Monday, June 01, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





"Somewhere in Scotland, and I was eight years old, I remember there were children running about, and we were near a lake. The late Princess Margaret, sister to the Queen of England, was one of the guests. Perhaps it was Easter. My cousins were there along with one of my three sisters. None of us sisters have much in common, they're ladylike while I was always a tomboy. My favorite cousin Dimitri and I are a few years apart in age but when we were together we were ...always looking to stir up fun. Some of us kids got into a small boat and rowed to the center of the lake. When we were far from land Dimitri and I started to rock the rowboat as violently as we could so that water splashed in over the sides. Soon my sister was screaming, 'I am too young to die'. This made us laugh and we rocked the boat all the harder. We forced her to beg for her life. When we tired with our game we rowed back to shore and released her. Because we were wet and my sister was crying grownups came over and told us we needed to change into dry clothes. For some reason Princess Margaret offered Dimitri her knee length brown leather coat. This was the late 60s, it was probably the height of chic. I remember her saying to him to please not ruin the coat." (Christina Oxenberg)


What’s Real and What’s Imagined



"An operation on my hand after a karate injury has me reading more than usual, and even attempting Don DeLillo’s Underworld, but I soon give it up. Truman Capote famously said that On The Road was typing, not writing, but old Jack Kerouac was Jane Austen compared to some of the novelists of today. Making it sound easy is the hardest thing in writing, and I grant you that today’s modernists sure make it look easier than easy. But they’re also sloppy, self-indulgent and at times incomprehensible. What I don’t get is how one can enjoy a novel when the plot is not clear. When the reader doesn’t know what’s real and what’s imagined it’s time to regress and look up Papa and Scott and Graham and Jane. (Austen’s preoccupation with real estate, income, and class still resonates in today’s world. The sainted editor of the Spectator had to write a letter so I could get into a building in (NYC), and by evoking all three of Jane’s preoccupations, I got in.) Avoiding dullness is what great writers do, and amusing sinners are always better than pious dullards. Brio is what keeps a novel going, at least for little old me, and long windedness has me reaching for the remote and a soap opera. Speaking of writers, Saul Bellow has been in the news lately because of a massive biography by Zachary Leader, brilliantly reviewed in the Spectator and by every newspaper and magazine over in these shores. I am not a Bellow fan, too much information, as they say nowadays. The astute Norman Mailer described Bellow as 'a hostess to intellectual canapés.' I know exactly what he meant by it. It was an accurate assessment of Saul, as well as a kick in the balls. Bellow was a very Jewish writer, but unlike Philip Roth, of whom I’m a fan, he is more of a revenge novelist, he’s out to settle scores. His close buddy was Jack Ludwig, a fellow professor at Bard, a hothouse of radicalism, and obviously a gentleman of the old school! Ludwig was once asked if he knew Bellow, and he answered, “Know him, I’m fucking his wife!” He was doing just that, and Saul gave it to him in his fiction. Mind you, Hemingway did the same to some of the characters he knew in Paris during the Twenties, Loeb was Cohn and Lady Duff was Lady Brett and so on, but Papa’s characters were more of an inspiration than copies of the real thing. Fitzgerald was famously obsessed with the mysteries of great wealth, but back then wealth was something new among Americans. Poor old Scott wrote more about the ruinous effects of wealth, which is a very large theme even today." (Taki)


Oscar de la Renta snubbed adopted son in will


"The son of late fashion designer Oscar de la Renta is paying dearly for having fallen out with his father. Moises de la Renta, adopted by Oscar from an orphanage in their native Dominican Republic, was left a relatively threadbare portion of his dad’s $26 million estate — and was warned that if he ever tried to contest the will, he would be cut out completely, court documents show. Moises, 30, had angered his dad by launching his own women’s fashion line in 2005. His father, who outfitted such luminaries as Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Amal Clooney, apparently never forgave him. Oscar, who died in October at age 82, left most of his estate to his wife of 25 years, Annette, in his six-page will, signed several weeks before his death. Her haul includes all of Oscar’s belongings, plus his real estate holdings, including a $13 million Park Avenue apartment, $2.8 million Connecticut home and a Dominican estate." (P6)






"The talk, if you want to call it that, was about a book. 'Primates of Park Avenue; a memoir' (Simon & Schuster) by Wednesday Martin. The talk I was hearing was because of all the publicity Martin is getting for this new book. And who’s her publicist? Sandi Mendelson of Hilsinger Mendelson. Yes, she delivers. Of course it also depends on the deliverability of the product. I first heard about it a little more than a month ago when I entered Michael’s restaurant for lunch at the same time that Wednesday Martin did. I didn’t know her (and I don’t know her) although I’d seen her at Michael’s a number of times and we had had the occasion to meet in table-passing. I knew (I think she told me) that she was a writer. I concluded when we were introduced several months or more ago that she was an “ambitious writer” or at least an 'ambitious' professional women. Michael’s is a magnet for that, and rightfully so. And she is a frequent guest on Wednesday’s – the day to be seen by media.  So that was my Wednesday Martin story until last week when Sandi Mendelson told me the book was coming out, and sent me a copy. We set up a date for me to lunch with Wednesday on this Wednesday the day after tomorrow, at Michael’s. I already knew from our brief conversations that she was easy to talk to and quite open about herself. And forthright (versus forth-wrong). " (NYSD)




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