Saturday, July 31, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman and Hillary friend, emerged from the Arms after midnight. 'No one really was invited' to the rehearsal dinner, he told The Daily Beast. 'Are you crazy? You think we made the list? Who do you think we are? That was just the Mezvinskys and the Clintons.' The excitement had been building all day. Bill Clinton was the first to be spotted on Friday afternoon as he rolled into downtown Rhinebeck, the quaint upstate New York town where Chelsea, 30, is supposed to marry her financier boyfriend, Marc, 32, at a black-tie event at the Beaux Arts mansion, Astor Courts. Bill ducked into less grandiose surroundings—lunching with his brother Roger, at the local restaurant, Gigi’s, where he enjoyed gnochetti with spicy tomato sauce and Tuscan fries, according to Gigi’s chef, Wilson Costa. 'It was an honor—it was awesome,' Costa told The Daily Beast. 'He came in the kitchen and said thank you, then went around and shook people’s hands.' When the former president emerged after lunch, he pumped his fist to the hundred-strong crowd of gawkers, camera crews and journalists, gathered outside the restaurant. People cheered and Bill wore a wide smile, seeming to enjoy his role as father of the bride." (TheDailyBeast)

"Soon-to-be MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and former New York columnist Kurt Andersen are awaiting word from HBO on the fate of a comedy pilot they've quietly been collaborating on at the cable network. O'Donnell, in Beverly Hills Friday to tout his newly named nightly series The Last Word, revealed that he and Andersen have penned a half-hour chucklefest which O'Donnell describes as being 'about rich people in New York in the age of Madoff.' O'Donnell said the show, inspired by real-life people and events, will 'kind of be about the employers of the women in Sex and the City. Tonally, it's in the same zone; we just move up the elevator a bit.' While he currently pays the rent spouting wise on current events, O'Donnell is no stranger to scripted TV: He was an Emmy-winning writer/ producer on The West Wing. And he's done a little acting, appearing as a lawyer on HBO's Big Love. His new MSNBC series bows September 27 at 10 p.m., and if HBO actually decides to make the show — 'It's actually verdict time,' he says — O'Donnell doesn't think he'll have a problem balancing roles on air and behind the scenes." (NYMag)

"SIXTIES. The Beatles and the British Invasion prove there's a huge appetite for music amongst the baby boomers. An era of experimentation is ushered in, aided by FM radio. It's about the statement. If you want to know what's going on, you buy records and listen to the radio. SEVENTIES. The sixties hang over until about 1973, when the labels are acquired by conglomerates, Lee Abrams programs FM hits and music explodes until corporate rock kills it and disco surges and then they're both dead. EIGHTIES Music is saved by MTV. The power of television eclipses the power of radio. NINETIES. The Tommy Mottola era. You let the media do your promotion. You create two-dimensional acts that are hyped to high heaven by print, TV and radio, driving customers to buy overpriced CDs. No act lasts, but revenue is staggering. 2000 Napster. It's like the train hit a brick wall. Or rode ride off the cliff. And the old players are still bitching about it ... 2000-2010. The major labels bitched themselves into irrelevancy." (LefsetzLetter)

"The chatter about when Defense Secretary Robert Gates will leave the Obama administration picked up again Thursday when the Washington Times published an article speculating that he will retire in April, 2011, after unveiling the fiscal 2012 budget. Predicting Gates's departure is one of the most popular parlor games in Washington. Gates used to carry a key chain with him at all times that ticked down the days until Jan. 20, 2009, when he had assumed he would hand over the reins of the military and return to private life. But with that date long gone, nobody really knows when Gates will leave - including, it seems, the secretary himself. He's taken on some major projects that he wants to see through, and the White House is imploring him to stay because they depend on him to oversee two wars abroad and defend the administration's policies at home. But eventually, Gates will step down. Based on interviews with officials, staffers, and experts, here is the current short list of potential successors, along with an assessment of the strengths and shortcomings they would bring to one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world. Here they are, in no particular order" (ForeignPolicy)

"The Swedish palace has confirmed that dashing Prince Carl Philip is indeed entwined with nude python model Sofia Hellqvist. The two have been dating since January, and the Prince even introduced the knockout brunette to his parents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, earlier this month. Nina Eldh, a spokesperson for the royal family, spilled the beans on the royal romance in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, saying she found it 'regrettable there are people who want to take advantage of the relationship [Sofia Hellqvist] has with the prince.' Until last year, the Prince was engaged in a 10-year relationship with Emma Pernald, who works in public relations. Miss Hellqvist, in contrast, is famous in Sweden for appearing on the rather randy reality-TV show Paradise Hotel, kissing Jenna Jameson, and posing in Slitz, a Swedish men's magazine." (VanityFair)

"Is a spy drama with two black actors as the male-female romantic leads a revolution for network television? At TCA today, the producers of NBC’s upcoming Undercovers, which is just such a show -- hemmed and hawed in answering the question that really shouldn’t be a question in 2010 but, well, still is. First of all, take note that it is incorrect to call stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe African-American players – she’s British, he’s German, and both are of mixed race. But Kodjoe and executive producer Josh Reims both said on today’s show panel that you can’t really step back from the social significance of the casting. At first, Josh Reims, co-creator/executive producer of Undercovers with J.J. Abrams, downplayed the casting, implying that it was almost coincidental: 'When J.J. and I wrote the script originally, we decided we wanted to write it like the [1940 movie] Philadelphia Story, with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant … but they’re dead so we didn’t hire them,“ he joked. '[We said] Let’s just see every possible incarnation of person [so we won’t end up with] the same people we’ve seen on TV a million times…Boris and Gugu came in, and we sort of knew immediately, these are them. We didn’t go out of our way to say we are hiring two black people to be the leads of our show, but we didn’t ignore it either.' But then a questioner once again pushed Reims to admit to the deliberateness of the casting. 'Why is it so hard to say?' the critic asked. 'It’s not hard to say at all, it’s true,' Reims acknowledged. 'But we were not going to hire two black people because they were two black people. We don’t consider we are revolutionizing TV, at the same time we realize it is a big deal.'" (Deadline)

"Gay Talese, who is himself a scholar and connoisseur of the messy life, tells me about the early ’60s in newspapers and magazines. He remembers people keeping flasks of liquor in their desks, and recalls coming back from lunch one day and seeing one guy with his head flat down on his typewriter. No one touched him for hours, and eventually he woke up. He also recalls copy girls slipping out in the middle of the day with more than one man to the surrounding hotels. 'You didn’t have the word ‘exploitation’ then,' Mr. Talese said. 'And mostly it wasn’t exploitation.' My mother, Anne Roiphe, recently finished a memoir about that same period in the literary circles orbiting the Paris Review. Reading the manuscript I was struck by how much these productive and famous people drank. Today we would dismiss all of these brilliant, narcissistic artists and writers as alcoholics, the word itself carrying its own antiseptic morality, its own irrefutable argument for balance and sobriety, but back then they were simply charismatic." (NYTimes)

"Actor Rob Lowe has confirmed that he is involved with the acquisition of Miramax Films from Disney by Ronald Tutor, Colony Capital and others. Lowe said that he and Colony Chairman Tom Barrack, who is also an investor in the deal as an individual, had recently formed a media fund and this was their first purchase. In a statement Friday, Lowe said: 'The acquisition of a classic brand like Miramax is an exciting first step in my partnership with Tom Barrack and Colony Capital. This represents an exciting new chapter for me. And Tom and I could not have a better partner on our first deal together than Ron Tutor.' Lowe was recently confirmed as a regular on the NBC show 'Parks and Recreation.'" (THR)

"Sources close to the company tell me that CEO Rupert Murdoch is considering creating a new purely digital news venture and would be available through subscription on devices like the iPad. The news play under consideration would aim to redefine how news is consumed in the digital space with an entirely new interactive format. It would neither be a newspaper nor a web site and it would not be derivative of one of News Corp's existing papers. It would incorporate text, photo, and video, and it would be tailored for iTunes app format. The subject matter would be news for a national audience. Dow Jones' Wall Street Journal already has a popular subscription App; the subject matter of this venture would likely be more similar to the New York Post's populist tone. If Murdoch decides to go forward with the idea, it would likely move quickly. Murdoch has a reputation for fast execution and he can draw from a deep bench of executives in both content and digital." (CNBC)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wix Lounge Launch Party

The Wix labs loft party last night was wonderful. Just off 18th street a lovely crowd including pop culture analyst John Nubian, Victoria Monsul, Arie Rich, Ryan Strauss, Masquemag's Kelly B and other digerati. The Wix lounge will be a free space for creatives in Silicon Alley to drop by -- 10 West 18th street -- for free WiFi, coffee, meetings, &c, &c. Victoria Monsul of Wix (see pic below), who will be managing the space, says she is open to suggestions on how to make it a really happening place (I suggested some cool speakers on, say, Monday nights, when there are no scheduled NY parties going on).

The cupcakes were popping, the beer and wine flowed almost endlessly, the crowd was smart and there was a mini-photography studio in the back -- all that was lacking was the great graffiti wall they had at the last event. The general consensus on Twitter though is that the event was an unmitigated success.
How Awesome Is This?

Bhangra in the East Village from Derek Beres on Vimeo.

Made my morning. An explanation. From NYC Blog:

"After finishing up a gig last month, musician Derek Beres of the band EarthRise SoundSystem stopped into Punjabi Grocery & Deli at 114 1st St between 1st Ave and Ave A. 'The saag is spiced perfectly, the gulab jamun not too sweet,' Beres explained, "and vocals ring out non-stop through the night.'

"He ordered his food and stood at the counter ready to eat, tapping out a beat. What followed was an amazing impromptu performance of Bhangra."
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Colombia and Venezuela squared off Thursday in Quito, Ecuador, at an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of the Union of South American States (Unasur), a recently created regional political and security association. The meeting was called by Ecuador, and was to be chaired by Unasur Secretary General Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, as the regional players attempt to defuse what has become a dangerous and growing crisis. However, it appears that many Latin American states are trying to keep their distance from this dispute: Several countries were represented by their deputy foreign ministers, and Kirchner himself pulled out at the last minute. This crisis began when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez broke diplomatic relations with Colombia on July 22, immediately after Colombia's ambassador to the Organization of American States, Alfonso Hoyos, charged that the Chávez government is allowing more than 1,500 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Marxist guerrilla group better known as the FARC, to live unmolested in 87 clandestine camps in Venezuelan territory. Chávez denied Colombia's accusations, and dismissed Colombian President Álvaro Uribe who leaves office on August 7, as a 'mafioso and liar.' Chávez depicted Venezuela as the 'victim' of an international conspiracy orchestrated by the Colombian and U.S. governments, claiming that the United States is planning a military invasion of Venezuela, via Colombia, with the purpose of killing him, toppling his socialist regime, and seizing his country's oil and gas resources." (ForeignPolicy)

"The big spenders who shelled out $30,400 a head for dinner with President Obama at the Four Seasons restaurant and at Anna Wintour's house didn't actually break any bread with him ... At 7 p.m., the president headed to Wintour's, where the Vogue editor-in-chief introduced him to 40 guests at her dinner attended by fashion royalty including Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Harvery Weinstein and Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman, Gap designer Patrick Robinson, Theory chief Andrew Rosen and actress Kerry Washington. While guests dined on salmon or steak, Obama only drank coffee. He again spent time at each of eight tables. 'One table wanted to talk about politics, but a lot of people wanted to talk about stimulating jobs in the fashion industry,' said an insider. 'Obama was interested in what they had to say, talked about fashion and mentioned his suit designer in Chicago.' Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett trailed the president throughout the evening. 'She sat at all the tables and took copius notes on what they were saying,' said our source." (PageSix)

(image via NYSD)

"Saturday afternoon in Rhinebeck, New York at Astor Courts, Chelsea Clinton will marry Marc Mezvinsky in the presence of 500 guests in a wedding which is said to cost, in the final tally, $5 million. Ms. Clinton’s engagement diamond is said to cost $1 million. It is wise to remember that these numbers are all unconfirmed by the parties-that-be. However, spectacle weddings have become the norm with the Clinton/Mezvinsky generation and there have been many weddings in the past few years that came with that price tag and even larger. No doubt the bride-to-be’s parents and perhaps even the bridal couple themselves have attended such affairs because the international rich spend bigtime when it comes to tying the knot. Several weeks ago in Turkey there was a marriage of an Indian/Turkish couple in a wedding that took place over several days and is said to have cost as much as $20 million." (NYSocialDiary)

"To all the anonymous friends who follow my life on the Purple Diary, I have to tell you that I’m in a lot of pain. Natacha Ramsay dumped me on Sunday. She ran away with her lover (with whom she has had a long romance that I was aware of and accepted) for a summer of love. She called me to tell me that she loves him, that we are finished. I asked her to come back two times and she said no two times. As you know if you follow the Purple Diary I try to create and promote an alternative love lifestyle (that I used to call in French La Communauté des Amants). Natacha’s decision to leave me so brutally and painfully will certainly be seen by conservative people as a clear feminine revenge against the lifestyle Natacha and I used to share, and think that I’m a dreamer. Right now I’m just a mess. But I will hopefully recover soon and offer you some more pictures of love and sex. Olivier Zahm" (PurpleDiary)

(Ewan McGregor & Chace Crawford via DailyFrontRow)

"Between the Obama motorcade bound for Anna Wintour's townhouse, and the entire cast of Gossip Girl at The Cinema Society screening of Twelve, camera-phone wielding tourists had an embarrassment of riches on East Houston Street last night. At the latter, Chace Crawford was clearly the draw. 'No one invited Obama to our party anyway!' kidded director Joel Schumacher at the 2(x)ist sponsored bash after complaining about the gridlock that delayed the screening for 45 minutes. 'I’m a Cinema Society regular but this whole press line thing as an actor is a little bit tiring,' said cast member Zoe Kravitz in between her wait. 'I just want my popcorn!' ... Other familiar faces at Landmark Sunshine included Mickey Rourke (who went on a beer run halfway through the movie)" (Fashionweekdaily)

"New York's young and beautiful descended on the Landmark Sunshine Cinema last night for the premiere of Twelve, Joel Schumacher's film about the darker side of privileged Upper East Side teens. In fact, many of them are in it. The cast of Twelve, based on the best-selling novel by Nick McDonell, is teeming with twentysomething actors and kids-about-town, like Liam McMullan and Zoë Kravitz (above), whose names you might not expect to see on a credits crawl. They were joined at the 2(x)ist-sponsored screening by Chace Crawford and Curtis Jackson, a.k.a. 50 Cent, who both play drug dealers in the movie. 'It's a very New York film, but I think it's more just about kids who have access to a lot,' Kravitz said, adding that her social life at the Rudolf Steiner School was hardly the substance-fueled tragedy that Twelve depicts. 'I had a lovely experience. We hung out in the park and sang Sublime songs and knitted. We would buy forties of Olde English and sit on people's stoops, but that's kind of as crazy as it got.'" (Style)

"US economic growth slowed in the second quarter of the year as a swelling trade deficit and weaker consumer spending dragged on the recovery. Gross domestic product increased at an annualised rate of 2.4 per cent in the second quarter after growing by a revised 3.7 per cent in the first, according to official figures released on Friday. Output was slightly weaker than Wall Street analysts had projected, although the revision added a full percentage point to first-quarter growth. The second quarter was the fourth consecutive period that the US economy expanded after four quarters of contraction, which had marked the longest recession since the Great Depression. However, the slowing rate of growth and stubborn unemployment have raised anxiety that the recovery is losing steam. The disappointing data rattled US investors on Friday morning. The S&P 500 fell 1.2 per cent to 1088.31 in early trading with all 10 main sectors down and six dropping more than 1 per cent." (FT)

"I attract freaks. Well, that’s not really what I mean. What I mean is, I think people feel like can be the weirdest, most twisted versions of themselves around me. I can’t decide whether this is a good or a bad thing. I guess it shows I come across as being very non-judgmental, welcoming of abnormalities, etc. I’m into that. However, it also just means I receive an insane amount of emails and Facebook messaged from strangers, pouring their deranged little hearts out about every fucked-up fantasy or sexual encounter they’ve ever experienced, and all the dark ambitions they’re too ashamed to share with their families and friends. Admittedly I do find a large portion of these messages extremely touching and amusing. However I’m actually just not the person you should be getting-real with about your impotency issues, your scat porn addiction or your hidden desire to fuck your mom. Seriously, get a psychiatrist. I also must give off the impression that I’m the type of girl who would enjoy being sent extremely crude, overtly sexual emails, because I get a shocking amount of those as well ... I’ve compiled a few of the weirdest, most lolz, most creepy messages I’ve been sent as of late." (Karly)

"Comic-Con being Comic-Con, where over the top is the norm, there was no end to alternative media stunts, but one stood out for the buzz it created and the sheer number of people it drew in. It was a pop-up created by Fox for 'Bob's Burgers,' an animated program launching at midseason that follows a family in the burger business. Fox took over a local restaurant, the Tin Fish, in San Diego, site of the annual gathering of comic book and pop culture enthusiasts, and decked it out as the fictional Bob's Burgers. The stunt peaked with a burger eating contest that drew 18 professional eaters. The rules were strict. 'Any mushing, mashing or mutilation of the American icon known as the hamburger is unacceptable,' said the rule book. 'Food warriors must keep bun and meat together and cannot purposely separate the two.'" (Medialifemagazine)

"... The tale sounds like the invention of a Dan Brown, but it is the truth, according to the testimony of Christine de Védrines, as summarized by her lawyer and related by a confidant. Her captivity and torture, which is alleged to have occurred in January 2008, would prove to be a decisive moment in the collapse of the French aristocratic house of de Védrines, many of whose members over a period of several years had achieved a significant disconnection from what is commonly referred to as reality." (VanityFair)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The Obama administration has condemned WikLeaks' decision to publish more than 91,000 U.S. military documents related to the war in Afghanistan, saying the disclosures undercut American security and endanger the lives of U.S. troops and informants. It neglected to mention that when it comes to the release of sensitive U.N. documents, Washington and WikiLeaks have been allies. For five years, the U.S. government and WikiLeaks have each posted several hundred internal U.N. documents, including scores of confidential investigation reports on corruption, mismanagement and sexual misconduct by U.N. staff and peacekeepers at headquarters and in the field. The leaked reports have discussed highly sensitive U.N. anti-corruption probes from Haiti to Congo, and detailed audits of U.N. procedures for purchasing everything from jet fuel to office equipment. To be clear, the U.N. documents do not disclose war-time military and intelligence secrets, but they do contain lots of raw, unsubstantiated rumors and, allegations whose publication have the power to expose wrongdoing but also to damage reputations. They also show that the interests of Washington policymakers and WikiLeaks sleuths are sometimes more closely aligned than you'd think following days of White House denunciations." (ForeignPolicy)

"The paparazzi will have their work cut out for them Saturday, as the Federal Aviation Administration announced late Wednesday that it will be enforcing a temporary ban on flights near Chelsea Clinton’s Rhinebeck wedding. The agency has outlawed any flights in the area from 3 p.m. on Saturday until 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. The ban, implemented at the request of the Secret Service, wasn’t made just to annoy tabloid editors: That was solely a fringe benefit. The FAA announcement lists 'Temporary flight restrictions for VIP (Very Important Person) Movement' as the cause of the no-fly zone. Given the star-studded guest list, that might be an understatement. The ban is in effect for a 1.5 nautical mile radius, up to 2,000 feet." (NYMag)

"ABC Family president Paul Lee has impressed media buyers with his resurrection of the now-red-hot network, which was a virtual wasteland of 700 Club episodes and TGIF reruns before Lee arrived. Now it's the No. 1 cable channel among women 18-34. But Lee, whose appointment is expected to be made official this weekend, has a tough task before him in succeeding Steve McPherson as president of ABC Entertainment. Media buyers say there are three major concerns for the network: figuring out how to replace aging hits Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives; finding shows that appeal to male audiences to balance the network's recent female skew; and continuing the comedy revival that McPherson began with Modern Family. If he can begin to address those things, Lee should help slow ABC's recent ratings slide. The network tied for third place with NBC this past season with a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating, off 7 percent from last year and 10 percent from the year before." (Medialifemagazine)

"Paris Hilton denies she's been paid $1 million to party with mysterious billionaire Jho Low in St. Tropez. Despite rampant rumors on the French Riviera that the big-spending Malaysian was paying Hilton to have her lounge topless on his yacht and spray champagne with him at spots including exclusive club Les Caves du Roy, her rep said: 'They are friends. Jho has invited Paris and her sister, Nicky, out to St. Tropez as friends. He has not paid her in any way, although he is extremely generous.'" (PageSix)

"Down at Michael’s, the Wednesday crowd (packed) was wondering aloud why the President of the United States was appearing on daytime TV coffee-klatch and then breaking bread downtown with a fashion magazine editor. Someone suggested that it was because of his falling ratings with the women in the audience. Someone suggested we were just sour grapes, jealous that we weren’t invited. Among the Michael’s crowd: Paige Peterson and her daughter Alexandra with Jesse Kornbluth; Fox News’ Laurie Dhue with two old friends (mother/daughter) from Atlanta; Margo Nederlander with Haley Steinbrenner Swindel (the late George’s granddaughter); Tiffany Dubin, Richard Beckman, David Adler, Stan Shuman, Diane Clehane, Chris Meigher, Martin Puris, Jamie Niven, Jerry Inzerillo. At table 1, Joan Jakobson, our friend and occasional NYSD contributor, was hosting a lunch for her friend Mary McDonagh Murphy whose book Scout, Atticus & Boo; A Celebration of Fifty years of To Kill A Mockingbird was just published (HarperCollins). At table: Mary’s brother Patrick Murphy, Joe Armstrong, this writer and of course our hostess." (NYSocialDiary)

"It was just another Sunday in Beverly Hills for Hugh Hefner. His latest girlfriend, Crystal Harris, and other playmates lounged by the pool at the Playboy Mansion, while Hefner played Backgammon nearby with 'the boys.' In the evening, it was movie night in the screening room: Inception, which Hef declared 'a mind blower,' though he and Crystal went on to watch True Blood afterward before calling it a night. I know all this not because I was there, but because for the last two weeks or so I've become an avid follower of Hef's Twitter feed, a slightly anachronistic thing for an 84-year-old who wears pajamas all day: As he recently told Larry King, Ms. Harris gave him an iPad and 'I'm now a Twitter bug. When I was a kid, I was a jitter bug.' In fact, I wouldn't pay much mind to Mr. Hefner if not for the curious news a couple of weeks ago that he was planning to make an offer to take Playboy Enterprises, the company he founded 57 years ago, private. At first glance, this would seem to be evidence of Aging Macher Syndrome, wherein people with money and power in their dotage do silly things to remain in the mix. (For instance, check out Sumner Redstone's recent voice-mail flap with Daily Beast reporter Peter Lauria.)" (Observer)

"Unlike other cultural icons—the Mona Lisa, the Pyramids—the Parthenon never disappoints, and even a philistine like Bill Clinton has been photographed misty-eyed between the columns. Mind you, the one that takes the booby prize is the American lassie that years ago yelled, 'Look Ma, from here you can see the Hilton.' I suppose it’s the symmetry and the proportions that make the Parthenon the wonder that it is, and if a certain Lord Elgin had never existed, the place would be even more exquisite than it is. I just read a book by Mary Beard on the Parthenon and learned a thing or two that had escaped me. My uncle, who was chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Archeological Society of Greece, used to give me monthly tours of the Acropolis when I was a child. Still, uncle never told me that the small temple called Erechteion had been converted into a harem by the Turks, with its line up of columns of Caryatids advertising the delights that lay inside. But Mary Beard did, so I’m now much the wiser. The Big Bang, as Beard calls it, took place in 1687, when the Venetians fired on the Turks who had turned the temple into a gunpowder store. A Swedish general, Count Koenigsmark, gave the order, but the one who always gets the credit for the sacrilege is Count Morosini, the overall commander of the Venetian force, whose descendant, Fabrizio Ferrari, is one of my oldest friends. The Parthenon and its new museum aside, things are not looking good for the Olive Republic. It is impossible to measure the extent of the damage done to Greece’s image abroad by recent events." (Takimag)

"The get-a-life fans of Mad Men — including 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Brian Williams — have taken to the Internet to point out inaccuracies in the series that prides itself on getting all the details right when it comes to hair and wardrobe, props, dialogue and history. This week, on his blog The Daily Nightly, Williams took a sharp turn from his usual subject matter — his own news show — to outline a list of boo-boos that series creator Matthew Weiner made in last Sunday night’s Season 4 premiere, which takes place in November 1964. Don Draper, the character played by Jon Hamm, could not have been watching a black-and-white NFL game late at night on TV. 'Questionable,' as the anchor politely puts it. Prime-time football didn’t start until 1970, with the first 'Monday Night Football' game.And a slow-motion replay? Not in ’64, says the anchor." (NYPost)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The Putin show was in full effect last weekend during the prime minister's visit to Ukraine. Putin visited a biker rally in Sevastapol where he rode what he called a "tricked out bike," but as Russia Monitor's Jesse Heath noted, the three-wheeled contraption looked more Rascal Scooter than Easy Rider ... Putin also suggested that a betrayal was responsible for the spies' capture, and engaged in some characteristic machismo ... On RFE/RL's Power Vertical blog, Brian Whitmore speculates that the spy scandal will lead to a house cleaning at the SVR, and perhaps even a return to something more closely resembling the Soviet KGB." (ForeignPolicy)

"Wyclef Jean will formally announce his bid for the presidency of earthquake-shattered Haiti within two weeks, sources tell us. The former Fugees star, 37, who's an ambassador under the current Haitian government, is ready to put his music career on hold to run for his homeland's top job. But the move will put him in conflict with former Fugees bandmate Pras (Prakazrel Samuel Michel), a Brooklyn native who campaigned for more relief after the deadly January earthquake, who's backing another candidate. Wyclef's reps confirmed he's submitted paperwork to run in the Nov. 28 election. His family yesterday said in a statement: 'Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter ... At this time, Wyclef Jean has not announced his intent to run for Haitian president. If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately.'" (PageSix)

"Kanye West performed songs off his forthcoming album Good Ass Job in the cafeteria at Facebook yesterday, for some reason. He did them a capella, and with force. We're trying to figure out why this happened ... Kanye standing on a lunch table in a snugly fitted suit while all the Facebook employees hold out their camera-phones, trying to capture the lifestyle. There is also a sad-looking plant, which against all odds contributes considerably to the atmosphere." (Observer)

"Yesterday Steve McPherson (above), ABC's President of Entertainment, submitted his resignation. The shakeup took the media world by surprise last night. McPherson says he plans to start a new media company, and a 'new entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business.' In the TV news world, McPherson was known to be a vocal critic of 'Nightline' at 11:35 p.m., arguing that the time period should belong to the entertainment division of ABC, in order to better compete with 'The Tonight Show' and 'Late Show.' In 2008, when it looked like Jay Leno would become available once Conan O'Brien took over 'Tonight,' McPherson said that putting a comedy program at 11:35 was a 'huge possibility,' and that late night in general was 'a growth area for us.' Of course, the decision to move 'Nightline' to another slot would had to have come from Anne Sweeney, who oversees the Disney-ABC TV group, and to whom both McPherson and ABC News chief David Westin report. So will McPherson's apparent replacement, ABC Family president Paul Lee, fight as hard to bring 'Nightline''s time period to the entertainment side of the company? It is far too soon to tell, but if anyone could appreciate what 'Nightline' brings to ABC, it is Lee." (TVNewser)

"The man who made hits out of Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Modern Family has been shown the door. Vulture has confirmed that ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson is exiting his role overseeing both the Disney-owned network and its sister studio. Rumors about McPherson have become almost monthly occurrences around Hollywood, since he and his boss, Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney (above), have clashed from almost the moment they began working together in 2005. Nonetheless, Sweeney signed McPherson to a new multi-year agreement last year and elevated him to a new gig expanding his role to include oversight of the Disney TV studio. So why the change, particularly after a season that saw ABC launch a new night of comedy anchored by Modern Family, and grow Castle into a much-needed procedural hit? Look for plenty of spin over the next few hours and days, with 'personality clash' likely to be a very popular phrase attributed to sources close to the situation. Already, one outsider observer sums it up thusly: 'Anne Sweeney finally got her way.'" (NYMag)

"Out in East Hampton -- now a hike on the perpetual parking lot called Route 27 -- is a community bustling with commerce, and big SUVs and Mercedes and Bentleys and Broncos and Range Rovers lining the roads bumper to bumper. Movie stars live there. Movie directors. hedge fund owners, entrepreneurs, rich divorcees, tycoons and real estate moguls. It’s a microcosm of the American very rich at the beginning of the new millennium. Their Old Guard has mostly died off although the Newcomers are fast becoming third generation. And Big and More remains a player." (NYSocialDiary)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"If it takes 90,000 documents to tell you that the war in Afghanistan is not going well, that the Pakistani government is not a reliable ally or that many American troops are frustrated with the situation on the ground, then you haven't been paying attention. If the release of the Wikileaks archive had come during the Bush administration, Barack Obama would have been the first person out there hailing Wikileaks for their contribution to America's national security...instead of condemning the organization as the White House did over the weekend. That said, while there was little that was revelatory in the Wikileaks archive, the appearance of the archive marks what may someday be seen as an important watershed. When President Obama took office, Afghanistan was Bush's war. When President Obama released his new strategy and redoubled our troop presence there, it became his war...but it was still argued that he was cleaning up Bush's mess. Now, after almost half a term in office, not only is this Obama's war...but it is increasingly hard to see it as anything but an ugly, deepening mistake." (ForeignPolicy)

"Shifting into a higher campaign gear, President Obama is embarking on a spate of fundraising and donor-stroking in D.C., NYC, Chicago and Texas. At 7 tonight, he’ll attend a 'DNC Fundraising Dinner' at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The meeting will include top activists, supporters and fundraisers. Coming attractions, according to local Democrats: In New York tomorrow, in addition to his date with 'The View,' the president will do a pair of events where admission costs $30,400, the most you can give a party per cycle. One is at the home of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and the other is at the Four Seasons. On Aug. 5, the day after his 49th birthday, Obama is doing two 'birthday party' events back home in Chicago -- a Four Seasons reception where the tickets go down to a 'low-dollar' $250, and an event at a real-estate billionaire’s home, where the tickets are $30,400." (Politico)

"The founding editor-in-chief of Vogue Russia, Aliona Doletskaya, resigned earlier today, shocking staffers and the fashion world at large. 'Aliona’s role in shaping the magazine is so unique that in a certain sense she is irreplaceable,' the president of Condé Nast International, Jonathan Newhouse, said in a memo to staffers obtained by The Daily. 'Some time ago, Aliona Doletskaya told me that she would like to leave the Vogue Russia editor-in-chief’s post, which she has occupied for almost 13 years, and start a new life, probably to write a book or try her hand in a new field,' said Newhouse. 'As Russia—as well as the rest of the world—was still going through economically hard times, I asked Aliona to wait for a better time to do this. Now, it’s obvious that we are coming out of the crisis, thus I don’t want to interfere with Aliona’s plans anymore. I accept her decision to leave the magazine with great sorrow… In the near future we will announce the name of the next editor-in-chief of Vogue Russia.'" (DailyFrontRow)

"Word's now gotten out that New Yorker editor David Remnick has assigned a profile of (full disclosure: my former boss) Gawker Media owner Nick Denton to staff writer Ben McGrath, whose byline was published under a pretty entertaining, wonderful profile of Mayor Michael Bloomberg around the same time last year. Hysterically, this comes on the heels of Denton progeny Henry Blodget (of The Business Insider) getting profiled in Bloomberg BusinessWeek a few issues ago (a solid piece writer Andrew Goldman deserved high marks, for). Denton knows this is happening, and from what we hear, is cooperating. Given the year Gawker Media's had -- the iPhone/Gizmodo story making national news, leadership changes at Jezebel (a site which has now been bizarrely rediscovered by the New York Times and as of this weekend, The Guardian), leadership changes at Gawker, and constant reminders that they're now being read by something like the entire human and moose population of Canada -- why not?" (VillageVoice)

"Rapper-turned-actor Common is set for his first regular TV gig, landing a lead role in the AMC period drama pilot Hell on Wheels. Common has become the first actor cast in the Western, which centers on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. He will play Elam, a freed slave who comes west seeking work on the railroad and his place in the world. As a half black, half white man he does not completely belong to either world." (Deadline)

"The Anti-Defamation League on Monday slammed filmmaker Oliver Stone for comments he made to the Sunday Times in the U.K., calling them anti-Semitic. Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said: 'Oliver Stone has once again shown his conspiratorial colors with his comments about "Jewish domination of the media' and control over U.S. foreign policy. His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence.' Stone issued an apology Monday afternoon. 'In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret,' Stone said in a statement. When asked in an interview with the Sunday Times of London why there was 'such a focus on the Holocaust,' Stone replied: 'The Jewish domination of the media.' He added: 'They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.'" (TheHollywoodReporter)

"There are still some who relish the prospect of Catherine (as she has requested friends now call her) becoming a member of the Firm—but as time passes, the less goodwill she seems to enjoy and the more ambivalent the general public becomes. Hardly an ideal position for a future Queen. You’d be forgiven for mistakenly considering the job of HRH to be the best in the world, but let’s be clear: it is a job. Those in Prince William’s circle know this. His mother Princess Diana didn’t. (Glamorous? That’s what Lady Di thought in 1981, too, after only a handful of dates with Prince Charles followed by a whirlwind engagement.) Diana Spencer wasn’t the first woman Prince Charles proposed marriage, to, however. According to Tina Brown’s unputdownable The Diana Chronicles, that dubious first honor went to second cousin Amanda Knatchbull. She turned him down. A precedent had already been set by previous girlfriend Lady Jane Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington’s daughter, who quipped to reporters while dating Charles, 'I don’t want another title—I’ve already got one.' Jane and Amanda understood what Diana didn’t. To be a senior royal is not a VIP pass to an endless succession of glittering parties (although there are, of course, glittering parties aplenty). To the contrary: it means daily duty, a regimented schedule, no room for spontaneity, hundreds of charity appearances a year, mind-numbing small talk, a perma-paste smile, crushing responsibilities, 24/7 surveillance, zero privacy—and dwindling respect and appreciation from a public who doesn’t understand your immense contributions and increasingly views you as a tax burden." (Nadine Jolie)

"President Barack Obama may be taking a hit for his handling of the BP oil spill, but the disaster has been a political boon for those closer to the action. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose rise in the GOP faltered after a lackluster response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union speech, has seen his approval ratings jump nearly 13 percentage points to 74 percent. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate who was reelected in 2007 with 60 percent of the vote, now has a job approval rating of 70 percent. And Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, whose independent bid for the U.S. Senate was sputtering before the spill, has seized on the crisis to remake his image and reset the race. While they’re not exactly celebrating their political fortunes in the face of the unfolding tragedy, it’s hard to miss what it’s done to advance their careers." (Politico)

(Pat Schoenfeld, birthday boy DPC and Ambassador Brenda Johnson via JH/NYSD)

"... After Via Quadranno, time to get home we headed up to 79th Street where we could both catch a cab to head home (he, west; I, east). A couple blocks up we ran into Brenda Johnson, our former Ambassador to Jamaica under President George W. Bush. She had just come from an interesting lunch with a prominent Washingtonian. And she happened to be wearing a gold and diamond pin that caught my eye. JH took a close up of it. It is a pin that is designed especially for Ambassadors. Anne Hand designed it. It’s not a government gift, Ambassador Johnson explained; she had to buy it. As we were talking, along came Pat Schoenfeld. We introduced her to Ambassador Johnson and soon was the conversation was off in several directions. We decided to keep moving. In New York you can find yourself in an intense conversation on the street." (NYSocialDiary)

"'Before anything had aired and I just heard it was a show about guidos, I said No way,’ says Sal Bonaventura, one half of Central Entertainment Group, the personal-appearance booking agency that now reps all the men of MTV’s Jersey Shore. Bonaventura—who is bedecked with tattoos and hails from Staten Island (with the accent to prove it)—revised his opinion once he met DJ Pauly D and 'realized what a good kid he was.' Bonaventura’s partner Michael Schweiger—a soft-spoken, balding, goateed Australian who went to acting school with Judi Dench and Mel Gibson—may joke that Bonaventura is probably a relative of Pauly’s since 'all guidos are related,' but he’s clearly grateful that his partner is now so deeply entrenched in the Jersey Shore world that he’s actually earned the nickname of 'Papa Guido' from TMZ. The two are hardly new to the business, having booked nightclub appearances for nearly three decades. But whereas their work used to revolve around dance-music artists, the focus switched when club mentalities changed and reality-TV stars sprang up. 'Our clients used to be 90 percent music people but now it’s 70 percent reality stars,' says Bonaventura, who joined forces with Schweiger in 2005 (they’d been 'very cordial competitors' for years) ... Take away the Jersey Shore kids, in fact, and you could say that CEG’s business model is centered on lots and lots of lady skin. 'That’s the mentality of the buyer,' Schweiger says during an interview in CEG’s Manhattan office, not sounding remotely defensive, before uttering a sentence that’s both a sure sign of our upcoming cultural apocalypse and all too true. 'We’re in the American pop-culture business so it’s tits and ass that sells.'" (TheDailyBeast)

"'NBC Nightly News' was still the most-watched newscast last week, but the total viewer gap with 'ABC World News' was the smallest of the season. While NBC was down in total viewers, ABC grew its audience week-to-week with Diane Sawyer conducting two high-profile interviews with David Cameron and Mark Zuckerberg. (Sawyer was out Thursday and Friday.) 'CBS Evening News' saw a small week-to-week decrease in both total viewers and the demo. Compared to the same week last year, NBC and CBS were down in both categories while ABC was up in total viewers and flat in the demo." (TVNewser)

"Broadway's pint-sized superstar and frequent Glee guest-spotter Kristin Chenoweth had her birthday party Sunday night at Carnival in Union Square. She looked like a Broadway Barbie dressed in a pink skirt and black sparkly over-the-knee Manolo Blahnik boots. Among the carnival games and women on stilts there were Broadway actors galore, including her Promises, Promises castmates Tony Goldwyn, Brooks Ashmanskas, Keith Kuhl and Katie Finneran. Guests sipped on drinks made especially for Chenoweth from Devotion Vodka -- we preferred 'The Kristini,' an especially fruity and yummy pink-hued cocktail -- and posed for pictures that were printed out on-site at the Kodak Picture Kiosk. And of course no Broadway birthday would be complete without a performance. When Chenwoeth's cake was brought out, some of the girls from Promises, Promises serenaded her with a funny song they wrote for the occasion." (Whitney Spaner/Papermag)

"In its second week, newcomer Rizzoli & Isles on TNT not only topped its lead-in, The Closer, with 7.27 million viewers it topped everything else on cable, too. USA’s top show Burn Notice was #3 in an episode that featured a Burt Reynolds as a guest star. (please note: the numbers for Rizzoli & Isles and The Closer and any Monday show referenced here are for Monday July 19, not last night. We should see those numbers in a few hours though and post them later. USA’s Covert Affairs was #8 in its second week (though it was #6 in household rating) and HBO’s True Blood edged into the top ten at #10. TNT’s Leverage was up the previous week and stayed up on Sunday night pulling in 3.9 million viewers to rank 16th. Royal Pains and White Collar? They’re in the list below, too. A good week for USA & TNT." (TVBytheNumbers)

"The tiki torches were lit, the Champagne was flowing, and the cocktail-hour entertainment was covered in head-to-toe paint. For its 17th annual summer benefit, the Watermill Center threw an alfresco party with an Italian title, Paradiso, and a Fellini-esque mood. It started with a transporting climb up saw grass-lined steps, past costumed 'snow monkeys' handing out samples of a scent that perfumer Loc Dong had created for the occasion. Beyond the wide courtyard, guests including Calvin Klein, Marisa Berenson, and Amanda Hearst toured installations of silver-painted performers and a violinist perched up in a tree ... In line with that Paradiso theme, more than a few guests wore angel's wings. But apparently, nature didn't get the memo—it was hot as you-know-what. 'We started to get bitten by mosquitoes, so it was a quick walk through the woods,' Klein reported. Later, Sharon Stone interrupted her hosting duties during dinner to announce that a bug had flown up her dress. 'What an awkward moment—for the bug,' she quipped. Stone auctioned off works by Marina Abramovic and Donald Judd and got Alec Baldwin to shell out $50,000 for a private performance by Rufus Wainwright, who had belted out an a cappella version of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' to get the bidding going." (Style)

"We here at have a penchant for embracing the unusual, whether it’s taxidermy mice à la Charlie Le Mindu or urinals courtesy of Lady Gaga. This week, we are inviting controversial vomiting artist Millie Brown to our LiveStudio - this Friday 30 July, Millie, the puking performance artist who shared the screen in the Puke On Gaga film (in case you're in any doubt, it does exactly what it says on the tin) is returning to our Bruton Place studio for a one-off performance. Accompanied by the operatic musings of singers Patricia Hammond and Zita Syme, Millie will explore the relationship between music and performance art via self-induced vomiting. We are broadcasting her performance live via our LiveStudio starting at 11:30 BST Friday morning. Join us as Millie paints a spectrum of rainbow vomit on canvas." (SHOWstudio)