Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via

In: Brad Grey. How gangster is Brad Grey? You're so gangster, baby! Everyone expected NBC Uni to get Dreamworks at bargain basement prices. David Geffen's "Dreamgirls" project finally has a stable home; we thought Sumner nixed the idea (2nd item), due to fears that -- according to Claudia Eller -- "shareholders and potential investors would balk at a major acquisition � DreamWorks is asking about $1 billion � at a time when Viacom is poised to split into two publicly traded companies."

Piffle. According to Claudia Eller and Sallie Hofmeister of the LATimes:

"The entertainment industry was startled Friday when Paramount Pictures swooped in and struck a deal to buy DreamWorks SKG, the independent movie studio that rival NBC Universal had spent six months pursuing, according to sources close to the matter.

"As recently as October, Paramount had publicly denied any interest in the acquisition after its parent company, Viacom Inc., balked at the high asking price of $1.5 billion including assumption of debt. But Viacom's board approved just such a bid Thursday, provided that outside investors help finance the deal.

"As of Friday afternoon, they still hadn't lined any up, but sources said investors would be selected after the deal's announcement, which is expected as early as Sunday.The acquisition would be a major coup for Paramount Chairman Brad Grey, the former talent manager who since being hired in March has moved aggressively to remake the struggling studio.

"It also would mark the end of a dream hatched 11 years ago, when three of Hollywood's most high-profile figures � director Steven Spielberg, music mogul David Geffen and veteran studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg � set out to build a multifaceted entertainment empire. The sale to Paramount would leave the industry with just one major independent studio: Lions Gate Entertainment."


(image via tfaoi)

Out: Philippe de Montebello. De Montebello: The "voice that launched a thousand accoustigraphs" is surprisingly mum on the subject of looted art. But then, so is much of the so-called "Art Establishment." (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) They always have been; so long as the Art gets into the hands of wealthy museums and private collectors in the right urban centers -- no one really cares from whence it came. (Averted Gaze)

Until now.

According to the Old Gray Lady:

"A decade ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art embarked on a vastly ambitious project: the transformation of its dark and crowded Greek and Roman galleries into one of the premier spaces for antiquities in the Western Hemisphere.

"In 2007, the project will culminate in the opening of a huge colonnaded Roman court that Philippe de Montebello, the Met's director, has described as 'a grand orchestral coda' to years of work reinstalling the museum's classical collections. But as the project nears completion, it also threatens to become one of the Met's biggest headaches, forcing the museum to address difficult questions about the ethics of collecting practices."

Principal among those complaints, from Matthew Bogdanos' astonishingly excellent OpEd:

"IN New York, the Metropolitan Museum is considering what amounts to a plea bargain with Italian authorities for having acquired antiquities that Italy says were stolen. In California, the longtime curator for ancient art at the J. Paul Getty Museum has resigned to face trial in Rome on charges of conspiracy to receive stolen artifacts. In Iraq, a German archaeologist has been kidnapped by insurgents.

"Having led the United States investigation into the looting of the Iraq Museum in April 2003, I find none of these events surprising. Indeed, the patina of gentility we usually associate with the world of antiquities has always rested atop a solid core of criminal activity.

"But it's getting worse: in a modern-day version of the old 'molasses to rum to slaves' triangle trade of pious New England ship captains, the cozy cabal of academics, dealers, and collectors who turn a blind eye to the illicit side of the trade is in effect supporting the terrorists killing our troops in Iraq.

"Although most countries recognize the importance of preserving the world's cultural heritage, none have devoted sufficient resources to tracking down stolen artifacts. Most international cultural organizations are content to issue proclamations, preferring to hit the conference center rather than the streets. As for the art community, some feel that, while technically illegal, the market in purloined antiquities is benign- victimless - as long as it brings the art to those who can properly appreciate it (namely, themselves)."

More here. (You've got to read this; it's so fucking brilliant in its indictment of the staid "Art Establishment)

Der ameraikanische Pr?dent Bill Clinton am 02.06.2000 auf dem Aachener Katschhof nach der Karlspreisverleihung an ihn.

... Don't hate the player, hate the game. (image via Brixius)

In: Bill Clinton, Powerbroker. Read the international papers -- heck: Read the local papers -- and it's Bill Clinton all the time.

Clinton's roving, rambling international audition for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations is, one cannot fail to note, amazing to say the least. Wielding that forgotten phenomenon, American "soft power" -- a concept, incidentally, that the embattled Donald Rumsfed actually admitted that he didn't quite understand (How psychologically meaningful is that little factoid, peeps?).

Bill Clinton was a powerbroker in Montreal at the UN Meeting on Gas Emissions, according to the Old Gray Lady:

"Former President Bill Clinton sketched a route around the impasse that included gentle rebukes of those seeking concrete targets and also of the Bush administration.

We also know last week that Senator John Corzine consulted the former President and powerbroker on appointing Robert Menendez to fill his seat. He was involved, somehow, in the ever-shady Kazakhstan (We don't really want to know how, precisely; it sounds dirty, but ultimately, Realpolitik and within our interests), And, next Wednesday, Clinton quixotically visits possible Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano -- WTF?! -- to catch a Buffalo Sabres game. We can almost hear those soothing Arkansan tones; tones that have seduced hundreds of poltiicans, saying: "Now ... Tom --I cancallyouTomcan'tah; Tom: 'Y'don't really wanna run for Governor under the Republicans, now do you?

"(Bites lip soulfully) They're just using you for your billions to fund their State Senate Majority, Tom. It's not right. They don't expect yout to really win; they're just using you, Tom. (Looks dead in his eyes) Not like me."

One area, anywhere, that Clinton has no apparent -- apparent -- influence is with his "Canadian special friend," the bewitching Belinda Stronach, who, controversially, crossed the Commons floor recently to the Liberals. Clinton said of the move to the London Free Press, "I heard about it when all of you did, and I was surprised ... So I had nothing to do with it." ((Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachement)

Still, These days the former President seems to have a hand in everything else that goes on at the highest levels of local and international politics.


Come on, Harv, flash us some "gam." (image via

Out: Does Harvey Weinstein Want to Remake Disney? The video distribution deal was smart. But not this new move. According to those intrepid Page Sixxies:

"HIDE your children � Harvey Weinstein wants to get into the amusement-park business. The hot-headed Hollywood heavyweight was huddling with Dan Snyder, chairman of theme-park powerhouse Six Flags, Joe Ravitch of Goldman Sachs and former ESPN exec Mark Shapiro over lunch at the Four Seasons the other day to discuss a possible project. A spokeswoman for the former Miramax godfather's new Weinstein Company would only say, 'Can you imagine how amazing a roller coaster would be if Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated on its design?'"

One, not so fucking amazing; two, we outgrew the urge repetitive, quick motion thing when we were, like, 12; three, what's with the Old Media fixation, Harv: There's a whole new digital universe out there to conquer. Even Disney -- if they had it to do all over again -- may have passed on the theme parks.


(image via gamespot)

In: Vandalism. The 70s are back again it seems: the feathered hair, the ... graffiti. According to Fashionweekdaily, Marc Echo is doing a film based on his new video game:

"Fashionweekdaily: The film�and your company Christmas card�are inspired by graffiti. When is tagging an acceptable medium?

Ecko: When Mayor Bloomberg says so. Seriously, I do not condone illegal activities. I do, however, believe that when properly channeled�on canvas, through sculpture, through graphic design, film, etc.�the motif of graffiti can be considered one of the most compelling and influential artistic movements in modern history. It's all around us and has been since prehistoric times.�

Yeah, but the Paleolithic hunter was channeling the spiritual in his "graffiti," Mark. Is that an alien concept? That tribe might have been communing with the spirit of their foodstuffs before the hunt. That archaic artist/Shaman wasn't doing it for the "Fame."

Still, we will be duly intrigued about what Ecko does. But we'll avert our gaze at the video games: We cannot abide that low-attention span promoting, brain-cell killing degenerate medium. about the electronic anti-humanity of video games makes The Corsair's skin crawl.


(image via foxnews)

Out: Katherine Harris. Congresswoman Kathering Harris was going places in a hurry. She wasn't going to wait no matter who told her. She has an excess of what The Homeric Greeks called "Thumos," inflamed, no doubt, during the narcotic 2000 electoral process when reality took on the feel of a cartoon. Excessive Thumos is a particularly noxious personal characteristic disorder. If Harris, say, had waited until Rove-Bush were out of office, and the memory of her handicraft were past recent memory, she may have had the backing of the party leadership. But the flames of Ambition -- Thumos -- waits for no one.

The leaders of the Republican Party told her to hold on a Senate run (Harris has only served a couple of House terms; she is young) -- of course, Rove didn't want her to hurt the Republican Majority and was only looking out for the Party's interests against her -- she ran anyway. Now, according to our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak, it's a bust:

"Republican insiders believe Rep. Katherine Harris, with her fund raising in the dumps and her staff constantly in flux, may drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Florida against first-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

"Harris became a national personality as Florida secretary of state, supporting George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential recount. With her campaign repeatedly turning over its senior staffers, Harris may not even raise $500,000 this quarter. A recent poll shows her trailing Nelson by 16 percentage points, leading some Republican members of Congress and state legislators in Florida to worry about their own re-election in 2006.

"A footnote: Some GOP fund-raisers believe Rep. Mark Foley may jump into the Senate race to replace Harris. Foley has $2.35 million cash on hand, compared to Harris' $470,000. Nelson had $6.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30."


(image via wachoviachampionship)

In: Congressman John Boehner. Tom Reynolds has taken himself out of the mix for a Republican leadership position; he will probably opt back in again when a Republican Majority seems more likely (Rumors have it that up to 50 seats are up in the air out of the Republican Majority in 2006; the Dems need just 15 to take control). The embattled Majority Leader and Whip, Blunt has one less competitor to worry about (As the Boehner-Blunt tensions rise). According to TheHill:

"Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) breathed a sigh of relief when for the second time in 13 months Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he would not mount a bid to move up the ranks in the House leadership, which could help avoid a bloody and distracting potential leadership battle when the House reconvenes in January."

And with Congressman Pence -- darling of House conservatives -- also out, Boehner has a clear shot at Blunt.

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