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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Lunch: Hillary—Obama Smackdown!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Bill Clinton isn’t the only one who is getting a little testy about the endlessly long and increasingly tabloid-y battle for the democratic nomination. At today’s lunch, politics were on the menu as supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took sides over their Cobb Salads. Our unofficial dining room poll finds Obama holding a commanding lead. Producer Joan Gelman — between commuting from Canada where her show Triple Sensation is going great guns — has taken to handing out her very own campaign buttons. “I do one for every election,” she told us. Her latest creation got lots of attention at a party at Tina Brown‘s recently when ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong arrived wearing one. It boasts a picture of President George Bush and John McCain in an embrace and is emblazoned with the words — Four More Years. Here’s the punch line: There’s a question mark at the end of the phrase. Joan was handing them out today (thanks!) and people were gobbling them up like mad. A few tables down, the exchange at David Patrick Columbia ‘s regular perch between David (a Hillary booster — “I just don’t know why she is the subject of so much hate”), Charlie Scheips and Terry Allen Kramer (decidedly not a fan) rivaled the dust ups on Sunday morning on The McLaughlin Group. But it was all in good fun. Isn’t it always?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. One big happy family: Michael’s wife Kim McCarty and kids Clancy and Chas with Martin von Haselberg and daughter Sophie. The families’ friendship goes back 30 years, says Michael. To wit: a painting of Martin (done by Kim) hangs in the reception area of the restaurant. There was plenty to celebrate all around: Clancy just graduated from NYU last week, Chas is starting his first year at Bard and Sophie is at Yale. Impressive! We were hoping that Martin’s wife — none other than Bette Midler — would join the party but, said Michael, she was rehearsing for her eagerly anticipated Las Vegas show (the family leaves for the desert tomorrow). Knock ‘em dead, Bette!

2. Peter Brown.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and yours truly. The Mayor was the subject of a glowing New York Times piece last week which bore more than a passing resemblance to this column. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?

4. Phil Smith and agent extraordinaire Ron Konecky.

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HuffPo: Stars Align for Democratic Candidates

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In case you’re a Philly transplant with a mail-in ballot and only three working brain cells, HuffPo helps you decide whom to vote for with this handy-dandy guide to which stars are endorsing which candidates.

Obama is supported by Jennifer Aniston, Sam Jackson and Chris Rock.

Clinton has Natalie Portman. And a lot of old people.

Larry Sinclair’s Wild Ride with Obama–MSM Cover-up?

Larry Sinclair claimed to have performed oral sex on Barack Obama in the back of a limo, and later in a hotel room while smoking crack cocaine. Oddly, the New York Times has ignored this important story.

He’s now suing Obama, David Axlerod, the DNC, and FBLA. (Okay, we made that up. But if he knew of our secret plans for world domination, he would have sued us.)

Sinclair had been claiming to be a big-spending drug dealer, all the while living in Duluth on welfare. He’s been sparring with Dear Murray, the dean of LA River bloggers.

FBLA Goes to the Party: Weisberg Book Party

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Slate’s Jacob Weisberg read from his new book The Bush Tragedy at a Domino-sponored shindig in Brentwood. 300 guests stormed Arianna Huffington’s mansion house. (Or home, as the invitations read.)

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Adrian Grenier, sporting a beard that would have been a bushy tragedy on anyone else, Tracey Ullman, who does a wicked Arianna herself, and Christine Lahti represented SAG; Dale Launer and Stephen Gaghan were the WGA/DGA guys, and producers were thick on the ground with Lawrence Bender, Mike Medavoy, Irina Medavoy, Sam Goldwyn and George Stevens. Matt Groening had the animation arena all to himself.

Jim Ledbetter gave Arianna a copy of his new collection for Penguin–Karl Marx’s Dispatches for the New York Tribune, stopping her as she was enroute to her office. Gabe Snyder got the story behind her distracted expression: book deadline! (Who else was in the study, anyway?)

Usual coterie of LA media types–Mickey Kaus, Carla Hall, Kevin Roderick, Nick Goldberg, Kim Serafin, Ruth Shalit, Rob Barrett, Roman Genn–let’s move on, shall we?

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Weisberg’s clever wife, Deborah Needleman (she edits Domino) brought her Conde Nast cohorts along–Clemmy Closson and Beth Brenner.

Oscars were discussed perfunctorily, Obama enthusiastically (Rachel Sklar’s cries of plagiarism! were dismissed as business as usual which means those dissing her didn’t read very closely. Or else they were drunk.) Plenty of food and drink, which is unusual for book parties–and lots of copies of the book which looks like a fast read. No need to send it out for coverage.

(photos by Stefanie Keenan for Patrick McMullan)

LAT In 90 Seconds

30306858.jpgPolitics-As-High-School: We’ve been loving the Top of the Ticket political blog for all the tasty morsels of minutiae it serves up. This Don Frederick post is especially fun: Replace the words “Clinton,” “Obama” and “Podesta” with “Rosie,” “Kim” and “Hugo,” and you’ve pretty much got the plot of Bye Bye Birdie.

35861256-20091157.jpgThat’s … Show Biz? There is a very interesting story on the LAT’s site about a British intelligence agency denying responsibility for death of Princess Di. One question: Why is this on the Entertainment section of the site? Is this part of some LAT policy to help Hollywood find stories to turn into screenplays?

sam_smOn.jpgNBC Tones It Down: It’s the austerity. NBC cancels its fancy upfronts in favor of small presentations in three cities. But don’t fret, Sam Waterson, you and other NBC stars will still get to rub elbows with advertisers at a big party on May. 12.

Lunch At Michael’s: Paging George Clooney! Fern Mallis is Saving You a Seat at Fashion Week!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

What recession? The dining room at 55th & Fifth was buzzing with the usual assemblage of bold face names, social swans and television types that tucked into their Cobb salads with gusto while digesting some of the week’s harrowing headlines. Hollywood figured heavily into many of today’s conversation with folks reeling from the shocking death of Heath Ledger and others seriously contemplating the possibility of a celebrity-free Academy Awards. IGM’s Fern Mallis, who is days away from kicking off Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, hopes cooler heads will prevail on the left coast and everyone is back on the red carpet come Oscar night. “With the economy tanking, it’s not about seeing pretty dresses on the red carpet,” says Fern. “It’s about having so many people being put out of work as a result of the strike. We need this Oscar to happen for a lot of reasons.” The one bright spot: since the stars aren’t working at the moment, Fern expects a slew of celebrities to show up at Bryant Park. At the top of her wish list: George Clooney. “I’d always find a seat for him.’ Perhaps when the newly minted best actor nominee wraps up his rumored role in the negotiations to get everybody back to work, he’ll make time for a pit stop in New York. Here’s hoping …

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, Sharon Hoge and a table full of handsome gents.

2. Richard Rubenstein.

3. Peter Price.

4. Esther Newberg with ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten.

5. Harper Collins’ Jane Friedman.

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LAT In 90 Seconds

34658670-0v9231722.jpgJohnny Grant Memorialized: Fittingly, a memorial was held over Johnny Grant’s star on the Walk of Fame.

34672367.jpgBig Day For Bob and Harvey: Weinstein Co. signed an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America, which will allow the companies projects to go ahead and get a few more writers back to work. We wonder what this piecemeal approach to negotiations is going to mean in the long run.

34672698.jpgStars Are Just Like Us! They don’t know who to vote for in the primaries. Tina Daunt notes that “Half the town was ready to run off with Obama last week after that Iowa cornfield joyride. Some sobered up a bit with Clinton’s win in New Hampshire. Now, like most of the nation’s pollsters, they’re just confused.”

Inside The Time 100 Party

America Ferrera and John Mayer

It’s arguably the most exclusive magazine party of the year. (Graydon Carter‘s Vanity’s Fair Oscar party perhaps being the other.) John Edwards mingled with John Mayer. Sir Richard Branson (just back from dogsledding in Alaska) commandeered the corner of the bar like a Virgin spaceship, and allowed Henry Kissinger to ride co-pilot. Craigslist’s Craig Newmark chatted up Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick walked through the cocktail hour unrecognized. Michael J. Fox, too, virtually unnoticed, chatted with Elizabeth Vargas near the glass window overlooking Central Park. Arianna Huffington was noticed. (Line uttered in every pre-dinner conversation: “Is that someone? It looks like someone, I don’t know … do you?”)

Time Warner execs — like Richard Parsons and Jeffrey Bewkes — buzzed along the edges as the usual media-on-media action (including Ad Age‘s Nat Ives, WWD‘s Stephanie Smith, Jossip’s David Hauslaib, New York mag’s Jesse Oxfeld, Gawker’s Lockhart Steele and Doree Shafrir, ETP’s Rachel Sklar, Glynnis MacNicol, Julia Allison, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici, NYO‘s Michael Calderone) made nice use of the open bar.

But as much firepower as there was at last night’s Time 100 party at Jazz at Lincoln Center, just 36 of the 100 to make 2007′s “most influential people in the world” list made it, and there were plenty of notable no-shows: No Obama. No Borat. No Queen of England. Rosie. No Leo. No Gore. No Timberlake. No Tyra.

But impassioned speeches — delivered over dinner by Elizabeth Edwards, Brian Williams, Bloomberg (with an ode to late Boston Celtics’ exec Red Auerbach — huh?) Branson and others — and a three-song set by Mayer more than made up for the relative lack of A-listers.

Others spotted during cocktail hour: Cate Blanchett, Mayor Bloomberg, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Simon Fuller, Charlie Rose, Tina Fey, Mario Cuomo, Martha Stewart, Brian Grazer, Gayle King (no Oprah), Matt Lauer, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Ziyi Zhang, Police Commisioner Ray Kelly, Suzanne Vega, Harvey Weinstein, David Lauren and Lauren Bush.

FishbowlNY’s Coverage Of Last Year’s Time 100:

  • Inside the Time 100 Party
  • Diddy’s Time 100 Posse Bigger Than Most Posses
  • Time 100: The Most Influential People in the Room

    More photos:

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  • Frequent Guest Ana Marie Cox Drops Imus

    ana_marie_cox_imus.jpgRefreshingly honest on Imus appeal

    The former Wonkette-turned-Time blogger had become part of Imus‘ rotating cast of media characters, and loved the ego-stroking attention. No longer, she says. Here’s why:

    I had been invited inside the circle, and to be perfectly honest, I was thrilled to be there.

    As the invites kept coming, I found myself succumbing to the clubhouse mentality that Imus both inspires and cultivates. Sure, I cringed at his and his crew’s race baiting (the Ray Nagin impersonations, the Obama jokes) and at the casual locker-room misogyny (Hillary Clinton‘s a “bitch,” CNN news anchor Paula Zahn is a “wrinkled old prune”), but I told myself that going on the show meant something beyond inflating my precious ego. I wasn’t alone. As Frank Rich noted a few years ago, “It’s the only show … that I’ve been on where you can actually talk in an informed way — not in sound bites.” Yeah, what he said!

    I’m embarrassed to admit that it took Imus’ saying something so devastatingly crass to make me realize that there just was no reason beyond ego to play along. I did the show almost solely to earn my media-elite merit badge. The sad truth is that unless you have a book to promote, there’s often no other reason any writer or columnist has to do the show.

  • An Imus Guest Says No More [Time]
  • MSNBC Drops Imus: The Heat Was Mounting All Day

    imus_head_fbny.jpgBy all accounts, the heat on Imus was mounting from Secaucus to Rock Center all day prior to his ousting. TVNewser says that NBC execs had been in meetings all afternoon and that the decision to cut Imus came down to internal pressure from staffers — not Obama, not Al, not Jesse, not the growing list of advertisers, including General Motors, Sprint and American Express, who dropped their sponsorship of the show.

    Media Matters, the liberal watchdog group that first posted the video of Imus’ “nappy-headed ‘hos” comments, has a handy little timeline — self-serving of course — of the Imus scandalabra.

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