Archive for November, 2008

Reading at the Movies

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There was a screening of Stephen Daldry’s The Reader, starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, last night and there was a hushed silence in the theater through the entire film, broken only by the sniffles of people crying towards the end. Though superficially about the Holocaust, The Reader is really about history, memory, dignity and reconciliation. The setting is Germany immediately after World War II. The performances are in equal parts touching and scorching. Harvey Weinstein — whose recent track record at the Weinstein Company has come into question — has come up with a clear winner… and quite likely … Continue reading

Brooke on the Brain

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The Daily Beast remains fixated on the Brooke Astor affair. Barbara Goldsmith chimes in today with a thoughtful take on the subject and why we are so riveted by its revelations of the dysfunctional rich. “Admit it,” she writes, “it wouldn’t be tabloid fodder unless there were a complicitous audience waiting to read all about it… In a recession or depression, such as we are now experiencing, public exposure of this kind of tragic situation has deep resonances. The psychological reaction is this: I may not have a fortune or social cache[t], but I have all the things these people … Continue reading

Lawyers, Guns and Money

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In today’s edition, New York Social Diary comments on my contrarian take on the Brooke Astor affair and the new book, Mrs. Astor Regrets. That book portays a case that’s been painted so far in tabloid black and white as something more properly rendered in shades of gray. NYSD’s David Patrick Columbia apparently thinks the same. He opines that the whole tragic affair is about greed and was pushed into public view only after the Society Queen’s much-disdained daughter-in-law, Astor’s son Anthony Marshall‘s third wife, received a piece of Maine property that the offspring of an earlier wife expected to … Continue reading

Did the Butler Buy It?

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Can the Brooke Astor story handle any more twists and turns? Well, here’s a hairpin. And if anyone knows where it leads, I’d be thrilled to hear about it. A friend reminded me today about a story that appeared in the New York Observer in July about the sale of the late art gallery scion Alec Wildenstein’s infamous townhouse at 11 East 64th Street. That ‘s where, a few years back, Jocelyn “Bride of” Wildenstein found her husband in bed with a model and a pistol he promptly waved at his wife. After the townhouse sold this summer for $42.5 … Continue reading

Correction: Infanticipation at 740 Park?

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Turns out there may be an issue with Cityfile’s post (linked below) about plastic surgery memoirist Alex Kuczynski and 740 Park co-op board president Charles Stevenson‘s connubial bliss going pfft. Erstwhile society chronicler David Patrick Columbia says that in fact La Kucyznski is pregnant. “Also in the speculating ‘split’ category, as ‘reported’ in a couple of online gossip columns, are Alex Kuczynski and Charles Stevenson,” David writes on New York Social Diary. “This rumor is based (and baseless) on the fact that Mrs. Kuczynski-Stevenson backed out of an annual Spelling Bee benefit last week and has been ‘noticeably absent from … Continue reading

The Book on Brooke

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I made my debut on The Daily Beast this morning with a piece about the new book on Brooke Astor. You can read it here.

Campbell in the Soup

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The blogger Culturgrrl ran an odd item yesterday, telling her readers that Thomas P. Campbell, the director-elect of the Metropolitan Museum, had been written up in a newspaper, but declining to name it or link it because it is in his home town of Ossining, New York — a curious omission. Culturgrrl nonetheless borrowed the photo that accompanied the piece and cited the photographer, whose name is unique enough that a Google search led directly to the Westchester Journal-News article, which ran two months ago and compares the previously unsung Campbell, a bit uncharitably, to Sarah Palin. Culturgrrl also reports … Continue reading

Playing Footsie

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The latest in my series of Bergdorf Goodman Conversations, featuring shoe-loving humorist Amy Sedaris and the very funny footwear designer Manolo Blahnik, inspired an item on Page Six today. You can read it in its entirety (in pdf format) here.

Splitsville at 740 Park?

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Cityfile says that 740 Park’s co-op board president Charles Stevenson and Alex Kuczynski are on the verge of divorce. The former New York Times style reporter is, at least for now, the hedge fund mogul’s fourth wife.

2 Good 2 B True

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I missed this while in Rome for Halloween, but caught up thanks to unBeige: The next Party of the Year (aka Anna’s Party) for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art takes place May 4th, eight days before the publication of my “much anticipated” (per unBeige) new book, Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum. And the CI show opening that night, “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion,” celebrates the subjects of my 1995 book, Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. Kate Moss, who I profiled in that … Continue reading

Schadenschwarzmanfreude (Not Again!)

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The Blackstone Group, run by the occupant of 740 Park’s primo residence, has announced a half-a-billion-dollar third quarter loss, and marked down the value of most of its holdings, sharing the pain of most of the rest of us, who might have once felt we weren’t as smart as 740′s Stephen Schwarzman. The New York Post adds a compelling detail. When Blackstone went public, “Schwarzman’s stake was worth more than $7.8 billion, but currently has shrunk to $1.88 billion based on yesterday’s close of $7.55.” I bet he still has more than me, though. (So does the New York Times, … Continue reading

Ire in Ireland

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The Independent, the Irish newspaper, has discovered 740 Park, the book — and been appalled by 740 Park itself.

Craven Mavens

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Yesterday, England’s Guardian wondered about the effect of America’s election on the complexion of fashion. I put my two cents in: “It will be a wake-up call. The reaction in the fashion business will be a blatant and almost laughable attempt to catch up. Such is this craven industry and such is the way they behave.”