Soderbergh Wants His Own Memento
Just because we've retreated from our position at the beautiful Shadow Ridge Ski Lodge — that doesn't mean there's no news from Sundance.
First up: Memento, which will be released on March 9 in New York and Los Angeles, continues to astound. Director of the moment Steven Soderbergh, so taken with Christopher Nolan's absolutely remarkable achievement, has offered to executive produce the British writer/director's next film.
Also, Memento co-star Joe Pantoliano, currently filming episodes of The Sopranos as a special guest star, is getting ready to direct his first feature.
Lions Gate announced that they bought Tom DiCillo's Double Whammy — easily the worst movie seen at the festival, roundly panned by critics and hated by audiences. What's up with Lions Gate? Are they mad? Do they have a death wish? Last year they released American Psycho. You would have thought they'd learned their lesson.
A so-far unmentioned feature of Whammy: Denis Leary referring to New York Post reporters as "scumbags."
Entertainment Weekly's luncheon at Lakota in Park City pulled all the regulars, including Jacqueline Bissett.
Premiere mag's cocktails at Cafe Terigo also attracted many stars. But the party at the Hugo Boss house the other night, following the screening of a six-minute stretch from Donovan Leitch's promising Last Party documentary, was said to be full of ecstatic guests.
I returned from the Sundance Film Festival last night to find those miscreants at New York magazine up to no good again.
In the current issue, writer Rob Tannenbaum writes about Arista Records president Antonio "LA" Reid. Don’t buy the issue. I’ll give you the important part right here:
"The press loves Clive [Davis]," Reid muses. "I'd read stories about myself coming to Arista, and there'd be a picture of Clive. I never saw a picture of me." He still recalls a story that dismissively labeled him a "rap executive." Then there was the gossip columnist who reported that Reid was spending afternoons shopping at Gucci while Davis was busy signing acts to his new label, including the boy band O-Town.
The story, he adds, "was racist." He pauses. "I don't play the race card. I'm not that guy. I have an amazing life." Reid is only the second African-American to run a major label (the other is Sylvia Rhone at Elektra), and he doubts that the columnist has reported on the shopping habits of white executives like Jimmy Iovine or Tommy Mottola.
Anyway, Reid adds with a smile, he doesn't shop at Gucci. "I have all my clothes made."
The columnist referred to, of course, is this one — the column authored by yours truly. Of course, New York is too stupid and unprofessional to bother calling FOXNews.com to get a comment, so the impression is left that this column attacked LA Reid because this columnist is a racist.
Congratulations, New York. More blunders, and this time with the kind of hideous name-calling I could only expect from your dimwitted editorial staff.
First, the facts: In September, we reported that Reid had been spotted at Gucci on most afternoons. Gucci confirmed that he was an excellent customer.
Second, we reported a few days later that Reid had a sweet deal going on at Arista. He was the only record company president we could find who had his own publishing company, and he’d signed producers to Arista whose music rights he personally owned. In other words, he was signing people to Arista whose success would line his own pockets.
Reid told me in response about his publishing company Hitco, and we printed: "I’m not allowed to run it. But you can’t stop me from owning it." He also told me that "it never came up" about his ownership when he negotiated his deal with then BMG Music president Strauss Zelnick, who was fired a few months later.
New York failed to mention that. New York also failed to report the reasons why Reid split with his former partner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds years ago. New York also failed to interview Edmonds or Reid’s first wife, the former pop singer Pebbles, who now has a Christian ministry in Atlanta. And New York very gingerly stays away from Reid’s famous 10-week try at Harvard Business School, instead leaving the impression that Reid actually received an MBA from Harvard.
The New York article also attacks Clive Davis — someone I haven’t even spoken to or seen in months. But the piece fails to point out that Davis’ deal for his new J Records makes him the executive producer of future albums by Whitney Houston and Santana. Or that his first J Records single — by the group O-Town — was a smash hit in its first week, selling more copies than any other record on the Top 40.
That’s because New York reports stories based on publicists telling them how to do it. Read their coverage of Dana Giacchetto, or the Hudson Hotel and its owner Ian Schrager. Last week I wrote in this column that New York was being manipulated by its own publicity outfit, which also represents Schrager. I failed to mention that New York is also plugging Traffic actor Benicio Del Toro for Best Supporting Actor. Guess what? The same PR agency is pushing Del Toro.
Now New York, Tannenbaum, and Reid are stating outright that my coverage of Reid was "racist," and that this column would never say bad things about other record company executives who are white. Hey — I guess they don’t read this column — which regularly covers the antics of Sony Music’s CEO, Tommy Mottola, right down to his non-Catholic sanctioned wedding at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Or the folks at Warner Bros., who I think we’ve flogged once a month for blowing hit after hit by artists from Paul Simon to Eric Clapton. Or Reid’s own hire, Jerry Blair, and the story of how Arista had to pay off Sony to get Blair, only to have him and another executive, Lionel Ridenhour, jockey with each other for power.
As for racist, I suppose I shouldn’t even give this ridiculous notion a second thought. Regular readers of this column know very well the love and respect we show for rhythm and blues artists, the support we give to the R&B Foundation, and so on. Reid diminishes himself by saying he doesn’t play the race card — and then playing it.
New York is unprofessional for printing such a statement; for not even attempting to get a response from Fox News. But this is what this once-great weekly magazine has become — a tool for hidden agendas run by amateurs.
Editor Caroline Miller and the editors of the magazine should be ashamed of themselves. But I’m sure they’re not.