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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres














Debi Mazar making her commentary on the evening and the fashion industry in New York.


"Last night I went down to Cipriani 42nd Street where the Fashion Institute of Technology and FIT Foundation were hosting their annual awards gala. It was a very crowded room, and a bright and well-dressed one, as it was the fashion industry and its supporters and contributors. I was introduced to FIT several years ago by Liz Peek who is (or up until recently was) the chair of the committee that raises funds for the FIT museum. Every early autumn, their Fashion Luncheon where they honor a major designer now opens the New York Fall Fashion Week. This is an organization and force that I’ve seen start with some volunteers (including Mrs. Peek and Yaz Hernandez) and become a visible force on the New York philanthropic and social scene. Their works have also shone a bright light on the college itself which is a great New York success story. FIT began, was created, 70 years ago this year with a couple of borrowed classrooms and a course in fashion design. They had a total of 100 students. Today the enrollment is 10,000! And they are a university plant covering four blocks on the west side of Manhattan in the 20s. Last night Dr. Joyce Brown, President of FIT announced the construction of a new building of ten stories which will add to their enrollment as well as their curriculum which is now varied – although all encompassing creative pursuits. Many famous designers and fashion personalities in this country today started at FIT. Eighty-five percent of their students are working at their chosen field within a year of graduating. I was seated between Susan Baker – who is a major philanthropist in arts and culture in New York – and Amsale Aberra who is on the Board of Trustees of the college. Amsale as you may or may not know is a major designer and manufacturer of Bridal clothes here in New York. A girl from Ethiopia, she is a graduate of FIT and another example of the success of its alumni." (NYSD)







"Governor Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, who is running for president, says he is personally opposed to gay marriage but takes the position that this is a matter for each of the 50 states to decide for itself. Nice try, Governor, but that train has pulled out of the station. The country has already accepted gay marriage, and it’s too late for half-measures. “Leave it to the states” is a hoary evasion for national politicians who want to duck a troublesome issue, but it’s not available to Walker, because governors of states can’t duck an issue by saying it should be decided by the states. Well, they can try, but they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. You are the governor, Governor. Man up (as Sarah Palin used to say) and tell us where you stand. It’s remarkable that a Republican running for the Republican nomination for president should need to be evasive about marriage equality, as opposed to using it as a cudgel. There were days, not long ago, when Republicans used to fabricate issues like this in order to embarrass the Democrats. Elderly readers may recall 1988, when George H. W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis in a vicious campaign almost entirely about artificial issues concocted in the G.O.P. laboratory, like the urgent need for an amendment to the Bill of Rights against burning the American flag. Twenty-seven years later the Bill of Rights remains pristine, there has been no serious effort to pollute it with an anti-flag-burning amendment, and yet there has been little if any flag burning going on. It will not be an issue in the 2016 campaign. There may be some vestigial sentence in the Republican Party platform, but no podium time will be wasted on it. Regarding abortion—a genuine social issue—something similar has happened. Few people have actually changed their minds about the morality or legality of abortion, but Republicans don’t look forward to arguing about it on the campaign trail. They wish it would just go away. They may honestly believe that human life begins at the moment of conception, or they may have adopted that position cynically, but in most places the candidates would just as soon not dwell on it. Abortion, marriage equality, gun control, drugs, prayer in the schools, affirmative action, the 'War on Christmas': these are all classified as 'social issues' (as opposed to economic and foreign-policy issues) and have generally been regarded as 'wedge issues' too—issues that the Republicans can use like a wedge to pry voters away from the Democrats. But the wedge isn’t what it used to be. In 2004, a writer named Thomas Frank wrote a terrific book called What’s the Matter with Kansas?, which immediately became a classic. It was an attempt to solve a puzzle. Why, when people are upset about the economy, concerned about their jobs, resentful of growing income inequality, tired of watching industries move overseas, and generally sullen about money—why, with all this, do they nevertheless keep voting Republican? Frank’s answer was, in short, that the Republicans use social issues in a bait-and-switch routine: people are enticed into voting Republican over social issues like abortion or gay marriage, and then Republican pols, once elected, ignore all that and govern like the pro-business, rich-people’s party that they are at heart." (Michael Kinsley)










DPC and Vincent Minuto of Hampton Domestics at Michael's.


" I had lunch at Michael’s with Vincent Minuto. Vincent has a business called Hampton Domestics which supplies staffs for private residences as well as other commercial areas for the same clientele. Vincent is very much an under-the-radar kind of guy although he knows all the right people from Vanderbilts and Whitneys to hedge fund moguls. He is also an advertiser on NYSD and has been since JH and I created it fifteen years ago this September. I first met Vincent when he used to “cater” dinners and parties for the late Judy Green. Judy, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 66, three days after 9/11, was probably the last of the great party-givers here in New York ... After getting the beginning of his culinary education at the Culinary Institute, Vincent started out in the food and service business at “21” ordering the caviar. The Sicilian kid from Brooklyn learned a lot about it. He quickly acquired a lifelong taste for it. From '21' he was hired by Donald Bruce White. When Mrs. Green gave Mr. White the heave-ho, Vincent succeeded. And produced. He’s had a long career in the food business ever since. He’s owned restaurants in the Village, as well as a once famous gay bar out in the Hamptons (now defunct), he’s worked as a private chef (for among others, the late Leona Helmsley – whom he liked very much 'she was a very lonely woman'). He continues to this day to 'cater' for his longtime clientele which include Vanderbilts and Whitneys (remember them?). But mainly his business today is the Hampton Domestics." (NYSD)







"Toward the end of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, America stood alone at the top of the world—the sole superpower. After five weeks of 'shock and awe' and 100 hours of combat, Saddam’s army had fled Kuwait back up the road to Basra and Bagdad. Our Cold War adversary was breaking apart into 15 countries. The Berlin Wall had fallen. Germany was reunited. The captive nations of Central and Eastern Europe were breaking free. Bush I had mended fences with Beijing after the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were friends.The president declared the coming of a 'new world order.' And neocons were chattering about a new 'unipolar world' and the 'benevolent global hegemony' of the United States. Consider now the world our next president will inherit. North Korea, now a nuclear power ruled by a 30-something megalomaniac, is fitting ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. China has emerged as the great power in Asia, entered claims to all seas around her, and is building naval and air forces to bring an end to a U.S. dominance of the western Pacific dating to 1945. Vladimir Putin is modernizing Russian missiles, sending ships and planes into NATO waters and air space, and supporting secessionists in Eastern Ukraine. The great work of Nixon and Reagan—to split China from Russia in the 'Heartland' of Halford Mackinder’s 'World Island,' then to make partners of both—has been undone. China and Russia are closer to each other and more antagonistic toward us than at any time since the Cold War. Terrorists from al-Qaida and its offspring and the Islamic Front run wild in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia. Egypt is ruled by a dictatorship that came to power in a military coup.Japan is moving to rearm to meet the menace of North Korea and China, while NATO is but a shadow of its former self. Only four of 28 member nations now invest 2 percent of their GDP in defines. With the exception of the Soviet Union, some geostrategists contend, no nation, not defeated in war, has ever suffered so rapid a decline in relative power as the United States. What are the causes of American decline? Hubris, ideology, bellicosity and stupidity all played parts." (Pat Buchanan)





"CNN threw a ’70s party at Marquee in New York last night to celebrate Thursday’s premiere of its newest original series. CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker started the night off by addressing the crowd and reminding everyone that The Seventies kicks off at 9 p.m. ET. After Zucker’s brief reminder, it was time for music. 1970s acts such as Peaches and Herb, Heatwave, Maxine Nightingale, The Manhattans and Evelyn 'Champagne' King hit the stage and played until the party ended.
Guests were treated to passed hors d’oeuvres from the era, including mini portions of Hamburger Helper, TV dinners and tuna casserole along with fondue, Swedish meatballs and eventually, Jell-O. Ashleigh Banfield, Don Lemon, Brian Stelter, John Berman, Michael Smerconish, Kate Bolduan and Brooke Baldwin were among the CNN personalities spotted at the event." (TVNewser)



Another rendering of 2 World Trade Center. Courtesy of World Trade Center.


"The news that Rupert Murdoch’s media companies, 21st Century Fox and News Corp., have agreed to move to the World Trade Center downtown if Norman Foster’s design for the tower they would occupy, 2 World Trade Center, were abandoned in favor of a very different one by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels seems, at first, like a case of a distinguished older architect being pushed aside by a young upstart. Foster, after all, just marked his 80th birthday. Ingels turned 40 last October. But this change signifies more than Oedipal rumblings in the architectural world. It may say even more about the world of media, and not just Murdoch’s media. The announcement wasn’t made in a newspaper, or in the architectural press, or in some real estate journal. It was announced via an online posting in Wired, the technology magazine, that included a slickly produced video in which the telegenic Ingels, the founder of the firm BIG, presented his design for the building while walking around Tribeca and Ground Zero as a virtual image of his new tower rose behind him, populated by a racially diverse group of smiling workers, all to the music of Tchaikovsky. Once, Norman Foster’s firm was able to knock competitors out of the picture with its famously dazzling models and well-crafted, hardcover presentation books. Now, new media, captained by an architect who can be found on Instagram and Twitter as much as anywhere, appears to have squeezed Foster out. As anyone who plays computer games knows, you can now create moving images that look as real as any photographs. Who could fail to be seduced by a tour through a magical glass tower that features women lounging amid lavishly planted roof decks, happy workers playing in a basketball court in the sky, and a window cleaner who smiles and bows before a roomful of delighted occupants of the tower? This building is presented less as a design than as the star of a short little movie, populated by cheerful supporting characters: it hasn’t yet been built, but it already has a narrative. Here is where the employees of Fox News and Dow Jones, the Murdoch divisions that will be the primary occupants of the tower, will live happily ever after as they move media into the new age. The Murdoch enterprises are certainly going to the right place. Condé Nast (which owns Vanity Fair) has been in 1 World Trade Center since last fall, and Time Inc. is moving to Brookfield Place, just across West Street, later this year. As financial firms have migrated uptown, media companies have been seduced by the lower costs of relocating downtown, and the two industries have, for all intents and purposes, changed places." (VanityFair)




"Sounds of summer. At 8 o’clock in the evening, with my terrace door open, I could hear the motor of the ice cream truck in the street below, still parked and idling since mid-afternoon, catching the neighbors who had hit the Park after dinner and now returning home with a treat. Today is the 93rd anniversary of the birth of Judy Garland born on this day in 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Born in a trunk or something as legendary, as Frances Ethel Gumm, the youngest of the singing sisters who was put to work performing by the time she was four. Six or eight years later she was in Hollywood and on the brink of what would become a legendary talent. There have been many who are well apprised of such matters who claim Judy Garland was the greatest talent  in the history of the movies. She could sing, she could dance, she could act and could play comedy, all very well. However, as anyone who is familiar with her talent, it’s the singing. She was forty-seven when that talent died just twenty days after her birthday, on June 22, 1969. Washed up and drug- and booze-ridden, a sad sad tale of Dame Fortune." (NYSD)

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