Did Bear Stearns collapse in part because of a whisper campaign? How will Starbucks keep its customers if everyone starts pinching pennies? And what did Sarah Jessica Parker think of Maxim naming her the "unsexiest woman alive"? Our weekly roundup of law, media, and business news.
Has it really come to this? Maxim and Esquire are going at it hammer and tongs to see who can print more ridiculous images of chefs as fashion models. Esquire started it, with a never-to-be-forgotten Simon Hammerstein–David Chang tough-guy shoot. This year, Maxim released its April spread early to get the jump on Esquire, but both mags shared a few models (formerly known as chefs): Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Neil Ferguson of Allen and Delancey, and Craig Koketsu of Park Avenue Winter. Psilakis, for his part, is even wearing similar suits in both spreads. (Did he leave the Maxim refrigerator and head straight to his Esquire lunch at Insieme?) Other chefs of note in the shoot include Ben Chekroun, the elegant maître d' of Le Bernardin, whom we interviewed for Ask a Waiter back in the day; San Domenico's affable wine director, Piero Trotta; and the boyish Wesley Genovart of Degustation, tucking into a plate of duck and soba noodles. We give Esquire the edge for shooting the dapper John McDonald at Keens. Though he’s more of a bon vivant restaurateur than a chef, Johnny Mac is a quintessential Esquire man.
Man’s Gotta Eat [Esquire]
Related:Chefs Put on Something a Little More ComfortableWhen Chefs Play Dress-Up
Chace Crawford and J.C. Chasez hung out with girls and drank Cristal at a Vegas party thrown by Michael Strahan. A bunch of Upper East Side housewives at the premiere of The Real Housewives of New York City hated on the show. Because they were jealous. Among the stipulations in Kimora Lee Simmons's contract rider is that her glass of Champagne must be filled whenever it gets below one inch. Employees at Philippe may have been watching celebs like Tom Brady and Gisele hook up in the restaurant's private room via security camera. A party in honor of Baird Jones (open bar, naturally) will be held at Plumm this Friday, with a memorial service to be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Saturday afternoon.
Broadway scion Eric Nederlander is divorcing his second wife just seven weeks after having a daughter with her. Theodora Richards is now vice-president of creative direction at some jeans company. Maxim gave Nas's new album two and a half stars despite the fact that it's not even done yet. (They did the same thing to the new Black Crowes record.) Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez flipped out at a midtown bar after a female fan chatted up her boyfriend. Lorne Michaels is in talks with a major Vegas casino to create a live SNL revue starring former popular cast members.
"There is something relatable about someone following a dream when he doesn't have a chance, an outsider who knows he is talented and is just looking for a way in," "Maxim film critic" Pete Hammond told Reuters of Ratatouille, the Pixar movie in which a sophisticated rat called Remy fulfills his dream of becoming a French chef. Heartwarming stuff, right? It gets better. "Even in our presidential race, where either a woman or an African American is about to win a major party nomination — just like a rat running a French restaurant — who would ever have thought that would happen?" Hammond added. Right? And who would have ever thought that a news service would refer to a freeloading sexist-racist blurb whore who actually recently managed to get himself fired from Maxim as a "film critic"? Even in a land where impossible dreams come true, that's a bit much.
This Year Oscar is in Love—With a Rat [Yahoo!]
Related: Fearless Couch Potato: Pearl Should Have Stayed Home
• Kent Brownridge picked a new fight with his old boss Jann Wenner, poaching ten-year Rolling Stone vet Joe Levy for the top spot at Blender. Brownridge already stole Men's Journal editor James Kaminsky to take over Maxim. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• The OK! issue with the Jamie Lynn–pregnancy exclusive sold only 900,000 copies on the newsstand, well short of the roughly 1.5 million the mag had predicted. [WWD]
• Steve Cohn on the Condé shake-up following so fast on Steve Florio's death: "It sort of reminds me of The Godfather. They go to the funeral and then they blow everything up." [NYP]
CNBC business anchor Erin Burnett dreams of men spending copious amounts of dough on her. Gus Wenner, son of Rolling Stone honcho Jann Wenner, was accepted early decision to Brown, and Jack Byrne, son of Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne, was accepted to Bard. Jimmy Fallon and new wife Nancy Juvonen ate at Pastis. An upcoming "oral history" of Rudy Giuliani chronicles the former mayor's "petty, vindictive, small-minded maneuvering." Jay-Z says he is not concerned with the problematic rumors surrounding the opening of his new 40/40 club. Mary-Louise Parker and boyfriend Jeffrey Dean Morgan had coffee at Local on Sullivan Street.
Sarah Jessica Parker claims that she wasn't hurt when Maxim named her the Unsexiest Woman Alive, but we detect a certain amount of defensiveness in her response, which came out in the London Sunday Express. "I believe in the old 'sticks and stones' philosophy, so frankly their words don't come close to hurting," the Sex and the City star said, but couldn't help adding: "How many women wouldn't want to step into the Manolos that are waiting for me in the wardrobe department every morning?" Not many, we bet! But it doesn't matter. "What they don't know is that one day I'll wake up fat," SJP explained. "But I'll still be happy, just like I am now." Hmmm. Two things: One, the idea that you could suddenly wake up obese, having gone to bed a toothpick, is really awesome. (Can we make a ray gun that does that to people? Can we test it out on Ann Coulter?) And two, Sarah Jessica Parker barely gained weight when she had an entire other human inside her. Remember all those skimpy outfits she wore in the dreaded pregnancy season of SatC? She's too much of a workaholic — there's no way that lady is ever going to wake up fat. Until, you know, we get our hands on that ray gun.
The Sexiest Put-Down [British Vogue]
For some reason, Ann Coulter's comment that Jews should be "perfected" has really gotten the Internet going (as opposed to her comments that 9/11 widows are “self-obsessed” and "enjoying" their husbands' deaths, or that John Edwards is a "faggot," yadda yadda yadda). Coulter said the quote to Donny Deutsch (a Jew) on his show, The Big Idea, last week. But like you, the Internet sometimes comes up with its best responses several days after a slight is delivered. Like today's salvo from a hacker, who broke into Coulter's Website and put up an open letter purporting to be from the ice queen herself. "I've been participating in a charade for nearly eleven years, now. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it," wrote the faux Coulter. "You have all been a part of a sick joke that I began considering shortly after first getting on the air. At first, it was quite interesting to see how people would react when I would use twisted logic and poorly masked bigotry. But eleven years is a long time to be living a fake life, and I can no longer tolerate this falsity." It was funny because it uncannily said what most people (okay, most people we know) assume has been going on in Coulter's head all along. Equally harsh was Maxim.com's effort, the image you can see above. It's a map of how Coulter herself can be "perfected." At first we thought it wasn't as clever ("remove swastika from heiny?"), but then we realized that when Coulter sees the instruction "remove penis or make smaller," she's totally going to be mad she didn't say that about Hillary Clinton first.
Ann Coulter Proclaims Herself a Sick Joke, But Is It All a Sick Joke? [Jezebel]
Perfecting Ann Coulter [Maxim]