Mayor Bloomberg Is a Lady Gaga FanThe mayor drops knowledge on MTV, John Mayer and Mischa Barton have dinner in the same room, Kanye West goes spinning, and more gossip as celebrities descend on New York Fashion Week.
Christiane Amanpour Is Kinkier Than We ThoughtDid Blair kick Kati off ‘Gossip Girl’? Does Gwyneth really eat? Is Diane Von Furstenberg really a dominatrix? (Christiane Amanpour says so!) The answers to these questions lie in today’s roundup of gossip.
early and often
Because He Got HighLast night, David Paterson told NY1 that he has used marijuana and cocaine “a couple of times.” Not that he’s hitting the chronic before looking over the budget, mind you — this was a while ago. “I don’t think I’ve touched marijuana since the late seventies,” he said. He doesn’t think! But who can be sure? Can we? Do we care?
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‘Vanity Fair’ Makes New Giuliani Ad Seem Even Nuttier
It’s not all Spitzer for Vanity Fair: The current issue also contains a towering Rudy profile, “A Tale of Two Giulianis,” by Michael Shnayerson (whose sister Maggie is now the longest-serving editor at Gawker). In a lower-key fashion than last week’s dueling Newsweek and Village Voice features on Rudy’s supposed terror ties, Vanity Fair delivers a series of excellent mini-scoops on the man’s business practices. Case after well-researched case shows Giuliani peddling bits of his 9/11 reputation to just about any taker, from foreign governments to “typical denizens of the penny-stock world — dreamers and the occasional scam artist.” Shnayerson follows Giuliani’s paid-up crusade for the makers of OxyContin, first as a lobbyist, then a lawyer; his shilling for Nextel; etc. More disturbingly, he then catches Rudy putting plugs for his clients into his political speeches, which are then reported as legitimate news. The choicest tidbit, however, is the one where the author quickly settles a personal score.
Linda Stein’s Funeral Reveals Fondness, AngerHundreds turned out at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side this afternoon for the funeral of murdered real-estate icon Linda Stein. Fellow brokers, longtime friends, and even celebrities like Trudie Styler and Brett Ratner showed up to pay their respects. There were so many attendees, the chapel had to open another room for overflow, though many chose to stand in the main chapel. While the funeral was in parts a celebration, Stein’s daughter, Samantha, didn’t let the gruesomeness of her death go unmentioned. She said the family would not rest until “the bastard” responsible for her death is found and justice is served. As friends voiced fond and complex remembrances, someone recounted one of Stein’s favorite quotes, which captured her aggressive outlook on life. It was Rosalind Russell’s famous line from Auntie Mame: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” —S. Jhoanna Robledo
Alan Greenspan: ‘Not My Fault’FINANCE
• Alan Greenspan says don’t blame him for the credit crisis. He may not have understood the dangers until recently, but the former Fed chief claims there’s nothing he could have done. [NYP]
• Who needs Wall Street 2 when Gordon Gekko is already back in the guise of Steve Schwarzman? The Blackstone founder just bought a big stake in a firm called BlueStar, the same name as the central company in the original Wall Street. [DealBook/NYT]
• Big surprise: Funds that invest in Vice typically do far better than those that insist on Virtue. [NYT]
show and talk
CFDA Welcomes New Members, Prepares for the Tents
As New York’s fashion designers count the days till Fashion Week, which starts this year on September 5, two days after Labor Day, battles for models and tent times are heating up. But at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s party for new members at Diane von Furstenberg’s studio last night, no one would name — and only a few would acknowledge — the most diva-ish designers, who politick to cast and schedule most fiercely. “There are model problems sometimes,” acknowledged Stan Herman, a board member and former president. “There are time-slot problems sometimes. There are moments that designers go, ‘I can’t show next to that person’ or ‘I won’t show next to that person.’ But not very many.”
Bad Days at ABC, NBCMEDIA
• Eric Wishnie, an NBC News producer who was fired in 2006 for substance-abuse problems, fell to his death from his West Village rooftop. [NYDN]
• Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts announced that she has breast cancer. [ABC News]
• Condé Nast is expanding in India and expected to launch editions of Glamour, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, and Wired. Vogue will launch in September. [FT]
At the CFDAs With DVF and Her FriendsNo one was expecting a tie in the top category at the CFDA awards last night. Oscar de la Renta was on his way to accept his Womenswear Designer of the Year award when emcee Ellen Barkin realized he wasn’t the sole winner. “Oh, wait,” she said. “There’s more writing here. It says Proenza Schouler. It’s a tie! We have a tie.” De la Renta couldn’t disguise a little disappointment, but he gracefully kissed the young upstarts and gave his speech. “I have never had so much fun working so hard in all these years,” he said. The Proenza boys, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, stood behind him looking stunned. As they started to speak, Hernandez’s pocket began to ring. “Oh, my God, that’s my mom,” he said, laughing. He checked his phone. “It fully is.”
At DVF Opening, It’s Everybody in the Pool!Diane Von Furstenberg’s literally shiny new flagship store in the meatpacking district may have mirrored ceilings and a staircase lined with Swarovski crystals, but it was a hard-to-spot pool, decorative and flush with the floor, along the back wall of the lobby, that garnered the most attention at last night’s opening party. By night’s end, that little body of water had claimed ten very embarrassed victims, including this reporter, and one very drenched laptop.
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Harlem Pol: Bloomberg Should Sell Congestion Plan as Health Issue
Mayor Bloomberg has said he wants the State Legislature to act on his congestion-pricing proposals this session — which means in the next month, as the session ends in mid-June — and an influential state senator thinks that it’s doable if the mayor stresses the public-health benefits of the plan. Senator Bill Perkins, a longtime Harlem pol, told us outside a panel discussion this morning that Bloomberg should stress how decreased traffic can lead to cleaner air and lower asthma rates, as a similar plan did in London. Kids’ health is indeed one of Bloomberg’s passions, but Perkins says that point hasn’t gotten through in Albany. So far, he said, “the message has a businessman’s flavor to it.” A shift in rhetoric, the state senator said, could well lead to the needed legislation. “It’s difficult, but it’s possible,” he said. —Alec Appelbaum
Former Goldman Sachs Head Scoffs at Street SalariesFINANCE
• John Whitehead, the former chief of Goldman Sachs, blasted the firm for leading Wall Street’s “outrageous increase” in salaries. [Bloomberg]
• John Edwards earned a paltry $480,000 while studying poverty at Fortress. [DealBook/NYT]
• Should the SEC investigate claims of stock manipulation at Apple? The company shares were down 3 percent yesterday after the tech blog Endgadget published a false tip reporting product delays for the iPhone and a new Mac operating system. [DealBreaker]
Too Bad ‘Star Search’ Got Canceled
From the nymag.com video team, a double bill for the ages. Both feature hungry showbiz strivers ready to duke it out for a shot at the big time but in only one are the contenders clutching dressed-up dolls. That’s right: Up at Harlem’s Hip Hop Culture Center, a hundred M.C.’s took turns at the mike for 24 hours straight in the first-ever “rapathon” while a gaggle of mostly blonde preteen divas laid siege to the American Girl Place for a film audition. The former is decidedly PG (“No curses, no n-word, no b-word”); the latter, which features a girl saying “I don’t want to sound conceited, but people tell me I’m talented,” somewhat obscene.
American Girls Audition [NYM]
24-Hour Rapathon [NYM]
Law-School Rankings LeakedLAW
• The U.S. News 2008 law-school rankings were somehow leaked. Yale’s still No. 1, but Harvard and Stanford swapped this year to be two and three, respectively. [Law School Discussion via Legal Blog Watch]
• If you’re looking for a good M&A lawyer, wait till they all come back from the Corporate Law Institute at Tulane. [DealBook/NYT via WSJ]
• Seyfarth Shaw finally ups associate pay to match other New York firms. As one partner said back in February, “We don’t follow all the other firms over the cliff like lemmings. We wait, think about it, discuss, and then jump off the cliff.” [Above the Law and Above the Law]
The Exquisite Vagueness of a Conversation With DVFWhat: “Diane von Furstenberg celebrates International Woman’s Day”
Where: Bergdorf Goodman
When: Last night
The Fashion Week tents will have to leave Bryant Park. You’re CFDA president — where should they move?
Oh, I have a dream about that, so I’m not gonna say.
No. It’ll be a nice spot.
Is it in … Brooklyn?
Mayor’s Girlfriend Leaves Public for Private SectorFINANCE
• Diana Taylor the mayor’s First Girlfriend leaves post as state superintendent of banks for boutique investment firm Wolfensohn & Co. [NYP]
• Harold Ford Jr. loses Senate race in Tennessee, wins position at Merrill Lynch. [CNNMoney]
• Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill wants hedge funds to open up their books. [Spiegel via DealBreaker]
You Will Never Be Hungry Again
We had no mail at our apartment when we got home last night, but we’re pleased to see that neither sleet nor snow nor dark of night keeps a Chinese-food delivery guy from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.
In the Mailbag: I Want to Be a Producer!Here’s what landed in our in-box today, as reality-TV finally begins to eat itself:
My name is Danielle and I am the casting producer for Magical Elves which does Project Runway, Project Greenlight, Last Comic Standing, Top Chef ect [sic]. We are doing a new show described below looking for the best producers nationwide to compete for a huge prize. Please read the show description below and let me know if you would ever be interested in trying out for something like this or if you know anyone that would be great! If so, please send me your resume, a picture, and your current contact information. Thanks!
AMERICA’S NEXT PRODUCER
Think you have what it takes to be the next Jerry Bruckheimer, James Brooks, JJ Abrams or Mark Burnett? Then we want to hear from you!
Maria Bartiromo Feels Pretty, Oh So PrettyBefore Maria Bartiromo was on MSNBC and flying on private jets, she lived a life out of West Side Story. Speaking of Bartiromo, Citigroup head Charles Prince may have leaked the jet-ride scandal to the media. Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos uploaded some unintentionally funny government-propaganda films to YouTube. Financier Henry Kravis complained that he wasn’t invited to Stephen Schwarzman’s blowout birthday party. Brad and Angelina needed beads and masks to escape from a New Orleans restaurant.
Saying Anything About ‘Say Everything’How do you get people who spend all day talking about themselves to talk about you instead? You talk about them. “Say Everything,” Emily Nussbaum’s cover story for last week’s New York, explored the ways the brave new Webby world changes the ways kids share information — and creates a nearly unprecedented generation gap. And, of course, the blogs have been responding. Some of our favorites:
• Slob: “Wow — so the Internet generation has collectively huge balls.”
• Leesean.net: “One of the girls they profile was born in 1989 — that makes me feel old. But I totally identify with them. I’m a total Net Narcissist Exhibitionist Extraordinaire.”
• Bout Manje : “The idea that this is essentially a *generation* gap is a bit overplayed. It is a magazine article, after all, and therefore sensationalized.”
Tom Hanks Can’t Win an Oscar Pool
Tom Hanks was in town the other night for a screening of Starter for Ten, a new romantic comedy he produced. The after-party was at the Odeon, and naturally we jumped into his booth to talk about Oscars — and about condoms.
What’s your least favorite thing about the Oscars?
The getting-dressed part. It’s that horrible competitiveness of whose tux you’re gonna wear.
What’s the most you ever won or lost in an Oscar pool?
It’s always just twenty bucks a head. And I’ve never won.
in other news
Dick Parsons Continues to Maybe Plan to Run for MayorYou might have seen yesterday’s news that Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons, speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, did not explicitly reject the possibility that he might run for mayor in 2009. (“[W]hile saying he was not running for the job, he suddenly sounded a lot more like a man who wants to keep the option open,” is how the Times put it.) You might also have seen Cindy Adams told-you-so-ing that “I told you this months back, at which time Mr. Parsons said no-no-a-thousand-times no.” We’ll just quickly point out that Ms. Adams’s item, from April 19, merely said “Time Warner big mouths … [were] salivating over boyohboyohboy what a shot this African-American multimillionaire businessman would have.” And we’ll further point out, while these told-you-sos are being told, that Geoffrey Gray reported in August 21 issue of New York, that “[i]nsiders say that it’s all but official: Richard Parsons, Time Warner’s chairman and CEO, will run for mayor.”
Business Chief Hedges, a Bit, on Running for Mayor [NYT]
A Movie Star Goes for Moore on B’Way [NYP]
Is Parsons the New Bloomberg? [NYM]
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A Slow Train From N.J. to AlbanyYesterday, miraculously, Christopher Street lost its title as the gay-friendliest stop on the PATH train. And with some sort of gay unions suddenly soon-to-be legal on the far side of the river, one can’t help but remember that those trans-Hudson tubes, like so much else, keep the two states tightly linked. What are the chances of this era of good gay feeling making its way across the George Washington Bridge? At first glance, says Jon Dolan at Early and Often, things look good. Eliot Spitzer has said he’s in favor of gay marriage, and polls show the majority of New Yorkers agree. But it may not be that easy: There is, after all, the Republican-controlled State Senate to consider. It’s all explained at E&O.
Spitzer’s Support for Gays Will Not Be Tested [Early and Often]
Jersey Kitten Named Cat Champ, Doesn’t Care
The smell at the fourth annual Iams Cat Championship hits you before the cuteness does. Held in the Expo room in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, the show — sponsored by the century-old Cat Fanciers Association — featured felines representing 41 certified breeds, booths advertising “world’s best kitty litter,” charcoal drawings of cats drinking out of toilets, and presentations like “The Secret Sex Lives of Dogs & Cats.” (Can’t some things stay secret?)
Sunday was time for the Best of the Best awards, the kitty equivalent of Best in Show. (It came after the trained-cat show and the feline agility competition.) The judging took place in the front of the room, before dozens of people on folding chairs, on a stage with a small, pink-beribboned table. The judge, Walter Hutzler, brought out each cat and held it aloft, stretching it out vertically or horizontally into a sort of Superman pose, before setting it down briefly on the table. The crowd oohed and aahed constantly. Two gray-haired announcers — Kent Highhouse, in a tux, and Gail Frew, in a black pantsuit — sat to the left of the stage, keeping up a running commentary.