Monday, October 31, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"When Pope John Paul II died of septic shock and heart failure, in April 2005, he was 84. He had survived cancer, a gunshot, and was in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease, and in the months and years preceding his agonizing end, there was near-constant chatter about the politically incorrect 'papal death watch.' Television networks rented out terraces with a view of St. Peter’s dome, and almost every major publication around the world had a plan in place, from apartments rented to hotel blocks booked for months at a time, for the moment the world’s beloved pope passed away. But his death didn’t happen exactly to plan. Several hospitalizations and close calls in early 2005 amounted to dress rehearsals for what became one of the biggest media events of all time. He finally died after several days of slow suffering, and all the while the Vatican press office promised he was getting better. Thousands of faithful pilgrims flocked to Rome to hold vigil in St. Peter’s Square, where they sang and prayed until the light finally went out in his famous window. Joseph Ratzinger was elected in the secret conclave a few weeks later, and became Pope Benedict XVI. At 78, he was the oldest new pope in nearly 300 years. It would be an exaggeration to claim that the world’s media are preparing for the next papal passing with the same vigor as they did last time, but there is definitely new attention to this pope’s health." (TheDailyBeast)

"Early evening over at "21," Joan Rivers, having flown in that morning on the red-eye from Los Angeles was hosting book party for her friends (and former neighbors) Alan Shayne and Norman Sunshine, celebrating their new book Double Life; A Love Story – From Broadway to Hollywood (Magnus Books). Ms. Rivers arrived looking absolutely fresh and fabulous, natch, wearing Valentino. Even with cancellations (due to the weatherman's promise of a horrendous coming storm) more than 127 friends of the authors braved the elements.  About 7:00 Joan got up ("can we talk?") to tell her guests about the book. She told them how at first she dreaded reading the manuscript, and then couldn't put it down. She found herself schlepping it onto planes in a shopping bag, to all her gigs, relating her heartfelt take on Alan and Norman as two separate accomplished men. Not to mention the tales they wove of life on Broadway and in Hollywood that feature the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Rock Hudson, Barbra Streisand, Laurence Olivier, Truman Capote, Bette Davis, Robert Redford, Lee Radziwill and on and on. Of course the Rivers signature humor kicked in with everyone cracking up in uncontrollable laughter over some of those tales that intrigued and fascinated her. But when Joan ended, she was in tears. Everyone was enthralled." (NYSocialDiary)

"With a slew of daytime syndicated talk show projects jockeying for a fall 2012 berth, a big one is entering the fray for fall 2013. Queen Latifah is set to host a new daytime talk show that Flavor Unit, her company with Shakim Compere, will co-produce with Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Compere and Overbrook’s Miguel Melendez, who were instrumental in getting the project together, will serve as executive producers with Queen Latifah and Overbrook’s Lassiter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Queen Latifah and Smith have a lot in common — both started in hip-hop before segueing into acting and then producing and both have earned Oscar nominations. In fact, Latifah’s first role was an arc on NBC’s The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, which starred Smith, also in his first acting gig." (Deadline)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zuccotti Park in the Snow

It is October 29th, in NYC, and snowing. Blog legend and fellow Tumblr Andrew Krucoff took this pic around noon today from the second floor observational deck of the Burger King across the street from Zuccotti Park.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The Europeans are taking more risk but that does not mean that they are offering lots of protection to other buyers. And it will take time for these structures to be set up: China will want lots more detail, and to see how the Greek bond swap with private creditors goes, before it commits cash. Grand political bargains between China and Europe—money in return for more representation at the IMF, or market-economy status—seem wildly improbable. These prizes will eventually come anyway; and weak though parts of Europe are, the EU cannot be seen to trade them too nakedly. Bargaining of this sort would also require both parties to change their positions markedly. China is keen not to be seen as a source of 'dumb money', but requiring big political concessions in return for cash is a pretty clear signal that this is not a commercially attractive investment. As for the euro zone, it can hardly claim that senior Spanish and Italian debt is now safe for institutional investors if it has to horse-trade too hard to get China on board. That does not mean that Mr Regling’s trip, which now takes him to Japan, is wasted. It is plausible that China will put some money into euro-zone debt alongside other non-European countries. How that money could be used depends a bit on whether it is channelled by the IMF or some other means." (TheEconomist)

"Let’s compare the plans. The Democratic proposal, released by senator and committee member Max Baucus the other day, looks to cut $3 trillion from the budget. The Republican plan, leaked in parts to The Wall Street Journal and Politico after Baucus moved, cuts just $2 trillion. If it seems odd to you that Democrats are proposing more deficit reduction than Republicans, you aren’t alone. The reason is that the Republicans—surprise, surprise—are doing it all by cuts with no tax revenue, while the Democrats include $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion in new revenue. Now, Republicans will repeat in these coming weeks that their plan does include “revenue.” And in a way, it does. It’s just not tax revenue. Or wait—it is tax revenue! But from a tax decrease! Yes: The GOP plan says the government will raise $200 billion by cutting corporate and individual taxes. You know, the way the Bush tax cuts increased revenue, which is to say, not in the real world, but in the minds of Mitch McConnell and other delusionals who think the Bush tax cuts raised revenue. So when they go around saying “our plan raises revenues,” remember their track record." (Mike Tomasky)

"I first set foot in America 46 years ago during the summer before entering university, and I’ve since visited as often as I could. Although I live in the west of England, I write largely for American publications. I visit Austin, Tex., from time to time to lecture at the University of Texas and fully consider myself a long-distance Longhorns fan. (Yes, I know, news of the Red River massacre reached even Somerset, but as an Arsenal supporter, I have been emotionally conditioned for calamity.)  And yet I know just what G. K. Chesterton meant when he said that nowhere on earth does an Englishman feel as much a stranger as in the United States. That may be truer now, as I see very clearly that our two continents are drifting apart. Far from the world becoming flatter or smaller, the Atlantic is growing wider, politically and emotionally. For much of the past century the two sides have been bound together by what now appear to have been temporary circumstances — the series of military partnerships from World War I through the cold war. There were deep underpinnings for what Winston Churchill first called the special relationship, but what’s curious is that we should think it still exists. Will history see the years of 'Atlanticism' as a passing episode, before America turns to a manifest destiny elsewhere?  Election time only emphasizes our differences. I’m not quite sure when American politics became a contest in piety, but so it has, in a way that is simply unimaginable today in Western Europe. Faith is more competitive than even 11 years ago when George W. Bush won the election, after a fashion. Mitt Romney allays doubts about his Mormonism by nervously assuring us that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior. But then Rick Perry says that, too — as does Barack Obama.
It’s no wonder that this parade of faith has Europeans looking on with perplexity and derision. Despite the First Amendment, it’s Europe that effectively separates church and state." (NYTimesMagazine)

"At 89, the 20th-century’s premier scholar of Japanese literature has risen still further in Japanese estimation. Shortly after the country was laid low by an earthquake and tsunami in March, the academic said he would leave his native America for good, become a Japanese citizen and live out his last days in Japan. The announcement made headline news. Japanese spoke, many with tears in their eyes, of the courage he had given them in their hour of need. After delivering his last lecture at Columbia University, where he taught for more than 50 years, Donald Keene wrapped up his life in New York. We meet in mid-October, not long after his move to Japan. Our restaurant is in Roppongi, a high-octane district of clubs and bars. But I am underground – in the France of a different era, waiting for an American with a thousand years of Japanese literature in his head. The lone waiter is loitering nervously. The chef is pacing the pavement above, ready to greet the professor." (Lunch withtheFT)

"That's according to his Kiss band member (and onetime roommate) Ace Frehley in Frehley's new book, No Regrets. Writes Ace: 'Fastidious if not downright anal in his professional life, Gene was an utter mess in his personal life. As I quickly discovered, Gene was an epic slob.' Ace remembers multiple instances of Gene--whom he admits might have been affected by all that flame swallowing--spitting all over the place. One time, he says, 'Gene cleared his throat, dragged up a thick wad of phlegm, and spat it onto the carpet. 'What wasn't understandable was his insistence on spitting all over the floor. I was afraid to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear of stepping in a pile of mucus.' And speaking of bodily fluids, there was also some wacky sexual behavior. Says Ace:'Gene would fuck almost anything (and I think he's admitted as much). We all opened our beds to companionship on a regular basis, but somehow Gene was the one who would end up with bugs in his bush.'" (Michael Musto)

"Drug use has been a key conservative talking point used to undermine the various Occupy camps around the country. In Occupy Los Angeles, though, smoking weed has become a wedge issue dividing the camp into increasingly entrenched groups. As one original organizer of Occupy LA described it, 'on one side there’s the hardcore Politicos-Get-Shit-Done process freaks and on the other are people who think they are starting a new society.' Smoking weed cuts to one of the main dilemmas within a leaderless, horizontal, movement like Occupy Los Angeles: who makes the rules? Who enforces the rules? Going even further: should there even be rules? Is this a narrowly focused social movement bent on economic reform through massive but nonviolent participation? Is it a petri dish of something new?¹ There is a wing of the Occupy LA that sees their encampment as a radical new mode of living; one that not only rejects income inequality, but any sort of action that enables one group to represses any other. This means contempt for anything like a parliamentary up or down vote, or adopting the same drug laws as 'the outside.' When someone lights up, especially during daylight hours, there is an instant sense of polarization between those who are willing to behave and those who aren’t. Finally those differences exploded." (TheAwl)

"New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nick Kristof is in Vietnam shooting a documentary for his 'Half the Sky' project. He flipped on the TV Saturday morning and felt he needed to Tweet ... " (TVNewser)

"But what makes us so neurotic? One answer seems to be space. Or the lack thereof. 'New York is mental illness, drug addiction and eating disorders served on a silver platter,' Mr. Preven said. 'A lot of us are cognitively challenged. There are so many different worlds here and we all overlap and bump up against each other. I call Grand Central a human particle accelerator.' There do seem to be a lot of neuroses that are particular to our city, some of which might be better described as micro-neuroses. For instance, 'Air-conditioning drip,' a condition that was pointed out to us by two separate friends (both of whom, oddly, are employed by Conde Nast), which is a fear of being struck by drips and drops of water from air-conditioners in the apartment windows overhead.And there’s a common meta–micro-neurosis, of which almost everyone contacted about this article displayed symptoms. One by one, they detailed their personal peccadilloes—followed by the panicked, paranoid cry: 'Don’t quote me!,' or 'Don’t make me sound crazy!,' or 'No, you can not use my full name, people will make fun of me,' or 'Shit—I sound nuts right? Can I get quote-approval?' For our purposes, we will stick to the bigger neuroses, and look at how they’ve changed in the 75 years since (Karen) Horney published her original list." (Paula Froelich/Observer)

"Ever since The Shield debuted in 2002, FX has become synonymous with quality male-oriented programming. And so many devotees of the network — loyal fans of such shows as Louie, Justified, and Damages — were concerned, unnerved, and even outraged by yesterday's announcement that this summer their trusted network would be airing Charlie Sheen's return to TV in the sitcom Anger Management, based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson–Adam Sandler film of the same name. From a capitalist perspective, it is unfair to tut-tut. It's a good business decision: Sheen's return to TV will undoubtedly have at least an initial huge tune-in. FX is a company; they can’t be faulted for going after such a big potential audience. It's naïve to expect that TV networks will behave morally, as if they’re people, and to leave a sweetheart deal with Sheen on the table because his behavior has been erratic at best, illegal and brutal at worst. And yet, FX can only blame itself for its disappointed fans. Over the past nine years, they've worked hard and spent millions getting us to think of them as a specific kind of personality (or, if you want to use the term of art, a brand): rough but with integrity, brash but savvy. And when dumb, smart dumb. So FX can cash in if they want, but they shouldn’t expect us to like it. In many ways, the network itself seems unable to give the idea a full embrace. The network is not producing the show, but rather is simply acquiring what's essentially a syndicated show. (Lionsgate, the company that also produces Mad Men, is Anger Management's producer.) This has a big financial upside, as they won't be responsible for the budget or the day-to-day headache that is Charlie Sheen in his less lucid moments; they'll simply pay for the right to air it, just like they do Sheen's Two and Half Men reruns. But it also means that they won't be branding it an 'FX Original,' as they do shows like Louie. It feels like it gives the option for full deniability." (NYMag)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The response to the crisis among those in the pro-market camp is much on the lines of the 1930s. On one side are those who blame what has gone wrong entirely on government. The Tea Party, in the US, has taken that position, with some success. In the UK, this strand is weaker. But there, too, some argue that the crisis is the result of Gordon Brown’s fiscal incontinence, over-regulated markets or incompetent central banks. In this, they follow the Austrian economists, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, in the 1930s. Against them are those who, following John Maynard Keynes, argue for a managed capitalism. Once again, much of this debate is over use of macroeconomic policy tools: should one tighten or loosen fiscal policy in a recession? Are unconventional monetary policies a path to hyperinflation or effective policies in extreme circumstances? Again, just as radical Keynesians emerged in the 1930s and afterwards, proponents of more intervention in markets are now emerging.This is a debate we need. In my view, both perspectives are useful. The Tea Party is wrong on the future of government. Even the US is not going back to the 19th-century state." (Martin Wolf/FT)

"For all its social snootiness, Wall Street has suffered far more from the meddling of members of its own class than from intrusions by those outside it. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt, an aristocrat, who held the lords of finance responsible for the Great Depression—securing legislation to establish the Securities and Exchange Commission, asserting federal authority over the stock exchange, and appointing a wealthy stock trader, Joseph Kennedy Sr., to ride herd. Not much better, from Wall Street’s perspective, was FDR’s Cousin Teddy, who as President prosecuted trusts as illegal monopolies. Or Louis Brandeis, a Harvard-trained corporate attorney turned crusader against the concentration of wealth and power. These men changed the system from within, as have the ablest regulators in recent times. Arthur Levitt Jr., a vigorous SEC chairman under President Bill Clinton, was first the president of Shearson Hayden Stone. (Levitt is a member of the board of Bloomberg L.P., owner of Bloomberg Businessweek.) Paul A. Volcker cut his teeth at Chase Manhattan before running the Federal Reserve and becoming the gruff animating voice behind the Volcker Rule, which bans commercial banks from engaging in proprietary trading. It’s hard to imagine any of these 'opponents' of Wall Street mounting a barricade. They didn’t need to storm the castle to know where the secrets were hidden. In its very amateurism, Occupy Wall Street represents something new. Although it’s attracted some celebrities and well-heeled supporters, participants come chiefly from outside Wall Street. Many are unemployed or poorly employed. These are not bankers or reform-minded professors; these are also-rans in the capitalist race, upset with the system itself. Their chief weapon is neither eloquence nor argument, but their physical presence." (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

"This week, Israelis and Americans were greeted by the happy sight of another citizen freed from a foreign prison. Ilan Grapel, a dual American-Israeli citizen was reunited with his mother in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport on Oct. 27, in return for 25 Egyptians held in Israel for non-security related crimes. This is the second prisoner swap in as many weeks consummated by Egypt and Israel; the ruling military council in Cairo served as the primary mediator for the deal between Israel and Hamas in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released from Gaza in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Such calculated cooperation may not stir any visions of the warm handshake between the countries' leaders on the White House lawn in 1979 -- but it does prove that they are still able to seize opportunities to work together in the post-Mubarak era. Despite the public frostiness -- driven by the current turmoil in Egypt and dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks -- Egypt has shown no signs of transforming the "cold peace" into open war. Of course, there are challenges: The riot and storming of Israel's embassy in Cairo could have -- if not for President Barack Obama's intervention -- irreversibly harmed the peace, and the rise of Islamist politicians in the coming election will represent another major hurdle. But tearing up the 1979 peace treaty would greatly harm Egypt's relationship with the United States, which is Cairo's primary arms supplier and provides it with $1.5 billion in aid annually -- one of the many risks that will likely convince Egypt to find ways to keep the relationship with Israel alive for reasons of national interest." (ForeignPolicy)

"It's not only Israeli analysts who fear that even the cold peace between their country and Egypt may be in danger as Islamic forces rise in the wake of Egypt's revolution. Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday told the Washington Post that there is a 'very strong possibility' that following upcoming elections, Egypt's new rulers will revoke the Camp David Accords.  That is especially true if the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power. The group is contesting over 50 percent of the parliament seats in the next election, and is currently the only major political party active in the country. Abdullah said that Jordan will soon be "the last man standing" in terms of nations in the region that have friendly relations with Israel. There are many who disagree with Abdullah's conclusions, and even the Post tried to qualify his statements by noting that so-called experts (presumably the same who failed to see the 'Arab Spring' coming in the first place) find talk of Egypt ending its peace treaty with Israel wildly speculative. Those experts insist that Egypt wants to maintain its flow of American financial aid and military equipment, and won't do anything to jeopardize that. However, the Muslim Brotherhood and the many Egyptians who back the group have repeatedly stated throughout the revolution that they have no interest in continuing their nation's reliance on American backing, and that they view adherence to their radical Islamic ideals as far more important than Western money. 'The peace between Israel and Egypt is no longer holy,' declared Egyptian diplomat and Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi at a recent rally. 'It [peace with Israel] cannot be considered equal to the holy Koran.' Al-Arabi was only echoing what the Egyptian public had been saying for months. (Israel Today)

"It’s also true, as Schwartz writes, that (Pauline) Kael’s retirement, in 1991 at age 71, was a national news story. But her death, at 82 in 2001, was not. The culture of the new century was rapidly moving on. Now yet another decade has passed, and Kael may be little read outside of cineaste circles and film-studies academia (a milieu she detested). Most of her books are out of print. Ask moviegoers under 40 who she is, and you may draw a blank. Then again, what serious film critics of any era, including our own, are household names these days? We no longer live in the age of movies, and ambitious professional arts criticism is an increasingly arcane calling in a digital world where the old maxim, everyone’s a critic, is literally true. While much of Kael may be out of print, today it’s an anomaly when the output of any critic is collected in a book in the first place (let alone Kael’s 11 anthologies of full-length reviews). Few movies can muscle their way onto center stage in our reality-TV-saturated media universe. The individualistic filmmaking that sustained Kael and her peers now must fight to find financing or theatrical distribution outside New York. Even the once unassailable Oscars are suffering an identity crisis and struggling to hold on to their annual ­spotlight.  It’s hard to believe there was a time, not that long ago, when movie zealots would race to the newsstand on the days The New Yorker and The Village Voice were hot off the press to see Kael square off against her principal critical antagonist, the essential Andrew Sarris, on whatever was new in theaters that week. Though there are still some fine film critics at work, few readers wait for their verdicts on the new Almodóvar or Scor­sese the way so many once waited for Kael’s. Print movie critics declined in influence with the rise of Siskel and ­Ebert’s thumbs up-thumbs down appraisals on television. Now film criticism on television has largely vanished, too, succeeded by depersonalized aggregation sites like ­Rotten Tomatoes." (Frank Rich)

"In an inexplicably timed critique of Gawker published on Slate today, Katie Roiphe airs this musty bit of media gossip: Emily Gould’s editor asked Ms. Roiphe to blurb her book, And the Heart Says Whatever. This, despite the fact that Ms. Gould had called Ms. Roiphe 'a big immature baby' during her tenure at Gawker. 'Admittedly I did not find this piece very wounding, but some old-fashioned part of me still found it strange that she would send me her book for a blurb,' Ms. Roiphe wrote. 'I thought if I had written ‘Joan Didion Is Big Immature Baby,’ I would probably not send a book to her for a blurb.' (Does Ms. Didion even blurb? And is she saying that she is to Joan Didion what Emily Gould is to her?) Glossing over the most recent, rather clever take down in free verse by Hamilton Nolan, Ms. Roiphe uses Ms. Gould’s 2007 post as a point of entry to critique Gawker’s rhetorical laziness.'What the Gawker ethos (i.e., the sneer) comes down to is this: Everyone is a phony, except presumably those writers at Gawker who labor tirelessly to point out this phoniness,' she writes.
She later adds that Gawker assumes the pose of the 'fashionably slothful outsider,' 'brilliant and talented but too cool or sublimely untainted by anything as sordid and uninteresting as the ambition to try to do anything.' Sounds accurate, if outdated, to us. In fact, the passage agrees perfectly with how Ms. Gould herself describes the Gawker ethos in her 2008 New York Times Magazine mea culpa, Blog Post Confidential' (Kat Stoeffel/The Observer)

"PBS’ Judy Woodruff was the mistress of ceremony at an awards luncheon of the of International Women’s Media Foundation today at the Waldorf-Astoria. Four women journalists were honored for their work confronting danger while doing their jobs. Among them: Adela Navarro Bello, general director and columnist for Zeta news magazine in Mexico, Reuters Iran bureau chief Parisa Hafezi and Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director and webmaster of the Prachatai online newspaper in Thailand. Kate Adie, a BBC anchor, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Spotted in the crowd, CBS News’s Lesley Stahl, NBC’s Kate Snow and from ABC News, president Ben Sherwood, 'Nightline' co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, 'This Week' host Christiane Amanpour, correspondents Martha Raddatz and Juju Chang, and GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos." (TVNewser)

"Viacom, parent of MTV Networks, bought a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and will start airing the promotion's bouts on Spike in 2013, the companies told USA TODAY this week. They've had ongoing talks for about a year as they finished up various deals, and over the past month finally reached the point where they could announce the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. Selling to Viacom's entertainment conglomerate guarantees a stable future for Bellator, said Rebney, who will remain in charge of the MMA organization. 'It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us,' he said. 'Which is something that's been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred. … It alleviates those issues.' Bellator is the No. 2 promotion in mixed martial arts behind market leader Zuffa, owner of UFC and Strikeforce." (USA Today via Iwantmedia)

"NYSD House: What else is different between a New York dinner party and a dinner party in Paris? designer Penny True Baird:The amount of wine for example that’s used at a French dinner party is four times the amount of wine that’s used here. And there is no end time to the party. On a Monday night you could sit in someone’s house until two o’clock in the morning and no one ever says anything about having to get up. And they all have to get up. They all have kids, they all have jobs. That was the most shocking thing to me. NYSD House: So there seems to be a certain lack of anxiety, is there? designer Penny True Baird: Yes! You’re saying it better than I am. I had a dinner party here a good ten years ago for the Beaujolais Nouveau, but it was honoring my best Parisian friend. I made this beautiful dinner for them—everything was so done. I had the little wine tags that you use in a wine cellar as the place cards and in France after dinner you go in the living room and have orange juice—so I had the orange juice and everything perfect. And all the people stayed until midnight. And I thought, Thursday night! New York city! Midnight! This is like a total success! And after they left my friend says to me, 'Everyone left! How rude!'" (NYSocialDiary House)

" The stars aligned—or gathered, anyways—for a powerhouse pairing of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Ralph Lauren again, at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall last night. The conversation, which benefitted Lincoln Center and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention ... A bit of Hollywood turned out, thanks to a beautiful flock including Jessica Alba, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington, as well as Steve Buscemi, Jerry Seinfeld, Alba’s husband Cash Warren as did all the requisite fashion editorial ilk—Anna Wintour, Glenda Bailey, Stefano Tonchi, Robbie Myers, Joanna Coles, et al. Adding to the black tie-clad beauty quotient of the evening were the leggy likes of Lily Aldridge, Chanel Iman, and Veronica Webb. And, of course, the sizeable, ethereal fleet of models featured in the redux of Lauren’s Spring ’12 show that occurred after Lauren and Winfrey finished chatting. Fellow designers in attendance for Ralph’s second, live moment under the Oprah microscope included Diane von Furstenberg avec Barry Diller, Dennis Basso, Tory Burch, and Lisa Perry ... The elder Lauren opened up about moments of near-failure—“I almost lost my company twice because I moved too fast or had the wrong team, or didn’t have the right leadership' " (Fashionweekdaily)

New outside groups that can raise unlimited cash are encroaching on the money, functions and talent of the Big Six — creating a shadow party system of super PACs and linked nonprofit groups unrestrained by the political sensitivities and fundraising limits that moderate the parties’ activities.'It used to be that the party committees were the dominant force, and now that influence has been diminished by the super PACs,' said Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman. The outside groups, Rendell said, are 'taking part of the responsibilities away from the parties and thereby diminishing the parties’ impact.' Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who helped run the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee, said the anatomy of the new groups — which mirrors that of the Big Six — is fueling the power shift.'There’s no question that with the way we structure these super PACs, it will enormously diminish the role the committees play,' Cole said. 'There’s a recognition that we don’t have the clout that we once had.' The new groups emerged after two federal court rulings last year: One case called Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission cleared corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums in politics and another case led to the creation of the rapidly proliferating breed of political action committee known as super PACs." (Politico)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"U.S. federal agents moved to seize the $30 million Malibu mansion of Teodoro 'Teodorin' Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of Equatorial Guinea's strongman president this week, which happened to contain a host of luxury goods -- not least a $1.1 million collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia, including the King of Pop's 'white crystal covered 'Bad Tour' glove' and his MTV Music Awards 'moon man' trophy. Whether it's tacky erotic art, fast cars, or fancy weapons, autocrats have often displayed something of a penchant for collecting ... In one of Saddam's mansions, U.S. forces uncovered what's been described as a '1960s-style love nest -- a mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women, and fantasy-art paintings featuring scantily-clad, bodacious women and buff warriors.' The Guardian's art critic, Jonathan Jones, was withering in his assessment: 'They are from the universal cultural gutter. They look spraypainted, in a rampant hyperbolic style where all men are muscular, all women have giant breasts and missiles are metal cocks. These are art for the barely literate, or the barely sentient, dredged from some red-lit back alley of the brain.' Jones described the paintings as evidence of a man "who seems on this evidence to have lived according to aestheticised, eroticised violence for which no one has yet come up with a better word than 'fascism'." (ForeignPolicy)

"President Barack Obama’s political machine is increasingly making common cause with Texas Gov. Rick Perry against a shared enemy: Mitt Romney. Romney is the opponent Democrats most fear, and whom Obama strategists view as the near-certain Republican nominee. Yet even among strategists who assume Romney will be Obama’s opponent, Perry’s newly feisty performance on the campaign trail has raised hopes that he may drag out the primary fight and bloody Romney ahead of the main event. Obama supporters aren’t exactly coordinating attacks with Perry. But the Texas governor and national Democrats are reinforcing and amplifying a single, sharply negative message that benefits them both: that Romney is a soulless political opportunist who doesn’t deserve the presidency. It’s a familiar attack that could resonate with voters in both the primary and general elections — and that strategists say can be delivered from the left and right with almost equal effect. 'It will be hard for Romney to beat Obama if he can’t get out from under the flip-flop narrative,' said former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney. 'It plays into concerns the primary voters have that he can’t be trusted [and it’s] equally important in a general election against an incumbent president people like and trust." (Politico)

"Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg. The number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation, Livermore said. In the last 12 months through the end of September, the cost range of new regulations is estimated to be $8 billion to $9 billion, a decrease from 2010, according to non-partisan Government Accountability Office reports analyzed by Bloomberg. That total put the average annual cost of regulations under Obama at about $7 billion to $11 billion, compared with the $6.9 billion average from 1981 through 2008 in current dollars, according to the OMB data." (Bloomberg)

"The crowd turned on director Brett Ratner when he fired some searing shots at Russell Simmons Tuesday night at a 'Tower Heist' party at the Dream Hotel. Ratner joined Simmons and producer Brian Grazer on a panel to discuss the film. When Simmons called Ratner 'a little bit of a [bleep]kisser,' the director retaliated by later saying, 'The real story is when I was 16 years old, I met Russell Simmons and he tried to have sex with me, no, I’m kidding.' As the crowd began to jeer, Ratner threw in a few good words about how Simmons became his 'best friend,' before firing off more shots at the hip-hop mogul and vegan political activist. 'When I met [Simmons] back then, he ate pork, he ate fried chicken he smoked weed, he drank like crazy, he smoked angel dust he did all kinds of [bleep],' Ratner said, while Simmons mumbled under his breath and the crowd booed. 'He did not know who the president of the United States was ... He knew nothing about politics! Now Russell is a changed man.' Grazer finally tapped Ratner on the leg, reminding him to talk about his movie. A Universal Studios rep said Ratner’s remarks were 'friendly retaliation' for Simmons’ Friars Club speech last week where Ratner accepted an award. Simmons said through his rep: 'Brett is one of the funniest people I know ... I was making funny faces, like what he was saying hurt, but it didn’t. I expected it. That’s just Brett. I love him.'" (PageSix)

"WHAT: Fashion house Roger Vivier celebrated its new fall/winter line with an 'Uptown-Downtown' fete, combining the party kids of below 14th Street with the more refined, but equally chic, uptown set. The evening also benefited the Music Unites Youth Choir. WHEN: Tuesday, October 25th WHERE: The Roger Vivier boutique, New York WHO: Leighton Meester, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Hamish Bowles, Alexandra Richardson, Chantal Stafford and Hanne Gaby." (Papermag)

"Beginning with the Wednesday lunch at Michael’s madhouse du jour. Jampacked with conversation, (surely not without controversy here and there). At Table One in the bay (I got this from a little birdie Tweet-Tweet): Bonnie Fuller, Gerry Byrne, Nicole Miller, Aly Racer, Ashleigh Banfield, Noreen Dodge, Dari Marder, Evernolia Gillespie, Maryse Thomas, Diane Clehane, and Heather Thomson ... Also among those present who just can’t stay away, Barry Diller, Roger Ailes, Liz Smith, Julie Cohen, Larry Kudlow, Dave Zinczenko, Joe Armstrong, Freddie Gershon, Stan Shuman, Joe Kernan, Wayne Kabak, Paula Wagner, Mickey Ateyeh, Henry Schleiff, Carol Stern, Leslie Stevens, Cindy Lewis, Kathie Lee, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Chris Meigher, James Cohen, David Sanford, Lewis Stein, Catherine Saxton, Fern Mallis, Steven Stolman, Jack Bochonok, Rob Weisbach, Deb Shriver, Jonelle Procope, Barbare Guggenheim, Tom Goodman, Mark Rosenthal, Kathy Lacey. American media all in one room under one little roof." (NYSocialDiary)

"President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly referring to the Congress as 'Republican' even though their party controls one-half of the unpopular institution. Obama and his allies have started to deploy the phrase 'Republican Congress' in what some experts see as a clear attempt to gain a political advantage ... Is it a harmless slip of the tongue, or a subtle messaging strategy? Political experts believe it’s the latter. 'I think it’s to convey a message and I think it’s great they’re doing it. There’s so much dissatisfaction in Washington. It’s very important for Democrats to label that dissatisfaction. It’s important to say who’s being the obstructionist and who has real plans,' said Democratic pollster Celinda LakeDarrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said, 'Democrats are trying to give ownership of Congress to Republicans because the institution is dysfunctional and not addressing the jobs problem, and this is a way to tie blame to the GOP.' Political scientists have said that Obama is using a game plan similar to that used by Presidents Truman and Clinton. Both won their reelection by railing about Congress. The difference, however, is that both chambers in 1948 and 1996 were controlled by Republicans." (TheHill)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"On Dick Cheney: Condoleezza Rice's relationship with the former vice president was strained, to say the least. As national security advisor and then secretary of state, Rice and Cheney battled for President George W. Bush's ear. And the fighting hasn't stopped. Cheney's recent book has Rice 'tearfully' admitting to him that she was wrong. Rice fires back, noting that Cheney was utterly convinced of the spurious intelligence on the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, and says that she was "stunned" when it seemed the vice president negotiated behind her back to let Israel prolong the war in Lebanon in 2006. The vice president's staff, she notes, was 'very much of one ultra-hawkish mind ... determined to act as a power center of its own' ... On Donald Rumsfeld: Rice's relationship with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was full of what she characterizes as animosity. She argues that Rumsfeld resented her role as national security advisor and recounts his infamous 'snowflake' memo in which he told her to back off his turf, or else he'd take the matter to the president: 'I found the tirade amusing if slightly condescending....'" (ForeignPolicy)

"The divorce of Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner and his estranged wife Jane, has been resolved amicably -- and with a secret multimillion dollar settlement -- 16 years after they split.
Post columnist Keith J. Kelly reports Jann and Jane settled on Oct. 12, dissolving a 43-year marriage in which the couple have lived separately for nearly two decades. Jann, said to be worth over $500 million, and Jane had been estranged since 1995, when it was revealed that he was involved with former Calvin Klein model and designer Matt Nye. At the time there was speculation that the split would force the breakup of their lucrative publishing empire, which also included Us Weekly, Men’s Journal and Family Life, which was later sold ... Jane had borrowed money from her father to help launch Rolling Stone in 1967 and has remained a company vice president. The new speculation is that Jann agreed to give her a multimillion settlement -- and that he might be looking to tie the knot with Nye now that same-sex marriage is legal in New York. Jann and Nye have three children born via surrogate." (PageSix)

"I joined (The London Spectator) as a columnist back in 1976, when it sold around 8,000 copies per week but it seemed that everyone you knew read it. Everyone, that is, at Oxford and Cambridge, in Westminster, in Kensington and Belgravia, as well as in London’s St. James’s clubland. Now at 85,000 copies, owned by the Daily Telegraph group, and a big moneymaker, the Speccie’s sometimes reactionary ethos is not as profound as it once was—who can forget its early support of the postage stamp and its prophetic thoughts on the motor carriage? 'Its writers continue to believe they are communicating with a smallish and highly educated and sophisticated audience.' Back in 1976, the Speccie’s headquarters were a Georgian house on a leafy Bloomsbury street next to the house of Charles Dickens. We have since moved to yet another grand house in a quiet street fifty yards from Parliament. There is a large garden in the back where our annual summer party takes place on the first Thursday of July. These parties are notorious for the scrum they produce, an overflow of every writer, hack, politician, and London characters imaginable. All prime ministers, at least since I’ve been there, attend regularly, although royals are never invited. Except for lunch. The Spectator’s lunches used to be notorious for the mix they produced. They are held in the elegant dining room and such diverse characters as Spiro Agnew, Prince Charles, Dame Edna Everage, Alger Hiss, Albert Speer, Dame Maggie Smith (whom I sat next to a couple of years ago and her first words to me were, 'What in heavens is that pink thing you’re eating?') join in the frivolity. Drink flows uninterruptedly, and when the legendary editor Clay Felker came over for lunch—he was looking for writers as he had just taken over Esquire—he asked me how was it possible for anyone to produce the magazine after all the drinking." (TakiThedoracopoulos)

"Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. Euro-enthusiasts see the single currency as the first steppingstone toward a broader economic union, which is their dream. Euroskeptics do, too, but they see that endgame as hell -- and would prefer the single currency to be dismantled. The euro crisis has, for many observers, validated these notions. Both camps argue that the eurozone countries’ lopsided efforts to construct a monetary union without a fiscal counterpart explain why the union has become such a mess. Many of the enthusiasts say that the way forward is for the 17 eurozone countries to issue euro bonds, which they would all guarantee (one of several variations on the fiscal-union theme). Even the German government, which is reluctant to bail out economies weaker than its own, thinks that some sort of pooling of budgets may be needed once the current debt problems have been solved. A fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone’s relatively healthy economies (led by Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands) to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). Moreover, once the crisis is solved, the enthusiasm for a fiscal union may wane." (ForeignPolicy)

"From Jill Sackler’s, I hurried on down to the Waldorf where the 28th Annual Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala, themed "Hollywood Glamour," was taking place to raise funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. With the continued support of our generous family of donors, the Alzheimer's Association works tirelessly to enhance research, care and support efforts and move toward a brighter future.  Led by Founder and General Chair Princess Yasmin Aga Khan along with Gala Chairs Jay and Anne Hearst McInerney; the evening honored individuals who combat Alzheimer’s disease through their fundraising, care and volunteer efforts. For her outstanding contribution to help end Alzheimer’s Somers Farkas received the Rita Hayworth Award. Since its inception, the New York Rita Hayworth Gala has raised more than $31 million for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Much of the credit can be given to Princess Yasmin (or Yazzy as she is known to her many friends who are always there for her, assisting, working, pushing, pulling, selling tables, arranging and meeting to get it together year after year). This is an example of the durability of New York friendships where there is a higher purpose involved. Then when the big day arrives, it becomes what was intended: a big fun party. That was the vibe in the room during the cocktail reception as the hundreds of guests were arriving. Last night’s total funds raised was well over $1 million." (NYSocialDiary)

"With President Barack Obama as a guest, last night’s Tonight Show With Jay Leno posted a 4.1 meter-market household rating, the highest for a Tuesday telecast since March 2, 2010, night two of Leno’s first week back as host of NBC’s late-night show. Compared with The Tonight Show‘s season-to-date average, last night’s telecast was up 52%. And that was with no help from NBC’s primetime lineup as the network averaged 2.9 million viewers in the 10 PM hour with a Prime Suspect rerun vs. 11.3 million for CBS and 9.6 million for ABC. CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman averaged a 2.7/7 household rating last night; ABC’s Nightline posted a 3.6/9, followed by Jimmy Kimmel Live! with a 1.8/6." (Deadline)

"For years cable networks showed their strongest shows during the summer, when they faced minimal broadcast competition. It was their time to shine, and shine they did. Now cable is challenging broadcast in that time of year when the Big Four networks long monopolized viewers' attention, the fall. The best example of that is AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' the second-year zombie drama that is drawing such strong ratings opposite strong broadcast competition that it was renewed for season three yesterday. 'Dead' was the No. 1 scripted show on both broadcast and cable Sunday at 9 p.m., averaging 4.5 million adults 18-49, according to Nielsen, some 800,000 more than ABC's timeslot competitor "Desperate Housewives" and 2 million more than CBS's 'The Good Wife.' 'Dead' is on pace to set a record for most-watched original basic cable show ever in 18-49s, despite airing opposite one of broadcast's highest-rated programs, NBC's 'Sunday Night Football.'" (Medlilifemagazine)

"So apparently, Lindsay Lohan was offered a sweet $1 million to pose for Playboy. With nudity on the brain, we decided to do a quick office poll to see who else the dirty minds of Paper would like to see nekked in Playboy and (because there are very few straight men here on staff) Playgirl. Mickey Boardman, editorial director 'Kelly Cutrone, because it would just be such a curve ball and a surprise. Mayor Bloomberg, because I have a fetish for old Jewish men. I would have said Barry Diller, but wouldn't want to make my girlfriend Diane von Furstenberg mad.' Hunter Hill, associate publisher 'Jennifer Hudson because I'd like to see what her new body looks like. George H. W. Bush, because I like a big bush. And Andy Cohen, of course. Though I could just as easily see that in person.'" (Papermag)

"'Have you seen the pilates and yoga room?' Christian Cota asked Monique Péan last night at Donna Karan's apartment. The designer's Central Park West pad played host to the CFDA's annual new members party. Prabal Gurung, Eddie Borgo, Olivier Theyskens, and Cota were among the 33 designers who made this year's cut. Outside on the balcony 16 floors above the park, Rebecca Minkoff, who became a member last year, said, 'I wonder how the tanning is up here; I bet it's pretty good.' The CFDA's freshman and sophomore classes weren't the only ones fixated on Donna's digs. 'This party was at my house three years ago—I have to say this place is pretty nice,' remarked Elie Tahari, who was arm in arm with Catherine Malandrino, in whose company he just invested. "Too bad Donna's not here to join us." With Karan on a sudden trip to Australia, her daughter Gaby Karan de Felice played stand-in. Speaking of real estate envy, Cota told that he has his eyes on a particular office in the CFDA Incubator when he moves in next May. 'I really hope I can get Bibhu Mohapatra's spot because it's the biggest. All the other ones are the same size, but his is much bigger.'" (Style)
John Huntsman on Colbert

Monday, October 24, 2011

Media-Wore D'Oeuvres

"Muammar Qaddafi’s crush on Condoleezza Rice is one of the strangest things about him that is not a part of his face. When Libyans raided Qaddafi’s Bab al Azizia palace, they discovered a homemade scrapbook filled with photos of the former U.S. secretary of state. 'Yes, Leezza, Leezza, Leezza... I love her very much,' he told Al Jazeera in 2007, like some sort of despotic Nabokov. Now we get to hear the other side of the greatest love story of this blog post. Tina Brown’s digital concern, the Daily Beast, published an excerpt from Rice’s forthcoming memoir, No Higher Honor, in which Rice reveals that Qaddafi “had a slightly eerie fascination with me personally, asking visitors why his ‘African princess’ wouldn’t visit him.' And it gets worse, by which we mean better: 'It was Ramadan at the time of my visit, and after sundown the ‘Brother Leader‘ insisted that I join him for dinner in his private kitchen. ... At the end of dinner, Qaddafi told me that he’d made a videotape for me. Uh oh, I thought, what is this going to be? It was a quite innocent collection of photos of me with world leaders—President Bush, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, and so on—set to the music of a song called ‘Black Flower in the White House,’ written for me by a Libyan composer. It was weird, but at least it wasn’t raunchy.'" (VanityFair)

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai told Pakistan's Geo Television in an interview aired on Saturday that Afghanistan would support Pakistan if it were to go to war with the United States, or any other nation, calling Afghanistan 'a brother' to Pakistan (Reuters, NYT,AP, WSJ, Guardian). The interview sparked a wave of criticism from many Afghans, particularly in the north if the country, who believe that Pakistan is responsible for much of their ongoing struggle with militancy. It is unclear when the interview was recorded, but its broadcast came just after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Pakistan, where she pushed the government to facilitate reconciliation in Afghanistan, while at the same time pressing Pakistan to take more action against insurgents." (ForeignPolicy)

"Gayle King may be Charlie Rose’s angel on CBS’s revamped 'The Early Show.' Sources say network honcho Chris Licht, creator of MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe,' plans to re-tool the low-rated “Early Show” into a more politically focused program. 'Gayle was a regular on ‘Morning Joe,’ ' a source said. '[Licht] sees Gayle as a Mika [Brzezinski] for Charlie who would be the Joe [Scarborough].' Sources say CBS is close to a deal with Rose to lead the morning show that lags far behind ABC’s 'Good Morning America' and NBC’s 'Today Show.' CBS hosts Marysol Castro, Chris Wragge, Erica Hill and Jeff Glor will likely be dropped. Sources say a dealbreaker for Rose would be losing his interview show on PBS, while others worry about his lifestyle. 'Charlie’s never woken up before 10 a.m.,' a source said. 'He’s one of New York’s great night owls.'" (PageSix)

"On the official morning of its release, Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is #1 on the Kindle bestseller list, #1 in Apple’s iBookstore and #2 on the Nook bestseller list. It is not yet showing up on the Kobo or Google (NSDQ: GOOG) bestseller lists, possibly since those sites don’t offer pre-orders.Pre-orders for e-books (and other products) give retailers a way to capitalize on pre-release hype and lock in orders early. Kindle, Apple and Nook all have special pre-order sections of their stores. Those books also show up in the stores’ bestseller lists prior to their release, giving them a little added promotion for users who might be browsing the lists. People who had pre-ordered Steve Jobs through Kindle or the iBookstore also had an advantage: While the book was officially supposed to be released today, it hit both stores early and showed up on the Kindles of users who’d pre-ordered it last night before midnight, according to accounts on Apple Insider and various other blogs." (PaidContent)

"Way back in January, I railed against the seemingly off-kilter power balance of their alleged love, but Calvin Klein and ex porn player Nick Gruber are still an item, having lasted longer than any relationship I've ever had. In fact, at a recent talk Calvin gave, he spoke admiringly of Nick, who sat beaming in the front row. Calvin said he unexpectedly fell in love with a young man, who he explained is a total jock and who he's even gone hang gliding with. (I guess they love sharing daredevil stunts against nature.) The ex designer added that it's interesting to see things through Nick's eyes since Nick hasn't experienced nearly as much as he himself has (though for his age, Nick seems quite experienced, thank you). As a diehard cynic, I have to at least bite the designer bullet and give them credit for keeping their thing going, whatever that may be." (Michael Musto)

"Howard doesn’t want to be on TV. Last week I found myself sitting in my car long past midnight listening to Howard Stern interview celebrities, everyone from Chevy Chase to T.I. Did you know T.I. was smart? All we hear about is the arrests, but after ten minutes on Howard I was a fan. And last night, worried about running down my car battery, I heard Howard’s interview with Perez Hilton. Who is also intelligent. Guess you’ve got to be smart to make it. But you don’t pull teeth with Perez, he coughs up anything and everything, like meeting men on Grinder (it’s an iPhone app which plots the location of other gay men). ...And Howard said he wanted to be on the radio since he was five, it was all he ever wanted to do. He was happy. He didn’t need a TV talk show. He looked forward to coming to work. It’s so hard to make it. Listen to Stern enough and he’ll talk about starting out in Hartford, all the markets he endured, working under those who didn’t get him, admitting he wasn’t always so good. But he kept on keeping on because of desire, because of the dream. It wasn’t about money, it was about being on the radio. Now I wonder if Howard could be as good as Barbara Walters on television. I think he’d blow her away. Then again, his 10,000 hours are in radio, it’s a different medium, it’s intimate, you hear it instead of see it, there’s a whole theatre in your mind ...What skill do you want to have? Who do you want to be? I’m not saying you’ve got to start right after you’re born, but so many of our elite practitioners had a dream, a desire from a very young age. They were not pushed by their parents, although they may have been influenced by them. They just wanted to be this one thing. Howard knew the call letters of every radio station in America. He memorized them from books his dad brought home. Not because he deemed it necessary to become the King of All Media, but because he was just that interested, he couldn’t get enough.The pros make it look easy. But don’t believe it is." (Bob Lefsetz)

"When you're filling Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers with over 600 brilliant minds at the forefront of design, from landscape architects to typographers, the stakes are considerably higher when it comes to a decor scheme . Well, the planning powers behind the Cooper-Hewitt's National Design Awards didn't disappoint. A profusion of giant zingy numbers marked each table in shades of teal, lime, and mustard, and the whimsical, industrially chic place settings consisted of large spools of tape with guests’ names scrawled in Sharpie. Categories for the creative crowd spanned the gamut from interior to interaction design, and corporate & institutional achievement to communication design—but the fashion flock turned out to fete Gilles Mendel, who beat out Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung for this year’s fashion design honors. As guests dismantled the caramelized onion, potato, and blue cheese tartlets accompanied by yam pear bisque shooters and tangles of walnut-studded frisee, presenter Linda Fargo recalled Mendel as the 'elegant Frenchman that appeared in the Bergdorf Goodman coat department,' who went on to revamp the fur landscape by treating luxuriant pelts 'with the light ease of fabric' ... But back to the museum chatter—everyone has a humiliating or harrowing museum tale or two, non? 'Searching desperately for bathrooms' tops Mendel’s list of museum woes, Paper’s Kim Hastreiter recalled an Ann Magnuson elevator performance in the Whitney Biennial during the ‘80s as 'the most fun I’ve ever had in a museum' .." (Fashionweekdaily)

"Ian Schrager is finally ready to do his definitive Studio 54 book. The hotelier, who ran the legendary disco with Steve Rubell from 1977-1991, has largely stayed quiet on its notorious celebrity-laden party scene. Now he’s getting ready to do two books to 'set the record straight.' Schrager told us, 'I’m doing a coffee table book of never before seen photographs, and a biography which will have the real story of what happened at Studio 54. Of course there will be stories about the famous people who were there, but I won’t be giving away any secrets about my friends.' He said he was still looking for a co-author and a publisher, adding, 'A lot of people have tried to take credit for what happened at Studio. I’ve been quiet for a long time, but now’s the time to do the real story.'" (PageSix)

"Last Thursday night the The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) hosted the 23rd Annual Preview Party for The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show at the Park Avenue Armory. The show features many of the world’s most influential art and antique dealers from the United States and Europe. This is the 23rd year that the Society has had the good fortune to be the beneficiary of the Preview Party, which was launched in 1989. The party itself has become one of New York’s important fall events. It’s also a bit like a homecoming where so many friends and neighbors and supporters gather. And, it attracts more than a thousand high profile guests from the worlds of fashion, art, philanthropy, and interior design. A real New York night ... This year’s co-chairs who are always crucial to the Preview Night’s success were: Noreen Buckfire, Elizabeth Miller, Daisy Soros, and Michel Cox Witmer." (NYSocialDiary)

"In just six weeks, nearly 200 companies and special interests have reported that they’re lobbying the 12-member supercommittee. It’s a stunning ratio of lobbyists to lawmakers but makes sense when you consider the high stakes faced by interests ranging from the health care industry to Native American tribes. The groups fear the supercommittee will find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction before Thanksgiving by cutting their funding or raising their taxes. Lobbyists have blitzed Washington, blanketing Capitol Hill with phone calls to lawmakers’ offices, launching multiplatform advertising campaigns and working to activate grass-roots bases. The scale of the effort, tabulated by POLITICO in a review of recent federal filings, suggests that companies are taking the committee seriously and hoping to blunt whatever comes their way, even as hopes fade on Capitol Hill for a major deal." (Politico)