As the first arctic blast of January weather whipped through town last week, the city was chilled by news that Iowans had frozen out New York’s candidates for the White House. Hillary Clinton’s last-minute plea on the first post-hibernation Letterman show —starring Dave’s new reindeer-wrangler beard—failed to help her, and she finished behind Barack Obama and John Edwards. Rudy Giuliani finished sixth behind Mike Huckabee but had left Iowa five days before the caucus anyway. Dark horse Michael Bloomberg denied that there was any significance in his attendance at a caucus of potential third-party candidates, though he took pokes at the front-runners’ lack of ideas. Fourth-place finisher Fred Thompson, who’s probably wishing he’d never quit as New York’s fictional D.A., lost his old Law & Order job to Sam Waterston.
• Trader Richard Arens, who runs a brokerage named ABS, made a vanity trade in order to push oil past the $100/barrel milestone. We're sure the girls at the bar will be real impressed. [MarketBeat/WSJ]
• Citigroup will likely start laying off between 5 and 10 percent of its workforce next week, cutting as many as 32,000 jobs. Merrill Lynch plans to cut around 1,600. [CNBC]
• Former E*Trade CEO Mitch Caplan, who helped load the company with the subprime loans, made off with a $11 million golden parachute. Compare that with former H&R Block chief Mark Ernst, responsible for his own big subprime losses, who took home a paltry $2.5 million. [Deal Journal/WSJ, DealBook/NYT]
The curtain rises on an empty stage, set with just one large circular bar in the center, manned by four bartenders dressed in black. The house is empty, so the hundreds of red velvet chairs cast an eerie crimson glow on to the party. Revelers drift in, including the writer Tom Wolfe, Amanda Burden, Moby, P.J. O'Rourke and Atlantic editors. A Boy Reporter and Girl Reporter from New York Magazine drift in. In actuality, they had arrived at the party too early and had to go across the street to get drinks at a noisy club. So they are both a little sheepish. And drunk. The pair begins to look for famous people to interview and spot Mayor Bloomberg, who arrived on the same elevator as drag king Murray Hill.Girl Reporter: Mayor Bloomberg, hello! We write for New York Magazine. Could we-
Mayor Bloomberg: I subscribe to New York Magazine. I pay your salary.
Girl Reporter: Oh, um, thanks! So, we were wondering [Mayor Bloomberg walks away]
Boy Reporter: Good try!
Girl Reporter: Eh, let's get a drink.
After 150 years of really great ideas, The Atlantic has come up with one that makes us uncomfortable. To celebrate their anniversary milestone, reports WWD, they're going to throw a big party with stars you'd expect, like Tom Wolfe, Arianna Huffington, and Moby (er ), but they're going to put the whole thing onstage. The audience will be whoever wants to stop by and watch journalists and luminaries get together and schmooze. "It's the cocktail party as performance art," said Atlantic Media consumer media president Justin Smith. First of all, didn’t Gawker already have this idea when they had a live feed from their book party? At least at their version, people were doing drugs and trying to hook up. And second, can The Atlantic possibly believe that people, even readers, would want to watch journalists frolicking in their natural habitat*? This is not a good sign. If you've ever wondered whether Andrew Sullivan or Matthew Yglesias is better over canapés, you are truly, truly demented. Or, you know, a blogger. Are we really at the point that people are throwing parties solely to pander to us? Somehow we imagined this would feel more satisfying.
*Open bars on someone else's dime, naturally.
Life of the Party [WWD]
At an Air America relaunch, Bill Clinton said Al Gore has the money to run for president. Rudy Giuliani is raising money in Jerusalem. Paul McCartney is playing new songs at a free Highline Ballroom show tonight. Tom Wolfe is worried Gus Van Sant's adaptation of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test won't do the LSD trips justice. Mel Brooks thinks Cloris Leachmen is too old to reprise her role in Young Frankenstein. Paris Hilton is naked online again. At the Apollo's spring benefit, David Dinkins said he likes Kyra Sedgwick. Dumbo developer David Walentas will play polo with Adolpho Cambiaso, the world's best player, in Bridgehampton this summer. Beyoncé wouldn't sign a British fan's painting. Britney Spears exposed herself again, and snuggled with gal pal, at a Hollywood club.
The ever-cantankerous Copyranter points us today to a subway advertisement for Twenty Bayard, billed as "Williamsburg's premier parkfront condominiums." He's mostly upset by the obnoxiously and self- consciously diverse foursome in the ad's Warhol-esque portraits, but we're more troubled by the ad's tagline, "Radically chic. Chicly radical." Not to get possessive about this, but when did Radical Chic become a desirable thing? The term was coined in a 1970 issue of New York, when Tom Wolfe wrote about "that party at Lenny's," a fund-raising soirée Leonard and Felicia Bernstein threw at their Park Avenue duplex for bigshots to raise money for — and actually mingle with! — Black Panthers. The piece is devastating and hilarious, an classic indictment of do-gooding but oblivious limousine liberals. Need to refresh your memory? From the magazine's archives, here's the original article.
Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's [NYM 5/6/1970]
The Four Fashionable Faces of Williamsburg [Copyranter]
• Keith Olbermann will take a break from slamming the Bush administration to co-host NBC's Football Night in America on Sundays this fall. [Hollywood Reporter]
• Tired of losing to Condé Nast at the National Magazine Awards, Hearst will honor its own at the Tower Awards tonight. [WWD]
• Newspaper coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings looked downright bloglike. [E&P]
Tom Wolfe called the Landmarks Preservation Commission "de facto defunct" in a Times op-ed on Sunday, its members pawns of developer Aby Rosen and his evil plans to build a 30-story glass condo in the Upper East Side Historic District. Then today came news that the Whitney Museum, located in the same historic district and after decades of fighting to build an addition, would give up on its Madison Avenue expansion plan and instead build a "satellite" branch along the High Line in the meatpacking district. So does Wolfe think that this move, finally, is the right stuff? We called to find out.
So, Tom, happy that the expansion has been stopped?
Everything possible should be done to keep the Whitney from expanding. I mean, we really don't need any more of that, unless they improve in taste. Mainly, they should just get rid of the building. Almost anything they could put in its place, as long as it's no higher than that, would be real plus for the city.