Meet Microsoft’s ‘Gatekeeper of Funding’FINANCE
• Now that Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid, it’s up to Microsoft’s self-described “gatekeeper of funding” Christopher P. Liddell to plot the company’s next chess move. [DealBook/NYT]
• Fearful that 90 percent of TheStreet.com’s franchise revolves around Jim Cramer, today the finance-driven Website launched Mainstreet.com, which will revolve around celebrities and personal finance. You think Britney’s psychological drama is intense? Wait until you hear about her bond portfolio. [NYP]
• France’s rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel might have had an accomplice. How did police find out? By sifting through 2,000 pages of instant-message traffic. Bet that was a gr8 time. [NYT]
Jeff Bewkes Starts Cleaning House at Time WarnerMEDIA
• At least 75 Time Warner layoffs are expected to be announced today. The layoffs are among CEO Jeff Bewkes’s first public tasks since taking the helm of the company from Dick Parsons last month. Earlier today, Time Warner announced a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. [MSNBC & AdAge]
• Maybe some of those Time Warner folks can hang their hats over at Condé Nast. The Observer evaluates Portfolio’s recent spending spree, during which it recruited top talent from The New Yorker, the Post, and the Times. [NYO]
• (Product)Red, the love child of Bono, iPod, and the Gap, has raised more than $22 million for fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. But considering the big advertising bucks spent during the Super Bowl and elsewhere, some are arguing that it’s not enough. [NYT]
early and often
Bush Says State of the Union Will Mostly Address Economy; Guest List Begs to DifferAre you guys as excited for President George Bush’s State of the Union Address tonight as we are? Hoo-ah! Wait. You realized there still is a president, even though everybody’s busy trying to pick who the next one will be, right? We know, it’s hard to remember. And even though there are primaries tomorrow, tonight belongs to current president George Bush. Early reports say that his address will largely focus on the economy, which is probably what most ordinary citizens are hoping he will talk about. “Expect few surprises and no big initiatives,” says the Associated Press. Housing reform will come up, press secretary Dana Perino says, as well as health care and veteran’s care, alternative energy sources, climate change, faith-based initiatives, and conditional troop withdrawal in Iraq.
But today the list of Presidential guests has been released for the event. These are the people who sit up with Laura Bush in the balcony, who are generally alluded to in the text of the speech (to much unilateral applause). In addition the lovely Bush twins and that sexpot Lynn Cheney, we’ve summarized the guest list for you.
City Free of ‘Sex and the City’ Movie! …For NowMets pitcher John Maine asked an attractive clubgoer at Touch if he could try on her black dress in the bathroom. Sex and the City wrapped up shooting in New York with a party at the Royalton Hotel. Bill Clinton swapped seats with Oscar de la Renta so he could sit next to Penélope Cruz instead of Anna Wintour at the Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala. Lame duck Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is annoyed that his name wasn’t included in a recent Post article about 2009 gubernatorial contenders. Tommy Hilfiger made $8.5 million when he sold the East Hampton home he bought a year and a half ago for $26.5 million. Bobby Cannavale dropped his 47-year-old girlfriend for 22-year-old Alison Pill. Fans of Law & Order: SVU are annoyed that Richard Belzer doesn’t have as much screen time as he once did.
Token ‘Project Runway’ Hottie Doesn’t Always Support Clothes-WearingWe don’t want to use the word inevitable, so let’s just say that at last, the predictable nude photos of a Project Runway cast member have hit the Internet. Jack Mackenroth, who we already know is HIV positive and leaves the show on the fifth episode after falling sick with a staph infection, is now fully on display for all fans of … fashion. (Mackenroth also has a cameo in the upcoming Sex and the City movie as “Hot Guy #17,” according to Ben Widdicombe’s Gatecrasher column.) It appears he posed for photographer Frank Louis (extensively, and in the buff), thereby exposing himself not only as a lower-back-tattoo enthusiast but also as this season’s most flagrant media hound. Which producers probably won’t mind, considering they pimped his underwear-clad body in the first episode. Go to Queerty.com for all the pics in their bulbous glory, because here at Daily Intel we have a strict “Tell, Don’t Show” policy about celebrity dongs.
‘Project Runway’ Gay Gets Naked [Queerty]
Earlier: New ‘Insider’ Anchor Accused of Having Hot, Naked Body
Allah’s Love We DeliverSome Palestinians claim that Yasser Arafat died of AIDS. Justin Timberlake had Lance Bass and his boyfriend run interference at the opening of his Southern Hospitality so that he could sneak out without running into Jessica Biel. Donald Trump and other captains of industry are fighting to keep the heliport in Hudson River Park open. Firefighters invited to the screening of Adam Sandler’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry took issue with Sandler’s financial support of Rudy Giuliani. Jonathan Ames is set to box with another writer. Moby got a surprisingly funny letter from Karl Rove. A.M. Homes is developing a show about the Hamptons for HBO.
Anonygossip Terrifies Hamptons!The society column in The Southampton Press is now anonymously written, and some East Enders are worried. Danielle Steel plans to write a novel based on her ex-husband’s boating incident in France, which left a French doctor dead. Sharon Stone is scheduled to emcee an AIDS benefit at the Dubai International Film Festival, despite the fact that the city has a bad track record on dealing with homosexuals and AIDS victims. Vanessa Minnillo may star in a reality show, though the Lohan knife pictures may be an issue. Peter Beard likes to take Polaroids of topless models. The Olsen twins sold pictures from their 21st-birthday party for $300,000. Paul McCartney performed a surprise show at the HighLine Ballroom with his “almost boy band.” Eli Manning dumped beer on teammate Shaun O’Hara at his 30th-birthday party.
the morning line
• Eliot Spitzer doesn’t just want DNA samples from all convicts and parolees. He also wants automatic HIV tests for all rape suspects, in a bill that’s dividing Albany, where some Democrats see testing “by virtue of indictment” as a slippery slope. [NYT]
• Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is quickly turning into a tiny local version of Tom DeLay: First came the strategic purge of a community board, now he’s in hot water for accepting a free cruise on Queen Mary 2 after lobbying Cunard to dock the ship in Red Hook. [NYP]
• Accounting assistant could be a pretty lucrative job, provided you’re ready to (a) steal and (b) go to jail. Eileen Koranteng, for instance, parlayed said gig at Riverdale Country School into both a $500,000 windfall and fifteen years behind bars if convicted.
• Chuck Schumer has Lyme disease! The senator is receiving treatments after he was bitten by a deer tick in the Hudson Valley. In an odd coincidence — this is not a joke — he’s proposed a $100 million research grant to study the disease. [WNBC]
• And in a first that doesn’t bode well for the future of the Postal Service, Saks Fifth Avenue’s shoe department got its own Zip Code: 10222-SHOE. Nice PR move, but we’re not sure Saks is ready to embrace the yo-mama-so-fat- she-has-her-own-Zip-Code jokes. [amNY]
Is Christine Quinn Turning Her Back on AIDS Causes?
Is the longtime lovefest between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the city’s AIDS activists finally over? Quinn rose to power working under HIV-positive then-councilman Tom Duane, advocating for tenants, gays, and people with HIV and AIDS when Duane pushed through legislation enabling poor New Yorkers with AIDS to get housing assistance and other benefits. But now a broad swath of activists want those benefits to be available to low-income HIV-positive New Yorkers before they progress to AIDS, and Quinn opposes the plan.
in other news
Alone, the Color Red Cannot Stop AIDS
When Bob Geldof was putting together Live Aid in 1985, he is said to have hoped for $2 million in relief. The concert raised well over a hundred times that amount. Now Bono, a Live Aid vet, appears to be running into a similar clash of expectations and results. Except, you know, the other way around. The cross-brand charity campaign known as RED was touted as a $100 million financial geyser for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After a year of hype, RED is barely in the black; the would-be juggernaut has barely raised $18 million. Meanwhile, it cost $100 million to market, which basically makes Apple, Motorola, and Gap its primary beneficiaries. (The amount of ink and celebrity attention generated by the campaign would have certainly cost participants more than $6 million each.) Flacks cheerfully point out that all the money will now go directly to the Global Fund, since the costs are already covered. But we’re guessing that everyone who needed a red T-shirt with a parenthetical pun across the chest already owns one.
Costly Red Campaign Reaps Meager $18 Million [Ad Age]
Woody Allen Fights AIDS, Bores Us
Speaking of Wednesday’s amFAR benefit, it also brought out Woody Allen for a rare public appearance. (He presented an award to an old friend, Dr. Mathilde Krim, amFAR’s founding chairman.) After a charmingly bumbling speech, he sat, quite oddly, across the table from Soon-Yi and listened to Garry Shandling tell the room about watching Allen years ago on a short-lived Saturday-morning TV show, Hot Dog. “It was a show where they explained to kids how things worked and Woody Allen was one of the people who explained things,” Shandling said. “I’ll never forget the time he came out and told us that baseball bats were made of halvah, so that when you strike out, you can eat it.”
Later we approached Allen to ask for an interview and were shocked to have him agree. Suddenly, visions of brilliant, hilarious, angst- and Yiddish-filled quotes leaped to our mind. We were thrilled. And then he proceeded to give us a series of totally boring replies. (Except for one tiny bit of news, that despite his last few films, he hasn’t forsaken New York forever.) Feh.
Broadway Cares, But ‘The Color Purple’ Cares MostYesterday endeth the giving season on Broadway. Every year since 1988, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has asked the theater world to spend six weeks raising funds for the charity — hence all those post-ovation pleas for donations — and shows’ casts compete to raise the most dough. This year’s big winner was The Color Purple, which brought in $194,500 of the almost $3 million total. How do casts try to wring more money from their audiences? By offering for sale or auction all manner of services and tchotchkes. In 2003, most notably, Hugh Jackman, then in Boy From Oz, and Harvey Fierstein, then in Hairspray, faced off for the most coveted trinket: Jackman auctioned off his autographed, sweaty towel after each performance, while Fierstein promised to record an outgoing message for his highest bidder. (Jackman triumphed, bringing in more than $3 million.)
Who was this year’s big draw?
Beyoncé Busts Up Midtown
Stalkers and shoppers, take note: According to well-dressed and equally well-informed sources, Beyoncé will arrive at the Armani store on Madison Avenue sometime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. today. She’ll pull double duty, promoting both the Bono-hyped AIDS charity, Project RED it’s World AIDS Day today and, naturally, promoting her new movie, Dreamgirls. Will the style icon wear one of Armani’s chari-tees to her photo op? The odds are good, if she shows up at all though Miss Knowles is lauded for many things (star power, grace, lip gloss), party punctuality isn’t one of them. She famously held up a Marc Jacobs show for two hours and often arrives to her own events only as they’re ending. Or sometimes she doesn’t show at all panicked, perhaps, that her hair just isn’t shiny enough. —Faran Alexis Krentcil
the morning line
Work Hard. Fly Right. Land Wrong.
• A Continental pilot misses the runway at Newark, and the Post, still giddy from yesterday’s circulation figures, lands a scoop. The jet skidded to a stop on a short, narrow taxiway instead of a proper landing strip. Everyone’s puzzled as to why and how. [NYP]
• Bloomberg spent Monday in Connecticut, spreading his independent, bipartisan, post-ideological magic — in other words, shilling for Joe Lieberman while trying to convince the voters he’s not laying groundwork for a presidential bid at all. [WNBC]
• Over 2,000 HIV-positive needy people will avoid a steep rent raise in their subsidized housing — but only at the last possible minute and after a heated battle in court. Housing Works, which you know as a kind of high-end Goodwill, sued the city on the tenants’ behalf. [amNY]
• OMG! There’s a barge in the East River! And there’s a swimming pool right on the barge! How darling! And just in time for, well, the time of year when you won’t get us into an outdoor pool with a shotgun. [NYT]
• Finally, a public service announcement: The Empire State Building will keep its observation decks open unusually late — until 2 a.m. — all through the holidays. So feel free to reenact your favorite moments from An Affair to Remember — or King Kong, if that’s your fancy — in bitter December cold at 1 a.m. [NewYorkology]