Friday, August 29, 2008

Jason Calacanis: Spending Money On A PR Firm Is A Waste

(image via newmediamusings)

Just got a Twitter from our old boss, the always interesting Jason Calacanis, who is chiming in on the PR is Dead meme. Apparently PR giant Richard Edelman of Edelman Public Relations, who controversially used ethically-challenged bloggers in the fake blog -- "flog" -- scandal has been caught moderating comments on his own blog. Jason writes, in part, via Flickr:

".. I know you've PR 2.0-ed Edelman and you've got a blog (yes!) and some of your folks are using Twitter (wow!), but the fact is the days of PR are numbered. Folks are realizing that spending $15-20k a month on a PR firm is a total waste of money. Better to hire a $40k blogger for your company, and spend the rest on going to a couple of events and being a real human -- as opposed to some PR creation.

"The best PR is no PR.

"Be yourself, be authentic and do great things. If you do that you don't need a PR firm.

"If you're lame and inauthentic? Well, then hire Edelman to make you a fake blog like they did for Walmart."

The full, brutal letter here.
Official McCain/Palin Campaign Photo

Mo Rocca: Being Oprah's BFF Has Got To Be Hard For Gayle

(image via imnotobsessed)

Mo Rocca, who, in a just world, would be given a late-night talk program on network TV, was on NPR this morning with The Brian Lehrer Show. He spoke on the subject of Oprah and last night's convention. He said:

"Being Oprah's best friend has got to be the highest pressure job in the world, because if your phone rings you can't put it on buzzer, you've got to pick it up because it's Oprah. I'd like to be Gayle's Best Friend."

Rocca also said, "McCain/Palin ... isn't such a bad pick because McCain is kind of pale." Should McCain, in all his multivitamin-lacking paleness, be put asunder post-Labor Day?
Sarah Palin Helps The Alaska Republican Party

You've got to give Senator McCain credit, the old strategist and graduate of the Naval Academy. He is playing for keeps. Governor Palin was, from the point of view of the cold-eyed political observer, a masterful choice. It was unexpected, throwing conventional wisdom -- Romney, Lieberman -- on its ear, forcing us to all take notice. It also takes some of the oxygen out of the sails of the USS Obama/Biden, which had one of the most politically amazing conventions in history (Act 1: Will the Clintons Board; Act II: Unity; Act III: Onwards, Excelsior!). This weekends talking head shows will probably devote as much time to McCain/Palin as Obama/Biden, AND -- McCain now has momentum going into his convention.

Palin is also a woman executive -- Carly Fiorina with Republican credentials. This puts holdout Hillary Democrats in play, forcing Obama to fight for a traditional political constituency. It goes without saying that Palin's reception in the big manufacturing states -- places where Hillary won, like Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia -- will be closely watched.

Also -- this is a present to the embattled Alaska Republican Party. Earlier this week Democrats -- who are barely competitive statewide in Alaska -- were licking their chops at the prospect of running a popular Anchorage mayor against the corrupt incumbent, Ted Stevens. Obama's historic fundraising totals -- the first quarter-billion dollar candidate -- and the inclusion of third party spoiler Bob Barr has placed Obama statistically within the margin of error in recent polls in Alaska. That, dear readers, was an incredible sentence to write (Democrats winning Alaska?!). Plus: Obama has been running campaign commercials -- unusual for a Democrat -- throughout the state, thanks to his massive campaign stash. Those commercials will now come to naught in-state as Palin has approval ratings percentagewise in the mid-80s.

Finally, Palin secures McCain's base. McCain, since before McCain-Feingold, has had a problem with his base and this solves the problem. It is, to a degree, a triumph of Rush Limbaugh, who has been pushing for Palin for a while. Actually, right wing radio is enjoying a triumph as she has been pushed by radio talkers for some time.
CNN Reporting Sarah Palin Is McCain's Running Mate

Considering Senator McCain's advanced age, ss Governor Palin going to be ready to take that 3 AM call? What do you think?

UPDATE: TVNewser is reporting Fox was first on calling it.
Media-Whore D'Oevres

"With less than two and a half hours until his official announcement, TV journalists are scrambling to confirm that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is his pick for Vice President. Fox News and NBC News are confirming that Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney are out of the running, with Palin's name surfacing onto the news networks just this morning .. by 7:57am, on Morning Joe, NBC's Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker said, 'Our David Gregory is just reporting that his sources within the McCain campaign are telling him 'no' about a Palin pick. Still, Palin's name played prominently for the next hour." (TVNewser)

"John McCain is 23 years older than the state of Alaska." (SBones Twitter via Matthew Yglesias)

"On the whole, Barack Obama's broad, aggressive and studiedly unglamorous acceptance speech was a fitting end to a convention that he entered with three major tactical goals: (1) to calm the most restive of Hillary Clinton’s supporters and to make a convincing statement to the press that the wounds of the primary season are on their way to healing; (2) to alter the public’s deeply held and instinctive view of John McCain as a principled warrior-patriot who stands above politics; and (3) to defend himself against the G.O.P.’s charge that he lacks substance and seasoning – and to inoculate himself against the escalation of these attacks at next week’s Republican convention." (Steve Kornacki/Observer)

"When you first enter Marquee (where Steven Lewis moved his old Spa Wednesdays party a few years back), the place is packed with young professionals in suits and white shirts. But don’t let that scare you away! The secret is in the back room on the main floor, which on every Wednesday transforms into a fun downtown-esque party. Actor Michael Cavadias (aka Lily of the Valley) DJs this weekly Room 3 party alongside Miss Guy, James Coppola and the Six Six Sick ladies. The night I went, Lady Miss Kier from ‘90s pop band Dee-Lite DJ-ed an amazing set and had the eclectic crowd moving and shaking." (Papermag)

"Ellen Graham met Darra Torres, the tri-silver medalist of this year’s Olympics, several years ago when they were seated next to each other at a CityMeals On Wheels luncheon at the Rainbow Room here in New York. She was amazed to learn that this beautiful woman – whom she thought was a model – was a champion Olympic swimmer. She made arrangements to photograph her. Ms. Torres came for her session with her mother whom Ellen said was also very beautiful and as a matter of fact had been a model." (NySocialDiary)

"While Madonna's away, it appears that Guy Ritchie is keen to make the most of his free time. But does his famous pop star wife know that he's taking the children with him, as he relaxes down the pub? Guy was seen leaving the Punchbowl pub in London's Mayfair with sons Rocco, and David, who was carried by a nanny as they left at around 10pm." (Thisislondon)
Cindy McCain's Half Sister Is Voting For Obama

(image via Ted Robbins/NPR)

Last night the Dems hit McCain hard, contrasting almost violently with the senior Senator from Arizona's almost stately pre-taped congratulatory message, and tying him with adamantine ropes to the Bush/Cheney millstone. Democrats have been waiting 8 years -- no thanks to the soft-gloved debate performances of Kerry and Gore -- for someone to really lay the smack down on the Republican Party. Eight years of pent-up political frustration is, to paraphrase Freud, not a good thing. This is hardball people, for the future of the country and, by default, the future of the planet. And so, from Us Magazine, by way of catharsis:

"Cindy McCain's half sister is planning on voting for Barack Obama, she tells

"'I'm not voting for McCain,' Kathleen Hensley Portalski tells Us. 'I have a different political standpoint.

"'I'm voting for Obama,' the Phoenix resident says. 'I think his proposals to improve the country are more positive and I'm not a big war believer.'

"Portalski, 65, and the potential first lady, 54, have the same father: Jim Hensley, the founder of the beer distributor Hensley and Co. that Cindy McCain now chairs."

More here.
Jen Aniston Headed To 30 Rock?

(image via adrants)

We are all Team Aniston now. Actually, we rather like Jen Aniston at present. An embarrassing media episode with a robust douchebag like John Mayer brings together -- no pun intended -- strange bedfellows. Aniston is finally focusing more on her career than high-profile romance. And it is bringing her together with two high-quality prestige projects: 1) An unnamed Woody Allen joint, and 2) quite possibly -- mirabile dictu! -- 30 Rock, the funniest show on television hands down. From OK!:

"It's been more than four years since Jennifer Aniston and the cast of Friends said goodbye to adoring TV audiences around the world. But OK! has learned that Jen is in talks with NBC to make a brief return to the network that made her famous.

"'She's in talks to have a guest spot on one of their high-profile shows,' says the insider. "The top choice is 30 Rock, but if that doesn't work out, they'll try to find another show for her to make an appearance on."

"A rep for NBC told OK! they were unable to confirm the story at this time."

30 Rock and a Woody Allen film? Who is her agent and does she/he represent bloggers?

We cannot wait to see a possible Aniston scene with the Tina "I'm-Not-The-Governor-Of-Alaska" Fey.
Will McCain Pick Sarah Palin?

(image via hoover)

The Vice Presidential pick is the single most important decision a candidate can make. Will Senator John Sidney McCain of Arizona prove himself a maverick today, or will he be, as so many of the speakers on the last day of the Denver convention pointed out, a yes man (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)? If he picks Governor Sarah Palin he will be a maverick, if he picks Mitt Romney or the off-brand independent of Connecticut Joe Lieberman, he will stink of politics as usual in an unusually volatile change election.

Logic dictates that McCain pick Romney. Romney brings the conservative base; Romney holds an electoral victory in important Michigan; Romney has juice in the crucial Rocky Mountain West (especially in pivotal Colorado and Nevada with energized and significant Mormon voting blocks). Barack Obama's political touchdown at Invesco Field notwithstanding, Romney breathes political oxygen in McCain's fatiugued campaign.

And then there is Lieberman. A Lieberman pick would weaken McCain's hold on his base, but strengthen his overall appeal to the vital center, the sweet spot in any general election for the American Presidency.

Palin, however, would be a shrewd move. Offbeat. A nod to the next generation and a present to the embattled Alaska Republicans Party which, in this strange election season, are actually quite vulnerable for the first time in decades. Palin could also exert a pull on Hillary Democrats who still feel their candidate was wronged. How many die-hard Hillary Dems are there? Clearly some were Limbaugh operatives in open primaries (Texas and Ohio especially; possibly Indiana) participating, gleefully, in Operation: CHAOS. But if a significant percentage of the soi-dissant Hillary democrats are not, those votes might be in play because of Palin.

And Biden might be somewhat handcuffed in the Veep debates. Biden was picked to be the pit-bull, to say the things that temperamentally Senator Obama is uncomfortable saying of McCain. With Romney or Lieberman, Biden, the sitting head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could really cut loose -- a specialty for "Joey From Scranton." Not so with Palin. Biden would have to play nice, holding to standards of civility in order to not fracture the still fragile coalition of Obama and Hillary Democrats recently forged at the conventions.

Will McCain pick Palin? Did the Biden pick automatically trigger that Palin pick if indeed the rumors are true? Would McCain presumably have picked Palin if Obama had picked Hillary? Does this excite more questions of: Why didn't Obama pick Hillary?

Finally -- is McCain a shrewd maverick or a yes man?

We will find out at noon in Dayton, Ohio.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jeremy Piven, With Just A Twist Of Douche

(image via hbo)

When yesterday we read this, Kiefer Sutherland came to mind. The Crazy days and Nights Blind Item said, "In the past few days this B- list television actor with the horrible reputation and famous name, spent three hours at the apartment of an extra from his television show. How does anyone know? Well she has two roommates who were home at the time that the moaning and groaning was going on. Apparently the people in this town are even crazier than I ever imagined."

The Keef is a mildly damaged man who could only be properly construed as "B-plus List" on that great Hollywood Food Chain. He seemed to fit the profile perfectly and, considering the melancholy which clings to him like a five-O'Clock shadow, it seemed okay, if a bit ,mutually torturous (3 hours?).

Then we ran through the Gawker gauntlet, and Jeremy Piven emerged as a stronger candidate. And then we thought -- Goddamn that Piven. The fucking audacity! Can't he tone that shit down a bit? The obnoxiousness! He is, we cannot fail to note, more than marginally talented at improv, going so far as to rhetorically flattened Steven Dorff at Bungalow 8. But he appears to have drunk the Kool-Aid on how great he is as Ari Gold, and is taking things way to far for our taste, having 3-hours fucks across the screen of Crazy Days and Nights, ruining our quiet breakfast read. Is it just us or is Piven rapidly advancing among the thoroughly "Assy" of this world? Or is it "Ass-ish"?

Anyhoo: Have a care, Piven (The Corsair sips a full-bodied Madeira), you are officially on our shit list. And you don't want to be on our shitlist ..
A List Where JK Rowling's In Last Place

We love us some Luxist, where the finer things in life get a fair hearing. We especially love Luxist writers Jared Paul Stern and the always wonderful Deidre Woollard. Today the blog comments on the Forbes list of the Richest Women in Europe. No doubt soon that list will be filled with Russian heiresses whose husbands died under mysterious circumstances (Kidding! Kinda).

But what we really want to know is: Are these women "Cougars" -- rowr. And, if they are, are they looking to be sugarmommies, 'cause This Corsair can play the irascible cub who got himself a bad habit for the finer things -- the chalets, the foie gras, the pampering and the goddam Chateauneuf du Pape -- it's like our eightball, luxury. And while we are not quite willing to go so far as to play the man-whore role to the hilt (no pun intended), we are somewhat as the charming, boozy rogue who wears his bathrobe all day -- easy access? -- and that takes AMEX Black with Nabokovian laughter in his obsidian eyes. Stern writes:

"Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of the man who founded cosmetics giant L'Oréal, tops Forbes' just-released list of the richest women in Europe with a fortune of $22.9 billion. That astounding figure also makes her the world's richest woman, the magazine notes. Bettencourt, whose father's reputation has occasionally come under fire, uses her money to fund a charitable foundation which supports medical research, cultural projects and humanitarian relief.

"At the No. 2 spot on the Euro list is Swedish citizen Birgit Rausing, a packaging heiress with an estimated fortune of $14 billion, while No. 3 is BMW and pharmaceuticals heiress Susanne Klatten, with $13.2 billion. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling meanwhile is in last place at No. 22, barely making the list with a measly $1 billion."

Since the Guggenheim Foundation is not presently offering a genius grant for bloggers, we are quite willing to make due. Susanne Klatten, BTW -- Totally Blast-Worthy, in a sugarmoomyish "Buy-me-some-Zegna-afterwards" kind of way, no? Just saying. More here.

More here.
Corsair Classic

Corsair Classic

(image via wonkette)
Nina Garcia: "(At The Hearst Building) They Hand-Make The Sushi Every Day There For You!"

(image via coxnewsweb)

At Saks Fifth Avenue on Wednesday before her book signing Nina Garcia, former Elle fashion director and Project Runway judge, talked with Fashionweekdaily's Emily Gyben about her present, ehr, transitional period:

"Garcia's experiencing another dramatic transition in her life right now: after spending the summer filming Project Runway ('It's going to be great, prepare!,' she said) and taking vacations in Europe and her native Colombia, she's starting her new job as fashion director of Marie Claire on Tuesday.

"'Marie Claire is a magazine that's rich in information and it's very passionate about women's issues. It always keeps fashion very beautiful and practical,' she said of the new gig. 'I just want to expand on the fashion.' One more perk of working in the gorgeous Hearst building? 'Sushi! They hand-make the sushi every day there for you! It's very nice.'"

Why did Garcia leave Elle anyway? Did we ever get a definitive answer on that one?
Is MGM For Sale?

Is the legendary -- and oft-owned -- MGM for sale (They deny it)? And if so for how much? Nikki Finke writes in DeadlineHollywoodDaily, "So my sources, BusinessWeek's sources, and now's sources all report that MGM is for sale despite the studio's denials." Earlier in the week Businessweek noted:

"The studio, currently owned by a consortium that includes private equity funds and cable giant Comcast, has asked Goldman Sachs to sound out potential suitors, according to two sources with knowledge of the process. The asking price—said to be $5.2 billion—is considered hefty for a company that has had few hits and recently jettisoned one of its two top filmmaking executives."
Bill Clinton Still Not Speaking To Bill Richardson

(image via MSNBC via The Santa Fe New Mexican, Rebecca Craig)

CBS' Bob Schieffer, talking about the historic nature of this Democrat National Convention to African-Americans on the Imus in the Morning Show, relayed an interesting tidbit about Bill Richardson and Bill Clinton. You will recall that Bill Clinton -- via surrogate James Carville -- let his feelings be known about Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama as well as his releasing his Iowa delegates to Obama, helping fuel his upset victory in the Hawkeye State over Clinton and John Edwards. The Clintonites viewed it as a betrayal of Biblical lengths, as Bill himself had been lobbying hard to get the New Mexico Governor's imprimatur.

Richardson's speech was cut from last night's Convention broadcast. Schieffer, who saw him last night said the Governor told him that he and Senator Clinton are "fine." Richardson recently hosted a fundraiser for Hillary to retire her campaign debt. But Bill Clinton, Richardson says, still won't speak to him.
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via baltimoresun)

"Michael Phelps' victory lap on NBC continues, with the swimmer booked to make his acting debut on the 34th season premiere of 'Saturday Night Live.' Phelps will host the sketch comedy series when it premieres Sept. 13, along with musical guest Lil Wayne (Phelps listened to the New Orleans rapper's 'I’m Me' on his iPod to get amped for races, you'll recall)." (TheLiveFeed)

"WAS Eliot Spitzer's downfall orchestrated by organized crime? 'I think it's the Gambinos,' private eye Bo Dietl tells Charles Gasparino in a new epilogue in the paperback of the CNBC journo's best seller, 'King of the Club.' Writes Gasparino: 'Spitzer's hooker girlfriend, Ashley Dupre, apparently had some friendship with someone alleged to be one of the family's associates.'" (PageSix)

"Meanwhile, possible love-child maker John Edwards's indiscretions have lent the Enquirer much credibility for breaking the story, but I was astounded to read that as the rag gains honor, its popularity keeps plummeting. I guess the readers feel: 'This shit is true? I'm not reading this garbage anymore!'" (Musto)

"Today went by fast and furious. In reverse chronological order, it ended with IMPACT FILM FESTIVAL throwing the rocking-est party of the Convention so far, packed and hopping, with Nelly performing .. other celebs at the party: Charlize Theron, Cyndi Lauper, Fran Drescher and that Korean Guy from Lost." (VegasPopular)

"I arrived in Denver on a plane with Cindy Lauper. Someone told me she was on the plane and asked where she was. I said I haven’t seen her since 1984, so how would I know what she looks like now? This afternoon I am planning on uploading some video highlights from the past two days, so check back here early tomorrow. Among the video interviews I plan to post are CNN’s Roland Martin weirdly explaining how his wife helped gay men come to Jesus by convincing them to abstain from sex, Bob Schieffer’s remarks about sexism in the media and Katie Couric’s non-responses to me, Joe Trippi on the John Edwards affair, and John Legend talking politics in his dressing room after performing at Harold Ford’s party last night." (MaxBlumenthal)

"Actor Chevy Chase poses for a photographer as he listens to Former President Bill Clinton speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Wednesday .." (FreedomEden)

"Sometime around 3am ET, the cable and broadcast networks will be making the move to Invesco Field, to set up for Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech. The move was described to us as a 'disaster,' by an insider today, but it has to be done. ABC News political director David Chalian said it will be like, 'covering two different Democratic Conventions.' NBC anchor Brian Williams tells TVNewser, although it will be a, 'logistical challenge,' it has been done before. 'Everyone has got to remember Kennedy did it in Los Angeles,' he said. 'But this will be something.'" (TVNewser)

"As part of the relaunch, FX will offer full episode streaming and later this fall, a redesigned community area. Previously, FX shows were streamed only on Hulu and Fancast and available for download at the iTunes store. There will be an eight-day window from when an episode airs to when it appears on, Hulu and iTunes." (Paidcontent via BroadcastingandCable)

"With Fashion Week (Fashion Month might be a better name) coming up, I was reminded of an article in the current Santa Barbara magazine about my friend Luis Estevez who held forth in the New York fashion world from the early 1950s through the late 1960s when he abandoned the Big Apple for the tempting life in the glamorous hills of Hollywood and Beverly. I had known Luis when he was a New Yorker, and so I contacted him when I moved to Los Angeles at the end of the 1970s. I knew only one other person out there besides Luis, when I made that move – the object of which was to become a professional writer." (NYSocialDiary)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Corsair Classic

ABC News Producer Asa Eslocker Arrested For Photographing Senators, Fat Cats

From ABCNews:

"Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic Senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

"Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit.

"A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.

"Eslocker was put in handcuffs and loaded in the back of a police van which headed for a nearby police station."
Random Sightings, Twitters, Celebrities

"Montel Williams at the palm for private Obama camp ... Everyone at the palm is ignoring dinner partners and bberrying (I'm looking at you Luntz) ... Sean Penn grabbing a bite at palace arms in brown palace. " (TVNewser)

"One of the hottest tickets on Tuesday night was a poker game -- for no money. Ben Affleck, Sara Silverman and Seth Myers were among those who shelled out at least $500 for a seat at one of 20 tables on the Club Level of Coors Field. Sponsored by the Poker Players Alliance, the event benefited the Paralyzed Veterans of America. And everyone was happy to hold forth on politics and entertainment -- except Affleck, who remained steadfast in his refusal to discuss the campaign with media. When asked what he'd be doing in Denver this week, he told reporters, 'You're looking at my involvement,' as he fiddled nervously with his chips." (DCExaminer)

"We walked into 5 Degrees, a hip downtown Denver dance club near the Pepsi Center, and the first thing I saw were Sean Penn’s angry eyes." (DMagazine)

Chris "The Izzle" Cillizza of WashPo cold lamping with Rosario Dawson. (image via washpo)

"The night’s theme, 'Securing America’s Future,' suggests Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will flex his foreign policy muscle inside the convention hall ... Around town this afternoon, James Carville will be the guest at a Christian Science Monitor lunch where he may attempt to explain his remark Monday that irked the Obama campaign. Democrats, Carville said, are 'playing hide-the-message pretty good' at the convention." (WSJ)

"Obama campaign DID review HRC speech beforehand, aides say .. Live on Katie Couric's convention webcast: WWE's Battista! " (Marcambinder)

"Ted Stevens, the frightening and corrupt old man who has been a senator from Alaska since before Alaska was invented, managed to win the Republican primary even though he is currently under indictment for something dreadful involving home renovations. Stevens defeated six challengers, so now he has a chance to lose to the mayor of Anchorage in the general." (Wonkette via NYTimes)

" I adore Jon Stewart. A huge demographic of the country adores Jon Stewart ... And the reason that so many people adore Jon Stewart the decency, honesty and intelligence he projects. And though he's famously loathe to admit it, I think he knows this. And -- in that breakfast meeting at least -- he seemed to use that understanding as an opportunity to speak from a position of authority to the main authorities of journalism .. This, to me, seemed to be Jon Stewart's heartfelt beg to the information carriers to live up to their responsibilities. And, from my vantage point, those in attendance seemed comfortable with the room's dynamic. They seemed eager to glean from Stewart whatever the secrets to whatever magic it is that gives him the right to speak to them with such authority." (DailyShowBlog)

"Almost 26 million watched 10pm hour (Hillary Clinton speech) of convention coverage." (BrianStelter)

"San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will headline an 'Unconventional ‘08' event Wednesday evening to celebrate young voters who flocked to Obama in the primaries and encourage them to vote in November. Comedienne Sarah Silverman will appear alongside musical acts including Nada Surf and DJ Z-Trip. The other big arrival anticipated today is Oprah Winfrey, whose reps are being mum about when the media mogul arrives in Denver. Best friend Gayle King was spotted in Denver Monday." (WSJ)
Corsair Classic


The Corsair interviewed via email Brett King, Black Entertainment Television's Senior Vice President of Scripted Programming, on the decision to run with SOMEBODIES, the network's first scripted series. This is a significant point of departure from the network that previously gave us "Hell Date" and "Hot Ghetto Mess."

SOMEBODIES, in contrast, is a coming of age tale of an African-American college student named Scottie coming of age at the University of Georgia. It made a big impression at Sundance in 2006, and on BET the storyline will pick up where the Indie film left off.

The Corsair: What made you decide to go in this direction?

Brett King, BET SVP: While music and reality programming will always remain an important part of BET's programming mix, one proven strategy for growing audiences and branding a network is the inclusion of scripted programming. Our audience has long looked to BET to reflect their voice and their worldview; we think that scripted shows in general, and SOMEBODIES in particular, has a great shot at doing just that.

The Corsair: How did Rusty Cundieff come on board?

Brett King: Many of the people on the project - Jordan Levin and Pete Aronson from Generate, as well as Reggie Hudlin and I -- have known Rusty and worked with him for many years. In addition to his work on The Chappelle Show, he had directed Bernie Mac when Pete was the Executive Producer of the series, and both Reggie and I have developed projects with Rusty and known him socially since we all arrived in Hollywood in the early 90s. We've all known him to be fiercely intelligent, riotously funny and extremely collaborative. His great comic sensibilities and skills behind the camera made him a natural to set off the series, and he was so beloved by the cast, crew and producers that he ended up coming back to direct several episodes of the first season.

The Corsair: Tell readers of this blog who are not familiar with the film what it is about?

Brett King: SOMEBODIES -- the movie -- was a slice of life look at Scottie, a college student who was trying to do the right thing and get through college with the help of his friends, extended family and the local storefront church that he regularly attends. In the film, he recognized that he probably partied a bit too much and didn't study quite enough, and worked to change that. The movie is an easygoing walk through contemporary southern life, with a pace that reflects Scottie's laid back approach and quirky worldview and it served as BET's introduction to a singular new comedic voice.

The Corsair: Is Scottie going to finally get some order to his life this season? Or is it an ongoing project?

Brett King: I don't know that Scottie will ever get his life completely together, but he is certainly to be commended for making best efforts to get there. In each episode of the series, he tries to do his best despite the less than perfect circumstances of his life - he's been in school too long, he can't decide if he and his friend Diva are a couple or not, and his friends and family sometime steer him in the wrong direction -- but he is doing his best to make it work. Just about everybody has been down Scottie's path, and we think that most folks are going to enjoy tagging along for Scottie's ongoing journey.

SOMEBODIES premeiers at 10:30 PM on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 on BET.
Corsair Classic

Porn Star Kayden Kross On Detained In NZ: "The Whole Thing Was A Mess "

Adult film star Kayden Kross, who has been featured in Soloerotica, claims she was assaulted as she attended last Wednesday's Boobs on Bikes parade on a promotional visit in New Zealand. Says her press release, "At one point during this year's parade, Kayden was approached by a man who groped her exposed breast. When Kayden pushed him away, he punched her in the head. Shaken, but not badly hurt, Kayden asked for security to hold the man but he got away. She has since filed a police report." So we asked Kross, via email, what has come of the report. "I haven't heard anything from the police as of yet so I'm not sure what's come of it. This is definitely not normal. I've never actually needed security before."

But wasn't there extra security, we asked, as the combination of anti-porn protesters and porn stars makes for an explosive mix. "A lot of the security that had been designated for the parade got redirected to the protesters," replied Kross.

Kross was questioned regarding your purpose in the country and detained at the airport by security for four hours. The head of security, asked for an autograph at the Expo. Ironic? "A little," said Kross. "The whole thing was a mess and a waste of everyone's time and energy." Otherwise, did she have a good time? "Outside of being hit and detained it wasn't bad."
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via vanderbilt)

"'Gore Vidal is America’s premier man of letters,' says Jay Parini in his introduction to The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal, and if after reading Vidal on William Dean Howells, Tennessee Williams, various dead Kennedys, and 'American sissy' Theodore Roosevelt the reader denies it —- well, hie on back to the MFA prison ... 'It should be noted that Vidal is conservative in many respects,' writes Parini. 'He stands behind individual choice, the limitation of executive power, and preservation of the environment. Like his grandfather, he dislikes the empire. … He would return us, if possible, to the pure republicanism of early America.' … Vidal regards federal taxes as confiscatory and the fuel by which an anti-American war machine is run. 'Why,' he asks in his 1972 essay 'Homage to Daniel Shays,' do we allow our governors to take so much of our money and spend it in ways that not only fail to benefit us but do great damage to others as we prosecute undeclared wars … in what is supposed to be peacetime? Whether he knows it or not, the middle-income American is taxed as though he were living in a socialist society.'" (American Conservative)

"At the HuffPo Oasis and Big Tent blogger area. Oasis= odd mix of health food and yoga, Big Tent = huge and freezing ... Early riser regulars spotted: Morris, Buchanan, Carville, Milbank, Roland Martin." (TVNewser)

(image via JT/NYSD)

"The US Open had its star-studded opening on Monday and celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Open Era. Quite a few of the game’s stars didn’t make it but many others did. The event which took place at Arthur Ashe Stadium honored the first tournament champions of the Open era, Virginia Wade and Arthur Ashe. It was hosted by Forest Whitaker and included retired champions Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Rod Laver and Boris Becker as well as Roger Federer, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Wiliams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Marat Safin and Andy Roddick. Arthur Ashe’s widow Jeanne and his daughter Camera were present at the opening night ceremony." (NYSocialDiary)

"THAT Kate Pierson of the B-52's and Robert Kennedy Jr., along with his daughter Kick, attended the wedding of environmental lawyer Janet MacGillivray and Randall Wallace in Woodstock." (PageSix)

"On CNN, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper sit side-by-side while hosting a revolving slate of talking heads. Off air, Wolf remains stoic, monkish, David Carradine in Kung Fu, never turning to watch the action live on stage. The man does not smile. Or move his neck." (Popwatch)

"Without fail, every year, at the last match of the Bridgehampton Polo season, the layers of propriety are peeled away to reveal the free-for-all party that shuts down the season. I don't know where all these people hide all summer, but somehow everyone and their mother shows up at the fields, ready to schmooze under the VIP tent." (Papermag)

"Democrat Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as a running mate is complicating Republican John McCain’s analysis of his prospective vice presidential contenders. Biden will make his formal debut Wednesday with a primetime address. McCain is expected to announce his pick after Obama accepts his nomination here on Thursday. Some insiders are pressing McCain to make a strategic selection, one that beefs up his economic strength, enhances his chance to grab a state or amps up the partisan firepower. 'McCain knows Biden well. He knows how good he is as a knife fighter. He’ll take McCain apart,' said one Republican operative." (Politico)

"Barack Obama and running mate Joseph Biden will launch a battleground-state bus tour after the Democratic convention closes here Friday. The 'On the Road to Change' tour will bring the Democratic ticket to swing states Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, underscoring their importance to Sen. Obama (Ill.). The two candidates will travel with their spouses and stop first in Pennsylvania, where Sen. Biden (Del.) was born." (TheHill)

"BRITISH fashion mogul Diana Jenkins really knows how to throw a party. The bikini empress held a summer birthday bash Saturday at her place in Malibu that had A-Listers scrambling for invitations. Jenkins counts Mary J. Blige as one of her close friends, and the hip-hop queen performed with De la Soul for guests including James Blunt, Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, Sophie Dahl and Jerry Weintraub." (PageSix)

"TiVo Inc. hopes to make it easier for consumers to record top television shows by taping recommendations from Entertainment Weekly magazine. The Silicon Valley company on Wednesday plans to announce an agreement with the Time Warner Inc. publication that will let users of TiVo's digital video recorders automatically record shows suggested by the magazine's staff." (WSJ)
Novak: McCain-Lieberman Would Be A Disaster

Our favorite Dickensian villain Robert Novak will be penning the occasional column despite his illness. He starts his run spitting fire, blasting the hopes of Influential Republicans who would want a McCain moderate ticket of the Senator from Arizona and "Joe-mentum." Bill Kristol, for example, who spent last week on Fox News Sunday creepily pushing the Hillary Clinton was wronged narrative -- since when have Kristol and the neoconnivers loved Hillary? -- is all about Lieberman. Kristol, we cannot fail to note, often gets things wrong. His "Kristol Ball" is opaque. On August 13th, on Fox News, he stated "(Colin Powell) may well give a speech at the Democratic convention explaining his endorsement of Obama." And we know how that turned out.

But back to our favorite Dickensian villain and those Influential Republicans. From Robert Novak (via Wonkette):

"Reports of strong support within John McCain's presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.

"But they can't get away with it -- and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.

"Lieberman surely doesn't know that much about Republican politics, but he has close Republican friends. One of them prevailed on Lieberman to tell McCain that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would be a disaster for all concerned, and especially for the GOP.

"Actually, Lieberman is a heroic figure among Republicans for having risked his Senate seat to support President George W. Bush's war policy. But aside from the war, he votes the straight liberal line, including pro-choice on abortion. Lieberman's Republican friend told him that the Republicans would leave Minnesota in a state of disarray with a McCain-Lieberman ticket, alienating social conservatives who now make up the core of Republican voters.

"...The Republican operative who urged Lieberman to dissuade McCain from picking him believes that there is still a very useful role for the maverick Democrat in this campaign: as McCain's secretary of state. While an announcement in St. Paul of Lieberman as vice president would bring groans from the assembled Republicans, placing him at the State Department would evoke a standing ovation.

"At this writing, nobody knows McCain's choice. He is keeping the selection process secret, and his closest aides are in the dark. Could he still name Lieberman after being told by Lieberman himself that it is not a good idea? Nobody absolutely rules it out."

Newt Gingrich -- or, as we like to call him, "Gingy" -- took to Hannity to say that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would get Barr 15% of the electorate. Yay! Cue to: "Operation: Barr Tab." More here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Are The McCainiacs Floating The Fake Powell Veepstakes Rumor?

Clearly Colin Powell will not be McCain's Vice Presidential pick. That goes without saying, no matter what fuckwittage the Senior Senator from Arizona's surrogates are bullshitting. Rumor has it, in fact, that Powell may even endorse Obama (one of Novak's last scoops), or, equally likely, just plain sit this one out entirely. And who can blame him? The former Secretary of State was used by the present administration for his sterling reputation and international credibility to help sell the spurious Second Persian Gulf War, and then, after the ceremonial resignation at the end of his first term, was not renewed for a second. The Republican Party giveth and the Republican Party taketh away ..

The pendulum swings. The Presidents post-September 11th popularity has evaporated. It was only out of a military sense of loyalty to the Bush family that Powell did not speak out and publish his memoirs -- as Scott McClellan and Paul O'Neill did -- while Bush 43 was still in office. Still, we cannot wait to read Powell's memoirs. They should be .. informative. Juicy, even. And the obligatory "60 Minutes" pitstop should be magnifique. From the NYDailyNews:

"Pay no attention to the latest round of titillating rumors that John McCain is mulling Colin Powell as a possible running mate. They're totally bogus - and McCain and his senior advisers know it.

"Informed sources told the Daily News that when McCain called on the retired general and national icon a few weeks ago, the veepship was raised by the candidate - and Powell emphatically squelched the idea.

"'Colin was absolutely unambiguous,' said a source aware of the conversation. 'It will never happen, and John and his people know it.'"

Understandable. We'd float a lie like that as well if our political back-bench was so anemic as to include goddam sorry asses like Joe Liberman and Mitt Romney (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). No "Joe-mentum" in the world is going to alter the fundamental weakness, comparatively speaking, between their list and the all star list of back-benchers within the Democratic Party this go-around (The Corsair sips a "naive Zin". The change-momentum is with the Democrats.
Random Twitters From The Dem Convention

"Day 2 in Denver... another great day ahead of us. Hillary is doing her walkthrough right now at the Pepsi Center" (JoeTrippi)

"big Arianna Huffington lunch... she really has a lotta pull." (CraigNewmark)

"Msnbc contributors well repped at (The Arianna Huffington) lunch: Jonathan Alter and (Jonathan) Capehart ... Overseen at huffpo panel...Fred Armisen, Christie Hefner" (TVNewser)

"Theresa Heinz holding court at brown palace...talking to a fan about "middle america'" (FishbowlDC)
The Future Of The Electric Car

The Corsair LOVED this story. If you read any magazine article this month on the Green economy, this should be the one. Hint: It is about the future of the electric car, currently in the hour of the wolf. From Wired:

"Shai Agassi looks up and down the massive rectangular table in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom and begins to worry. He knows he's out of his league here. For the last day and a half, he's been listening to an elite corps of Israeli and US politicians, businesspeople, and intellectuals debate the state of the world. Agassi is just one of 60 sequestered in a Washington, DC, hotel for a conference run by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Among the participants: Bill Clinton, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, and two past directors of the CIA.

"It's December 2006. Scheduled to speak in a few minutes, Agassi gets nudged by the Israeli minister of education: 'Be optimistic,' she tells him. 'We've got to close with an upbeat tone.' Agassi thanks her. Optimism won't be a problem.

"At 38, Agassi is the youngest invitee. Just after the dotcom boom, SAP, the world's largest maker of enterprise software, paid $400 million for a small-business software company he started with his father; now he's SAP's head of products and widely presumed to be the next CEO. But he's not here this morning to talk about business software. Instead, his topic will be the world's addiction to fossil fuels. It's a recent passion and the organizers invited him to counterbalance the man speaking now, Daniel Yergin, the famed energy consultant and oil industry analyst. Yergin gives them his latest thinking: Energy independence is unattainable. Oil consumption will continue to rise. Iran will get richer. It's not exactly what this audience wants to hear.

"Now it's Agassi's turn. He starts off uncharacteristically nervous, stammering a bit. He's got something different, he says. A new approach. He believes it just might be possible to get the entire world off oil. For good. Point by point, gaining speed as he goes, he shares for the first time in public the ideas that will change his future—and possibly the world's."

More? here.
Spike Lee Hearts Brooklyn, Maybe Too Much

Clearly auteur du cinema/ad man Spike Lee has a thing for Brooklyn. How many films, infused with a jazzy soundtrack, does he devote to his lovely borough during the sultry summer months? Watching Spike's films one learns to love Brooklyn just as watching 70s Woody Allen is loving Manhattan, like watching 60s Fellini is loving post-World War Rome. But it can get a smidge obnoxious. Especially when said love of the borough is delivered not cinematically but via an abrupt verbal outburst in Manhattan, in the night, at a block party. From Style:

"Extravagant and block party are words that rarely meet. But when Nike is footing the bill, the classic hot dogs-and-a-Slip 'N Slide formula gets thrown out the window. On Thursday night, the sportswear giant hosted a gi-normous plein air fête in front of its new Mercer Street boutique. It was a block party all right…on steroids. Mark Ronson, who lives above the new store, came out of self-imposed DJ retirement to man the turntables, spinning vintage tracks while chatting up downtown types like Nate Lowman and Tom Sachs. Spike Lee and Roger Federer did the ribbon-cutting honors, with a little help from the Brooklyn Steppers marching band. 'Is Brooklyn in the house?' asked Lee. Apparently, the abundance of sullen hipsters quaffing Heinekens failed to tip him off."

Okay, Spike. You love Brooklyn. I think we picked that up somewhere between "Do The Right Thing," "Crooklyn" "School Daze," and "She's Gotta Have It."
MTVU Goes Back To School

MTVU, alas, has never quite caught on (And MTV pere is not quite what it used to be). From Reuters via Paidcontent:

"Viacom Inc's mtvU college cable network will launch an online network of campus guides, aiming to be the 'Citysearch' of university life.

"Working with college newspapers and Zvents, a local Internet search and advertising network, mtvU has created sites that offer listings for everything from local night life to bus and dining room schedules, an executive said.

"'We're simplifying students' experience and providing national, regional and local advertisers a powerful connection to this hard to reach audience,' said Stephen Friedman, general manager of mtvU."
Kurt Andersen Interviews Dolly Parton

Did you ever hear the Studio 360 interview between Kurt Andersen and Dolly Parton? Adorable. Favorite part is when Kurt somewhat uncomfortably asks about Dolly's sense of style and she says that when she was young she looked up to the town tramp. If The Corsair could have had video of Kurt's face ... :

Arki Busson And Uma Thurman SkinnyDip

Arpad 'Arki' Busson is one of the luckiest guys in the world. He is the "BabyDaddy" of Elle "The Body" McPherson -- growr -- and he is presently engaged to Uma Thurman. The dear fool is fairly swimming in "The Hotness (tm)." Uma, too, goes in for the eye-candy, being the ex of scruffy indie icon Ethan Hawke and hotelier Andre Balasz. And due to some fancy lensework we get a taste of the inner life of this couple. From Thisislondon:

"Uma Thurman's romance with financier fiancé Arpad 'Arki' Busson is going just swimmingly, judging by their latest dalliance.

The pair slipped off for a moonlight swim while holidaying together in Italy, exchanging kisses as they cooled off from the hot summer night.

Earlier the couple, who have spent time with Irish actor Liam Neeson and his wife Natasha Richardson during their European jaunt, had enjoyed a romantic dinner together."

More here.
Russian Stocks Tumble As A Result Of Georgia Adventurism

(image via dailymail)

The RTS Index -- an index of 50 Russian stocks -- fell six percent today according to the words and actions of Vladimir Putin, thus making Russia, flush with oil revenues and trying mightily to be seen as a global power, a rather dodgy place to do business. While a strong leader standing up to The West meets with little internal resistance in Russia, the business community is taking a hit. The question is: Can the West use the teetering of the RTS Index as one of several levers to coerce Russia to constrain itself under the rule of law? Will Secretary Condoleeza Rice take advantage of this? From Bloomberg:

"Russia's RTS Index fell to the lowest level since 2006, the ruble extended its drop and the cost of protecting the country's bonds rose as the government recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions.

"The RTS index of 48 companies posted the biggest decline among 89 global equity measures tracked by Bloomberg, while Russia's currency slid to the lowest level in almost seven months against the dollar. Credit-default swaps on Russian debt climbed 7 basis points, according to CMA Datavision prices in London, as President Dmitry Medvedev risked a deepening rift with the West by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"Investors have pushed the RTS to this quarter's steepest retreat among the world's stock markets as Russia invaded Georgia and tumbling oil prices sent energy producers lower. Medvedev's statement followed a unanimous call by Russia's parliament to back the enclaves' aspirations for statehood in the aftermath of a five-day war that began on Aug. 8.

"'The sentiment here remains pretty bad because of the events in Georgia,' said Jean-Louis Tauvy, who manages $300 million at Atria Advisors Ltd. in Moscow.

"The dollar-denominated RTS Index fell 5.3 percent to 1,560.14 at 4:19 p.m. in Moscow, extending its third-quarter drop to 32 percent. The ruble-denominated Micex Index slumped 3.3 percent to 1,276.47, the lowest level since September 2006."

The real question of "What Is To Be Done" about Russia is vexing the foreign policy Establishment right now. Andrew Meier writes a controversial op-ed in the LA Times this week on the possibility of Russia joining NATO. That may be too much, but something, to be sure, needs to be done about Russia's relationship to the West.
Air America Expands Online Strategy

Bill Hess, the Senior VP of Programming for Air America is in Denver, like just about everyone else in the media bubble. The Corsair asked Hess via email yesterday about the liberal radio network's coverage, especially their "Authors Turning the Page: Ideas on Election 2008" panels and the expanded role of video in their online strategy.

The Corsair: "Authors Turning the Page: Ideas on Election 2008" is a unique forum combining new authors with on-air content. Who came up with the idea?

Bill Hess: The authors' panel was conceived and coordinated by Air America president Mark Green.

The Corsair: Sam Seder is going to host three panels that will be webcast live on Is this the beginning of more robust video content?

Bill Hess: The work being done by Sam Seder is most definitely the beginning of a much expanded strategy involving online video by air America. [As an aside, they recently webcast an interview that Sam did with former Gov. Don Siegelman from the Netroots Nation Conference in July, The Young Turks show streams online daily from 9-11pm on the site and "Today on Air America" is a daily, live video featuring the daily program schedule, guest line-up, etc.]
Media-Whore D'Oevres

"At the Rolling Stone party sponsored by Trojan condoms (which mysteriously appeared on tables in the media tents today), Daryl Hannah wowed the media scrum on the red carpet ..A scruffy-looking Sean Penn checked into the Brown Palace Hotel. Moments later Moments later, Hillary Clinton's famous hair stylist Isabelle Goetz wandered in .. And, Senator/Author Jim Webb has his own celebrity meet-and-greets. He was spotted on the floor with novelist John Grisham and Grisham's wife Renee, we're told." (Politico)

"Showing little signs of the brain tumor that required severe cancer treatment, Kennedy made just his second public appearance since his diagnosis in May and whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a trademark speech." (TheHill)

"At a private reception on Monday, Senator John Kerry and his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, welcomed a select group of donors and fund-raisers to this year’s convention, while offering up a notably raw retrospective of the campaign they lost. Or maybe, the way they see it, the one they didn’t actually lose after all. This convention, Theresa Heinz Kerry said, is 'full of meaning and full of opportunity, and if you as I believe, and I know a lot of you do, we did not lose the last election, nor did Al Gore lose his last election.'" (Observer)

"THAT Michael Phelps is resting from his Olympics heroics by playing golf with friends in Portugal's Algarve region and relaxing at the Hotel Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Resort & Spa." (PageSix)

"Christopher Laing, a managing director at Deutsche Bank AG in London, moved with his wife and twin boys to Dubai this month, joining a rush to the only region in the world where fees earned by securities firms are growing. 'It's bigger than it has ever been,' said Laing, 39, co- head of equity capital markets for central and eastern Europe, the Mideast and Africa, referring to the number of public offerings on the horizon. 'I'm lucky it was my choice to move.' Laing joins scores of rival bankers, including Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s Makram Azar, Citigroup Inc.'s Alberto Verme and Morgan Stanley's David Law, who have left London in recent months in search of deals. The attraction: an oil-rich patch that may have $5 trillion in sovereign wealth funds by 2015, according to International Financial Services London." (Bloomberg)

"Mark Green hobbled in on a crutch: 'Having knee replacement in Lenox Hill next week. Would you believe on a bus an 80-year-old woman got up and gave me her seat?!'" (CindyAdams)

"The CNN Grill, located directly outside the Pepsi Center, was packed on Monday night as the convention wound down for Day 1. But after the convention ended for the night, it became standing room only. The various CNN-related drinks and free food drew many in, as did the prime real estate. Besides the big name political figures (also, Caroline Kennedy sat down for a post convention meal with her whole family), there were the real celebs as well. Joe Pantoliano and The Daily Show duo of Jason Jones and John Oliver were among those in attendance." (TVNewser)

"Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Leee Black Childers helped rule NYC’s underground. A former Warhol assistant, Leee carried a camera and hung out at the back rooms of Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. He went on to manage Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour along with the Heartbreakers’, and befriended Iggy and the New York Dolls. So it was no surprise that his b-day party thrown by Cynthia Social-Lies at The Annex had that same Max’s vibe. There were freaks galore at this party including JoJo Americo from The Ones, door legend Kenny Kenny, MAO's Roger & Mauricio, ... along with assorted trash and vaudeville LES rocker types ... there were lots of laughs for rock ‘n’ roll ventriloquist Carla Rhodes and her puppet Keith Richards, who had a big back of Coke attached to him. Newly blonde Michael T, of Motherfucker fame, DJ’d glam rock tunes all night long. There must have been a ton of glitter on the dance floor to sweep up the next day." (Papermag)