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April 16, 2007

New Feature (OMG!): Read Julia's Old College Papers!

Yeah, I just wanted to include "OMG" in the title.   It didn't really make sense, contextually.  I know this.  I'm okay with it.

Anyway, when I was home in Chicago last week, I found myself in the attic digging through my old college photos and term papers (it was either that or hang out with my parents & TurboTax.  Note to self: never, EVER come home the week prior to April 15th.)

Found this photo, circa 2002, in the dressing room before a Georgetown Hoyas basketball game.  They probably lost that night.  They always lost back then. (I'm second from the right, FYI.)

Anyway, in addition to wearing small outfits with "G" on them, I also wrote papers!   I turned them in late, of course.  But along the way, I did actually produce some more or less intelligent commentary on fairly esoteric subjects.  Yes.  This shocks me as well.

Of course, I remember approximately 3% of everything I learned.  Which is a pretty bad return on my dad's investment, but ... um ... memory was never my strong suit.  Christ, I can barely remember the plot of the last book I read, let alone shit I studied four years ago.  Oops?

Given that my chosen career seems to center entirely on discussions of the intricacies of shagging men, the life of Anna Nicole Smith, and which American Idol is fattest/weirdest/has posted the most nude photos-est, it's a relief to know that at one point in my life, I could define "deontology" and use it properly in a sentence.  It's frightening how quickly one's brain atrophies when not used for anything other than flirting.

In any case, I've decided to go back and re-read all my old term papers, then post them here.  Honestly, I do this for no reason in particular, save my own amusement.  And maybe yours.

Today's paper is from my 2003 Ethics & International Relations class.  Topic?  Kant's categorical imperative.  Hear that?  Kant, baby!  FUCK YEAH!  Nothing like a little philosophical analysis to brighten up your Monday morning.

Paper is after the jump.

Continue reading "New Feature (OMG!): Read Julia's Old College Papers!" »

December 20, 2006

Day 7: *FINAL* Holiday Party Crash - Wenner Media


Jann's tree has mag covers - mine has condoms.  To each his own.

I've officially completed my party-crashing duties and am now safely ensconced in my Chicago childhood home for a week, forced to decorate trees and walk dogs and such.  Fine.  I don't care what I have to do, as long as it doesn't involve A) wearing makeup B) talking to strangers C) flirting with bouncers or D) waking up at 6:30 am.  Okay, fine.  waking up at any point in the AM ...

Read the final party crash below, or on New York mag's website.

NO BAND, LITTLE BOOZE, BUT FOOD (FOR MUNCHIES?) AT WENNER PARTY

There was one last big blowout to catch before Holiday Party Season 2006 wound down: The annual Wenner Media extravaganza. With the bank busted on Rolling Stone's 1,000th-issue celebration in May, this year's holiday gathering was less glitzy in the past, with no big-name musical act slated to perform. But that didn't stop indefatigable party reporter Julia Allison. Her wrap-up — her final wrap-up of the season — is after the jump.

It was easy to find Ultra, the West Side club hosting the Wenner Media holiday party, last night: It was the bar with the 30-foot Christmas tree out front made up entirely of Wenner covers. Inside, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, and Men's Journal staffers were packed more tightly than at any holiday party we'd seen. With movement almost impossible and gridlock around the lone bar, some guests got cranky. "It doesn't feel like a holiday party," said one Rolling Stoner. It was loud, too, though we liked the music. (George Michael and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"? Did Jann approve of this playlist?). Photographers circled the room, and the picture-crazy crowd was more than happy to pose, whipping out their own cameras for additional shots, too — a behavior we did not see at any other party and for which we squarely blame Us Weekly. (Magazine editors — they're just like us!)

At one point bubbles — Christmas bubbles? — fell from the ceiling, but staffers were unimpressed. "This sucks," grumbled a guy who said he'd been at "hundreds" of Wenner parties. "Maroon 5 played one year." It seems the recent blowout 1,000th-issue bash left this party's budget lower than usual. "We only had money for food, basically," an event producer explained. It was good food, though: kabobs of various sorts; a sushi stand; and a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, strawberries, and Rice Krispies Treats. The liquor selection was apparently less impressive. "I asked for a single-malt scotch," kvetched one Rolling Stone editor. "I got Maker's Mark." (Judging by the sweet smell wafting from the VIP room, booze may not have been the big shots' inebriant of choice.) Even so, revelers looked happy. "This is ten times better than last year," said one. "Instead of congregating in cliques, people have to actually talk to each other." Jann and Janice were MIA — sick, said one guest; on vacation, said another — so we had to console ourselves with the "semi-credible rumor" that Justin Timberlake would attend. He never showed — and so he missed the gingerbread men frosted with "Wenner Media" given to guests on their way out. His loss.

Verdict: Food: 4; drink: 3.5; venue: 4 (if you like packed crowds; if not: 3); debauchery: 3.5; exclusivity: 3.5

December 18, 2006

Day 5: Holiday Party Crash - News Corp
(A Very Murdoch Xmas!)



While you were at your classy upper east side / swanky downtown / anywhere but Times Square holiday celebrations, I was hanging out with 8,000 News Corp proletariat.  And the Hilton security guard who snuck me in, then wrote me an email saying he was glad he met me, but that he realized he was "just one of your pawns in your pursuit for gossip."  Busted.  I would feel guilty, except that he was the only thing standing between me getting in, nabbing some quotes, and then collapsing into bed after going to EIGHTEEN PARTIES IN ONE WEEK, and well, I really freaking wanted to sleep.

Read complete review below, or on New York mag's website.

RUPERT MURDOCH WISHES YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY HOLIDAY

There's a general rule of thumb that work events are always held on Monday through Thursday nights, because Fridays are reserved for real friends or for family. Who could flout that rule? Rupert Murdoch, of course, who held the annual holiday party — and it's called a holiday party, not a Christmas party, Bill O'Reilly — for all New York News Corporation employees Friday night. It's a huge event, for everyone from HarperCollins editors to Fox 5 local-news guys to 20th Century Fox PR people to Fox News ideologues to all their associated sales teams and managerial staffs and all that. Naturally, Julia Allison was there, and after the jump she takes you on a tour of Rupert's world, with stops for frat-party booze and trans-fatty food. Yum!

We're not sure what we were expecting at News Corp.'s annual extravaganza for 6,000 of Rupert Murdoch's favorite employees (plus their plus ones), but it wasn't the bizarre menagerie that greeted us at the Sixth Avenue Hilton Friday night. The invite — not that we actually had one of our own — promised "a trip around the News Corp world without leaving New York City." How, uh, clever? We flirted our way past a security guard, arriving at the almost three floors taken over by what we can only say was the randomest party we've ever been to. Each ballroom was decorated to represent a continent, and each attempt was almost entirely unsuccessful. There was Australia, represented by a lifeguard. There was Asia, with video games. There was Africa — wait. Where was Africa? "It's an American, Republican, Fox view of the world," laughed one guest. "No Africa." Far away from hoi polloi, from a VIP section in the balcony above "Europe," Murdoch gave a brief toast, shook a few hands, then made himself scarce. Loaded onto a 50-foot buffet was the nastiest food we'd ever seen — mini hot dogs, fried chicken, meatloaf-burger patties reminiscent of White Castle, and something identified as Sheppard's pie. (As in, Shep Smith? Was that the joke? Ugh.) The bars — and there were many — held your typical frat-party liquor: Bacardi, Jack, something with orange juice. "In our defense," said one News Corper, "it's really hard to plan a party for between six and twelve thousand people." We saw his point. "And if you think about it, it's a pretty economical way to thank people." Ah, yes, thank the plebes! And, to be sure, although we searched for hours, we saw absolutely no boldfaced names — no on-air talent, no major execs. (Later, though, we were informed that HarperCollins chief Jane Freidman was there, freshly de-Regan'd and merrily singing karaoke with her colleagues.) When the clock struck eleven, the party was instantly disassembled. Merry Christmas, from Rupe.

Verdict:
Food: 3 (if you like trans fats; if not: .5); drink: 2; venue: 2; debauchery: 3; exclusivity: 2.

December 14, 2006

Day 3 (Part B): Holiday Party Crash - Forbes Life


Forbes Life President Bob Forbes, Publisher Jack Laschever, Boss Editor Chris Buckley and ... me

EGGNOG WITH FORBES LIFE
The Forbes company likes its parties on home turf.  Whether that turf is the yacht, the townhouse, or their venerated Forbes building, if they’re hosting a party, it’s probably going to be at one of them.  So when Forbes Life, the “lifestyle supplement” with glossy ad pages headed by the cheerfully sardonic editor in chief Christopher Buckley, invited us to crash its holiday celebration last night, we weren’t surprised to read “60 5th Avenue.”  And when we walked up to the offices, it seemed incredibly appropriate that, instead of a Christmas tree, there sat a shiny white Rolls Royce with an enormous red bow.  Merry Christmas from the Capitalist Tools!

Inside the garland-and-tinsel-laden lobby, the 12 person editorial staff mingled with the business side, and both chatted up the advertisers.  (Unlike most magazine’s holiday parties, they were warmly – shrewdly? – invited to join in the festivities.)  A four-person brass band played from the stairwell, and the two front rooms held upwards of 60 guests, as well as a silent auction to benefit the Salvation Army, an ornament engraver, and a magician who did tricks with a dollar bill (of course).  The building’s revolving doors were shut off to hold a makeshift bar, and the red-tablecloth’d buffet looked like a slightly bigger version of your family holiday party – carrot & celery sticks with dip, crackers & cheese, a ham, and a big tray of red and green sprinkled Xmas cookies.  We almost missed the sushi station with fresh sashimi and California rolls because we were too busy staring at the eggnog.  It was the first party we’ve been to that actually had eggnog, although it didn’t look like anyone’s actually sampled it.  “I’m told it sits like a bowling ball in your stomach,” confided associate editor Taylor Antrim.  “This is my third Xmas party and I’ve never had it.”  Buckley thinks he knows why. “We put polonium 210 in there.”

Sartorially displaying holiday cheer with his bright red Christmas-tree tie, Buckley admitted that he’s been doing this whole “Forbes holiday party thing” for a while, and, he told us, “If I die tomorrow I want it on my tombstone: ‘I made it through 16 consecutive Forbes Christmas parties in the temple of capitalism.’  That’s enough for a posthumous bonus!”  “This party is very calm,” said one staffer who we’ll refrain from naming, “The one that’s really good is facilities – security, kitchen, IT.  It was on Monday and apparently it was WILD.”  “You really can’t compare it to other outside parties,” explained senior editor Thomas Jackson.  “You have to compare it to other FORBES parties. This is like a house party – it’s a known quantity.”

Just then we spotted Bob Forbes, President of Forbes Life (and brother of Steve and Tim and Chris).  So, we asked him, why choose to have the party here instead of … “going to a really cool hotel in Singapore?” the eavesdropping Buckley interjected.  “No,” we insisted, turning back to Forbes.  “Instead of, you know, another space?  Here.  In New York.”  “Well,” said Forbes, pretending to muse philosophically, “the reason is very simple: Scottish thrift.”  Ah.  That explains the Rolls!  We snagged a gift bag on our way out – Amstel light glass, a Thank You for Smoking DVD, and Armani code cologne.  Sometimes we love capitalism.

Verdict: Food: 2.5; Drink: 3 (If you like eggnog: 3.5); Venue: 2.5 (If you don’t work there: 3.5); Debauchery: 1.5; Exclusivity: 2

Day 3 (Part A): Holiday Party Crash - Portfolio and Marc Jacobs

Four parties, five hours of sleep and $40.50 in cab fare later, I'm exhausted.  is this how Tinsley Mortimer feels?  ugh.  Actually, she probaby has a driver, so I'm guessing not.

Anyway, here's a recount of Evening 3 of my holiday party crashing ... (the Forbes Life write up was rejected as "not important enough" Read the review here! )

Re: the Marc Jacobs fete, really, nothing I write can possibly describe it.  I spotted Mel Rose from America’s Top Model, who gushed, “this party is insane - a picture is worth a million words.”  If she fucked up that axiom on purpose, she had every justification.  In this case, I think she's right.  Witness the below photo:


Lita Austin and Jasmine Taylor, friends of Jacobs' and fundraisers for an AIDS charity

Damn.

December 13, 2006

Day 2: Holiday Party Crash - Allure and The New Yorker, Gravitas-Heavy Edition. Okay, Except Allure.


For Day 2 of my Holiday Party Crash, I actually smuggled myself into The New Yorker bash over in Soho.  Didn't even bother to try to get in at Allure at Double Seven; I'd rather spy on Gladwell and harass the poor kid who has to sort through 5,000 reader cartoon captions every week (hi Zach!)

You can read the account of last night's crash here, or below ...

One part I left out (for their sake) - asking two inebriated New Yorker cartoonists, "Are you comedians who can draw or artists who can make jokes?"  Their answer?  “We’re losers who can drink,” one cackled, and both dissolved into giggles.  Uh ... you said it, not me.

*******

SUSHI WITH THE NEW YORKER, PAD THAI WITH ALLURE

Another December night in New York, another round of company Christmas parties. Last night our roving party reporter Julia Allison hit The New Yorker's annual fête — where she was allowed inside! — and Allure's far more subdued affair. After the jump, her reviews, complete with our four-category, scale-of-1-to-5, vaguely Zagatian party ratings. (Spoiler: The New Yorker won.)

The New Yorker threw its annual holiday party at Lure Fishbar in Soho last night, and the venue was the perfect size — just crowded enough to feel celebratory but not crowded enough to suffocate. Tweed-attired literati mixed with young-Turk assistants, long-serving editors, perky ad reps, and loopy cartoonists, and everyone was in extremely high spirits, perhaps buoyed by the more-than-liberal flow of alcohol (or perhaps by the two separate oyster and sushi bars). "It's the only event the entire year where advertising and editorial get together in the same room," one guy noted. "We don't have much to say to each other." We spotted Malcolm Gladwell and his hair from across the room; he was dressed in a black suit and gray striped tie and clutching a glass of water. How did this party compare to his other holiday events? "I have nothing intelligent to say," he insisted. We were skeptical. "I haven't had anything to drink yet." Two convivial cartoonists who clearly had sat howling with laughter at a banquette. What would a cartoon of the party look like? "Beetle Bailey lying down, with Xs over his eyes and champagne bubbles from his lips," said one. Both dissolved into giggles. Anything noteworthy about the party? "I tried the clam chowder, but I noticed that as I ate the final clam, it turned to Wrigley's Spearmint gum," said the other. Talking to New Yorker cartoonists is like reading a New Yorker cartoon: It can be difficult to figure out what the joke is. One lanky guest said he'd just confessed his admiration to Lillian Ross. "She said, 'Do you? Because the last person who said that spilled an entire beer on me.'" The party's scheduled 10 p.m. end came and went, and still they partied on. "It's not like the dinner dances they used to have at the Plaza," sniffed a 30-year vet. "But it's pretty good."
Verdict: Food: 5 (if you like raw fish; if not: 1); drink: 5; venue: 3.5; debauchery: 4.5 (for nerdy types; for anyone else: 2); exclusivity: 4

• Over in the meatpacking district, beauty-tip loving Allure employees mixed at Double Seven, the same club that will host brother pub GQ later this week. (Did Condé — uncharacteristically — go for a volume discount?) With under a hundred guests — "80 percent women, 18 percent gays, and 2 percent me," said one apparently straight male guest — and strictly limited to employees, very little rambunctious behavior ensued. Indeed, some groused that it wasn't enough of a "scene." "It was a typical meatpacking-district, loungy bar, very dark," one Nastie said. "It wasn't crowded, and there were no celebrities — really just people who work at the mag." Editor-in-chief Linda Wells, perfectly blonde and perfectly dressed, held court while her staffers, apparently "not drinking much," munched on pad Thai and beef salad served in boxes with chopsticks. "It was very sedate, very mellow," said a guest. "Although it was a schmooze fest." Aren't they all?
Verdict: Food: 3.5; drink: 3; venue: 2.5; debauchery: 1; exclusivity: 3.5

December 12, 2006

Day 1: Holiday Party Crash Stand-Outside-And- Harass-Guests - Hearst, Vogue, Ken Sunshine PR

So, it was my bright idea this year to do Holiday Party Crashes for New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer.  (Last night's parties: Hearst, Vogue, and Ken Sunshine PR.)

My thought process was more or less like this:

I like parties.
I like the holidays.
I like New York magazine.
Therefore, I would like to write about holiday parties for New York magazine.

What I failed to realize was:

I would not be invited to (most of) these parties.

Oh well.  It wasn't cold, so skulking outside for quotes produced only mild discomfort.  At Hearst people were nice enough to talk, although "How was the party?" invariably ensured a host of really bland platitudes like "it was fun!"  Great.  You had a good time.  I'm really happy for you.  Now tell me who you schtupped in the bathroom after one too many white cranberry cosmos.

Vogue, on the other hand, was like The Cult of the Cigarette Smoking Bitches.  I've been treated pretty rudely before, but never, ever, have I seen anything like that.  (And I wasn't even wearing my Slutty Santa suit!)  They didn't deign to acknowledge my presence with EYE CONTACT, let alone and "I'm so sorry" or "Anna Wintour will skin my alive like her minks if I talk to you."  Even for the type of women bitches drawn to Vogue, that level of insolence takes serious practice.

In other news, the PETA people were really nice.  Sigh.

June 08, 2006

Life is Like Prom. But Less Fun.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl in possession of a high school ID, must be in want of a prom dress.

(Oh, crap. I promised myself that I'd never bastardize that Austin line, just because half of the oh-so-clever-and-precious writing world, including 98% of the NYT Style section, already has. But this is a blog, so lower standards apply.)

In case you missed my first Prom Dress blog entry, here's a quick recap: I love the Prom. Many girls feel similarly. Some of those girls don't have enough $$ to buy dresses. Other girls want to relive prom forever. The latter girls decided to band together to help the former girls, thus: Prom Dress Charities.

Wow, I should always write in staccato sentences like that. Sort of empowering.

Anyway, below is the article I wrote for New York magazine on the subject. Click on the photo to enlarge, if you so choose.

The longer, unedited version is after the jump, and I highly recommend reading that. Okay, okay, only if you really have nothing else to do. But it just goes to show how much editors, well ... edit. And it will certainly bring back memories. Unless you never got a chance to, say, bury your alcohol under the school-sanctioned after-party tents in the football field. (Because it's not really prom without some good dirt smeared alcohol.)

New York mag Prom Dress Article.jpg

Continue reading "Life is Like Prom. But Less Fun." »

April 26, 2006

Not Your Average Congressional Trophy Wife

 Since I have a policy of only writing about good-looking people, I knew that one of these days I was going to have to do a profile on my sister-in-spirit, Kimberly Vertolli-Kirk. A Congressional Spouse, Annapolis-grad, Shih-tzu owner, Possessor-of-Northwestern-Law-Degree-and-Size-2-Body, Kimberly could kick Hil Clinton's ass, although I'm sure she'd rather pose for a photo.

In other words, ladies & gentlemen, she's a hottie from Biscotti. (BTW, I have no idea what that means, only that she and her hubby say it a lot to describe attractive individuals, and ... well ... say it out loud. Sort of addicting, right?) Below, the photo that ran with the piece, of Kimberly and some guy who looks like he wishes his hand were slightly ... higher ... up ...

Kimberly with Bush.jpg