Daily Bite December 2010

By Nicola Harvey

This month in the Daily Bite: students riot, stars reject Twitter, Champagne corks start popping - it must be the festive season.


Time to sum up the last twelve months and trawl through all those
red-carpet events to remind ourselves of fashion moments both divine and
hilariously wrong as worn by our beloved public figures. Some were so
outstanding, they appeared on multiple lists and crossed time zones and
cultures: Carey Mulligan, Anne Hathaway, Anna Dello Russo, Gaga and the
meat dress. MObama was widely adored. The Daily Beast’s Kate Betts
summed up the prevailing reverence, writing: “She uses her style to get
our attention, and then she delivers her message.”

The Vogues (American and British) take a high road, producing only ‘best’ lists and populating them with the magazines’ regulars. Della
Russo’s own sincere and energetic list is a shining example of
democratic idiosyncrasy, giving equal “best”-ness to Queen Elizabeth and
Rihanna. As for the worsts: The UK’s Daily Mail wins for its photo of
Vladimir Putin working a Davy Crockett look. 

Take a look at our favourite list care of the wonderful Anna Dello Russo. 

21.12.2010 – 29.12.2010: HOLIDAY

Merry Christmas.


Carine Roitfeld shocked the fashion world on Friday with the announcement of her resignation from French Vogue…and Roitfeld devotees immediately started speculating about what would be next for the Parisian powerhouse. Perhaps some sort of collaboration with Tom Ford?

In terms of Carine’s replacement at French Vogue, the New York Times reports that a successor will be named early next year. Who’s most likely to take the helm? According to the former Creative Director of French Vogue Fabien Baron (who spoke with the Times), the mag’s current Fashion Director, Emmanuelle Alt, will probably assume the position.


As reported by the ABC, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has pledged to clear his name of allegations of sexual assault and pursue his work with the whistleblowing website after he was freed on bail by a London court.

Standing on the steps of the High Court after beating a Swedish move to have him kept in custody, Mr Assange protested his innocence.

“I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter and to reveal as we get – which we have not yet – the evidence from these allegations,” Mr Assange said.

After spending nine nights in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison, Mr Assange expressed his relief to be free.

“It’s great to smell the fresh air of London again,” he said.

“I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence from these allegations.”

16.12.2010: DORFF!

Remember this guy?  He played PK in the the 1992 feel-good classic The Power of One.  Despite the poor South African accent he was quite the handsome young man, sending Hollywood into a spin claiming he was the new “Matt Damon” (the healthy-all-American-action-man guy) before Matt Damon was even on the scene.  Then came Backbeat in 1994 in which he played a brooding, brilliant Stuart Sutcliffe – the Beatle no one really remembers.  After that came horror films and a fling with Pamela Anderson and then …. obscurity.

But we now have reason to rejoice.  Sofia Coppola has elevated Dorff from the clique of “actors who could have been good but ended up acting in B-grade horror films” casting him as the lead in her critically acclaimed film Somewhere. Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood ‘bad-boy’ actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont.

Then he receives an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter, played by Elle Fanning (yes, Dakota’s little sister), and Marco finds salvation from his hedonistic life.

The film is great. It won the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival which goes some way to backing up my assertion.

But more importantly Dorff is good.  Hurrah. He’s back.

15.13.2010: GOLDEN GLOBES!

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling have been applauded for their extraordinary performances in Derek Cainfrance’s Blue Valentine overnight with both stars receiving Golden Globe nominations: Michelle Williams for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) and Ryan Gosling for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama).

I, for one, am delighted by this news.  Blue Valentine is, without doubt, one of the best films I’ve seen all year and it comes in at number two on my all-time-greatest-top-five-films list for 2010. So without further ado, here it is:  

1. Winter’s Bone

2. Blue Valentine

3. Animal Kingdom

4. The Social Network (principally for Aaron Sorkin’s script)

5. The King’s Speech (but I’m reserving the right to change this once I’ve the Boxing Day releases are out).

And, all-time-greatest-flop for 2010: Eat, Pray, Love.

What do you think?

14.13.2010: PROUD TO BE GAY

Air New Zealand said it was cutting an in-flight safety video showing All Black rugby player Richard Kahui refusing to kiss a male flight attendant after complaints it could spur gay suicides.

The airline said it had agreed to remove a scene from the video featuring Kahui politely turning down a request to give gay flight attendant Will Coxhead a peck on the cheek.

“The move comes after complaints from members of the gay and lesbian community in the past week,” the airline said in a statement.

The flag carrier said a university professor, whom it did not name, had raised concerns the homosexual rejection could lead to gay male suicides.The airline’s operations and safety manager, David Morgan, told ABC it had not anticipated the scene being viewed as distasteful or causing concern.”We have opted on the side of caution and are changing out the scene,” he said.

Mr Coxhead, a real-life flight attendant with the airline, said he was “absolutely gutted” at the complaints over a scene he described as a bit of fun.

“I’m proud to be gay, proud to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video,” he said.

“Obviously there are some people in the gay community that can be a little precious and need to lighten up.”

13.12.2010: THE OPRAH FILES

A proposed strike by maritime workers could disrupt filming of the Oprah show at the Sydney Opera House this Tuesday, reports ABC.

Maritime workers in charge of setting up an exclusion zone around the site are threatening to walk off the job over pay and working conditions.

Winfrey is planning to film two episodes of her show at the “Oprah House” next week.

Unions will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to stop work for 24 hours after wage negotiations with NSW Maritime broke down.

If action goes ahead, maritime workers will not deploy the buoys necessary to ensure an exclusion zone at the Opera House is respected while filming takes place.

10.12.2010: WHIP IT

Look out Gaga, you’ve got competition. Will Smith’s ten-year-old daughter Willow Smith is following in her father’s precocious footsteps and has declared a ratings war on Lady Gaga, claiming she hopes to surpass the pop star as the most popular entertainer on the planet. One suspects given the young lady’s confidence that she expects to achieve this by the ripe old age of 11.

In an interview with NME
magazine, the pint-sized star was asked about her long-term
career aspirations, and answered in a manner befitting of her Whip My Hair swagger.

“I would like to be a very well-known artist,” Smith, 10, told
the magazine. “I would like to be as big as Lady Gaga. I would like to
be bigger. … I’d like to be a big rock star.” 


09.12.2010: ASSANGE THE HOLY

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may be alone in jail in London, but in the traditional Neapolitan Christmas creches he is in good company – with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Assange, who is depicted holding his trusty lap top, was created by Gennaro Di Virgilio, who each year chooses at least one contemporary character to sculpt and place near the scenes of the traditional story of Jesus’ birth in a manger.

“I included him to poke a little fun at the world and have a good time,” Di Virgilio, 29, whose family has been making nativity statuettes and ornate creches since 1830, told Reuters.

“In a sense, Assange is the man of the year,” said Di Virgilio, whose tiny shop is one of many on a narrow Naples street named Via San Gregorio Armeno that specialised in Christmas statues, creches and trinkets all year.

There is only one copy of the Assange statuette, which costs 130 euros. Di Virgilio says he will make others on request.


Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh visited Burma at the weekend, reported Reuters, to discuss her plans to play the lead role in a new film about recently released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Yeoh, who is best known for playing Chinese spy Wai Lin alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies spent Sunday with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to discuss the possibility of playing her in a movie.

The charismatic Suu Kyi, daughter of late independence hero Aung San and adored by many in Burma, spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention because of her fight against military dictatorship. She was released on November 13 after her latest period of house arrest expired.

“(Suu Kyi) saw her off at the airport this morning,” said Nyan Win, Suu Kyi’s lawyer and spokesman.

“Yeoh spent the whole day at Daw Suu’s residence,” he added, referring to Suu Kyi. “I understand she is planning to play her in a film in the near future.”

Yeoh, 48, is also a dancer and is well known for performing her own stunts in action movies.

She has starred mostly in Asian films and was nominated for a BAFTA award for best actress for her role in Ang Lee’s 2000 box office hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which won four Academy Awards. 


It takes little to fuel speculation about the career of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona but one nod from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was enough for a newspaper to report he is line to coach Iran.

“President Ahmadinejad: Maradona might be head coach of the national team,” read the headline splashed across the front page of Iranian daily Ebtekar on Monday, along with a large photograph of the World Cup winner.

Rumours have swirled in recent months of Maradona, who took Argentina to the quarter finals of this year’s World Cup, taking charge of an Iran side which last qualified for the tournament in 2006.

Rick Chandler, blogging for NBC Sports, reasons Maradona’s interest in the position stems from his love of dictators and revolutionaries: “Having Maradona in close proximity to a developing nuclear program is not my idea of fun, but in all other ways he and Ahmadinejad are made for each other. In addition to being six different kids of crazy, Maradona has an affinity for foreign dictators; his BFF is Fidel Castro, he has has a tattoo of Che Guevera on his upper arm, and he is known to support Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.”  

I have a suspicion Mr Chandler might not be too fond of Latin America, but that’s just a guess.

06.12.2010: EURO

French-Polish director Roman Polanski’s political thriller The Ghost Writer swept the European Film Awards on Saturday, picking up six prizes including best movie, director, actor and screenplay.

The annual awards, held this year in the Estonian capital Tallinn, also honoured Israeli war drama Lebanon, shot almost entirely from inside a tank. Lebanon won the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice film festival in 2009.

Polanski, who spent several months this year under house arrest in Switzerland but avoided extradition to the United States in connection with a 1977 sex crime, did not attend the prize ceremony but appeared via Skype from his Paris home.

Polanski was named best director, the movie – with a lead role loosely based on former British prime minister Tony Blair – was best European film, its star Ewan McGregor picked up the best actor award and Polanski and Robert Harris won the best script writer category.

02.12.2010: WIKI RAGE

Whoever runs the WikiLeaks Twitter account isn’t shy about expressing their disdain for Amazon.com — or what it sees as American hypocrisy. Earlier this week, WikiLeaks moved its main site over to Amazon’s Web Services platform to protect itself from a DDOS cyberattack. But this morning, under pressure from the US government, Amazon.com shut down the site.

In response to Amazon’s actions, WikiLeaks tweeted:

WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free-fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.

Followed shortly by:If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.

01.12.2010: RIOTS!

Thousands of students blocked the centre of Rome as part of nationwide protests against university budget cuts, reports the ABC.

According to the Italian Students’ Union (UDS), “more than 400,000 students are rallying throughout Italy”.

Police in riot gear blocked all entrances to the Chamber of Deputies as lawmakers voted on the reforms and officers were forced to redirect traffic as the city centre was brought to a standstill in several areas. Meanwhile Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi dismissed the protests, saying “the real students are at home studying”.

Over in the UK, students braved the cold yesterday taking to the streets for the third time in less than a month to protest against the government’s higher education plans.

The UK Guardian reports, “large demonstrations took place in Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and London. The Metropolitan police said 153 people had been arrested in the capital. Other forces also reported arrests.”

Did anyone say revolution?


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