My IM account has been behaving oddly. If you tried to IM me today and your message was refused, try again. It was nothing personal.
Archives: February 2005
Roger H. Weaver, headmaster of the fancy-shmancy Crossroads School, has sent a letter to alumni reacting to the profile of the school in last month’s Vanity Fair. Choice quote:
The most concerning thing to me… is that despite my multiple conversations with the author of the story and editors at VF explaining that no Crossroads students could be named or identified, which they indicated they clearly understood, the article did just that. Repeatedly.
Later in the letter, Weaver states “though I found the lack of substance in the Vanity Fair article disappointing, I also realize it could have been far, far worse,” an allusion to the Crossroads chapter in Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner’s book Hollywood, Interrupted, which did indeed portray the school in much less flattering terms.
ABC reports that overall viewership was down from last year, but up among 18-34s. Chris Rock was less outrageous (and less funny and less political) than expected. LAObserved links to a great NPR piece that sums up everything else you need to know about the press coverage. Let’s change the subject now.
Thanks to LA.COMfidential for alerting us to the plethora of LA post-Oscar gossip on today’s Page Six. Of particular note is the second item, detailing the problem-plagued Oscar Week at Soho House’s temporary Laurel Canyon outpost, which repelled a FishbowlLA strike team on Friday. Despite the series of embarrassing fiascos, apparently Soho House is looking to open a permanent LA branch by the end of next year. Let’s start organizing a grass-roots resistance now, before it’s too late.
Susan Estrich’s LA Times watchdog site was completely re-designed on Friday. Gone are Estrich’s jagged anti-Kinsley screeds. (Also gone is the comments section, which, last I checked, was skewing anti- Estrich by a ratio of about 3 or 4 to 1.)
Instead we are treated to a pie chart and a day-by-day tracking of LA Times editorial writers by gender. I can’t find a single mention of Estrich on the page, which makes me wonder if she knows she’s squandered her credibility. Unless the email address accessed by the ‘Spot Check’ link, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an Estrich front. But she doesn’t seem like the type who would dub herself ‘California Girl.’
The new site presents Estrich’s central thesis more lucidly and clearly. But, I don’t know, I kind of miss her early, raw material, from before she starting trying to appeal to a mainstream audience via slick production values. Fortunately, the old website is still online in the form of a Google screenshot.
Last week I accidentally discovered a sure-fire way to get offered an unsolicited assignment from one of those local upscale lifestyle magazines. You know, the kind named after exclusive Westside neighborhoods that often feature cover stories on Scientology-affiliated movie stars. Call up the publisher and say that you’re a media journalist investigating a report of upheaval among the magazine’s editorial staff. The publisher may threaten you with a lawsuit, but he’ll also offer you work in return for squashing the story. Without even asking to read your clips!
My lifelong ambition– being alluded to in the New York Times Style section– has been realized. (Seriously, I’ve pitched myself as a subject for ‘A Night Out With…’ twenty-eight times. If they don’t call back soon, I’m giving up.) In a round-up of the state of gossip journalism in LA, James Verini writes:
In January Mediabistro, based in Manhattan, created FishbowlLA to cover Los Angeles media gossip, no small task in a town with only one major newspaper and few magazines.
(Most of the article is about some website called defiler.com or something.)
Verini omits what I think is the real reason there is not much of a local LA gossip scene: Everyone Here Takes Themselves Very, Very Seriously. In New York, the gossip mini-industry exists thanks to an implicit social contract by which media figures and other bold-face names agree that in return for public exposure (and its attendant social, emotional, and financial quasi-benefits), they will be made fun of a little, and moreover, that they will like it. Not so in Los Angeles, where everyone is So Desperate To Be Taken Seriously that they Forget To Laugh At Themselves, and are much quicker than New Yorkers to Fly Off The Handle when someone Points Out Their Foibles.
We’ve all read that nobody’s watching the Oscars on Sunday. And I was just at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s. Know what I saw? Rows and rows of tortilla chips. And of course, tortilla chip overstock = fewer-than-expected Oscar viewing parties. So, here are a couple alternate suggestions for your Sunday evening.
-Crash the Soho House Oscar Villa. It’s the big round house toward the northern end of Fairfax, visible from Sunset. Shuttles leave from the 8000 Sunset parking structure, but they’re checking names. A FishbowlLA strike team attempted an insertion earlier today but was foiled by an alert cater-waiter. However, a multi-pronged night-time operation could penetrate the perimeter.
-Show up at the home of snubbed Aviator producer Charles Evans with a big bottle of booze. My guess is he’ll be watching.
Not half an hour after I posted the previous item, this missive arrived from Nikki Finke in the FishbowlLA and FishbowlNY mailboxes, linking to the Romenesko item about the same Marketwatch story which mentions Finke in passing:
interesting…what a list of b$tches, no?
To FishbowlLA, FishbowlNY
9:26 am (51 minutes ago)
Waxman: “People wouldn’t talk to me if I was really disliked”
Jon Friedman says New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman is one of many Hollywood journalists who’ve developed a reputation for toughness. (“The list includes Nikki Finke, Claudia Eller and Anita Busch,” he notes.) Waxman, who left the Washington Post in 2003, tells Friedman: “Now that I’m at the New York Times, people return my calls much more than they did when I was at the Washington Post. If you didn’t have a strong paper behind you, [the critics] would take the ground out from under you.”
Duly noted, Nikki. You are tough.
UPDATE: Finke has asked me to post her response to my posting of her email.
for the record: my comment to you re my posting…
Explain to me exactly how it’s self-promotional for me to refer to myself as being on a “list of b$tches.” I believe the definition of that is self-deprecating. Invest in a dictionary. LOL
As it happens, I am saving up for a dictionary. However, it is the position of the Fishbowl family that, in this unfortunate age of irony, self-deprecation and self-promotion can be, and often are, engaged in simultaneously. (And yes, we really did get together as a family and discuss this.)
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