the Insiders


Showing posts by Jacob Bernstein- Features Writer

Man in the News: Arnold Klein

On Wednesday, Us Weekly identified Arnold Klein, 64, as the biological father of Michael Jackson's two oldest children. But just who is Klein, aside from being a prominent cosmetic dermatologist to a man famous for doing too much at his cosmetic dermatologist's?

As it turns out, he's the cosmetic dermatologist to lots of other people who appear to have spent too much time and money in his offices. According to published reports, patients besides Jackson have included Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dolly Parton.
Posted in: Lifestyle, Media

Truly La-La Land

The country is in the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. In the media business, companies like Viacom and Sony have had to institute massive layoffs. But in Hollywood last week, the Oscars felt like business as usual. Sure, there were more cream-colored dresses on the red carpet — cream , of course being the safest color choice for a movie star who’s concerned about being perceived as ostentatious. And yes, Ed Limato and Larry Gagosian canceled their annual parties. But the parties I went to were as glitzy as ever, and there were more of them than there were last year, when the writers’ strike put a damper on things.

Posted in: Media

The Benefits of the Oscars

Celebrities in Hollywood go to three types of parties. First are the dinners, held at another celebrity's house. Then there are the fetes hosted by brands. Third are the benefits. Benefits establish celebrities as serious individuals. On Thursday night, Josh Brolin and Diane Lane co-hosted a Vanity Fair and Dior event for Brandaid, where everybody came out a winner. Lane wore Dior, but she paired it with glasses and looked very serious. The director Paul Haggis gave a speech. He started the organization, which buys art in countries like Haiti, auctions it at higher prices, then sends the money back to the countries where it was originally bought. It's actually rather neat. Still, he said, "Everything is dirt cheap. We wanted to price things in this economy so the value will go up. You will not get deals like this in a couple of months."

Posted in: Lifestyle, Media

They Do Make Nice Sunglasses

LOS ANGELES -- It's nice to know that even as the future of industrial capitalism is looking shaky, there's still corporate sponsorship here, and there are still actors who will show up at a lunch for some free sunglasses.

Thursday afternoon, Oliver Peoples and the jewelry company Van Cleef & Arpels cohosted an event at a house in Bel Air and lined the walls with sunglasses designed by the actress Zooey Deschanel.
Posted in: Media

Slumming It

Every year there are certain parties everyone in Hollywood clamors to get into. The Vanity Fair party the night of the show. Variety’s the night before. Both of those are on this year, and wrangling tickets is harder than ever — Vanity Fair, insiders say, cut the list nearly in half as it downsized from Morton’s to The Sunset Tower Hotel.

But the other event that’s likely to be a seriously hot ticket is Fox Searchlight’s Sunday night party. The reason? “Slumdog Millionaire.”

With Nate Silver predicting in New York Magazine that the film has a 99 percent chance of winning the Oscar and (most people in Hollywood are in agreement with him) that puts the studio in a different sort of hot seat, the one everyone wants to be in. Further, Fox Searchlight and its chairman, Peter Rice, are also coming off the success of “The Wrestler.” And that movie’s lead actor, Mickey Rourke, seems to be in a race with Sean Penn of “Milk” for Best Actor.

Two years ago, Rice bought “Little Miss Sunshine” for $10 million, and it went on to gross $60 million in domestic receipts. Then he and Fox Searchlight acquired “Juno,” and it did $143 million.

So Rice is establishing himself as a kind of young Harvey Weinstein. And lots of people will want to kiss the ring. Or just see those cute stars from “Slumdog” in the flesh.

Posted in: Media

The Oscars: A Wearing Game

The economy is in the dumps. No one is shopping. But here in L.A. during Oscar Week, things seem to be more or less business as usual.

For the last day or so, WWD has been on a fact-finding mission, buzzing around parties, annoying celebrities and stylists, trying to get a sense of what people might be wearing on the red carpet come Sunday.

After a couple of false starts -- that would be parties at which the expected celebrities didn't actually show up -- we hit the mother lode this afternoon at a luncheon for Andrea Lieberman's new clothing line at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.
Posted in: Fashion, Lifestyle, Media

Morty's Oscars

Until fairly recently, the Oscars really were about the awards. But then came corporate sponsorship, the red carpet, and Joan Rivers, whose fashion commentary turned the pre-show into a bigger event than the actual awards. And she wasn't even hosting on ABC.

This year, the folks who throw the Oscars have settled on Tim Gunn, Robin Roberts, and Jess Cagle of "Entertainment Weekly." Running things behind the scenes is Robert Morton, a/k/a Morty, the well known former executive producer for "The David Letterman Show." WWD caught up with him Monday and he was happy to talk about everything from Joaquin Phoenix's much-lampooned stint on Letterman to what ABC has up its sleeve this year.

WWD: I think I should just start out by saying that you look fantastic, because even though we are doing this by phone and I have no idea whether that's true, that's what everyone says when interviewing someone during the Oscar pre-show. So you look fantastic. Who are you wearing?
Robert Morton: Who am I wearing? To the Oscars?

Posted in: Lifestyle, Media
When a pop star, soon to be turning 50, issues a statement saying, "I have no plans to get divorced at this time," it generally means, "my plans to divorce will be announced soon." When the publicist for a vehicularly challenged starlet says, "I have not heard that," it generally means, "it's true, but I'm half denying it." Then there's the all-purpose, "We have no comment," which is designed to introduce doubt to a rumor, but usually means the same thing: "Yup."
Posted in: Media

The coif in question.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
The columnist Peggy Noonan called Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "a lipless, dull-featured, wig-wearing moron." Chris McMillan, who did Jennifer Aniston's shag, sniped "Jack Lord called. He wants his look back."
Posted in: Media

Sarah Palin
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When news broke that the Republican National Committee spent almost $150,000 of campaign donations to buy clothes for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, there was no shortage of outrage. Democrats wondered aloud how the Republican ticket could "waste" so much money on clothes for a supposed "hockey mom" from Main Street, particularly after the GOP's attack machine had been so vituperative about John Edwards' $400 haircut.
Posted in: Fashion, Media
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