Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Eddie Murphy strums away at his guitar and serenades a few of his lady friends aboard a luxury yacht in St. Bart’s on Sunday (December 28)" (JustJared)

"Mercury is rising everywhere for Jeremy Piven these days, including his love life. The Entourage actor has found a brand-new girlfriend in blond stunner Ashley Chontos, a 23-year-old model-cum-bottle waitress at Mansion NYC who he met at Britney Spears' birthday bash ...Despite Piven's obvious interest, an insider tells us that the ex-Choice Model was actually runnerup for the actor's affections. 'Jeremy met several girls at Britney's birthday party,' the source says. 'He was really interested in a model who happens to be Ashley's direct competition, but he was so insistent in his pursuit that he freaked her out. She stopped returning his calls, so he settled for Ashley in the long run.' Says another source: 'He's a numbers boy. He gathers up girls' numbers when he's out. That night, he sent out a mass text to everyone he'd met, saying, 'Come to my room - whoever responds first gets me for the night.'" (Gatecrasher)

"Aspen was hot at Christmas but it might be cooling down for New Year's Eve .. The big New Year's Eve party in Aspen this year is Jason and Hayley Binn's annual Niche Media bash at Hotel Jerome, hosted by Ivana Trump ... Sightem: Will Farrell and wife Viveca Paulin dining at Mateo in Boulder on Friday night." (DenverPost)

"Last Saturday night I went to dinner at the Four Seasons. It’s been a while since I was there last but the iconic dining room with its high ceilings, prodigious windows and its glowing, almost magnetic pool in the center of the room, still takes my breath away .. The Four Seasons is what a restaurant should be." (NYSocialDiary)
Separated At Birth?

Spicy, chain-smoking designer Donatella Versace ... (image via

Spicy, Smoked meat snack, Slim Jim. (image via csuchico)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Corsair Pirate Awards

Welcome to the Fifth Annual Corsair Awards: The Pirates (French hunting horns blast). This blog is 5 years old? Crazy. It is hotter than an Oscar because the presenter is far cuter than anything to come out of Tinseltown. You may want to hit the refresh button as we will be adding on posts as the day progresses, reliving some of the wildest moments of 2008:

The Averted Gaze Pirate: Barry Diller. Usually Diller is the recipient of the studious, hungry stare, the kind that says: please fund my project. At Tina Brown's duplex, for example, we imagine this silent ocular communication takes place. Also: at Barry Diller's annual Coldwater Canyon picnic/Satyricon. But at Sun Valley in July, Mrs. Rupert Murdoch couldn't be bothered beyond a certain point. From TheHollywoodReporter:

'"Several hundred major media execs at Herb Allen's annual retreat in this remote Northwest niche thought they could get away from it all ..

"... IAC chairman Barry Diller had been keeping a low profile at the conference until he almost ran over Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendy on his bicycle.

"'Where are you going, Wendy?' he asked.

"'I'm going to get some yoga pants,' she replied.

"'What are yogurt pants?' Diller queried.

"'No, yoga pants -- you know, to do yoga in,' she said.

"'Yogurt pants,' Diller persisted.

"Murdoch turned and went on her way."

One can almost hear the Averted Gaze, from across the distance of time. [Image:NYTimes]

Woman We'd Like To F*ck Pirate Goes To: Padma Laksmi. This is, to be sure, the most prestigious Pirate Award. It is also an award that we hold most solemn. We'd like to take a moment to share our "appreciation" -- and we don't mean that in a Blagojevician manner -- for Padma Lakshmi, the unbearably sexy host of Bravo's Top Chef. Our appreciation comes in the form of a proem, if you will, composed with love (An arching of brows; a clearing of throat). Dear Padma: I liked you in that hot black dress/ On that that minky fur with naughty bits/ I'm sweeter than a duck confit/Goddam, I'd like to Suck your ..." You get the idea. Honorable Mentions: Naomi Campbell. Helena Christensen. Lucy Liu. Taraji P. Henson. And Governor Jennifer Granholme.

The What Goes Well With Dark Meat Award: Mike Tyson. After biting off a significant portion of Evander Holyfield's ear in their infamous fight in 1997 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Tyson admitted to filmmaker James Toback in his documentary, "I went home alone, and I sat there, and I drank some liquor and smoked some weed and fell asleep."

Goodbye To "Bromance" Pirate: Playgirl Magazine. The oily pop-cultural residue and the seedy public-restroomish aura of Playgirl will be sorely missed, if only for the raw comedic value. We resisted the urge -- no matter how powerful -- to make auto-fellation jokes on the sad occasion of Playgirl's "folding." Playboy, of which Playgirl is vaguely derivative, is more like the big, stupid fratboy expertly navigating between competing kegger parties, "The Gentleman's C," March Madness and Spring Break (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). And while Playboy arguably gets some B-List celebrities slightly past their expiration date to pose in the buff -- Joan Collins, LaToya Jackson in her prime and Farah Fawcett, Playgirl -- and how does one say this nicely? -- struggled. RIP, Playgirl. Now where will gay men go to see straight rockers getting naked for what they think are middle-aged housewives in the boonies?

Douchebag Of The Year: Jeremy Piven. If only for continually using what he learned in yoga, which is holy, to spice up the shallowest of scenes, he should be considered douchy. Add to the mix the fact that Piven pulled out of a Mamet play, causing a decline in ticket sales, under the dubious medical explanation that he was suffering from "mercury poisoning" from "too much sushi." Sushi, or "douchy"? [Image: TimeInc]

Image of the Year. "Woody" is not just his name it is his present state of being.

Annus Horribilis Award: Kanye West. Hipster-rapper Kanye had a bad year, the modelizing notwithstanding. His performance at Bonnaroo is referred to unfondly as "The Kanye Debacle," his latest and most emotionally revealing album was ill-received, and his blog posting is either lazy or angry (depending on who you believe). We're pulling for him in 2009, though. Fer realsies.

Triumph of The Trailer Award: The Palin's of Wasilla. Babies whose names are verbs. Unwed teenage mothers. Moose stews. The high hair. The unprotected sex. Extreme fertility. Governing vindictively. Extravagant shopping on the public dole. Evangelical Christianity. Lack of intellectual curiosity, especially on internationalism. The oily attraction to extreme masculinity. Why are their private lives so messy? Do we really need to be all up in their bitch? And, finally, are the Palins the missing link between man and beast?

Bad Choices Award: Anne Heche. Remember the reptilian Anne Heche? This year we learned that "The Hechetile" -- aka, "Celestia" -- who has never had a problem getting work in the industry, couldn't pay July's spousal support for her cartoonishly lazy ex-husband Coley Laffoon (guess the laughs-on heche). Awkward! Somewhere Steve Martin and Ellen DeGeneres are clinking classes of a crisp Chablis while softly chuckling into the candlelight.

Feud Of The Year: Spike Lee Versus Everyone. For a multimillionaire father of smart-looking children with successful filmmaking career, Spike Lee sure is an angry little bastard. Or, at least, he always seems to get angry -- as if on cue -- as the opening date of his films approaches. Hmmm. This year, among others, Spike feuded with the Clintons and Clint Eastwood. The Clintons we can possibly understand (we didn't much like them during the primary cycle), but who feuds with Clint Eastwood? Clint is an elderly, Jazz-loving American icon who has never really fucked with anyone. That's just cold-blooded. Honorable Mentions: Harvey Weinstein versus Nancy Pelosi. Harvey Weinstein versus Bravo. And Sharon Stone Versus China. Dowd and Geffen Versus The Clintons. Geffen Versus Sumner.

Cause He's A "Classy" Guy Award: Quentin Tarantino. When not injecting ambitious auditioning starlets in the ass with syringes for his dark jollies, the squidlike Quentin -- ever the classy film director -- is opining on the virtues of the finer things in life. From ArtForum:

"'One glance at the guide to the dozen or so venues for Provincetown’s Tenth Annual International Film Festival and I felt lost at sea ... At a reception that evening held in the Schoolhouse Gallery .. Quentin Tarantino, honored with the 'Filmmaker on the Edge' prize, ' in Tarantino movies were evidence of a foot fetish. 'No,' Tarantino replied. 'That’s just good filmmaking.'

"As fans surrounded Tarantino, I couldn’t help but recall his response to another question earlier that day. When asked, 'What’s the best gift a fan has ever given you?' the filmmaker responded: 'Pussy. It’s a gift that doesn’t stop giving: There’s pussy, and there’s the memory of pussy.' And, unfortunately, there’s the memory of Tarantino remembering said pussy."

Did we mention that Tarantino doesn't take calls from his mother? Like we said: Classy. Honorable Mention: Roger Stone (Eew).

Buffoon of the Year: Berlusconi. Italiam Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi can only be properly construed as profoundly "buffonish." Basta!

Creepeiest Maneuver Pirate: Hulk Hogan. What could possibly be creepier than a bronzed "dadager" massaging the buttocks of his teenage daughter (see above)? Fucking her friend. Only male models and right-wing archbishops come off creepier than "The Hulkster."

The Archie Bunker Pirate: Pat Buchanan. Life has not been kind to Pat Buchanan. President Ford never did appoint him as Ambassador to apartheid-era South Africa, as he recommended. His pathetic philosophy of blood and racial kinship and nostalgie de la boue is quietly disintegrating before his beady eyes. Not with a bang, but a whisper, racist fuck. The Klan is on the run, with membership thinned to almost extinction. Israel is in a position of strength in the region. And, we cannot fail to note, the President-elect is indeed a Negro (Averted Gaze). What, pray tell, an aging crypto-Nazi fuckhead to do? Retreat into his stash of old, mothball-smelling copies of the Saturday Evening Post? Buy up old DVDs of "Masterpiece Theater"? Drink an egg-creme real fast and hope for brain freeze? To add insult to injury, Pat doesn't even have an heir! The world is goin-ta-hell-in-a-handbasket and there will be no future Buchanan Crusader Knight to stand athwart the progress of the brown people! If Pat Buchanan weren't a columnist of some marginal influence, he would be wearing a couch in Astoria threadbare with a can of suds at the ready while watching the game on an old teevee ranting sourly about Rocky Marchiano. Instead, he is an MSNBC commentator and -- mirabile dictu -- a panelist on the always entertaining but increasingly irrelevant The McLaughlin Group.

Most Despicable Act of Conspicuous Consumption: Kimora Lee Simmons' Million Dollar Hairpiece, hands down. This blog has been particularly hard on premeditated acts of hyper-materialism -- real gut-level behavior -- and the financial collapse, perhaps, is our vindication and a turning point in American self-realization. America in the five years that this blog has been up and running, began to resemble ancient Rome, chucking the gumption and frugality that we earned through our pioneer origins. And no one more embodies that lack to geometric balance with relation to the soul in the direction of a despicable materialism than that noxious gassbag Kimora Lee Simmons, who actually commissioned a million dollar hairpiece. Instead of a check to the various charities dealing with the genocide in Darfur. She thinks it looks just fabulous. Asshole.

Public Intellectual Of The Year: Fareed Zakaria. Do Empires in twilight conjure their own biographers? If so, the Owl of Minerva is swooping dangerously low. And if there is any justice in the world, President-elect Obama will name Fareed Zakaria as Ambassador to Pakistan, where his nuanced and orderly mind can mend fences. We would miss him greatly as the host of GPS -- the best show on television, better even than "Dexter" -- but a mind like that ought to be in service to the country. The list of diverse statespeople and intellectuals that have crossed the threshold of his salon is beyond impressive. [Image: Observer]

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Tantrum of the Year: McCain Versus Bumiller. Politically, it was -- in the short term -- smart. Senator John McCain blew up at New York Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller when she asked him on his press plane about the rumor that Senator John Kerry offered him the Vice Presidency in 2004 (he did). Bumiller, poor dear, was just doing her job, but Team McCain spun it as another New-York-Times-Socialist-Rag milkbone for the right wing pitbulls to gnaw on. It was a perfect storm of McCain's legendary temper and Bumiller's welcome to the McCain plane, not knowing how to gently massage the question when speaking to Senator Batshit-Crazy.

End of the Trend: And the "End of the Trend" Pirate goes to -- Manskirts. There is nothing that is going to get The Corsair -- ever -- to put on a gossamyr Prada skirt above our pants, bouncing down the street on our bandy-legs. No percentage! What are they drinking in Milan?

End of the Trend (Honorable Mention): Socks with High Hells, also by Prada (for further reference, see the poor dear above).

Loser Of The Year: Rudy Giuliani. There are so many honorable mentions for this one: the condom-averse John Edwards, sociopath Bernie Madoff, Client #9 -- but no one, no one began the year with so much alleged potential. Remember how hot "Giggliani" was at the dawn of 2008? After September 11th, 2001, he toured the European capitals slurping fine wines and collecting honorary titles. The accolades afforded Rudy the cover to quietly snip that fucking embarrassing outer-borough combover that was never copacetic. He collected political IOU's in the 2004 and 2006 election cyles. He was supposed to win the GOP nomination, wallpapering his racially dubious record as NYC Mayor. Chris Matthews all but sucked Rudiani's flaccid cock nightly on his MSNBC chat show. But what all the Kool-Aid drinking talking heads forgot -- silly rabbits -- but this blog knew full well was that Rudy had to run in the Republican primary. And this blog watched, with great joy, as his sea-to-shining-sea flamout rode, brokeback, into Florida on rickety tires (It was all so "SchadenfRudy"). We chuckled softly as Governor Crist double-crossed him -- Rudy aides were "visibly shaken" -- and endorsed McCain, effectively ending what we always knew was a quixotic run for the Presidency. We hope Rudy is using his time out of the arena getting in touch with his inner minority right about now (Averted Gaze). Loser. Honorable Mention: Mikheil Saakashvili.
Is Mickey Rourke Self-Destructing?

Hollywood redemption stories are one-in-a-million propositions while the bright and shiny flameouts are a daily occurrence in the celebrity blogosphere game. Mickey Rourke has self-destructed before our very eyes already. It is a tragic thing to behold someone so talented fall so hard and wholly without grace. Last time he destroyed his looks with plastic surgery and amateur boxing; last time he destroyed his career on ill-advised and ill-chosen straight-to-VHS projects; last time he destroyed his marriage through brute Chimpanzee violence.

But Rourke shook off the accumulation of loserdust in The Wrestler. There he finally found a project to reveal the subtle tonal shadings of his melancholy American tough-guy persona. Now, given another chance at the brass ring, the hero of our story appears -- once again -- to be blowing it. At best, a Best Actor Oscar is an uphill battle. At best. Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Leo DiCaprio and -- a favorite for the sympathy Academy vote -- Heath Ledger stand in his way, all having put forth strong performances this year. The Best Actor category is, in fine, tighter than Jennifer Aniston's ass (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). And it doesn't help that Rourke's already uphill campaign for the Oscar, which would fix him back in the Hollywood A-List firmament once and for all time, involves fucking ghetto-trash talking. Charmed, I'm sure. From TheDailyBeast:

"Whistleblower has learned from several entertainment industry sources that Mickey Rourke — whose extraordinary comeback performance in The Wrestler is garnering him early praise as a shoo-in for a best actor Oscar nomination—is trash talking his likely toughest competitor, Sean Penn, whose acting in Milk has earned rave reviews.

"After his December 23 appearance on David Letterman, Rourke told someone backstage that he was surprised that so many people seemed to think that Penn was his Oscar competition since 'I’m not even sure he’ll get a nomination.'

"On December 28, a Los Angeles entertainment honcho shared a text message with me that Rourke had sent him: 'Look seans an old friend of mine and i didnt buy his performance at all—thought he did an average pretend acting like he was gay besides hes one of the most homophobic people i kno' [sic]

"'It’s a shame,' says one veteran Hollywood lawyer. 'Mickey should be looking at this as a once in a career chance for a fresh start. But dumping on Penn is not going to win him any friends. It’s not the way to get Oscar votes.'"

Get your shit together, baby. We would love to see you win a well-deserved Oscar, bro.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

Billionaire Paul Allen's "Octopus" (image via smh)

"ST. Barts doesn't seem to be hit by the recession. 'People are still drinking magnums of Domaines Ott and spending 500 euros for lunch,' our spy on the former French colony reports. Nikki Beach Club, Isle de France and Taiwana are the hot lunch spots. Larry Gagosian had a party that included 007 Daniel Craig. Also spotted on the island are Eddie Murphy, Giorgio Armani, Jon Bon Jovi, Russell Simmons, Stephen Dorff, Tony Shafrazi, Roger Waters, Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour. David Letterman was spotted grocery shopping, but has avoided the clubs and restaurants .. The harbor is filled with yachts, including Ultima III, Ronald Perelman's 188-footer, and The Octopus, Paul Allen's 414-foot ship, where rival New Year's Eve bashes are to be held. Perelman's is more exclusive, but Allen's party draws the most interesting young women." (PageSix)

"Living the good life, Naomi Campbell flaunted her bikini figure while enjoying a sun-filled vacation in the Maldives over the holiday weekend (December 27). Accompanied by her Russian billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin, the temperamental supermodel offered a rare smile as she splashed in the water alongside her beau and two of his scantily dressed guy pals." (GossipGirls)

"Mr. (Mel) Karmazin’s corner office on the 37th floor is a flight of stairs up from Mr. Stern’s studio. He and Mr. Stern have known each other since 1985, when Mr. Karmazin hired the shock jock at Infinity. But he is not responsible for Mr. Stern’s jump to Sirius, having joined the company after that deal. 'Would I like to have seen Howard get less money?' Mr. Karmazin asks. 'Yes. But I think any company that deals with content would say the same thing.'" (Tim Arrango/NYTimes)

"But if Israel goes ahead with an anticipated ground assault, says James Abourezk, a Lebanese American former Democratic Senator from South Dakota, it will encounter 'pretty stiff resistance.' Hamas has about 25,000 fighters in Gaza, said Abourezk, who frequently leads citizen tour groups to Syria. 'So Israel might not launch a ground incursion because Hamas has some pretty tough fighters in there.' On the other hand, 'Israel can do pretty much anything it wants' because of its firm backing from the United States in general and the Bush administration in particular, he said. The White House and State Department have blamed Hamas's rocket attacks on Israel for precipitating the crisis. 'The violence will keep going until the U.S. puts a stop to it,' Abourezk said." (CQPOlitics)

"Art prices extended a seven-year surge for much of 2008, with a Claude Monet painting of water lilies, Lucian Freud’s portrait of a civil servant called Sue and a Francis Bacon triptych setting records. A 111.5 million pound ($162 million at current rates) sale of Damien Hirst works in September featured pickled unicorns, flying pigs and a golden calf with 18-carat hooves and horns. From 2003 to 2007, worldwide auction sales of contemporary art grew more than eightfold, said the French-based database Artprice. The Hirst sale coincided with the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and the rise in auction prices then came to halt, said dealers. 'The mood has changed,' Anders Petterson, founder and managing director of the London-based art market research company ArtTactic, told Bloomberg in October. 'The magnitude of the economic crisis is such that even the ultra-rich will have second thoughts about buying things.'" (Bloomberg)

"In election terms, 2009 is an off-year, sandwiched between the presidential campaign of 2008 and the full slate of House, Senate and gubernatorial contests set for 2010. That means the action in ’09 will be limited to three marquee races: the governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia and the mayor’s race in New York. Even though local dynamics tend to shape contests for these offices, they will invariably be watched and dissected for their national significance. Republicans, smarting from painful drubbings in 2006, 2008 and a host of special elections in between, will trumpet any success as a sign of resurgence and a harbinger of a strong midterm performance in 2010." (Observer)

"At dinner last night the conversation was ... still ... about Bernie Madoff and the Big Swindle. A couple of tables away, it was the same ..The losses keep mounting. One well-known Manhattan family lost upwards of $300 million (but don’t want it to get out). They remain very well fixed .. Evil aside, it’s about Due Diligence .. I’ve known two women in my life who were heiresses to great wealth and didn’t like the whole thing. One of them I won’t know name because she is still with us and wouldn’t like being singled out. Her first reaction when she learned of the size of her inheritance (in the nine figures), was to balk and figure out how to give it away, to get rid of it. The other was the late Bettina Bancroft, an heiress to the Dow-Jones fortune. When Bettina first heard about her vast inheritance, she said out loud: 'I don’t want it. Give it away!' Both of these women had a natural sense of its dangers and destruction, and they feared it. Both women, incidentally, didn’t give it away (although they were generous in their philanthropies)." (NYSocialDiary)

"Andy Warhol is dead and everyone's 15 minutes will soon be up. Make no mistake about that. As the economy unravels further and we head into a global worldwide 'Depression' the relative significance of who and what is important on New York's party circuit will matter far less. As far more folks find themselves living less glamorous lives our willingness to celebrate the petulant indulgences of others will dissipate. Perhaps then fame will become based more on some substantive and real set of values and accomplishments rather than doing coke at Bungalow 8 or merely staying out too late at parties at high end boutiques. A change is coming." (Asmallword via Cityfile)

"For the 12th week in a row — and the 378th out of the last 380 — Meet the Press was the most watched Sunday morning public affairs program. The David Gregory-moderated program also won in the A25-54 demo. NBC, ABC and FOX grew week-to-week in Total Viewers." (TVNewser)

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via daylife)

In: Ehud Barack. Whatever one thinks of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, his performance in the present military campaign against Hamas strongholds in Gaza in retaliation for their recent barrage of rocket attacks will all but certainly determine his political future. Anything less than a victory will diminish Israel's reputation as the region's dominant power and finish the career of the former Prime Minister.

The Israel-Lebabon War looms large here. Fresh off a perceived loss -- or at the very least the failure of Israel to achieve its objective -- in Lebabnon in 2006 (with a peace finally brokered by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701), Defense Minister Barack, a tenacious politician, has almost no choice in the matter but to gain a decisive victory. On his right, Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu -- Ehud's nemesis -- stands to gain or lose in the upcoming elections six weeks from now for Prime Minister depending on how Barack prosecutes this war.

The timing is auspicious, because: a) the war was timed where the Western media was on holiday vacation, b) the Saturday news cycle is the weakest in the West on Friday, c) the low price of oil virtually guarantees that Iran will not be showering Hamas with petrodollars like they did Hezbollah in 2006, and d) we are in the midst of a US Presidential transition between Bush, a President who will OK virtually any Israeli military action, and Barack Obama, who, with regards to Israeli unilateralism is still an x-variable.

But Ehud Barack's objectives in the present war remain unclear. Perhaps there is a strategy to this. This weekend Ehud Barack told interviewers that his objective in the campaign is to "change the behavior" of Hamas. Does that entail the risky proposition of using ground troops? At what point can Ehud Barack declare that Hamas' behavior has been effectively changed? Will the conflict spread beyond the borders of Israel? Will Israel launch a risky ground attack against a Hamas force of 25,000 troops or press its technical advantage over Hamas by sticking to targeted weopons strikes? If Israel sticks to long range attacks that put Palestinian civilians at great risk can it truly claim the PR victory?

The world is watching, the world is waiting for answers.

Out: Mickey Rourke. Won't someone remove the loserdust from Mr. Rourke's lapels? Poor Mickey Rourke. His ticket, it appears, seems to be exploding. Imagine that you have squandered Hollywood stardom -- a one in a million proposition as it is -- and, by the grace of the Buddha, you get a second chance. You beat out Oscar-winner Nic Cage to land the role of a lifetime only to get beat by ... a dead man? Will the Heath Ledger Oscar sympathy-buzz smother the Mickey Rourke's LIVING buzz? Should it? Isn't an Oscar to be celebrated by the living? From DeadlineHollywoodDaily:

"Oscar ballots go out today from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences to its 5,810 members and are due back on January 12th. Nominations will be announced January 22nd with the Academy Awards telecast held February 22nd. I know people love to endlessly speculate about who's going to get nominated, and who might win, but I must say this year's Oscars is shaping up as rather suspense-less. According to my AMPAS voter gurus who constantly talk to other Academy members, consensus already is forming around Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture. Also, I don't know why opinion is focusing on Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button over, say, Meryl Streep in Doubt for Best Actress. And Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight for Best Supporting Actor is considered a lock. I'm told by Academy members that David Fincher would have a better shot at Best Director for Benjamin Button if only he wasn't considered such a jerk (yes, that factors in unless a pic is the absolute frontrunner), so Slumdog's Danny Boyle is the favorite."
Bio: Breaking Up With Janet Jackson Drove Bobby Brown Drink

(image via streetknowledge)

We almost forgot that Madonna once dated celebrity train wreck Bobby Brown. But that, apparently, is not what fucked the man up. That honor goes to Janet Jackson. From Cindy Adams:

"DERRICK HANDSPIKE's book about his friend who was wed to Whitney Houston is 'Bobby Brown: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But . . . an un(authorized?) biography.'

"Explains Handspike: 'First it was a collaborative autobio. Then a leak hit the media about his marriage and drug abuse, and he got cold feet, so it eventually became solely my book.'

"...'People ask if he helped get Whitney on drugs. I don't believe that. Of course, I only know what he told me, which is he never used coke until he met her. Maybe he did other things, but not that. Like I know his mouth's a little crooked because he had a stroke from OD'ing on heroin.

"Bobby lived great way before Whitney. He dated Madonna in the early '90s. She was very aggressive in her pursuit of him. Called him all the time. One night in the back of her limo, she kind of attacked him. Before that he dated Janet Jackson. He said when they broke up is what made him drink. He also said her parents didn't like her dating black people."

We'll leave that last assertion aside and chalk that up to the fact that The Jacksons are America's premiere fucked up family. But if Janet caused Bobby to drink then what caused him to try to urinate on Dee Snyder?

Oh, yeah: the Twisted Sister "Leader of the Pack" cover back in '85.
Is Jesus Luz Just A Hunk Of Caramelized Beef?

Granted, the title of this post is most unkind. And it is probably high time that the obnoxiously stupid Fabio had company on his lonely media perch at the wee rings of the show business ladder. But what is it about Jesus Luz? All we hear of him is sexual, related to his value as a caramel-colored Brazilian hardbody. That can't be intellectually fulfilling. His claim to fame is thus far: a) He caught Madonna's cougarish gaze (apparently he is a fetching slice of "sweet-beef"), and, b) He likes to canoodle.

Is Luz even capable of rational thought? We assume he is, though that is not entirely evident from the blank, sylph-like gaze (see above) that seems only to invite a thorough ravaging and not, say, a thoughtful conversation about the methodology of Liebnitz (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). Jesus Luz is like, canoodle-wise, a masculine version of Carmen Electra, built for naught else but bouncy-wouncy. Even the words used to describe his relationship with Madonna -- "ficando," as in, accordfing to P6, "Everyone knows they are ficando.." -- suggests thate is for play; he can only be properly construed as a glazed and honied man-ham.

Ficando, indeed, motherfucker.

Wouldn't it be swell, though, to hear of Madonna's boyfriend doing Ibsen Off-Broadway with Amy Irving? How pimp would it be if Jesus Luz were auditioninf for Checkov? Talking to Charlie Rose about the evolving Middle East situation? Or reading of Luz in an awesome Page Six SIGHTING, "Jesus Luz, arguing a philosophical point vehemently with Meredith Monk about something in his dogeared copy of Beelzebub’s Tales at 1Oak. That would be intriguing and we would feel as if following Jesus' exploits weren't a soul-deadening enterprise.

We are still waiting for signs of intellectual life from Jesus Luz to happen. But in the meantime we hear that Luz is -- as per a beefy brothiness -- appearing in shitty Brazilian TV shows, making out (Averted Gaze). From The Telegraph:

"Jesus Luz, 20, guest starred as Diogo, a jilted boyfriend, in the programme, titled 'Hostel.'

"He was seen being led by his girlfriend to a party, where he drank too much and got drunk, passing out on a chair.

"While Diogo was unconscious, his girlfriend was seen making love to another man.

"Candé Salles, the director of the programme, told The Daily Star: 'He acted very well. He is excellent.'"

We're sure he is. Then again, it is entirely possible that when you look like that one can be gainfully employed in semi-pornographic pursuits but without the imposition of insertion without ever having pursued the marvels of a modern education.
Musto: This Is The End Of The Cutting Room

(image via emedianewswire)

Another casualty of this economy. Michael Musto got the scoop that Chris Noth's NYC Cutting Room is going the way of the dodo and we only wonder what this augurs for the club scene in the city:

"The Cutting Room--the long-running music space/hangout on West 24th--is ending up on the cutting room floor. I hear the club is going bye-bye in January because of rising rents, another casualty of our city's financial mayhem. I'm told that they may relocate in Tribeca, but that could take a few years. So if you run into co-owner Chris Noth in the near future, give him money!"

Last year Page Six reported that co-owners Noth and Steve Walter were looking to move the club to Hell's Kitchen. Comment here.
Touré Can't Find A Single Black "Thinking Man's Sex Symbol"

Former CNN pop culture correspondent -- whatever that means -- and present BET host Touré appears on The Daily Beast with his TMSS -- Thinking Man's Sex Symbol -- top ten list. As if it isn't bad enough that Touré's list omits Lucy Liu and Danish pastry Helena Christensen altogether (what was he thinking?), not a single of the top ten is an African-American. Charmed, I'm sure. Touré bloviates in the wind up:

"A man has two minds. The lower mind is a brainless whore excited by any woman with breasts, curves, and a thong. The upper mind, which works with actual grey matter, is more persnickety. The upper mind, when employed, is moved by intelligence, success, power, self-confidence, a smart sense of humor, and, of course, not having a castrating nature.

"And that’s the challenge. Can a woman be independent, creative, sharp, witty, strong, and self-empowering without making me feel like she wants to be a man? Ann Coulter and Judith Regan could never make the list—they’re sexy, brainy, powerful, but I feel like they secretly want to steal my manhood."

Oh dear. After the gassy windup comes the pitch. We are treated to a photo gallery into the theater of Touré's empty skull, including, in order: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholme (#10), Samantha Power (#9), Jhumpa Lahiri (#8), M.I.A. (#7), Meredith Vieira (#6), Lisa Ling (#5), Katie Couric (#4), Sarah Silverman (#3), Tina Fey (#2) and Ana Ivanovic (#1). Toure, perhaps conscious of his omission and possible backlash adds British-Jamaican author Zadie Smith as an "obligatory honorary mention" -- his words.

This from a BET host? Not to begrudge all of his choices -- Samantha Power, in particular -- but why couldn't Touré, who represents Black Entertainment Television, find a single African-American women to break his Top Ten "Thinking Woman's Sex Symbol" list? What does that say about Touré's thinking about thinking African-American women, hmm? No Taraji P. Henson? No Fredricka Whitfield of CNN? No Victoria Rowell? No Michelle Obama? No Regina King?

Oh Touré, desist .. desist!

(Image: TheDailyBeast)
The Story Behind "Scores"

If there is a story behind Scores, it is probably skimpy. This economy -- and the decimation on Wall Street -- has not been good to that ecdysiast's delight. Scores, the "gentleman's" club popularized by the Howard Stern Show (and Colin Farrell's frequent, boozy visits) is getting the E! True Hollywood Story treatment by Chaunce Hayden, the man who infamously received hairplugs from a garbage man, and his childhood chum Tony Lombardi (Awww). Among the revelations, from Rush and Molloy:

"'George Clooney would come for three, four nights in a row,' Hayden tells us.

"... 'Charlie Sheen took such a liking to a stripper named Charity that he decided charity begins at home. He brought her back to his apartment — for several weeks, Hayden claims.

"... Jason Priestley was tossed out of the club for doing extracurricular activities with a woman he brought into the men’s room.

"'Madonna would come in and always sit at the same table right up under the stage, to get a closeup look at the dancers,' Hayden recalls. 'She wasn’t shy about getting several lap dances a night.'

" ...'Tori Spelling would come in and puff on a cigar while getting lap dances,' Hayden claims. '... and be the last to leave at 4 a.m.'

"'Sandra Bernhard would always come in with a posse of ... models. One night while she was three months pregnant, she got up and stripped down to just her panties.'

"...The free-flowing booze fueled a lot of misbehavior, like the night Mickey Rourke had to stop Chuck Zito from beating to a pulp fellow actor Jean-Claude Van Damme just for saying he had 'no heart.'"

Of course, that bonhomie over strippers didn't stop Zito, the former star of HBO's gritty prison drama Oz, from knocking out Rourke. Much more here.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

(image via nydailynews)

"Anderson Cooper is interviewed by Choire Sicha in the Los Angeles Times, and the CNN anchor talks about the internet and life after the election ..When asked why he doesn't just 'quit your job and start a website,' Cooper says, 'I like the immediacy of television. I like going to a frontline, I like going to a story. I like the immediacy and impact of it. There's a real global impact with CNN.' But also: 'I don't have the energy of Arianna Huffington or Tina Brown.'" (TVNewser)

"Caroline Kennedy has lots of friends too although in a more circumspect way. New Yorkers in the game are well aware of the rungs on the ladder and who is who and what is where. Caroline Kennedy has chosen to remain out of that fray and above it. For whatever reason, the result of that 'out and above' has allowed her a highly privileged position. I have always wondered if her self-presentation was simply an expression of that position. Where her mother and her brother could nod and smile at a passerby or someone else at the lunch counter, the daughter is much less inclined." (NYSocialDiary)

"Child star Jaimee Foxworth, whose addictions landed her a spot on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, is five months pregnant by her longtime boyfriend, her reps tell PEOPLE. 'I haven't been this happy in years,' says Foxworth, 29. 'I am excited about what the future holds for us' ... After being unceremoniously written off as the youngest child on the sitcom Family Ties, she lost all the money she made on the show, then turned to adult films and acquired a marijuana addiction. 'Being sober has opened my eyes to a whole new world,' she says. 'I've been through a lot of pain in the past and I never really wanted a child until recently. I now look forward to years of joy to share with my child.'" (People)

"THE Queen has slapped a gagging order on all palace staff—to preserve royal family secrets. Servants must also GIVE BACK all royal mementoes, letters and gifts when they quit. Workers who don’t sign up to the extraordinary secret service- style contract face the sack. One angry employee said: 'We will fight this—it’s like working for MI5.'" (Newsoftheworld)

"Already, the street vendors who set up shop on downtown Washington sidewalks have pushed aside the T-shirts and hats emblazoned with 'FBI' or 'CIA' to make way for Obama T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts. It’s practically impossible to find any souvenir with the likeness of departing President Bush. In the souvenir world, he’s yesterday’s news. Across the country, TV viewers are being bombarded with commercials for such items as Obama collector coins or plates. For veterans of the political memorabilia trade, Obama’s arrival on the scene has been a godsend in tough economic times." (CQPolitics)

"Opposition researchers dredging up tough questions for Hillary Clinton's secretary of state confirmation hearings have just lost a key piece of ammunition: The global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, headed by her campaign strategist Mark Penn, has quietly ended a two-year relationship with the Pakistan People's Party, the ruling party of Pakistan. The questions could have been awkward for Clinton both politically and substantively, since she will have to manage relationships both with the Pakistanis and their cross-border rivals in India." (Politico)

"An antidote to Christmas for festivity-phobes is provided by the late writer, film-maker, drug addict and performer William S. Burroughs, who is the subject of a section of 'GSK Contemporary,' an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (supported by GlaxoSmithKline Plc.) Atrabilious, mordant, misanthropic and lizard-eyed, Burroughs was a perfect Beat Generation equivalent to Charles Dickens’s Ebenezer Scrooge. The contents of this sub-show, 'Burroughs Live,' include portraits of the man by artists and photographers including David Hockney and Robert Mapplethorpe. Annie Leibovitz’s study of the author looking like an aged turtle in 1997, the year of his death, is the most memorable. There is also a Damien Hirst cabinet piece containing bits of Burroughs memorabilia, among them some bullets certified as shot by WSB in person." (Bloomberg)

"The departures, along with the widespread knowledge that Bloomsbury’s parent company in Britain had become dangerously unstable when the hyperlucrative Harry Potter series came to an end, moved many in the publishing industry here to wonder whether the leadership over in London might just shut the American colony down, letting history remember it as a bold but finally botched experiment." (Observer)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Resolved: Caroline Kennedy Should Not Get Hillary's Senate Seat

Okay, I love the Kennedy's. Let's get that out of the way at the outset. Apartheid quite possibly would have lasted another decade if not for the opposition in the United States Senate of Ted Kennedy (against the fucking Reagan White House). And Caroline's support of President Obama -- at a critical moment -- was welcome. Mrs. Kennedy probably was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and tilted Teddy Kennedy into the Illinois Senator's corner up from his customary silence in the intramural family matter that is the Democrat Presidential primary. Clearly Obama owes Mrs. Kennedy, politically, vastly.

But is it just me or is there more than a whiff of over-privilege in this Senate seat thing. It's just wrong, this granting of a Senate seat to a Kennedy because she feels "engaged" for the first time in her adult life politically. Like, whatthefuck? Glad to hear that the Obama campaign activated the juices of democracy, but that, Mrs. Kennedy, is not enough. That Senate seat and what it represents -- sociologist/Ambassador Moynihan, Aeschylus-quoting former Attorney General RFK, or even a celebrity policy wonk/ former First Lady/Health Care guru like Hillary Rodham Clinton -- is a vast political marker; higher than the United States Ambassadorship to the United Nations. What, really, has Caroline Kennedy done, aside from being a Kennedy and ornamenting important boards of directors and offering some important but light consulting in the NYC public schools, that merits such a high-level position in American government at this moment of exigency on the international stage? Is the ability to raise the requisite $30 million on her name enough to consign the seat to one so relatively inexperienced politically? And what does this say of the asking price to become a United States Senator in the Democrat party in the age of Blogojevich?

A strong argument can be made -- from the point of view of party strength and fairness -- that the seat should go to someone from upstate. Congresswoman Gillibrand, for example. So far as I know, Caroline is a downstater, like the Governor and the two present Senators. How do we square that away with our patient neighbors to the north? Second: there are quite a few people ahead of Kennedy in line, to be frank, like Andrew Cuomo (who has already shown the ability to win statewide). Nydia Velasquez. Jerry Nadler. And The Corsair's personal favorite: H. Carl McCall.

Just because Caroline Kennedy shares the last name of a previous and famous occupant does not make it an inevitable conclusion. Someone ought to remind Caroline that we are a democratic Republic and not an aristocracy. I'm pretty sure a Republican challenger would bring that up if she does get appointed to the seat by Governor Patterson. An ambassadorship to the Court of St. James, which also has had a famous Kennedy occupant (and is more indulgent of aristocratic mindsets), is a perfect resume-builder for an aspiring US Senator.

Again, The Corsair likes Caroline Kennedy, I like the family, we think what Ted did on South Africa deserves him a Nobel Prize. But Caroline Kennedy should not be appointed to this position. This is also starting a dangerous precedent for Democrat Party, that only recently gained the reins of power. Joe Biden's son, who we met at the convention, may get his father's Senate seat. Ken Salazar's brother may get the Colorado Senate seat vacated by the incoming Interior secretary. And need we get into the whole Blogojevich thingie?

We thought the Dems were the party of meritocracy and the Republicans aristocracy. Succession is based on merit, not genetic markers, thank you very much. I'm sure Caroline Kennedy is a fine woman (in fact, we are sure of it), but this reeks of privilege. There are a half a dozen upstate legislators that deserve the seat more than her (but lack the Kennedy name). And it looks like the seat is slipping away from her. Jonathan Capehart describes the ways that what was once a sure thing is looking not-so-sure, indeed. From WashPo:

"Please tell me you aren't really surprised by the growing backlash against Caroline Kennedy's quest to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as the junior senator from New York. More than a few prominent political folks, including Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), were put out by Kennedy's celebrity giving her a leg-up on others who would like to get the nod from New York Gov. David Paterson. And celebrity could have taken her far, were it not for five big political, style and substance mistakes committed by her otherwise able strategic team that have diminished the prospects of the highly regarded Camelot heiress.

"Mistake No. 1: Not voting in many New York City and State elections over the last 20 years. It's hard to carry the mantle of America's political royal family, with its well-earned history of public service, when it's been revealed that you couldn't even muster the energy to vote for Democrats.

"Mistake No. 2: Refusing to swear allegiance to the Democratic challenger to Mayor Bloomberg when he seeks a third term next year. New York Democrats are right to demand it.

"Mistake No. 3: Not giving money to New York's Democratic Party candidates. According to the New York Daily News, in the last ten years, Kennedy has given $1,000 to local office seekers. She was more generous at the federal level. She even maxed out to Clinton, who gave the money back after Kennedy publicly endorsed Barack Obama.

"These three errors might not be fatal, but they most certainly diminished Kennedy's standing and gave competitors and critics the opening they needed to throw cold-water on the political neophyte with a storied last name."

More here.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Dexter co-star Lauren Velez has been tapped for a multiepisode arc on ABC's dramedy 'Ugly Betty.' She will play Elena, a nurse that enters the lives of the Suarez family, on the ABC Studios-produced series. Details about her character and how she will interact with Betty (America Ferrera) and the rest of the Suarez clan are being kept under wraps, but word is that she is tied to a plot twist that might involve the death of a major character. On Dexter, Velez plays Lt. Maria Laguerta, a higher-up and resident dictator at the Miami Police Department. Her series credits include HBO's Oz and Fox's New York Undercover." (TheHollywoodReporter)

"In an exclusive television interview, Caroline Kennedy told NY1 that her late mother would 'roll her eyes' about her aspirations to succeed Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate while her late brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., 'would be laughing his head off” about her quest for higher office. She would roll her eyes about the whole thing but she was an incredible patriot herself and I think she would be really proud that I’m doing this,' Kennedy said of her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In her 30-minute conversation with NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter, Kennedy also discusses her father, President John F. Kennedy, and discounts criticism that she’s running on her family’s fame." (NY1)

"MARY-Kate in a hoodie and Ashley Olsen, in all black with fur, bringing a bunch of friends and their own bottle of champagne into Serendipity 3" (PageSix)

"Fox has shaken up its lineup, moving its biggest drama, 'House,' to Mondays at 8 p.m. from Tuesdays; it will be followed on Mondays by '24.' The network is also sliding its solid procedural drama 'Bones' to Thursdays at 8 p.m. from Wednesdays, and placing its successful new science fiction drama, 'Fringe,' on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., with 'Lie to Me' on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.. That means both new series will stand to inherit some of the 'American Idol' throngs. Later in the winter Fox will bring on a new drama, 'Dollhouse,' from Joss Whedon, the creator of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' as well as a new animated show from the 'Arrested Development' creator Mitchell Hurwitz and a comedy-variety series starring Ozzy Osbourne and his family. 'We sort of see the time up to December as the introduction, and the main event happens in January,' said Peter Liguori, the chairman of Fox Entertainment." (Bill Carter/NYTimes)

"Nixonland by Rick Perlstein and The Age of Reagan by Sean Wilentz. Essential to understanding how certain dirty political techniques and naive ideologies led to the making of the word "toxic" a huge net that could cover both politics and Wall Street. We should all be grateful for poets, critics, musicians, and historians of this quality. They didn't have to do what they did but they had too much integrity not to put a magnifying glass on what they knew we needed to experience and to know. Happy New Year if you can make it happen. Always remember that happiness, like everything else, is overrated but remains better than the hard blues." (Stanley Crouch/TheDailyBeast)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wealthiest Woman In The World Invested With Madoff

(image via forbes)

The "Who's Who" of Madoff investors increases. The wealthiest woman in the world, listed at #17 on Forbes billionaires, joins US News & World Report publisher Mort Zuckerman, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity as victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. From Bloomberg:

"Liliane Bettencourt, the world’s wealthiest woman, entrusted part of her $22.9 billion fortune with Bernard Madoff through the fund manager found dead in New York yesterday, two people familiar with the matter said.

"The 86-year-old daughter of L’Oreal SA founder Eugene Schueller was the first investor in a fund managed by Access International Advisors, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because her investment isn’t public. The body of Access co-founder Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, 65, was found in his Madison Avenue office yesterday. Police said he probably killed himself.

"Bettencourt, a Parisian, joins wealthy individuals from around the world, including Spanish billionaire Alicia Koplowitz, U.S. moviemaker Steven Spielberg and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, among victims of what Madoff, 70, told investigators was a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

"'More high-profile names who have been victimized by Madoff will start to become known now,' said Ron Geffner, who represents hedge funds at the New York-based law firm Sadis & Goldberg LLP. 'There’s a strong sense of anguish, fear and distrust.'

More here.