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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Stay the Piste!




"Once upon a time, clergymen saw mountain peaks as natural steeples leading them ever closer to God. Doctors considered the mountains the best medicine for tuberculosis, while explorers saw them as rocks never before touched by humans. I thought of those good people while T-barring up the Eggli, in way below freezing conditions but in bright sunshine. For some strange reason, whenever I’m really cold, I try to think of the German 6th Army trapped in Stalingrad, numbed in body and mind by the cold, while Hitler sits toasty warm back home and orders them to fight to the death. After that, skiing in subzero weather is easy. Nowadays most skiers wear helmets and ski masks, but at 78 years of age I refuse to look ridiculously like a boy racer, and to hell with safety. The mother of my children ditto. Where did the present craze with helmets originate? From helmet adverts that tell us how easy it is to get brain damage if one crashes on hard snow. Mind you, brain damage in Gstaad is caused mainly by indoor snow, as most people here apr├Ęs-ski. Last week was as good as it gets: the slopes empty, the snow perfect, the sun shining. But it was very, very cold. Snowcapped mountains are a magnificent sight, and when one thinks that an arrowhead of the Bronze Age was discovered here by some American tourists not so long ago, one sees Hannibal crossing the Alps as a recent visitor. The greatest mountaineer alive is the Swiss, Ueli Steck, a 38-year-old who has scaled the Eiger’s north face solo in 2:47:33, the equivalent of running a marathon in 60 minutes. He is called the 'Swiss Machine' by those in the know, and he goes up mountains alpine style, without fixed ropes or oxygen. I have never met him, although I know someone who accomplishes similar feats of daring, a local Gstaad man by the name of Kobe, pronounced Kubby. He, too, has gone up the Eiger’s north face, a treacherous, almost 90-degree slope of limestone and ice. It’s a funny thing, courage. Kobe and I used to train in karate together, and he’d flinch when I attacked jodan style, to the face. Yet he’d go up like a mountain goat, armed only with crampons and ice axe in places I couldn’t watch on film, such would be the vertigo. Courage, incidentally, is what one loses with age. Until three or four years ago I could still ski quite fast, but no longer. One begins with fearing a fall, and the next thing you know one is slowly going down a steep slope, like an old lady crossing a busy street. Young schussboomers whizz by, evoking anger at their arrogance, and at one’s cowardice to schuss behind them and pass them. Maybe in the next life. Eight people died in an avalanche last week in France, and signs are posted all over not to go off piste. So what did my son do? He went with Lara Livanos on a helicopter and skied all day with her and a guide in deep powder and way off piste, while her husband and I sat drinking at the Eagle Club in the sun. Afterward the four of us skied quite fast on piste, without helmets and being rowdy, John Taki leading the group to take nonstop turns finishing with a schuss. The Wasserngrat used to be Papa Hemingway’s favorite mountain, except that he’d go up with skins, drink his wine and eat his prepared lunch, then ski down once and for all. It would take him two hours to go up, and about 30 minutes to descend." (Taki)


Ronald Perelman, Sheila Nevins, and Rosie O'Donnell.


"It was Wednesday and the Michael’s lunch. In the Garden Room Ron Perelman hosted a luncheon for Rosie O’Donnell to celebrate the documentary she made for HBO about women’s health. There were about fifty guests, mainly women including Katie Holmes, Desiree Gruber, Tamara Mellon, Daryl Roth, Trudie Styler, Martha Stewart, Marlo Thomas, Marina Abramovic, Marie Brenner, Arianna Huffington, Joanna Coles, Joan Kron, Alina Cho, Sheila Nevins, Elaine Irwin, Katherine Farley, Dr. Allison Spatz, Debra Lee, Chris Taylor, Claire Atkinson, Dr. Jonathan LaPook, Fran Townsend, Roberta Karp, Cindi Berger, Ashleigh Banfield, Jean Doumanian, Liz Smith, Ellen Levine, Cecile Richards, Barbara Walters, Dr. Holly Anderson, Linda Stasi, to name just a handful. Mr. Perelman was present as was Richard Johnson of the NY Post and PR guru Ken Sunshine. I was not present so I don’t know what went on but there surely was a lot of talk. What’s the attraction? For a New York restaurant luncheon, (or luncheons), on a single day (or days in this case), all in one room and on the same day, you have movie stars, real estate tycoons, university presidents (Neil Rudenstine was president of Harvard from 1991 to 2001), retailing executives (Delphine Arnault is a VP of LVMH, her father’s company) writers, playwrights, columnists, theatre producers, television producers, film producers, politicos, advertising executives, public relations executives, talent agents (Kevin Huvane is head of Creative Artists Agency), television commentators, music industry executives, philanthropists, book publishers and editors, magazine publishers and editors, investment bankers, celebrities, media marketing executives, socialites, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. It’s the heat of the Big Town. It’s not a club although there’s a clubbiness to it for those of us who partake regularly. Yet nevertheless, all guests at Michael’s are greeted with same warmth, good cheer and efficiency and the waitstaff is patient, accommodating and eager to please. Plus there’s the tasty menu. Meanwhile in the Garden Room ..." (NYSD)




Bride catches Wall Street ‘Wolf’ in bed with socialite


"Barry Gesser — one of the wolves of Wall Street — had his marriage to actress Stacey Alysson end after lasting just 15 days in January when his bride came home and found him with New York socialite Dori Cooperman. Gesser — a friend of Jordan Belfort whose house in Bedford was featured in the New York Times — was charged in 1999 with stock fraud and racketeering. He pleaded guilty to fraud, served three years probation and forfeited $2.1 million. Having relocated to Beverly Hills, Gesser married the gorgeous Alysson earlier this year after 14 months of dating and gave her a $60,000 diamond ring. But the couple split in dramatic fashion on Jan. 29, when Alysson returned home to find Cooperman “there in bed with him wearing my clothes,' she said.Cooperman told me she was a houseguest of Gesser, her friend of 20 years. 'We were just sitting and talking. I may have put on [Alysson’s] T-shirt by mistake. They started arguing. I went to my room. The next thing I know the police are there.' No one was charged, but Alysson asserted five days later, when she obtained a temporary restraining order, '[Gesser] told me to leave my wedding ring. He told me if I didn’t, he would bury me six feet under . . . I took this threat seriously because he is a convicted felon with no regard for the law and deep connections to the Mafia.' While Gesser denies Alysson’s version of events, the unhappy newlyweds will be in court on Feb. 24 when Alysson will seek a permanent restraining order. Alysson told me, 'I’m afraid of him. I don’t want anything from him. I made a bad mistake [in getting married] and got out quick!' But she’s keeping the ring.

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