Name: Keli Goff Age: 28 Job: Political pundit, author of Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence, out this week from Basic Books. Neighborhood: Lower East Side Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Jackie O. The First Lady, not the rapper.
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York
French fries at Bette, followed by cheesecake at Veniero's.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I write and talk about politics.
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Last night, Ashley Alexandra Dupré, a.k.a. "Kristen," told the New York Times she was worried about paying her rent in the fancy Flatiron district building in which she lives. But in fact, in the less than 24 hours since that interview took place, Dupre's personal wealth has increased considerably. The two songs on her Amie Street profile, which each cost 98 cents, have reportedly been downloaded more than two million times, and according to that site's business model, Dupré should receive 70 percent of the total profit. Plus! Playboy and Penthouse are both reportedly interested in setting up photo shoots. "We've already discussed some options," Penthouse publisher Diane Silberstein tells Radar, adding that they'd pay in the "high six figures." Book publishers, however, are dragging their feet. "I don't think it's worth anything," HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham tells Portfolio today, making us want to wrap our hands around his neck and administer a light throttle. "There's no story there." Seriously? Does no one remember for instance the best-selling Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, soon to be an HBO series with Darren Star? Hookers are so hot right now.
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Hey – did you hear O.J. Simpson got in trouble again? Yeah, apparently some bad mojo went down in Vegas. The whole mess began when Simpson tried to get back some personal memorabilia that had been taken from him and then was accused of armed robbery. Oddly enough, the stuff (a Hall of Fame plaque, a signed photo of Simpson and J. Edgar Hoover, and some signed footballs) was originally removed from his house to keep it away from the family of murder victim Ron Goldman, says the Daily News. The family is owed $38 million by Simpson, and a friend says Simpson's cohorts were trying to keep the memorabilia from being sold off to help pay the debt. Which is funny, since in trying to get it back, O.J. has inadvertently thrown even more money into the Goldmans' coffers.
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If you're enough of a techie that the idea of a parody blog written from Steve Jobs's point of view strikes you as rife with comic possibilities, well, you probably already know Fake Steve Jobs. And if you do, you've probably just read (while browsing the Times on your iPhone, no doubt) that the paper exposed the anonymous author of that blog — i.e. Fake Steve himself — as Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes. ("Hope you feel good about yourself, you mangina," wrote Lyons to Times reporter Brad Stone in today's you-got-me post — written in his own voice, not Steve's.)
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The Strand Bookstore turned 80 on Saturday, and owners Fred Bass and Nancy Bass Wyden threw a big party in its honor. You may not have been there, but New York's Party Lines team was. What'd we learn? That Frank McCourt dislikes lettuce and parsley, that Kurt Andersen was inspired to write novels by Don DeLillo, that Adam Gopnik is willing to wear silly hats, and that, at least on special occasions, Nora Ephron will display her neck.
Strand Bookstore Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary [Interactive Party Lines]
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Book Expo America — the annual, enormous books-biz tradeshow that invaded the Javits Center last Thursday — reached its final chapter yesterday. Heartbroken you missed all the excitement? Buck up, little reader: Vulture's correspondents were there, and they brought back all sorts of goodies for you (if by "goodies," you mean "brief dispatches"). Julianne Moore! Tina Brown! An animatronic-ish Margaret Atwood! Foreskins! Everything you ever wanted to know about Book Expo awaits at Vulture.
Book Expo [Vulture]
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With Ant Farm — the very odd, funny, and frustrating humor collection from Simon Rich, Times heavy-hitter Frank's No. 2 Son — attracting "Sunday Styles" attention last weekend in advance of yesterday's pub date, his older brother Nathaniel, an editor at the Paris Review, has his own hot book making the rounds of houses. We're hearing that The Mayor's Tongue, on submission from Elyse Cheney Literary Associates, follows a widower and a young New Yorker whose paths converge in a small Italian town whose mayor is a supernatural evil force. (An Italian mayor as a supernatural but malevolent force? Wherever did he get the idea?!) Editors took it home over the weekend to read, so we should know soon whether Rich is the next Nicole Krauss (to whom he's being compared, both positively and negatively) or the next — well, the next guy whose book we never really heard anything about. In case of the latter, good thing the Rich family Seders are already over.
Late last month novelist Terry McMillan, best known for bringing Stella her groove back and perhaps second best known for elegantly calling her now-ex-husband a "little fag" after he told her he was gay, filed a $40 million suit against the ex-husband, Jonathan Plummer, alleging a conspiracy to destroy her reputation. (Presumably by mentioning things like that she called him a "little fag" and also "a common fucking criminal, a common extortionist.") Meantime, McMillan hasn't exactly salvaged her rep by publishing an essay, "100 Questions I Meant to Ask Him," in the anthology The Honeymoon's Over, which includes questions like "Have you been surprised by the promiscuous behavior of a lot of gay men? Are you going to be like this or are you already?" New York rang up McMillan the other day to see how the novelist is continuing to protect her reputation. It's tough for her: "If you criticize them, you're automatically a homophobe," she said. "I'm starting to think they're heterophobes." Lots more after the jump.
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Amazon sales rankings are a great democratizing tool so it was a terrible idea to hand it to writers, a shrewd and narcissistic bunch. Behold the shenanigans, enumerated in today's Wall Street Journal:
1. Pony up $15,000 to Ruder Finn, a PR firm that then pays "big names" (like the Chicken Soup For the Soul guy) to blurb you in an e-mail blast to their all-obedient fans. Voila: demi-glace for the narcissist's soul.
2. Directly solicit your readers, fledgling-band-on-MySpace style, to flood the zone and drive you to victory. Isn't that what Nabokov did when Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago overtook Lolita in best-seller lists?
3. Lose all professional shame. The rankings include used-book sales, so price those babies at a penny and buy a hundred yourself. Presto, you’re outcharting James Frey while enjoying at least as clean a conscience.
As a result of this kind of behavior, of course, the ratings are so volatile (some books rise and fall 75 percent daily) as to make the entire exercise meaningless. But you do get to print out the day's chart, with your name on it, and hang it in your office.
A Few Sales Tricks Can Launch a Book To Top of Online Lists [WSJ]