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Monday, March 31, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres
















"President Barack Obama's job approval has climbed to 48% according to a new poll by Zogby Analytics. The online poll was completed March 28-29 among 917 likely voters and has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3.3 percentage points. Mr. Obama is still upside down with voters; however, as his disapproval rating is 49%.The President has either improved or held on to his base support since a Zogby Poll last October. His rating among Democrats is 82% (down from 84%), liberals 86% (up from 79%), moderates 55% (from 54%), 30-49 year olds 50% (from 45%), 50-64 year olds 48% (49%), African Americans 92% (from 87%), Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers 53% (from 47%), Creative Class 54% (from 56%), Investor Class 55% (from 53%), and voters in union households 64% (from 64% (from 60%). " (Zogby)













"It was unbearable, last fall, the few times I tried to watch Late Show with David Letterman. Has there ever been a 'TV personality' who exudes as much misery and sheer disgust at being on television as does Dave when he’s got his full sourpuss on—sneering at his own jokes, sneering at his audience, sneering at his guests, conveying the pungent sense that he has just stepped in a huge turd, and that that huge turd is his life and career? Depression and palpable self-loathing have always been part of the equation with Letterman, but over the last year or two, it has seemed as if he was never not in a mood. Watching the show, at least for me, was like having drinks with a chronically depressed friend: you’d like to jolly him or her up, but at some point you can’t bear the grimness anymore, and if you can, the friend starts to think you’re a dishrag. And anyway, wasn’t Dave supposed to be jollying up us? I quit him, and started watching Jimmy Kimmel.That was last year. With the late-night world reordered by Jimmy Fallon’s February debut on The Tonight Show, I thought it might be worth checking in on Dave again. For two decades his show—and seemingly his psyche—had been warped by the gravitational pull of the big, gaseous, lowbrow planet that was Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. Sometimes Letterman seemed to be energized by the competition, especially during the nasty back-and-forth between the two men at the time of the Leno-Conan O’Brien minuet. But the bitter fallout from that botched succession, along with Leno’s obdurate, unkillable hegemony—was he modern science’s first comedian-barnacle hybrid?—cast a pall over late-night television. Was that the source of Letterman’s gut-sick malaise? With Fallon replacing his old rival and yardstick, would Letterman, even if still stuck in third place ratings-wise, feel a lifting of his burden?Yes, it turns out, at least on the evidence of his three new shows this week. Letterman is now visibly older than when I last saw him six months or so ago. With white hair and white eyebrows and an even thinner frame, he’s turned into Buddy Ebsen circa Barnaby Jones. He’s also acting as if he once again, maybe-sorta-kinda enjoys being in front of an audience. His smiles and laughs, at times, seem genuine, believe it or not, and he’s got a crazy-grandpa aspect now, as if at any moment he might say something outrageous or embarrassing. It’s almost sweet, even if what actually comes out of his mouth are lame monologue jokes about John Boehner having orange skin or husbands not knowing how to load dishwashers properly. Or hey, that crazy New York subway! But also give him credit for having the integrity to persevere with his gags about Regis Philbin (a once well-known late-20th-century media figure)." (VF)






Richard Shepard, Jenni Konner, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett





"Last Thursday night, The Cinema Society with Links of London hosted the premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures' 'Dom Hemingway' at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema at 143 East Houston Street. After the screening guests moved to the new (not yet open) Il Principe at Hotel Hugo at 525 Greenwich Street, with Moet & Chandon joining in the hosting. Attendees from the film included Jude Law, Demian Bichir, Madalina Ghenea, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Kerry Condon, Richard Shepard (writer/director), and Steve Gilula (Co-President, Fox Searchlight Pictures).Other attendees included Lena Dunham, Jonny Lee Miller, Allison Williams, Paul Haggis, Maura Tierney, Karen Elson, Salman Rushdie, Dree Hemingway, Elettra Wiedemann, Ebon Moss, Louisa Krause, Peter Scolari, Dylan Baker, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Sam Underwood (The Following), Valorie Curry (The Following), Ben Shenkman, Sarah Sophie Flicker & Jesse Peretz, Jenna Lyons, Gilles Mendel, Jamie Chung, Duncan Sheik, Casey LaBow, Will Cotton, Stu Zicherman, Peter Cincotti, Pat Cleveland, Mark Seliger, Paul Sculfor, Olivia Palermo & Johannes Huebl, Ann Dexter-Jones, Alex Lundqvist, Elena Foley, Genevieve Jones, Amy Sacco, Robert Dundon (President, Links of London North America), and Cinema Society Founder Andrew Saffir." (NYSD)












"My mother told me to do it. Initially, I was horrified by her suggestion that I intern at a porn magazine, but soon the feeling turned to titillating curiosity. Her best friend’s daughter worked at Penthouse—sadly, my family’s only connection to the New York publishing world. My mother described the job as 'a foot in the door.' I giddily contemplated the possibilities offered by this 'experience'—editorially speaking and, presumably, beyond.Now, as the quaint world of print pornography quietly shuffles through what many are calling its twilight, I look back fondly to the summer of 1988, the summer that I became Penthouse‘s first (and, at the time, only) intern.
Every morning, my father and I would commute together from suburban Long Island. He’d drop me off at the Penthouse offices on Broadway and then head crosstown to his upstanding job at the United Nations. My first day, I wore a pressed skirt and blouse, though when I emerged from the elevator into a corridor hung with framed posters of naked Pets on Bob Guccione’s knee, I wondered whether the dress code was nothing at all. The editor in chief looked me over as if I were Snow White fluttering into his den of perversity. I was certain he could discern, with his pornographer’s X-ray vision, that I was still a virgin. Peter was middle-aged, with dark, thinning hair, though his strongest feature was his teeth, which were incredibly crooked, giving him a kinky menace when he smiled at me. He led me around the narrow banks of cubicles and introduced me to everyone on staff, most of whom were women. (To rationalize their work, they quoted the First Amendment constantly, with the righteous flourish of Bible-thumpers.) Some appeared indifferent to my presence, while others looked me over with concern, as if they were witnessing the conclusion of my wholesome girlhood." (Observer)








© Bob Gruen.


"In 1976, the New York rock and punk scene was


made up of the CBGB’s bands and the few music writers who loved them. In total, this may have consisted of about 60 people. This small scene did have great influence, but, like any scene, it just sort of happened. A bunch of people formed bands and had nowhere to play. They found a stage. Another bunch of people heard about those bands and went to see them play. Every night. It was similar to when Max’s Kansas City had its moment: if you skipped one night, you might have missed something. At CBGB’s, there was no velvet rope at the entrance. There was no big deal about 'getting in.' There was no 'list.' The same people who went all the time went all the time. Since we edited Rock Scene—which became a kind of house fanzine for CBGB’s—Richard, Lenny Kaye, and I were among those who just went all the time. I didn’t have to call a publicist or get a laminated all-access pass or a wristband to go 'backstage.' We didn’t have to wait for the lead singer to towel off after the performance and receive people. At CBGB’s, there was no toweling off—there were no towels. To get backstage, all you had to do was walk a few feet past the stage to the back hallway, to one of the crummy rooms on the right where Patti Smith or Joey Ramone would be sitting on the lumpy sofa. We’d all sit around with a few bottles of beer and just hang out. It was easy then to just hang out. It still was possible to discover something—either hearing about it from your friends or stumbling across it yourself. It wasn’t already written about in New York magazine before it had a chance to breathe." (Lisa Robinson)










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"There is no excuse for not trying to build a vertical digital service (web site & mobile app) for a strong media company shifting to digital. As long as you have a powerful (not to be confused with profuse) newsroom coupled with a well-structured contents system, trying a foray in a specific domain is worth considering. As an example, see Atlantic Media, one of the most innovative media brands, as it deploys a series of verticals nested in its Government Executive Media Group. These units all generate small but extremely valuable and loyal audiences — and enviable revenue per user (more on the Atlantic in a future Monday Note).Building a vertical is a mere matter of implementation, you might say. But a look below the surface shows how such process demands much more than merely putting a small group of good writers in a digital stable, and asking them to gather news on a specific subject.That’s why Skift.com drew my attention. In less than twenty months, manned by only 9 people crammed in an mid-town Manhattan office, Skift.com has become a strong voice and a reference in the travel industry: airlines, booking systems, hotels, tour operators – and all the the sector’s disruptors." (Monday Note)




"Last night on Lindsay Lohan's reality show Lindsay, the flailing actress shared her frustration over her reputation for being an unreliable brat. That reputation has led to a lack of employment (hence the reality show). Funny that, because she shared said frustration on the very show that she started flaking on (attempting to cancel shoots, etc.), necessitating a stern talking-to from Oprah Winfrey just last week. Will she ever learn?That question is the one that Lindsay seemingly wishes to answer, and the one that Lindsay herself can't seem to answer honestly given her inability to accept full accountability for the state of her career. (Thousands of words on the difficulty of working with her on her most recently released movie, Paul Schrader's The Canyons, filled a New York Times Magazine cover story last year.) That asking and not answering and then re-asking because of the lack of answers, together make the show this perpetual motion machine. It's spinning its wheels while Lohan goes nowhere. And yet it is riveting to watch someone grapple with the fleeting nature of fame, especially when it's something that has been a key part of this person's identity since she was a child. Shows like Being Bobby Brown and The Anna Nicole Show made a joke out of has-beendom, while Lindsay grapples with its devastating reality." (Gawker)

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