The narrative appetizers in Ian Parker’s article about New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells in the Sept. 12 issue of The New Yorker include details about the critic’s attempts not to be recognized in Chelsea at Momofuku Nishi, a quick history of restaurant reviewing at the Times and this fascinating tidbit offered up by former Wells colleague Jeff Gordinier:
Gordinier had spoken with me about Wells’s chances of remaining anonymous by referring to a famous contractual demand made by Van Halen: concert promoters were asked to supply the band with a backstage bowl of M&M’s, with the brown ones removed.
David Lee Roth, Van Halen’s lead singer, has said that the request was not whimsical. It helped to show whether a contract had been carefully read and, therefore, whether the band’s complex, and potentially dangerous, technical requirements were likely to have been met. Gordinier said that an ambitious New York restaurant’s ability to spot Wells is a similar indicator of thoroughness: “If they don’t recognize who he is, then they are missing a very important detail, and therefore they may not be paying attention to other important details.”
Wells has begun to review restaurants well beyond New York for the Times. In fact, the first of these articles, about an establishment in Los Angeles, will appear online today.
The New Yorker profile is a treat, thrusting the reader front and center into what it’s like for Wells to dine around town and, occasionally, bear the brunt of a brutal review, as he did in 2012 for his famous question-marked pan of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant. There’s also a certain element of symmetry at work here, since Wells and his wife, novelist Susan Choi, started dating while both working as fact-checkers at The New Yorker. Savor the full piece here.
Illustration by: Luci Gutiérrez
Dick Cavett once joked that Barbara Walters always had a strained look on her face when they ran into each other. Why? Because he was the one who, in the fall of 1973, nabbed that rarest of TV experiences: an interview with Katharine Hepburn.
Earlier that same year, Cavett sat down with Marlon Brando. These are two of the most well-remembered episodes of Cavett’s illustrious career, and they both come up in the 79-year-old showbiz vet’s T magazine “Perfect Strangers” conversation with Seth Meyers, online today and in print Sept. 11:
“The great moment for me on the Hepburn show was when I decided to poke her a bit. I said, ‘Do you remember me as an actor?’ And she just stopped and said, ‘I’ve been told I should.’”
“I said, ‘We were in a play together. Stratford, Connecticut, The Merchant of Venice. I had one line: ‘Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house, and desires to speak with you both.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Is that the way you said it?’ It was one of the longest laughs I didn’t get.”
Speaking of Hepburn and Connecticut, the actress’s namesake Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook just handed out, at an Aug. 27 gala, its first-ever Spirit of Katharine Hepburn award. The recipient: Cavett. From some related coverage in Connecticut magazine:
“Not only does Cavett embody the spirit Katharine had in his career and his enjoyment of life, he really helped capture that out of her for the population,” says Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center director of development and external relations Dana Foster. “The way she was sitting, the repartee they had, it really drew out her spirit. When we were talking amongst the staff about the award and who might be a recipient of this, it really came through that he really was a core person in capturing her spirit.”
Photo by: Marcelo Krasilcic
The premise of Van Gogh Inspires is that the earless one influenced the work of Fauves and German Expressionists, such as Matisse, Derain, De Vlaminck, Braque, Kirchner, Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Pechstein, the latter of which apparently declared that "Van Gogh was the father of us all!" To ground this art historical premise, the exhibition is featuring fourteen works from the Werner Merzbacher collection.
In the latest Financial Times Monday interview, conducted by Anna Nicolaou, New York Times Company CEO Mark Thompson covers a range of topics: Donald Trump; the recruitment of key personnel at the paper under his watch since 2012; and a certain company currently being hard-press serenaded by Gannett:
Mr Thompson is keen to preserve the NYT heritage and its physical paper, which he says will be printed for “a long time to come, a decade or more”. He rejects any notion that the NYT could go down the path of Tribune Publishing, the 169-year-old owner of papers such as the Los Angeles Times, which in June changed its name to Tronc as part of an effort to jolt its ailing business. He quips that the NYT is “pretty happy with the name we’ve got”.
“What would be the equivalent of Tronc? Newt?” he says, adding that he is focused “not just on the rhetoric of change but stuff that actually makes money.”
Thompson’s brainstorm about a Tronc-like New York Times name jives with the way Joe Pesci’s character Vinny Gambino famously pronounced “youth” in My Cousin Vinny. That film was released in 1992, when media companies not yet obsessed with how to connect with millennials, in New Jersey and beyond. Read the rest of the FT interview here.
Image via: Twitter
The same world that can offer up such pleasures as the opportunity to spend time with famed journalist and author Gay Talese can then suddenly take it all away. As it did last Wednesday, to Colleen O’Connor, a 60-year-old Now Team reporter with the Denver Post.
At the end of a workday, O’Connor was struck in a crosswalk and killed by a young driver; his blood was drawn and is being tested for drug-alcohol levels. From the Post obituary by former colleague Kevin Simpson:
Political reporter Joey Bunch considered O’Connor one of his closest friends in the newsroom, having started at the Post at about the same time. Last week, they ran into each other by the soda machines and shared thoughts about the future of journalism and their role in it.
“She said something about people like us don’t just belong in journalism, we belong to journalism,” Bunch said. “That was the last conversation we had. Right now she’s working on a feature about why Heaven is heaven.
“I would envy her style.”
O’Connor, a Southern California native, had been with the paper since 2004. There obituary also includes video of various Post journalists sharing their memories. RIP.
Photo via: Twitter
“I truly believe, because of this resource, we will be able to have our daughter back.”
Those words, referencing the responsive power of Facebook and Twitter, were uttered this morning by San Antonio, Texas-based conservative talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, on this day also a most grateful father, as he announced via Facebook that his 16-year-old daughter Gabby, missing since Wednesday, had been located overnight near the California-Mexico border. The male individual she was with is in police custody.
Pagliarulo, who explained that he was headed out the door immediately following the Facebook recording to be reunited with Gabriella, also thanked a host of law enforcement agencies, from the Border Patrol to the San Antonio Police Department to the U.S. Marshals, for their help with the search process. From a report in the Austin American-Statesman:
Cpt. Tommy Ward of the Comal County Sheriff’s office said Saturday that the girl had been found in San Diego overnight and is now safe. Christopher Lee Fretwell, 29, is in custody for unlawful restraint, a felony, Ward said. Fretwell took a child out of the state without the permission of a parent, Ward said.
Ward said authorities did not know why Fretwell and Pagliarulo were in California. Both are residents of Texas and knew each other through work, Ward said.
Launched in June, local news website Denverite at the end of the summer is a robust operation with a robust staff. Still no ads, though. But that was the plan: to wait until at least half a year before integrating advertising.
Denverite co-founder Kevin Ryan, who is partnered with Wall Street Journal alums Gordon Crovitz and Jim Friedlich, sat down this week in New York with Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer to chat about this latest enterprise. Ryan’s serial resume encompasses Business Insider, Gilt Group and DoubleClick.
In the shadow of Jim Brady’s Philadelphia news portal Billy Penn and forthcoming second Spirited Media effort, Pittsburgh-focused site The Incline, it’s intriguing to listen to Ryan discuss his own expansion plans. He told Sewer that he and his partners are eyeing for 2017 cities that, in terms of population, lie beyond the big three of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Denver is the 19th largest city in the U.S., and Ryan indicated his group is interested in other cities ranking in the top two dozen. Watch the full video conversation here.
Here’s a look at the posts that made the most buzz the past seven days.Vox Media to Expand Internationally Questlove Gears Up for the ‘Black Nerd Version of NPR’ Fusion Adds Sales Directors in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles Bloomberg Media Names Global Head of Data Science Meredith Makes Changes to Leadership
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ABC has added four new digital-only shows to its free streaming service and app, which both relaunched in July.
Here’s ABC’s breakdown of the new shows:
This Isn’t Working
Sarah Turner (Lisa Schwartz) is an aspiring actress with a negative bank account balance, taking on an endless stream of embarrassing part-time jobs to make ends meet.
What To Text Him Back
Relationship expert and New York Times best-selling author of Get The Guy, Matthew Hussey breaks down dating in the digital age.
Farm To Plate
Aussie chef Guy Turland explores the foraging phenomenon, trekking through land and sea to pick the freshest local ingredients from the most interesting places.
Real-life women entrepreneurs Alli Webb, founder of DryBar; Wendi Levy and Kim Etheridge, co-founders of Mixed Chicks; Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker, co-founders of Sugar Paper; and Zhena Muzyka, founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, share the sacrifices and triumphs of striking out on their own.
If you want to work as a magazine journalist or staff writer, you better be prepared to pen some ads. That’s one takeaway from a Folio study, which surveyed 140 magazine execs about how they produced their sponsored content. A whopping 68 percent said they used editorial staffers.
Only 31 percent of the surveyed execs use a dedicated ad studio to create native ads and just 24 percent use a separate ad team.
Ironically, the magazine execs said their number one concern about native advertising is “lack of seperation of the editorial and the commercial side.”
Not that the execs think using editorial staffers to produce ads is going to hurt the sponsored content revolution. In fact, 79 percent said they expect sponsored content to take up a higher share of ad revenues this year than in the past.
The U.K. version of the new Style.com is here. The site—which will rollout in the US soon—features products from GQ and Vogue, along with 300 additional brands. Other products from Condé titles will be added eventually.
Franck Zayan, Style.com’s president, told WWD that the site’s connection to Condé gives it an advantage over other luxury-focused e-commerce sites.
“We have access to the best content, being part of Condè Nast, that means that we will be able to use inspiring pages from Vogue, GQ and Condé Nast Traveller to start with and curate them to serve a commerce environment,” said Zayan. “We have also developed an incredible piece of technology that will learn from the customer’s behavior and make the shopping experience more personalized with time and that, along with our team of fashion experts, is going to serve suggestions and alternatives for products based on the customer’s preferences.”
Melania Trump has followed through on her threat to sue media outlets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Trump is suing the Daily Mail’s parent Mail Media and blogger Webster Griffin Tarpley for defamation.
Trump’s suit claims the Daily Mail’s allegations that a New York modeling agency which previously represented Trump was also an escort agency are completely false.
“Plaintiff did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities and did not work for any ‘gentleman’s club’ or ‘escort’ agencies,” explained the lawsuit. “Plaintiff was not a sex worker, escort or prostitute in any way, shape or form, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business. Plaintiff did not come to the United States until 1996. Thus, Plaintiff did not, and could not have participated in a photo shoot in the United States or met her current husband in the United States prior to that time.”
Trump is repped by Charles Harder, the same lawyer who helped Peter Thiel and Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea bring down Gawker.
The Daily Mail, after learning of the lawsuit, retracted the article in question and issued a statement, which we’ve excerpted below.
On August 20, 2016, an article was published in the Daily Mail newspaper titled ‘Racy photos, and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.’
The article, which was also published online by the Mailonline/DailyMail.com website under the headline ‘Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won’t go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian wife’ did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true, nor did it intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business.’
To the contrary, The Daily Mail newspaper article stated that there was no support for the allegations, and it provided adamant denials from Mrs. Trump’s spokesperson and from Mr. Zampolli.
The point of the article was that these allegations could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue.
To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail’s article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’ that she had a ‘composite or presentation card for the sex business,’ or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation.
Sherman’s piece is a must read, but we thought we’d highlight just one of the interactions we’re talking about.
In 2004, Ailes told a Fox News administrative assistant that he could get her jobs acting in commercials. After promising to set her up with an agent, he asked her out for a drink. When she suggested a happy hour cocktail, he replied “For a man in my position, it would have to be alone at a hotel. Do you know how to play the game?”
The women replied that she didn’t feel comfortable doing that and said “I respect your family; what about your son?” She recalled that Ailes then shot back, “I’m a multifaceted man. That’s one side of me.” Then, when she was on her way out of the office, Ailes tried to kiss her. Surprisingly, she never heard from that agent.
Another important detail in this report: Gretchen Carlson—who started Ailes’ downfall by suing him for sexual harassment—recorded Ailes’ coercion with her iPhone. Good for her.
Ellen Levine, Hearst’s editorial director since 2006, is stepping down at the end of the year. According to WWD, Levine will serve as an editorial consultant.
“Ellen is one of the most creative, versatile and prolific editorial minds in publishing,” wrote Hearst Magazines president David Carey, in a memo to staffers. “She sees things from a reader’s perspective, and she knows instinctively what will resonate.”
During her long career at Hearst, Levine helped launch O, The Oprah Magazine in 1999 and Food Network Magazine in 2008. She also served as editor of Redbook and Woman’s Day. In 1994, she made history as the first female editor in chief of Good Housekeeping.
Under the headline “Early Glasgow Banksy Work Could Be Key to Artist’s True Identity,” British journalist Craig Williams on Thursday shared his theory via the the website Glasgow Live. The article has been quickly picked up by the Daily Mail, the New York Post, Time and other outlets.
Williams found a high level of correlation between concert performances and other activities by the group Massive Attack and Banksy flashpoints. He theorizes that Banksy could also be more than one person in fact, led by band member and former graffiti artist Robert Del Naja. From his piece:
In 2006, Massive Attack embarked on a U.S. tour which saw them play in Berkeley,Calif., on September 22 and the famous Hollywood Bowl venue, Los Angeles, on September 24. These concerts were the week after Banksy held his “Barely Legal” exhibition in the Los Angeles area over the weekend of September 15 to 17.
Fast forward two years to 2008, and Banksy returned to the U.S. to produce 14 stencils throughout New Orleans marking the upcoming third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Del Naja wrote the soundtrack alongside fellow Massive Attack member Neil Davidge to the New Orleans-themed documentary Trouble the Water. The film received its New Orleans premiere on August 17 that year – the same time, almost to the day, that the stencils appeared.
Williams must be having fun watching all this. His Twitter account, at press time, contains no mention or conversation about this bombshell piece. Del Naja has previously denied he is connected to Banksy.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Banksy Posts; New Yorkers Show Up