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Archives: February 2012

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Dan Rather, Steve Kroft and An Encore Appearance by John Legend

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I got several emails last week when I was on vacation alerting me to John Legend‘s presence in the dining room. “You’re missing him!” texted one faithful “Lunch” reader. “Oh well,” I thought, “next time.” Imagine my surprise when the singer magically appeared in the dining room today and even shot me a big smile on the way to his corner table. How thoughtful of him to schedule a return engagement on a Wednesday!

I was joined today by uber publicist Judy Twersky and her agency’s account supervisor, Jennifer Bristol, who I met in this very dining room through our mutual friend, Diane Dimond. A little birdie told me that Judy knows just about everybody and has represented a very interesting mix of famous folks so I knew lunch would be fun. I wasn’t disappointed.

Judy, who once toiled as media director for Ogilvy & Mather, started her own firm in 1992 and has had an impressive roster of clients, including Maury Povich, Dr. Andrew Weil and none other than actor James Earl Jones. (No word on how he felt being banished to the bleachers at the Oscars while Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy took to the stage). Judy, who tells me she gets most of her clients through word of mouth, specializes in authors but also handles her fair share of celebrities. Her current client list includes former CIA agent-turned-photographer Hank O’Neal, who has traveled the world chronicling street art. His new book, aptly titled XCIA’s Street Art Project (Siman Media Works), will debut in March along with a mobile app. None other than Tony Bennett praises Hank’s work as “one of the greatest contemporary works of art I have ever experienced.”

Jennifer Bristol, Diane Clehane, Judy Twersky
Jennifer Bristol, Diane Clehane and Judy Twersky

Judy also reps pianist Richard Glazier, whose PBS special, “From Ragtime to Reel Time: Richard Glazier in Concert” premieres on stations around the country next week. Judy first met Richard on a TCM cruise and was enthralled by his skills as a raconteur as he regaled the audience (who stayed up way past their bedtimes) with the stories behind the “Great American Songbook” and tales of his childhood friendship with Ira Gershwin. Richard is coming to New York next month to be feted by violinist Joshua Bell.

Speaking of great parties, Judy’s 60th birthday bash made “Page Six” recently with the news that Paul Shaffer wrote a song especially for her to mark the occasion. (Paul’s wife Cathy is Judy’s best friend, and Judy is now managing the couple’s 19-year-old daughter Victoria Shaffer who has aspirations to host her own talk show). Her good pals also arranged for The Naked Cowboy to come in and sweep her off her feet (literally). “You can book him for 15-minute sessions,” Judy told me with a laugh. “I couldn’t believe it.” Who needs birthday cake when you can be serenaded by a man in his underwear?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Dan Rather and another important looking gent we didn’t recognize

2. Peter Brown

3. 60 MinutesSteve Kroft and  journo Jackie Leo, engrossed in some important looking papers

4. John Legend (in jeans) and Warner Music Group CEO  Lyor Cohen

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Jack Abramoff: Role Model

Not sure who in the world scheduled this appearance, but racist, arbiter of public corruption and convicted felon Jack Abramoff was at Beverly Hills High yesterday to plug his new memoir Capitol Punishment. The LA Times’ Stephen Ceasar was at the event and penned this nausea-inducing graph:

[Abrmoff] spoke of his time as a powerful lobbyist with ties to Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, commanding rates of as much as $150,000 a month from a single client, which drew “oohs” from the teenagers.

How was this asshole allowed to come anywhere near children wearing anything other than prison blues? Well, Abramoff is a Beverly Hills High grad, you see. And…he’s turned his life around…or something, and become, according to the Times, “an unlikely foe of the role and influence of special interests in Washington.”

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Monkee Davy Jones, A ‘Great Performer,’ Dead at 66

Davy Jones, the devil-may-care Monkee, died today of a massive heart attack in his Florida home. He was 66.

Riding the wave of the Beatles, the Monkees were born in 1966. Jones, a Brit, was placed in the Paul McCartney role. The Monkees were the creation of record producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. With a stable of songwriters like Neil Diamond, the Monkees became an overnight sensation with an NBC sitcom and their likeness everywhere else.

Jones sang lead on several chart-topping hits including I’m a Believer and Daydream Believer.

WCBS-FM morning man Dan Taylor was saddened to learn of Jones’ passing.

“[He was] always a great performer. I’ve interviewed him several times, and I always enjoyed his stories.” Taylor tells FishbowlNY. “Especially how he had a school chum named Daniel Taylor.”

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Journos React to Surprising OC Register Layoff

It’s certainly not unusual, sadly, to hear about another round of layoffs at a SoCal daily newspaper. But the idea that the Orange County Register would not be able to find a way to keep Latina columnist Yvette Cabrera on staff is truly mind-boggling.

FishbowlLA was tipped to this development around the same time that James Rainey sent out the first tweet and Kevin Roderick got up the first post. Cabrera is the executive director president of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California and was voted Best Columnist in 2011 by the OC press club.

So far, the most impassioned and detailed reaction to this developing layoff news (word is as many as eight other Register staffers may also be involved) comes from Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly. He writes:

Yvette was always kind to me, penning articles on various members of my family over the years. I, on the other hand, didn’t return the favor, both as part of the “Spy vs. Spy” game that is the rivalry between the Reg and your favorite infernal rag, and because I always wanted her to be tougher, more radical, more of an Agustín Gurza than a feel-good columnist. Immaturity on my part, I can now say with a bit more years under my belt.

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Where to Find Dirk’s Diggler

Perhaps this is common knowledge in Hollywood, but it was still news to FishbowlLA.

During an Australian interview for his latest movie Contraband, actor Mark Wahlberg got a great final throwaway question from 7.30 current affairs show co-host Chris Uhlmann. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter posed, “Look, I have to ask this question – what happened to the prosthesis we saw at the end of Boogie Nights?”, to which the actor replied:

“It’s one of the only props that I’ve ever kept from a movie, and I still have it in my house, locked in my safe.”

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Snag $2 a Word at GQ

Since its start as a trade magazine, GQ remains the sophisticated older brother of the lad mag genre. And although editors expect nothing short of poised perfection in all pitches, senior editor Will Welch said they welcome irreverence with no shortage of humor in their front-of-book sections.

“There’s always a need for coverage with a super distinct point of view and the right sense of humor,” Welch said. ”The most immediate thing is for freelancers to show familiarity with the skeleton of our magazine: what the sections are and what the tone of the writing is.”

For contact info for GQ editors and more details on what they consider a perfect pitch, read How To Pitch: GQ. [sub req'd]

LA Zoo Wrangles Slash, Betty White

Hollywood is full of odd couples. Still, TMZ camera-totters would be hard pressed to find a visual grab as striking as the side-by-side sight of Slash and Betty White.

Calm down; they’re only an item for LA Zoo promotional purposes. Out of the five new ads touting the attraction’s upcoming reptile and amphibian shrine The Lair opening in March, this is FishbowlLA’s favorite (great comeback, frogs!):

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News Corp. Stock Gets a Boost from Murdoch Resignation

News Corporation’s stock is enjoying a bit of an upswing that can probably be attributed to James Murdoch resigning. After the news went public, Poynter notes that News Corp. stock was trading slightly higher, and it still is.

Perhaps this is just a normal swing of the market, but we doubt it.

[Image via Yahoo!]

Tribeca Film Festival Kicks Off with Judd Apatow Comedy

The Tribeca Film Festival returns for its 2012 edition this Spring.

Getting the honor of opening the festival, The Five-Year Engagement, a re-teaming of director/writer/producer Nicholas Stoller and writer/star Jason Segel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The irreverent comedy also stars Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, and Alison Brie.

The premiere takes place on Wednesday, April 18, and the Festival will run through April 29.

Beginning where most romantic comedies end, The Five-Year Engagement looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Segel and Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle. The film is also produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Rodney Rothman (Get Him to the Greek).

The film festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff following the 9/11 attacks, to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music, and culture.

Since its inception, the Tribeca Film Festival has attracted an international audience of more than 3.7 million attendees and has generated an estimated $725 million in economic activity for New York City.

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