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Cultural Capital

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Masters of the Universe Ask: To MBA or Not to MBA?

Yesterday's Times had a story about how some young bankers, like Gabriel Hammond, the 28-year-old founder of Alerian Capital Management, are forgoing the traditional b-school route in favor of gathering gold bricks at a private-equity firm or hedge fund. After all, 'tis always better to make money than spend it on a degree that, if you're making enough for your employer, won't necessarily matter.

Naomi Campbell, Serious Actress

Spike and Naomi
Guess who stopped glaring at the help just long enough to look at a screenplay? Why, Naomi Campbell, that's who! As she revealed to British Vogue, the fiesty supermodel has signed a contract to work with Spike Lee on his new WWII movie about a regiment of black soldiers based in Tuscany. “I’ll do anything for Spike,” she said. Normally we ignore the things Naomi says, seeing as she's got some issues and all, but this makes a little sense, as we saw Spike last week in Fort Greene, surrounded by a ton of rather delicious-looking young men (in numbers and hotness great enough to suggest some sort of cast gathering). But what might Naomi’s role be in this new project? Was Spike inspired to hire her because of her fierceness with a BlackBerry, and thus create a Just One of the Guys–like role in which she dresses up as a dude to fight for her nation? Naomi Signs With Spike Lee [British Vogue]

The Children of New York Will Rule Us All

Veruca Salt
Something strange is happening with The Children. Not only are they advising their parents on life decisions, developing sophisticated palates, and starting rock bands, now the Wall Street Journal is announcing they are building a niche in the international art market. As collectors. Today, intrepid Weekend Journaler Kelly Crowe introduces us to a few young New Yorkers whose weekly allowance is more than most of have in our 401Ks.

Elijah Wood Does the Puppet Master

For absolutely no good reason, except that someone sent it to us, and it's a beautiful August Wednesday afternoon so why not, we herewith present the "Dancey Dance" segment from last Monday's premiere of Nick Jr.'s new live-action music series, Yo Gabba Gabba!. In it, Elijah Wood teaches us all how to do his dancey-dance, called the puppet master. Yeah. We recommend you stick around till the end, when Elijah and friends "go crazy." It's, uh, adorable. Elijah Wood on Yo Gabba Gabba [YouTube via He Who Laughs]

Hilly Kristal's Last Interview

Hilly Kristal went to the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian last month with a cancer complication. The CBGB founder was admitted to the hospital, and the next morning he spoke to New York contributor Arianne Cohen from his hospital bed. Kristal's long, rambling, reflective discourse may have been his last interview:
I was always in very good health. And I think anybody looks forward to living forever. Unfortunately, I found out I have cancer. So, some of the things I looked forward to, some of the adventurous things, I can't do. I can't climb Mt. Everest no matter how much time I have. I can't walk the Rockies. There are a lot of things I can't do because I'm not physically able. Unfortunately that's how it is. I'm 75; when I was 73, I was in wonderful health. But I think I'll be all right. I'm trying to read a lot more. It doesn't take that much energy to read.

Will Hip-Hop Landmark Be Saved From the Open Market?

Kool Herc
Senator Charles Schumer — because when you think hip-hop, you think Chuck Schumer — was on hand today to celebrate the official designation of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as the birthplace of the genre. Ex-tenant DJ Kool Herc, whose parties in the building's rec room were hip-hop's Big Bang, led the drive and delivered: The Bronx address is now eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places and could even, despite its tender age, squeak by as a National Historic Landmark. Of course, apart from a plaque on the wall, the designation might have a practical dividend. It could help keep 1520 Sedgwick rent-stabilized, or at least make it harder to take the building's 100 units out of Mitchell-Lama and convert them to market-rate condos. This puts the owners, who announced their intent to do just that in February, in a strange position of rooting against the very thing that makes the property interesting. As for Laurence Gluck of Stellar Management, who's long been angling to take the complex off their hands, he doesn't strike us as a Kool Herc fan. Earlier: Three More Subsidized Complexes to Go Private? [NYM]

Tina Brown Does Not Want Her Daughter to Be Like Di

Tina Brown does not want her 16-year-old daughter, Izzy, marrying at 19, the tender age of Diana Spencer when she wed Prince Charles in 1981. At the Strand Bookstore last night, before a good-size audience of slightly weird, very white, middle-aged Anglophiles, Brown, 53, chatted with former New York Times London bureau chief Warren Hoge about The Diana Chronicles, her account of the late princess’ life that’s currently No. 1 on the Times nonfiction best-seller list. Looking typically sleek in a black dress and heels before several stacks of the fat book, Brown was on from the get-go, discoursing nearly nonstop in perfect magazine prose — this ain't the first stop on Tina's book tour — about Diana’s role as “a prism of British social revolution” and her death as “a festival of national mourning.” In the first few minutes alone, she managed to use nearly every hot buzzword of the past year or so, calling the young Charles a “toxic bachelor” and Diana a Fleet Street dream girl who could “move product.”

McCarter on Pogue: He Went Out There a Tech Columnist...

Yesterday we happened across — okay, we were urged by our father to happen across — Times tech columnist David Pogue's song-and-dance ode to the wonders of the iPhone, titled "iPhone: The Musical." We argued it was more of a karaoke number, but they're calling it a musical, and if it's a musical, then it must be reviewed. Here's New York's theater critic, Jeremy McCarter, on the latest production to open on 43rd Street Eighth Avenue:
Tech journalism hasn't heretofore struck me as a hotbed of lyrical craftsmanship, but after watching David Pogue’s mini-musical about the iPhone, I stand extremely corrected. The video is, as Daily Intel pointed out yesterday, hilarious. If you listen closely, it’s also pretty impressively put together. (And I’d listen now if I were you — spoilers abound below.)

‘Manny’ Video Picks Up Where M.C. Rove Left Off

Manny Movie
The absolute highlight of last night's book party for Holly Peterson's The Manny was the presentation of a, um, "viral" promo clip for the book, conceived (and perhaps bankrolled?) by the socialite auteur. "My publishers would like you to know they had nothing to do with this," said Peterson, and we understand them completely. Still, the video just got posted on Daily Reel with a fawning write-up ("as creative as it gets"). We invite you to click through, provided you're in the mood for UES types "rapping" about their Jamaican chauffeurs and Asian maids to a mangled Hall & Oates hook in the most horrifying display of minstrelsy this side of M.C. Rove. "We were just trying to be funny," says director Michael Jaffe. Indeed! They even got a dwarf in there, and dwarves are comic gold — doubly so when they play babies! Triply so if it's gay babies! Disclaimer: Daily Intel is not responsible if watching the clip (after the jump) results in spontaneous class war.

Junior Vasquez Loves Cher, Will Pass on Cyndi Lauper

It's New York's 38th Gay Pride celebration this weekend, and even though the official dance is the one held on Pier 54 Sunday night, we thought we'd highlight a certain twelve-hour thump-a-thon occurring the night before. Why? Not only will it be one of the last big nights at that venerable gay mecca, the Roxy, before the structure is torn down next month, it'll also be presided over by perhaps the biggest D.J. in Gotham history, Junior Vasquez, 57, who just happens to be a big old queen. Tim Murphy talked with Vasquez about the merits of Cher over Cyndi Lauper, today's gay whippersnappers, and how you stay up all night when you're no longer on crystal meth.

Padma Lakshmi Introduces Dismemberment, Cannibalism to ‘Top Chef,’ Our Fantasies

The freakazoid highlight of last night's Top Chef premiere, provided by host and Salman squeeze Padma Lakshmi in response to a contestant's decision to fry a snake:
"Anything can stand up to frying. You can fry my toe and if you batter it right, it's going to taste good."
We don't know if we're hungry, horny, or nauseous.

There She Is, Miss Lez

Miss Lez
Tired of boring old beauty contests? Yawning at the notion of world peace? Last week's seventh annual Miss Lez competition at Luna Lounge was a radical respite. There were swimsuit, interview, talent, and evening-gown portions of the competition, but contestants at straight pageants don't often endorse the preservation of eclectic queer culture as their platform. Our cameras were there to catch the dancing, the judging, and, of course, the crowning. Miss Lez Pageant [Video]

‘Times’ Couplets: Nobody Mention the Elephant in the Room

Wherein we arrange Times headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. Tough Time Ahead for President New War Czar Wins Praise, but White House Is FaultedLack of Access to Polling Places, For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Split on Party Lines, It's Subpoena Time! Lies, Sighs and Politics Victory, Defeat, RealityPart Coach, Part Motivator and 100 Percent Welcomed: Waiting for Al Gore. They Always Come Out Ahead; Bet on It? Let's Twist Again, Dude, as the Screws Turn.

Bill Clinton and the ‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a fun and funny Broadway musical, but it's been running for more than two years at the Circle in the Square theater after an Off Broadway run at Second Stages. So what brought Bill Clinton — who could presumably get tickets to the newest, most in-demand shows — to Friday night's performance? "My mother-in-law — Hillary's mother — wanted to see something uplifting," the former president told us after the final curtain. "My daughter had already seen it, so she suggested we all go." It was Dorothy Rodham's 88th birthday, and she took in the show — about awkward teens competing for the spelling title — with her son-in-law, her granddaughter, and Chelsea's boyfriend, Mark Mezvinsky.

Sharon Stone, Fake Candidate

"Page Six" reported this morning that Sharon Stone and Bernard-Henri Lévy star in a set of mock political ads that will debut next week at the Venice Biennale. The two "appear separately in 60-second spots as 'Patricia Hill and Patrick Hill,' each seeking the White House," the "Six"-ers reported. Indeed. We've got stills from the spots, and Monday the magazine will feature an interview with Levy, the rakish French philosopher. Enjoy the pics — there are more after the jump — but sorry, guys, Stone's all buttoned up.

They Report, You Decide?

Wherein we arrange Times headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. Still Unsettled in Wake of New Questions What Seller Wants a Low Price? Who Says They're Too Old to Stay in the Game? Where's the Other Half of Your Music File? Any Wonder It Wasn't Built in a Day? How Weird Are Your Daydreams? Time Wasted? Perhaps It's Well Spent. Who Says Warming Is a Problem? Where Now, for the Wind? An Answer to Help Clear His Fog….? Break a Confidence? Never. Well, Hardly Ever.

‘Times’ Couplets: Watch Where You're Going!

Wherein we arrange Times' headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. The Troubles: A Walking Tour No Sleep Is Part of the Ordeal. Passing Mile Markers, Snapping Pictures Woman Falls Through Sidewalk Grate. Going Like 60 (Tick Tick Tick) The Suns Forge Ahead Without Stopping for Pity. Rescuers Try to Lure Lost Whales With Sound. 5-Year-Old Marathoner to Walk 300 MilesNot for Kids Only, Seeking Buccaneer Bliss. A Long Road Ahead, The Last Eden. Paradise Preserved — in a Restless Continent. —Lizzie Skurnick

Meatpacking Asserts Its Relevance This Weekend

Though sofas and desklamps don't have their own catwalks in Bryant Park, our city is currently awash in product-design festivals. If you can't follow the clean lines at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair currently at Javits, you may enjoy the more accessible Meatpacking District Design Week, which begins this weekend. Clothier Jussara Lee offers an installation about climate impact, and shops like An Earnest Cut and Sew (bicycles), Auto (wedding rings) and Bodum (coffee) feature elegant takes on the everyday. The gathering emphasizes the "collision" of product design with art and fashion; New York's Janet Ozzard will be on Saturday's panel exploring that notion. (The magazine sponsors this and two other discussions.) Don't get cowed: Promoter Abe Gurko promises that "the whole experience is designed for non-snobs." So go see Karim Rashid's Day-Glo chairs (left), tour the market building that will eventually house the Whitney, and weave in and out of cocktail parties every night. You can collide all you like. —Alec Appelbaum

Too Bad ‘Star Search’ Got Canceled

Rapathon/American Girl auditions
From the nymag.com video team, a double bill for the ages. Both feature hungry showbiz strivers ready to duke it out for a shot at the big time … but in only one are the contenders clutching dressed-up dolls. That's right: Up at Harlem's Hip Hop Culture Center, a hundred M.C.'s took turns at the mike for 24 hours straight in the first-ever "rapathon" — while a gaggle of mostly blonde preteen divas laid siege to the American Girl Place for a film audition. The former is decidedly PG ("No curses, no n-word, no b-word"); the latter, which features a girl saying "I don't want to sound conceited, but people tell me I'm talented," somewhat obscene. American Girls Audition [NYM] 24-Hour Rapathon [NYM]