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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country. Their placards called for closer relations with the European Union (EU), an end to Russian intervention in Ukraine’s politics and the establishment of a clean government to replace the kleptocracy of President Viktor Yanukovych. But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. They want a rules-based democracy. It is easy to understand why. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures. That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal. Yet these days the exhilaration generated by events like those in Kiev is mixed with anxiety, for a troubling pattern has repeated itself in capital after capital. The people mass in the main square. Regime-sanctioned thugs try to fight back but lose their nerve in the face of popular intransigence and global news coverage. The world applauds the collapse of the regime and offers to help build a democracy. But turfing out an autocrat turns out to be much easier than setting up a viable democratic government. The new regime stumbles, the economy flounders and the country finds itself in a state at least as bad as it was before. This is what happened in much of the Arab spring, and also in Ukraine’s Orange revolution a decade ago. In 2004 Mr Yanukovych was ousted from office by vast street protests, only to be re-elected to the presidency (with the help of huge amounts of Russian money) in 2010, after the opposition politicians who replaced him turned out to be just as hopeless. Democracy is going through a difficult time." (TheEconomist)





"My first husband, the painter, and I and our Persian cat traveled from Fire Island to New York City, we were headed to visit my mother-in-law at her place on East 62nd Street. The boat we motored from our little dock to the ferry quay sank, with all of our possessions, including the husband’s paintings. I saved our cat stuck in her carrier with its front grill quickly filling with water. She clung to my head, welded there with claws sunk into my skull. Just before all our bags slipped beneath the waves, I saw my purse, and I snatched at it, figuring if we lived we would need it. Luck was on our side and the tide swept us to shore. Watching us, though powerless to help, were a platoon of firemen who escorted us to their firehouse. They dried our cat with a towel and gave us cups of coffee and then drove us to the mainland, dropping us at a train station. We rode the train to Penn Station and there we transferred to the subway. The lady at the booth refused our wet dollar bills. But we explained we had just seen death face-to-face and begged her and eventually she relented and sold us two tokens. When we got to my mother-in-law's apartment we found her having tea with a handsome gentleman. Like a Vaudeville duet the husband and I, still hyped, recounted our story, each filling in details as we went. We spoke hysterically, our look was that of refugees, and our cat had an Afro from the seawater. Meanwhile the good-looking gentleman merely yawned, thoroughly unimpressed.
He introduced himself as Peter Beard ..." (Christina Oxenberg)


Danielle Lauder, Eliana Lauder, Myra Biblowit, Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Hurley, Sir Elton John, and Rachel Lauder


"At the BCRF, they  honored Leonard Lauder with the 2015 Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein 'Sung' Hero Award. The room was designed in pink and gold to reflect the grandeur of Mr. Lauder’s incredible achievements, including his irreplaceable guidance in growing BCRF to become one of the largest private funders of breast cancer research in the world. Elizabeth Hurley, a longstanding advocate and Global Ambassador for The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, hosted the evening with the annual appearance by Sir Elton John, the event featured a moving performance by eighteen-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett. Noteworthy guests included Judy Glickman Lauder, William Lauder, Laura and Gary Lauder, Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, Tony Bennett, Neil Patrick Harris, Tory Burch, Donna Karan, Zac Posen, Vera Wang, Amy Robach and Andrew Shue, Kinga and Edward Lampert, Alexandra Richards, Jamie Tisch, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Alison Wright, Miss USA Nia Sanchez, Victor Cruz and Elaina Watley, Denise Bidot, Carmen Marc Valvo, Tom Arnold, Eric Decker and Jessie James Decker, and Caroline and Sidney Kimmel. " (NYSD)








"King Lear à la française? For the past month, this question has hovered over the family drama now engulfing France’s extreme right-wing party, Front National. First breaking onto the political stage in early April, the struggle between the party’s octogenarian founder, Jean Marie Le Pen, and his daughter Marine, the party’s current leader, now appears to be climaxing with Le Pen père’s recent suspension from the party. The father may well soon find himself, like Shakespeare’s Lear, alone on a blasted heath, far from power and relevance. But for Le Pen fille, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Lear’s power-hungry daughter Goneril, the great question is not so much whether she will survive but how much stronger she will emerge. There are, of course, Shakespearian echoes in American dynastic politics, ranging from the Macbeth-like tensions between Bill and Hillary Clinton to George W. Bush’s effort to turn himself from young Prince Hal into Henry V. But as in the United States, far more than literary parallels are at stake for the Le Pen dynasty, whose fate is entwined with French politics writ large. For years, a critical obstacle in Marine Le Pen’s quest to transform the 42-year-old FN into France’s leading political party has been the very man who made the xenophobic and anti-Semitic party what it was—and what he insists it must remain. When Jean-Marie Le Pen gave his daughter the keys to the FN kingdom, he did not expect that she would change not only the furniture but also the foundations. Should she succeed in her remodeling, Marine Le Pen may finally become a force that not only France but Europe and the United States must reckon with. How is it that a party long decried for its extremist views suddenly seems poised for such newfound power, just as its founder is losing it?" (Politico)



Suzanne Lerner, Maria Bello, and Blythe Danner


"...(T)here are other things going on in New York. Like booksignings/book parties. On a Sunday night for example Ashley McDermott hosted a book party for her sister-in-law (or is it ex-sister-in-law – I’m not sure about this detail) the actress Maria Bello, who has written a book about her life today. As Ashley explained to me: 'Maria's book is the result of a Modern Love piece she did for the New York Times last Thanksgiving about the questions that arose after she fell in love with Clare, her best friend. It's about the labels women put on themselves, and her journey as a successful actress through this life changing stage of her personal life. It's about resilience and forgiveness and love and acceptance. 'Whatever, Love is Love' is the response her teenage son (my nephew) gave her when she told him about Clare.' Mariska Hargitay and Mario Batali who are also long time friends of Maria co-hosted the evening with Ashley.  To put everything in perspective, it should be noted that in the days of Diana Vreeland, Pat Buckley, Nan Kempner and their Met Ball, there would be not book parties given by a sister-in-law for her brother’s wife who fell in love with her best (lady) friend and wrote a book about the whole transition ... Wednesday night, there was a book signing/book party at the Four Seasons restaurant hosted by Jeanne and Herb Siegel for Richard Farley who has just published 'Wall Street Wars.' Richard Farley, whom I had met previously, is a young lawyer, a recognized expert in global high yield bond and leveraged loan transactions, among the “highly valued” lawyers who specialize in both 'bank' and 'bond' financing. These are the lawyers who do the work – put in the real time, researching, ingesting, learning, as well as facetime with clients. I’m telling  you this to indicate that he’s been at the center of it, and to write a book about it in the meantime is an awesome achievement, probably the child of passion. He is also known professionally as an exceptional legal writer -- his articles on matters of law have appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times. What separates him, in my book from the legions of hardworking lawyers or any other professional category, is that he is also on the board of directors of Herbert G. Birch Services, New York State’s largest non-government provider of education and related services to children and adults with autism and other mental disabilities. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, the leading provider of HIV/AIDS education to the young people of New York City. A man of his time.So. He has written this history of the financial world’s response to the great Stock Market Crash of 1929 and who and how it affected their future and our present." (NYSD)









"If any of you see Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, walking around with a begging bowl in his hand, it’s because he took me to dinner recently and I sort of went a bit nuts with the wine and the VF chief ended up with the bill. We went to a new (NYC) restaurant, Chevalier, a futuristic marvel with great food and wine and even grander prices. New York is no longer elegant, and there are no longer society types dressed to the nines sitting on the banquettes and downing Manhattans. The Jewish ascendancy that downed the Wasps was as elegant as the one it replaced. William Paley and John Loeb, and others like them, dressed at Anderson & Sheppard, were shoed by John Lobb, and had their shirts made by Sulka. They had exquisite manners and aped their predecessors. Now it’s slob time, and men dress the way I used to dress when I left the locker room for the playing field. Sweat pants, a hoodie, and trainers. But on the night I went to Chevalier, there were at least five tables with suited men and women that didn’t have 'tart' etched on their forehead. In order to celebrate I got drunk and Graydon paid for the damage." (Taki)





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"David and Samantha Cameron enjoyed a post-election celebratory meal last night at an exclusive private members club in Mayfair, London. The Conservative leader and his wife arrived at Mark’s Club, Charles Street, yesterday evening after Mr Cameron’s party secured an unexpected – if incredibly slim – majority. The club is highly rated by respected Zagat restaurant guide, which notes members reportedly claim 'if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford to eat here'. The Prime Minister will have enjoyed the privacy offered by the club, which prohibits photography and 'the use of mobile telephones on its premises, for any purpose.' However, Mr Cameron appeared to flout the club’s dress code, which stipulates 'Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and collared shirt as well as a tie at dinner', appearing in an open necked shirt. Mark’s, acquired by entrepreneur Richard Caring, is among London’s most exclusive clubs and is described as offering members an environment 'discreetly insulated from the hectic pace of the city outside.' The Mayfair townhouse also offers members 'a quiet spot to enjoy a postprandial cigar'. The membership, presently at 2,500, is due to shrink come 1 July to just 1,500 under the new joint management of American Charles Price. Mr Price, who plans to 'gently update' the London establishment, claimed in a Vanity Fair interview in February: 'You can’t just have a name or money to get in; the main qualification is, you have to be interesting.'" (Independent)

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