirical voice that you got with Spy magazine,' he says. 'The whole thing will probably be a little different than what a lot of people expect.' What people expect, of course, is the ­ribald, loudly antagonistic voice of a writer who is, in his own words, 'full of outrage.' The guy who compared Goldman Sachs to a 'vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.'" (NYMag)

Monaco Media Forum

"BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti wrote a kind of open letter to his employees recently, in which he compared the rapidly growing viral-content empire to Time magazine. Is this just the typical kind of hubris that infects startup founders, to compare a nine-year-old website known primarily for its 'listicles' and funny cat GIFs to a venerable and award-winning newsmagazine like Time? Not really. In fact, there are a lot more similarities between Time magazine and BuzzFeed than even most media-industry watchers would probably care to admit. Peretti describes how he started reading David Halberstam’s book 'The Powers That Be,' about the early days of what are now the leaders of the mainstream media — entities like CBS and the New York Times and Time Inc. — and how it struck him that those companies were once very much like BuzzFeed: scrappy new players run by people with new ideas about what the media should be, ideas that were almost universally condemned when they first appeared on the scene." (GigaOm)

In which I recreated Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" video ... on a Russian Tank in Afghanistan

"You can get almost anything in America – except a good old fashioned Soviet era tank in which to fool around on… or a wood handled Kalashnikov to play with. Funny that. So imagine my delight when I saw the abandoned tank field in front of the police station in Bamiyan. It was like I turned into a saucy little head scarved five year old." (Paula Froelich)

Courtesy of HBO

"True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto tried to warn you. Without spoiling the plot for you, he said weeks ago via Twitter hints and vague allusions, that it was unwise to focus on the identity of The Yellow King. That cracking the esoteric mythological code of True Detective wasn’t the point. So for those of you who refused to listen, for those who (understandably) got swept up in trying to chase down theories and outsmart the showrunners, last night’s straightforward finale might have been a frustrating anti-climax. Barring the Carcosa reveal, we didn’t learn anything new about the case in the finale. Errol, The Lawnmower Man, makes for an unsettling but, ultimately, unimpressive monster. Either Reggie Ledoux or the horror you, the viewer, dreamt up in your head would have been far creepier. I’m sure, ever since the True Detective audience went full Rust Cohle with their conspiracy theories and obsessive analysis, Nic Pizzolatto has been dreading this finale. (He jokingly said he was planning to leave the country if the reaction was poor.) But it’s not his fault that, like Rust and Marty, the audience has been chasing the wrong demon. The terror and the darkness isn’t external, it’s internal. When you view it that way, the finale delivers an entirely satisfying conclusion." (VF)

"The social calendar ramped up last week and so the weekend was a relief. The benefit dinner parties/dances/ galas are back in business. Last night, at Restaurant Daniel on Park Avenue and 65th Street, Chef Daniel Boulud continued his long and unflagging support of Citymeals-on-Wheels with his annual Sunday Dinner at DANIEL. Chef Boulud was joined in the kitchen by Chef Regis Marcon, a 1995 winner of the world-renowned Bocuse d’Or culinary competition and co-owner of Hotel et Restaurant Regis et Jacques Marcon. Chef Marcon is also the current president of Bocuse d’Or France. This year’s theme was 'Burgundy, Black Truffles and Blue Jeans.' 160 privileged guests indulged at the Michelin stars restaurant, served a winter menu celebrating black truffles. The dinner was paired with fine red and white Burgundy vintages chosen by Head Sommelier at DANIEL Raj Vaidya. The evening also included a silent and live auctions of rare and large format wines and one-of-a-kind travel and dining experiences. Attire was 'Sunday chic – blue jeans encouraged!'" (NYSD)

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