Longtime friends, colleagues and admirers of Gore Vidal gathered in the currently patriotically decorated Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre—where Mr. Vidal’s 1960 play The Best Man is playing through September 9—on Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to the recently departed writer. The mood was serious yet not solemn as many who were likely humbled to be counted among Mr. Vidal’s contemporaries took the stage to recount memories and share anecdotes from their own experiences with the man.
Reading selections from his own eulogy for Mr. Vidal and praising his friend’s great wit, Dick Cavett recounted many of Mr. Vidal’s most celebrated one-liners. His favorite, he told the audience: “Success is not enough. One’s friends must fail.”
“Whenever my friend succeeds, I die a little,” was another Vidal aphorism recalled to much laughter, and, reading a line from a message prepared by David Mamet for the memorial, Liz Smith decreed Mr. Vidal “smart enough to see through the self-interest of everyone except himself.” Yet none of this seemed to remotely deter the hordes of successful friends who seemed to be endlessly seeking his advice.
Patch Adams, MD, the clown doctor portrayed by Robin Williams in the eponymous 1998 film, has joined several dozen prominent figures of the American Left in asking Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum.
“The ‘crime’ that he has committed is that of practicing journalism,” states the letter, delivered to the Embassy of Ecuador in London yesterday by American advocacy group Just Foreign Policy.
Dick Clark, who famously acted as the longtime host and producer of American Bandstand, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, The $10,000 Pyramid, as well as a stint as the announcer on MTV’s short-lived The Jon Stewart Show, is dead at 82. His representative told the New York Times—who noted Clark as an “icon”—that he died of a heart attack.
Over the last decade, Clark’s popularity waned as another new plucky, seemingly immortal Caucasian man named Ryan Seacrest generally took his place at the throne of organizing innocuous television that everybody you know watches, shame factor not withstanding. His most famous appearance in the final decade of his life may have been at the top of it, in Michael Moore’s Oscar-winning 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine, in what is arguably one of the funniest scenes in the film: Dick Clark escaping Michael Moore by yelling at his associates to jump in a van, and then speeding away in it.
Occupy Wall Street
In case you thought the Occupy Movement had somehow vanished during the cold but relatively brief Winter, Occupy Wall Street protesters returned in force Saturday to familiar locales, apparently determined to make sure we knew they were still around and still D.T. P. (Down To Protest).
The Times reported early Saturday night that protesters “embarked upon a winding march” which led to a few arrests in and around the original home of the protest, Zuccotti Park.
The Times also noted Saturday’s action was familiar:
The Banking Crisis
UPDATE: This story was revised October 18 with new information including an updated number for the total amount of funds raised by the protest. It was originally posted on October 14 and ran in The New York Observer print edition Wednesday, October 19.
“George Soros money is behind this!” Rush Limbaugh told his listeners two weeks ago, feeding speculation that the “99 percent” agenda espoused by the Occupy Wall Street protesters has filthy-rich backers—a claim picked up by Reuters and heatedly debated in the media. Soros money? If only. Around the time Reuters was walking back its headline, “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests,” later revised to “Soros: Not a Funder,” protesters were voting on whether to spend $3,000 on brooms and trash cans to clean up the occupied plaza in order to avoid eviction by the city.
Back in July, when local activists hammered out the logistics of the Occupy Wall Street protest, they were planning for little more than an urban camping trip. Committees were established to handle security, medication and sanitation. Nourishment was a major concern. Fundraising was an afterthought.
Still, onlookers are rightfully eager to follow the money. Politics have been so dominated by financing for so long that a major movement without major backers seems unthinkable. Last week, Republicans announced a new Super PAC determined, according to The New York Times, to “raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to defend the party’s majority next year”; meanwhile, President Barack Obama raised more than $42 million for his re-election campaign over the last three months.
Donations are flowing into Occupy Wall Street as well, though on a much smaller scale; as of Tuesday the protest’s general fund has raised approximately $294,000, according to members of the finance committee on Tuesday (although the committee is still refining its balance sheet in advance of giving it to a CPA). That’s enough to keep the demonstrators well-fed and livestreaming, but it’s not Soros-level treasure.
Occupy Wall Street
(Though not all-inclusive, this page will be updated regularly. Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!)
Two months in, Occupy Wall Street media coverage has swelled from a fringe movement to the importance of a daily beat. To guide you through this media saturation, the Observer presents the best stories and angles from the worldwide OWS news desk, including coverage of the media “blackout” when the protests began in September. (But be sure to check out our coverage as well.)
The New York Times “With Generators Gone, Wall Street Protestors Try Bicycle Power“
Beating the Street
BY MONDAY NIGHT, the 10th day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, the miniature colony at Liberty Park Plaza was rather sophisticated. The “media tent,” which on Saturday had consisted of a MacBook and an umbrella, now looked like an amateur version of the CNN newsroom. Protesters crushed around a central table, tweeting, emailing and editing video, surrounded by a barricade of tables holding more computers, with the cracks in between filled in by sleeping bags, blankets and backpacks. One revolutionary with a hard face sat straight-backed, a cigarette poking sideways out of his mouth while he typed away. The computers and lights were powered by a generator, which briefly died when someone misplaced the gas can. The media center, as the always-lit hub of information and electricity, is the cornerstone of the encampment. Entry is restricted.
Occupy Wall Street
Last night, The New York Observer joined hundreds as they marched, rallied, ate, and protested (generally) during the tenth straight day of Occupy Wall Street. Michael Moore was there. Depending on who you talked to, this event was set up by Adbusters, a group called General Assembly, or Anonymous. There was a press center, although not a lot of information being distributed. There was, at one point, free pizza.
Farenheit 350 For Half an Hour
A documentary producer who has worked extensively with filmmaker Michael Moore is picking up the cause of a Brooklyn-based kosher meatpacking executive now on trial in Iowa.
Meghan O’Hara, nominated for an Oscar for her work with Mr. Moore on the health-care documentary Sicko, said she is sending a film crew to Iowa next week Read More
Who knew killing zombies was such a lucrative business? Zombieland squished the competition at the box office this weekend, placing first with an estimated $25 million. That gives the horror-zombie-comedy hybrid the second highest opening for a zombie-related film, behind only Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Elsewhere on the charts, Read More