Hey, have you noticed how the celebrity supply in New York has been depleted these past few days? (Thankfully, we still have Tom Brady wearing a boot in the West Village.) It's because all of the actors and directors are at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. But it seems like even in the celebrity fustercluck that is Park City right now, planners still can't get enough star power to fuel their events. Apparently, Sundance schedules are so jam-packed with appointments, parties, and swag-suite visits that it's no wonder they don't make half the events they (well, their publicists) say they will.
Of course, some no-shows you can see coming: Robert De Niro and Quentin Tarantino "expected" at a dinner for 50 Cent sponsored by VitaminWater? Um, sure. And we look forward to seeing Paris at the poetry reading.
Oh no he didn't! In what looks like a fuck-you to his predecessor, new Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain has announced he is hiring back Jeff Kronthal, one of six top trading executives former CEO Stan O'Neal fired back in the summer of 2006, reportedly after they resisted his directive to increase risk-taking by underwriting mortgage-backed securities. O'Neal, of course, was fired himself this past November for precisely that — his enthusiasm for the subprime poison apple left Merrill with record losses. Awesomely, Kronthal's new role at Merrill will be fixing the mess his old boss made; he's been hired, according to Merrill co-pres Gregory Fleming, to "advise on the firm's fixed-income business and risk management." The job is temporary — Kronthal has his own hedge fund launching in mid-2008 — but the gesture is still meaningful, as many have said that had Kronthal and the other sacked fixed-income veterans not left, the bank might not be in the shape it is today. According to the Journal, Kronthal received a standing ovation when he appeared on a Merrill trading floor yesterday. Basically, it's kind of like the second half of that seminal film Bring It On, after high-school cheerleading squad the Rancho Carne Toros are embarrassed by their spirit-fingers performance, and Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) takes control back from Courtney and Whitney and leads the squad to victory with an original routine. Go Merrill!
Kronthal to Return As Merrill Advisor [WSJ]
• Carson Daly is going scab! Good thing he doesn't have any viewers, and unlike Ellen isn't actually a member of the Writers Guild. [NYT]
• Howard Stern gets all collegiate about Don Imus's return: "At this point, I don't think he's very relevant. People will tune out within a week. I defy you to listen. See how long you can keep listening. Time it. You'll throw up. You'll get sick. You'll die." [AP via Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Knicks reporters — even bigger whiners than regular reporters. Daily News vet Frank Isola: "It used to be fun here. Now, there are some nights when you're trying to talk your boss out of sending you here and maybe lie and tell him you're sick or something." [NYO]
Famed midtown French restaurant Brasserie LCB was shuttered by the Health Department after the chef got into a spat with inspectors. Lindsay Lohan performed a stripper routine at the Box, and the crowd went wild. She also rebuffed a karaoke come-on from former flame Wilmer Valderrama. Richard Johnson and wife Sessa von Richthofen gave birth to a baby girl. Tom Brady and Gisele dined at the Spotted Pig on Saint Patrick's Day. Hillary supporters with $2,300 to burn can go biking with Bill Clinton on the Upper West Side as part of a fund-raising effort.
Our review of the Arcade Fire's first sold-out show at Judson Memorial Church last night is brief: The sound was muddy, the crowd's energy was better than usual, the new songs were more introspective than the old ones and therefore less fun, and the experience of seeing a concert in a church wasn't all that special, though the stained-glass windows were cool. But that's all beside the point. The big story we have from the evening came while we were waiting on line for a beer. We noticed a guy — tight black jeans, a scruffy chin, looking slightly familiar — and, yeah, we were checking him out. We eavesdropped as he told the sound guy about how he'd been to McDonald's recently and was disappointed by soggy burgers. "It's never as good as you remember." Our thoughts exactly! We stared longingly. And then we realized who he was: Fabrizio Moretti. And we noticed a cute blonde in a hoodie next to him: Kirsten Dunst. Now, we're not saying that we saw them engage in any couple-y behavior. They were clearly there together. Maybe they're just friends. But we couldn't think of a situation in which their social circles might overlap, unless it involves that Strokes song that was on the Marie Antoinette trailer. All we're saying is that we saw them together and we thought it was odd, and that we cursed Kirsten Dunst for ruining our game. —Jada Yuan