off the record
As TechCrunch first reported, Inside.com might once again become a functioning web domain, under the administration of Silicon Alley Reporter and Mahalo.com founder Jason Calacanis. And if that sounds to you like a lede from 2000, you probably remember Inside.com as the late-bubble content play—helmed by Kurt Andersen and Michael Hirschorn—that gave us both David Carr and the Segway.
“For 10-plus years I’ve coveted the Inside.com domain name, and I’ve tried to own it,” Mr. Calacanis told The Observer. “I finally got it.”
“When someone comes into your house and throws shit around, you get pissed,” Anna Holmes told The Observer. She was speaking in metaphor: The house was the Gawker Media women’s interest blog Jezebel, of which she was the founding editor; the someone was the blog’s commenters, a famously undisciplined crowd.
“If you open your front door to people they just act like jerks,” agreed former Gizmodo editor Joel Johnson. Now the managing editor of Animal NY, he favors abolishing comments sections altogether.
Blog proprietor Nick Denton has a different plan—he’s giving them the run of the place. The commenters are creating content, after all, just like the writers. What’s the difference?
“I want to erase this toxic Internet class system,” he told The Observer in a gmail chat.
“Nick has always loved to subtly and not so subtly insult his employees,” said Gawker writer John Cook. “He thinks of us as glorified commenters.”
Despite being currently tied to other projects, actor/Wolverine Hugh Jackman and Social Network scribe/cocaine-craver Aaron Sorkin have signed on to do a musical for Broadway’s 2013-14 season. Here’s the pitch: it’s about Harry Houdini, and, wait for it, it’s a musical! (Obviously it’s a musical, Hugh Jackman’s contract demands that he must be singing and dancing for at least 90% of any stage appearance.)
But that’s not all.
Time magazine named “The Protester” the person of the year, in recognition of the global rise of populist movements. It was quite a blow to the Apple devouts expecting to wake up to Steve Jobs‘s face this morning. (Raising the existential question, can one “snub” the dead?)
The main lounge of the Jane Hotel was probably the brightest most people had ever seen it on Sunday afternoon, as literati packed the room for a marathon reading of Frederic Tuten’s The Adventures of Mao on the Long March, a scrappy postmodern novel that details those dubious adventures —Greta Garbo, in a tank, visits him at one point—and lifts around a quarter of its pages from other sources like Friedrich Engels and Washington Irving. Around 63 readers, identified by number in a program and on a giant screen to the right of the room, read portions of the text over a five-hour period, with memorable turns in the role of Mao from Kurt Andersen and a puppet.
It’s amazing what a few years in the Rhodesian army will do to a man’s reputation.
“If the world was ending, I would head straight for Peter Godwin,” said André Bishop, the artistic director at Lincoln Center Theater.
Mr. Bishop recalled an episode during a holiday in Mexico when the car he was in with Read More
In this week’s Observer, New York Magazine editor Adam Moss talked to John Koblin about his use of coverlines, telling him, “A piece of music can’t all be big moments. It needs big moments and small moments.”
And sometimes, it even rhymes.
This week’s New York features a cover package called My Read More
Houdini, that early 20th-century trickster, is coming to Broadway thanks to a whole cast of New York characters. Kurt Andersen, novelist and founder of Spy magazine; Danny Elfman, former Oingo Boingo frontman and composer for The Simpsons and numerous Tim Burton films; and David Rockwell, architect and scenic designer for Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Read More
How did this go unnoticed for so long?
In Kurt Andersen’s New York magazine column, published Monday, he casually spills the beans on Roger Ailes’ preferred method of press control. Mr. Andersen writes that the Fox News chief "once threatened to send a camera crew to stalk my 3- and 5-year-old children in Read More
The Wright Stuff: Manhattan Avant-Garde Praises Lawrence Wright’s Al-Qaeda Outtakes
On Monday, March 5, the Culture Project theater house reopened in Soho after a two-and-a-half-month-long hiatus with the premiere of New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright’s one-man show, My Trip to Al-Qaeda.
“The unique production,” a press release had trumpeted, “follows in Al Gore’s footsteps Read More