Monday, September 30, 2013

Ivy League Crime Lords, Episode 1

SNL Girls Parody

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"I am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I've had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many aspects, and one of the most important ones, which was not fully examined, was what it told us about the state of U.S.-European relations and of relations among European countries. This is perhaps the most important question on the table.
We have spoken of the Russians, but for all the flash in their Syria performance, they are economically and militarily weak -- something they would change if they had the means to do so. It is Europe, taken as a whole, that is the competitor for the United States. Its economy is still slightly larger than the United States', and its military is weak, though unlike Russia this is partly by design.
The U.S.-European relationship helped shape the 20th century. American intervention helped win World War I, and American involvement in Europe during World War II helped ensure an allied victory. The Cold War was a transatlantic enterprise, resulting in the withdrawal of Soviet forces from the European Peninsula. The question now is: What will the relationship be between these two great economic entities, which together account for roughly 50 percent of the world's gross domestic product, in the 21st century? That question towers over all others globally. The events surrounding the Syria intervention, which never materialized, hint at the answer to this question. The Syrian crisis began not with the United States claiming that action must be taken against al Assad's use of chemical weapons but with calls to arms from the United Kingdom, France and Turkey. The United States was rather reluctant, but ultimately it joined these and several other European countries. Only then did the Europeans' opinions diverge. In the United Kingdom, the parliament voted against intervention. In Turkey, the government favored intervention on a much larger scale than the United States wanted. And in France, which actually had the ability to lend a hand, the president favored intervention but faced a less enthusiastic parliament.Most important to note was the division of Europe. Each country crafted its own response -- or lack of response -- to the Syrian crisis. The most interesting position was taken by Germany, which was unwilling to participate and until quite late unwilling to endorse participation. I've talked about the fragmentation of Europe. Nothing is more striking than the foreign policy split between France and Germany not only on Syria but on Mali and Libya as well." (STRATFOR)
"'Walt and Jesse forever!' shouted Aaron Paul while bear-hugging Bryan Cranston at last night’s Breaking Bad–finale extravaganza. The Emmy-winning drama’s conclusion may not have been as warm and cuddly for Walter White and his meth-cooking soul mate, Jesse Pinkman, as viewers had hoped—how could it be with a Nazi machine-gun shootout?—but inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, at an awesomely immersive send-off event hosted by Netflix, AMC, Bushmills, and the Kind Campaign, the atmosphere was decidedly heartfelt. In fact, when Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the show’s complete cast onstage during a Q&A later that night, the discussion was derailed by what looked like one massive Breaking Bad group hug. 'Maybe this was a bad idea,' Kimmel wondered aloud. 'There are now more people up here than there are [in the audience].' Indeed, cast members who had turned up to celebrate the Breaking Bad finale fittingly among the deceased included Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, R. J. Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Giancarlo Esposito, as well as the actors responsible for playing Ted Beneke, Skinny Pete, Uncle Jack, Badger, the Twins, Gale Boetticher, 'Eyebrows,' and Huell! (Huell, or actor Lavell Crawford, at least, had thankfully made it out of the safe house.)." (Vanityfair)

"Thursday night I went to the Boys' Club of New York’s annual Fall Ball in the grand ballroom at the Pierre. I thought this was my “first” Boys' Club gala but no, someone told me I’d been once before. I only remember having conflicting commitments on the previous times I’d been invited. It’s a black tie dinner dance. I somehow had it in my mind that it was one of those crusty old-time affairs that had been going on every autumn since Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. I practically expected Eleanor Rooseveltian dowagers to be the chairladies. I know, that’s ridiculous; but if you never saw it, all you have is your imagination, right? Well, I was wrong. I arrived at the Pierre almost 45 minutes into the cocktail hour which was held in another ballroom, and which was jammed. I somehow knew the minute I walked in the door that this was a good one. Not crusty at all – although with a certain crowd, the likes of whom see each other year round at all their watering holes, country houses and places in Manhattan, Greenwich, Far Hills, etc. The women looked beautiful and the men in black tie all look sort of smart no matter what else – a man can’t lose in black tie no matter where the avoirdupois rolls. It was all definitely a younger group than my imagination’s idea." (NYSocialDiary)

"Yesterday was Wednesday of course and I was at Michael’s of course which was its very busy self. Among the guests: Lynn de Rothschild (Lady Evelyn de Rothschild) was with General Wesley Clark and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie. Nearby: Sanford Stein; Michael Holtzman, Liz Kaplow, Ed Reilly, Joe Armstrong with David Zinczenko. Around the room: Andrew Stein, Matt Blank. Adam Brecht, Barry Frey: Joe Kemen with Andrew Ross Sorkin, and British businessman Sir Martin Sorrell ... I was with Dini von Mueffling, a lifelong New Yorker who 22 years ago started a charity called Love Heals with Alison Gertz, her friend and schoolmate who contracted AIDS when she was sixteen after having sex for the first and only time with a bartender that she met at Studio 54." (NYSocialDiary)

"Alec Baldwin says billionaire investor turned-film producer Arki Busson is his Hollywood archenemy. The sharp-tongued actor, who met with Busson in Cannes while pitching an Iraq-set romance film, fired off in TV Guide after the mogul told Baldwin he’s only considered a TV star, not a movie star. 'He reminds me of a B-level villain in a Bond film,' Baldwin tells the magazine. 'It’s a part Robert Davi would play if you couldn’t get Alan Rickman with a cat in his lap. He’s a pockmarked toady who hops from yacht to yacht and bed to bed. So when some bloated little toad like Busson labels me a certain way, I say to myself, ‘Consider the source.’ If movie stardom meant being trapped on a yacht with Busson, I’d rather be a weatherman for Ch. 4 in New York.' Blustering Baldwin, who’s launching a talk show on MSNBC, also ranted about movie studio executives, saying they know nothing about moviemaking. He tells TV Guide, 'I’m not blaming them — they only have what they have. They’re all factotums of multilateral corporations. It’s all money, money, money.'" (PageSix)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Now is the time for all good men to fail. Good women, too. Fail early and often, and don’t be shy about admitting it. Failing isn’t shameful; it’s not even failure. Such is the message of a growing body of self-help and leadership literature. “Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?” asks the Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, in which she argues that a willingness to court failure can be a precursor to growth. Dweck holds, persuasively, that successful people are not the ones who cultivate a veneer of perfection, but rather those who understand that failing is part of getting smarter and better. The same point is made in Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly (a best seller that borrows its title from Teddy Roosevelt’s exhortation that when you fail, the important thing is to do it while 'daring greatly'); Tim Harford’s Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure; Kathryn Schulz’s Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error; and Brilliant Blunders, Mario Livio’s tour of “colossal” scientific mistakes that led to breakthroughs. Next spring, Sarah Lewis’s forthcoming book, The Rise: Creativity, Mastery, and the Gift of Failure, will reflect on 'flops, folds, setbacks, wipeouts and hiccups,' and the 'dynamism' they inspire. The failure fetish is even finding its way into modern parenting. Reacting against the tendency to cushion children with coaches and tutors, authors like Po Bronson, Paul Tough, and Wendy Mogel argue that we need to allow our children to fail, because struggle builds resilience and grit. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, the ability to speak perceptively and candidly about one’s past failures has practically become a job qualification. A prospective employee (or an applicant for venture-capital funding) who has survived a failed start-up is someone who has learned valuable lessons on someone else’s dime. Given this growing cultural fixation on failure, it was probably inevitable that politicians would begin clambering aboard the pro-failure bandwagon. 'I failed. Big time' is how the disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer put it in an ad promoting his candidacy for New York City comptroller in this November’s election, arguing that his 2008 prostitution scandal was not entirely a bad thing. 'You go through that pain,' Spitzer said in a July television interview, “you change”—the implication being that the change must have been for the better. Mortification, Spitzer has suggested, can make a person more 'empathetic.' Leaving aside the question of whether empathy is a quality one wants in a comptroller, it does seem that in politics, failure, done right, may have recently turned a corner. Far from being a liability, failure—and humble emergence from failure as sadder, wiser, etc.—has become something to tout. This idea is not entirely new." (TheAtlantic)

"Nina Munk’s new book, The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, is both a tragicomedy and a genuine tragedy, a fascinating portrait of an innovative thinker as well as a fair-minded examination of his methods. It’s also a testament to the enduring value of old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting—it should be read not just in policy circles but also at J-schools. Sachs, an academic turned activist, is the Columbia University economist who became famous as the author of the 2005 best-seller The End of Poverty and even more famous as 'Bono’s guru'—the man who has helped midwife the singer’s efforts to fight poverty in Africa. Angelina Jolie and Madonna are also acolytes. In Sachs’s view, Africa’s problems can be solved relatively 'easily' (a word not often used in this context) if rich nations would only supply the money and will power—and, of course, follow Sachs’s prescriptions. To that end, in 2005, he launched what he called the Millennium Villages Project, through which a handful of desperately poor, isolated villages across sub-Saharan Africa became living laboratories for Sachs’s ambitious theories on sustainable development. 'What we’re trying to show is that with just a few interventions and not a lot of money, lives can be transformed,' Sachs once explained. 'It’s what MTV would call Extreme Village Makeover.' Munk, a V.F. contributing editor, first wrote about Sachs in the magazine’s Africa issue, in 2007. She spent the next six years returning to Africa to follow the progress at two Millennium Villages: Dertu, in Kenya’s arid North Eastern Province, near its troubled border with Somalia, and Ruhiira, tucked away in the highlands of southwestern Uganda. It will probably come as no surprise that “interventions” that made sense in theory didn’t always translate on the ground." (VanityFair)

"At exactly 11.30am, Tadashi Yanai marches into the room and sticks out his hand. The richest man in Japan, worth $15.5bn according to Forbes’ latest reckoning, is definitely not the tallest. A slight, wiry man, with alarmingly short grey hair cropped as if for the priesthood, the founder of the Uniqlo clothing chain can’t be much above 5ft 4in tall. Still, there is a toughness, almost a pugilism about him. Though he is 64 – or, perhaps, because he is 64 – he is among the most driven businessmen in Japan. His holding company, Fast Retailing, of which Uniqlo is the most prominent brand, is bent on world domination, or at least on overtaking its three larger competitors, Inditex (which owns Zara), H&M and Gap. Fast Retailing, which operates more than 1,000 stores in 14 countries, has annual global sales above $10bn. Uniqlo alone is opening about one new outlet a week and will break into Germany and Australia next spring with stores in Berlin and Melbourne. We are in the private dining room of Azure 45, one of dozens of high-end French restaurants in Tokyo, this most culinary of cities. This one is spectacularly located on the 45th floor of a skyscraper with sweeping views of Tokyo Tower and the city beneath. A cluster of different-sized glass balls dangles above the table, giving the otherwise haute-chic room the air of a 1980s disco. Yanai starts work at 7am and likes to be home by 4pm to spend time with his wife and to practise golf, so the whole company has shunted its schedule forward. Our 11.30am encounter is early even by Japanese standards, where lunch at noon is the norm." (FT)

"Billionaire investor George Soros, 83, will marry 42-year-old Tamiko Bolton today, followed by a huge party at his Caramoor Estate in Bedford, with 500 guests. We’re told the couple will say their vows in front of a select group of friends and family before they celebrate with hundreds from 4:30 p.m. onward.  Those expected include World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of Estonia; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia; and Edi Rama, prime minister of Albania. Also there will be Paul Tudor Jones II and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Festivities started Friday night with a dinner at Le Bernardin, followed by cocktails with a few hundred guests at MoMA." (NYPost)

"Nope, hacks would rather play it safe and not state the obvious, as in the case of, say, Tina Brown. Michael Wolff is an American media analyst and writer—he also has a very pretty girlfriend—and I had a chat with him during a summer party last July. I asked him about Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington. Wolff, who is not known for pulling his punches (his biography of Rupert Murdoch had Rupee Baby pissing bullets), threw his hands up in the air and made bubbling noises. In other words, no one can understand how those two broads get away with it. (Well, Tina no longer.) The fact is that not too many hacks have gone out of their way to point out that Tina, who is always referred to as a legendary editor in America, has lost more money for the owners of the magazines she has edited than Qatar used as bribery money to get the tournament. She almost broke Harvey Weinstein with Talk magazine—fifty million big ones in two years—ditto with The New Yorker and Vanity Fair before that. She has cost another sugar daddy, Barry Diller, at least 100 million since 2008 with The Daily Beast and Newsweek. He finally pulled the plug on her, but what the hell, what’s a hundred million big ones anyway? She’s a legend, as they say in Hollywood. Which brings me to Graydon Carter and the preening Gwyneth Paltrow. Graydon has been a friend of mine for thirty years, but I can’t stand La Paltrow.  'Vanity Fair is threatening to put me on the cover,' cries the one I can’t stand, as if going on the cover of a best-selling monthly is an unacceptable chore. She’s an actress, for God’s sake, and publicity is her lifeline. What Paltrow wants and Carter won’t give is an assurance that the piece on her will be a groveling ass-kiss job worthy of HELLO! or other such celebrity-lickers." (Taki)

"'HOUSEWORK can’t kill you. But why take a chance?' That was one of the hundreds — no, thousands — of jokes told by the late great Phyllis Diller. She was the comedienne with the wild hair, wilder clothes and a no-account husband she referred to as 'Fang.' Diller paved the way for today’s crop of female comics, including Joan Rivers. Although Diller’s routines remained self-deprecatory. She rarely, if ever, went for the funny bone through the jugular. Diller, who began her career late, remained extremely popular for decades, in stand-up, movies and countless TV appearances. She even had a go at 'Hello Dolly!' on Broadway. But behind the gaudy image was a woman of some refinement and taste — an accomplished concert pianist. Aspects of the private Phyllis Diller are up for auction at Julien’s in Beverly Hills on Sept 22nd. Diller lived large, and luxuriously, as the items in her estate sale attest. From antique Jacobean walnut settees to Edwardian music stands, to an elaborate Victorian easel to a 17th century cassone and on and on. Crystal, gorgeous dinner plates, rugs, decorative eggs, delicate figurines, goblets, Art Deco wall masks, a Matisse sketch. There is a lot of impressive art, including Diller’s own paintings. Also, various dining room and kitchen sets, all of Diller’s awards and then — the clothes!" (NYSocialDiary)

"Enough, please, about the cultural 'elite,' that all-but-useless category, so baggy it now seems to include practically everyone. No, what we really want to know about are the cultural elect — the famous people other famous people connive to meet. The kind of people, that is, who are likely to be found in the Upper West Side apartment of Antonio Monda, whether it’s a half-dozen novelists and spouses for Sunday brunch or weeknight dinner, or the 75 to 120 journalists, critics, painters, curators, Columbia professors and more who crowd in to the after-parties for one of the almost continuous film-related events he runs, either as organizer or interviewer, or both, at Lincoln Center, the Morgan Library and the Museum of Modern Art. Recent sightings included Philip Roth (scrunched in a corner, under the bookshelves that cover an entire wall); Robert De Niro (who strode in a beat after Martin Amis slipped out to smoke a hand-rolled cigarette); Zadie Smith (springing up from the table to chase down her toddler); and Jovanotti, the bearded king of Italian rap, whose Twitter followers at one point outnumbered the pope’s. At a time when so many Manhattan gatherings can seem as transactional as a conference call, Mr. Monda reigns as the host of the city’s liveliest, some say only remaining, cultural salon." (NyTimes)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"We are making many changes to the Crystal Ball’s U.S. House ratings, but the overall picture in the People’s House remains quite clear:  Neither Republicans nor Democrats are positioned to make major gains in the House next year. Republicans are slightly likelier to net a tiny gain than Democrats are. Ergo, the Republican majority in the House appears secure.  To review: Republicans currently hold a 233-200 seat edge in the House, with two vacancies soon to be filled in special elections (a super-safe Republican seat in Alabama, and a super-safe Democratic seat in Massachusetts). Additionally, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R, LA-5) is slated to resign next week (leaving another safe Republican seat behind). All told, Democrats need to net 17 seats to win a majority, which is quite a heavy lift.  All that gloomy news for Democrats aside, there is at least one positive for them in this new set of ratings: For the first time this cycle, we’ve made an incumbent member of the House an underdog, and he’s a Republican: Rep. Gary Miller (CA-31). Miller won a fluky election in 2012 because California’s new jungle primary system produced a general election between two Republicans in a district where President Obama won 57% of the vote. Even though there is a crowded primary on the Democratic side, Miller is likely to be the only Republican to advance to the general election. We believe his eventual opponent will be favored.  But after that, pickings get slimmer for the Democrats. First, take a look at Chart 1, which shows our House ratings changes" (Sabato)

" 'The French statesman Talleyrand’s advice to his diplomats, 'Above all, not too much zeal,' would have been well observed in the Federal Office of Justice in Berne, Switzerland, one day in late September 2009. That day, an official received a call from a police station in Zurich. As the Swiss journalist Daniel Binswanger reconstructed it, a duty officer had read in a newspaper that the Polish film director Roman Polanski was about to receive a lifetime-achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. The newspaper also mentioned Polanski’s outstanding charge in the United States of unlawful sex with a minor 32 years earlier. 'He put Polanski into the Interpol system, and bingo, there’s an international arrest warrant. So he does the right thing. He knows it’s not for them to decide; it has international implications, so he calls Berne. Now, in Berne they do an incredible thing. They ask Washington if they really want Polanski. And that’s where they created the disaster.' (The Swiss authorities maintain that Polanski’s arrest followed an extradition request from the U.S. Department of Justice.) Polanski, now 80, pleaded guilty in California in 1977 and was sent to the California Institution for Men, in Chino, for a 90-day evaluation, which he was told by Judge Laurence J. Rittenband would constitute his full punishment. When Polanski was released after 42 days, however, the judge said he intended to impose an additional, 'indeterminate' sentence on the director, under a penal code that technically allowed anything up to 50 years. Before he could do so, Polanski, who had his passport and was not on bail, flew to his home in Paris. A bench warrant has been out for his arrest ever since. Because the judge had acted on a judicial promise when he sent him to Chino, Polanski was never officially sentenced, and that is the crux of the case. Threatened with disqualification for serial misconduct, Rittenband resigned from the case before he could sentence Polanski in absentia. Polanski lives in France, as a French-born citizen, and by French law is exempt from extradition." (VanityFair)

"It was Wednesday. I went to Michaels. It was busy, although quieter than the railroad station din and cacophony on some Wednesdays. Don’t get me wrong; I love it. You feel like you’re in the thick of it. Whatever that is.I had lunch with my friend Jesse Kornbluth (who writes daily). He writes another column on the web also. In fact Jesse reads and writes more than anyone I know. He’s always at it which is authentically awesome. Therefore, there is always something to learn. Our conversations, however, are totally back and forth, and constantly being returned to the main subject after the distraction of some theretofore unknown fact or piece of information that appeared in the conversation.Jesse, who has just finished a novel, has been at it for a long time in New York, having written some of the most memorable profiles in both New York and Vanity Fair. He’s been at it as a professional writer a lot longer than I (and he’s younger too). He has an excellent  sense of humor, alert to the ironies that pace our life stories. He is as well as the gilded possessor of  fascinating observations and anecdotal tales (sometimes known as good gossip) about many of the names that are familiar to us. Particularly in the world of what is called Media – which is practically everybody these days.  I also learned yesterday that Jesse regularly, even frequently posts on Facebook. It is always an opinion couched in something literary. I asked him why he did this. He said it was because it was a great opportunity to comment on the current state of things (and/or people) and when people find something they like, they re-posted it. The writer writes for readers" (NYSocialDiary)

"In the basement of Galerie Perrotin, a powerhouse gallery from Paris that opened in New York on Tuesday night, a dollar bill shot out of a towering blue box and drifted onto a floor littered with bills and coins. A sign explained the work by Paola Pivi, an Italian artist: 'Caution: Money is spit out everywhere. It seemed appropriate given today’s art market, not to mention the throngs of well-heeled collectors who came to inspect the city’s newest mega-luxe gallery, which occupies a four-story landmark at the corner of East 73rd Street and Madison Avenue.'The whole neighborhood is a money machine,' said Ingrid Sischy, the Vanity Fair contributor. Art world wheeler-dealers like Peter Brant, Simon de Pury, Jeffrey Deitch, Mike Ovitz, Beth Rudin DeWoody and Knight Landesman mingled on the first floor, under Ms. Pivi’s life-size garishly colorful polar bear sculptures ... 'The art world is the new music world,' said Swizz Beatz, the musician and artist, who wore sunglasses and a black T-shirt by YSL. He greeted Pharrell Williams, the writer of the summer’s two biggest dance hits, 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk and 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke." (NYTimes)

""Who will be the next member of New York’s media elite to join the FORBES 400, our list of the richest Americans? A few months ago, the obvious answer would have been David Karp, whose social blogging startup, Tumblr, was worth $800 million and rising. But the sale of Tumblr to Yahoo YHOO +1.12% for $1.1 billion last May left Karp with a little less than $200 million — no paltry sum, to be sure, but well below the $1.3 billion in net worth it took to get onto this year’s list.  In any case, he’s been lapped. When Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox invested $70 million in Vice Media in return for a 5% stake, it set the value of the company at $1.4 billion. That makes Vice CEO Shane Smith worth about $400 million, by our estimate.A bootstrapped indie magazine from Montreal that for years had no outside investors, Vice is now based in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, makes most of its $175 million in annual revenues from online video and event sponsorships, and is backed by Fox, WPP WPPGY -2.05%, the Raine Group and former Viacom VIAB +0.36% CEO Tom Freston. But Vice’s senior management still holds about 75% of the equity. Of that, Smith, who was one of three co-founders, controls the largest chunk.  I profiled Smith in December 2011, as it became clear Vice would soon be worth $1 billion or more. He told me the idea of a big cash-out didn’t hold much interest for him.'At this point, I don’t give a shit about money,” he said. 'I’m worth more money than I can ever spend. The best piece of advice I ever got from anyone was when Spike Jonze said take money out of the equation. And that’s actually when Vice started making lots of money. That’s when I stopped worrying about money and started worrying about what I wanted to do.'" (Forbes)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Elvis Costello and The Roots: "Wise Up Ghost"

I am continually amazed by the artistic creativity of Elvis Costello. When I was a kid I used to think "Elvis" is copying the name of another great performer. Now, older, wiser, I see that this Elvis is the more creative, the more interesting. The Roots make him better; he makes The Roots better.

Amazing. And even better live

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"To say the fashion industry loves to complain about riffraff style bloggers and C-list celebrities hijacking Fashion Week is like saying the Kardashians love publicity: the behavior's consistent, it rarely brings about significant results, and it's insufferably self-indulgent. But, one thing that does change is the focus of the fashion community's eye-rolling. Eric Wilson writes in The New York Times that back in 1941, members of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union "balked" at inviting journalists to visit the showrooms, "not seeing how writing about clothes would help sell them." (Now, of course, not only are editors and fashion journalists a keystone of the fashion week structure, they're also some of the most vocal whiners.) Since the days of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, fashion's collective annoyance has trained its lens on everything from the size and scope of fashion week (or, rather, fashion month) and the over-shadowing presence of the celebrity front row circus to unwieldy street style hoopla and hackneyed personal style bloggers. But just as fashion likes to take the most démodé styles and make them "mode" again, so too does the pendulum seem to swing back-and-forth when it comes to this backlash." (Papermag)

"Popular New York society couple Dorrit and Todd Morley have separated after 14 years of marriage. We are told Todd — the CEO of G2 Investment Group and a co-founder of Guggenheim Partners — and Dorrit split during the summer. The couple, who have three kids, said in a statement, 'We recently have separated and are working together to determine what is best for our family. We have not decided whether to divorce and for the sake of our children ask for privacy.'  Dorrit, the daughter of grumpy Observer columnist Michael Thomas, and Todd — also chairman of the Forbes Private Capital Group — married in 1999, when he was described by the Times as looking 'like a model in a Ralph Lauren advertisement.' His brother-in-law, also named Michael Thomas, added to the Times write-up, 'Todd is the most unassuming master of the universe . . At his place in Southampton, it’s open house all the time and not exclusively six-foot-tall blond models.' A source added to us, 'Southampton is a small town, people may choose to take her side. He may not find it quite as friendly.'" (P6)

"Over the weekend, I got caught up in reading 'The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy' by David Cannadine. I’ve had this extraordinary book for years, for so long that I have now two copies, one more recently published. It was originally published in hardcover in 1990.  It’s a tome, 600 or 700 pages. I probably first bought it in paperback a few years later. It was another one of those books that I bought because of the cover. In fact the newer different cover was as alluring as the original and I bought it a second time last year, having forgotten that I owned it. Anyway, I am glad to have two copies, one updated. Mr. Cannadine is a scholarly writer. You have to pour yourself into the thicket of information about a world, a way of life, a point of view that is unimaginable to us Americans — or anybody else for that matter.  It’s jammed with facts and information detailing an epoch. In fact, I’ve never finished it. I just go back every now then mainly because I’m curious about something. The British aristocracy in its 19th century heyday at the height of the Industrial Revolution and old Queen Victoria was a way of life that is still imitated, perhaps, in a kind of faux way – and maybe now moreso than ever. Nowadays the plutocrats have their fantastic and fabulous lairs and estates, yachts and jets, greater than anything, technologically than the British aristos could even have imagined. However, back then they lived on a different planet and they lived well. So well that when Americans see depictions of that way of life (all coming from the UK), such as Upstairs, Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited, Downton Abbey, we swoon to the dramas they provide about that way of life. Because you can only think (without thinking), I’d take that. Of course, that was not exactly what it’s cracked up to be in retrospect (which makes it all the more believable to us working stiffs). Because as all good things come to an end with one Sundown or another, so it was for the Brit. Aristos a century and more ago." (NYSocialDiary)

"'You mean like, Angelina’s a bitch and Brad is great?'  That’s former longtime Daily News-er, Joanna Molloy, replying to a question about what we might expect to find in her forthcoming memoir with George Rush, 'Scandal, A Manual: The Inside Story of America’s Infamous Gossip Columnists.' As Rush & Molloy, the husband-and-wife team wrote the Daily News’ premier gossip column for 15 years. They met when both were working on the rival Page Six column at the New York Post. There are plenty of war stories. 'When Sean Penn called, it was usually to yell,' recalled Ms. Molloy. 'He was totally yelling at me because he had been with another woman that wasn’t [his wife] Robin Wright. And he just kept calling and yelling, ‘I haaave a family! I haaave a family!’ I said, ‘well, you didn’t think about that when you were horizontal.’' These days, having a celebrity scream at you personally would be called 'access.' 'The ones who pick up the phone themselves are always interesting to me,' Ms. Molloy said. 'Most of them delegate the yelling.' 'Jay Z called to really have a conversation about trying to understand why I did a certain item. And I came to understand him more, because he said, ‘look, there are jealous people out there, and they put lies up on the internet.’' Mr. Rush recalled, 'Julia Roberts tried to use flowers a couple of times.'  Ms. Molloy interjected: 'Two dozen tulips is his price! He totally killed my item about someone who she was sleeping with'—the actor Benjamin Bratt—'for a couple dozen posies.' 'And she calls him up and says ‘oh George, this isn’t news. We don’t want the spotlight on it.’' Ms. Molloy’s Julia Roberts impression sounds remarkably like Ginger from 'Gilligan’s Island.'” (Observer)

"A story written by a young Ernest Hemingway and rejected by Vanity Fair in 1924 has his estate still seeing red. Harper’s Magazine has been picked to publish the literary lion’s 'My Life in the Bull Ring With Donald Ogden,' in its October issue, despite a reported recent request to publish it by Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair. Hemingway submitted the story at age 25 to the mag’s Literary Hors d’Oeuvres section, but then-VF editor Frank Crownshield responded, 'With our regret . . . we cannot use it, clever and amusing as it undoubtedly is.' Hemingway’s son Patrick sniffed earlier this year: 'I’m not a great fan of Vanity Fair. It’s a sort of luxury thinker’s magazine, for people who get their satisfaction out of driving a Jaguar instead of a Mini.'" (P6)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Anything Goes

Written by Joe Keenan and performed by Bryan Batt  Thanks to Studio 360

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Beautifully set up. A nice kiss from the very attractive and charming David Lauren as I arrived. A kiss from Jonathan Newhouse. Hellos to Fabien Baron. All happy making. This was the press show and the one time I should have had my camera for the folks. If you did not read the name on the program you probably could not guess whose collection it was. It is a whole new direction for Ralph. Fun, young, colorful. Mod and modern, retro and up-to-date combined in a winning way.
The opening nine outfits were black and white, school girl as in Sasha's opening outfit. Knee socks, brimmed English school boy caps, chunky-heeled Mary Jane patent shoes. Outfit 10 was Katya in an English Dandy type double faced jacket with a black and white tattersall shirt and double faced wool pants. The collection continued with some great black and white separates and dresses, and an easy white ottoman ribbed mock turtle neck with matching ribbed knit mini skirt on Este (look 17)" (NYSocialDiary)

"To London for a brief visit to meet Spectator readers, as nice a reason as I can think for getting on an airplane, except for an assignation with Rebecca Hall, my latest obsession with the fairer sex. Our new digs in Old Queen Street remind me a bit of my school days, not that the Spectator’s building is ivy-covered red brick, but more of a mystical communication with the past. Who knows what goes on in one’s brain, especially when lots of booze and no sleep are the main ingredients left in that tired old sponge? Many of us were raised with a certain image of dignity—starting with good manners—that is not easily found in the hot spots I frequent nowadays. No sooner had the party begun before I realized this was going to be old-fashioned and different. Interpersonal ease, the euphemism for today’s lack of manners, was as absent as rabbis in Saudi Arabia. How delightful it was to be approached by strangers who shyly introduced themselves and said nice things about one’s writings. In the modern world expressiveness is all, i.e., 'Let me hang it all out so I can show you my inner self.' This crock was not in attendance last Friday at Old Queen Street (nor was my old queen buddy Nicky Haslam). They say you cannot have too much Schubert, whom I listened to about a trout on my way to the party, any more than you can have too much of a perfect afternoon in the Spectator’s garden meeting readers and getting totally drunk on booze provided by the beautiful and windswept looking deputy editor, the same one who left me standing in a church along with the Cardinal who would have officiated ... A brief drink with the beautiful 18-year-old Spectator intern who blushed when I poured her a whiskey, and then it was on to LouLou’s to meet blonde female company and my friend Tim Hanbury, plus Princes Pavlos and Nikolaos of Greece. The night went on and on and then it was time to meet my little girl for lunch, but the less said about that the better. Daughters do not like to see their fathers in a certain state—it makes for lèse majesté—but I enjoyed the flight back because I finally got some sleep." (Taki)

"Rick Stengel, Time magazine’s top editor for the past seven years, is leaving for a job with the State Department. While the appointment has yet to be confirmed by the US Senate, Stengel is in line to become Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Sources confirmed the news, first reported by PoliticoCapital New York and Politico, to Media Ink. Stengel’s tenure was longer than either of his two predecessors, Jim Kelly and Walter Isaacson. Nancy Gibbs, who was moved into the role of deputy managing editor two years ago, is widely expected to move to replace him. Gibbs, who has been at the magazine since 1985 and is well regarded by insiders, would be the first woman to run Time magazine." (P6)

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first render plump and juicy. That is how foodies are brought down to earth. Last year it was Guy Fieri, the spiky-haired, garishly tattooed showman chef and host of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, who found himself served on the sacrificial altar: glazed with honey, decorated with pineapple medallions, and then devilishly sliced up by the New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, whose review of Fieri’s Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar tourist trap in Times Square was the Schadenfreude dance party of the season. 'Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?' asked Wells, like a prosecuting attorney with Maalox lips. 'And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?' The destructive impact was seismic, amplified by the excitable Internet into a cause célèbre. It was considered by many a deserving, scathing comeuppance for Fieri, who had parlayed his higher-octane Barney Rubble TV personality into a schlock canteen intended to fleece the innocent sheep already paying extortionate prices for Broadway musicals. At least Hooters has, well, hooters. Then it was Paula Deen’s turn in the barrel. It wasn’t her lo-falutin meals but her ungoverned mouth that turned her into the punch line of a national laugh track. Her gingerbread world collapsed after the leak of a deposition involving a lawsuit lodged against her and her brother, Earl (Bubba) Hiers, by a former employee alleging racial and sexual discrimination in their Savannah, Georgia, restaurants. Deen was asked by the plaintiff’s lawyer if she had ever used the n-word, to which she fatefully replied, 'Yes, of course.' That 'of course' was her undoing. So many assumptions were packed into those two little words, none of them pretty. If Deen had couched her admission in a cheese-drenched macaroni bed of regret, offering something along the lines of 'I’m not proud of this, but there were times when that inexcusable word escaped my lips,' she might have received leniency from the swift-to-condemn media chorale always eager to swoop. But the blithe matter-of-factness of 'of course,' combined with the ditsy doo-dah of old-plantation romance wafting through the rest of her remarks, indicated that there wasn’t much depth to her reflecting pool." (VanityFair)

"In case you don't know, these parties aren't like real parties. It's fabricated fun, imposed from the outside. A vision of what squares imagine cool people might do set on a spaceship. Or in Moloko. As we come out of the lift there's a bloody great long corridor flanked by gorgeous birds in black dresses, paid to be there, motionless, left hand on hip, teeth tacked to lips with scarlet glue. The intention, I suppose, is to contrive some Ian Fleming super-uterus of well fit mannequins to midwife you into the shindig, but me and my mate Matt just felt self-conscious, jigging through Robert Palmer's oestrogen passage like aspirational Morris dancers. Matt stared at their necks and I made small talk as I hot stepped towards the pre-show drinks. Now, I'm not typically immune to the allure of objectified women, but I am presently beleaguered by a nerdish, whirling dervish, and am eschewing all others. Perhaps the clarity of this elation has awakened me. A friend of mine said: 'Being in love is like discovering a concealed ballroom in a house you've long inhabited.' I also don't drink, so these affairs where most people rinse away their Britishness and twitishness with booze are for me a face-first log flume of backslaps, chitchat, eyewash and gak. After a load of photos and what-not, we descend the world's longest escalator, which are called that even as they de-escalate, and in we go to the main forum, a high ceilinged hall, full of circular cloth-draped, numbered tables, a stage at the front, the letters GQ, 12-foot high in neon at the back; this aside, though, neon forever the moniker of trash, this is a posh do, in an opera house full of folk in tuxes. Everywhere you look there's someone off the telly; Stephen Fry, Pharrell, Sir Bobby Charlton, Samuel L Jackson, Rio Ferdinand, Justin Timberlake, foreign secretary William Hague and mayor of London Boris Johnson. My table is a sanctuary of sorts; Noel and his missus Sara, John Bishop and his wife Mel, my mates Matt Morgan, Mick and Gee. Noel and I are both there to get awards and decide to use our speeches to dig each other out. This makes me feel a little grounded in the unreal glare, normal. Noel's award is for being an 'icon' and mine for being an 'oracle'. My knowledge of the classics is limited, but includes awareness that an oracle is a spiritual medium through whom prophecies from the gods were sought in ancient Greece. Thankfully, I have a sense of humour that prevents me from taking accolades of that nature on face value, or I'd've been in the tricky position of receiving the GQ award for being 'best portal to a mystical dimension', which is a lot of pressure. Me, Matt and Noel conclude it's probably best to treat the whole event as a bit of a laugh and, as if to confirm this as the correct attitude, Boris Johnson – a man perpetually in pajamas regardless of what he's wearing – bounds to the stage to accept the award for 'best politician'. Yes, we agree: this is definitely a joke." (Russell Brand)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"In the wake of President Barack Obama's change of tack from a strike on Syria, the threat of war has not dissolved. It has, however, been pushed off beyond this round of negotiations.  The president's minimalist claims are in place, but they are under serious debate. There is no chance of an attack on chemical weapons stockpiles. Therefore, the attack, if any, will be on command and control and political targets. Obama has options on the table and there will be force in place for any contingency he selects. Nothing is locked in despite public statements and rhetoric in Washington, London, Paris or Moscow. Remember that all public statements now are meant to obscure real plans and intentions. They are intended to shape the environment. Read them, but do not look at them as anything more than tactics.The issue has morphed into a U.S.-Russian confrontation. Russia's goal is to be seen as an equal of the United States. It wins if it can be seen as a protagonist of the United States. If it can appear that Washington has refrained from an attack because of Russian maneuvers, Moscow's weight increases dramatically. This is particularly the case along Russia's periphery, where doubts of American power abound and concern over Russian power abides. This is not merely appearance. After all that has been said, if the United States buys into some Russian framework, it will not be seen as a triumph of diplomacy; it will be seen as the United States lacking the will to act and being pushed away out of concern for the Russians. The Russian ploy on weapons controls was followed by the brilliant move of abandoning strike options. Obama's speech the night of Sept. 10 was addressed to the U.S. public and Obama's highly fractured base; some of his support base opposes and some -- a particular audience -- demands action. He cannot let Syria become the focus of his presidency, and he must be careful that the Russians do not lay a trap for him. He is not sure what that trap might look like, and that's what is unnerving him as it would any president. Consequently, he has bought time, using the current American distaste for military action in the Middle East. But he is aware that this week's dislike of war can turn into next week's contempt on charges of weakness. Obama is an outstanding politician and he knows he is in quicksand. The Russians have now launched a diplomatic offensive that emphasizes to both the Arabs in the Persian Gulf opposing Bashar al Assad and the Iranians supporting him that a solution is available through them. It requires only that they ask the Americans to abandon plans for action. The message is that Russia will solve the chemical weapons problem, and implicitly, collaborate with them to negotiate a settlement. Obama's speech on Sept. 10, constrained by domestic opinion, came across as unwilling to confront the Russians or al Assad. The Russians are hoping this has unnerved al Assad's opponents sufficiently to cause them to use the Russians as their interlocutors. If this fails the Russians have lost nothing. They can say they were statesmen. If it succeeds, they can actually nudge the regional balance of power. The weakness of the Russian position is that it has no real weight. The limit on American military action is purely domestic politics. If the United States chooses to hit Syria, Russia can do nothing about it and will be made to look weak, the tables thus turned on them." (STRATFOR)

"Before dawn on Friday, April 13, 2012, King Juan Carlos of Spain took a fall while on an elephant-hunting safari in Botswana and was immediately flown home to Madrid, where he underwent emergency hip-replacement surgery the next morning. Were it not for the injury, His Majesty’s African adventure would have no doubt remained a secret, as had almost everything to do with his private life since he took the throne, in 1975, upon the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the long-ruling dictator who had arranged for the restoration of the monarchy. Instead, the 75-year-old King—long accustomed to stratospheric popularity ratings and deferential treatment from the press for his role in securing Spain’s democracy—was confronted with an avalanche of scathing criticism. 'The spectacle of a monarch hunting elephants in Africa while the economic crisis in our country causes so many problems for Spaniards transmits an image of indifference and frivolity,' thundered El Mundo, Spain’s leading conservative newspaper. The country’s largest paper, El País, calculated that a luxury safari like the King’s would cost nearly $60,000 (including $15,000 for the permit and fees to kill an elephant)—twice the average annual salary in a country suffering through the worst depression in Europe after Greece’s. Nearly every Spanish newspaper, TV channel, and online news site ran the now infamous photograph of Juan Carlos standing proudly in front of a dead elephant, which he had killed on a previous undisclosed big-game shoot. Compounding the embarrassment, four days before the King’s fall, his 13-year-old grandson—the son of his older daughter—had shot himself in the foot during target practice at one of the royal family’s country houses, and police were investigating the incident because in Spain the use of firearms by those under the age of 14 is illegal. This in turn had allowed the press to bring up a family tragedy that had occurred 56 years earlier, when Juan Carlos, then 18, accidentally shot and killed his 14-year-old brother, Alfonso. It soon came out that the King’s hunting party had included Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a glamorous, 46-year-old, twice-divorced German businesswoman based in Monaco, and that she had flown with him on the plane of Mohamed Eyad Kayali, a Syrian-born Saudi deal-maker, who paid for the safari. Although Sayn-Wittgenstein denied any “improper relationship” with the King, it was reported that Queen Sofía, who had flown to Athens Friday, to spend Greek Orthodox Easter with her brother, former king Constantine, was informed of her husband’s fall upon her arrival there, and decided to stick to her plan to return to Madrid on Monday.
The first call for the King to step down in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe, came that weekend, when Tomás Gómez, Madrid’s regional Socialist Party leader, told the press, 'The moment has arrived for the head of state to decide between his obligations and public responsibilities and an abdication that would allow him to enjoy a different life.'" (VanityFair)

"Daily Show weighed in on Tuesday’s election results last night, and celebrated mayoral winner Bill de Blasio’s 'incredibly awesome family'–at one point donning an afro wig to try to be more like Mr. de Blasio’s famous son, Dante. 'Adopt me?' asked host Jon Stewart after playing a clip of the family on victory night doing their signature dance move, 'The Smackdown.' 'You know, somehow after 12 years of captain soda narc, I think New York City might be ready for a charismatic biracial family with their own signature synchronized dance moves, that appear to have been beamed here from their very own 1970s musical variety special. Who is better than this family? Nobody is better than this family!' he proclaimed. He also turned his attention to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who sneaked into his own not-so-victory party through a McDonald’s to avoid sexting buddy-turned-porn-star Sydney Leathers and departed with a raised middle finger salute to the press. 'It’s not really how it seems a mayoral campaign usually ends. It’s more how an episode of Cops ends,' Mr. Stewart joked. Later, on The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert took credit for Joe Lhota’s win, after he endorsed the candidate for his 'pro-crushing kittens' stance." (Observer)

"News reports that deem a gender gap in polling noteworthy — with women as more Democratic and men as more Republican — are falling into a trap described by a journalistic cliché: They’re reporting when a dog bites a man. That’s because it would be far more unusual — akin to a man biting a dog — for there not to be a gender gap in a federal statewide race. First, as most readers surely know, there’s been a noticeable gender gap in presidential voting for the last 30 years. Chart 1 shows how men and women have voted going back to 1972, when the national exit poll started. Remarkably, men and women voted for Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in precisely the same proportions in 1976. The real gender gap started in 1980, when men preferred Ronald Reagan to a much greater extent than did women. Since then, women have regularly voted 6-10% more Democratic than men — or if you prefer, men have voted 6-10% more Republican than women.
What may not be so well known is how persistent this gender gap is in individual state-level presidential battles and also in Senate contests. We went back and looked at hundreds of exit polls since 2004 in presidential and Senate races and found that 87.5% of statewide Senate and presidential races featured a clear gender gap, which on account of poll error we are defining as the Democratic candidate doing at least three net percentage points better with women than with men.
Of 273 state-level presidential and Senate polls we analyzed from 2004 through 2012, 239 showed the Democratic candidate doing significantly better among women than men. Another 27 had no gender gap, falling within plus-or-minus three net points. Then there were only seven where the Republican candidate actually did significantly better with women than they did with men.Those seven contests were: George W. Bush in Missouri, Montana and Texas (2004 presidential); John McCain in Nebraska (2008 presidential); Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in her 2006 reelection; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in his 2006 reelection; and Cynthia Thielen (R-HI), who otherwise was trounced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in his 2006 reelection." (Sabato)

"It was Wednesday and so it was Michael’s. It was a typical pandemonium of a room, as Wednesday often are. A real 'up' day ... Meanwhile Michael’s. The joint was jumping. At the table next to mine, Peter Brown, the international P.R. guru was lunching with New York Post’s distinguished theatre critic Michael Riedel. Next to them it was Joe Armstrong, the Mayah of Michael’s with Dave Zinczenko of Men’s Fitness and ABC  television as a news correspondent. Behind  Brown and Riedel at Table One, ATV Music’s Martin Bandler. Across the way, three of Da Boyz: Michael Kramer, Dr. Gerry Imber and Gerry della Femina; across from them, producer/casting agent Bonnie Timmerman with stage and film producer Fred Zollo; Diane Clehane (our very own Brenda Starr) with Steven Stolman of Scalamandre. Steven, who is assiduously expanding the “brand” of the textiles and fabrics house in to china, flatware, wallpapers, is now writing a book on the long and fascinating life of Scalamandre. Around the room. Nikki Haskell with Rikki Klieman and Eva Mohr;  Desiree Gruber with Marc Graboff, President of NBC Television; Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew and her author, Jennet Conant; Sam Shuman; Sharon Bush and Bettina Zilkha; Michael Mailer; Glenn Horowitz; Nan Talese; Ryan Kavanaugh with Claire Atkinson of the New York Post; Tony Hoyt and Charla Lawhon; Pauline Brown of LVMH with Hamilton South; David Adler, founder of Bizbash." (NYSocialDiary)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis. The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process 'minimization', but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state. The deal was reached in principle in March 2009, according to the undated memorandum, which lays out the ground rules for the intelligence sharing. The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies 'pertaining to the protection of US persons', repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights. But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive 'raw Sigint' – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: 'Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content.' According to the agreement, the intelligence being shared would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications. 'NSA routinely sends ISNU [the Israeli Sigint National Unit] minimized and unminimized raw collection', it says." (TheGuardian)

"To industry outsiders, Fashion Week can seem like an orgy. Models descend, Champagne flows, hip-hop stars perform 2 a.m. concerts. It ought to be what the Olympic Village is for athletes, but without the weight of the homeland on their shoulders. Or Greek Week with better booze. Isn’t this why fashion editors’ straight male friends badger them for plus-ones? But here’s a little-discussed conundrum: For all its beautiful people, acute personal grooming, open bars, and packed dance floors, Fashion Week is not known as a hookup scene. Rarely do you see anyone make out or pair off. No one’s New York Times wedding announcement says, 'They met at the Purple magazine party.' I was leaving Loewe X Junya Watanabe’s brightly lit launch party at Jeffrey Sunday night (yes, alone) as young Fashion Week mascots Harry Brant and Peter Brant Jr. bounded up the stairs in complementary high-fashion military jackets. I posed the question to them: Does anyone get laid at these things? 'The models get laid at Fashion Week,' Peter Jr. said. 'The professional ones don’t,' Harry interjected. “If they’re a good model, then they’re not. They have jobs.' 'Okay, Harry, maybe not all models are nice girls,'  Peter, the elder brother, said. “I know a handful of models who have slept with someone the day before a show, friends of mine.” As for himself, he doesn’t consider Fashion Week suitable for 'cruising.' 'Everyone’s kinda too tired and angry and bitchy and busy,' Peter said. According to insiders, the preening of Fashion Week has nothing to do with mating calls.
'There’s so much to do,' said Derek Blasberg, Harper’s Bazaar editor-at-large and one of the hosts on Sunday evening." (NYMag)

"It’s Fashion Week, in case you hadn’t heard. There were cocktail parties. Jeff and Liz Peek had their annual 'Welcome Back' (that’s not what they call it) cocktail reception at their Park Avenue penthouse. Lots of old friends, many of whom saw each other this past summer – if  they were in Nantucket where the Peeks go. Then a half mile down the avenue Mark and Nina Magowan hosted a book party for their friend Tom Scheerer and his new book by Vendome, 'Tom Scherer Decorates.' Then farther down the avenue called Lexington, Jim Hedges, Michael Bruno (creator of 'First Dibs') and Jim Druckman hosted cocktails to celebrate 'I’ll Be Your Mirror,' photographs and important works by Andy Warhol at the New York Design Center in the 1st Dibs Gallery at 200 Lex." (NYSocialDiary)

"Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele's life story reads like a fashion fairytale. She became obsessed with fashion at an early age growing up in St. Tropez and Paris, and made her first big splash in styling at French Elle before becoming a style icon in New York. Known for her opulent taste -- a crisp white shirt festooned with layer after layer of gold and pearl jewelry is her idea of a casual Friday -- de Dudzeele dressed Israeli model Michaela Bercu in a Christian Lacroix jacket adorned with a jeweled cross for the cover of Anna Wintour's first issue of Vogue, single-handedly launched a Pucci print revival and redefined the word panache. She brings together the chic of Paris with the enthusiasm of America and ties it all up in a leopard-print bow. De Dudzeele either 'loves it, loves it, loves it' or declares it démodé. The stylist recently dressed Miley Cyrus in a sports bra for the cover of V and she's become obessessed with Jeremy Scott's 'baroque sportif' tracksuits. (She's been feeling an athletic vibe.) While in L.A., we got de Dudzeele and Scott to meet up and chat about the 'du chien' of Chanel and how fashion is still all about the attitude." (Papermag)

"VENICE is one of the most beautiful cities in the world ... lots of tourists ... lots of Japanese tourists. Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York with her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenia, along with Kate Moss were at a dinner on the terrace of the Hotel Monaco on the Grand Canal given by Sir David Tang. Toni and Martin Sosnoff's lunch at the the Hotel Cipriani was with the world famous cardiologist, Dr. Sanford Friedman and his wife, Ginny Housam Friedman." (NYSocialDiary)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Of course, the Bloomberg-as-president fantasy has collapsed irretrievably, and the larger project of sustaining his worldview as a replicable credo has failed to track. This failure was inevitable, an odd flight of fancy for a figure so famously and proudly grounded in reality. Bloomberg was a rousing success; Bloomberg­ism, a debacle. Bloomberg’s image of himself as a potentially unifying national figure rested all along on a series of deep misconceptions. Bloomberg imagined that his brand of good governance would transcend ideological divisions. He attracted talented civil servants, applied rigorous metrics to every facet of their performance, and made government work. In an overwhelmingly Democratic city, making government run well is indeed a recipe for broad approval. In national politics, though, the wisdom of making government run well is a bitterly contested idea. The vision of a government managed by disinterested experts who follow the dictates of empiricism dates back a century to the Progressives—good-­government types who are found today on Glenn Beck’s blackboard, connected by conspiratorial arrows to various Obama-administration figures. The most Bloombergian initiative Obama has undertaken, comparative-effectiveness research, empowered the health-care industry to analyze the practical value of different medical interventions. You may know that initiative by its colloquial name: 'death panels.' Unsurprisingly, Bloomberg has emerged as a national hate figure among conservatives perhaps second only to Obama. Mississippi passed an anti-Bloomberg law prohibiting any mayor from restricting soda-cup sizes; called him 'Pol Pot on the Hudson.' Bloomberg’s faith that bureaucratic competence would allow him to escape partisan division was merely naïve, but his apparent belief that his views on national politics situated him in the center is downright bizarre. He is a conventional social liberal. To the degree that he has separated himself from the Democratic Party, he’s done it mainly by articulating more outspoken versions of the standard liberal view on climate change, gun control, immigration reform, and gay marriage. Yes, Bloomberg assailed Obama for lacking a plan to reduce the budget deficit, which sounds conservative, except that Bloomberg’s own proposal included ending all the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the rich. (The last prominent politician to advocate that? Howard Dean.) Bloomberg did position himself clearly to Obama’s right in one way, and it was very telling: He robustly defended the rich in general, and Wall Street in particular, from the widespread public revulsion it has faced since the economic crisis. Far from clashing with the general liberal cast of Bloomberg’s ideological profile, this one piece completes it. Bloomberg is the candidate of the Democratic Party’s donor class. He stands for the things the $50,000-a-plate social liberals wish Democratic politicians would say if they weren’t so afraid of how it would play in Toledo. Bloombergism at a national level is merely Democratic Party liberalism stripped of any concern for public opinion. Some of Bloomberg’s most ardent admirers failed to understand this. The unofficial members of the Draft Bloomberg committee, represented well on the op-ed pages, often presented him as the vox populi of the disaffected center. (Washington Post columnist David Broder urged Bloomberg to run in 2008 because 'there is a palpable hunger among the public for someone who will attack the problems facing the country—the war in Iraq, immigration, energy, health care—and not worry about the politics.') Elitists often think of themselves as populists, but Bloomberg has always been undeluded about this. He is that rare species: not merely a functional elitist but a philosophically committed one." (NYMag)

"When Hamish Bowles was a toddler walking down the street with his mother near their home in the leafy north London neighborhood of Hampstead Garden Suburb, an elegant Indian woman came toward them dressed in an elaborate sari. 'Hamish rushed up to her and plucked at it,' his mother, Anne Bowles, recalled recently. '‘Mummy, mummy, look, it has gold threads,’ ' she remembers her small son saying. 'It was a wake-up call, definitely, that Hamish was interested in fashion,' Mrs. Bowles said.   Threads of all colors were not a passing fancy for Mr. Bowles, the dapper international editor at large for Vogue who has been tapped to fill the shoes (if not the billowing caftans) of André Leon Talley, the longtime columnist who left the magazine last February to edit Numero Russia.       
'We wanted to fill that void with another compelling voice that could bring you into the world of fashion, travel and all the extraordinary places Hamish goes and all the people he sees,' said Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor.  For the daylong celebration that Ms. Wintour arranged last June for Mr. Bowles’s 50th birthday, Ralph Lauren made a three-piece suit in sherbet pink, to which the guest of honor added an antique fob chain and a diamond and emerald Art Deco pin. 'Long live the lilac queen,' the writer Christopher Mason toasted Mr. Bowles (known for his love of that color) in song, who can 'find in piles of schlock, some Balenciaga frock.' That is an understatement. If Mr. Talley was Vogue’s resident peacock, swooping about in capes and issuing edicts, Mr. Bowles is more its professor, with one of the largest private collections of vintage clothing in the world, which he stores in the Bronx and Queens. At the invitation of Oscar de la Renta, he curated the 'Balenciaga in Spain' exhibition that showed in New York and San Francisco two years ago. He also curated 'Jacqueline Kennedy and the White House Years' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001. His new Vogue column began with a visit to Chatsworth, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. But Mr. Bowles has also displayed a comical side, reveling in unlikely immersive journalism like a stint at the Boulder Survival School, surfing with Blake Lively and, at the suggestion of Ms. Wintour, auditioning for “The X Factor.” (He has been known to sing Broadway show songs by heart at Marie’s Crisis in Greenwich Village.) " (NYTimes)

"The new guard of tech entrepreneurs moving into San Francisco’s ultra-exclusive neighborhood of Pacific Heights, historically a Waspy and conservative enclave of old-money families, is creating friction, writes contributing editor Evgenia Peretz in the October issue. Peretz speaks with both new and old residents, exploring the culture clash. 'They bore the hell out of me,' San Francisco society doyenne Denise Hale tells Peretz of the Silicon Valley transplants. 'They’re one-dimensional and can only talk about one thing. I’m used to brilliant men in my life who leave their work, and they have many other interests. New people eventually will learn how to live. When they learn how to live, I would love to meet them.' An exception, Hale says, is Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa Mayer: 'Marissa is something which I like. Marissa has a handsome husband, in love, beautifully dressed, a lady. I don’t go for this slob culture—leave me alone.' Peretz writes that the two families who ruled the roost in Pacific Heights for the past 30 years—the Gettys and the Trainas—are still very much kicking today. But, according to Peretz, the tech elite is buying there en masse, including: Mark Pincus, founder and chairman of gaming platform Zynga, and his wife, Alison, co-founder of online-shopping destination One Kings Lane; Sir Jonathan 'Jony' Ive, head designer at Apple; Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and C.E.O. of Yelp; Bebo’s Michael and Xochi Birch; Facebook designer Aaron Sittig; Nextdoor founder Nirav Tolia; and Yammer C.E.O. David Sacks. The younger generation of Gettys and Trainas appears to be welcoming its new neighbors with open arms. According to Tolia, Trevor Traina, San Francisco’s undisputed social king, 'basically handpicked the neighborhood” for them. “My aspiration for my good friends is that they all love their homes,' Traina tells Peretz, 'and selfishly it’s wonderful to have so much incredible magical brainpower nearby.'" (VanityFair)

"Last night, a scrum of fashion editors, models, club kids and celebrities made their way past tourists and families eating dinner at the South Street Seaport to the shopping mall at Pier 17 for Alexander Wang's much-anticipated annual fashion week party. Once inside, guests took escalators through the empty mall -- past a closed Christmas store and deserted kiosks -- up to the food court, which had been transformed by the SHADE team (led by Ladyfag and Seva Granik) into a Tokyo-inspired shopping plaza. Light installations flashing Japanese characters, girls dressed in Harajuku get-ups, vendors giving away Pocky and Hello Kitty backpacks were a few of the night's novelties, enjoyed by folks like Solange Knowles, Dev Hynes, Jourdan Dunn, Derek Blasberg, A$AP Rocky and the A$AP Mob and Rihanna (who stayed backstage in a VIP area the entire party). DJs like PAPER Beautiful Person Mess Kid, Jus Ske and Fatherhood (Michael Magnan and Physical Therapy) played a mix of hip-hop, house and electro but the night's musical highlight came courtesy of a surprise performance by Nicki Minaj. Singing hits like 'Super Bass,' 'Dance (A$$)' and 'Starships,' Minaj was joined onstage at one point by Alexander Wang himself, who did a little booty dance with her." (Papermag)

"Who are the Millennials? Narcissists, that’s who. Entitled types who actually expect to be paid for the work they do. A generation foolish enough to have graduated into a recession—“liking” rather than loving, stealing Wi-Fi, twerking molly (or whatever it is you do with molly). Takers of selfies!
This unfortunate demographic, which has become an easy target for anti-technology pundits, a peg for prurient essays on hookup culture, and a marvellous resource for op-ed columnists in a rush, is now in possession of its very own cable channel: Pivot, which débuted, very quietly, last month. Launched by the producer Evan Shapiro, whose résumé includes executive roles at Sundance and IFC, two of the more innovative small cable networks, the network has a sly slogan: 'It’s Your Turn.' And so far, at least, you’d never recognize that mythical Millennial in Pivot’s schedule, which has an appealingly humble aura—it’s diverse, it’s global, it’s progressive, with a touch of early MTV (right down to its première broadcast, a montage of bands covering 'Video Killed the Radio Star'). As long as you avert your eyes from the talk show hosted by Meghan McCain, Pivot suggests legitimate creative possibilities. The highlight is the sweetly melancholic half-hour comedy 'Please Like Me,' a small charmer that is a bit like 'Louie' or 'Girls'—that is, if Louis CK were Australian or Lena Dunham gay. In addition, Pivot has 'Jersey Strong,' a gritty reality series set in Newark, and plans to launch a crowd-sourced variety show called 'hitRECord on TV,' hosted by the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (On the Web site, Gordon-Levitt has been posting daily videos in which he solicits material from viewers, including audio tracks and designs for animated characters.) Next year, there will be a scripted drama called 'WILL.' It’s the story of Shakespeare as a Millennial, which is either the best idea on earth or the worst; either way, the concept has a brassy, shoot-the-moon quality and, presumably, a refreshing lack of criminal anti-heroes." (Emily Nussbaum via TheAwl)

"RFK Jr. also kept notes for his journal during his month-long stint in a Puerto Rican prison that July. He, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson’s wife, Jacqueline, were charged with trespassing during protests on Vieques, the Puerto Rican island the US Navy used as a bombing range. The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton 'give me the creeps,' Kennedy writes in a July 5 entry. 'Al Sharpton has done more damage to the black cause than [segregationist Alabama Gov.] George Wallace. He has suffocated the decent black leaders in New York,' he says. 'His transparent venal blackmail and extortion schemes taint all black leadership.' Rev. Al Sharpton gave Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 'the creeps,' he wrote in his diary. He goes on to call Sharpton a 'buffoon' who has never escaped the 'stench' of his advocacy for Tawana Brawley, the black Dutchess County teen who fabricated a story about six white men raping her in 1987." (PageSix)

"Friday I got this catalogue in the mail from Doyle Galleries and their upcoming auction of the Leo Lerman & Gray Foy Collection on September 24th. I like this picture because it gives you the opportunity to see every item clearly. In real life, the room is large and tall and dark Victorian despite the ample (tall) windows. It has a drama, a stage drama, if you will, about it. The entire apartment does. It is not reclusive or dark and foreboding in its feel, as you might expect of a Victorian interior. It is quite cheerful, and possibly because of this 'Collection.' The thousands and thousands of people who came through its doors to attend the hundreds of parties these two men gave down through the decades, must have felt they were in the thick of that great theatrical drama that the rooms refer to.  It began with Leo. He was born in New York, in Queens into a family of ethnic Eastern European immigrants in 1925. All the world outside their door was new to them, and all remained new to the boy who grew up with them. Leo came of age when the city was possibly at its metropolitan zenith. It was a city of skyscrapers, factories, working class neighborhoods, wealthy neighborhoods, a powerful theatrical (and movie) culture. There were eight or ten dailies. Radio had entered and connected the country 'Coast to Coast.' The city’s nightlife was bursting. People went out all the time. They went out to bars, to restaurants, to nightclubs all the time. People saw each other socially all the time – those who had the time and money, because New York was always a city of working people. When Leo was 26, in 1941, he was offered a job writing for Vogue and other Conde Nast titles. This was when the man himself, Conde Nast was running things. Leo’s previous background was theatre. He had aspired to be an actor. For whatever reason – probably at least having to do with 'earning a living,' the move into the magazine world was the golden road for him. " (NYSocialDiary)