Tommy Hilfiger & Paul Wilmot’s “Pretty Woman” Diss of Ashley Dupre

The NY Post reported that Ashley Dupre was invited to Tommy Hilfiger’s Fashion Week party at the Jane Hotel as a guest of Russell Simmons, but who was advised by Mr.Hilfiger, after consultation with his public relations representative Paul Wilmot, that Ashley was “not welcome” because her attendance would be inappropriate.  Russell Simmons in a “bro’s before ho’s” diss then promptly disinvited Ms. Dupre.  My initial reaction was to be disappointed in Russell Simmons, and wonder has he not learned anything about chivalry from watching the film Pretty Woman? In the film, when Richard Gere’s character, Richard Lewis becomes entangled and intriqued with a Hollywood Boulevard prostitute named Vivian Ward, played by Julia Roberts and contracts for her to escort him to Society functions, it is Lewis’s “Society” friends who smile politely but behind the scenes, his smarmy lawyer played by Jason Alexander treats her with contempt and disrespect, after Richard Lewis shares in confidence, that she is his professional escort.  Upon learning of his lawyer’s transgressions, Lewis ultimately redeems himself in an act of chivalry towards Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts). Why? Because in the end we are all human beings, some more beautiful than others for sure as in the case of Ms. Roberts and Ms. Dupre. Yes, they are BOTH beautiful. My issue is more with those who have to keep placing the Scarlet Letter on women who do not meaure up to some ridiculous and outdated notion of social standing in terms of who and what is proper—- to attend a “fashion party” of all things. Apparently gay male escorts, transvestites and crossdressers are fine, just not a very beautiful former high end call girl. What gives? What is your agenda man? Cause its obvious to me that you have one. Or as tweeted by Russell Simmons that day, maybe you are just “a sneaky hurtful person.”

After reading the NY Post piece and then seeing it also referenced on The Huffington Post, I realized that something else was very likely afoot; a fashion house and its publicist were apparently trying to leverage some mainstream media coverage by “dissing the hooker” so to speak because after all Paul Wilmot Communications is a fine upstanding Fashion Public Relations house and Tommy Hilfiger, the All American street brand, cannot have any kind of riff raff at his Fashion Week party—-yes, a phucking fashion party!  Give me a break.  Oy vey as if this were dinner at the White House. Notably, Ashley Dupre recently agreed to walk the runway in The Green Shows as part of Eco Fashion Week at the fashion show of Bahar Shahpar, an original, highly creative soulful young eco designer. Why? Because she believed in the designer’s designs and her eco mission. And truth be told, I never heard of designer Yigal Azrouel until Ashley Dupre attended his fashion show last year. Oh, but it gets better.

Tommy Hilfiger is apparently the bigger ho, frankly. Many more accomplished in the art of fashion critique than I have inferred that his “fashion designs” were lifted from other designers and his brand based is of questionable if not outright faux originality. Guess that is why he has been called a lowbrow copycat and mass-market hack.  On a personal level, I cannot speak to or for the character of Mr.Hilfiger. Like most society folks, he seems to be an upstanding personable citizen, but he is also a business man.  Hence it would seem to me that Ashley Dupre’s invitation and disinvitation was used a prop by a faux designer and an elitist publicity house to land his forgotten brand some juice in the mainstream press during Fashion Week. So you say, this is hitting below the belt? Is it not also then hitting below the belt to stigmatize a woman for having at one time engaged in consensual contractual sexual liasons with members of New York social and political aristocracy? If that is the case, then you may need to arrest some women on Park Avenue. Let’s be clear, Ms. Dupre is an even more upscale character than the one played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Unlike certain so called “society publicists” who often charge you way too much for who knows what, you had to be connected and affluent to spend time in Ms. Dupre’s company. And from what I can see, nobody wanted a refund from Ashley Dupre. Not sure if every publicist has that kind of track record. Maybe Mr. Wilmot can provide some color on that subject?

Take it a step further, and you might see Tommy Hilfiger as basically Garanimals guised as an upscale brand for those who do not know any better. The only reason why anyone is even talking about Tommy Hilfiger today is because of Ashley Dupre. Paul Wilmot Communications should tell Tommy to make out two checks this month, one for his agency and another for Ashley Dupre. Upstanding snots in society need to stop looking down your nose at this girl, or pimping her name to promote themselves and their elitist agenda. And if I were Russell, I would have blown Tommy off for telling me who I can and cannot bring to an event. Besides which, how do you think this story lands in the press anyhow?  The PR Firm talks to the NY Post about how they absolutely could not let Ashley Dupre into what? A “phucking fashion party” for a garanimals designer? Gimme a break. Despite your rather lame and superficial efforts to stigmatize this girl to promote your brand, truth is that more folks would rather sit down for a drink with Ashley Dupre than Tommy Hilfiger, although I am sure that certain ladies of society would like Paul Wilmot to “walk them.” (See The Last Walk by Jesse Green) But then again, for all we know, this entire scenario of You, Me & Dupree was staged to get folks talking about folks and brands we might not otherwise be talking about: Hilfiger, Wilmot and Ashley Dupre.  Even if that is the case, let’s be clear then, the first two mentioned are the bigger whores for using Dupre to promote themselves. Were she complicit then she would simply working in service of society pimps and deserves a check for allowing them to use her name.

The Boom Boom Room: Overhyped & In Bad Taste

Please excuse me, although I happen to mostly like Andre Balazs work in New York City, if I find it if nothing a bit ironic, perhaps even in poor taste to open up a high end hotel lounge in New York of all places, not that far from Wall Street, named after, inspired by the memory of or perhaps to memorialize the memory of that special place at a certain New York based brokerage firm where female employees were hazed and sexually harassed. Obviously, I am not suggesting the name “Boom Boom Room” is proprietary or that the ownership will endorse sexual harassment of female investment bankers. In all likelihood, you will have to be one of New York’s leading social gays, a fashionista, a hipster or uber celebrity to get in, at least until the hook wears off after $20 drinks but this looks like the purveyors of bad Manhattan nightlife are simply at it again moving the show from Club Row to the Meatpacking District trying to sell you on nights with Madonna, Lindsay Lohan et al etc. So now instead of Bungalow 8, the crowd that stays out too late for no apparent reason doing coke will have another place to call home. As I am not a slim fashionista, a hipster or on any special VIP Lists, nor was I invited to the opening night of this esteemed establishment, you can be sure that the only way you might find me at the Boom Boom Room is if someone invites me for a bachelor party, a bridal shower or some uber exclusive Sweet 16 of one of my friends’ children.

The Standard Hotel is truly a blessing for New York. In addition to the regular nude shows provided for the general public as a courtesy of some of the hotel’s rather progressive, but inspired guests, likewise The Standard now has a lounge to inspire some fond Wall Street memories for New York City’s professional women.

The hype surrounding NYC nightlife of late is like an aphrodisiac for necrophiliacs. The same folks keep trying to pedal the concept of a new or resurgent Studio 54 Era. God help us please. Andy Warhol is dead, everyone’s 15 Minutes have been well over extended into a never ending famegame, while the same faces perpetrating a never ending social and artistic fraud, still have their hand in your wallet trying to sell you a bad line of cocaine. Enough! The Studio 54 Era should have gone down with the Titanic, resuscitating it makes about as much sense as sexual intercourse with your cat or doing the moonwalk on Michael Jackson’s casket, or maybe even showing up at Michael Jackson’s funeral disguised as him. Oh wait, somebody did that. But then again, that’s New York City’s nightlife promotion, the never ending ways that certain folks bereft of spiritual creativity, come up with to sell the sheep on how to get phucked up in style, around folks who really care about you—-Madonna and Lindsay Lohan, who will actually likely rarely ever be there. One can only wonder whether they will have a Kabbalah Store offering patrons red string and Kabbalah Water. You can be certain, however, if they are present you will not get anywhere near them. As I have stated numerous times, the devolution of New York social culture is befitting the scissors mafia that is helping to take over, or at least assist the existing social order in maintaining its vice grip on New York City at night, perpetuating myth, or at least your perception of what is actually meaningful and relevant here. Don’t believe the hype.

Epilogue: On October 2nd, New York Magazine’s Grub Street reported: Is the Boom Boom Room Now QT Owing to a Cease & Desist? So it seems that the Boom Boom Room was not just in bad taste but also may have violated another entity’s right to that name.

New York Is Taylor Swift Country

Truth be told, I have never really been a country music fan. As a New Yorker, I grew up on Rock and Roll, had a preference for more urban sounds and thus almost developed passionate distate and prejudice towards country music. In my teen years, I even had the opportunity to work as a vendor in concessions for Harry M. Stevens, Inc. at Madison Square Garden. Up close and personal while roaming the garden selling t-shirts and souvenirs at Rangers, Knicks games and Rock Concerts, I saw The Who, Queen, ELO, Styx, the Police, Bill Joel, Bruce Springsteen perform live and never once attended a country music concert.

This past year, by invitation from the Times Square Alliance, I was once again invited to cover New Years Eve in Times Square, which ironically has become one of my favorite experiences in my hometown despite the challenge of taking photos outside for several hours on what is often a brutally cold evening in the dead of winter. Taylor Swift’s performance in Times Square on New Years Eve this past year, however, literally transformed and warmed up my night. Prior to that night, I had no idea who she was. By now those of you who watched the MTV Video Music Awards saw a disturbingly impolite scenario unfold before your eyes as outsoken rap artist Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at MTV’s “2009 Video Music Awards,” declaring that Beyonce’s music video should have won the moon-man award. Aside from how rude was Kanye West, what was most disturbing to me as a New Yorker was that he dissed someone on a stage at Radio City Music Hall in the middle of my hometown, who basically changed my entire outlook towards country music. Taylor Swift is a truly soulful and humble young artist with the voice of an angel who does not deserve to be disrespected by anyone, especially on the night she is honored with a music award that truly reflects the choice of the people. Her performance was literally the best part of New Years Eve. And so it goes without saying that, if this superbly talented young lady can have an impact on me, then all of New York loves Taylor Swift: The Country Singer.

Epilogue: Interestingly enough, after I wrote this blog, U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist in Fencing, Tim Moorehouse suggested in his blog that the incident could have been all staged by MTV. See: Was Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s VMA incident Staged?, which leads to my next question, if the media will rig a music awards show in this fashion should we really be looking at everything that we see in the mainstream media with a more curious or suspect eye? You know my answer already, my alter ego would say certainly yes.

THE CHOICE FOR MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Retired Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder

In the race for Manhattan District Attorney, while the choice for me is clear, the choice for most serious minded New Yorkers should also come down to one between Retired Judge Leslie Crocker Synder and Richard Aborn. While Cy Vance, Jr. has an interesting professional pedigree, strong academic credentials and political connections, after working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in the 1980’s working under Robert Morgenthau, he left New York City and spent the majority of his professional career working as a defense attorney in Seattle, Washington. As stated by Leslie Crocker Snyder in the final debate last night at John Jay College of Criminal Justice:

The choice in the race, Ms. Snyder said, is “between someone who stayed in New York during the terrible times of the ’80s and ’90s and someone who left. Cy Vance decided to move as far away as he could.”

I would have to concur with the statement above. The late 1980’s, early 1990’s were very much a transitional time period for New York City, crime was high and many New Yorkers, including myself sadly left, albeit briefly to work at Bingham Dana in Boston, while folks like Leslie Crocker Snyder and yes, Rudy Giuliani, not a name most progressives want to give credit and Curtis Sliwa stayed here and helped do the work to make the city safe and habitable again and otherwise turn around a metropolis in decline. So then the next question for me and many New Yorkers is rather simple, as stated by a trusted friend, “if you have achieved such professional stature in Seattle, why not run for political office in Seattle rather than New York City?.” Given his connections and the Morgenthau clan’s interest in selecting his replacement, the timely return of Cy Vance, Jr. to New York City strikes me as one based purely on political opportunism. Seattle Cy’s run for Manhattan District Attorney seems to be a launching pad for greater political ambition. Hence, my recommendation for Seattle Cy Vance, Jr. is that he should run for District Attorney, Governor, Congress or the Senate in Seattle, Washington where he built his professional reputation. It would have been more appropriate for Cy Vance, Jr. to launch his rocketing political aspirations with a speech at the Space Needle in Seattle then here in New York City.

In these times, as a New Yorker, first and foremost I want someone who has spent the majority of their legal and professional career working in New York City, developing an intutive understanding of our criminal justice system, the streets of New York and the concerns of every day New Yorker’s. I am reticient to support for such a hands on position someone who has returned to cash in on his name, old boy network connections to use the office of the Manhattan District Attorney as launching pad for a political career. New Yorkers can choose between two visionary and capable lawyers, former prosecutors in Leslie Crocker Synder and Richard Aborn. Judge Snyder’s time behind the bench as a judge further distinguishes her from her well credentialed competitors. Her experience is deep, diverse and her performance in the debates against distinguished colleaques illustrates that she can more than hold her own, she is clearly the more skilled and knowledgeable. All the candidates have a strong slate of endorsements, but I simply want someone who has spent the last 25-30 years in New York City, working as a prosecutor, a judge and a private practice attorney, not an aristocrat with old boy network connections who has returned to use New York City as a launching pad for greater political ambition. The entrenched New York establishment is largely behind Seattle Cy Vance, Jr. While he is an impressive guy with some strong political connections, I am here to say NO DICE FOR SEATTLE CY– On Tuesday, September 15, 2009 in the Democratic Primary, as tempted as I might be by Richard Aborn’s unique vision, Seattle Cy’s powerful connections, I AM VOTING FOR A NEW YORKER NOT AN ARISTOCRAT who has returned to claim Morgenthau’s mantle, and that New Yorker in every sense of the word is Leslie Crocker Snyder. As the Editor in Chief of ManhattanSociety.com, we endorse Leslie Crocker Snyder for Manhattan D.A. to replace the retiring Robert Morgenthau in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary and recommend that you vote for her as well.

9/11: Windows on the World

Someday, somewhere
we’ll find a new way of living
we’ll find a new way of forgiving..

Theres a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and were half way there
Just hold my hand and Ill take you there
Somehow…
Someday, somewhere
-Barbara Streisand, 1985

If I could have been anywhere in the world tonight, it would have been at the greatest bar on earth, Windows on the World, in the rebuilt Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan, in the company of friends from work and play among them lawyers, bankers, secretaries, paralegals, construction workers, cops and fireman, New Yorkers all of us. We would be sipping cocktails looking out over the metropolis from the highest vantage point in New York City toasting the resilience of New Yorkers. 8 years later we finally did it. New York was back. We forged ahead and rebuilt bigger, better and stronger, not by forgetting the past or disrespecting those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, but also not in fear of an uncertain future.

While I support a National Day of Service and Remembrance, the annual ceremony of remembrance with its reading of all the 2,752 names of those that died that day, has become somewhat of a morose and macabre ritual that in my estimation takes advantage of the emotions and fears of all Americans. We dare not question this ritual lest our patriotism be called into question or even worse our sensitivity and respect towards our fallen fellow citizens. This day should always serve as a reminder that there are still many broken hearts, lives forever changed, children without parents, brothers without sisters, wives without their husbands, sons and daughters taken from their parents, friends and lovers. Unfulfilled promise and dreams snuffed out too soon, for no damn good reason. Innocent people were needlessly murdered on 9/11. The only mistake that these 2,752 people made on September 11, 2001 was showing up for work that day, not knowing that they would become a statistic, that they would suffer torture of burning flames, some forced to leap to their death to avoid being cooked alive. It is tragic, painful but I do not believe that we are advancing the cause of freedom, democracy or honoring the deceased by these annual rituals from what remains largely a hole in the ground 8 years later. The Tribute in Light as beautiful as it may be, is not substitute for hard choices and the actions which should have been taken by our leaders, years ago.

ENOUGH ALREADY, REBUILD THE TWIN TOWERS…bigger, better, stronger and bolder!! Eight years later there is still a hole in the soul of New York City that will never be filled by what amounts to an annual funeral. 9/11 is not a photo op to promote the political agenda of any politician or political party, even if at times it seems to have become a cottage industry used by many faux patriots to extend their brand and their grasp over constituents. New York has been sitting shiva for eight long years. The Jewish people only sit shiva for 7 days. Grandiose websites, press releases and plans outlined on the web do not take away the sadness I feel every time I pass the World Trade Center site.

The rebuilding of the Twin Towers is a moral imperative. The Towers lent an iconic status to New York City symbolizing its preminent stature as the global center of free market commerce, freedom and democracy. A civilized and forward moving society does not cower in the face of challenge but instead rebuilds in a bigger, better & bolder fashion. That would be the greatest tribute and honor to those who died on 9/11, those who built this great city and a lesson for generations to come. Some say that this is a different era, that presents an opportunity in urban planning to redesign in a futuristic fashion a valuable section of real estate in Lower Manhattan. Ok maybe so, but then still why can’t we just build two building?! As a New Yorker by birth, one who has long had a romantic attachment to the supreme elegance and stature of Lower Manhattan, it breaks my heart to the point of tears to see New York be any less than it once was and what it forever promised to be. If the Golden Gate Bridge was the target, would we have built a footwalk and provided row boats to those who wished to cross across the San Francisco Bay? NO, we would have built an even stronger and better bridge. So, why do we do what amounts to less here in New York? Anyone who has any sense of the history of Lower Manhattan and the history of the United States of America recognizes that it was always destined to be one of the most beautiful and historic urban centers in the world. It is our duty to insure it maintain’s that status, even if our leaders do not have the foresight, vision or cajones to do the right thing. Just building nice, pleasant, modern buildings in the place of the Twin Towers will never fill the void in New York or in my heart.

If you examine the world through the eyes (window) of the soul of the American people, you would find that the citizens are restless, distrustful, worried about the state of the economy, many confused still by why the findings of the 9/11 Commission which obfuscated and undermined the truth rather than clarified it for the American people is considered by some to be sufficient. Why is anything less than the ground truth allowed to stand as the final public record? On this day of remembrance, we honor all Americans who died on 9/11 or in the battles fought in the name of 9/11 by remaining vigilant engaged citizens in the search for truth. That is how I choose to pay my respects to those who through no fault of their own tragically lost their lives and left behind friends, family and co-workers. September 11th is not a photo op to promote the political agenda of any politician or political party or to burnish their patriotic credentials, by standing along side the families of the fallen. The fact that it is should cause all thinking Americans to pause.

No wonder then that the 9/11 Truth Movement has itself become a cottage industry and is gaining steam despite mainstream media efforts to ignore and play down its existence and portray it as something exclusively involving unhinged radicals. Not rebuilding the Twin Towers unfortunately sends the wrong message. It only lends credence to the arguments that American leadership is once again ignoring the will of the people. Newsflash: The City of New York Concedes 9/11 Coalition Has 30,000 Valid Signatures To Put Referendum For 9/11 Investigation on November Ballot.

Rebuilding the Twin Towers seems to me the only way to repair the American psyche, improve the dialogue, make our discourse more civil, get the American people, business leaders and the government moving in the same direction again towards a higher purpose, looking forward with a sense of excitement instead of looking back. We are 0-2 between the failure of the 9/11 Commission and ignoring the will of the people to rebuild the Twin Towers. It’s time to change course and lift the spirit of this city and this nation.