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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



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"The sands beneath the New York social set are shifting. Charities are seeking more creative ways to raise cash than seated dinners, so there is more mingling, events are less formal, and guests are more diverse. Now, a P.R. wiz or new gallery owner is just as likely to drift off with a bored look on their face from a chat with a society type as vice versa. The social scene is lined with daggers, and if your currency slips, for whatever reason, the daggers will also slip—into your back. Was this what L’Wren Scott feared as her business allegedly took a nosedive during her final months of life? Conjecture is all we have, along with the dawning of a new certainty for everyone in this town. Buckets of cash still cut a path through a crowd, but if you’re the partner or offspring of the money, you’d better have something interesting to say or, rather, do. Jill Kargman, the author of The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund and Arm Candy, attended the prestigious Spence School with longtime pal Gwyneth Paltrow. Chanel once co-hosted one of Ms. Kargman’s book parties, and there is no doubting her high society credentials. If she wanted to be called a socialite—someone perfectly dressed and socially recognized in the tradition of Nan Kempner, Babe Paley or Brooke Astor—she could easily claim the label. But she absolutely hates that word. So do many other women to whom you might once have affixed the label. 'To me, the term ‘socialite’ negates actual work as the social part eclipses any career,' Ms. Kargman says. “' generally think socialites don’t work and ‘stay at home’ with the kids even though they have half of Manila in their penthouse.' Even Tinsley Mortimer, the Southern belle who could be considered the Manhattan society doyenne of the last decade—and for years held first place on the website Socialite Rank—bristles at the word. 'I consider myself a hard-working girl who started at Vogue then worked at Harrison & Shriftman after graduation from Columbia,' claims Ms. Mortimer. Since then, she has gone on to start a handbag line for Samantha Thavasa, a fashion line called Riccime and written a novel titled Southern Charm. 'Whether with handbags, makeup or clothing,' she notes, 'I always did all of my own designs and creations and worked very hard. [Accordingly] I always felt defensive about being called a socialite.' Ms. Kargman insists that today the term 'socialite' conjures 'a different time when perhaps women didn’t have as many opportunities.' Lucia Hwong Gordon, who recently chaired the Women’s Project Theater gala, which raised $210,000 toward the Women’s Project Lab for early career development for writers, directors and producers, claims that socialites can be a force for great philanthropic good and that 'many socialites are women who had careers as professional women on Wall Street and public relations, as lawyers and in the arts. As a socialite, it is a duty to be a social light, beaming light on issues and conditions we can improve.'" (Observer)





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"Talk about a high-concept lunch date: bring Nancy Pelosi, who from 2007 until 2011 was the first woman to serve as speaker of the House (she is now the minority leader), together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress who plays the vice president (and as-yet-unannounced presidential candidate) on the HBO comedy 'Veep,' whose third season begins Sunday. Of course, Ms. Louis-Dreyfus has real-life rank, too, having won four Emmy Awards for her work on three television comedies: 'Seinfeld' and 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' as well as 'Veep.'Over lunch at A.O.C. restaurant in Los Angeles, Ms. Pelosi (in a pistachio jacket and trousers) and Ms. Louis-Dreyfus (in an embroidered black cardigan and slim skirt) shared plates of roasted vegetables, cheeses and charcuterie, and renewed an acquaintance that had begun a month earlier at the White House state dinner for the French president, Fran├žois Hollande. After some initial debate about whether Ms. Pelosi should be addressed as 'Madam Leader' ('No, please. If Julia is Julia, then I’m Nancy'), the two spoke with The New York Times about political wardrobes, powerful women and empty nests." (NYTimes)






"I haven't watched in a long, long time.But there was a time when I couldn't miss it. It was the SNL of its day. It was our program. With our sensibilities and irreverence.Yes, once upon a time the baby boomers were the younger generation, champing at the bit to replace our parents. But now we're fading off into the sunset, just like Dave.It's hard getting old. You lose the drive. The need to prove yourself. To pull yourself up and demonstrate that you're worthwhile. Age and you start to accept who you are and where you are, the die has been cast, your fate has been determined.Get old and you don't want to try new products, you believe efforts to change the world are futile, you know life is no longer about acquisitions but stories. Friendships and the tales that are told are everything. If you watch late night TV...you don't, because you're already asleep. And if you're up at that hour, you're watching Netflix, or your DVR, not the endless parade of celebrities selling stuff.But at first, those celebrities wouldn't do Dave's show. He was on uber-late, when VCRs were just becoming ubiquitous, when the only people up were us. So suddenly we knew who Larry 'Bud' Melman was. Biff was one of our friends. The whole menagerie of people on the show...we knew them, long before we were familiar with Howard Stern's Wack Pack. Yes, Letterman was the first person to put Howard on national television. And show business is all about loyalty, Howard's never forgotten it. And Howard's hitting his stride right now. But Dave is getting out of the way. You could see it coming. His talk of antidepressants. Going on Alec Baldwin's podcast and declaring that he just didn't have it in him to work that hard anymore, to come up with all those stunts.Many of which were conceived by his then girlfriend Merrill Markoe, who has been forgotten to history. Ain't that always the case. The manager or the label may make all the money, but the act gets the fame, and fame is forever. You watched to see what they'd come up with next. Not only Stupid Pet Tricks and the Alka-Seltzer suit, but the location shoots, how they made Sirajul and Mujibur stars. Unlike today, Letterman and company were poking fun at show business, as if to say I KNOW I'M A GAP-TOOTHED COMEDIAN, I KNOW I'M ONLY HERE TEMPORARILY! If you don't drink the kool-aid, you can have fun with it. And Dave did. Until he moved to 11:35. Then he put on a suit, got rid of the wrestling shoes and sport jacket, he got slick, but we didn't care, because suddenly Dave was God, back when whomever aired at 11:35 was so. Those days are long gone. But what killed Dave's reign at the top was hosting the Oscars. Because unlike phony actors, Dave's got an edge, he's not an air-kissing ass-kisser. As a result, the press turned on him and then the public and soon middle of the road Jay Leno held the crown, and mostly kept it in the ensuing decades. Not that Dave was no longer good. It's just the era had passed." (Lefsetz)













"The first dog was named Gucci. As Justin, my trainer (as if I were some kind of dog too!), told it, it was because Gucci’s owner wanted to advertise that she’d spent as much on him as on a designer handbag. Gucci was definitely cuter than a handbag, but a lot less practical. Bernese Mountain dogs are built to survive in the Alps, and a high-elevation Financial District apartment in New York City is hardly the same thing. Coaxing Gucci into the elevator, and keeping him from barking long enough to hustle across the marble lobby and out the service entrance, was an act of sheer will that I tried to muster and brute strength that I certainly lacked.Out on the street hush was neither a worry nor a possibility. Instead, the jangling crowd swarming from the 1 train at Rector Street over to the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial fell heavily, like drowsy smoked bees. Wearing a cute cotton summer dress that I’d bought for two or three euros at an Italian flea market, I was trying to hit the sweet spot between cultivating an air of well-traveled sophistication that the dog-walking agency and its bourgeoise clients desired in their own lives and a free-wheeling, youthful vigor that would keep anyone from questioning why I didn’t have a real job yet.The truth was, I was 21, stinking, and broke. In an ill-advised attempt at escape from my jobless anxiety, New York City, and hemorrhaging heartbreak, I had blown all my savings on a month of dissatisfying travel around Europe with my best friend, and made it back to the city with a tan, twenty dollars in my bank account, and nowhere to live. At the time, I was sleeping on friends’ couches and hadn’t yet gotten around to washing the bagful of laundry that I’d hauled across the Atlantic and back. I was trying not to hate the wealthier friends I’d met in college, where the elite institution we attended appeared to equalize us. I had learned about lattes and kale, started making offhand jokes about Marx, invited them to see museum exhibits with me. Then we graduated, and the chasm of our origins widened again, though it was my friends’ material comforts, and the meals they shared, that sustained me in those hardest weeks. I wondered if the tourists could smell me.I shouldn’t have worried. They were transfixed by Gucci and Loki, a lithe greyhound who lived in Gucci’s building, and who I walked at the same time. The dogs really were lovely beasts, and after sitting bored and alone in their air-conditioned apartments all day, it was a joy for them to be out in the colors and wild odors of Manhattan, to have city children smear sticky, affectionate fingers across their snouts while bewildered visitors patted their backs for a firm and muscular reassurance that they weren’t as far from home as they feared. Suited businessmen on their Wall Street lunch breaks complimented me on the dogs’ pedigrees, on how Loki had been trained to piss over the grates." (TheBillfold)

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