Thursday, July 15, 2010


Almost as if they were striving to be the creepiest, sleaziest, most opportunistic company on the planet, Norton, the creators of the anti-virus spyware and malware programs, have actually honed in on Lindsay Lohan's legal troubles to promote their product. And somehow they got Lohan to play along! Well, not somehow, they paid her! Still...this is as sleazy an approach as you can get.

Buy our product so you can cyberstalk and rubberneck the Lindsay Lohan train wreck and still sleep the deep, quiet slumber of a person not worried about viruses. I need to go wash. Check out this press release. Not even her dad would do this. We think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How To Survive Stony Brook Southampton's Summer Writing Conference

Today kicks off Stony Brook Southampton's annual backslapping festival: the summer writing conference, and it all starts with keynote speaker Lorrie Moore. After that, it kicks up a notch with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout and Sag Harbor native Colson Whitehead. Returning to the conference are a mix of visiting writers and Stony Brook Southampton faculty members such as Roger Rosenblatt, Kaylie Jones, Melissa Bank, Peter Hedges, Thomas Lux and former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins. The full list of faculty and workshops are dumped on a release posted here at

In the interest of full disclosure (and to effectively inform this blog post) it should be noted that I am a graduate of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA program in Creative Writing and have hands-on experience dealing with some of the aforementioned named "faculty," dating back to when Frank McCourt and Peter Matthiesson were part of the program. McCourt has since died. Matthiesson is 83 and sick of talking to people. (probably.)

Here's a survival guide for all you aspiring writers and MFA candidates currently primping, tweazing, hair-gelling, and printing out fresh pages of your latest novel "just in case."

  • print out fresh pages of your latest novel/chapbook/play "just in case." There is no just in case. They don't care. Not really. Now, if you have a wine spritzer balanced on a tray, they care. Really.
  • tell anyone, under any circumstances, that your book is a "slice of life."
  • ask for their help with anything specific. In the 50+ years combined of experience in publishing and literati, they haven't met a single writer, agent, editor, publisher, or proofreader that they can introduce you to. This doesn't sound possible, but you might as well believe it, because if the truth is otherwise, they ain't sharing.
  • tell any of the male writers that you adore his work. This is especially true if you're a doe-eyed, apple-cheeked female MFA student. They will open up the world to you, but first...a drink at the bar?
  • invite any of them to an open mic or student reading. They don't care. Not really. Better you live inside the cocoon of your delusions than endure the heartbreak of the inevitable blow-off. (Note: some will do it more harshly than others. See: Rosenblatt.)
  • ask long-winded and semi-autobiographical questions during the Q & A period. Not only do they not care, your fellow audience members don't care either. You can ask Whitehead how he maintained proper emotional distance while writing "Sag Harbor" without telling him your cousin's best friend's girlfriend at the time was an 8th-grade classmate of his.
  • ask "what advice would you give an aspiring writer?" during a Q & A. This is a complete masturbatory allie-oop question that will only be met with witty, sarcastic, faux-existential, jerk-off answers, and will at worst provide a writer with a golden opportunity to share how their genius was discovered. (An example? Sherman Alexie answered the question by saying the only thing a writer needs is money for postage stamps.)
  • tell any of them about your literary aspirations. They're going to say "that's ambitious of you," and you're going to take it for what it is: rank condescension.
  • believe that by running copies for Melissa Banks, or picking up Roger Rosenblatt's laundry, or dropping off Elizabeth Strout at the airport is going to get you published. It's going to get you to a gas station to refill your tank.
  • believe that shoving a manuscript in a writer's gut is going to get you published. It's going to get you kept in the dark about where the after-reading-party is going down.


  • embrace your own arrogance. Of course your writing is much more revolutionary and game-changing than theirs, and you'll get your chance to prove it. Don't grovel. Don't falsely stroke their egos because you feel it's the nice thing to do.
  • ask broad and abstract questions during any Q& A period. "How do you write female characters so well?" is a good one. Also, "do you write every day?" And, "describe your process. Do you hand write, and then type it out?"
  • drink heavily and try to hook up with a fellow conference attendee. I'm putting out personal bonus points if you can peel Melissa Banks' panties, but that's as far as it goes with faculty-student co-mingling.
  • hide your envy. There is nothing more embarrassing and eye-rolling than an MFA student popping off at a reading or after-party about how much more talented he is than X, who everyone is surrounding at the moment. For the record: "popping off" includes shaking one's head, rolling one's eyes, looking bored while clapping, leaving the room when X is about to entertain everyone with a story, or verbally shredding X's latest tome while out of earshot of X. We know where it's coming from. We all feel the sting of watching a writer that isn't you sign autographs, take pictures, and control the floor of a room. Keep it to yourself. Scream inside your car. Write it in a journal entry. It's fuel for your ambitions, not to burn off and look like a jealous fool while doing it.
  • recognize your inherent right to barroom pugilism. Or, to add as a "don't": don't take shit from anyone. There's a good chance, particularly if you're a male writer, that another male writer is going to say something that is so enraging, so caustic and dismissive that you're going to feel like the unpublished writer is getting picked on by the published one. It's more a case of a published writer getting so stroked for so long, he feels he's above an ass-whooping. If this happens to you, don't hesitate. Punch him right in his fucking face.
  • recognize, of course, when a writer isn't picking a fight; he's just having a little fun with you. In this instance, probably a good idea not to punch him in his face.

Godspeed, you young and hopeful scribes! E-mail us at with any updates or embedded reports from the conference.

What's One More Hamptons Rubbernecker?

International man of intrigue, blogger extraordinnaire, world traveling business mogul, fashion authoritarian, Egyptian influencer, and creator of all things, Francesco has surprisingly never been to the Hamptons. He plans to rectify this grave injustice this coming weekend. From his blog "Men's Fashion by (of course) Francesco," he cops to never visiting the east end...:

"But now, there is a reason to go: the Simon Spurr Fall 2010 Men’s Preview and In-Store Trunk Show, hosted by designer Simon Spurr at Blue & Cream, 60 On The Circle, East Hampton, New York. The event will take place on Saturday, July 17th, 6-8PM with complimentary cocktails by Svedka."

Go there, if for no other reason than to see Francesco in the flesh. His life "can best be characterized by an intricate mosaic of various languages, cultures, educational backgrounds, and work experiences of nearly 25 years."

He sounds really interesting, and I'm sure he'd love to share his story with you. And by share, we mean tell you all about his blog. Click on his name above to read more about this fascinating Hamptons rubbernecker. Then yawn. And punch a puppy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Relief On The Way For Golddiggers

Here's a stock tip. Invest in Swiss banks. They're about to get a ton of phone calls, thanks to a measure sponsored by Sag Harbor's Albany representative Fred Thiele that will turn New York into a "no-fault" divorce state. (See: the bitch gets half?)

It used to be (and for the moment still is) that if a couple got divorced, they had to duke it out in court and find out which one was at fault for the breakup. Understanding that marriages fail for multiple nuanced reasons and more often than not, both parties contributed to the breakdown, there are still factors that New York State considers when awarding divorces and divorce settlements, such as adultery, or abandonment. This bill would negate those factors and split everything down the middle.

Thiele says he wants the measure passed because it complicates couples who have agreed to an amicable divorce. Hey Fred. There's no such thing! Even divorces that settle out of court are negotiations that neither party is all that satisfied with because they'd rather their spouse died in a fiery car crash.

Just look at Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook. That poor bastard tried to have his day in court after Brinkley went on a multiple-day-testimony bus throwing tirade, crying and pointing out all of Mr. Cook's little perversions. But suddenly when it became his turn to talk, a miraculous out-of-court settlement popped up demanding Cook's silence from here on forward. Funny how that worked. This bill would rob us of that bit of made-for-TV-drama. And it will let cheatin' hearts off the hook and well supplied in their ex's money.

You can practically hear the stampede of high heels running to the nearest voting booth. So, yeah. IPO. Drop a dime into every off-shore bank you can research.

Meet The Guy You Never Want To Be

So Vanity Fair has this F-Marry-Kill sort of Q & A going with "party planner to the stars" Colin Cowie. Who? Exactly. Which begs the follow-up question, can some bold, brave party planner out there step up and call themselves "party planners to the average people?" Because it sure seems like every party planner bills themselves as a planner to the stars. They can't all be planners to the stars can they? I mean, at that point, couldn't gas stations just say they're "unleaded suppliers to the stars?"

Anyhoo, the Q & A. Yikes. This guy is as metro-sexual as they come. Not only does he list designer sun-screen and an extra large towel as "essential" items to bring to the beach, he even calls out the brand of towel one should bring. Hermes.

Want highlights? He was actually asked what his "after-sun ritual was," and he actually had one. Curious? "Tons of any moisturizer, but I like Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream."

He also has to wear Oliver Peoples sunglasses and wears a Brazilian cut bathing suit, so avoid Main Beach in East Hampton until he dies. Just being helpful.

Summer cocktail? "Cucumber Chill. A Vodka martini with muddled cucumber, lime, simple syrup, and elderflower."

Just cry mercy and I'll stop.

Favorite stationary? (yes, they truly asked him this, and, again, he truly had an answer.) "For the handwritten note, Ellen Weldon's over-scaled cards on thick paper stock with fabulous envelope liners."

Who inspires him? Nelson Mandela. Which makes sense. They have a lot in common. Cowie drives a black Mercedes CLK convertible, and Nelson black, so there.

Favorite Hamptons attire? "One loud element, like a fun printed trouser and a cotton t-shirt from Thom Sweeney."

OK, I hear you all climbing out onto your ledges, so I'll just throw in the kicker.

Song of the summer: "Too soon to tell. I'll know once I have been to St. Tropez, Capri, Sardinia, and Mykonos by mid-August.

Why don't you just ask Nelson Mandela, Colin? Yuck. Kids: dream of bigger things to become.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Parrish Art Museum Shaves The Area

As a follow-up to our recent blog post about the Parrish's plans to relocate off of Jobs Lane in Southampton Village, it looks like the museum has mowed a gigantic space in the middle of its future Water Mill site and is getting all juiced up for a July 19 groundbreaking ceremony.

According to 27East, the ceremony will be closed to the public, but the Parrish is expected to announce its timeline for the new museum space. Before you get all pissy about them, apparently the museum attempted to renovate its existing space to make more room and expand its collection and was met with all sorts of aggravation from village residents. Well played, villagers. Now the museum is going to vacate a beautiful building and leave it open for some 20-something fashion designer from Manhattan to totes take it over and make it a chic couture space.

What are we getting in return? A museum in the middle of a field that sounds, by its description, more like a duck farm stable than an art museum.

When Good Fameballing Goes Bad

A Hamptons cautionary tale has reached the pages of the NY Post. In the world of Hamptons real estate, one can only imagine the amount of fameballing and namewhoring that goes on between one agent and the next, or between an agent and the press corps, as each one battles it out to achieve the completely made-up title of "guru." Sure, if you can say you sold 50 acres to Madonna, or helped Lady Gaga pick her estate in Bridgehampton, you can achieve something of a god status among your ilk. Be invited to the hottest parties. Get photographed by that Patrick McMullan dude, arm wrapped around the slender waist of the latest starlet or reality show diva. Not to mention the commission is no kick in the jabumbas either. The motivation is intoxicating and high-end luxury service providers everywhere succumb to the need to be as large in personality as the celebrities they're trying to namewhore.

This can be dangerous. Just ask Jay Flagg. Oh, how he was seduced by the power of power. How he dared to out-personality personality. Lulled by sycophancy into the notion that he, a Prudential Douglas Elliman, Southampton broker had somehow become bigger than his office, nay, bigger than Prudential Douglas Elliman! Bigger than God! In his Faustian arrogance he took out an ad in Hamptons Magazine whereby his name was in bold red lettering, while the name of his employer/agency appeared at the bottom in smaller print! Why not? After all, he's Jay Flagg, real estate guru!

But the hand of God can be heavy, and when it falls...

According to this NY Post article, PDE Chairman Howard Lorber smote his ruins by the mountainside. Yup. Shitcanned him for this bit of hubris. Now Flagg's camp is saying this is all because of some personal beef between Flagg and Lorber, and an anonymous source seems to back that theory. Is there a lesson we can take from this?

Beware of masturbatory self-promotion in your ads. Be humble before your creator. Remember that heavy is the head that wears the crown. Oh and...don't have personal beef with your boss. It will not end well for you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dispatch To Self-Important Fashionistas!

As much as we are pained to admit this, we like you cocktail party fashion-monger Sex&TheCity wannabes so much more than Brooklyn hipster fauxhemians, that we're begging you, we're on our knees begging you to start the Battle of Montauk!

According to this piece from Guest of a Guest, these pretentious trust-fund Williamsburg toolbags have been invading Montauk this summer and turning it into a playground of irony and unwashed hipsterism. Not that we don't appreciate a good naked romp, (we certainly lament the recent court decision in New Jersey that cuts down on nude beaches on the shore) but c'mon. Anybody except these people. I can think of three annoying types of people right now, and they still don't add up to how much this particular subculture would ruin a perfectly good drinking and fishing town. Wanna try me?

1. Eager green-light honkers
2. Cell phone talkers while simultaneously ordering something at the counter.
3. Uhhh, what the heck, cocktail party, fashion-monger, Sex&TheCity wannabes.

We recognize that in a perfect world Jaws comes along and eats both of these summer east-end dwellers, but since that's unlikely to happen we'll take the devil you can try to upskirt with your cellphone cam, versus the devil who has a beard but still rides a bike.

Sarah Jessica Parker: dispatch your army now!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Property Owner's Guide To Being A Prick

We're still waiting for to print a typo correction for this article from a real estate advisor who actually suggests charging your neighbor a fee to cut across your property to get to the beach, or threaten litigation if he doesn't.

The article is entitled "Why Would I Give A Neighbor Permission To Walk Across My Property? They spelled "Wouldn't" wrong.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Southampton Mayor: The Parrish Is Just Not That Into You

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley got a Dear John letter from the Parrish Museum this week in the form of a Southampton Press reporter calling him for comment on the museum's plans to leave the village very soon.

"They are?" he said. Or something like that. Apparently construction of the new Parrish Museum's digs in Water Mill is underway and moving along swimmingly, meaning the museum will be leaving its century-old home on Jobs Lane in the heart of the village as early as 2012, according to this article. The vacancy will leave a huge gap in the middle of Jobs Lane and poses a major decision for the mayor and his flying monkeys to decide who should be the next tenant. (See: please God, don't be a Starbucks.)

But the real kick in the jabumbas is that Mayor Epley kept calling and calling and stopping by, and writing, and throwing pepples at their window, and sneaking inside dressed as a potted plant, and Facebook friending them, and sending over singing messengers, and chocolates, but the Parrish was not trying to hear that. The Parrish does what the Parrish wants. Nobody puts Parrish in a corner. OMG, they went out, like...once...and he can't get over it. They've moved on, why can't he? They're seeing someone new. A Swiss architect no less!

So, yeah. That kind of sucks. If anyone has ever taken the time, the museum's outdoor sculpture garden of Roman figures is one of the best places to take a cup of coffee and contemplate the unfairness of life.

It's now where you can find Mayor Mark Epley. Moping. Kicking the grass. Holding the locket he planned on giving the museum as a token of his love. Go annoy him about the new parking ordinances! Go now!