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Monday, December 01, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Pope Francis  in Turkey
Pope Francis leaves Istanbul for Rome on Sunday at the end of his three-day visit to Turkey. Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP


"The fourth reigning pope to come to the predominantly Muslim country, Francis’s visit came at a time of great difficulties for Middle Eastern Christian communities, especially in Syria and Iraq where civil war and the growing influence of Islamic State militants who have captured large swaths of both countries have displaced millions of people, with almost 2 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. On Sunday, the 77-year-old Argentinian pontiff repeated his call to put an end to all forms of fundamentalism not through military interventions, but by eradicating poverty, hunger and marginalisation around the world, all of which facilitated the recruitment of terrorists. During his three-day visit to Turkey, the pope has drawn attention to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East while discussing relations with Islam. He has also addressed the schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. In an unprecedented gesture of humility and respect towards the Orthodox church, Francis bowed before Bartholomew and asked for his blessing on Saturday during a joint ecumenical service in Istanbul at the Patriarchal Church of St George, the first pontiff ever to do so. Bartholomew, with whom Francis is said to share close personal ties, was last year also the first Orthodox patriarch to attend a papal inaugural mass since the split between the churches almost 1,000 years ago." (Guardian)



Photo: Martin Schoeller


"Frank Rich: I haven’t thought about (Alan King) in a long time. He had an incredible longevity.
Chris Rock: He was amazing. But there’s a certain type of These kids today and the rock and roll, you know? Frank Rich: Whereas Joan Rivers … CR: Great person, underrated comedian. Who the hell’s funnier than Joan Rivers? That whole reference thing: Joan updated constantly. FR: Well, she was voracious. CR: Okay, these Liz Taylor jokes are gone, and they are now Lindsay Lohan jokes. The compliment you give of a comedian is: Who wants to follow them onstage? Nobody wanted to follow Joan Rivers, ever. Even in her 80s, nobody wanted to follow her. FR: You’ve always been incredibly respectful and a fan of great comedians ahead of you. Have any ever been disdainful of you? CR: I mean, maybe Cosby early on, but he turned pretty quick. Other than that, nobody.What do you make of what’s happening to Cosby now? CR: I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby." (NYMag)


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"A good review from Vanessa Friedman, the fashion director and chief fashion critic of the New York Times, is what designers pray for in the wee hours of the night. Before joining the Times this year, Friedman spent 11 years as the fashion editor of the Financial Times, despite having started her career as a culture writer. ('They were like, 'Write about boots!' she recalled. 'So I said, 'OK, as long as you pay me.') Meeting me at the Lambs Club, a hotbed of high-powered publishing types near Times Square, she wore a black pantsuit with her signature red hair pulled into a bun. She's super sharp but friendly; her demeanor says, We can have a fun chat, but really I mean business. As I dug into my kale and snow pea salad and Vanessa nibbled her cold poached tuna salad, we chatted about the importance of bad reviews, the difference between newspaper critics and magazine critics and whether a certain designer is the Joan Crawford of fashion ... Have you ever been banned by a show or gotten in a fight with anybody about it? VF: No. I've been spoken to -- politely. And disagreed with. But it's never resulted in anything more than that. From whom? VF: Mr. Armani spoke to me once. Someone at Apple spoke to me. I've also had a lot of designers, after I've been critical of them, not even speak to me in a negative way but want to talk about why I think what I think. They want me to explain myself more, which I think is completely fair. I owe it to them. If you're going to criticize someone, you've got to be willing to explain your thinking and talk to them about your point of view, even if it's uncomfortable. I have to at some point get to John Galliano. What do you think about John? VF: I have a friend who is outraged that anyone would hire Galliano and thinks it's far too early to even think about it. I feel like if Abe Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League thinks it's OK, it's OK. I'm always fascinated by the difference between really talented assholes and really nice people with no talent. Because there are so many of both. To me, if you're talented then you should be allowed to work. Joan Crawford was a great movie star; she would never be mother of the year. I don't think that her being a horrible mother erases the fact that she was a great movie star. So that's how I feel about John Galliano. He's the Joan Crawford of fashion. VF: He would probably like that [laughs]. I have mixed feelings because I think the kind of 'fashion machine' clearly got to John, and I find it weird that he would come back in at a level that demands the amount of production of having menswear and womenswear. In a way, I was hoping he would use this opportunity not just to learn something about history, but also to think about fashion again -- what fashion means and what it takes. Whatever you think of Gaultier ending his RTW, the idea that you would be like, 'Hey, I'm just not going to do this anymore' is an interesting idea." (Papermag)





"After my travels I’m home in the Keys and settling in when I heard a certain siren call, I learned my favorite band, Xperimento, was playing this weekend at my favorite bar, the The Green Parrot. All I could think of was wanting to gather up all of town to attend the nights of their lives. This band is a gorgeous work in progress, hence their name. They combine all sorts of genres and their music is ever evolving, sometimes even the musicians are switched out for others. I texted everyone I know, and facebooked those I don’t and urged them to attend the shows. As perhaps you know the Parrot has a new dance floor, so I was glad to go check it out. It is matte black and flat and even like a freshly tarred road. It was shocking. The new floor felt great under my flip-flops, and it no longer has the shredded wooden floorboards, one side with a dip and trip area, or the one hundred years of spilled beer making for a tacky grabby surface where on occasion a flip-flop did get stuck. But it is so ugly, I can't love it. Except that I know the young demoiselle who worked on it, helped make that new floor, and she is a very special little angel, you know her as Amy Badass. So I have to learn to love the dance floor." (Christina Oxenberg)


Elegance Is Not a Sin



"The leaves are falling nonstop, like names dropped in Hollywood, and it has suddenly turned colder than the look I got from a very pretty girl in a downtown restaurant. I had gone outside for a cigarette while dining with Gay Talese, the writer, when two men and a lady came out looking for a cab. The scene was straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story: 'I love you, I’ll take you home,' said one of the young men. 'I love you more, let me take you home,' said the other. Both were well dressed and spoke proper English. There was nothing else to do but for me to butt in and I did. “I love you the most, and I’ve got a car and driver waiting,” I said to her. That’s when I got the cold stare, although to their credit, the two preppies laughed. The three of them wandered off into the cold night looking for a taxi. I went back in and had a very good evening with the writer and a beautiful African-American model. Such are the joys of the Big Bagel. Anything can happen at any moment.
Speaking of Fitzgerald, a new musical adaptation of his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise has opened on 42nd street, one I plan to see if I can find the girl that gave me the cold look on that freezing night in SoHo. She looked like an upper-class flapper, a perfect companion for a pre-jazz-age cocktail before we hit the Great White Way and enjoy Scott’s autobiographical novel set to music. In the review I read, the musical takes place in Princeton’s ivied halls, and if memory serves (I read the novel when I was in prep school), Amory Blaine, the hero, is in hot pursuit of a debutante named Rosalind.  Fitzgerald called himself the romantic egotist in the novel, one that put him on the map at an age when his contemporary, Papa Hemingway, was a starving unknown living in a cold flat in Paris. We tend to forget how unbearably young and attractive those writers were back before the booze got to them. And how well dressed! And what perfect manners they affected. Today’s scribes tend to equate slovenly dress and boorish manners with talent. The aforementioned Gay Talese is an exception, but he is, after all, 82 years of age. Gay is a dandy, and during dinner he recounted how his father was an Italian immigrant who became a tailor but who never managed to save any money because he insisted on tailoring beautiful suits with very expensive material few people could afford. (His mother kept the family afloat.) I have never seen Talese in the 30 or more years I’ve known him without a perfectly cut suit and waistcoat, and always wearing a hat, the way men used to do when manners were still more important than money." (Taki)


With Natalie Wood.


"Last Friday morning, my great friend Luis Estevez, the fashion designer, died at his home in Miami, exactly one week before his 86th birthday. About a year and a half ago, Luis, who lived much of his adult life in California, had moved to Miami to live near the caring and watchful eyes of his two brothers, Santos (Jimmy) Estevez and Patricio (Pat) Estevez and their wives. He was born in Havana on December 5, 1928, the son of  Luis Estevez de Navarro and Gloria de Galvez. He grew up in Havana until he was sent away to Sanford Prep, a boarding school in Wilmington. After boarding school he enrolled in college to study architecture. On his first summer vacation he got a summer job at Lord & Taylor through Henry Callahan, the Vice-President who knew the Estevez family in Havana. His first assignment was decorating a 'fabrics' window on the 38th Street side of the store. Part of the display was Luis’ use of the fabric to design a dress to demonstrate its use. The store’s president, Betty Shaver, a dynamic figure in the New York fashion and retail world in the post-War '40s and '50s was so impressed that she gave him an assignment of designing some fashion pieces under the store’s label. He never went back to college and remained in New York. Luis was a naturally gregarious man. He bore the formal etiquette of the Spanish upper classes and the bonhomie of an American boy. He also loved New York. His family connections were very social and he was quick to make friends. His success at Lord & Taylor led a family friend in Havana, the Countess de Camargo, to suggest that Luis go to Paris to learn more about the business. She arranged for him to work with Jean Patou. A year and a half later, he was back in New York and in business. By 1953, with two business partners he started a Seventh Avenue company Grenelle-Estevez, designing under his own label. This was unusual in those days in what was then known as the Garment Business, when the money men, the coat manufacturers made the rules and called the shots. Luis was one of the first, if not the very first to establish the name of the label. He was 25 years old. That same year, 1953, he married Betty Dew, an Englishwoman who grew up also in Nassau, Bahamas. The two had actually met when they were children one day when his father dropped him off on a beach one day and told him to amuse himself while he made a business call with his boat to a nearby location. It was on the beach that he met a girl about his age who told him he was trespassing on private property and had to get off. I don’t know how he handled this impossible demand although he told me in recounting years later that at the time she greatly intimidated him. The couple were married in New York at Luis’ apartment on Central Park South. His best man was Hubert de Givenchy, a friend from his early days in Paris." (NYMag)


James Toback recalls watching dance icon fight for taxi — literally


"James Toback once witnessed an altercation in Paris involving dance icon Rudolf Nureyev, who starred in his acclaimed ’83 drama 'Exposed.' 'Rudolf and I were freezing after a late-night dinner, desperately looking to hail a taxi,' the director said. But when a cab appeared, 'three German tourists tried to climb in.' After an argument, Toback suddenly 'heard a ‘crack’ [and] turned to see one of the Germans landing on the sidewalk face down. Rudolf had kicked him in the jaw. The other two fled. I asked Rudolf how often such incidents occurred. He smiled and said, ‘Not often enough.’'" (PageSix)

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