Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

The Cartesian Argument for the Existence of God is not nearly as eloquent as this. (image via thecobrasnake)

"Maybe if I just turn around and pretend I don't hear her singing Ebony and Ivory .." (image via thecobrasnake)

Kanye West doesn't care about warm-blooded people. (image via splashnews)

Spanx for the memories ... (image via thecobrasnake)

When indulging in shoulder-riding fetishes, it is considered profoundly rude to have a happy ending. (image via thecobrasnake)
Things I Find AMAZING

Peggy and Duck? Really?

Foreign Policy magazine asks: Could Lawrence of Arabia win in Afghanistan? Next cover: Could Batman find bin Laden?

Cougars, "couging." Mrrow.

True Blood, now in its 18th week of DVD release has $54.998 million in total sales.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. Her chapter on Andy Dick is fucking hilarious.

The effortlessly gorgeous Fredricka Whitfield of CNN. Yummm.

That former Air America President Mark Green ran for New York Public Advocate (a job he has already held) and lost to a relative unknown (what was he THINKING!)
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Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"When John Edwards returned to North Carolina in the course of his long quest for the presidency, Andrew Young always met him at the airport in Edwards’s big black Chevy Tahoe. Young drove, and Edwards rode shotgun, silently raising his left hand whenever he wanted a Diet Coke, which Young would wordlessly supply." (Politico)

"Michael Moore stopped by (The Howard Stern Show) to promote his new film, 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' and explained the security detail he brought with him by citing some people’s reaction to his infamous 'we live in fictitious times' Oscar acceptance speech: 'The next day our home was vandalized...people posted signs saying move to Canada on our trees.' Michael said he has a galvanizing effect on people ('When they see me on the street, they go crazy.'), citing one incident in which a crazed man tried to scald him with hot coffee. Michael blamed incendiary right wing talk show hosts for inciting such behavior because they tell people his films are filled with lies without ever actually identifying any of those lies. Michael even challenged anyone to find a factual error in his movies: 'The opinions in my films are mine...but the facts are facts. I offered $10,000 to anyone who can prove there is a factual lie in one of my movies.'" (HowardStern)

"DICK Parsons -- the former Time Warner chairman who served on President Obama's transition team and now runs Citigroup -- insists he has no intention of running for governor, as some have speculated. 'I honestly feel my race is almost run,' the affable exec, 61, told William O'Shaughnessy on WVOX Radio. "That's not a spring chicken anymore.' Parsons -- who was Nelson Rockefeller's lawyer back in the day and then chairman of the Dime Savings Bank -- mentioned his new grandson, but didn't mention his baby daughter, Ella, borne by Liberian refugee MacDella Cooper, who runs a foundation for Liberian orphans. Parsons, who owns a vineyard in Tuscany, said, "We are the only vineyard in Italy with a motto . . . 'We drink all that we can . . . and then we sell the rest.' What kind of platform is that?' he laughed. 'How can you run on that?'" (PageSix)

"Did you know that Stuart Weitzman is a competitive ping pong player? According to Derek Blasberg, he practices with a robot. We’re not exactly sure what that means, but last night, the shoe designer/table tennis pro hosted a ping pong tournament at the new SPiN ping pong club, in support of Ovarian Cancer Research. Guests, including Joy Bryant, Kristian Laliberte, Carol Han and Robert Fowler snacked on mini hamburgers, truffled popcorn, and cheesecake balls.." (Guestofaguest)

"indieWIRE is conducting a survey of various bloggers and critics, surveying the films from the 2009 New York Film Festival. We asked them to grade all of the films that they’ve seen so far, and we will continue updating their responses through October 11th, the fest’s closing night." (IndieWIRE)

"As a senator, the former 'Saturday Night Live' star has delivered only one speech on the floor, introduced low-profile legislation and declined many media interview requests .. (Senator Al) Franken does talk to media outlets in Minnesota. But otherwise — on a daily basis — the 58-year-old lawmaker travels with a press aide who cuts off all press queries by saying, 'No questions, no questions.' Franken declined The Hill’s request for an interview. After being declared the winner over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), one of Franken’s first moves was to hire Drew Littman, a veteran of Capitol Hill, as his chief of staff. Littman has assisted more than a handful of Democrats over the past decade in making the transition from senators-elect to members of the upper chamber. Franken has thus far been a reliable vote for Democratic leadership. And of the 72 bills he has formally endorsed, only four were introduced by Republicans. Franken has crafted few pieces of legislation. His Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which seeks to pair service dogs with veterans who need them, was successfully attached to the defense appropriations bill this summer." (TheHill)

"A guard looks out from a temporary grandstand erected in Tiananmen Square. On Thursday, the largest military parade in China's modern history will pass through the square as part of elaborately planned celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China." (ForeignPolicy)

"Former Senator Rick Santorum has expressed interest in running for President in 2012. Although Santorum said in a conference call that he has "no plans," he will be delivering speeches in Des Moines and Dubuque, Iowa, the nation's first presidential caucus state. The former Senator from Pennsylvania fueled speculation of a Presidential run earlier this month when he spoke at a private reception at the Values Voters Summit." (AirAmerica)

"Once the incendiary allegations in the motions aired, the DA’s office had to do something. Granted, at first the 'something' seemed to be claims that flew all over the place. The office initially denied that there’d been misconduct when the case was originally prosecuted; then, faced with what was shown in the 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, it withdrew that statement. The reaction was a confusing, muddled mess. But what no one—apparently including Polanski’s lawyers—knew was that while the public response was on the skids, privately, the DA’s office was setting up for a checkmate. After many aborted efforts over the years, it got him, and law enforcement sources have acknowledged that Polanski has his own lawyers and their strident motions to thank for finally landing him behind bars. Now the magic act begins for Polanski’s lawyers. Because unless they can bend bars the way Uri Geller bends spoons, the director will soon end his 30-year exile and appear once again in a U.S. courtroom. His lawyers will then have to show why a rape case should disappear." (Marcia Clarke/TheDailyBeast)

"Some two and a half years later, on his first day in the heart of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, Mr. (Don) Imus took a sidelong glance back at his old lair. 'You can nearly see our old office at NBC from here,' said Mr. Imus. 'I’m just wondering if they ever found the cocaine in there. It was hidden in the walls.'" (Observer)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

10 Creepiest People In The World

This blogger was thinking about Rudy Giuliani (don't ask us why) and his political fortunes as a possible Gubernatorial candidate and it dawned upon us -- this man is creepy. Not, like, man-in-a-raincoat kind of creepy, but national level creepy. Threat level red. Our mind raced; a train of thought was born -- who is as creepy or creepier than Rudy?

Many colorful people, evidently. Thus this post was born:

10- Rudy Giuliani. What does one say about a man who inspires his own children to vote for his political enemies?

There is something deeply creepy about Rudy Giuliani. Profoundly creepy. What karmic episode in what past life brought him to this repeat default position as the Republican Party's foil against African-American firsts? Rudy exists to thwart African-American progress (comm-YEW-nity organizer be damned). He could arise, politically, only in a situation of naught else but total urban breakdown. An thuggish opportunist like Rudiani could only find political purchase in the absence of a solid political order. He crawls out of the void on his belly, wiggling his flabby ass. Rudy Giuliani is the consequence of an existential crisis. The crime situation in New York -- and the failure of David Dinkins -- allowed Rudy to flourish like a mushroom or some such political fungus in damp earth.

With sunken tombstones for eyes.

9- Jocelyne Wildenstein. Anyone who could do this to themselves -- for the sake, worse, of a philandering husband's fancy -- is seriously fucked up. Might-take-a-bite-out-of-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night fucked up. And the doctor that did this ought to be brought up on charges, to be sure. It says something terrible about the state of our democracy that Jocelyne Wildenstein, the "Tiger Lady," became something of a celebrity at the height of the bubble, dubbed "The Bride of Wildenstein." Historians of the future may look back at our imperial decay and feature, in textbooks, images of Wildenstein. And CATS! From Divasthesite:

"Always loving exotic animals, Alec bought Jocelyne a rare monkey as a household pet, and they had special enclosures built in their various houses for the beast, as he travelled with them throughout the world in the Wildenstein's private jet. For animal company of the more usual sort, Alec bought his wife 5 purebred greyhounds.

"Being a society wife is hard work, and by necessity one must look one's best. With Jocelyne, this was no exception. Alec bought her a complete Chanel wardrobe, as well as Chanel gowns designed expressly for her and no one else. Of course, with such a beautiful wardrobe, the accessories, too, must be of matching quality; so Alec bought his blushing bride a jewelery collection valued in excess of $10 million.

"Marriage with anybody can be difficult. Marriage to the very rich can be impossible, at times. Alec Wildenstein was no exception. Though Jocelyne tried as hard as she could, and eventually provided her husband with two fine children, it was sometimes a thankless task to jolly her husband out of his somber moods. He was subject to fits of depression at the control his father still exercised over him, in spite of his advancing years. The only consolations, it seemed, were the lions in his private jungle and his priceless, exquisite art collection. An insecure Jocelyne could not be blamed for feeling somewhat jealous. When Alec's eye began to wander after many years of marriage, Jocelyne knew that drastic measures were called for."

Beyond the creepy exotic animals and the raw excess of wealth, the fact that Jocelyne still enjoys the nightlife, seemingly oblivious that she looks like a fucking meow-meow, gives this blogger awe. And fear.

8- Muammar Gaddafi. Africans have always known that Gaddafi is a freak, but this week the West got a taste. This weekend Muammar Gaddafi was the comedy writer's gift that kept on giving. His eccentricities -- the dress, the prolix speechifying, the pharmaceutically-enhanced leer (see image), the posse of virgin female bodyguards -- are delicious. If you gave Michael Jackson or the bloated late stage Marlon Brando or even Elvis an African nation, this is what would happen sooner or later. Excess, thy name is Gaddafi. And that is creepy. He knows not civilizational bounds.

He is, after a fashion, the embodiment of African Dictator Chic, minus a smidgen of bloodthirstiness and plus a touch of the buffoon. But make no mistake about it, those dark, dead dictator's eyes are the eyes of a killer.

7-Courtney Love. Granted, Courtney Love is more sad than creepy, but the fact that she is allowed to roam free -- walking wounded -- edging closer to her own doom is deeply creepy. I've always found it irresponsible when Howard Stern puts her on, as a sort of comic mess, a how-not-to-live-your-life. The tough girl couture-grunge routine masks a very wounded soul.

Courtney Love has had a hard life. She suffered alleged sexual abuse from manscum Ted Nugent. But she has had strong moments -- attacking the recording industry dinosaurs at the turn of the millennium. And she has had profoundly creepy moments -- allegedly shooting heroin while pregnant. Her husband committed suicide, leaving her to raise an infant. But isn't that an alarm bell to fall back on one's support system? That's what family and therapists are for. Instead, Courtney Love pitched forward into a fast-paced career at overdrive. Bad move.

She had what can only be properly construed as a nervous breakdown. Somewhere around that period Johnny Depp saved her life. That involved another pregnancy. And she's only recently returned to civilian life.

It doesn't seem as if she is really that much better. And that is what is creepy. If Courtney Love is smart enough to navigate Twitter, she should be smart enough to know that she needs to give show business a break and solidify her center somewhere private -- outside of the public eye. What is so creepy is that Courtney Love doesn't seem to understand that there is such a thing as life outside of the prism of celebrity. Creepier is that 43,817 people read her increasingly erratic Tweets.

This, unfortunately, will probably not end well.

6- Chuck Berry. This blogger will freely admit that we do not know what it was like to live in the American South in the 1950s. It sounds positively Kafkesque. A totalitarian prison, an American apartheid.

But however horrible such a life ever was, it would never make us do this. Or this.

5- Prince Frederick von Anhalt. What dominion would have this man as their heir and regent?

An idiot regime?

Prince Frederick von Anhalt, he with the oily, cloying Swabian accent, is so creepy that even writing about him -- giving him an intellectual afterthought -- inspires this blogger with the desire to take a zesty mindbath. And there is not so much a smile to his voice, but a skeletal ricktor. Is this what Gogol meant by a "Dead Soul"? Prince Frederick von Anhalt is probably one of the few men proud to admit on national television to having had sex with Ana Nicole after her untimely death.

(why is this man smiling?)

4- Kim Jong-il. Yo, what is up, Kim Jong-il. il, can I call you il? You can't be kidnapping people. That's just not right.

Actually, there are a thousand things wrong with Kim Jong-il. He wears lifts in his shoes (cliche: a dictator with a Napoleonic complex). He's a Johnny Walker drunk (Macallan would have been less creepy). He's holding a nation virtually hostage and in the 18th century. And, of course, he kidnaps.

(a human placenta sandwich via momlogic)

3- Placenta Eating In Public. I am a socially liberal person, deeply tolerant. Live and let live, says I. If it is someone's private belief that eating ones afterbirth -- which, apparently, is high in iron -- staves off post-partum depression, then, hey, eat away.

Just do it in private, s'il vous plait.

That's all I ask. I do not need to see blog posts with recipes and romantic food porn pictures of afterbirth in tomato sauce. That's as disgusting to most sensibilities as scat fetishism. I am not a hater or a repressive chauvanist, I just don't see what is *empowering* about recipes and social networking involving the consumption of afterbirth. Just what the fuck is "afterbirth positive"? Maybe I'm old fashioned? Momlogic would disagree.

(a human afterbirth pasta via momlogic)

I don't find this mouth-watering, I find it goddam creepy. From Momlogic:

"'I think people being grossed out by this is mostly just fear of the unknown, Kathy says. 'It's the same sort of reaction people have when it even comes to the cuisine of other cultures--what's normal in another culture can seem repulsive to one's own. Happens all the time! Most of the Western world can't even fathom having duck head on the menu, but it doesn't make the food any less acceptable as a meal.'

"She continues: 'When Chrissy first brought up the idea about cooking the placenta, I looked around online and found the most inspiring article about it. The writer's attitude was just all-around positive and even a little playful about the subject, and I thought, 'Hey, this isn't such a big deal after all!' Other medical/health articles about placenta-eating shared the same general consensus--as long as the mother is good and healthy, no harm can come from eating the placenta.'

"What does she say to the haters? 'I think the fact that the placenta is unquestionably attached to the concept of 'baby' (and who doesn't like a cute baby?) probably makes people take the matter personally and forget to look at it more objectively," she says. 'The placenta became a simple piece of meat for cooking. And no babies were harmed in the process. That's my take on it.'"

Charmed, I'm sure.

2-Robert Mugabe. Now we are entering into the City of Dis (cue: Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor). Big evil, keemo sabe. The line between the creepy and the positively Satanic has been crossed. And who but Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe could occupy position 3, saying, with Dantean precision, "pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe."

If Gaddaffi approximates African Dictator Chic, Mugabe embodies Big African Evil. What karma has brought him to feed of the suffering of his home country?

Unbelievably creepy. *The Corsair shudders*

1- Glenn Beck. He weeps, he rages, he laughs. And then he weeps again. For his country, mind you. And then his eyes widen, full of malice. He sneers as he speaks of the American president. He lies. Boldly.

There is something deeply wrong with this man. His moods are ... off. He's not like you and I, he's animale, without a soul.

Something tells me, frankly, that the royal highness of profound creepiness might be better off if he just took his goddam meds.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"I don't know anyone who doesn't think that Sony Pictures and Sony Music were smart to purchase that rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson preparing for his concerts before his untimely death -- even if the pricetag started at $50M. Not only does the trailer clearly show this is an intriguing motion picture, but those who've seen the actual movie tell me it's riveting. (And they don't even like Michael Jackson or his music...) So it should come as no surprise that Sony is boasting this morning that sales around the world for the pic, which supposedly has a 2-week release (and which we all know will be extended) are humongous." (NikkiFinke/DeadlineHollywoodDaily)

"SOFIA Coppola and boyfriend Thomas Mars are going strong. The 'Lost in Translation' director and the lead singer of French rock band Phoenix, who have a 3-year-old daughter together, hung out all night at the after-party for the band's Central Park show at new pingpong club SPiN. 'They were holding hands the whole time,' says an onlooker. Also watching the tournament at the club on Friday were DJ Paul Sevigny designer/actor Waris Ahluwalia and SPiN co-owner Susan Sarandon." (PageSix)

"David Arquette called in (The Howard Stern Show) to promote his wife's new show, 'Cougar Town,' and Howard immediately asked about the couple's wild Sunday parties. David confirmed the reports ... Howard wondered why Courtney didn't come in herself to promote the show, so David explained: 'I believe if you're a nice person, she might be coming in cock jokes.' Howard laughed: 'No cock jokes? You kidding me?' ...Howard asked David what he knew about his sister Rosanna's brief relationship with Paul McCartney, but David was evasive: 'I knew some things. My sister's the greatest. She's a muse for musicians.' David said he did meet Paul while the pair were dating but blamed 'their personal dynamic' for the break-up: 'I think he wanted somebody a little closer to him.'" (HowardStern)

"The President of the United States is going to Copenhagen to boost Chicago's chances at hosting the 2016 Olympics. Oprah, apparently, is not enough (Averted Gaze). I have a pet theory that this is some brilliant angle by Axelrod to deprive Mitt Romney of a leg to stand on in 2012. Drudge -- bless his dead soul -- is predictably doing his very best to block the President's efforts. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma is probably praying for Chicago -- and the President -- fails. So it goes with the party of 'No.' The problem is: President Obama has no guarantees. He could conceivably fail on the international stage at a critical point in his Presidency." (AirAmerica)

"The theme of last year’s PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction gala was 'Promises, Promises,' which was clever for a moment when Congress was debating a bail out bill, the presidential candidates were debating each other, and the rest of us were trying to assure our loved ones we would survive the emerging economic meltdown intact. That moment is behind us now, for better or worse. If you are reading this, you survived something, and maybe you’re wiser to boot. So hand it to PEN/Faulkner for ably branding our sociological flow; this year’s theme was 'Revelation.' The group’s 21st Anniversary Celebration was, as before, held in the wood-paneled, high-ceilinged, book-lined Renaissance theater and rooms of The Folger Shakespeare Library, which, in ironic contrast, sits within the tense high security zone that surrounds the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the office buildings of the House and Senate .. The guests included: ... Susan Eisenhower ... Sen. Thad Cochran .. Rep. Ed Markey .. Jim Lehrer .. Michael and Susan Pillsbury .. Clarence Page, Bill and Alison Paley, George Pelacanos .. Deborah Tannen." (WashingtonSocialDiary)

"The women of Afghanistan, left behind as their men fought, did what the women of World War II did—used their wits and resourcefulness to preserve some semblance of civilization. The Taliban’s backward vision of a radical Islamist state was a utopian fantasy. Except in the rural villages of the south, women before the Taliban worked as doctors, judges, teachers, broadcasters, and budding politicians. Now Afghan women are terrified we will abandon them again. Anne McBride, who observed the elections last month, emailed me: 'The women I met at polling stations risked their lives to come out and vote, but they are angry that the Taliban ruined their lives and are willing to risk it. They are not tolerant of half-steps for women.' Are we really considering throwing them back into the dark, leaving them even more vulnerable after their return to freedom? Anyone in doubt about what fate we would again consign them to should read a compelling 2002 memoir, My Forbidden Face, written by a 21-year-old author under the pseudonym Latifa. She was a high school graduate in Kabul about to go to college and living the life of a normal teenager with a mother working as a busy doctor until the Taliban rose to inflict a life of virtual house arrest and terror. Forbidden to leave the house for college, allowed no TV or magazines and only the crazy boredom of Koranic chanting on the radio, Latifa writes of the creeping death of sloth and depression, lying around a dark house waiting for nothing. 'The Taliban,' she says, are 'a nasty germ, a dangerously militant microbe that propagates by spreading a serious disease insidiously fatal to the freedom of women.'" (Tina Brown/TheDailyBeast)

"Michigan Republicans sense a prime opportunity to take back their state governor's seat in 2010, after two terms with Democrat Jennifer M. Granholm. But the state party is far from unified over who their best candidate is to take on likely Democratic nominee John Cherry. Two polls released last week -- one by non-partisan Inside Michigan Politics and by GOP firm Mitchell Research & Communications Inc. -- showed state Attorney General Mike Cox continues to lead a crowded Republican primary field, with U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra not far behind. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, technology entrepreneur Rick Snyder and state Sen. Tom George are also in the mix. None of the candidates topped 30 percent, however. The poll for the newsletter Inside Michigan Politics found that a quarter of likely Republican voters were undecided and the Mitchell Research poll found nearly a third were unsure. Cox and Bouchard lead Cherry in head-to-head match-ups, the two polls show." (CQPolitics)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Porn Star Miyabi To Star In Indonesian Comedy

Is this a new trend? Is this now popping? Are porn stars the new black? Porn stars, gloriously transgressive (and, oftentimes, more than a little "messed up") are more and more appearing in mainstream vehicles. Remember porn star Sasha Gray in the Soderbergh vehicle? Remember Pam Anderson -- post-Tommy video -- embracing her larger-than-life sexuality at Fashion Week? Is this new validation of porn a consequence of the new hyper-democratic realities of this digital age?

If everything is more and more becoming dependent upon unique page views then -- other than cute animals -- what is a more reliable generator of hits than porn stars? From AsiaOneNews:

"Filmmakers in Muslim-majority Indonesia on Monday defied condemnation by clerics, saying they would stick to their plans to fly out a top Japanese porn star to act in a local comedy.

Muslim leaders have blasted plans to bring out 23-year-old erotic film megastar Maria Ozawa, popularly known as Miyabi, to play herself in the upcoming film 'Menculik Miyabi' (Kidnapping Miyabi).

"But Maxima Productions General Manager Adi Sudiadi said the company would stick to its plans to include Ozawa in the film, which tells the story of a group of university students who accidentally kidnap the starlet.

"'We guarantee that Miyabi won't be playing in a porn film here, we'll bring her here not as a porn star but purely for a comedy movie,' Sudiadi said.

"Miyabi is well-known by Indonesian people... we're expecting that Miyabi will attract a lot of spectators here."

You think? Charmed, I'm sure. But it is a kind of odd comedy involving the kidnapping of a porn star. We wonder what kind of audience that will attract.

On second thought, maybe we'd rather not.
A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via Overture films)

In: Michael Moore. Moore seemed, at least this weekend, ubiquitous. And the affable Everyman appears to have captured the zeitgeist, landing the definitive blows to the now-discredited laissez-fair capitalism. When Michael Moore sits around the media, to borrow an old joke, he sits AROUND the media. From IndieWIRE:

"According to weekend estimates, Michael Moore’s 'Capitalism: A Love Story‘s' limited debut this weekend has resulted in 2009’s highest per-theater-average. On four screens, the Overture Films released took in a massive $240,000, averaging $60,000. If that estimate holds, it will top March’s 'Sunshine Cleaning' - also an Overture release that opened on four screens - which had a PTA of $54,798.

"Since opening Wednesday, 'Capitalism' has grossed $306,586. Of its four theaters, it found the best numbers at Hollywood’s ArcLight ($42,004 through Saturday, full weekend estimates per theater were not available, but it should land in the neighbourhood of $65,000) and New York’s Angelika ($41,044 through Sat)."

In only 4 theaters.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Larry King's contract with CNN is set to expire in 18 months -- and the cable network's chiefs are busy lining up his successor in case he retires. King, 75, has been interviewing celebrities since 1985. Sources say CNN's first choice to succeed him would be Ryan Seacrest -- but his massive deal with 'American Idol' makes him too expensive. Other contenders are CBS anchor Katie Couric, CNN 'video wall guy' John King and Joy Behar, who is launching her own interview show on CNN's Headline News. A source predicted, 'Larry will step down in 18 months. Ryan is the popular choice to take over, but his deal with Fox makes him unreachable. John King is popular but is more at home on politics.' The CNN suits will be watching Behar to see how she does on Headline News. Our source also said, 'Diane Sawyer was looked at as a candidate for Larry's show, but is out of the running now that she has ABC's evening news.'" (PageSix)

"Across the sea, in that tiny fabled principality of Monaco, overlooking the Mediterranean, no bigger than Central Park, the town’s most popular talk is about the neighbors up on the Rock, or more specifically, the Grimaldis, Their Serene Royal Highnesses, first family of Monaco. The word is that the ten-year marriage of Princess Caroline, eldest child of the late Princess Grace and Prince Rainer III, and her German husband HRH Prince Ernst August V of Hanover is kaput, and somebody has gotten the royal boot. Caroline is said to have divided her time for the past three to six months sans husband, between her villa on the Rock, also known as Monacoville, and her house in St. Remy in Provence. Her 10-year-old daughter by Ernst, Princess Alexandra, has been enrolled in school in Monaco." (NYSocialDiary)

"'I couldn't be happier with the way everything turned out,' said Donatella Versace at the beautifully-lit courtyard at Versace HQ just hours after her big, bold triumph. 'I'm satisfied, I'm excited, and now I just have to play host and make sure everyone is fed and happy!' After a few seasons of hosting famously tiny dinners, the designer decided to democratize the guest list a bit and host 120 or so friends in a buffet-style garden gathering. The weather was flawless and so was the food, which was conjured up by the Versace family's personal chef ... Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri were two of the earliest arrivals, and the current Bazaar cover girl was just happy to be in Donatella's fine company. 'She continuously inspires me,' Jackson said. 'Donatella is just a sweet, nurturing woman and the show was unbelievable, of course. There's definitely a reason to celebrate.' Of course, just a few months ago, Versace designed outfits for the entire Jackson family to wear at Michael's public memorial. Allegra Versace, Mario Testino, Pat McGrath and Alexandre Plokhov were just some of the other familiars, alongside a small army of EICs and creative directors. Versace personally welcomed Suzy Menkes just minutes after the critic posted a glowing review of the show." (Fashionweekdaily)

(image via Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott exclusively for Vanity Fair)

"Penélope Cruz, notoriously private and press-shy, tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Ingrid Sischy in a rare revealing moment that she is not pregnant with boyfriend Javier Bardem’s baby. 'My most nosy Parker question—one that I felt it was my duty as a reporter to ask—was whether the widespread rumors that there was a wee Bardem-Cruz on the way were true,' writes Sischy. 'Here, unlike before, there was no telling silence from Cruz. Instead she answered no but in a rather baroque, roundabout way, detailing how [director Pedro] Almodóvar had tried, to no avail, to put that rumor to rest when a journalist asked him about it on a red carpet' ... Sischy asks Cruz who was a better kisser: Scarlett Johansson, with whom she shared a famous make-out session in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, or Charlize Theron, whom Cruz smooched in the 2004 film Head in the Clouds. 'No matter how I answer that I will be in trouble,' she says. “Both were pretty beautiful partners.' Sophia Loren — Cruz’s co-star in the upcoming film Nine—tells Sischy that Cruz 'has become a real friend. We talked a lot about life and our careers. I talked about De Sica, she talked about Almodóvar. When it was my last day she came to my dressing room. She was crying, and I was crying. This is the first time that I have left a film crying because we got so upset about leaving each other.'" (VanityFair)

"The nation has lost its most independent and thoughtful voice, a man unique in his influence on the American scene for more than four decades. I speak, of course, of my dear friend Bill Safire, known to the world as a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times; the high priest—or, as he would say because he hated pretension, the maven—of language usage, author of the definitive dictionary of political language, a lifelong effort; the author of several novels, including a respected historical novel based on the life of Lincoln; a much-sought-after television commentator; and senior aide and speechwriter for President Richard Nixon." (Mort Janklow/TheDailyBeast)

"There's always a couple of jokers on the dance floor at weddings. At this bash they just happened to be Kate Moss and David Walliams. Richard Caring, - he owns Annabel's, The Ivy, Scott's, Le Caprice and Harry's Bar - and his wife Jackie threw the glamorous celebration for the marriage of their son Ben, 30, to advertising designer Elle Perfect. The theme at their home in Hampstead was Swan Lake, and a lake in the grounds was covered by a vast floating ballroom that housed tables for 400 guests, plus the full Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and, flown in specially from Russia, the Bolshoi Ballet. Guests included Elizabeth Hurley and her husband Arun Nayar, Tracey Emin, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Philip Green." (Thisislondon)

"Turning into the sleeper hit of the fall, Sony's blockbuster 3D toon Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs easily ruled the North American box office posting the second smallest sophomore decline of any number one opener this year. Moviegoers were once again unimpressed with the new films that Hollywood studios tried to push on them with the Bruce Willis sci-fi pic Surrogates leading the pack with a sluggish debut in second place. The dance remake Fame bowed in third to mild numbers while the umpteenth horror film in recent weeks Pandorum failed to scare up much business. Sliding by an incredibly low 19%, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs showed remarkable strength in first place grossing an estimated $24.6M in its second weekend in theaters. Sensational word-of-mouth and a lack of competing family films or comedies helped the Sony release boost its ten-day tally to a solid $60M. The only number one opener in 2009 to enjoy a better second weekend hold was Liam Neeson's Taken which slipped by a mere 17% in early February. The revenge thriller banked $53.6M in its first ten days before continuing its leggy run which extended to an astonishing $145M final. Cloudy also delivered the best sophomore weekend gross ever for any September release. The road ahead still looks bright and sunny for the animated food flick. Disney will provide some competition this Friday with its double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D, but it's still unclear how big of a turnout should be expected. The next major film aimed at kids doesn't open until October 16 when Warner Bros. unleashes Where the Wild Things Are. A domestic cume of $150M or more could be possible for Meatballs making it Sony's top-grossing title of the year. Bruce Willis saw mediocre results for his new $80M-budgeted action film Surrogates ..." (Boxofficeguru)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

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Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"MICHAEL Jackson had a crush on Princess Diana, 'chickened out' when he had a chance to have sex with Tatum O'Neal and Brooke Shields, and had a falling-out with Madonna, a new book reveals. In 'The Michael Jackson Tapes' -- based on 30 hours of interviews conducted nine years ago by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach -- the King of Pop described Princess Di as 'very feminine and classy. She was my type for sure, and I don't like most girls.' As for Tatum, 'I was 16, she was 13. And I was naive. She wanted to do everything and I didn't want to have sex at all.' Jackson cited his Jehovah's Witness beliefs -- 'I said, Are you crazy?' Jackson called Shields "one of the loves of my life' but he also rejected her: 'We had one encounter when she got real intimate and I chickened out. And I shouldn't have.'" (PageSix)

"Last night, President Obama along with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Nikolas Sarkozy announced that the IAEA had been presented with detailed evidence about the existence of a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear enrichment facility. While there's always good reason to be skeptical about such intelligence claims, in this case it is significant that the Iranians hastened to pre-emptively declare to the IAEA that a "new pilot fuel-enrichment plant is under construction." The U.S. has, from what I can tell, been aware of this site for quite some time, and it has not yet gone operational. So this is not a story of the sudden discovery of an urgent new threat requiring whatever red-blooded solution the hawks will be peddling today. The interesting question is why Obama chose to go public with this information now, and how it fits into the administration's diplomatic strategy. According to the New York Times, the administration went public because the Iranians had discovered that Western intelligence had 'breached the secrecy surrounding the project.' Perhaps. But it seems rather more likely that the administration chose to go public as part of a calculated effort to ratchet up the credibility of the threat of tough sanctions ahead of the October 1 meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Geneva. The public disclosure puts Iran on the back foot ahead of those talks, and appears to have encouraged Russia to more seriously consider supporting such sanctions (that, plus the missile defense decision probably). This has to change Iranian calculations -- indeed, the perception that the sanctions are now more likely is precisely what may lead the Iranians to make more concessions to avoid them." (ForeignPolicy)

"I recently went to the Toronto premiere (and sat with Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Alex von Furstenberg, Ali Kay and Barbara Bach) of my dearest, nearest friends Tatiana von Furstenberg and Francesco Gregorini's writing and directing debut, Tanner Hall. And whether or not they are my besties doesn't matter. The film, about four girls in boarding school, is ah-mazing. Co-starring a hilariously restrained Amy Sedaris and Chris Kattan as well as hunky Tom Everett Scott and Tara Subkoff, it's the four new faces -- Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson and Amy Ferguson -- who make the movie so riveting ...'I wanted to call the film something pretentious," jokes Tatiana. 'Like A Bruised Pear' or 'A Still Life, Interrupted.'" (Peter Davis/Papermag)

(image via facecontrolrussianpictures)

"They walked up to the club with the confidence of young Russians with money, all clicking heels and the sated, greedy smiles of cats licking cream. It was someone’s birthday. Earlier in the week, they had sent over a cash deposit of 7,000 euros (about $10,000) to reserve a table at Soho Rooms, which, at the moment, was the most glamorous and expensive place to spend a night out in Moscow. Slava Kaz, however, was not impressed. They were young. The girls weren’t all that pretty. And look at him, look at his shoes. It was a quick calculation. They did not pass face control. It was a damp, gray evening in early August, the time of year when everyone in Moscow heads out of town, whether to tend garden plots or to sunbathe in the south of France, depending on the depth of their bank account. In two days, the promoters at Soho Rooms would be hosting a private party on the Italian island of Sardinia. But this night, the few people with means or style still left in the city were trying to make their way past Kaz and into the club. Outside, the birthday party group was still waiting, trying to negotiate. Kaz was not budging: I’m sorry, there needs to be a pretty picture inside, you understand. A moment later, a man in a black suit emerged onto the street from behind the club’s oversize wooden doors. He handed over an envelope stuffed with their deposit. They would have to celebrate elsewhere. Such are the often brutal vagaries of Moscow face control, a culture of quick-draw aesthetics that is both humiliating and exhilarating, depending on which end of Kaz’s gaze you fall ... Everyone in Moscow uses the English term ‘face control,’ though the phrase is often transliterated in print as ‘feis kontrol.’ Most every nightclub in Moscow and an increasing number in other cities around the country employ a face control director — the more enigmatic and impenetrable, the better." (NYTimesTravel)

"David Letterman has undergone a significant change, one that goes well beyond his late-in-life marriage and fatherhood. The impetus behind the CBS latenight host's renewed vigor, moreover, appears to owe an unacknowledged debt to George W. Bush. Call it the political education of David Letterman. For most of his career, Letterman was never overtly political. He rather followed his idol Johnny Carson's 'don't let them know your politics' philosophy -- though if anything, his scorn toward then-President Clinton throughout the 1990s at times hinted at a hidden conservative streak. Few comics were more bruising to Clinton than Letterman who regularly characterized the prexy as a gluttonous, horny hillbilly. By contrast, Letterman exhibited genuine respect and admiration for conservative figures such as wounded war veterans Bob Dole and John McCain. The press-shy host has clearly experienced a shift -- one that thrust him into the headlines when he was forced to apologize to Sarah Palin. And the roots of that evolution -- which saw him kick off the new season by hosting President Obama and Clinton on back-to-back nights -- can be witnessed in how the CBS star conspicuously soured on President Bush." (Variety)

"If you have ever stepped foot inside the member’s only Soho House, there’s a very good chance you have seen Roberto Monticello. My fascination with the man began, I’m sure, not unlike many others before me. Word of mouth: 'See that guy in the yellow shirt and red blazer? They call him the Mayor of Soho House,' exclaimed my friend last Tuesday night. I watched as dozens of people passed by to pay their respects. Always jovial in spirits, this man appeared to know everyone in the room. At least they all knew him. When he took his throne in the chair outside of the 6th floor elevators, I made my move .." (GuestofaGuest)

"Some New York-based chicsters may have already boarded Continental 44 for the Milan leg of fashion month, but those left behind have no reason to be sorry; as the fashion flock departed, Clive Owen has landed. The actor touched down last night at Cinema 2 for a Peggy Siegal-hosted, A Diamond Is Forever-sponsored screening (and U.S. premiere!) of his latest, The Boys Are Back ... Post-film, the crowds (which included director Scott Hicks, Amy Sedaris, Kelly Choi, and the lovely Reshma Shetty of Royal Pains) decamped to the Bon Appetit Supper Club for a few glasses of wine and a feast prepared by Emeril Lagasse. 'I didn't see the film,' Lagasse admitted. 'I was readying the main course!' His hard work didn't go unnoticed, as guests devoured their wild mushroom lasagne with jumbo lump crabmeat, rack of lamb, and banana and butterscotch sundaes. But while most were focused on their meals, Owen was focused on another (unlikely) party guest: RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. The men spent nearly the whole evening engrossed in conversation.." (Fashionweekdaily)