Archives: June 2011
For wire service reporters like Associated Press Southern California staffer Thomas Watkins (pictured), the recent arrest of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and girlfriend in Santa Monica is the gift that keeps on giving. But it still requires a little ingenuity to make that gift really shine.
Score one on that front today for Watkins with his great dispatch about interest among prospective renters in Bulger’s vacated rent-controlled digs. Apparently, Westside Rentals—which has handled previous vacancies at the Princess Eugenia but has no formal arrangement with the building–is getting so many calls about Apartment 303 that the company has had to memo staff about how to handle the crush:
“It’s a total curiosity,” Westside Rentals owner Mark Verge said. “People say they want to rent it. But as the owner, you want the best tenant, not someone who is fanatical about living in a monster’s apartment.”
Just read quite possibly the most horrendous story of the decade in the LA Times. Get this: John Lennon‘s former personal assistant Fred Seaman says Lennon was a Ronald Reagan fan who would have voted for the Gipper if he was able.
“John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on Jimmy Carter,” Seaman told Seth Swirsky, who is making a film about the Fab Four.
Seaman said the guitarist “met Reagan back, I think, in the ’70s at some sporting event.”
The final print review assignment for Brand X film critic Andy Klein this week is the new Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts flick Larry Crowne. An apt narrative echo of the LA Film Critics Association member’s latest experience with the world of free weekly LA newspapers.
Klein was formerly the film editor and lead critic for Los Angeles City Beat, until he was laid off at the beginning of 2009, ahead of the publication’s shuttering in March of that same year. Now, via LAObserved, comes the news that the LA Times is ending its bizarre weekly Brand X experiment, and with it, the regular print slot for Klein.
- TVSpy: A Dallas, Texas, meteorologist tweeted the five o’clock news forecast because a power outage at the station kept the programming from airing. Someone give that guy a raise. That’s dedication.
- AgencySpy: Here’s a video of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar promoting the Smashing Pumpkins. Yeah, we don’t know either.
- FishbowlDC: Find out what time Chuck Todd pees each morning. We have nothing further to add.
— DIANE CLEHANE
Before dashing off to their summer cottages in the Hamptons for the long holiday weekend, the media mavens and moguls were at their regular perches at Michael’s today for a bit of last minute networking. It was SRO at the bar and the dining room was jam packed, because the Garden Room was reserved for a party hosted by the cast of Damages, the water cooler legal drama starring Glenn Close as a ruthless Manhattan attorney.
Last year, FX cancelled the show after three seasons, but it got a stay of execution from Direct TV which will air the season four premiere on July 13. I caught up with the series’ co-creator and show runner Daniel Zelman (who happens to be Debra Messing‘s husband, in case you didn’t know) before the party to find out what he thought of the move. “FX was wonderful and terrifically supportive, and Direct TV has been great. We’re thrilled about their commitment to the show,” he told me, adding that Damages will be the first stateside television series to air exclusively on the company’s new Audience Network. (They also aired the beloved but viewer deprived Friday Night Lights, which they shared with NBC.)
I asked Daniel what ripped-from-the-headlines news story would serve as the inspiration for the upcoming season. “The privatization of war industry,” he told me, saying that the new scripts are “loosely based” on those stories about for-hire firms like Blackwater who are paid to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. “The stories behind the for-profit companies involved in the war effort are very interesting. There is a lot to explore,” he said. Last season’s scalding Shakespearean version of the Madoff saga certainly made for very compelling human drama, and Daniel says that while there is no single larger than life figure this season, faithful viewers will be rewarded. “At the end of it, we hope they feel like they’ve been watching a 13-hour movie and feel satisfied with their investment.” With a stellar cast (all in attendance today) headed by Close, Rose Byrne (loved you in Bridesmaids!), John Goodman and Dylan Baker, we’re sure viewers will have plenty to chew on. We’ll be watching.
I had a lively lunch today with Self’s editor-in chief Lucy Danziger who arrived on her scooter with entertainment director Laura Brounstein. Rounding out our foursome was Huffington Post’s new women’s editor Lori Leibovich who is busy these days getting ready to launch a host of new verticals including ones devoted to parenting, baby boomers and pets.
Lucy just celebrated her 10th anniversary at Self , and she’s more energized than ever. She gave Lori and me a quick tour of Self’s July issue with cover girl Zooey Deschanel on the magazine’s iPad App which featured videos of fashion spreads with Cobra Starship set to music and stop action video demonstrating the exercise moves in the fitness features. This being ‘The Music Issue,’ Lucy and her team came up with some clever ways to get readers’ heart rates up, including playlists designed to motivate and slim them down. “Music is scientifically proven to be a powerful fitness tool,” she says. Just ask May’s cover girl Gwyneth Paltrow.
It was clear from seeing Lucy zip her way around her iPad during lunch that she has completely embraced her magazine’s digital doppelganger (which just launched in April with cover girl Kim Kardashian hosting live chats) and sees it as a way to connect with her readers like never before. ”The print magazine is great. It refreshes a reader’s commitment on a monthly basis,” she explained. “But we can reach the same reader every day with something new with our App. We refresh our content every day and are constantly coming up with new ways to make our readers feel more involved. We had three million uniques last month and, in the digital world, we can reach those readers 24/7.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
2. Peter Brown
4. PR scion Steve Rubenstein
Let this be a lesson to all freelancers. No matter how high the career peaks reached, there’s always room for a little Craigslist.
The latest reminder of the 1099 truism comes from nationally known cartoonist Jim Hunt. He’s been drawing caricatures for several decades now, but only just this week gave his first major media interview, to Quincy, Massachusetts newspaper the Patriot Ledger (Hunt lives in Maryland). The 49-year-old married father of two may be relatively famous now, but a key habit remains:
“Three times a week, I look through Craigslist for major cities. I’ve gotten some good jobs there. I turned out doing my work for Fox Sports through a listing on the Los Angeles Craigslist.
Actor-turned-musician Jeff Bridges has an album coming out in August, and he was good enough to share a few tracks Tuesday night at the Troubadour. FishbowlLA managed to score an invite to the private concert, and arrived just in time to hear Quincy Jones introduce Bridges as “my baby brother.”
Bridges proved as charming and affable on stage as he is on screen, and his country-folk ditties were a hit with the crowd. The Bridges family was in attendance, and the highlight of the night had Jeff singing “The Man in Me” to his wife Sue. Pierce Brosnan and album producer T Bone Burnett were spotted in the crowd, and standing just behind us were actors Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde, looking cozy.
After the show we chatted with Rachel Reynolds of KCRW and rock critic Laura Ferreiro, both of whom confessed to being uncharacteristically starstruck. “I think he’s the world’s most likeable guy,” said Reynolds. Agreed.
All Things D is reporting that News Corp.’s Myspace days have finally come to a close. The site has been sold to Specific Media, an advertising network, for $35 million (so we were close). Mike Jones, Myspace’s outgoing CEO, made sure to mention those lay offs in an announcement about the sale:
In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our workforce. I will assist Specific with the transition over the next two months before departing my role as Myspace CEO.
Who knows what will happen to Myspace now, but one thing is for certain, we will always remember the porn spam and the inane bulletins that the site brought into our lives each day. For that we will always be grateful.