Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Last weeks New York magazine was a double-issue, so there isn’t a new The Approval Matrix this week. I will continue posting next week; however, I may post a Behind the Approval Matrix podcast. If the podcast doesn’t happen this week, it will happen soon. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

4th Quadrant 7/30-8/6 '07

Week of July 30-August 6, 2007

$15,000 Hampton's Concert Tickets

ABCNews.com reports on the 2007 Hampton Social @ Ross concert series, which kicked off recently with a performance by Prince in ritzy East Hampton, N.Y. For the exorbitant price tag, of $15,000 ticket buyers will get the chance to see Prince, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Billy Joel, James Taylor and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in separate shows during July and August in an "intimate" outdoor setting. Along with the music, attendees will enjoy extravagant side entertainment like art exhibits and magic by David Blaine.
Spin Magazine assistant editor Kyle Anderson told ABCNEWS.com, "… I've never seen anything at this level of expense or decadence. It just seems kind of silly." Silly or not, the series is already "practically sold out," according to Nicole Kotovos, the public relations representative for Bulldog Entertainment, the event's organizer.

David and Victoria Beckham

David Beckham, was given a five-year contract to move from England, where he was a superstar player, to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team. The contract is believed to be worth up to $250 million.
David’s wife, Victoria “Posh Spice” has benefited from the move too by getting her own reality television show “Victoria Beckham: Coming to America.”
Alessandra Stanley of the
Times writes in her review of the reality show, “While Mr. Beckham whips up his profile in the United States with television interviews, soccer-field appearances, endorsements and Galaxy jersey sales, Mrs. Beckham pumps up her end of their business partnership with her jeans label and line of designer sunglasses and perfume and, of course, the television special.
Will Leitch, writes in an OP-ED piece in the Times that critics feel that Beckham is, “… an over-the-hill player being shoved down our throats by a publicity machine.”

Simpson Movie Promo

The Sun reports that pagans have pledged to perform “rain magic” to wash away a giant 180ft, doughnut brandishing, Homer Simpson that was painted next to the Cerne Abbas. The Cerne Abbas is the famous well-endowed fertility symbol, and symbol of ancient spirituality that is located in Dorset, England. The painting was a publicity stunt to promote “The Simpsons Movie.” It was painted with water-based biodegradable paint, which will wash away as soon as it rains. The district manager for The Pagan Federation said referring to the Homer painting, “It’s very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing.”
Rohit Bhargave has the very impressive - The Complete Gallery of Simpsons Movie Marketing.

North Korea's Karaoke Bars

Reuters reports that North Korea's security agency not only shut down karaoke bars, but also the Internet cafes in the country that don't have state authorization saying that, "... they are a threat to society." Ironically, the bars, and cafes aren't frequented by ordinary citizens. They are mostly used by businessmen who have, "... quite a bit of money..."

Magnolia Bakery

Eater reports that Magnolia Bakery, which was made famous by the show "Sex and the City", and the "SNL" Lazy Sunday skit was shut down, and re-opened by the Department of Health on July 11th. A recent change in ownership prompted the inspection. The bakery was cited for not having a sink in the area where cupcakes are iced by hand, for having mouse droppings, and fruit flies by the garbage area, for missing a door handle, and for missing a light cover. There is controversy surrounding the closer, because on the previous inspection that took place on 04/28/06, the bakery was not shut down, and the missing sink was not mentioned in the report.


The Times review of “Hairspray” mentions that Adam Shankman directed, and drawing from his long experience as a choreographer, choreographed “Hairspray”, which was adapted from the Broadway musical.
I’ve summarized a plot summary posted on IMDb by leoprez1030: "Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), an overweight teenager with all the right moves, is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. After one of the stars of the show leaves, Corny Collins (Jason Marsden) holds auditions to see who will be the next person on the show. With help from her friend Seaweed (Elijah Kelly), Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her mother Velma (Michelle Pfieffer). Tracy then decides that it's not fair that the black kids can only dance on the show once a month, and with the help of, Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah), Edna (John Travolta), and others, she's going to integrate the show...without denting her 'do!"
David Denby of the
New Yorker says, “Hairspray is perfectly pleasant -- I smiled to myself all the way through it -- but it’s not as exhilarating as the show.” However, Scott Foundas of L.A. Weekly says that “Hairspray” is, “An odd hybrid that lacks both the rambunctious energy of a live performance and the expressionistic pull of a great movie musical.”
The movie got a 93% on the Critics Tomatometer, with an average rating of 8/10.
The Times has a full review with the trailer, and clips from the movie.

QB Michael Vick

The Times reports that Michael Vick, and three others were charged with running a dog-fighting ring at his home in Virginia. The trail is set for November 26, which means that he may not play football this season. Per the N.F.L. commissioner, Vick isn’t even allowed on the practice field. If convicted, Vick could face up to six years in jail, and a $350,000 fine. The 18-page indicted accuses Vick of having 54 pits bulls, a “rape” stand, which was allegedly used to hold dogs in place for mating, and pit bull graves. The indictment further states that, “losing dogs were sometimes put to death by shooting, drowning, strangulation, hanging or electrocution.”

The Times goes on to report that Nike suspended Vick’s endorsement contract, Reebok, the maker of his N.F.L. jersey, said that his jersey will be pulled from shelves, his trading card will not be released, Nike will not release his Air Zoom Vick V shoe, and Upper Deck has removed all of Vick’s autographed memorabilia from it’s website.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports interestingly observed from the crowd standing outside the federal courthouse were Vick faced federal charges that almost all of the people supporting Vick or holding signs pleading for "due process" were African American, and on the other side was an anti-Vick group that was overwhelmingly white.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

3rd Quadrant 7/30-8/6 '07

Week of July 30-August 6, 2007

Album Art for We Are the Fury's Venus

Jeremy Lubin, the lead singer for Ohio based We Are The Fury, said that a lot of the songs on Venus dealt with sex and love, and that the group wanted to incorporate that into the album art. He further stated that Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, summarized the artwork. The full interview is here.

According to an article on Wired, the importance of album art has being dying a slow death for decades, and with music moving online, album art has further decreased, literally this time, down to the size of a thumbnail. However, label designers are working to reverse the trend, by using new tools, “…to reinvent album art for the digital age…”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical

Uncool Kids
writes about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical as an “interactive extravaganza” based on the “Once More With Feeling” musical episode from the sixth season of the show. The episode is shown on a giant screen with subtitles, which allows fans to sing along. Goodie bags are also given out at the show. The bags contains puppets, streamers, kazoos, and evil bunnies. The extravaganza started in Boston, is currently based in New York City, and is “performed” once a month at the IFC Center.

Here's a clip of the show, with an interview with the shows creator:

"The Bronx is Burning"

Gothamist has a good post on "The Bronx is Burning," which is an eight-part mini-series about the 1977 New York Yankees. Oliver Platt plays George Steinbrenner, and John Turtorro plays Billy Martin. The mini-series is adapted by ESPN from the book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler. The title of the mini-series comes from Howard Cosell's announcement during one of the 1977 World Series game, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning."He wasn't referring to the Yankees performance on the field, he was referring to an actual burning building. The Times has a review of the mini-series, and mentions that the show is not only about the World Series, but that is also about, "...the search for the Son of Sam serial killer, the contentious mayoral race and the devastating blackout in July." The mini-series started on July 9th.

Here's the trailer for the mini-series:

Death by Chick Lit

Huffington Post has an interview with Death by Chick Lit’s author Lynn Harris. Lynn Harris is a contributor to Nerve.com, Salon, and Glamour. She is also the co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. Death by Chick Lit is Lynn Harris’ second novel. The book is a mystery and satire of the chick lit genre and its critics. If you’ve read Lynn Harris’ first book Mass Media, Lola is back as the protagonist in Death by Chick Lit. Kate Harding’s review of the book on Blogcritics writes that Death by Chick Lit frequently refers to events in Mass Media without giving a summary or review; however, she also praised the book by saying that, “Death by Chick Lit isn't just a mystery any more than it's just chick lit; it's a character-driven novel about ambition, relationships, friendships, and fame. The fact that Harris hung all that on a good, solid mystery is just gravy.” Read Huffington Post’s exclusive excerpt of Death by Chick Lit here.

"Mad Men"

According to the Times "Mad Men" is a new drama set in the golden age of Madison Avenue (1960s). Matthew Weiner, who was a producer and writer on “The Sopranos,” created the show. Here is the Times full review, and iTunes has a free video download of the making of the show. "Mad Men" is showing on AMC on Thursday nights at 10:00 Eastern.

Here's a "Mad Men" Preview

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2nd Quadrant 7/30-8/6 '07

Week of July 30-August 6, 2007

Alexei Tanovitsky

Alexei Tanovitsky performed as Wotan in Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Times has a review, and video clip of the opera. Anthony Tommasini of the Times apparently didn't like the set. He questioned whether or not some of the props came from the Halloween costume bin at Wal-Mart. I don't know if this is good or bad, but he says that, "Alexei sounded as if he had stepped out of a performance as Boris Godunov into the role of Wotan."

Damien Hirst

Gothamist writes that Damien Hirst, will be shown at the Met by Labor Day. Hirst is an English artist who is famous for his exhibits of preserved animals.


I thought Absinthe was the highly alcoholic anise-flavored beverage derived from herbs, but it's actually a burlesque acrobatic show that will be performed at Spiegeltent.

Steve Buscemi's Interview

After falling out with his editor, a fading political journalist (Buscemi) is forced to interview America's most popular soap actress (Miller). Buscemi not only stars in the movie, but is the director too. Interview is a remake of a 2003 movie made by the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh who was murdered in 2004 by Muslims. The Voice has a review, and here is the trailer.

Laura Benanti in Gypsy
Benanti plays the tomboy daughter of Momma Rose in Gypsy, which is an adaptation of the memoirs of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. The review in the Times says that Benanti is, "...delicious in the title role." Gypsy is playing at City Center and runs through July 29.

Ace in the Hole

IMDb has the following plot summary posted by alfiehitchie, "
Ex-New York reporter Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas) lands a job on a Albuquerque newspaper in hopes that a sensational story will return him to the big time. When a man is trapped in an Indian cave, Tatum conspires with an unscrupulous sheriff to keep him there until the story can build to national proportions, which it does." The Criterion website has the full rundown on the DVD release including a description of the special features, which includes an audio commentary by film scholar Neil Sinyard.

Monday, July 23, 2007

1st Quadrant 7/30-8/6 '07

Week of July 30 - August 6. 2007
Richard Nixon

Wonkette has a posting on the Nixon memo. It looks like Nixon felt that Kennedy’s record in foreign policy was a disaster, and that his “charm” saved him.

Here's the link to the full 11-page memo!
Eater says that DBGB stands for Daniel Boulud Good Burger, but the name and logo looks a lot like the logo for CBGB, which is located one block away.

Here's the chef's bio, and resume.

I have no idea who that guy is in the approval matrix, but it's not the chef.

John Lennon's Sunglasses
Reuters has an article on the glasses. Apparently, they were owned by a Japanese television producer who was a translator for the Beatles in 1966.

If you're interested in bidding on the glasses...

Rose's Turn
In an article in The New York Observer the bar may be converted into a real estate office, and according to the bar's website Richard Pryor began is career there.

Anya Hindmarch
According to Gawker the bags are big with Asians.

Whole Foods sold the bags for $15, but they can go on EBay, and other Asian sites for $300! According to the Metro all 20,ooo bags sold out in minutes.
(The Metro link isn't practical, so I linked to a Times article instead.)

The line at the Bowery Wholes Foods was very long.

Here's another video showing a stampede for the bags in Taiwan.

Elvis Mitchell
According to his Wikipedia entry Elvis Mitchell is a former film critic for the Times, and is one of the most well-known African-American critics in the United States. On Entourage he interviewed Vince, E and Walsh about the genius behind 'Medellin.'

Episode 47 Summary

Here's a video of the interview (NSFW).

Mitchell's wikipedia entry.

Harry Potter Leaked.
Machinist wrote about how someone posted the 'book' online. Actually, someone took a picture of all 759 pages of the book! The pictures were converted into a PDF file, and posted on bittorent sites.
(No spoilers in the links.)