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Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: A Broad Abroad with Paula Froelich

WATCH: Anticarjacking Class? Sign Us Up! We Attend the Ultimate Driving School
Just a friendly roadside warning (Photo: Andrew Rothschild)

A Broad Abroad with Paula Froelich is one of my favorite new shows of the season. A Broad Abroad is a roller coaster of vicarious, informative thrills from some of the most fascinating places on the planet. The noteworthy photography, by Andrew Rothschild, makes lush use of the natural light with quick bite-size cuts that make one want to take some time off and see the world. Further, Paula is an incredible interviewer, asking all the right questions, like why exactly the shark spotter guide doesn't surf ("because I know too much," he replied.). I don't travel nearly as much as Paula, so watching her is something of a vicarious thrill. Paula, formerly of Page Six and Newsweek, is at her finest travelling to some of the most interesting place in the world and explaining the compelling ways that people live, and their local customs.

The most recent episode of A Broad Abroad features Froelich, the Editor in Chief of Yahoo! Travel, in South Africa. There is the Shark Spotters episode, which combines Paula's love of danger and travel. Paula is also a big fan of wildlife, most importantly her dog Karl.

My favorite of the short South Africa episodes is "Drinking the Strongest Brew in South Africa with a Shebeen Queen." "Back in the day," intones Paula, "some Shebeens served alcohol made with battery acid, contributing the reputation of serving some of the deadliest brew on earth." See, that's the sort of interesting tidbit you probably will not find on the more staid Travel Channel. Then, Paula proceeds to gulp some Special leopard beer -- twice as strong as most American beers -- out of what appears like a metal stein. After finding it worthy, she takes a second drink. This, clearly, is a woman after my own heart.

I highly recommend A Broad Abroad. Next up: Myanmar.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anthony Haden Guest at Leonora

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The incomparable Anthony Haden-Guest performed some spoken word at Leonora. Also in the crowd of beautiful people: Lisa Xavier, Liam McMullan, Todd Smolar and Music by Nick Cohen. After putting on a masterful performance, the Iron Man Nightlife Decathalon Champion hit the dance floor and showed us all how it's done. I can now die in peace secure in the knowledge that I shared the dance floor with Guest.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"As the United States begins its full assault against the Islamic State in Syria, backed by Arab allies, the absence of NATO ally Turkey is drawing attention and comment. Just days before the Sept. 22 beginning of U.S. airstrikes, Turkey managed to broker a deal with the Islamic State to return 49 diplomats held in Iraq for 101 days. Contrary to diplomatic and media speculation, however, Turkey is not supporting the transnational, Syria- and Iraq-based jihadist movement known as the Islamic State. While the details of just how Ankara retrieved its diplomats are sketchy, Ankara likely negotiated their release through its contacts among the Iraqi Sunni community and its ally, Qatar. This influence, especially among Sunni locals in not just Iraq but also Syria, will be critical if Turkey is going to be able to manage the jihadist threat long after the United States declares mission accomplished and moves on. Rumors have long circulated that Turkey has been aiding Islamic State fighters. A New York Times article suggesting Turkey was tolerating an Islamic State recruiting center went viral, as did the subsequent war of words between the government and New York Times management. Another argument heard is that Ankara sees the Syrian Kurds gaining their own autonomous enclave in northeastern Syria as an intolerable security threat for the Turks — making the Islamic State the lesser evil. More recently, Turkey's unwillingness to join the U.S.-led international effort against the Islamic State was also seen as being driven by Turkey's dealings with the jihadist group. Such perceptions have been reinforced now that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has secured the release of 49 diplomats abducted by the group from the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul after the militants seized control of the city. Turkey's dealings with the Islamic State are much more nuanced than has generally been understood. Last year in July, Stratfor shed light on this dynamic, analyzing how the Turks were caught between two very threatening realities — both demanding simultaneous management — on their southern flank: jihadists of various stripes and Syrian Kurdish separatists. Managing the very difficult geopolitical battle space that is Syria required Ankara to develop relations within both the jihadist and Kurdish landscapes south of their border. Turkey also understands that it cannot allow itself to be a launchpad for an international effort against the Islamic State, the outcome of which is extremely uncertain. Turkey is all too aware of how Pakistan even today, nearly two generations after it agreed to serve as the staging ground for the U.S.-led effort to counter Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, continues to deal with the fallout of that war, which has not yet ended." (STRATFOR)

President Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

"Call it the American exceptionalism exception. If there’s one place on President Barack Obama’s annual speaking calendar where rhetoric about the U.S. being the world’s greatest power doesn’t sell, it’s at the United Nations. So when he spoke to heads of state and diplomats Wednesday, there was little talk of America’s duty to solve the world’s problems. For many in the international audience, that kind of language conjures up notions of American imperialism, military adventurism and a foolhardy quest to remake the world in America’s image. Even as the U.S. expanded its most significant military operation since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq a decade ago, Obama watered down his noble-America rhetoric. Instead, he promoted a more benign kind of American optimism likelier to be soothing to the ears of those on the world stage. 'I often tell young people in the United States that despite the headlines, this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, to be free to pursue your dreams,'Obama said, casting for positive trends amid a cascade of global crises. 'For America, the choice is clear: We choose hope over fear.' Obama’s effort to find notes of optimism on the global scene struck a contrast with the grim picture painted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who decried 'barrel bombs and beheadings' and bemoaned 'a terrible year for the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.' However, the closest Obama came Wednesday to embracing a special obligation borne by the U.S. was a mention of Americans being 'heirs to a proud legacy of freedom.'" (Politico)

"The national numbers indicate that Republicans should be on the verge of big House gains. But a district-by-district analysis suggests a different story. Throughout the election cycle, we’ve been closely monitoring the House generic ballot, which is the national poll that asks whether voters would support a Republican or a Democrat in their local House race. For much of the year, the polls have been roughly tied. Those were generally polls of registered voters — a bigger universe of people than the “likely voters” now being tested. With that polling adjustment now in place, Republicans have taken a clear lead in the House generic ballot, though perhaps not as big of a lead as they held at this point in 2010, when they netted 63 House seats and took control of the House. Table 1 shows the results of five recently released generic ballot surveys from high-quality, nonpartisan pollsters, as well as results from those same pollsters roughly this time four years ago. This is an imperfect comparison: While the pollsters used are the same, the timing of the surveys does not line up perfectly (we used the most recent survey from these pollsters conducted this year and tried to find the poll from four years ago conducted closest to this point in the election year). However, the Republicans held an average lead on the generic ballot of about 5.8 percentage points in these polls, whereas the same surveys now show an average lead of 4.2 points. That’s good for Republicans, but not quite as good as 2010. In comparing the overall average (including other polls not included in Table 1), the RealClearPolitics generic ballot average on Sept. 24, 2010 (four years ago as of this writing) showed a Republican lead of 3.7 points. The current average, as of Wednesday afternoon, shows Republicans with a 4.0-point lead. So depending on how one slices the numbers, one could argue that, based on this metric, Republicans are in slightly better shape in the battle for the House than they were four years ago. Or one could argue that they are not doing as well. For instance, another polling average — HuffPost Pollster — shows Republicans with only a one-point lead on the generic ballot, a couple points less than its average showed at this time in 2010. So pick your poison. The larger point is that the generic ballot, and how it moves from now until Election Day, might not tell us much more than what we already know about the U.S. House picture." (SabatosCrystalBall)

Michael McCarty at his Malibu home when we visited him in 2005. Photo: JH.

"It was Wednesday and Michael’s was bustling. Many of the familiar faces were there including James Chanos, the great hedge fund operator; Diane Clehane of MediaBistro who was hosting Monica Smith, Lisa Wells. I don’t know what they talked about but it was about (their) business. Moving along, the great Alice Mayhew of  Simon & Schuster and Jared Cohen of Google; Armando Ruiz. At table one, Mickey Ateyeh with guests Anne Moore and Adria De Haume; Tom Rogers of TIVO; Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, founder of Phoenix House was lunching at the corner table with Ray Kelly, former New York City Police Commissioner under Michael Bloomberg who is now well-occupied in the private security business; right across the aisle from them Nikki Haskell was lunching with Rikki Klieman, the legal eagle for CBS Morning whose husband Bill Bratton is the current New York City Police Commissioner (demonstrating, if nothing else, what a small world New York is – like, as I’ve written before: a small town. The ladies were joined by Eva Mohr, a major private residential real estate broker with Sotheby’s. At the table across from the ladies, the ex-officio Mayor of Michaels, Joe Armstrong, just back from Austin where he attended the opening of The Making of Gone With the Wind  at the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin, was dining with his friend David Zinczenko, editor/publisher/ ABC anchor, restaurateur.Moving around the room: Jim Cohen of Hudson News, Jonathan Estreich of Estreich & Co.; Wayne Kabak, mega-manager of  writers, television personalities, media personalities and actors; Fern Mallis the CFDA lady, the moving force behind the development of New York Fashion Week; Henry Schleiff, President and General Manager of the Discovery Channel" (NYSD)

By Jordi Matas/UNHCR.

"There are two Champs-Élysées in the world. One is in Paris. It's filled with movie theaters, boutiques, markets, and fantastic restaurants. Two months ago, I found myself walking down the other Champs-Élysées, nicknamed by aid workers, in the middle of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Zaatari is a ramshackle city of tents and containers, home to about 120,000 Syrian refugees. The streets of this Champs-Élysées are lined with makeshift stores. Where the walkways of its Parisian namesake are bordered by ethereal street lamps, here electricity is jimmy-rigged and borrowed from street lamps. It was incredible to see an improvised pizza-delivery place, a wedding-dress-rental shop, and, my personal favorite, a baklava bakery. The bakery was run by a family of mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and grandchildren, and overseen by several brothers. They had survived the atrocities across the border. They each had unimaginable stories of heartbreak—their houses had been blown up, they saw men shot right in front of them, mid-sentence, mid-conversation. What’s more, the people who pulled the trigger could equally have been from any side. They not only survived, but also endured to re-create their bakery to feed their fellow refugees. Their pride in their desserts was as tangible as a sculptor’s in his creation. Their generosity was unparalleled. Every time I tried to pay for something, a hand would slap me away. 'What, are you trying to insult us? Eat. Enjoy.' Whenever I hear someone say 'Eat. Enjoy,' it reminds me of the way my grandmother spoke to me." (Harvey Weinstein)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Video: Emma Watson at the United Nations

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"When President Obama announced that the anti-Islamic State coalition had carried out airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday morning, he was quick to emphasize that the support of five Arab nations 'makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.' Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar participated inor, in the latter case, at least supportedthe U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria. For Obama, participation from Arab allies was a necessity. This would not be another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, but a cooperative, multilateral effort against a regional terror threat. But what do the Arab nations get out of it? For starters, each nation is domestically vulnerable to terrorist attacks, has a deep-rooted fear of a geopolitical situation favorable to Iran, and a longstanding policy of adhering to the U.S. foreign policy agenda in exchange for weapons and military protection. But there are differences, too. Here's a guide to the maze of motivations." (TNR)

"This is also a week of notable protest demonstrations in the city  for the Climate Change including Sunday’s march and Monday’s gathering at the foot of Manhattan. There was also a protest by several hundred people over at Lincoln Center last night where the Metropolitan Opera was opening its season with 'Le Nozze di Figaro.' The protesters were calling for the opera company to cancel its scheduled performance of John Adams’ 'The Death of Klinghoffer.' The opera is about the hijacking in 1985 of a cruise ship by the Palestine Liberation Front which in the hijackers murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish-American passenger. The opera, which was completed in 1991, would be having its Met premiere this October. Rockefellers. I was asked to read this book by a publicist: 'Being a Rockefeller; Becoming Myself' by Eileen Rockefeller, the youngest child of David. I'd never read an account of any family members except the founder and his son. The Rockefeller family is interesting to me as a family because they continue to represent ultimate money and power in not only the United States but the entire world in the human era of fossil fuel energy. I’ve met and known some members of its 4th generation who are referred to as The Cousins. They’re mainly the Boomer generation. They’re very nice people, decent, unaffected, friendly and uncontroversial personalities. Their personal style is mainly conservative. I don’t mean that in the political sense but in terms of conduct among others. They are not people who draw attention to themselves. There’s no 'lookee here, lookee me' about any of them. This is my personal, superficial (or at least not deep) experience of family members. They’re generally WASPish in the the best and most authentic sense of the term. The values they reflect are textbook and what I grew up around in New England. They are the genesis of that over-used politically correct term 'family values.' And many of them are highly philanthropic and forward-leaning. My sense of the family has been formed mainly through those I’ve met and observed, and what I’ve read about their fathers, their grandfather and grandmother, and their great-grandfather who started it all. What is most curious to me is what is the dynamic that has flourished through the generations to keep them together. It’s an enormous family now, six generations later, but still in many ways a unit. And that is an amazing fact. Eileen Rockefeller’s memoir – which is very personal– confirms that in her stories about growing up. Despite the luxury of their surroundings and the special treatment that  the name evokes in others, they remain pleasant, unassuming, yet self-possessed individuals." (NYSD)

Scorsese’s latest doc is on New York Review of Books

"As the New York Review of Books approached its 50th anniversary in 2013, editor Robert Silvers and his staff wondered if words were enough to honor one of the world’s signature literary publications. 'Should we do anything at all, rumble along in our usual way, or should we make an occasion out of it?' the 87-year-old Silvers recalled during a recent interview at the Review’s offices in Greenwich Village, bookcases unavoidably nearby. 'We thought we should do something that was good for us and good for our readers. We thought — maybe a documentary.' They agreed on the ideal director: Martin Scorsese. 'The 50 Year Argument,' which airs Monday on HBO, mixes archival footage with contemporary interviews, scenes from the Review’s office and highlights from an anniversary celebration at Town Hall in Manhattan in 2013. The film is co-directed by Scorsese and David Tedeschi, who edited Scorsese’s documentaries on Bob Dylan and George Harrison. Scorsese, interviewed by telephone, said he has been reading the Review for decades and has piles of old issues around his apartment to prove it. His affection dates back to the magazine’s beginning, when he was a student at New York University and spotted the Review at a favorite newsstand. 'My family wasn’t in the habit of reading — there were no books in our apartment — so this was a period of really challenging everything that I had thought and I had believed,' said Scorsese, adding that the Review’s broadsheet design stood out compared with such rival publications as The New Yorker and Dissent.
'The paper itself made you want to read it, the actual texture. It wasn’t intimidating — until you read some of the articles.'" (P6)

Click to order “Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – and What We Can Do About It.”

"Last night I went down to the Four Seasons restaurant where Jeanne and Herb Siegel were hosting a reception for Steve Forbes and his new book 'Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – and What We Can Do About It.' Mr. Forbes wrote the book with Elizabeth Ames. Most of us have no idea what that means “destruction of the dollar,” and it is something that everyone should know about because it is upon us. I don’t even know what that means as I say it, except it means something very dire in our everyday lives. So Mr. Forbes’ book is a start, if you don’t know. It should be said that this is a widely discussed and debated topic among those who are in the financial business or have vivid interest in the markets and the economy of this country. That said, the party last night was called for 6. At 7:15 Mr. Forbes hadn’t arrived. I understood: it took me 45 minutes in what ordinarily would have been a ten or fifteen minute ride, because of the traffic jams in the East 50s. And it was rush hour. I finally got out of my cab and walked the several blocks to the restaurant. There were a lot of people who were late or hadn’t arrived. Out on East 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue it was a jam of people, motorcycle policemen, buses and teeming civilization." (NYSD)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sumo Gallery: Mick Rock 'Exposed'

portrait of the Ozzy as a young man

  • Sumo Gallery unveiled Mick Rock's Exposed last night, a show of works of art including rock and roll and fashion icons from the 70s to the modern day. The usuals are represented -- Kate Moss, blondie, Lou Reed, Bowie, Bob Marley -- but in unusual artistic waysSignature "Mick cocktails," among other adult beverages,  were served. Among the beautiful people: Mick Rock, Justin Parks, Ivy Silberstein, Brynn Rinderknecht, Ditch davey, Aristides Duvall, Tatiana Vidus, and Mattiu Bitton.

    Rock -- the Man Who Shot the 70s -- interprets photos with an energy that is equal to the wattage of the rock stars, and the materials he uses to express himself wonderfully capture the glissando of The Life.. 

    There was also a film on display on the bottom floor of Sumo, where Rock -- photographing The Killers, Jimmy Fallon, Kate Moss -- exposed his own methods in real time. He spins, he puts on flashing "Man-From-Mars" glasses, which, no doubt, leave triply, glittery ocular residue that enhances his mood and the way he sees things. He is hyperkinetic. He is, in essence, as much of a rock star as his photographic subjects.

    Sumo's events have an interesting mix of socialites, downtown hipsters, models, art aficionados -- and sometimes all four at once.

    Sumo's Mick Rock exhibition is Open to the Public, Sept 23-Oct 19, Tues to Sun, 11am-7pm. #MickRock #SumoGallery.

    You can also buy Mick Rock Exposed the book here.
  • The Razor Sharp Comedy of Key and Peele

    The fact that President Obama "gets," and is a fan of Luthor goves him cool points in my book ...

    Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

    "'Here begins our tale: The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.' This opening adage of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, China's classic novel of war and strategy, best captures the essential dynamism of Chinese geopolitics. At its heart is the millennia-long struggle by China's would-be rulers to unite and govern the all-but-ungovernable geographic mass of China. It is a story of centrifugal forces and of insurmountable divisions rooted in geography and history -- but also, and perhaps more fundamentally, of centripetal forces toward eventual unity.
    This dynamism is not limited to China. The Scottish referendum and waves of secession movements -- from Spain's Catalonia to Turkey and Iraq's ethnic Kurds -- are working in different directions. More than half a century after World War II triggered a wave of post-colonial nationalism that changed the map of the world, buried nationalism and ethnic identity movements of various forms are challenging the modern idea of the inviolable unity of the nation-state. Yet even as these sentiments pull on the loose threads of nations, in China, one of the most intractable issues in the struggle for unity -- the status of Tibet -- is poised for a possible reversal, or at least a major adjustment. The long-running but frequently unnoticed negotiations have raised the possibility that the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, may be nearing a deal that would enable him to return to his Tibetan homeland. If it happens, it would end the Dalai Lama's exile in Dharamsala, India -- an exile that began after the Tibetan uprising in 1959, nine years after the People's Republic of China annexed Tibet. More important, a settlement between Beijing and the Dalai Lama could be a major step in lessening the physical and psychological estrangement between the Chinese heartland and the Tibetan Plateau." (STRATFOR)

    Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP/Corbis

    "Britain has decided to remain whole, but the secession fever gripping the world has not yet broken. Catalonia will hold a non-binding vote on independence in November, and a number of other European regions are contemplating going it alone. There’s always some idle secession chatter in the freedom-and-independence-loving United States, too. A new poll shows one in four Americans support 'the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government.' But could it ever be more than a rhetorical phenomenon in the States? It seems unlikely, given that those who benefit most from union are those most interested in secession ...  To wit, only one in five residents of the wealthy New England states supports secession, separatist-lusty Vermont included, versus one in three residents of the poorer southwest, where the urge is more pronounced. In the United States, the most likely breakaway is Texas, and there’s at least some reason to believe it might do fine as an independent republic. It has access to international waterways. It has a diversified economy, with all that cattle and oil money coming in. It has a long foreign border with Mexico. Most of all, it has that independent spirit. But it takes a lot more than grit to make it as a new country — and generally, the poorer, smaller, and less-diversified the state, the worse it would fare after independence. Secession itself would also be extremely costly, though how costly would depend on whether the United States acceded to the plan (not likely) and how much it wanted to antagonize New Kansas or Free Texas or what have you." (NYMag)

    "For Barack Obama, what is happening now no longer falls into the category of cleaning up old wars. This is no longer the war of the Afghan 'surge,' which was mainly intended to end a war that was already underway. Or Obama’s aggressive policy of launching covert drone strikes and special operations missions against al Qaeda and its affiliates. This is a wholly new war, Obama’s very own, and it is out in the open. And it is happening in a country, Syria, where the president has until now resisted the entreaties of his entire national-security team to get involved militarily, refusing to arm the Syrian rebels and temporizing over whether to strike Bashar al-Assad over his alleged use of chemical weapons. It’s now clear that the perilously swift rise of the Islamic State, and perhaps too the perilous downward slide of the president’s poll numbers, has forced him to radically re-evaluate his presidency—and to shed, at long last, the state of denial he has appeared to inhabit regarding the most precious myth of his presidency: that he was close to defeating al Qaeda, and bringing America out of a 'state of perpetual war.' If Obama can at long last discard that superannuated narrative and forcefully confront the Islamic State—as he promised to do in his Sept. 10 speech to the nation—then the waning perception of him as an effective leader could change in a short period of time.
    It’s not that Obama has been shy about using force in the past six and a half years. But he has preferred to do it covertly." (Politico)

    Jack Ma celebrates Alibaba IPO at Tao Downtown

    "Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, celebrated taking his Chinese e-commerce company public in what is now the largest IPO in history over dinner at Tao Downtown Sunday night. The 50-year-old entrepreneur — whose company is now valued at more than $200 billion — was the topic of conversation across the dining room as other guests noticed a very happy-looking Ma enter with 50 people. The group, sources said, seemed in high spirits during dinner. (You would be, too, if you were personally worth $18 billion). With Friday’s IPO, Ma became China’s wealthiest citizen." (P6)

    e48fdebcae8411e38b94124a1c452438 8 Young Models Are Easy Pickings For the Citys Club Promoters
    Ro-Parra Grady (right)

    "As Fashion Week returned to New York, thousands of young women and men visited, hoping their dreams of becoming a top model will come true. Waiting to catch these young hopefuls in an underground web of corruption are club promoters. Every night, one can find teams of promoters herding young pretties down into thumping burrows of hedonism. With offers of free dinners, paid-for vacations, entry into an exclusive life few are privy to, many models fall for the highlife pitches. Top earning promoters will make thousands of dollars a night, bringing in between 10 to 20 girls and boys to attend hosted tables. The more important the unsuspecting model or celebrity is regarded to be—and some of them are very successful working models—the more a promoter can charge the club for his or her visitation. From newbies to top earners, they are all susceptible to the antics of promoter manipulation. And the numbers are soaring. As hemlines rose, nightclubs, pop-ups and daytime deejay parties exploded all over the city and neighboring boroughs. Williamsburg this summer hit its peak as the new global fashion Mecca. Top promoters, many former fashion models themselves, sat outside fashion week castings waiting for models to exit. The Calvin Klein runway show casting was a specific target. Modeling agencies and management companies are now handing out books to their new models with specific restrictions against contact with promoters. So-called 'promoter clauses' are being built into models’ contracts and costly chaperones are being hired by agencies for girls and boys in development to insure that they don’t fall prey to these bad actors." (Observer)