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Friday, September 05, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres









Fern and Bill on stage at the 92Y.


"On Wednesday evening, I had an extraordinary experience. My friend Sue Rolontz (ex Tobe fashion expert) got tickets to the 92nd Street Y Fern Mallis conversation with Bill Cunningham. Fern Mallis was the head of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). She started there in 1991 and helped organize the American fashion world into a powerful unity. Since leaving the CFDA Fern has created her own business, and has a very successful program at the Y called 'Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis.;  Although all of her past shows with Oscar, Marc, Calvin, Donna, Michael (you all know their last names) have been super, Wednesday night's was extraordinary. Bill Cunningham is the famous New York Times photographer. I don't know about you, but the first section I take out of the Sunday Times is the Style section, and the first pages I turn to are 'On the Street' with Bill, along with his 'Party Scenes.' I confess I am fortunate enough to have known Bill for ages. Bill's party scenes do represent the highlight of the week's charity events, and most often he will attend an event that most have not heard of but one that Bill thinks is a good cause. He is a very shy and private man, with a heart as large as possible, incredible taste, fantastic eyes, 85-year-old youth beyond measure, and quiet pride. He will not accept gifts, payments, even a sandwich. I did get him to accept one in Paris as we were running between shows and I am sure he must have been very hungry and very tired as he accepted not only a ride but a sandwich!!!! How did Fern Mallis get Bill to become a Fashion Icon? She begged, pleaded, pestered; all to no avail ... and she gave up! But, this Spring, at a CFDA award event, Fern, just back from a trip to Mumbai, was wearing a shocking jonquil tunic that she had made there. Fern and Bill were chatting while he was photographing, when suddenly he bumped into her spilling her vodka cocktail all over her dress. This had never happened to him since 1978 when he first started photographing for the New York Times. What could Bill do for Fern? Pay the cleaning bill? Go to India to replicate the dress? Fern kept saying, 'it's vodka, it will dry.' Until finally she said, 'Here's what you can do.' And voilĂ  — Bill at the Y." (NYSD)


494100895 Love Letters to Joan
May 27, 2014. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Michigan Avenue Magazine)


"This wasn’t supposed to be an obituary. She was supposed to beat the odds—like she had her entire life—just one more time. And then she’d wake up and read all the things people had been saying about her all week, before she was dead—or as she might say, when the fuckers really meant it.
These aren’t suck-uppity celebrities here. These are real people (well, some are journalists, but still), many of whom had only one encounter with Joan Rivers—yet somehow that contact had a profound affect on their lives. That was the thing about Joan. She was never like the rest of the bitches. (Hello, Barbara Walters? Did you really just say in the Daily News, 'She wasn’t a great beauty and she didn’t have great success with men'? Hahahahahaha! Oh, Joan, where are you when we need you?)
Anyway, one thing that was clear in the awful days since she went for that allegedly-routine procedure and stopped breathing (Memo to Melissa: Sue the bastards!): she touched so many people out there. I mean, really, really touched. I was one of them.I was a 23-year-old writer for Atlantic City Magazine. (The New Yorker was my second choice.) Joan was my first “celebrity interview.” And a cover story! I was terrified, and I am not the terrified type. But this was Joan Rivers. At the time, 1984, she was the best thing to happen to Atlantic City since the diving horse. She had just secured the biggest entertainment contract in town, bigger than Sinatra’s. She was at the top of her game. (These were the days of her awesome Liz Taylor jokes: 'She’s so fat, when she wears a yellow dress, 30 school kids try to board her.' God, I loved that joke.) She had every reason NOT to indulge some idiot rookie writer from Atlantic City Magazine. But she did. I remember arriving at her suite at Resorts International. Her husband Edgar, who would commit suicide three years later, was there with her, hovering around. At one point, their then-16-year old daughter, Melissa, called and it was the only time I saw him smile. Joan sat right next to me on a couch in her tricked-out casino suite. I had stupid questions. She gave me answers that made my questions look smart. A few times, she held my hand. I remember that one of the neatest things I learned about her was that whenever she stayed in a hotel, she always took the miniature shampoo bottles home with her. And the little soaps and I think even the shower caps. She kept them in a closet in her home because she was terrified that someday she could lose it all. At least she’d have shampoo. At the end of our interview, she peppered me with questions about whether I was dating anyone and whether he was marriage material (yes and no). She encouraged me to get with the program! Then she walked over to the bar in the suite and thrust at me an expensive bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse that Resorts had put there. Being a newbie and an asshole, I demurred. Oh, no, Joan, I cannot take wine from my subject! Journalists must have ethics! She laughed. Then she said, 'It’s a rich company, take it! And drink it with your boyfriend, whoever he might be.'" (Lisa DePaulo)



BY GENE ARIAS/NBC/NBCU PHOTO


"There’s a lot to be said for living to an age where you don’t give a faint damn anymore, and for a generation or so that’s the age Joan Rivers was their entire lives. Generation X, Y, and into the Millennial beyond only know the Joan Rivers who was the red carpet scourge of E!, the host of her own show on QVC, the talk show guest and stand-up who stuck a hot fork into the pretensions and absurdities of tabloid celebrities, converting every day and every venue into her own personal Friars Roast. Those who came late to the broadcast that was her public life know little or nothing about the Joan Rivers who didn’t conduct herself like the fifth and most outrageous Golden Girl, who came up in the same Greenwich Village club scene as Woody Allen and Richard Pryor, appeared in the film version of John Cheever’s The Swimmer, and suffered enough personal and career blows to qualify for a Judy Garland purple heart: the falling out with Tonight show host Johnny Carson and the banishment into his permanent Siberia; the subsequent failure of her own late-night show, where she was introduced during the premiere to the brassy strains of 'The Bitch Is Back'; the suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, months after the show’s cancellation (he had been a producer on the show, the pressure of which, compounded by the heart medication he was on, may have deepened his clinical depression); and too many controversies to count that rocked her cockpit wherever she went. To anyone who came of hazy consciousness later than 1990, say, Joan Rivers has prowled the pop culture stage entirely as a self-caricature, a worthy foil for Miss Piggy of the Muppets. Yet self-caricature is what Joan Rivers strove for and it was her triumph that she so flamboyantly achieved it. Artifice released the raw caustic agency of her comic voice. " (James Wolcott)


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