Grammy-winning producer J. Ralph invited V.F. for a tour of his old vaudeville theater turned recording studio, where he records with some of the most celebrated musicians of our time.
We were reading a mommyblog about finger foods for babies and it suggested frozen bagels. She was trying to wrap her head around why one would freeze bagel pieces before feeding them to a child. Had to explain to her that fresh, good bagels are not readily available everywhere and that frozen bagels (aka Lenders) are often the only option. She was completely horrified.
I do, increasingly. I have born witness to the corporate takeover of manhattan and I hate what has become of the city I chose; the city that chose me. Yes, sure, change is a given in a dynamic place but this goes well beyond that. This is the takeover of a once unruly and fiercely independent city. New York was traditionally known as a place so competitive, expensive and impenetrable that national chains steered clear. The Disneyfication of Times Square was the key. Once that flew the floodgates were open and now the third generation Jewish bakery on the corner is a cinnabon. I mourn this city, but at the same time I find succor in it’s nooks and crannies.
That’s all a roundabout way of pimping my photo blog, one shot I took somewhere I’ve been. I try to get around.
We are two and a half months into his Mayoralty and De Blasio has failed to appoint a commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Entertainment. The prior commissioner, Katherine Oliver, was vastly more effective than any other person who previously held the office. Under her watch the office switched from typewriters to a database. Monies generated went from millions to billions. Thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses were created and the ensuing products (films, tv shows, web content, still photo shoots) promoted NYC as a global brand. She was an unqualified success.
The office has traditionally been filled by a political appointee. That was always the case. It is a high paying (for a city job), highly visible post. A canny operator can use it to promote themselves into some seriously lucrative gigs once the commissionership has run it’s course. The job not only puts your name in the media, it gives you countless photo ops with A list stars. Most importantly it puts you in a position to do favors for the very top executives in every media company that does business in NYC. So, all of them. Unless you step on your own dick in a spectacular fashion it’s a lifelong meal ticket.
Oliver’s success was largely due to the fact that she was the farthest thing from a political appointee. Love him or hate him, the genius of Bloomberg was that his campaigns were self-financed. Instead of using the position as a reward for someone he was beholden to he hired the best, most media-savvy businessperson he knew and she was successful beyond any expectation. It’s not fair to hold De Blasio to the same standard but one would hope that he could at least find someone semi-qualified to find the job.
Four names have been widely reported as finalists for the job. Of the four only one is actually qualified, and that is Pat Kaufman. She was formerly head of the Governor’s film office, filling a similar role on a statewide level. I know Pat, even consider her somewhat of a friend, and don’t consider her a great candidate for the position. She’d do fine but not necessarily excel. I recently learned that she isn’t actually a serious candidate. Having no political pull with De Blasio she was insulted by being interviewed by a low-level member of the transition team. Treating her that way is an arrogant, foolish and insulting move by De Blasio which unfortunately indicates a general pattern his leadership has established.
Of the remaining three candidates none are remotely qualified for the position. Two of them have some very limited media experience but ultimately are under consideration solely because they helped the Mayor win the election. He’s not beholden enough to either to give them the job, however, and will find another way to pay them off. The final candidate is completely and totally unqualified for the Commissionership. She not only has no experience in the field whatsoever but has a public history of animosity towards the film industry and has led numerous attempts to pass anti-filming legislation. Appointing her would be an unqualified disaster. What she does have going for her is a husband who is one of the bigger real estate developers in NYC. You know, exactly the type of monied special interest that De Blasio campaigned against. The fact that this person is in serious consideration for the job is concrete and specific evidence that our mayor is a dishonest, hypocritical, cynical piece of shit.
The job has not yet been awarded to her, however. She is at present the only one of the four with a potential shot at it. Before she is hired, however, our esteemed mayor tasked his wife with broadening the search. She’s been asked to comb through the couples close friends and biggest political supporters to see if there isn’t someone they are more beholden to who is more deserving of their political patronage. I am frankly disgusted by this lying toad. He’s a complete buffoon and if you bought his line of shit about being a progressive than shame on you.