Can you believe it's 2014 and no one has made a documentary about Joan Didion? Neither can Griffin Dunne, Didion's very proud nephew via her late husband, John Gregory Dunne. The younger Dunne, the erstwhile director of Practical Magic, is asking the public for $80,000 to make a movie about his 79-year-old aunt (and maybe a little about himself).
"How much of this book is about your own life?" All novelists, even those who write about horny Centaurs or plasma cannons, have to come up with a standard response to that prickly, earnest question. As someone who has been accused of navel-gazing on the Internet, who has written a few personal essays and now has published a novel in which the protagonist shares many of the same biographical details as the author, I have certainly come to expect it.
Author/socialite Plum Sykes and her twin sister, fashion designer/socialite Lucy Sykes Rellie are turning 40 today. Jay-Z is celebrating his 40th birthday, too. Tyra Banks turns 36. Marisa Tomei is turning 45. Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen is 43. Actor Jeff Bridges is 60. Ugly Betty's Kevin Sussman is 39. Former porn star Nikki Tyler is 37. And former game show host Wink Martindale turns 75 today. A handful of weekend birthdays are below.
It's Amanda Lepore's birthday today! At least we think it's her birthday and we think she's 41, but she's been known to fool people before. Others celebrating today: Margaret Cho is 40. The New Yorker's Calvin Trillin is 73. Novelist Joan Didion is turning 74. Little Richard is 76. Knicks center Eddy Curry is 26. Child star Frankie Muniz turns 23. Actor Nick Stahl is turning 29. And model Shalom Harlow is 35. Weekend birthdays after the jump.
Gucci celebrated the launch of its Tattoo Heart Collection on Wednesday, a line of products that benefits UNICEF. Rihanna, who is the new face of the campaign, was joined Gucci creative director Frida Giannini at a snowflake lighting ceremony at the Grand Army Plaza, which was followed by an event at Gucci's flagship and dinner at the Plaza's Oak Room. Guests included Madonna, Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Adrian Grenier, Monet Mazur, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige, Erin Wasson, Becki Newton and Chris Diamantopoulos, Kelly Rutherford, Patricia Field, Charlotte Ronson, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, Jessica Joffe, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Mamie Gummer, Eleanor Ylvisaker, Bethenny Frankel, Anja Rubik, Hal Rubenstein, Magnus Berger, Joe Zee, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Maggie Betts. [Style.com, NYO, PMc, Wireimage]
The Hollywood Reporter has info on the HBO biopic of longtime WaPo publisher Katharine Graham, who took over the paper in 1963 after her husband committed suicide. The desired casting is Laura Linney as the lead, and Joan Didion has agreed to write her first solo screenplay. The project's still in its early stage, but it could focus on Graham's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1995 memoir Personal History or any number of recollections from the period. Here's why this could be incredible.Director of The Human Stain Robert Benton is currently penciled in as the film's director. His last movie, 2007's Charles Baxter adaptation Feast of Love was the most depressing movie since Atom Egoyan killed a bus full of schoolchildren in The Sweet Hereafter, so he'll be able to deal with the sadder aspects of Graham's life. Before she died in 2001, Graham weathered a turbulent relationship with her bipolar philandering husband, and her decades in the newspaper business brought the Washington Post to heights it had never before experienced.
Doree and Nikola headed to the Puck Building last night for a Paris Review fundraiser. Their account, and photos, follow.
There are certain ways that one announces one's place in the social pecking order. Dalton or Spence. Summers in Nantucket, winters in Palm Beach. Really all out is the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For those truly interested in becoming a part of the literary establishment, there is the Paris Review and its annual gala. Most parties for the quarterly literary journal take place at its offices in Tribeca and are generally attended by the expected assortment of nattily attired lower-level publishing types and a couple of famous writers enticed by the free drinks or the comely assistants who drink too many of them. But the Revel, as the annual benefit is called, is an entirely different animal. Tickets started at $500 and one was welcome to purchase a table for $50,000, which is the annual salary of two assistants.
In this week's New York, under the truly hideous, execrable, bad, unholy, unbelievable, ridiculous, breathtaking, freakishly rotten headline "What They Were Magically Thinking," is an "intimate" slideshow chronicling the rehearsal process behind the dramatization of Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking, starring Vanessa Redgrave. You won't learn much new, but we have to ask: When did our girl Joanie turn into Mary-Kate Olsen?
• Bob Woodward's in truh-ble. [NYT]
• WP's Walter Pincus set to go the way of Judith Miller in the Wen Ho Lee case. Except without the everyone-hates-him-at-the-end part. [WP]
• Need your dose of softcore porn more frequently than once a month? It's looking like Keith Blanchard's prototype for a weekly lad book might see life at Bauer. And thank God for that. [WWD]
• William T. Vollman, Joan Didion win National Book Awards. [USAT]
• Hotshot founders of Penguin's Riverhead imprint bolt for Random's Doubleday Broadway group and a new, yet-to-be-named imprint. [NYP]
• The lucky winner of that fundraising lunch with Rupert Murdoch? Learning Annex chief Bill Zanker. Be you're even happier now that you overpaid for that mediocre lecture. [Guardian]
• HBO still confident it owns Sunday night, Lisa Kudrow's dreadful Comeback notwithstanding. [NYT]
• Speaking at the University of Texas, Maureen Dowd — who, apparently, has a new book out — speculates that Judy Miller will end up with a Fox News talkshow. [Daily Texan]
• Bad things often happen to Time Persons of the Year. [The Media Mob/NYO]