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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Ari Fleischer.


"On with the day in the City. It was Wednesday and I went to Michael’s. It was very pleasant, that summer serenity, but definitely quieter. Voices quieter. No running around from table to table which is very common on the Wednesday crowd. None of that. No big celebrity names ... except ... one of the biggest, someone I don’t think I’ve ever seen at Michael’s: Oprah. This was Monday lunch. She was looking good and like the iconic figure that she became. She was at table with several men including Ralph Rucci, the master of contemporary haute couture. But it was Oprah's lunch. It had to be; it's Oprah. Business obviously. Whatever they were enjoying the table. Yesterday’s celebrity of the moment-at-Michael’s was Ari Fleischer. Remember Ari Fleischer, George Dubya’s press guy. Even I do, however vaguely since I rarely watch TV. Genial, easy-going, glasses, ready smile, a good ambassador. He was lunching with four others and if you were writing a story about what was going on among the characters at this one particular table, it would be about four people having a very enjoyable and genial lunch with this one particular character who’s lived in the Big Time in the corridors of power. That’s always potentially interesting. They know stuff that we’d never know. Also in that category is Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes who was also lunching at Michael’s yesterday. Steve, also a genial guy, almost laid back in manner, but sharp and always curious, has spent the better part of his life trolling corridors of power for stories. He knows stuff about the bigger world out there and outside our ken. That atmosphere is kind of the charisma of Michael’s, in the worlds of media, marketing, entertainment and banking. That ultimately what draws me to it for the NYSD, a way to catch the pulse of this place, this world we’re living in. The Michael’s Roster. Ari Fleisher and guests, literary agent Michael Carlisle; Michael Clinton of Hearst, Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX with David Stern; Steve Kroft; Michael Meyers; investment banker Alan Mnuchin; Glamour publisher, Connie Anne Phillips; actress Aliza Rosen with the countess of Housewives, LuAnn deLesseps (those two girls were talking up a storm); Henry Schleiff with Regis, the man himself ..." (NYSD)


Clintons rent Hamptons home for $100K


"Bill and Hillary Clinton will be slumming it in the Hamptons, paying $100,000 to rent an Amagansett house for the final weeks of August. The former first couple has locked up a property known to locals as the 'Bell Estate' at 44 Broadview Road  for three weeks this month, the Huffington Post reported. The website put the value of the house at $18 million. But Suffolk County property records said it has a market value of $6.6 million. The 7-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom vacation rental is on a 200-foot-high bluff with a view of Gardiners Bay and Gardiners Island. But since it’s north of the highway and railroad tracks, it’s considered the cheap side of town — with just a bay view and not an ocean view. 'Bill and Hillary are going to be my neighbors in Amagansett this summer,' HuffPo contributor and Amagansett resident Blake Fleetwood wrote, spilling the beans. 'But, they are definitely laying low this August, compared to their fancier digs of years past.'" (P6)





"In a city where money is a mantra, a surprising new trend is keeping Wall Street titans grounded, even as markets fluctuate. Some of New York’s most successful finance and business leaders—including billionaire hedge funder Dan Loeb and Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio—have adopted the daily practice of transcendental meditation. Transcendental meditation (known as TM) entered Western pop culture via the Beatles, in their porn-stache and Nehru jacket phase. Their guru was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a controversial Indian teacher who was accused of  peddling TM to get rich. Others ridiculed TM’s eyebrow-raising claims of being able to bring about world peace, or that its practitioners could literally fly. In the 1980s, a spate of lawsuits filed by former adherents against Maharishi and his organization made claims ranging from fraud to manipulation and emotional distress. Damaged by negative publicity and dismissed by the mainstream as a hippie affectation, TM’s moment seemed to be over. But with a resurgence of interest from Hollywood to Wall Street, the movement has enjoyed a comeback in the years since Maharishi died in 2008. 'He didn’t seek the Beatles out, they came to him,' says Bob Roth, a TM educator of 42 years who worked closely with Maharishi. 'He said, ‘I love those boys, but they set my work back 30 years.’ That’s because it became a fad, rather than being seen as a medical process that has profound health benefits.' Mr. Roth is executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit founded by the Hollywood filmmaker to fund TM education. Much of the movement’s recent success can be credited to his skill at navigating the salons of the super-rich and famous, many of whom he teaches personally. Silvered, well-spoken and handsome, with a nice selection of trim suits, he is the opposite of a robe-wearing swami." (TheObserver)





"To be clear, the overall House atmosphere favors Republicans. The president’s party almost always loses seats in a midterm: an average of 33 seats per election in the 38 midterms held since the start of the Civil War. Of course, those elections often come after the president’s party was elected with acclaim two years prior to the midterm, inflating the president’s party’s numbers in the House to artificial heights, but President Obama and his Democrats are already at a rather low ebb in the House, where they hold just 201 seats (assuming two safe Democratic vacancies in NC-12 and NJ-1 are filled by Democrats in upcoming special elections). President Obama’s approval rating is 43%, two points lower than where he was on Election Day 2010. The national House generic ballot is roughly tied, although these polls generally have a built-in Democratic slant, so Republicans probably have a tiny edge in all actuality (though considerably smaller than 2010 at this time).But the GOP is limited in the sense that the House playing field is small: The most recent Crystal Ball House ratings list just 37 seats in the most competitive categories, Toss-up or Leans Democratic/Republican. Of those seats, 21 are currently held by Democrats and 16 by Republicans. This is a much smaller number than in previous cycles. For instance, in 2012 around this time we had 59 races in the most competitive categories, and in 2010 we listed 69 seats in these categories. Even if there’s a wave coming — and there’s not much sign of that right now — there are only so many Democratic seats that would get swept up. What follows is a gaming out of the most competitive House races, and also how the Republicans could potentially get to an 11-seat gain, and their goal. Interspersed in the description of the state of play below is explanations of 13 House rating changes we’re making this week, which are listed in Table 1." (Sabato)




"In Amy Sohn’s new novel, The Actress, a millennial starlet is explicitly cast as the girlfriend of an older, closeted gay male heartthrob. Maddy Freed, an indie actress whose star is on the rise, is invited to read for an Oscar-worthy movie role opposite Steven Weller, two decades her senior. Maddy is instantly taken with Steven, a celebrated actor with a multi-decade career.Steven has always been ripe for tabloid fodder given the endurance of his career. But despite cycling through an array of girlfriends (and one wife) over the years, gay rumors tail him constantly. Maddy, aware of the rumors, dismisses them as such and pursues a romantic relationship anyway. But as the two actors pursue different projects and end up shooting in different locations, Steven’s gay rumors resurface again and again in the tabloids, with even Maddy second-guessing the legitimacy of their relationship. I emailed with Amy about queer representation in the media and celebrity narratives.
How did you arrive at the contemporary plot of an actress being recruited as a beard for a closeted gay male actor? Please tell me it was from reading tabloids. Of course I was intrigued by the fact that this has been a narrative in Hollywood going back at least as far as the 1930s and continuing in current tabloid magazines. We now know that in the 1930s, several gay actors married for public-relations reasons. But in modern times, we just don’t know. This is a what-if novel, not an I-know novel. As I sat down to write, I quickly rejected the idea of an eyes-open marriage contract because I felt the reader would not sympathize with a woman who married for money, even if the eventual complication was love. Instead, I liked the idea of someone who doesn’t know she’s been plucked and then comes to wonder if she has been. This was partly because it’s a metaphor for all marriages—we wonder to what extent we are used or using. We feel unknown or unseen or say our partner has become 'a stranger.' And it was partly because I love women-going-crazy stories. I wanted to convey the paranoia a woman feels when she worries her husband is unfaithful, and equally chilling, when she worries that she was never loved. I was very influenced by Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady in which Madame Merle and Gilbert Osmond scheme to get Isabel to marry Osmond—and he is so seductive, and Isabel so hubristic about her own ability to help him (with her inheritance) that she throws caution to the wind, ignores all the warning signs, and marries him. Typical twenty-something." (TheHairpin)




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