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Monday, April 28, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




By Richard Drew/A.P. Images.

"We were living in Westchester County in the early 80s, and we would come into New York on Saturday mornings, stop at Jean’s, and he’d ask us to drive him to pick up some musical equipment that he needed,' remembers Lenore Schorr, who, along with her husband, Herbert, qualify as the most devoted early collectors of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died at 27, in 1988. 'Having us drive him was clearly easier for him than his trying to get a taxi, because of the fact that he was black,' explains Lenore. 'He used to joke that he needed to get Herb a driver’s cap, and that he’d buy us a hot dog afterwards.' After he’d lost faith in the art-world establishment, Basquiat even asked Herb, a scientist and self-described 'nerd,' to take over as his dealer. No fool, Herb, he did not give up his day job. What he did do, though, with Lenore, was build an unparalleled collection of Basquiat’s work, some of it bought directly from the artist’s studio, all of it clearly chosen with eyes that knew what they were looking at. Talking to the couple 30 years later, one cannot help being moved by the mutual respect and affection that bonded this unlikely trio; they were surrogate parents to a surrogate son, whose relationship with his own parents was complicated and fraught. Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn. His mother, Matilde, was of Puerto Rican descent, and his father, Gerard, an accountant, had originally come from Haiti; they separated when Jean-Michel was seven. The artist spoke only loving words about his mother, who was the first person to take him to museums, but whose emotional fragility landed her in psychiatric institutions. (Having permanently left his father’s home at 17, he did not hide their strained relationship.) Basquiat’s most influential mentor was Andy Warhol, whom the young artist sought out, befriended, and collaborated with, much to both men’s pride. But the Schorrs provided a safe harbor. Their love affair with the artist started in 1981, after he had decided to reject his famous (among graffiti writers) tag as Samo© (which stood for 'same old shit') and become Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist in the so-called legit art world." (VF)



N.Y. Post's Mark Graham Photo: Zandy Mangold


"It’s Friday night. You turn on Apple TV, open Netflix and spend the next hour trying to decide what to watch before switching over to cable for yet another Law & Order: SVU marathon. That’s the scenario Decider, an entertainment site the New York Post launches this summer, wants to help you avoid. The stand-alone site, which Post CEO and publisher Jesse Angelo describes as a 'TV Guide for the streaming age,' will focus on all facets of the digital-content landscape—from popular, digital-only series and niche streaming channels (Crunchyroll anyone?) to the latest Netflix movies and platform launches. 'The way people consume entertainment has changed drastically with the advent of streaming platforms, and yet the way the media covers that entertainment is very much the same as it has been for decades,' Angelo said. 'There’s nothing wrong with that kind of coverage—we do it ourselves [at the Post]—but I think there’s a way to do it that speaks to that new digital consumer.”
To lead editorial operations, Angelo hired Mark Graham, most recently managing editor at MTV Networks and before that editor of New York magazine’s Vulture and Gawker’s Defamer. Graham plans to launch Decider with a staff of about 10, while ad sales and other back-end operations will be handled by the Post’s digital team." (AdAge)



"My excellent friend David Wolkowsky invited me for Easter Sunday lunch on Ballast Key, his private island five miles south and in the direction of Cuba. The plan was to meet at the marina at 11am. Due to my neurot...ic ways I was the first to arrive. I strolled the length of the dock, past tethered boats, until I saw David’s boat. You can tell which is David’s boat by the lavender cashmere sweaters strewn across the helm. Amongst the guests was one James Auchincloss ebullient in safari clothes and slung with a camera and a white headband (see photo- I've 'shopped a Fez). The entire ride to the island, interrupted by the sight of mating turtles, James never broke stride as he unspooled reams of tantalizingly gossipy morsels, all of which he declared ‘Off the record’. At the island we walked the slim planks of the jetty, high above silver fishes and a baby bull shark lazing in the shadows. Three small tractors awaited us in which to cross the island to the house by way of sandy paths decorated with statues and palm trees and bougainvillea. David’s house is three levels of glass and white wood and painted ceilings and wide open windows. To sit in the second story living room and breathe in the ocean air is tranquility itself. A tranquility fluffed by James and his ready smile and his intriguing monologues. James has been everywhere, done everything and he has met everyone, and conveniently he has a crystalline memory. Luckily for James I’m a vault of secrecy but with the right amount of sodium pentathol heaven knows what I’d reveal, I now know everything. Jacqueline Kennedy's father, Jack Bouvier, married a Janet Auchincloss. Janet was James’s mother, thus James is the half-brother of Jackie O. Lunch was served in the marble ground floor dining room, with walls of glass pushed open so that one is surrounded by pink sand planted with sun baking conch shells and the turquoise sea." (Christina Oxenberg)





"I've got a great story about Truman sitting at the Driver's seat bar in Southampton and talking to my cousin George for two hours- June 1979, mid-week. George Keffas (aka gorgeous George) was an incredibly handsome man who was both unintere...sted in and immune to the power of celebrity. I got home from the beach that day and George said ' Spero, I met one of your heroes at the Driver's seat today, Truman Capote." He said it so nonchalantly I didn't hear him at first. 'The writer Truman Capote' I responded? 'One and the same,' replied gorgeous George. Apparently the bar conversation covered a wide range of topics from the nature of evil, the Ottoman Empire and the miraculous invention called Ketchup. Several times during their sprawling discussion, admirers of Capote approached the writer to say hello. The great author dismissed them saying, 'can’t you see that I’m talking to my good friend George?'  This story has been rumbling around the back of my mind for 35 plus years. Such is the plight of the wordsmith- so many stories to tell and so little time to write them down." (Spero Alexio)






"Spring break found us fleeing Manhattan for the glorious Los Angelino sunshine, palm trees and Alfresco lunches by the Beverly Hills Hotel pool. We were ensconced in the famed Howard Hughes bungalow, which I am sure has withstood its own share of vibrations over the years. Still, nothing prepared us for the 4.9 earthquake that interrupted our reverie and shook us out of bed at 6:30 a.m. Like a fool I called the front desk for confirmation. 'Yes, Mr. Kirshenbaum. That was indeed an earthquake.' The next day, after a sleepless night, we ran into myriad New York families all on spring break, having McCarthy salads by the pool, fiddling with the romaine and cheddar.'Aftershocks can be worse than the quake,' I worried aloud to anyone who would listen.'Don’t worry,' my friend’s platinum blonde wife said retrieving her pillbox, implants immoveable in her string bikini top.  As her toddlers pranced about, she opened what seemed like a veritable pharmacy in her designer clutch. 'A little XANY will do you good,' she said, picking around in the compartments. 'Let’s see, I have Valium, Xanax. Oh those are the anti-depressants. Wait are those the Klonopin or the Zoloft…?' she pondered. 'A cosmo and Molly and you won’t remember a thing,' she offered. 'Even if the big one comes.' Having grown up in the 'Just Say No'generation, afflicted by fear, guilt and propaganda, it’s strange to see so many New York parents smoking, popping and snorting as soon as their kids are counting sheep." (Observer)








"Last night in New York at the Four Seasons Restaurant the Irvington Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute held its annual 'Through the Kitchen Party.' Perri Peltz, who briefly emcees the evening, told us how this was their 32nd, all started by her mother Lauren Veronis, who every year swears it will be her last, and how every year Perri talks her into doing it one more time. Perhaps there will be a 33rd. It is a very successful fundraiser. 260 guests and many of the most prominent people in town  buying a ticket. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long time supporter of the Irvington Institute, was there. I don’t know how much they raised although Jamie Niven conducted an auction and raised at least $400,000 by asking people to give in increments of 50, 25, 10, 5 and one thousand. He also sold a dinner for six at RAO’S for $15,000. Getting a reservation at RAO’S can’t even be had for that price. You have to know somebody who’s not using their table that night ... The evening always has a theme (it’s held in the pool room). Last night’s was “Dancing” and so the tables had names of dances. Mine was the 'Belly Dance' table. I was a guest of Herb and Jeanne Siegel and they had Joanie Schnitzer, in from Houston, on her way tomorrow to Rome; Richard Meier, Peggy Siegal, who made a mountain of food on her plate; Regis and Joy Philbin, Tony Bennett and Susan Crow, Bill Finneran and his guest." (NYSD)





"The greatest jokes, Louis C.K. tells me, never register as jokes. Not quite. The punch line of a great joke may punctuate it and make people laugh, 'but it doesn't solve the joke, doesn't stop it, so the joke keeps going and going and going...' And the more it keeps going, he explains, the more it tends to 'point.' 'Toward what?' I ask. 'Well...nothing.' C.K. shrugs. By which, it turns out, he actually means: nothingness. 'I'll give you the perfect example,' he offers, 'but... Wait, is your oatmeal hot enough?' C.K. is an attentive conversationalist, lots of eye contact, asking as many questions as he answers. Oatmeal's fine, I tell him. 'I'm sorry," he says. 'I gotta get my oatmeal hot first!' Fair enough. It's a brittle February morning, the streets around this SoHo cafĂ© glazed with black ice. He arrived on foot—his walk pegged him a block away, that crouched, duck-foot shuffle, a man wary of his own senses—and needs his porridge just perfect." (GQ)



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