Before this morning’s announcement of the 2015 Academy Award nominees, more than a few Oscar prognosticators had predicted that Ridley Scott would finally win a Best Director prize for The Martian. He’s nominated at the DGA end this year for the brilliant Matt Damon film, and was also in the running at the Golden Globes, but he has never won the little gold guy. Scott has been nominated in the past in the Best Director Oscar category for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down.
Scott was most definitely robbed. But this sort of omission happens every year at the Oscars, to more than a few worthy nominees.
However, it’s a much smaller group of “snubbees” that have also been knighted by a British monarch.
The Academy always snubs comedy directors. That explains Ridley Scott. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) January 14, 2016
Wow. Ridley Scott snub is shocking.
— nina gregory (@ninaberries) January 14, 2016
Ridley Scott’s Oscar omission is a shocker. Room’s Lenny Abrahamson got his spot. Academy directors often throw foreign nominee in there.
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) January 14, 2016
Did Ridley Scott pee in the Academy’s cornflakes or something?
— Alex Moss (@AlexanderJMoss) January 14, 2016
The only major surprise of the entire announcement is no Ridley Scott, pushed out by Lenny Abrahmson.
— David Poland (@DavidPoland) January 14, 2016
The Nation has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. This is a rarity for the magazine; it has endorsed a president only twice before in its 150-year history — Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008.
“He has summoned the people to a ‘political revolution,’ arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires,” explained Nation editors. “We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president.”
The Nation editors bring up Hillary Clinton, but only to go through her flaws. “Her talk of seeking common ground with Republicans and making deals to ‘get things done’ in Washington will not bring the change that is so desperately needed,” reads the piece.
“Whether his candidacy, and the inspired campaign it fuels, will spark a ‘political revolution’ sufficient to win the Democratic nomination and the White House this year remains to be seen,” continued Nation editors. “We do know that his run has already created the space for a more powerful progressive movement and demonstrated that a different kind of politics is possible. This is a revolution that should live on, no matter who wins the nomination.”
Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge and former Bloomberg digital editor, is attempting to launch a media startup.
Topolsky’s company will be called Independent Media, and the plan is to launch an ad-supported site that covers politics, business, culture and more. The site will target “an audience with the wallet and sensibility of old media prestige brands like the New Yorker or Vanity Fair,” according to Recode.
Topolsky is attempting to raise between $5 and $10 million in initial funding, and has reached out to Marc Andreessen and Interview magazine owner Peter Brant about investing.
Maxim is floundering, but that hasn’t stopped the magazine from hiring. The latest addition to the title is Gilles Bensimon, who has been named special creative advisor.
In this odd role, Bensimon will shoot every Maxim cover and work closely with owner and editor Sardar Biglari.
Bensimon previously served as Elle’s publication director.
There is a wonderful analogy articulated in Napa Valley Register city editor Kevin Courtney‘s account of the end of the in-house printing era at his Northern California newspaper.
In the wake of a 2014 earthquake, the damaged headquarters have been sold for redevelopment and the damaged printing press redirected to the junkyard:
This is a sad moment, said Register publisher Brenda Speth, who likened the removal of the press to the “decommissioning of an aircraft carrier” — an event capable of bringing tears to those who served aboard her.
No one is more sentimental about the departure of the press than John Hawkley, the Register’s production manager, who started his career in the press room in 1978 as a “fly boy” assigned the grunt work.
“Millions and millions of copies were printed on this press,” said Hawkley, whose crew of four ran the behemoth, installed in the mid-1960s when the Register moved into its Second and Wilson home, and updated over the years.
The printing press, a 60-ton Gross Urbanite, had a learning curve for employees of five to seven years. The print side of things will heretofore be handled by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s Rohnert Park printing plant. That paper was reclaimed few years ago by a local ownership group.
It must have been the combination of the brutal cold (I guess we’re going to have a winter after all), ongoing network presentations at TCA and the long lines to get Powerball tickets, but it was pretty quiet at Michael’s today. That’s not to say there weren’t some big doings going down between bites of Cobb salad. There were plenty of head honchos (Mel Karmazin, Mike Perlis, Michael Kassan), politicos (Robert Zimmerman) and assorted mavens in the dining room undoubtedly hatching their next big move.
I was joined today by Michael Boodro, editor in chief of Elle Decor and Barbara Friedmann, the magazine’s vice president/publisher and chief revenue officer. Allie Haake, a member of Hearst’s intrepid PR team, who came bearing several recent issues as well as Michael’s recent book, Elle Decor: The Height of Style, arranged our little gathering.
As someone who used to pore over design and shelter books dreaming of owning a sprawling home only to find out the hard way that I’m much better suited to apartment living, I couldn’t wait to pepper Michael with questions about how one goes about creating a beautiful home with the minimum of angst. “You’ve got to love a house to have it love you back,” he told me within minutes of our meeting. Uh-oh.
Michael joined the magazine in 2010 and celebrated his milestone fifth anniversary last year. 2015 was a banner year for Elle Decor, which was capped off by the unveiling of the magazine’s fourth Modern Life Concept House during Art Basel and Design Miami in December. The 6,000 square foot, one-of-a-kind condominium home was located in one of the county’s most renowned creative neighborhoods, the Wynwood Arts District, and featured curated art by Miami artist Anthony Spinello. “Art has become more and more important in design,” said Michael, who was able to present the city’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center with a donation of $10,000 from ticket sales and sponsor contributions. Next month, Elle Decor will be the national media sponsor of Modernism Week (Feb. 11-21) in Palm Springs, Calif.
Michael’s tenure at Elle Decor marks his longest stint as EIC in a career that has included top of the masthead positions at Martha Stewart Living, Garden Design and Culture & Travel. He also was an editor in the style department of The New York Times and the features editor at Vogue for 11 years.
With that kind of expertise and refined taste level at the helm, it’s little surprise the magazine is coming off a stellar year. Barbara told me the November issue was the largest issue in Elle Decor’s history in terms of ad revenue and this year’s March issue, which just closed, is up 10 percent versus last year. “It was hard during the recession. We had no margin coming in for June 2011,” she said. “It’s really good when the business is growing.”
It was clear during our conversation that Michael and Barbara have successfully leveraged a team approach in enticing advertisers to the title at a time when some magazines resemble pamphets. We had a spirited conversation about the merits of an editor becoming a television personality by appearing on the ever-expanding crop of design shows. Michael is not a fan. “Anyone serious about creating a beautiful home is not going to look to them for inspiration. We serve a different purpose.”
Barbara was the publisher at Elle when she worked with the producers of Project Runway, the show that transformed erstwhile fashion director Nina Garcia into a television personality — something Michael would never do. “It’s different for fashion and women’s service magazines, but in design, it’s the magazine and the talent that should be the focus,” he told me between bites of his bay scallops, dismissing the idea that he would ever do any television to create a personal brand. “And there’s a danger of what happens [to the magazine] when the editor leaves like Joe Zee [who decamped from Elle to Yahoo! and daytime television]. I can’t do that and I’m lucky I don’t have to as long as we keep on making money, so I’m grateful to Barbara.”
Their latest joint project is certainly an inspired marriage of art and commerce. A longtime fan of Elle Decor, actress Emmy Rossum (who appears on Showtime’s Shameless) approached Michael on her own about helping her design her “first adult apartment” — a one bedroom on Sutton Place she recently purchased. Dubbed ‘Pied-a-Teardown,’ Michael introduced the actress to designer Antonino Buzzetta, who is working with Elle Decor’s editors on the design side of the project. Barbara is pitching the project to advertisers and “selling sponsors into it” in many categories including furniture, accessories, lighting, fabric as well as appliances and paint brands to fill rooms throughout the space. “To be able to tell them they will get editorial credit is like gold. It’s wonderful to be able to offer [advertisers] that kind of opportunity. Readers experience advertising as content in the magazine.”
Michael insists the choice of what’s selected to be used in the apartment is up to Emmy. “It’s her apartment and it’s got to be personal. She told us that she cooks and she wants a kitchen and a real dining room table for dinners and lunches and she’s going to get it. It’s going to be glamorous and sexy.” The process is going to be featured online and the reveal will be unveiled in a future issue. “It’s construction so it’s done when it’s done,” said Michael.
Making a house feel like a home is paramount to Michael when he selects from various submissions that come to the magazine. “A few years ago a lot of people would say, ‘I want my house to look like a luxury hotel.’ I’m all for a nice hotel room but who wants to come home to a hotel?” (I can think of one person, but that’s another story.) Another trend he sees fading away is the “all beige” house which hardly inspires guests to kick off their shoes. “Now that designers are doing wonderful outdoor fabrics–even velvets!–that people are using inside, there are so many more beautiful options for room that you can really live in.”
And there’s no question that Elle Decor’s readers like to live well. Besides the growing roster of advertisers in interior design, Barbara told me that luxury lifestyle brands like Tiffany & Co. are among the magazine’s top advertisers due largely in part to the unique content Michael develops for the magazine. “What’s important to me is to show readers something they haven’t seen before,” he said. And that means saying no more often than saying yes. “It’s an editor’s job to say no. I tell my editors: ‘Don’t show me 30 sofas, show me three that you love.” Readers have certainly found a lot to love in Elle Decor’s pages and in the tablet edition (both sell for the same price — $19.99 for a yearly subscription). The magazine has “well over 600,000″ followers on Instagram,” noted Barbara. “Elle Decor leads in our category.”
Michael and Barbara agree all this talk about the demise of print is nonsense. “Print is not dead,” declared Barbara. The high honchos at Hearst even brought in HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler to rally the troops. Michael told me that at a gathering of the company’s EICs, when asked for his thoughts on the future of print, Richard talked up the emerging trend of more young people reading print and savoring the experiential aspect. “He talked about ‘Saturday mornings when you want to sit down with your favorite magazine.'”
Even with all this good news, perhaps the greatest indication that Elle Decor has a firm foothold in the zeitgeist came earlier this week, when Michael learned through a friend that the magazine earned a spot on The New York Times crossword puzzle. “The clue was ‘Elle Decor reader’ and the answer was ‘interior designer,” said Michael, clearly delighted. “I had no idea!”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. A full table of revelers presided over by Holly Goldberg Sloan. We spotted actor Richard Kind (George Clooney’s BFF in case you didn’t know) among the guests but didn’t recognize the rest of the well-heeled crowd. Anyone?
2. Marketing/PR guru Robert Zimmerman (whose work as a political commentator is keeping him very busy these days) and Peter Brown
3. Sharon Bush, producer Beverly Camhe and a gentleman we didn’t get to meet.
4. Louise Camuto and G-III’s Morris Goldfarb
5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman
6. MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan
7. Andrew Gundlach
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia
9. Agent Lynn Nesbit
11. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower and style scribe Kate Betts
12. Judy Price
14. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin
15. Former NBC president Herb Schlosser
16. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky
17. Jay Kriegel
18. Mark Rosenthal
21. Daniel Del
22. Linda Macaulay
23. Marshall Cohen who was nice enough to introduce me to Colleen Fahey Rush, Viacom’s EVP & Chief Research Officer/Strategic Insights & Research. How’s that for a title?
24. Forbes Media’s CEO Mike Perlis
25. PR maestro Tom Goodman and Howard Schwartz, president and CEO of Grandstand Sports
27. Michael Boodro, Barbara Friedmann, Hearst’s Allie Haake and yours truly
81. Al Jazeera America’s Dawn Bridges
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
It's clear that digitally printed vinyl wrapping, in the hands of talented designers and technicians, could lend itself to a vast range of possibilities. This may be something you should have on your radar for 2016 as a medium you could tap to add value to your design projects.
Try for a moment to imagine Michael Strahan lying down on a couch once a week for 10 minutes to speak to a psychoanalyst about his personal struggles, while Kelly Ripa takes a coffee break. And… Strahan further framing the weekly on-air sessions with three longer such sessions off-camera.
As crazy as this conjured image seems, it was once a part of WABC’s The Stanley Siegel Show, which debuted in 1975 in the same weekday time slot. From the New York Times obituary by Sam Roberts:
Fearless and sometimes tasteless, Mr. Siegel grilled the transgender former professional tennis player Renée Richards about her sex life; challenged Henry M. Jackson, the starchy Democratic senator from Washington State, to tell a joke (it wasn’t funny); persuaded Gloria Steinem to kick back and do a tap dance; asked his parents if they really got along; and underwent, on camera, weekly 10-minute soul-baring therapy sessions on a couch with a psychoanalyst (followed by three weekly private appointments off camera).
There’s all kinds of other fascinating details in the obituary. For example, as a local TV newscaster, Siegel was way ahead of his time, fired from a Green Bay affiliate for reporting on cafeteria food from the Jello-ed up POV of fruits and vegetables.
The Stanley Siegel Show ran on WABC and WCBS through 1980. Siegel’s other stints encompassed the L.A. Times, WABC’s A.M. New York and stints with TV stations in Tacoma and Nashville. The L.A. native, 79, died in his hometown of pneumonia. RIP.
David Bowie is on the cover of our sister publications The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard. They’ve kindly provided us with a sneak peek.
The choice of a from-the-back POV is very intriguing and, as far as we know, the first for this week’s bevy of Bowie magazine covers. The artist is indeed headed to new frontiers, leaving behind a catalog that sounds as fresh today as that of The Beatles.
We’re biased, of course, but we also love THR’s Bowie photo selection. There’s something magical in the eyes; as with so many shots of Bowie, his intelligence pierces through.
The Hollywood Reporter is on newsstands today. Billboard arrives Friday.
Al Jazeera America, which launched in 2013, is over. Staffers were informed during a meeting earlier today that the operation was shutting down. Politico reports that the cable channel will close for good April 30.
The reason for the end? The plunging price of oil. Al Jazeera America is owned by Al Jazeera Media Group, which is owned by the government of Qatar.
“I know this will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,” wrote CEO Al Anstey, in a memo to staffers. “The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job.”
It doesn’t get much better than writing a blog post about David Bowie while listening to the Bowie tribute channel in question.
For iHeartRadio’s 24-7 stream of the work of the man born David Robert Jones, the thoughts of famous artists have been gathered and recorded. Some of these are also highlighted in an associated blog post and the one that really jumped out to us is from Bryan Adams:
“In 1974, I went to one of my first concerts, actually it might have been 1973 thinking about it. I was living in Ottawa in Canada, and the word on the street was David Bowie was coming to town. He’d already had a bunch of records out that were huge and the tour he was doing at the time was the Diamond Dogs Tour and I ended up working with his musical director many years later; Michael Kamen on some songs but, getting back to the show. It was a great show. It was the first show I’d ever seen.”
Kamen passed away in 2003. Other artists who chatted with iHeart Radio when they came in to record guest DJ spots, about Bowie, include Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, Seal and Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard. The David Bowie Tribute channel, launched Monday, also mingles with the greatest hits various comments from Bowie himself.
P.S. Adams was right with the first date. The Bowie show he saw took place on June 15, 1974. The Ottawa Civic Centre stop was in fact one of the very first on the Diamond Dogs North American itinerary.
Imagine being a teenage journalist and getting to hang out for months with David Bowie. That was a formative experience for writer-director Cameron Crowe, who Tuesday at the TCA Winter Press Tour framed Bowie as someone whose stardust was scattered very much at the “A” end of the art-vs.-commerce axiom:
“David Bowie’s impact is so huge in that he presents himself now as a role model to artists that may need to remember that it’s not about branding. It’s about a restless need to be creative and to continue being creative, and David Bowie was the anti-branding artist… It’s great to look to Bowie and see that seismic effect he’s had on people, not because he kept doing the same thing that worked again and again, but because he always shook it up and he always served the gods of creativity, and that was the lesson I got from him then and today.”
At the TCA and also in a brief blog essay, Crowe rated Bowie as the most generous and entertaining interview subject he ever worked with. The Almost Famous filmmaker also shared this wonderful quote from Bowie self-assessment:
In our last conversation, I read him back some of his quotes from the “wild years in L.A.” period. Looking back was not his game, but he listened patiently. Some of the quotes were spectacularly profound, but Bowie took no ownership. “It really represents the morbid and misdirected enthusiasm of a young man with too much time on his hands and too many grams of PCP, amphetamine or cocaine or maybe all three in my system, really.”
In the comments to the blog post, Crowe responded to one particular reader comment with “nice one… you don’t miss much.” Writes Joseph Brunetta about the Untitled: Almost Famous the Bootleg Cut:
That was lovely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, remembrance, and his “self-portrait”.
Even though the Bowie sequence might have taken up around a minute of screen time in Untitled, that sequence in the extended cut, I thought, really nailed Bowie to me, tying him into the theme and structure of the film’s story. The comedy of Nick Swardson’s “Insane Bowie Fan,” who starts off dismissive of Bowie when trying to analyze Ziggy Stardust, looking masculine and secure in his posture, as if what he’s speaking is assuredly grounded in truth, before Bowie appears and all of a sudden Swardson is screaming at the top of his lungs, jumping and waiving his arms in an effeminate manner, switching from would-be critic to would-be Band Aid, from masculine to feminine–is not only a great laugh but also captures the duality of Bowie and the essence of the movie at the same time. And that it’s all done to a song of Lou Reed’s as sung by Bowie, curtailing the discussion that sort of cements the bond between William and Lester earlier, is just a sly kicker.
Previously on FishbowlNY
Entertainment Weekly, SiriusXM Pay Tribute to David Bowie
David Bowie and the Golden Globes
Bloomberg has added two staffers. Details are below.Lynnley Browninghas joined as a reporter on Bloomberg’s tax team. She comes to Bloomberg from Newsweek, where she served as a reporter covering corporate taxes. Bill Allison has been named campaign finance reporter. Allison previously served as a senior fellow for The Sunlight Foundation.
Despite what we think, The Huffington Post considers losers as actual people. That’s part of the rationale behind HuffPost’s new podcast — Candidate Confessional.
Candidate Confessional features conversations with political candidates who ended up losing. The show is hosted by HuffPost senior politics editor Sam Stein and investigative reporter Jason Cherkis. Confessional is edited by HuffPost Live producer Christine Conetta.
The first Confessional guest is Howard Dean. Upcoming guests include Michele Bachmann, Wendy Davis and more. Each will discuss what it was like to lose their respective elections.
“I see Confessional as a place for recovering politicians—and those still at it—to tell unvarnished stories from the campaign trail,” said Cherkis. “What we discovered through this podcast is that there is way more human drama in campaigns than is commonly perceived. And I hope listeners come away with a better understanding of our zany political process.”
A preview of the first season of Confessional is available here.