Questions for Novak [FishbowlDC]
Archives: July 2005
Just as everyone was sitting down to their respective tuna tartares, there was a big hullaboo in reception. George Rush (of the Daily News’ Rush & Molloy) entered, film crew trailing. But the real stars were Dennis Hoff, pimp of the HBO Bunny Ranch and Bunny Triple X Becca Brat (sp?). More below…
[For expediency, this post is going up unedited and unfact-checked, so excuse any mistakes. Or, email me and I'll correct them later today].
Table 1: Former Governor Ann Richards, Johnny Roberts and Martha Stewart’s Charles Koppelman.
7: Ashley Schiff, of Howard Rubenstein, with Sharon Peterson in pink, hair pulled back.
8: (his regular table by the door): David Patrick Columbia, New York Social Diary, two socialites, a Ms. Finkle in a leopard-patterned top and jacket and a Ms. Richter, who seemed decidedly unsure as to whether or not to take our hand.
2: Peter Brown of Brown Lloyd James, with colleague Michael Holtzman (sp?).
B: Sally Sussman (Susman?) with a woman in a red twin set and a gigantic white bead necklace.
4: Jim Taylor, Town & Country, with Joan Parker (sp?), of DeBeers.
D (Now known as Table 6, our table): We were with Joanna Jordan, CEO of Central Talent Booking (her 22-person company books guests for major TV shows as well as wrangles celebs for major mags). She’s English, naughty and we like her very very much. Also at the table: Vivian Schiller, a Senior VP at the Times (she’s also, incidentally, and not that we or anyone else would care, one of the privileged few on the published New York Times masthead. Yes, a name we can see!). She works on the joint venture between the Times and Discovery Channel. It’s called Discovery/Times and you may check it out on Channel 111.
5: Jim Griffith (sp?) of William Morris, with Gil Schwartz, PR at Viacom.
11: Children’s clothes designer Carolina Zapf (sp?), Baby CZ, in a gorgeous robin’s egg blue top that she designed, with someone we don’t know in an indian-baticky-patterned outfit.
20: Cyndi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour, looking rather sleek in black, her cool, studded purse at her feet like a lapdog. She was dining with a charmingly freckled and raven-haired woman in hot pink. Keith Kelly, who went over to say hello, reported back that the pink-clad woman was a gynecologist. A new column in Glamour?
F: The Post’s Keith Kelly earns an A at Table F today for helping us spot people and increase the general drama of the room. He was with Martin Walker, of Walker Media and another gent, Peter Lauria, of the Post’s Sunday Business Page. At one point during the meal, the peripatetic Posty ambled over to Rush (they are natural enemies). The Bravo team of one got the whole exchange on tape, however, we doubt it will ever be shown anywhere but here…
Kelly: “So, anyone fired at your shop?”
Rush: “I don’t know. The day is young…”
Kelly: “What happened to [name mangled].”
Rush: “I don’t know… Certain people have been there a long time… Half of it, I read in your column.” [uncomfortable chuckle]
At that moment, the Pimp of the Bunny Ranch chimes in: “Hi, I’m Dennis Hof. We put the ‘ho’ in HBO,” he says by way of introduction.
G: Alice Mayhew, editor at Simon & Schuster, was with two female guests and one fellow wearing a fat blue/gold striped tie. As she was leaving, Mayhew discreetly pointed out Ann Richards to one impressed guest.
17: Patty Sellers, of Fortune with someone we don’t know. After 1:15, the table turned over to Sarah Medford, the architecture and design director at Town & Country, who was joined by Adrian Kahan of Ralph Lauren Home.
16: George Rush, of the Daily News with: a Bravo Network camera woman (they’re doing a reality show on the Daily News); the pimp of the HBO Bunny Ranch, wearing a red Cat House handler shirt; and one presumed cat, Triple X Becca Brat, looking very blonde and busty in a brown halter top and dark (very dark for daytime, we might add) grey eye shadow.
H: Xana Antunes, Executive Editor of Fortune magazine (former editor of the NY Post), with Charlie Schueler, of Cablevision.
21: Nina Link, head of MPA, with Tim Davis, of the Ad Council. Makes sense.
26: NY Post media writer Tim Arango, with merchant banker Diane Warshaw.
19: Patricia Burke, Paramount Books, with chic-looking woman in dark glasses.
15: Stanley Schuman, head of the media practice at Allen & Co, with Scott Flanders, retiring Chairman/CEO of Columbia.
27: Faye Wattleton, Center for Gender Equality (and former president of Planned Parenthood), with Ralph Destino, VP (formerly? presently?) Van Cleef & Arpels.
22: Harper Collins’ Brenda Segal with someone we couldnâ€™t identify.
23: Evan Greenberg, CEO of Ace (husband of Fox Anchorwoman Linda Vester) with someone we couldn’t identify.
J: Anna ??, publicist, of CBS.
28: L’Oreal Model Dayle Hadan with someone we couldn’t identify.
25: KPMG’s Terri Santisi with someone we couldn’t identify.
K: David Poltrack, head of research at CBS, with Lauren and Chuck? Please fill us in.
Paul Tharp, self-described reporter who “covers moguls” at the Post, with foxy Chris Taylor (she has beautiful blue eyes), Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, MacAndrews & Forbes (better known as Ronald Perelman’s holding company).
Stuart Zakim Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications at American Media Inc., with Men’s Fitness Editor in Chief Neal Boulton and Publisher, Jay Goldberg. Mid-way through lunch, they were elevated to Peter Brown’s table. Zakim and Boulton promptly bolted over the Bunny table to make small talk.
IF you were at Michael’s today (or any day) and would like to report in, or correct the record, please email LaurelT AT mediabistro.com (also, please send us table numbers!)
MAP of room
Tonight’s Daily Show might as well have been filmed on the old set: banter with pretty movie-star guest, lighthearted news stories, hilarious sight gags, double entendres, and a minimum of agenda-pushing political talk. Where’s the couch when you need it?
Jon Stewart begins with noting that some people were displeased with his kid-glove handling of Senator Rick Santorum the previous night. Well, yeah Jon; if you want us to give you credit for taking the small-fish Bernie Goldbergs to task, then you’re gonna have to ante up with some cojones when you’ve got the big fish on the hot seat. You can’t make fun of Lance Armstrong’s uno cojone when you keep yours so firmly tucked away. I’m just sayin’.
Either way, I still love you for the opening segment: CNN American Morning’s Miles O’Brien and guest Scott “Doc” Horowitz fondle giant shuttle models which stand at attention on their laps. “I’m not saying Miles O’Brien isn’t enormous…ly talentd, well-endowed with scientific knowledge, rock-hard reporter’s credentials,” said Jon, “But COME ON! That just looked like bragging to me.”
Jon went on to pity Horowitz for his dinky little rocket, especially next to Miles’ great big towering one, erect, glorious and unashamed.
Horowitz, forced to overcompensate with “a lot of technical jargon, that is not impressing anyone quite frankly” raised an important issue for Stewart: “As a Jewish person I hate to see Horowitz reduced to a humiliating stereotype. Especially when O’Brien put the nail in the coffin with this move” – (cut to O’Brien flicking the puny tip of Horowitz’s puny rocket) – “look at that, he just DISMISSES IT! HE JUST DISMISSES IT LIKE IT’S NOTHING! ‘Get it out of here.’” Poor Jon. Don’t worry, we still think you’re huge….ly funny, even if you did wimp out on Santorum.
Jon admits that it’s a bit cheap to show the videotape out of context. What else are we gonna think? With sound, he says, it’s very informative:
MILES: I’m sure if you had the oppoortunity you’d take a ride on one of those.
HOROWITZ: Couple million pounds of thrust to get you going…
MILES: That’s saying something.
HOROWITZ: (smiling dreamily) That’s a big one. You can be telling folks about getting strapped into this vehicle!
MILES: That’d be all right.
Jon giggles into his hand, looking very pleased with himself. He should be, he just made me fall in love with Miles’ O’Brien.
Diane Lane loves dogs, NASCAR goes girly and yet another reason to love Canada after the jump.
When I was still doing party reporting, I used to go to a lot of movie premieres. If movie premieres have permanent seating charts, they’re always the same: Row X = Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Eric Alterman, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity. In fact, the last few times I’ve seen Alterman out socially it’s either been at a celebrity-infested function or an event hosted by Tina Brown. (But I suppose that’s redundant.)
All of which begs the question: are the celebrities required to have master’s degrees in American History to interact with Alterman? Or are the intellectual requirements inversely proporational to the status of the celebrity in question? (For instance: Could Madonna get away with only having written a ninth grade book report on Democracy in America while Andy Dick needs to have written a 763-page dissertation on Marxist sublimations in 19th Century West Virginian Shaker eschatology?)
Related: The inexplicable NNDB classifies Alterman’s “Level of Fame” as “Somewhat.”
Jolie + Anderson: A match made in Fishbowl heaven Page Six reports that former anonablogger Jolie in NYC (aka Nadine Haobsh) has signed with William Morris and will be on Anderson Cooper‘s show next week. Tell him we love him, Jolie! Atoosa Rubenstein, way to snatch a job offer back from a gal who ain’t going places. [NYP]
BusinessWeek is makin’ you an offer you can’t refuse: BusinessWeek Online has launched a new “Innovation and Design” section to focus on, well, innovations and design, with a marketing and advertising blog called “Brand New Day,” an interactive “Game Room” (where today they talk about an upcoming “Godfather” video game – incidentally this is worth its own post daydreaming about how cool it would be to play Sonny driving around the hit at the tollbooth – everything would be different! – sneaking in to that producer’s bedroom with a giant horse’s head, or coordinating the massive hit at the end where Moe Greene gets it in the eye. Hillary would no doubt be up in arms about the hidden sex scene where Michael deflowers Appollonia on their wedding night. And really, who doesn’t want to bitchslap Carlo?). Other sections include “Car Buff,” “Architecture” and “Brand Equity,” plus design columnists and JD Power rankings so that when you try to get out they can keep pulling you back in. [BusinessWeek Innovation]
Cruisin’ for a press abusin’: Editor Jason Epstein, husband of incarcerated Plame-Gater Judith Miller, is called out by Lowdown for going on a celebrity-studded cruise to the Mediterranean. Dude, she may have said she wanted you to go but in reality she is sitting there in Virginia way pissed. With a whole bunch of people who can teach her a whole bunch of things. Payback’s gonna be a bitch. [NYDN]
Looks like Jann Wenner may be gunning his engines, loading his gun, and stacking the deck with MTV for a new reality show. Keith Kelly reports that Wenner and MTV are in talks to collaborate on an “Apprentice”-style show pitting wannabe rock journalists against each other as they fan out cross-country to cover stories in the hopes of getting an article published and landing the top spot: an editor’s gig. Getting high with groupies and roadies will presumably be done on candidates’ own time.
I’m sure there are more than a few readers out there who will relish Kelly’s lede: “This may be the role that Jann Wenner has prepped for his entire life — firing editors and writers.” But right now, man, it’s all about the music, and the dream. And somewhere out there, in bedrooms filled with magazines, posters, and sweet bootlegs, there’s a bunch of wide-eyed young music journalists who are sure all that glitters is gold. For those about to rock, we salute you.
WENNER IS FIRED UP [NYP]
Achtung, HBO, achtung! This week in New York Magazine Kurt Andersen is all filled with Weltschmertz about the 29% drop in HBO’s audience over the past three years. Where oh where is the Sturm und Drang of The Sopranos? Larry David, schnell, schell and do some more episodes! Andersen, who must be übergeschnappt (aka meshuggenah) if he thinks Fat Actress is any good, wants us all to say auf wiedersehen to any Schadenfreude we might feel for an HBO slump and instead give a big ol’ Wilkommen to Groszügigkeit in all its HBO-affirming spiritual magnanimity. After all, the über-hotties of Entourage are still totally wunderbar and Deadwood knows how to work a “der Fick” and “Schwanzlutscher” reference with the best of ‘em. So, bitte, cut HBO a little slacken, ja? For Kurt. We know he’d say danke schoen. [NY Mag]
Judith Regan, in the almost-flesh: Apparently bombshell publishing diva Judith Regan has gone all Oprah on the latest ReganBooks catalog, slapping her sultry image on the cover for all her fans to enjoy. On the interior fold-out, an NY Observer cartoon from back in April shows Regan presiding over one of her now-infamous planned salons, surrounded by headlines about her splashy move to LA, where she still hasn’t quite landed. Here’s a cool idea: Judith Regan Salon + Math Club. There’s a lowest common denominator joke in there somewhere. [NYT via FishbowlLA]
Lowdown keeps us Posted: Today’s “Lowdown” reports that staffers at the New York Post can’t use IM without special permission, and when they do their private messages are subject to management scrutiny. Wow – we’d forgotten all about that. Looks like things haven’t changed since we reported that back in April. Thanks for staying on the story, Lowdown! [NYDN]
I may be rocking back and forth in the fetal position right now, but it’s true: Ann Coulter has written a column that is not completely filled with hate and venom. It actually kind of…makes sense. Here, see for yourself:
After pretending to consider various women and minorities for the Supreme Court these past few weeks, President Bush decided to disappoint all the groups he had just ginned up and nominate a white male. So all we know about him for sure is that he can’t dance and he probably doesn’t know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah … We also know he’s argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt’s attorney. But unfortunately, other than that that, we don’t know much about John Roberts.
Hello? It’s what we’ve all been saying (or at least reading and then saying): John Roberts has no paper trail, John Roberts is a candidate whose views are not easily discerned, John Roberts is an unknown quantity.
Yes, he was nominated by Bush for his first all-important legacy-making Supreme Court seat, so there’s a rebuttable presumption that Roberts is all sorts of conservative. But we don’t know. No one knows. And if Ann Coulter is admitting that, then it really must be true. Roberts really is a wild card.
And while Democrats are surely a teensy bit relieved that they’re not dealing with a fire-breathing Bork, that at least this guy has the potential to go the way of Souter/Kennedy/O’Connor (wifely memberships notwithstanding), there must surely too be a sense of confusion: why would Bush waste his nomination on a wild card when he’s got a majority in the Senate? To deflect attention from Rove, sure; but this is a brash White House, cognizant of its power. That one doesn’t entirely add up.
For her part, Coulter doesn’t understand any of it. Conservatives are supposed to be crowing from on high; with majorities in the Senate, House and state legislatures, and a second-term prez in the White House it’s their due, dammit! (Even Hendrik Hertzberg admits this in the New Yorker: confirming a Dubya Supreme Court Justice “is a pill [Democrats] have known since last November that they wold have to swallow”).
Yet Bush gives us squeaky-clean Roberts, unremarkable judge and explicitly-disclaimed client advocate. For Coulter, White House assurances of Roberts’ conservative fitness for duty are not enough; well she remembers Souter. A frustrated Coulter channels Lloyd Grove and likens court-watchers to Kremlinologists searching for clues to the Roberts enigma. Hell, it’s not like the Dems have any more insight (although the debates ove the word “member” should provide some fun comic relief).
Anyhow, the point is, Coulter is making way too much sense here, and it’s scaring us. Where oh where did our formerly loathesome bile-spewing Annie go? Ah! There we go:
It’s always good to remind voters that Democrats are the party of abortion, sodomy and atheism, and nothing presents an opportunity to do so like a Supreme Court nomination.
Phew. Thank God. In this uncertain world, some things we just need to be able to count on.
SOUTER IN ROBERTS’ CLOTHING [Ann Coulter]
Today’s NYT Boldface Names column reports from last Thursday’s Reader’s Digest party at Skylight Studios, which boasted a plethora of stars and, arguably more important, a plethora of mini-cupcakes. There were also seared tuna bites but that’s not important right now; what’s important is that Boldface Names correspondent Fiona Byrne* totally zinged Christian Slater while he was having a smoke. After asking him about Jude & Sienna, scandal and live theater (to which, it must be noted, he gave very articulate and lucid responses) she commented on the – wait for it – plethora of women in their 30s and 40s who were fawning all over him:
There are lots of women here, our correspondent observed, who were clearly fans of yours back in the day when you were a teen heartthrob.
“Back in the day?” he said, laughing. “What a gal.”
Ouch. Aw, Christian. We thought you were totally good in “Kuffs.”
*Astute readers of the Boldface column will recall that Ms. Byrne was the very same correspondent who stared down Puffy in Atlantic City a few weeks ago, earning the column a Fishy. Campbell Robertson, why are you sending a girl in to do your dirty work? We’re joking, of course. Don’t you dare mess up that punum.
**Let us disclaim: we know/are friends with Fiona Byrne. Obviously not very good friends, though, otherwise someone might have brought someone else a mini-cupcake, hmmm?
Today’s Daily Show will disappoint anyone who wanted to see Rick Santorum get mercilessly grilled by Jon Stewart. No, Jon was very deferential, almost hesitant, and very gentle in the phrasing of the arguments he made, choosing to carefully posit alternatives to Santorum’s party line rather than give it the smackdown in any meaningful way. Which is fine — it’s his show, and presumably he wants to have other screamingly right-wing conservatives agree to go on it — but as far as interviews go it kind of lacked for teeth.
First things first: Lance in France. Much ado is made about Lance Armstrong’s record-breaking seventh Tour de France win, and decision to retire. Much ado is also made about his lone testicle (in a subsequent segment with Rob Corddry). The “one ball” jokes are a leetle old by now, no? After describing the high emotion of the moment – “if anything it was almost too moving” Jon asks “Is there anyone on hand who can drain this event of some of this human emotion?” Cut to John Kerry, droning. Hilarious. Sorry, there is no way I’m transcribing Kerry, he really is boring.
Commercial! What? Indecision 2004 is for sale? You don’t say!
Welcome back! John’s guest is the Junior Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, on hand to promote his new book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good (NB customers who bought this book also bought “A Deficit Of Decency” by Zell Miller, “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” by Bernard Goldberg and Ed Klein’s Hillary book). The book cover design is — wow. Tacky doesn’t even begin to describe it. Actually, I’m being unkind. “Tacky” is a good place to begin describing it. It’s worth noting that, unlike the other books featured on the new set so far, this is the only one not beamed into hugeness on the screen behind the desk. Mercifully for all, I might add.
More tacky fun with family man Rick Santorum after the jump.