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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Getty


"It’s decision day in the UK, as voters go about the business of electing a new prime minister on an Election Day that’s widely expected to produce very little in terms of a clear mandate for anyone to actually govern. Amid the blizzard of speculation, pontifications and predictions of a muddled and confusing outcome, what should arm chair analysts be watching for in the final hours of voting and as returns start to come in?It’s good you asked – here’s five things to watch for as the day and night (and day and night . . . ) roll on.Will there be a big enough party or coalition to govern?
Current polls show neither the Conservative nor Labour Parties likely to command a majority. This means another coalition or a minority government backed by smaller parties that together can vote out any alternative government is the result the parties are planning for. And that means the race is now more about the aggregate numbers candidates can put together rather than who comes in first.
What matters is not percentage of the vote, but the number of seats, and there are few in particular that really matter. The result will be determined more by the quirks of the first past-the-post electoral system than any of the parties’ share of the vote. Since 1945 less than 30 percent of seats have changed hands on average in an election.This has led to hyper-focus on so-called marginals. The outcomes of the 100 most marginal constituencies in England are decided by a small number of volatile voters inside them – maybe as little as 135,000 voters." (Politico)





"If there is a poster child for new-media success—especially when it comes to attracting a valuable millennial audience—Vice Media arguably has ­­more of a claim to that title than anyone. The company, which started as a free music-and-culture magazine in Montreal in 1994, is now a behemoth: According to remarks made by CEO Shane Smith at the so-called 'NewFronts” for advertisers, Vice will have revenues of $1 billion this year, and a recent financing round valued the company at $2.5 billion. Even BuzzFeed, the other company that often gets mentioned as a new-media success story, is a relative pipsqueak by comparison: It raised $50 million in a financing last year, one of the largest rounds in the media industry, but that values the company at just $800 million. Vice is more than three times that size and still growing rapidly. One crucial question that Vice’s success raises for other media companies—assuming they can get past turning green with envy­—is whether the company is in some sense a “unicorn.” In the technology industry, that term has come to mean any startup that is valued at more than $1 billion—see Fortune‘s soon-to-be-updated Unicorn List—and Vice fits that description. But the traditional meaning of the term is more important here. Can Vice’s success be duplicated by others, or is it somehow as rare as a mythical creature with a horn on its head? As my colleague Erin Griffith described in her recent feature story on the rise of Internet video companies, much of Vice’s growth and revenue comes from its investment in video, both through gritty news features on subjects like the Islamic State as well as its lighter coverage of youth culture." (Fortune)


Image #: 18538    ***EXCLUSIVE***SPECIAL RATES APPLY.  PLEASE CALL 212.251.0140 TO NEGOTIATE FEES***    Artists Andy Warhol (left) and Jean Michael Basquiat (right), photographed in New York, New York, on July 10, 1985.   Michael Halsband /Landov
     
Artists Andy Warhol (left) and Jean Michael Basquiat (right), photographed in New York, New York, on July 10, 1985. Michael Halsband /Landov Photo: MICHAEL HALSBAND/Landov


"In a theater seating a few dozen on a stage crowded with spare canvases and Campbell’s Soup cans stuffed with paintbrushes, Andy Warhol, played by actor Ira Denmark in all black and a white wig, argued with Jean-Michel Basquiat, played by Calvin Levels in a slouching suit. 'You kept avoiding me like I was some kind of street urchin,' Basquiat tells his idol turned mentor of his early days selling postcards in the East Village and haunting the Factory lobby. Thus begins a depiction of their famous art-world bromance, brought to life in a recent in-progress rehearsal of Levels’s play Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat, a dramatic reimagining of the working process between the two artists as they created a series of collaborative canvases that mashed up Warhol’s slick Pop imagery with Basquiat’s neo-expressionist brushstrokes in the mid-1980s, just as the younger artist’s notoriety was peaking and the older one’s influence was waning. Levels’s play was inspired in part by photographs taken by Michael Halsband (who is also a producer on Collaboration) in 1985, recently on display at the National Arts Club, of Warhol and Basquiat decked out in boxing gear, throwing wan punches at each other, suggesting a certain artistic combat that was at least in part staged for the benefit of the cameras and mutual mythmaking. It’s this competitive conflict that provides the driving force of the play, which I attended a reading of recently. It explores the full arc of that decade, from unbridled creativity to crippling drug addiction, the difficulties of fame, and both artists’ eventual deaths: Warhol, in 1987, at age 58, of complications from gallbladder surgery, followed by Basquiat, in 1988, of a heroin overdose, at only 27. 'Andy fulfilled a father figure role for Jean. Jean was very bright and very childlike at the same time. He was a big kid in a way. Though he had another side, too, that people talk about, that I encountered once,' Levels tells me. (As an actor, he’s known for his role as a car jacker in Adventures in Babysitting, which came out the same year Warhol died.) It was Levels’s only face-to-face interaction with Basquiat, and he never forgot it: 'When he did a show down at the Boone gallery, I went to see it. I took in the entire show, turned into a back room to see the last paintings, and Jean was standing there,' Levels says. 'I said, ‘Oh, Jean, Jean, I love your work, thank you very much. I’d love to talk about doing a movie about you.’ He just coiled like a cobra, and he struck. ‘No, no, nah, I’m not interested.’ It was this side of him, that he could just eviscerate you. He did it to almost everyone at some point, even Andy.'" (Vulture via Redef)







Karen May, Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Anne Harrison, Marty Cohen, Michele Cohen, and Doug Blonsky


"Does anyone still wear... a hat?! All of this weather business mattered especially up 105th Street and Fifth Avenue yesterday late morning where the Women’s Committee and the Board of Trustees of the Central Park Conservancy were hosting the 33rd annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon – or what is popularly known as the “Hat Lunch” (or 'Luncheon' if you insist) – held in the park’s Conservatory Garden. It was sold out. Twelve hundred attended. They raised  $3.5 million for the park. The luncheon, catered by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships was completely underwritten by the Benefit Committee, so that the entire ticket sales figure went to the work in the Park. The event began with a Champagne reception under the pergola and tours of the Conservatory Garden at 11:00 am. I missed that one (too early for me). JH and I were both there by 11:45 with our trusty Canons and Panasonics, to get the hats. His photos lead the way through the Diary page. The reception was followed by the luncheon and awards presentation under an elegant white tent.  Karen May, the new President of the Women’s Committee, was joined by luncheon Chairmen Patricia Fast, Tracey Huff, Alexia Leuschen, and Amelia Ogunlesi. JP Morgan represented by Kelly Coffey, CEO of the U.S. Private Bank, was Corporate Chair. This year the committee honored Michele and Marty Cohen and former Women’s Committee President Anne S. Harrison." (NYSD)


Thirty-Third Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon
Martha Stewart and Gillian Miniter


"There was an informal competition among Manhattan’s ladies who lunch on Wednesday at the Central Park Conservancy’s annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon — known simply as 'The Hat Lunch' to those in the know. 'I thought of this six months ago,' said ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, who had a fascinator with a colorful pile of French macarons on her head. Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins wore a hat designed by Stephen Jones in the shape of a brocade handbag. Martha Stewart arrived in a black wide-rimmed number, and New York’s first girlfriend Sandra Lee was in an oversized white floral one. Lela Rose wore a 'milkmaid’s braid' headpiece with a long braided tail, and trustee Gillian Miniter told us her hat’s designer, Eric Javits, didn’t get her yellow beehive-shaped bonnet to her until Tuesday night. But 'I always have faith in him,' she told Page Six. 'I know it’s going to be good.' Top milliner Kokin, whose clients include Daphne Guinness, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump and Joan Collins, said one wife of a top financier called him in a panic on Tuesday to beg for a chapeau to match an Oscar de la Renta ensemble and Harry Winston jewels." (P6)







Gérard Biard, editor of Charlie Hebdo, James Goodale, Toni Goodale, and Jean-Baptiste Thoret of Charlie Hebdo.


"Gérard Biard, the editor of Charlie Hebdo on winning the Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award : 'Jean-Baptiste and I are very proud to be here and to receive this prestigious award. Thank you so much. I would like to say a few words about us, about Charlie Hebdo. Before the 7th of January, we were a team of journalists, columnists and cartoonists. Producing a little satirical newspaper most parts of the world ignored – except when the prophet Mohammed jumped out of news – a little newspaper with less than twenty thousand readers and only eight thousand subscribers. Our concern was finding a way to survive and to go on while facing continual accusations of being provocative and offensive – but it's the function of satire, being provocative and offensive, is it not? We even were portrayed as racists, although Charlie Hebdo has always fought all forms of racism since the very beginning. Suddenly, in one half an hour of blood-splattered violence, we became a global symbol, the incarnation of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. We became acclaimed heroes. I can tell you this: it's pretty hard to deal with it. Because, before this slaughter, we felt quite alone. And because our job is not to be a symbol, it is to write and draw, to give our readers, each week, a newspaper full of laughter and thought. We can't be the only ones to symbolize values that belong to everyone. Besides, it's dangerous. It's dangerous for us, because we are in the front line, and it's dangerous for democracy. Each citizen of the world must adopt these values and stand up for them, against political and religious obscurantism. The more we are, the weaker they are. Fear is the most powerful weapon they have. We must disarm them. They don't want us to write and draw, we must write and draw. They don't want us to think and laugh, we must think and laugh. They don't want us to debate, we must debate. Being here today, we contribute to disarming them ...'." (NYSD)



Sydney Holland (left) and Manuela Herzer with Sumner Redstone at a gala honoring Al Gore and Lyn Lear, in Beverly Hills, on March 5, 2013. © Billy Bennight/UPPA/ZumaPress.com


"Few questions loom larger in American media than the fate of 91-year-old Sumner Redstone’s estimated $6.4 billion empire—comprised mostly of his controlling interests in CBS and Viacom. And though Redstone is fond of professing that he will live forever, in Vanity Fair’s June issue, contributing editor William D. Cohan investigates rumors of the mogul’s mental and physical decline, and the Shakespearean power plays at work in Redstone’s kingdom as he nears his 92nd birthday. Redstone, who seems to be off limits to outsiders these days, tells Cohan via e-mail that his routine hasn’t changed much: 'I still get up at 4:30/5 a.m. every day I ride my bike and go to the pool and get a haircut. I’m really into watching sports.' But according to someone who recently visited with him, things sound far worse: 'Sumner (a) cannot speak and (b) hasn’t had a meal since Labor Day other than tubes. I think there’s a big charade going on that Sumner’s doing fine. . . . I think he’s pretty out of it. . . . He can’t speak, and I don’t know how much he knows what’s going on.' Viacom designated C.O.O. Tom Dooley and Carl Folta, longtime head of communications, to address questions about Redstone’s health. According to Dooley, 'His memory—you talk about remembering stuff? He would remember what we said two weeks ago, word for word. That’s one of his most amazing skill sets over time is his ability to remember everything.' Dooley does concede that “he’s lost some of his mobility in his jaw,' adding that Redstone has been working with a speech therapist. He does not walk well or easily and has round-the-clock staff to help him move. 'He can’t run out of a building,' Dooley explains. Adds Folta, 'He doesn’t want to fall, like most people his age, and break something. He has somebody around him that can make sure that he doesn’t slip.' Regarding the question of Redstone needing a feeding tube, Folta says, 'We are not going to comment one way or the other because we respect Sumner’s desire to keep private specific information about his health.'
While Dooley says, “He’s sharp as a tack,” another source tells Cohan, “He’s not. He really is not. It’s a sham.' Redstone’s friend Robert Evans tells Cohan, 'Like everybody else, Sumner has good days and bad days,' but the legendary producer can’t get off the phone fast enough when asked about Redstone’s health: “I really don’t want to talk about him.' A person who visited with Evans recently broached the topic. 'He looks like he’s dead,' he told Evans, who is said to have replied, 'Well, you should see him in person—he looks even worse.'Redstone’s 43-year-old live-in girlfriend, Sydney Holland, and his close friend and former girlfriend, 50-year-old Manuela Herzer, insist that Redstone is thriving." (VF)


Fox and Friends 2014
Model Candice Swanepoel with Fox & Friends’ co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck in December 2014.


"Since 1948, TV networks have hosted an annual schmooze-fest called the Upfronts, where executives in suits sell a year’s worth of advertising all at once. It’s a martini-soaked, star-laden affair that feels stuck in the Mad Men era. But the Upfronts endure, even though Web advertising—where algorithms, not alcohol, drive the buying and selling—is now into a $40 billion business. Data-driven digital ads are the exact opposite of the handshake deals that fuel the Upfronts.But a funny thing happened on the way to the future: Digital media companies saw the value in all the schmoozing and created their own version of the Upfronts, called the NewFronts. What started with a handful of tech companies in 2012 has expanded to a two-week digital video festival that’s as flashy and boozy as any broadcast event. Last week at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan, Yahoo served champagne and miniature lobster tacos to attendees wearing purple glow sticks as renowned disc jockey Steve Aoki spun beats. This year, 33 companies are participating in the NewFronts. That includes YouTube networks such as Maker Studios and digital media startups such as BuzzFeed, as well as newspapers (The New York Times), magazines (Condé Nast and Fortune publisher Time Inc.), and classic media conglomerates (Time Warner and News Corp.). The businesses have little in common. But they are all competing for the same ad budgets.As they create ever more videos to attract those dollars, the media companies are learning the same lesson that newspapers and magazines learned about text in the late 1990s: You can’t just port analog content to the Web. The Internet is its own weird beast, and the predominantly youthful audience that is devouring online videos is suspicious of clinically professional content. Web audiences can smell someone trying too hard from a mile away; they recoil from the clownish makeup and stiff hair helmets of TV talk-show hosts. There’s nothing wrong with classic television content per se. It just doesn’t feel quite right in the context of the Internet, where animated images of cats ricochet around Twitter, six-second Vine videos have a narrative arc, and your Aunt Sue douses herself with a bucket of ice water on Facebook." (Fortune via Redef)

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