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Pete Wells Gives 4 Stars to Jean-Georges

Pete Wells Gives 4 Stars to Jean-Georges


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This week in restaurant news, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells reviews Jean-Georges, which was last reviewed by Frank Bruni of the New York Times in 2006 and given four stars. The verdict: Jean-Georges is still a four-star restaurant.

It seems that Wells has begun a trend of re-reviewing New York Times four-star restaurants. His last re-review, in which he gave four stars, was of Le Bernardin, which was given four stars by Bruni in 2005. Could Masa, which was given four stars by Frank Bruni and later demoted by Sam Sifton, be next in line?

Wells says Jean-Georges remains a top restaurant because its chef has the ability of changing the flavor and presentation of his dishes with the changing expectations of diners.

“The kind of comfort Jean-Georges excels at providing makes some diners distinctly uncomfortable,” he says. “Chefs who couldn’t peel a banana when Jean-Georges Vongerichten got his first four-star review (for Lafayette, in 1988) now run adventurous, unluxurious dining rooms where people come for the journey and where the thrill of the ride is more important than the condition of the shock absorbers.”

Vongerichten does this by taking risks that are “almost shocking.”

“Consider the squab dish that just popped up on the menu,” Wells says. “It comes on like jerk chicken, coated in a blackened rub, and while the seasonings are Middle Eastern, the searing heat is almost Jamaican. And here comes the creative leap that separates Mr. Vongerichten from other spice-peddlers: a hot sauce has been splashed around this charred squab, and it is made from flowers. A bright-orange blend of lime, fresh red chiles, and peppery nasturtium petals, it makes the already fiery squab into what may be the spiciest dish ever served in a French restaurant.”

Wells gives credit to the restaurant’s ambience and architecture, which he suggests is a preview to the flavors and presentation guests will experience on their plates

“The restaurant was redesigned in graceful, gentle curves by the architect Thomas Juul-Hansen in 2008 (two years after Frank Bruni’s four-star review, its last evaluation in The Times) and is the most elegant modern dining room in the city. The enormous windows let in the setting sun, and sometimes they catch the moon rising over the treetops in Central Park. You are in the city and hovering slightly outside it all at once. Then the food arrives, the flavors fall into their startling alignments, and there is only one place you could be: Jean-Georges.”

For Wells' full review, click here.


101 Best Restaurants in America for 2015

It seems list season is for my upon us. After yesterday’s Elite Traveller list of the 100 Best Restaurants in the World, the Daily Meal has followed up with their annual list of the 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2015.

They have chosen the Daniel restaurant in New York, owned and operated by chef Daniel Boulud, as the number one restaurant, followed by Le Bernadin in second and Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas in third.

They describe the Daniel as ‘a very grown up restaurant’ and say that it’s helping maintain the service and cousin of French haute cuisine. It’s an interesting move to see Daniel top the list after the restaurant fell down the Michelin ranking recently from three to two stars and also lost a much coveted star from the food critic Pete Wells.

Below is a look at the top ten restaurants on the list, you can see the full list on The Daily Meal.


These Are New York's Four Star Restaurants

Today, Pete Wells reaffirmed Jean-Georges's four-star rating. This is the third time that he's reviewed a restaurant that previously held four stars — he upheld that rating at Le Bernardin in 2012, and demoted Daniel down to three last summer. Back in November, Pete also bestowed the Times' highest rating upon newcomer Sushi Nakazawa. Here's a guide to the restaurants that are currently in the coveted four star club, with details on their review histories:

· Jean-Georges: Ruth Reichl, 6/6/1997 (first hit the list) Frank Bruni, 4/19/06 Pete Wells, 04/08/14 (most recent).
· Per Se: Frank Bruni, 9/8/04 (first hit the list) Sam Sifton, 10/11/11 (most recent).
· Le Bernardin: Bryan Miller, 3/28/86 (first hit the list) Frank Bruni, 3/16/05 (second review) Pete Wells, 05/22/12 (most recent).
· Eleven Madison Park: Frank Bruni, 8/12/09 (most recent four-star review)
· Del Posto: Sam Sifton, 9/28/2010 (most recent).
· Sushi Nakazawa: Pete Wells, 12/10/2013 (most recent).
· Pete Wells Gives Four Sparklers to Jean-Georges [


Contents

Allan Carr, who had produced the successful film adaptation of Grease (1978), was eager to work in theatre and thought a musical version of the hit 1978 film La Cage aux Folles would be an ideal vehicle for his Broadway debut. [1] However, he was unable to secure the rights to the film and was forced to settle for the rights to the original play only. [2] Carr hired Jay Presson Allen to write the book and Maury Yeston to compose the score for The Queen of Basin Street, an Americanized version set in New Orleans. With Mike Nichols set to direct and Tommy Tune on board as choreographer, Carr searched for executive producers and found them in Fritz Holt and Barry Brown, who immediately fired the entire creative team that Carr had assembled. All of them eventually filed lawsuits, but Yeston alone won and later collected a small royalty from La Cage. [3]

Holt and Brown had produced the 1974 revival of Gypsy directed by Arthur Laurents, and they approached him with an offer to direct their new venture. Laurents was not a fan of drag or camp entertainment and thought Holt and Brown never would find enough investors to finance a gay-themed project at a time when, during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, homophobia was more intense than ever. [4] He agreed only because Holt and Brown were close friends and he wanted them to remain on Carr's payroll as long as possible, but his interest grew when he learned Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman had committed to the project. [5]

According to Laurents, when he met with Fierstein and Herman for the first time, they had restored both the title and locale of the original play but had neither a script nor even an outline for the plot. All they had was the Herman song "I Am What I Am", and Laurents immediately envisioned it as an emotional outburst sung at the close of the first act. Laurents further claims that when he explained his concept to Fierstein and Herman, he inspired the direction they took in writing the musical. [5] Herman tells a very different story in an interview included in the original cast CD. He claims that they were well into the collaboration when Fierstein arrived one day with an emotional fiery scene he had written for the end of Act I that included the words "I am what I am". Delighted, Herman asked to use the five words, boasting he would have a song by morning, which he did. With gay-activist Fierstein and the political Laurents on board, the show could have "become a polemic diatribe on gay rights." [4] However, Herman was a moderating influence. Having suffered a series of disappointments with darker-themed shows since 1969, he was eager to score a hit with a mainstream, emotional, optimistic song-and-dance entertainment that middle-class audiences would enjoy. [4] The team opted to create "a charming, colorful, great-looking musical comedy - an old-fashioned piece of entertainment," as Herman recalled in his memoir Showtune. [6] By "delivering their sentiments in a sweetly entertaining manner", the team was able to convey their gay-themed message with more impact than they could have with a more aggressive approach. [7]

Fierstein, Herman and Laurents met daily in Herman's Manhattan townhouse to work on the musical. Because they were limited to using only the Poiret play as a source, they were unable to include the character of Jean-Michel's birth mother, who had been created for the film. They focused the plot on the fact that the relationship of Georges and Albin seems so natural that the boy is able to accept a man as his "mother". [8] The three men agreed that Albin needed to be as glamorous an entertainer as possible, and Theoni V. Aldredge was hired as costume designer to achieve their goal. [9]

The producers agreed to a Boston tryout, and just before the second preview (the first was cancelled due to problems with the mechanized set), [10] Herman had a panic attack prompted by his fear that the city probably was too conservative to embrace a gay-themed musical, albeit one designed for a mainstream audience. The Boston crowds gave the show an enthusiastic reception. [11] Fierstein, Herman and Laurents were also concerned that this was essentially a love story in which the lovers barely touched each other. Fierstein suggested they kiss on the cheeks at the end, and Laurents, citing the common custom of French men kissing each other on both cheeks, agreed. [12]

George Hearn as Albin had the showier role and many of the big musical numbers. His character was fully drawn, and behind the drag performer, the audience could see "a person driven to take a stand for himself – a notion that all people could relate to." [7] In contrast, during rehearsals, everyone had supported firing Gene Barry, who was considered adequate but never outstanding as Georges, but finding a replacement proved to be difficult. Finally, just before opening night, Laurents directed him always to look into Hearn's eyes, whenever the two men were on stage, so the audience would sense the depth of the couple's feelings for each other. The director also had Georges introduce the various club acts with more of a flourish, "like an aria that will land like a musical number." Both of these last-minute stage directions enabled Barry to get a better grasp of his character. [13] Barry went on to get a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a musical for his efforts, while co-star Hearn took home the trophy.

According to theatre historian John Kenrick, La Cage aux Folles helped make the 1983 Broadway season an especially strong one. He noted that following La Cage and Big River in 1985, for "the first time since Oklahoma, a full decade would go by before a new American musical would pass the 1,000-performance mark." [14]

Act I Edit

Georges, the master of ceremonies, welcomes the audience to his St. Tropez drag nightclub, "La Cage aux Folles". The chorus line known as Les Cagelles appear and introduce themselves to the audience ("We Are What We Are"). Georges and his "wife", Albin, have lived happily together for many years in an apartment above La Cage with their "maid" Jacob. Albin is a drag queen and the star performer of La Cage aux Folles under the alias of "Zaza".

As Albin prepares to perform ("[A Little More] Mascara"), Georges's 24-year-old son Jean-Michel (the offspring of a confused, youthful liaison with a woman named Sybil) arrives home with the news that he is engaged to Anne Dindon. Georges is reluctant to approve of Jean-Michel's engagement, but Jean-Michel assures his father that he is in love with Anne ("With Anne on My Arm"). Unfortunately, her father is head of the "Tradition, Family and Morality Party", whose stated goal is to close the local drag clubs. Anne's parents want to meet their daughter's future in-laws. Jean-Michel has lied to his fiancée, describing Georges as a retired diplomat. Jean-Michel pleads with Georges to tell Albin to absent himself (and his flamboyant behaviors) for the visit - and for Georges to redecorate the apartment in a more subdued fashion. Jean-Michel also asks Georges to invite Sybil, who has barely seen him since his birth, to dinner in Albin's stead. Albin returns from the show to greet his son when Georges suggests that they take a walk ("With You on My Arm").

Georges takes Albin to the Promenade Café, owned by Monsieur and Madame Renaud, where he attempts to soften Albin's emotions before telling him of Jean-Michel's request ("Song on the Sand"). Before Georges can break the news to him, Albin suggests that they hurry back to La Cage to make it in time for the next show. They arrive in time and Albin takes the stage once more as Zaza ("La Cage aux Folles"). While Albin is performing, Georges and Jean-Michel quickly redecorate the house. While Albin is changing for his next number, he notices the two carrying his gowns and demands to know what is going on. Georges finally tells Albin of Jean-Michel's plan and expects Albin to explode with fury, but he remains silent. Albin then re-joins Les Cagelles onstage, tells them to leave, and begins to sing alone in defiance of Jean-Michel, stating that he is proud of who he is and refuses to change for anyone ("I Am What I Am"). He throws his wig at Georges and departs in a huff.

Act II Edit

The next morning, Georges finds Albin at the Promenade Café after his abrupt departure and apologizes ("Song on the Sand [Reprise]"). He then suggests to Albin that he dress up for dinner as macho "Uncle Al". Albin is still upset, but reluctantly agrees to act like a heterosexual for Jean-Michel. With the help of Monsieur and Madame Renaud, Georges successfully teaches Albin to abandon his flamboyancy ("Masculinity"). Back at the chastely redesigned apartment, Georges shows "Uncle Al" to Jean-Michel. Jean-Michel doesn't like the idea and expresses his dislike for Albin's lifestyle. Georges angrily reminds Jean-Michel of how good of a "mother" Albin has been to him ("Look Over There"). They then receive a telegram that Jean-Michel's mother Sybil is not coming and Anne's parents arrive ("Dishes [Cocktail Counterpoint]"). Hoping to save the day, Albin appears as Jean-Michel's buxom, forty-year-old mother, in pearls and sensible shoes. The nervous Jacob burns the dinner, so a trip to a local restaurant, "Chez Jacqueline", belonging to an old friend of Albin and Georges, is quickly arranged. No one has told Jacqueline of the situation, and she asks Albin (as Zaza) for a song, to which he hesitantly agrees ("The Best of Times"). Everyone in the restaurant begins to take part in the song, causing Albin to yield to the frenzy of performance and tear off his wig at the song's climax, revealing his true identity.

Back at the apartment, the Dindons plead with their daughter to abandon her fiancé, for they are appalled by his homosexual parents, but she is in love with Jean-Michel and refuses to leave him. Jean-Michel, deeply ashamed of the way he has treated Albin, asks his forgiveness ("Look Over There [Reprise]"), which is lovingly granted. The Dindons prepare to depart, but their way is blocked by Jacqueline, who has arrived with the press, ready to photograph the notorious anti-homosexual activists with Zaza. Georges and Albin have a proposal: If Anne and Jean-Michel may marry, Georges will help the Dindons escape through La Cage downstairs. Georges bids the audience farewell while Les Cagelles prepare the Dindons for the grand finale ("La Cage aux Folles [Reprise]"). Georges then introduces the Dindons, dressed in drag as members of the nightclub's revue, and they escape the paparazzi with Jean-Michel and Anne behind them. With everyone gone, Albin enters and he and Georges briefly sing of their love for each other before sharing a kiss ("Finale [With You On My Arm/La Cage aux Folles/Song on the Sand/The Best Of Times]").

  • Albin – the aging star of La Cage aux Folles who performs as the drag queen Zaza and Georges' husband.
  • Georges – The owner and master of ceremonies of La Cage and Albin's husband of over 20 years.
  • Jean-Michel – Georges's 24-year-old son from a brief heterosexual fling in Paris, raised by Albin and Georges as "mother" and father.
  • Jacob – Albin and Georges's butler, although he prefers to be called the maid, who dreams of performing in their show. He is close to Albin and often at odds with Georges.
  • Jacqueline – Albin and Georges's stylish, imposing friend and the owner of Chez Jacqueline, a well-known elegant restaurant.
  • Anne Dindon – Jean-Michel's fiancée.
  • Edouard Dindon – Anne's ultra-conservative father and the deputy general of the Tradition, Family, and Morality Party.
  • Marie Dindon – Anne's mother and Edouard's wife.
  • Francis – the stage manager of La Cage.
  • M. Renaud – Albin and Georges’ friend and the owner of the Promenade Café.
  • Saint-Tropez Townspeople – Babette, Colette, Etienne, Hercule, Paulette, Mme. Renaud, and Tabarro.
  • Les Cagelles, 12 ensemble drag performers who work at La Cage (six in the 2010 Broadway Revival) – Angelique, Bitelle, Chantal, Clo-Clo, Dermah, Hanna, Lo Singh, Mercedes, Monique, Nicole, Odette, and Phaedra.

Original Broadway production Edit

La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on August 21, 1983. It was directed by Arthur Laurents and choreographed by Scott Salmon, with set design by David Mitchell, costume design by Theoni V. Aldredge, and lighting design by Jules Fisher. The original Broadway cast included Gene Barry as Georges and George Hearn as Albin, with John Weiner as Jean-Michel, Jay Garner as Edouard Dindon, Merle Louise as Mme. Dindon, Elizabeth Parrish as Jacqueline, Leslie Stevens as Anne, and William Thomas Jr. as Jacob. [15] Among the replacement performers who appeared in La Cage aux Folles during its original Broadway run were Walter Charles, Keene Curtis, Van Johnson, Peter Marshall, Keith Michell, Jamie Ross and Lee Roy Reams. [15] The original production received nine Tony Award nominations, winning a total of six including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. The show beat several strong competitors in many categories, including Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. It also won three Drama Desk Awards. The production ran for four years and 1,761 performances, closing on November 15, 1987. [15]

Original London production Edit

The show had its West End premiere at the London Palladium on May 7, 1986 with the same creative team as the Broadway production. Hearn transferred with the production, which was made possible through an agreement with the American and British actors' unions, allowing him to come over in exchange for Robert Lindsay appearing in Me and My Girl on Broadway. [16] The production also starred Denis Quilley as Georges, [17] Jonathon Morris as Jean-Michel, Brian Glover as Edouard Dindon, Julia Sutton as Mme. Dindon, Phyllida Law as Jacqueline, Wendy Roe as Anne and Donald Waugh as Jacob. The show closed in London after 301 performances. Its short run and financial failure were partly blamed on the AIDS crisis, and producers were uncomfortable about portraying gay lives onstage quite so openly in mainstream musicals for some time afterwards. [18]

2004 Broadway revival Edit

The first Broadway revival opened at the Marquis Theatre, beginning previews on November 11, 2004, with an official opening on December 9, 2004. The production team included Jerry Zaks as director, Jerry Mitchell as choreographer, Scott Pask, Donald Holder and William Ivey Long as designers. The cast included Gary Beach as Albin, Daniel Davis as Georges, Gavin Creel as Jean-Michel, Michael Mulheren as Edouard Dindon, Linda Balgord as Mme. Dindon, Ruth Williamson as Jacqueline, Angela Gaylor as Anne, and Michael Benjamin Washington as Jacob. [19] Robert Goulet replaced Davis as Georges on April 15, 2005 and played the role until the production closed. Reviews for the production were mixed, with The New York Times stating that it "often gives the impression of merely going through the motions, amiably but robotically, of its gag-laden, sentimental plot", yet praised Les Cagelles, who "bring acrobatic oomph and angularity to centerpieces that include an aviary of exotic, back-flipping birds and a vigorous Montmartre-style can-can. As long as the Cagelles are doing their thing, your attention stays thoroughly engaged". [20] The revival won a number of Tony and Drama Desk awards. The production closed on June 26, 2005. Ticket sales for the show had not increased after winning the Tony Award, and the show had been consistently selling at less than 60% capacity in the months before closing. [21] [22]

2008 London revival Edit

A scaled-down London revival, starring Philip Quast and Douglas Hodge opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory on January 8, 2008, and played there until March 8, 2008. [23] The cast also included Neil McDermott, Iain Mitchell and Una Stubbs, with direction by Terry Johnson and choreography by Lynne Page. The production had originally been scheduled to open in December 2007, but it was delayed twice due to illness within the cast. The show opened to mostly positive press with particular praise for Hodge's performance as Albin. [24]

The Menier Chocolate Factory production transferred to the West End on October 20, 2008 at the Playhouse Theatre co-produced with Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G. Bartner, David Ian Productions, The Ambassador Theatre Group, Matthew Mitchell and Jamie Hendry Productions. It was initially advertised as a "Strictly Limited 12 Week Season", [25] although this became open-ended due to its success. [26] Hodge reprised his role as Albin, joined by Denis Lawson as Georges. [27] The cast also included Iain Mitchell as Edouard Dindon/M. Renaud, Paula Wilcox as Mme. Ranaud/Mme. Dindon and Tracie Bennett as Jacqueline. The production gathered rave reviews, with high praise again for Hodge and Les Cagelles. Whatsonstage.com commented: "A great Broadway show has been reborn as a classic musical comedy with real punch and pizzazz." Michael Billington of The Guardian reported that the show had improved with its transfer to the West End from the Menier Chocolate Factory. [28] The production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, and Hodge won for Best Actor, out of a total of seven nominations. The roles of Albin and Georges have been re-cast in London every three months with well-known actors to keep the production fresh and public interest high. Television personality Graham Norton took over the role of Albin on January 19, 2009, alongside Steven Pacey as Georges. [29] They were succeeded on May 4, 2009, by theatre veterans Roger Allam as Albin and Philip Quast reprising his role of Georges from the Menier Chocolate Factory. [30] From September 12, 2009, until November 28, 2009, John Barrowman and Simon Burke played the roles of Albin and Georges respectively. [31] Douglas Hodge as Albin and Denis Lawson as Georges returned to the production from 30 November 2009, until the production closed on January 2, 2010. [32]

2010 Broadway revival Edit

A transfer of the 2008 London revival to Broadway began previews at the Longacre Theatre on April 6, 2010, and officially opened on April 18, 2010. Johnson and Page directed and choreographed. Douglas Hodge reprised the role of Albin and Kelsey Grammer starred as Georges. The set design was by Tim Shortall, costumes by Matthew Wright, lighting by Nick Richings, and scaled down eight-player orchestrations by Jason Carr. [33] The production received positive reviews, many praising the scaled-down nature of the production and the performances of newcomers Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer as Albin and Georges. [34] The cast also featured A.J Shively in his Broadway debut as Jean-Michel, Robin de Jesús as Jacob, Fred Applegate as Edouard Dindon/M. Renaud, Veanne Cox as Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud, Christine Andreas as Jacqueline and Elena Shaddow as Anne. The Cagelles included Nick Adams, Logan Keslar, Sean Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Cunningham, Terry Lavell and Yurel Echezarreta. The production received 11 Tony Award nominations and won Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Best Direction of a Musical. A cast recording of the revival was made by PS Classics and was released on September 28, 2010. The production closed on May 1, 2011, after 433 performances and 15 previews.

    replaced Veanne Cox as Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud on September 14, 2010. replaced Kelsey Grammer as Georges on February 15, 2011, but withdrew from the production following the February 24, 2011, performance. Chris Hoch, who normally played Francis, and also served as an understudy for the leads assumed the role of Georges until a permanent replacement was found. [35] replaced Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza on February 15, 2011. replaced Robin de Jesús as Jacob on February 15, 2011. replaced Fred Applegate as Edouard Dindon/M. Renaud on February 15, 2011. replaced Jeffrey Tambor as Georges on March 11, 2011.
  • Veanne Cox returned to the role of Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud on April 5, 2011.
  • Heather Lindell replaced Elena Shaddow in the role of Anne on April 5, 2011.

National Tour (2011–2012) Edit

A national tour modeled after the 2010 Broadway revival began in September 2011 starting in Des Moines, Iowa. At first, Fierstein was asked to play the role of Georges and Sieber was asked to play the role of Albin, each taking the role the other had played on Broadway. Due to a full schedule, being set to write the book of the Disney musical Newsies and the musical Kinky Boots, Fierstein had to decline this offer. This tour starred George Hamilton in the role of Georges and Sieber as Albin. This was Sieber's national tour debut. [36] [37]

2017 UK Tour Edit

A UK tour produced by Bill Kenwright began on 5 January 2017 at the New Theatre, Oxford. The cast included John Partridge as Albin, Adrian Zmed as Georges and Marti Webb as Jacqueline. [38] Martin Connor directed the production, with choreography by Bill Deamer, design by Gary McCann and musical direction by Mark Crossland. [39] This production was the first to tour the UK.

International productions Edit

  • 1985 Swedish production: The 1985 Swedish production opened at Malmö Stadsteater in Malmö on September 13, 1985, starring Jan Malmsjö (as Albin) and Carl-Åke Eriksson (as Georges). It played for 152 performances.
  • 1985 Australian production: The 1985 Australian production starred Keith Michell (as Georges) and Jon Ewing (as Albin). [40]
  • 1985 German production: The German production opened at the Theater des Westens in Berlin on October 23, 1985, starring Helmut Baumann as Albin/Zaza, Günther König as Georges and Steve Barton as Jean-Michel. It played for 301 performances. In 1986, Steve Barton, who opened the show as Jean-Michel, took over the role of Albin/Zaza.
  • 1991 Colombian production: The Colombian production debout was in June 1991 at the Teatro Nacional La Castellana, Bogotá. Salsa singer César Mora (Albin/Zazá) and the Spanish-Colombian actor and showman Fernando González Pacheco as George (actually called Renato, in this Spanish version by César Scola and María Cecilia Botero.) There is a recording of this stage production. Soap operas' famous villain Catherine Siachoque was a Cagelle on this Colombian production.
  • 1993 Mexican production: The Mexico City production ran for two and a half years at the Teatro Silvia Pinal and starred Javier Díaz Dueñas as Albin/Zaza and Gustavo Rojo as Georges.
  • 1999 Estonian production: The Estonian production was staged in Tallinn City Concert Hall (Tallinna Linnahall) by Smithbridge Productions and starred Tõnu Oja as Albin and Tõnu Kilgas as Georges. This was the first production in the former Soviet Union area.
  • 2001 Spanish production: The Spanish production premiered at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo in Madrid and starred Andrés Pajares as Albin, Joaquín Kremel as Georges and Jacobo Dicenta as Jean-Michel.
  • 2009 Portuguese production: The show opened in Portugal at the Rivoli Theatre in Porto in April 2009. It was translated, directed by Filipe La Féria with Carlos Quintas as Georges and José Raposo as Albin. This production is notable for changing its location from St. Tropez to Cascais and including other Jerry Herman songs like "Tap Your Troubles Away" (from Mack & Mabel) and "It's Today" (from Mame). [41]
  • 2010 Dutch production: A Dutch production premiered in November 2010 and ran through to June 2011 in the DeLaMar theater, Amsterdam. [42]
  • 2010 Thai production: A Thai adaptation of La Cage aux Folles (กินรีสีรุ้ง in Thai) opened in Bangkok on 16 June 2010 and closed on 3 July 2010 at Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre. The production was directed by Takonkiet (Tak) Viravan. This version was adapted to better suit target audience with the story set in Thailand and some characters names changed. [43]
  • 2012 Korean production: The Korean production ran in Seoul in 2012 for two months. [44] Korean production won 4 awards in Korean Musical Awards.
  • 2013 Danish production: A new Danish production opened in the spring 2013 at the Aarhus Theatre starring Niels Ellegaard (Georges) and Anders Baggesen (Albin).
  • 2013 Panama production: The show opened in Panama City in June 2013 at the Teatro en Círculo. It stars Edwin Cedeño (Albin/Zaza) and Aaron Zebede (Georges). [45]
  • 2013 Puerto Rican production: The Puerto Rican production premiered on August 16, 2013, at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, starring Rafael José as Albin and Braulio Castillo Jr. as Georges, with Ulises Santiago de Orduna as Jean-Michel. Junior Álvarez as Edouard Dindon/M. Renaud, Sara Jarque as Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud, Deddie Romero as Jacqueline, Andrea Méndez as Anne, and Bryan Villarini as Jacob [46][47]
  • 2013 Swedish production: The Swedish production premiered on September 7, 2013, at The Göteborg Opera in Gothenburg, Sweden, starring Mikael Samuelson as Albin/Zaza and Hans Josefsson as Georges. [48]
  • 2014 Hungarian production: The Hungarian production ("Az Őrült Nők Ketrece" in Hungarian language) premiered on July 12, 2014, at Átrium theatre in Budapest, produced by Kultúrbrigád, is still running. This production directed by Róbert Alföldi, choreographed by Krisztián Gergye, starring András Stohl as Albin/Zaza, Gábor Hevér as Georges, Balázs Fehér as Jean-Michel, with László Józan and Tibor Fehér as Jacob. [49]
  • 2014 Korean Revival: The Korean Revival ran in LG Arts Center, Seoul in 2014 for three months
  • 2014 Australian Revival: The Production Company produced the first major Australian revival of the musical, under the direction of Dean Bryant. [50] The show was staged at the Playhouse Theatre in Melbourne, where it ran from November 21 to December 7. [51] The cast featured Simon Burke as Georges, Todd McKenney as Albin, Robert Tripolino as Jean-Michel, Emily Milledge as Anne, Gary Sweet as Edouard Dindon, Marg Downey as Mme. Dindon, Rhonda Burchmore as Jacqueline, and Aljin Abella as Jacob. [52][51]
  • 2015 Philippine production: The Philippines production premiered on February 28, 2015, at the Carlos P Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, starring Audie Gemora as Albin and Michael De Mesa as Georges, with Steven Silva as Jean-Michel, produced by 9 Works Theatrical, with direction by Robbie Guevara and scenography by Mio Infante.
  • 2015 Swedish production: The Swedish production premiered November 14, 2015, at the Uppsala stadsteater, and is still running (last show March 3, 2016). [53]
  • 2015 Mexican Revival: The Mexican Revival premiered on November 23, 2015 at the Teatro Hidalgo, starring Roberto Blandón as George, Mario Iván Martínez as Albin, Rogelio Suarez as Silviah (who also covered Zazá for some shows), and Israel Estrada as Jean-Michel, directed by Matias Gorlero and produced by Juan Torres. [54]
  • 2017 German production: La Cage aux Folles ran in the Staatstheater Mainz in Mainz, Germany, from October 2017 to June 2018. Opera singers Alin Deleanu and Stephan Bootz played Zaza/Albin and Georges respectively. [55]
  • 2018 Hong Kong production: La Cage aux Folles (假鳳虛鸞 in Cantonese) premiered January 19, 2019, at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre by Hong Kong Repertory Theatre[56]
  • 2019 Tel Aviv production: The Israeli premiere opened in August 2019 for a limited charity run, with all the proceeds being donated to "Yesh Im Mi Ledaber" for preventing suicide among LGBT youth. The original Israeli cast included Roi Dolev as Albin and Oren Habot as George. [57][58]

Other foreign language productions have played in Belgium, Copenhagen, Oslo (twice), Bergen, Vienna, Italy, Turku, Helsinki (twice), Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki, Buenos Aires, Lima, Stockholm, Bogotá, Tallinn, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. [ citation needed ]

Note: Original Broadway production [59]

  • Prelude – Orchestra
  • "We Are What We Are" – Georges and Les Cagelles
  • "(A Little More) Mascara" – Albin and Les Cagelles
  • "With Anne on My Arm" – Jean-Michel and Georges
  • "With You on My Arm" – Georges and Albin
  • "Song on the Sand" – Georges
  • "La Cage aux Folles" – Albin, Jacqueline and Les Cagelles
  • "I Am What I Am" – Albin
  • Entr'acte – Orchestra
  • "Song on the Sand" (Reprise) – Georges and Albin
  • "Masculinity" – Georges, Albin, M. Renaud, Mme. Renaud and Tabarro
  • "Look Over There" – Georges
  • "Cocktail Counterpoint" – Georges, Edouard Dindon, Mme. Dindon and Jacob
  • "The Best of Times" – Albin, Jacqueline and Company
  • "Look Over There" (Reprise) – Jean-Michel
  • "La Cage aux Folles" (Reprise) – Georges
  • Finale – Company

There are currently three cast recordings available for the show: the Original Broadway cast, the Original Australian cast and the 2010 Broadway revival cast. No recording was made for the 2004 revival.

Albin's Act I finale number, "I Am What I Am", was recorded by Gloria Gaynor and proved to be one of her biggest hits. It was also recorded by other artists, including Shirley Bassey, Tony Bennett, Pia Zadora, [7] and John Barrowman. It also became a rallying cry of the Gay Pride movement.


Peter Luger's Savage NYT Review Likely Won't Hurt It, Based On History

New York Times restaurant reviewer Pete Wells is not a fan of Peter Luger Steak House . Ears perked up as his review published Tuesday, titled “Peter Luger used to sizzle. Now it sputters,” started making the rounds: After all, it was Wells who wrote the review of Guy Fieri’s now-shuttered Times Square spot that some consider the Times’ harshest. Could Wells’ disdain spell trouble for Luger?

The review is an ugly homage to what Wells considers Luger’s heyday, a time long before now. The South Williamsburg institution opened in 1887 and has been considered the destination for steak in New York City since then. Wells complains about each dish in turn from lunch to dinner, steaks to sides. He ties the price to most complaints, including that he felt scammed. Wells ends by questioning whether anybody needs to go to Luger for a meal.

But does Wells’ opinion really hold much weight?

According to Facebook , the steakhouse is still knocking it out of the park: It has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 based on the opinion of about 4,200 of the site’s members. Scroll past the last few days of reactionary reviews and it’s clear that people love Luger, which makes one question whether professional critic reviews speak to the average diner. Luger’s reputation on Yelp is great, with over 5,000 reviewers giving it an overall 4-star rating. Several 5-star reviews have come rolling in this week.

Perhaps a negative review from Wells is good for business?

Wells’ 5 Most Recent Zero-Star Reviews

The last five zero-star reviews from Wells span upscale cafeteria food to sushi to pizza. Interestingly, only one of the five most recent, Bruno Pizza , is out of business and that is due to crippling water damage as the result of a fire in an upstairs apartment.

Beijing-based DaDong was another to experience Wells’ poison pen. Its zero-star review came in early March of 2018, but it’s still doing well. Steven Hall, its PR rep, gave a telling answer when HuffPost asked whether the review affected the staff.

“It’s upsetting. You have to work harder to keep up the morale,” Hall said. Based on Wells’ take on the servers as being warm and attentive, it’s not surprising that a scathing review would deal a blow to morale. One of the few things Wells enjoyed about dining at DaDong was the staff.

“Servers sometimes seemed to be reading dish descriptions from a teleprompter, but they made up for that with a care and attentiveness that felt unforced. The sommeliers were particularly good at interpreting the wine list, which is well-rounded and can be quite reasonable,” Wells said.

Hall also pointed out that a Times review is unlikely to make or break a restaurant.

“Peter Luger is an institution. I’m sure there’s a group of New Yorkers that go all the time. It’s [also] a place where visitors go because they want to go someplace iconic. It impacts the business when you get a negative review but I don’t think it’s the one thing that drives people to a restaurant,” Hall said.

Despite Wells’ roasting, DaDong continues to thrive and is a favorite of trendy food bloggers on Instagram, where it is regularly tagged by popular food accounts . Like Peter Luger, it also fares considerably better on Yelp than it did in the Times. Some 565 diners give it a combined 3 out of 5 stars, with many recent reviews being 4- and 5-star.

Upscale cafeteria-esque Made Nice received its bad review from Wells in August of 2017. Wells took exception with the quality of the food, considering that it is made by one of the city’s best chefs. Of the chicken and rice, Wells said, “Another dish is called chicken rice. The rice tastes like tomatoes and needs salt. The chicken seems exhausted. Imagine a chain of Cuban restaurants started by retired employees of the Olive Garden. This could be their arroz con pollo.”

He also wasn’t a fan of the pork confit. Wells said, “It’s a dark brick of shredded pork, a heavy-tasting and oddly inert centerpiece for a summer salad of shaved corn, watercress and wheat berries.”

While Wells was not a fan, the people eating there on the regular, and especially the lunch crowd, love Made Nice. It gets a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Facebook with 41 people reviewing and 4 stars on Yelp with 265 diners chiming in, very few coming even close to Wells’ criticisms. On Instagram, it is regularly tagged in high-engagement posts.

In November of 2015, Wells went after Jams. A popular spot in the ’80s, it didn’t survive the late-decade economic turmoil but was brought back to life in August of 2015. Wells doled out seriously snarky insults including describing the burger as “a juiceless, saltless, flavorless flap of overcooked meat” and said, “A restaurant that trips over its signature dishes is as hard to trust as a person who misspells his own name. (Good thing there are only four letters in Jams.)” Four years later, over 100 people have weighed in on Facebook , giving Jams a rating of 4.7 out of 5 and its 300 reviewers on Yelp give it a decent 3.5 stars. Only one person complained about the soggy fries Wells is bitter about.

Finally, the fifth restaurant recently given a scathing review, Kappo Masa , is still open.

Wells said, “The cost of eating at Kappo Masa is so brutally, illogically, relentlessly high, and so out of proportion to any pleasure you may get, that large numbers start to seem like uninvited and poorly behaved guests at the table.”

He goes on like one of those old Mastercard commercials sarcastically breaking down the price of various menu items. “Price of yellowtail collar left on the grill until it lost the silky, puddinglike richness that is the whole point of this cut: $28,” Wells wrote.

Kappo Masa has only a smattering of reviews on Facebook and Yelp but gets a 4.9 and 3.5 stars, respectively. Its price tag likely makes it not the type to be reviewed on social media but customers who have done so are clearly more fan than not.

Are Critics Out Of Touch?

So, how is it that a restaurant critic with a wealth of experience and knowledge can dole out five zero-star reviews to restaurants that, based on popular opinion, are worth much more?

The answer isn’t simple. Wells’ bad reviews do provide entertainment: Who doesn’t love to read a line like, “Every once in a while, something genuinely remarkable would arrive, as if from another kitchen.” And those who have read his and other critic reviews for decades lean on the expertise and context they loan.

That said, it’s an aging population that relies on Wells and other critics. The social media savvy crowd isn’t as likely to even read a Times review (except when it goes viral) but instead look to Yelp and other online platforms. After all, the former has 4.7 million subscribers whereas the latter boasts 178 million unique visitors each month. Of course, when its reviews go viral, the Times likely gets traffic that makes most publishers envious.

What does that say about today’s diners and how media influences their choices? In his review of Bruno ― the only of Wells’ five most recent zero-star reviewed restaurants to close ― Wells said, “Bruno is one of many new places where building flavor seems less important than composing an image. … It’s hard to explain how great something tastes, but easy to show how great it looks … contemporary food media rewards the latter.” And it’s true. If we consider contemporary media to be social media, it’s the pictures that matter: They get diners in the doors to recreate drool-worthy images.

Fairness is fashionable these days, another reason Wells’ rebuke of Luger may not matter much: Bruno was just seven weeks old when Wells gave it zero stars, which were given back to the Times by the restaurant in a letter penned by owner Demian Repucci . Seven weeks is infancy, when restaurants are still finding their footing. Repucci admits there were kinks that needed to be ironed out. But Wells didn’t consider this. Or, if he did, he placed more value on zingers than balance. Repucci told HuffPost, “A super-popular restaurant that’s over 100 years old can probably handle it better than a seven-week-old restaurant.”

As with most media, there is a place for traditional critic-written reviews while more space is being made for diners to provide input. As Hall said, “If 10 out of 10 people hate the banana-cream pie, there’s something wrong with it.”


Here Are The Only Remaining 4-Star Restaurants In New York City

In today's New York Times, restaurant critic Pete Wells knocked iconic Upper East Side restaurant Daniel from four stars to three after finding that servers treated famous guests differently from unknown ones.

The food, he noted, was still phenomenal — if somewhat overdecorated with "dollhouse garnishes."

With Daniel Boulud's emporium down to three stars, there are just five restaurants left in New York City with four-star reviews from The New York Times.

Del Posto : Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich's upscale Italian restaurant near the High Line got four stars from Sam Sifton in October 2010. He declared: " Del Posto’s is a pleasure that lasts." The five-course dinner menu is $115 per person.

Eleven Madison Park: Critic Frank Bruni granted four stars to Eleven Madison Park in August 2009. Restaurateur Danny Meyer sold the restaurant to chef Daniel Humm in 2011, and The Times has yet to revisit. The dinner tasting menu is $195 per person.

Jean Georges : Bruni visited Jean-Georges Vongerichten's eponymous restaurant in 2006 and found it to be a notch above any of the other restaurants in Vongerichten's empire, writing, " while the food at Jean Georges may no longer be novel, it still thrills, and this restaurant still presents an experience unlike others around town." The three-course dinner tasting menu is $118 per person.

Le Bernardin : In May 2012, Wells assigned four stars to Eric Ripert's midtown east restaurant , writing, "n o other restaurant in the city makes the simple cooking of fish (and the fish at Le Bernardin is cooked simply, when it is cooked at all) seem so ripe with opportunities for excitement." The four-course dinner tasting menu costs $130 per person.

Per Se : Wells gave a top rating to chef Thomas Keller's restaurant at the Time Warner Center in October 2011, calling it "the best restaurant in New York City." The prix fixe dinner menu costs $295 per person.

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China Braces for $1.3 Trillion Maturity Wall as Defaults Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Even by the standards of a record-breaking global credit binge, China’s corporate bond tab stands out: $1.3 trillion of domestic debt payable in the next 12 months.That’s 30% more than what U.S. companies owe, 63% more than in all of Europe and enough money to buy Tesla Inc. twice over. What’s more, it’s all coming due at a time when Chinese borrowers are defaulting on onshore debt at an unprecedented pace.The combination has investors bracing for another turbulent stretch for the world’s second-largest credit market. It’s also underscoring the challenge for Chinese authorities as they work toward two conflicting goals: reducing moral hazard by allowing more defaults, and turning the domestic bond market into a more reliable source of long-term funding.While average corporate bond maturities have increased in the U.S., Europe and Japan in recent years, they’re getting shorter in China as defaults prompt investors to reduce risk. Domestic Chinese bonds issued in the first quarter had an average tenor of 3.02 years, down from 3.22 years for all of last year and on course for the shortest annual average since Fitch Ratings began compiling the data in 2016.“As credit risk increases, everyone wants to limit their exposure by investing in shorter maturities only,” said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING Bank NV. “Issuers also want to sell shorter-dated bonds because as defaults rise, longer-dated bonds have even higher borrowing costs.”The move toward shorter maturities has coincided with a Chinese government campaign to instill more discipline in local credit markets, which have long been underpinned by implicit state guarantees. Investors are increasingly rethinking the widely held assumption that authorities will backstop big borrowers amid a string of missed payments by state-owned companies and a selloff in bonds issued by China Huarong Asset Management Co.The country’s onshore defaults have swelled from negligible levels in 2016 to exceed 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) for four straight years. That milestone was reached again last month, putting defaults on track for another record annual high.The resulting preference for shorter-dated bonds has exacerbated one of China’s structural challenges: a dearth of long-term institutional money. Even before authorities began allowing more defaults, short-term investments including banks’ wealth management products played an outsized role.Social security funds and insurance firms are the main providers of long-term funding in China, but their presence in the bond market is limited, said Wu Zhaoyin, chief strategist at AVIC Trust Co., a financial firm. “It’s difficult to sell long-dated bonds in China because there is a lack of long-term capital,” Wu said.Chinese authorities have been taking steps to attract long-term investors, including foreign pension funds and university endowments. The government has in recent years scrapped some investment quotas and dismantled foreign ownership limits for life insurers, brokerages and fund managers.But even if those efforts gain traction, it’s not clear Chinese companies will embrace longer maturities. Many prefer selling short-dated bonds because they lack long-term capital management plans, according to Shen Meng, director at Chanson & Co., a Beijing-based boutique investment bank. That applies even for state-owned enterprises, whose senior managers typically get reshuffled by the government every three to five years, Shen said.The upshot is that China’s domestic credit market faces a near constant cycle of refinancing and repayment risk, which threatens to exacerbate volatility as defaults rise. A similar dynamic is also playing out in the offshore market, where maturities total $167 billion over the next 12 months.For ING’s Pang, the cycle is unlikely to change anytime soon. “It may last for another decade in China,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Zara owner Inditex to close all stores in Venezuela, local partner says

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Summers Says Crypto Has Chance of Becoming ‘Digital Gold’

(Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said cryptocurrencies could stay a feature of global markets as something akin to “digital gold,” even if their importance in economies will remain limited.Speaking at the end of a week in which Bitcoin whipsawed, Summers told Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin that cryptocurrencies offered an alternative to gold for those seeking an asset “separate and apart from the day-to-day workings of governments.”“Gold has been a primary asset of that kind for a long time,” said Summers, a paid contributor to Bloomberg. “Crypto has a chance of becoming an agreed form that people who are looking for safety hold wealth in. My guess is that crypto is here to stay, and probably here to stay as a kind of digital gold.”If cryptocurrencies became even a third of the total value of gold, Summers said that would be a “substantial appreciation from current levels” and that means there’s a “good prospect that crypto will be part of the system for quite a while to come.”Comparing Bitcoin to the yellow metal is common in the crypto community, with various estimates as to whether and how quickly their total market values might equalize.Yassine Elmandjra, crypto analyst at Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management LLC, said earlier this month that if gold is assumed to have a market cap of around $10 trillion, “it’s not out of the question that Bitcoin will reach gold parity in the next five years.” With Bitcoin’s market cap around $700 billion, that could mean price appreciation of around 14-fold or more.But Summers said cryptocurrencies do not matter to the overall economy and were unlikely to ever serve as a majority of payments.Summers is on the board of directors of Square Inc. The company said this month that sales in the first quarter more than tripled, driven by skyrocketing Bitcoin purchases through the company’s Cash App.Summers’ comments were echoed by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who doubted crypto’s value as a medium of exchange or stable purchasing power, but said some forms of it may continue to exist as an alternative to gold.“Are cryptocurrencies headed for a crash sometime soon? Not necessarily,” Krugman wrote in the New York Times. “One fact that gives even crypto skeptics like me pause is the durability of gold as a highly valued asset.”Summers also said that President Joe Biden’s administration is heading in the “right direction” by asking companies to pay more tax. He argued policy makers in the past had not been guilty of pursuing “too much antitrust” regulation although he warned it would be “badly wrong” to go after companies just because of increasing market share and profits.Returning to his worry that the U.S. economy risks overheating, Summers said the Federal Reserve should be more aware of the inflationary threat.“I don’t think the Fed is projecting in a way that reflects the potential seriousness of the problem,” he said. “I am concerned that with everything that’s going on, the economy may be a bit charging toward a wall.”(Adds Summers is on Square’s board in 8th paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Huobi Scales Back Due to China Crackdown Bitcoin Falls Below $32K, Ether Past $2K

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Away From the Big Crypto Blaze, Another Market Tension Eases

(Bloomberg) -- A bear market in Bitcoin. A bull market in Bitcoin. Taper talk, or talk thereof. The biggest pop for meme stocks of the season. A lot just happened, and yet when the history of this week is written, it’s possible a much quieter development will be the lead.After intensifying earlier this month, inflation anxiety appears to be easing. Rates on 10-year breakevens dropped by the most on a weekly basis since September, capping any rise in Treasury yields. Meanwhile, a surge in raw materials continued to sputter, with the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index sinking for a second straight week.That was enough to comfort investors in big tech. The Nasdaq 100 posted its first weekly gain in over a month, after being rattled by warnings that soaring prices would eat into future cash flows and shine a harsh light on expensive valuations. And while minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting signaled an openness to discussing a scaling back of asset purchases, comments that it would “likely be some time” until the economy recovers to that point helped prevent any knee-jerk reactions.“Inflation is really only a problem for stocks if it’s going to bring the Fed off the sidelines,” said Brian Nick, chief investment strategist at Nuveen. “If you see interest rates falling, if you see inflation expectations receding, if you see the Fed continuing to come out with overall dovish minutes, it tends to be a pretty friendly environment for tech.”Whether or not the U.S. economy has seen peak growth, a series of weaker-than-expected reports have helped quell inflation fears. Last month’s housing starts were lower than anticipated, while the pace of mortgage applications slowed from the prior month. On Thursday, data from the Philadelphia Fed showed manufacturing activity in the region eased in May from a 48-year high the prior month.As a result, Citigroup Inc.’s economic surprise gauge -- which measures the magnitude to which reports either beat or miss forecasts -- briefly dropped into negative territory for the first time since June 2020 this week.The Nasdaq 100 held onto a 0.1% gain this week as inflation expectations ebbed, snapping a four-week losing streak. Tech eked out a gain as cryptocurrencies ricocheted, with Bitcoin dropping 12% on Friday alone after China reiterated its intent to to crack down on mining.Still, some warn that it’s too early to signal the all-clear on inflation risks. Anxiety around price pressures in the coming months should be a boon for defensive sectors and particularly favor financials, while eating into growth stocks with duration-sensitive cash flows, according to State Street Global Advisors.“Because there’s so much disagreement on how inflation may unfold, that disagreement in the market will inevitably lead to volatility,” said Olivia Engel, chief investment officer of SSGA’s active quantitative equity team. “If you look at the aggregate market, it’s hiding some of that market rotation -- that’s where you can see much bigger moves.”(Updates Bitcoin price in seventh paragraph.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Hong Kong Exchange’s New CEO Is Put on Cleanup Duty

(Bloomberg) -- The veteran JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker who’s taking the helm at Hong Kong’s exchange has been put on cleanup duty.Chairman Laura Cha has handed Nicolas Aguzin, who takes charge Monday, the task of reviewing the exchange’s practices after a bribery scandal and censure from the regulator, according to people familiar with the matter. The 52-year-old former head of JPMorgan’s international private bank is seen by Cha as having the experience to force a cultural shake-up given his background at a heavily regulated bank, said the people, asking to remain anonymous discussing sensitive issues.Aguzin takes over as the bourse is delivering record earnings. His predecessor, Charles Li, oversaw a doubling of revenue during his decade in charge through acquisitions, loosened listing rules and, most importantly, trading links with mainland China. The easier oversight allowed the listing of Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and positioned it as the exchange-of-choice for mainland firms amid tensions with the U.S.But there has also been criticism that investor protections were sacrificed to win business. Over the past years, there has been a steady stream of flareups between the bourse and the regulator over IPO quality, the proliferation of shell companies and whether to allow dual class shares.“The HKEX has done a great job in market development, and has introduced measures to improve investor protection,” Sally Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, said in an email. “But it seems that issuers’ voices tend to prevail over that of the investors. We very much look forward to working with the new CEO to see how to strike a more appropriate balance to better safeguard investor interests.”Spokespeople for the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission as well as Aguzin declined to comment.In a review released last year after the former IPO vetting co-head was arrested for bribery, the SFC discovered “numerous ambiguities” in the Chinese Wall between its listing and business divisions. Other issues highlighted last year include keeping track of share options and following up on complaints on withdrawn IPO applications.Cha had begun to tighten internal checks and balances for senior managers toward the end of Li’s tenure as well as assert more board control over hiring, people familiar have said. The exchange has halted the interactions between its listing and business units, according to the SFC review. Last week, in a joint statement with the SFC, the bourse vowed to better police its frothy IPO market, citing concerns about companies inflating their values, market manipulation and unusually high underwriting fees.Aguzin is expected by the board to prioritize the exchange’s role as a regulator alongside its growth ambitions, people familiar said.David Webb, a former HKEX director, investor and corporate governance activist, is skeptical the bourse will institute any meaningful reforms. “HKEX has, with government approval, lowered its standards to attract business, for example, by listing second-class shares with weak voting rights,” he said in an email. “It shows no sign of raising them again.”Investors have also urged the exchange to set rules requiring company boards to have a lead outside board member or an independent chair, according to Wong. “But it seems that the HKEX is not ready to even bring them up for market consultation.”The government is on board with Aguzin’s appointment, which comes at a fraught time after Beijing has tightened its grip on the city, raising questions about its continued status as an international financial hub.Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui said the three-tiered regulatory system comprising his department, the SFC and HKEX has worked well. Aguzin’s appointment embodies the city’s openness and its role as a gateway between China and the world, he said. “This is exactly what we will pursue.”Further deepening connections to China is seen as key to growth for the bourse, which also faces stiffer competition from mainland exchanges as China opens its financial markets.While Aguzin has worked in Asia for the past decade -- also serving as JPMorgan’s CEO of Asia Pacific from 2013 to 2020 -- he will be the first non-Chinese CEO of a bourse that often needs to deal with Beijing.Cha is well connected in China, having served as vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission. She has signaled that she sees the bourse’s role as serving Beijing’s interests and avoiding competition with the mainland, a person said familiar with the matter said last year.The push toward the mainland is not all welcome in China. Expanding the link to include several benchmark stocks has proved difficult, with one sticking point being whether to include shares like Alibaba Group, which are dual listed and with weighted voting rights.Even so, Cha said at the time of the appointment that Aguzin’s remit will include further strengthening the link to the mainland.Another board member, Fred Hu, said in an interview that “Aguzin is well positioned to take HKEX into the future, to further deepen the connectivity with China but also connectivity with the rest of the world.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bitcoin, Ether Now Down 50% From Last Month’s ATHs as Rout Resumes

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Bitcoin fell to $32,601 at 1800 GMT (2 p.m. ET), losing $4,899.54 from its previous close. Bitcoin markets operate 24/7, setting the stage for price swings at unpredictable hours. "Many point to bitcoin's volatility as untenable," wrote RBC Capital Markets' Amy Wu Silverman in a research note published on Saturday.

Exxon Activist Battle Turns Climate Angst Into Referendum on CEO

(Bloomberg) -- An unprecedented fight over who should sit on the board of Exxon Mobil Corp. is turning into a referendum on Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods as a decades-long struggle by climate campaigners comes to a head.Activist investor Engine No. 1 LLC wants to replace one-third of Exxon’s board in an effort to force the Western world’s largest oil explorer to embrace a transition away from fossil fuels and end a decade of what it calls “value destruction.” Shareholders are set to gather — virtually — for their annual meeting on May 26.The stakes are high. Under Exxon’s bylaws, a victory for any dissident director would mean an incumbent must step down, equating to a zero-sum proxy contest: of 16 candidates, only 12 will prevail. Any dilution of Woods’s influence over the board could derail his long-term plans and force strategic and tactical changes he has previously rejected.Although Engine No. 1 hasn’t targeted Woods for removal, even a partial victory for the activist would be a serious, and perhaps fatal, blow to his leadership, according to Ceres, a coalition of environmentally active investors managing $37 trillion.“I don’t see how Darren Woods remains as CEO if one of the dissidents, let alone all four, are elected,” said Andrew Logan, director of oil and gas at Ceres. “It would be such a sign of fundamental dissatisfaction with the status quo that something would have to change. And that starts with the CEO.”Exxon's engagement with environmental activists was once characterized by a sense of bemusement — under former CEO Lee Raymond, Greenpeace protesters outside its annual meetings were offered donuts. But as worries about climate change have gone mainstream in the investment world, the clash has evolved into a confrontation over boardroom seats.In other corners of the commodities sector, shareholders this year have already shown frustration with executives’ reluctance to embrace tough environmental goals. DuPont de Nemours Inc. suffered an 81% vote against management on plastic-pollution disclosures, while ConocoPhillips lost a contest on adopting more stringent emission targets.Exxon’s meeting this year threatens to be one of the stormiest on the U.S. corporate calendar, made all the more remarkable for being instigated by a newly formed fund that only has a $54 million, or 0.02%, stake in the oil behemoth. Investor dissatisfaction with the company largely centers on two issues that are becoming more interlinked: climate change and profits. The oil giant envisages a profitable, long-term future for fossil fuels, but sees no point in investing in traditional renewable energy businesses. It also refuses to commit to a net-zero emissions target, unlike European rivals.Climate concerns are are resonating more deeply with investors at the same time that Exxon’s status as a financial powerhouse crumbles after multiple corporate missteps, some of which preceded Woods’s elevation to CEO in 2017. Returns on invested capital are a fraction of what they were in Exxon’s heyday a decade ago and debt ballooned 40% last year as Covid-19 paralyzed economies and energy demand around the world. Under mounting pressure and concerns over Exxon’s ability to pay the S&P 500’s third-largest dividend, the CEO slashed an ambitious $200 billion expansion program by a third late last year. It was a relief to some investors who had questioned both the cost and the need for such projects at a time when policymakers — and even rivals like BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc — are planning for the twilight of the petroleum era.Still, Engine No. 1 says Exxon needs higher-quality directors who are willing to challenge management. Exxon missed key industry trends such as the shale revolution, “the shift to focusing on project returns over chasing production growth, and the need to gradually prepare for rather than ignore the energy transition,” according to the San Francisco-based activist.After receiving early backing from major state pension funds, Engine No. 1’s campaign gathered momentum this month as two prominent shareholder-advisory firms, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co., threw their partial support behind the activist’s efforts. ISS wrote a scathing rebuke of Exxon’s climate strategy, saying the company had only taken “incremental steps to prepare for the inevitable.”Top 20 shareholder Legal & General Investment Management, a previous critic of Exxon, is also backing Engine No. 1 and has pledged to vote against Woods. However, the voting intentions of some other major investors, such as Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc. and State Street Corp. aren’t clear — all three declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News. Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund said late last week that it would support the reelection of most Exxon directors, but not Woods, part of its long-standing push to separate the roles of CEO and chairman at Exxon.With such animosity brewing, the usual course of action would be for Exxon’s board to meet with the activists and hash out a compromise. But that has yet to happen, and both sides appear to be entrenched.Exxon said in a May 14 letter to shareholders its board “listens and responds to shareholder feedback,” but that Engine No. 1, founded only a few months ago, wasn’t interested in engaging and “is trying to replace four of our world-class directors with unqualified nominees.'' The company added that the activist fund's plans would “derail our progress and jeopardize your dividend.”For its part, Engine No. 1 said Exxon refused to meet its nominees: Gregory Goff, former CEO of refiner Andeavor environmental scientist Kaisa Hietala private equity investor Alexander Karsner and Anders Runevad, ex-CEO of power producer Vestas Wind Systems A/S.Exxon did talk with another investor, hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co., which built a stake in an effort to push for change. Those discussions led to the appointment of the new directors, including activist investor Jeff Ubben. The oil company has also announced new emissions targets, started a low-carbon business, and supported policies that will help technological innovations like carbon capture.In some respects Exxon is in a better position that it was at the start of 2021. Its stock has rallied more than 40% as oil prices rebounded and lockdowns are eased. Engine No. 1 points to its involvement as the turning point, while Exxon claims the market is rewarding prudent cost cutting and high-return investments made over the last couple of years. The forthcoming vote will help to determine which side of the debate other investors lean toward.“There’s a governance challenge at Exxon,” said John Hoeppner, head of U.S. sustainable investments at Legal & General. “How seriously is the current board questioning management’s business model? It’s important to add urgency to the debate.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Inside the Race to Avert Disaster at China’s Biggest ‘Bad Bank’

(Bloomberg) -- It was past 9 p.m. on Financial Street in Beijing by the time the figure inside Huarong Tower there picked up an inkbrush and, with practiced strokes, began to set characters to paper.Another trying workday was ending for Wang Zhanfeng, corporate chairman, Chinese Communist Party functionary—and, less happily, replacement for a man who very recently had been executed.On this April night, Wang was spotted unwinding as he often does in his office: practicing the art of Chinese calligraphy, a form that expresses the beauty of classical characters and, it is said, the nature of the person who writes them.Its mastery requires patience, resolve, skill, calm—and Wang, 54, needs all that and more. Because here on Financial Street, a brisk walk from the hulking headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, a dark drama is playing out behind the mirrored façade of Huarong Tower. How it unfolds will test China’s vast, debt-ridden financial system, the technocrats working to fix it, and the foreign banks and investors caught in the middle.Welcome to the headquarters of China Huarong Asset Management Co., the troubled state-owned ‘bad bank’ that has set teeth on edge around the financial world.For months now Wang and others have been trying to clean up the mess here at Huarong, an institution that sits—quite literally—at the center of China’s financial power structure. To the south is the central bank, steward of the world’s second-largest economy to the southwest, the Ministry of Finance, Huarong’s principal shareholder less than 300 meters to the west, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, entrusted with safeguarding the financial system and, of late, ensuring Huarong has a funding backstop from state-owned banks until at least August.The patch though doesn’t settle the question of how Huarong makes good on some $41 billion borrowed on the bond markets, most incurred under Wang’s predecessor before he was ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption. That long-time executive, Lai Xiaomin, was put to death in January—his formal presence expunged from Huarong right down to the signature on its stock certificates.The bigger issue is what all this might portend for the nation’s financial system and efforts by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to centralize control, rein in years of risky borrowing and set the nation’s financial house in order.“They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” said Michael Pettis, a Beijing-based professor of finance at Peking University and author of Avoiding the Fall: China’s Economic Restructuring. Bailing out Huarong would reinforce the behavior of investors who ignore risk, he said, while a default endangers financial stability if a “chaotic” repricing of the bond market ensues.Just what is going on inside Huarong Tower? Given the stakes, few are willing to discuss that question publicly. But interviews with people who work there, as well as at various Chinese regulators, provide a glimpse into the eye of this storm.Huarong, simply put, has been in full crisis mode ever since it delayed its 2020 earnings results, eroding investor confidence. Executives have come to expect to be summoned by government authorities at a moment’s notice whenever market sentiment sours and the price of Huarong debt sinks anew. Wang and his team must provide weekly written updates on Huarong’s operations and liquidity. They have turned to state-owned banks, pleading for support, and reached out to bond traders to try to calm nerves, with little lasting success.In public statements, Huarong has insisted repeatedly that its position is ultimately sound and that it will honor its obligations. Banking regulators have had to sign off on the wording of those statements—another sign of how serious the situation is considered and, ultimately, who’s in charge.Then there are regular audiences with the finance ministry and the other powerful financial bureaucracies nearby. Among items usually on the agenda: possible plans to hive off various Huarong businesses.Huarong executives are often kept waiting and, people familiar with the meetings say, tend to gain only limited access to top officials at the CBIRC, the banking overseer.The country’s apex financial watchdog—chaired by Liu He, Xi’s right-hand man in overseeing the economy and financial system—has asked for briefings on the Huarong situation and coordinated meetings between regulators, according to regulatory officials. But it has yet to communicate to them a long-term solution, including whether to impose losses on bondholders, the officials said.Representatives at the People’s Bank of China, the CBIRC, Huarong and the Ministry of Finance didn’t respond to requests for comment.Focus on BasicsA mid-level party functionary with a PhD in finance from China’s reputed Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Wang arrived at Huarong Tower in early 2018, just as the corruption scandal was consuming the giant asset management company. He is regarded inside Huarong as low-key and down-to-earth, particularly in comparison to the company’s previous leader, Lai, a man once known as the God of Wealth.Hundreds of Huarong staff, from Beijing division chiefs to branch employees in faraway outposts, listened in on April 16 as Wang reviewed the quarterly numbers. He stressed that the company’s fundamentals had improved since he took over, a view shared by some analysts though insufficient to pacify investors. But he had little to say about what is on so many minds: plans to restructure and shore up the giant company, which he’d pledged to clean up within three years of taking over.His main message to the troops: focus on the basics, like collecting on iffy assets and improving risk management. The employees were silent. No one asked a question.One employee characterized the mood in his area as business as usual. Another said co-workers at a Huarong subsidiary were worried the company might not be able to pay their salaries. There’s a widening gulf between the old guard and new, said a third staffer. Those who outlasted Lai and have seen their compensation cut year after year have little confidence in the turnaround, while new joiners are more hopeful about the opportunities the change of direction offers.Others joke that Huarong Tower must suffer from bad feng shui: after Lai was arrested, a bank that had a branch in the building had to be bailed out to the tune of $14 billion.Dark humor aside, a rough consensus has begun to emerge among senior management and mid-level regulators: like other key state-owned enterprises, Huarong still appears to be considered too big to fail. Many have come away with the impression—and it is that, an impression—that for now, at least, the Chinese government will stand behind Huarong.At the very least, these people say, no serious financial tumult, such as a default by Huarong, is likely to be permitted while the Chinese Communist Party is planning a nationwide spectacle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 1. Those festivities will give Xi—who has been positioning to stay in power indefinitely—an opportunity to cement his place among China’s most powerful leaders including Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.What will come after that patriotic outpouring on July 1 is uncertain, even to many inside Huarong Tower. Liu He, China’s vice premier and chair of the powerful Financial Stability and Development Committee, appears in no hurry to force a difficult solution. Silence from Beijing has started to rattle local debt investors, who until about a week ago had seemed unmoved by the sell-off in Huarong’s offshore bonds.Competing InterestsHuarong’s role in absorbing and disposing of lenders’ soured debt is worth preserving to support the banking sector cleanup, but requires government intervention, according to Dinny McMahon, an economic analyst for Beijing-based consultancy Trivium China and author of China’s Great Wall of Debt.“We anticipate that foreign bondholders will be required to take a haircut, but it will be relatively small,” he said. “It will be designed to signal that investors should not assume government backing translates into carte blanche support.”For now, in the absence of direct orders from the top, Huarong has been caught in the middle of the competing interests among various state-owned enterprises and government bureaucracies.China Investment Corp., the $1 trillion sovereign fund, for instance, has turned down the idea of taking a controlling stake from the finance ministry. CIC officials have argued they don’t have the bandwidth or capability to fix Huarong’s problems, according to people familiar with the matter.The People’s Bank of China, meantime, is still trying to decide whether to proceed with a proposal that would see it assume more than 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) of bad assets from Huarong, those people said.And the Ministry of Finance, which owns 57% of Huarong on behalf of the Chinese government, hasn’t committed to recapitalizing the company, though it hasn’t ruled it out, either, one person said.CIC didn’t respond to requests for comment.The banking regulator has bought Huarong some time, brokering an agreement with state-owned lenders including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. that would cover any funding needed to repay the equivalent of $2.5 billion coming due by the end of August. By then, the company aims to have completed its 2020 financial statements after spooking investors by missing deadlines in March and April.“How China deals with Huarong will have wide ramifications on global investors’ perception of and confidence in Chinese SOEs,” said Wu Qiong, a Hong Kong-based executive director at BOC International Holdings. “Should any defaults trigger a reassessment of the level of government support assumed in rating SOE credits, it would have deep repercussions for the offshore market.”The announcement of a new addition to Wang’s team underscores the stakes and, to some insiders, provides a measure of hope. Liang Qiang is a standing member of the All-China Financial Youth Federation, widely seen as a pipeline to groom future leaders for financial SOEs. Liang, who arrived at Huarong last week and will soon take on the role of president, has worked for the three other big state asset managers that were established, like Huarong, to help clean up bad debts at the nation’s banks. Some speculate this points to a wider plan: that Huarong might be used as a blueprint for how authorities approach these other sprawling, debt-ridden institutions.Meantime, inside Huarong Tower, a key item remains fixed in the busy schedules of top executives and rank-and-file employees alike. It is a monthly meeting, the topic of which is considered vital to Huarong’s rebirth: studying the doctrines of the Chinese Communist Party and speeches of President Xi Jinping. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bitcoin Volatility Puts Weekend Traders on Stomach-Churning Ride

(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin’s extreme volatility carried into the weekend as the world’s largest cryptocurrency continued to whipsaw investors with double-digit percentage moves.Bitcoin traded at $33,052, down 13%, as of 3:45 p.m. in New York, holding below its 200-day moving average other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Dogecoin, also slumped, according to CoinGecko.com. Earlier in the weekend, Bitcoin had climbed more than 8% to move back above $38,000 following a tweet from Elon Musk.A measure of implied volatility on Bitcoin comparable to the U.S. equity market’s VIX indicator sits above 130, higher than the stock version has ever gotten in 30 years. Thirty-day historical volatility in the coin is about 100, some seven times more than the S&P 500 and surpassing the comparable measure in lumber futures, and an ETF designed to pay twice the daily return in crude oil.Investors in Bitcoin are experiencing one of its rockiest weeks ever after a string of negative headlines, with prices swinging as much as 30% in each direction Wednesday alone, when it fell as low as $30,016, the least since January. Even with the gyrations, Bitcoin is still up more than 250% in the past year.The turbulent stretch began after Musk said Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles, citing the coin’s intensive energy use. Another blow came Friday when China reiterated a warning that it intends to crack down on cryptocurrency mining as part of an effort to control financial risks.“Bitcoin has two problems, ESG and decreasing reliance on China, both of which could take some time” Edward Moya, senior market analyst with Oanda Corp., wrote in a note.Other cryptocurrencies also slumped on Sunday, with Ethereum briefly trading below $1,900 and satirical token Dogecoin dropping more than 16%, according to Coinmarketcap.com.Read more: Musk Tweets He Supports Crypto in Battle Against Fiat CurrenciesThe latest warning from Beijing followed a statement earlier in the week disseminated by the People’s Bank of China that financial institutions weren’t allowed to accept cryptocurrencies for payment.China has long expressed displeasure with the anonymity provided by Bitcoin and other crypto tokens. The country is home to a large concentration of the world’s crypto miners who use vast sums of computing power to verify transactions on the blockchain.“It is no surprise that governments are not inclined to give up their monetary monopolies. Throughout history, governments first regulate and then take ownership,” Deutsche Bank macro strategist Marion Laboure wrote in a May 20 report titled “Bitcoin: Trendy Is the Last Stage Before Tacky.” “As cryptocurrencies begin to seriously compete with regular currencies and fiat currencies, regulators and policymakers will crack down.”‘Higher Stakes’A mid-week report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis showed over half of the $410 billion spent on acquiring current Bitcoin holdings occurred in the past 12 months. About $110 billion of that was spent on buying it at an average cost of less than $36,000 per coin. That means the vast majority of investments aren’t making a profit unless the coin trades at $36,000 or higher.“The stakes are much higher now than they were in the past,” Philip Gradwell, chief economist at Chainalysis, said in an email. “This week’s price fall means that a lot of investments are now held at a loss. This is going to be a serious test for recent investors, but so much is at stake now that there is the incentive and resources to address the problems in crypto that prevent it from becoming a mature asset.”Weekends tend to be particularly volatile for crypto assets which -- unlike most traditional assets -- trade around the clock every day of the week. Before this weekend, Bitcoin’s average swing on Saturdays and Sundays this year comes in at 5.14%.That type of volatility is owing to a few factors: Bitcoin’s held by relatively few people, meaning that price swings can be magnified during low-volume periods. And the market remains hugely fragmented with dozens of platforms operating under different standards. That means cryptocurrencies lack a centralized market structure akin to that of traditional assets.“When noise is accompanied by a huge amount of speculation and the noise can be interpreted negatively, you get these huge swings,” said Eric Green, chief investment officer of equity at Penn Capital. “What goes straight up is going to come down at some point.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

As mortgage rates hit 3% again, expert predicts we'll see 4% rates this year

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First Warning Sign in the Global Commodity Boom Flashes in China

(Bloomberg) -- One pillar of this year’s blistering commodities rally -- Chinese demand -- may be teetering.Beijing aced its economic recovery from the pandemic largely via an expansion in credit and a state-aided construction boom that sucked in raw materials from across the planet. Already the world’s biggest consumer, China spent $150 billion on crude oil, iron ore and copper ore alone in the first four months of 2021. Resurgent demand and rising prices mean that’s $36 billion more than the same period last year.With global commodities rising to record highs, Chinese government officials are trying to temper prices and reduce some of the speculative froth that’s driven markets. Wary of inflating asset bubbles, the People’s Bank of China has also been restricting the flow of money to the economy since last year, albeit gradually to avoid derailing growth. At the same time, funding for infrastructure projects has shown signs of slowing.Economic data for April suggest that both China’s economic expansion and its credit impulse -- new credit as a percentage of GDP -- may already have crested, putting the rally on a precarious footing. The most obvious impact of China’s deleveraging would fall on those metals keyed to real estate and infrastructure spending, from copper and aluminum, to steel and its main ingredient, iron ore.“Credit is a major driver for commodity prices, and we reckon prices peak when credit peaks,” said Alison Li, co-head of base metals research at Mysteel in Shanghai. “That refers to global credit, but Chinese credit accounts for a big part of it, especially when it comes to infrastructure and property investment.”But the impact of China’s credit pullback could ripple far and wide, threatening the rally in global oil prices and even China’s crop markets. And while tighter money supply hasn’t stopped many metals hitting eye-popping levels in recent weeks, some, like copper, are already seeing consumers shying away from higher prices.“The slowdown in credit will have a negative impact on China’s demand for commodities,” said Hao Zhou, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG. “So far, property and infrastructure investments haven’t shown an obvious deceleration. But they are likely to trend lower in the second half of this year.”A lag between the withdrawal of credit and stimulus from the economy and its impact on China’s raw material purchases may mean that markets haven’t yet peaked. However, its companies may eventually soften imports due to tighter credit conditions, which means the direction of the global commodity market will hinge on how much the recovery in economies including the U.S. and Europe can continue to drive prices higher.Some sectors have seen policy push an expansion in capacity, such as Beijing’s move to grow the country’s crude oil refining and copper smelting industries. Purchases of the materials needed for production in those sectors may continue to see gains although at a slower pace.One example of slowing purchases is likely to be in refined copper, said Mysteel’s Li. The premium paid for the metal at the port of Yangshan has already hit a four-year low in a sign of waning demand, and imports are likely to fall this year, she said.At the same time, the rally in copper prices probably still has a few months to run, according to a recent note from Citigroup Inc., citing the lag between peak credit and peak demand. From around $10,000 a ton now, the bank expects copper to reach $12,200 by September.It’s a dynamic that’s also playing out in ferrous metals markets.“We’re still at an early phase of tightening in terms of money reaching projects,” said Tomas Gutierrez, an analyst at Kallanish Commodities Ltd. “Iron ore demand reacts with a lag of several months to tightening. Steel demand is still around record highs on the back of the economic recovery and ongoing investments, but is likely to pull back slightly by the end of the year.”For agriculture, credit tightening may only affect China’s soaring crop imports around the margins, said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co. Less cash in the system could soften domestic prices by curbing speculation, which may in turn reduce the small proportion of imports handled by private firms, he said.The wider trend is for China’s state-owned giants to keep importing grains to cover the nation’s domestic shortfall, to replenish state reserves and to meet trade deal obligations with the U.S.No DisasterMore broadly, Beijing’s policy tightening doesn’t spell disaster for commodities bulls. For one, the authorities are unlikely to accelerate deleveraging from this point, according the latest comments from the State Council, China’s cabinet.“Internal guidance from our macro department is that the country won’t tighten credit too much -- they just won’t loosen further,” said Harry Jiang, head of trading and research at Yonggang Resouces, a commodity trader in Shanghai. “We don’t have many concerns over credit tightening.”And in any case, raw materials markets are no longer almost entirely in thrall to Chinese demand.“In the past, the inflection point of industrial metal prices often coincides with that of China’s credit cycle,” said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Group Ltd. “But that doesn’t mean it will be like that this time too, because the U.S. has unleashed much larger stimulus than China, and its demand is very strong.”Hu also pointed to caution among China’s leaders, who probably don’t want to risk choking off their much-admired recovery by sharp swings in policy.“I expect China’s property investment will slow down, but not by too much,” he said. “Infrastructure investment hasn’t changed too much in the past few years, and won’t this year either.”Additionally, China has been pumping up consumer spending as a lever for growth, and isn’t as reliant on infrastructure and property investment as it used to be, said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong. The disruption to global commodities supply because of the pandemic is also a new factor that can support prices, he said.Other policy priorities, such as cutting steel production to make inroads on China’s climate pledges, or boosting the supply of energy products, whether domestically or via purchases from overseas, are other complicating factors when it comes to assessing import demand and prices for specific commodities, according to analysts.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Asia shares cautious ahead of U.S. inflation test, Bitcoin slides

Asian shares got off to a cautious start on Monday as investors anxiously awaited a key read on U.S. inflation this week for guidance on monetary policy, while Bitcoin took a hammering after China cracked down on mining and trading of the cryptocurrency. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was barely changed in slow trade. Japan's Nikkei added 0.1% and South Korea was flat.

Global Rebound Euphoria Tests Central Bankers’ Nerves on Risk

(Bloomberg) -- With the world barely through the worst of an unprecedented crisis, central bankers are already wondering if the next one is around the corner.From Washington to Frankfurt, what began months ago as a murmur of concern has morphed into a chorus as officials ask if a risk-taking binge across multiple asset markets might presage a destabilizing rout that could derail the global recovery.Just last week, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada cited mounting threats, cognizant of the retrenchment that ensued during the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile Bitcoin’s dramatic swings after a warning about cryptocurrencies from the People’s Bank of China showcased how sensitive some markets have become.Pessimists at global monetary institutions can find bubbles almost anywhere they look, from equities to real estate, while officials such as Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell argue any threats remain contained.Central banks bear some responsibility for financial-market fervor after huge doses of stimulus and liquidity injections to keep economies afloat. The resulting buoyancy is at least partly a euphoria effect, applauding a snap back in growth whose scope can only be guessed at -- with eventual repercussions judged to range from a benign boom to an inflationary spiral.“Where we do see more exuberance is around growth expectations,” Max Kettner, a strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc, told Bloomberg Television. “Particularly in the U.S. they’ve been raised to an enormous degree. So that is, I think, the exuberance.”Market speculation has led to heavy volatility of late, including wild girations and drops in Bitcoin from an all-time high above $60,000 in April. More traditional assets are struggling too, with rates on haven German bonds, for example, climbing around 50 basis points this year, closing in on breaking into positive territory for the first time in more than two years.Kettner’s mention of “exuberance” followed the European Central Bank’s use of similar words on Wednesday, echoing former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s 1996 observation of “irrational exuberance” before the dotcom bubble.The euro-zone institution observed the threat of economic spillovers from, for example, a U.S. equity-market correction. Bank of Canada officials voiced similar concerns a day later, and highlighted the housing market as expectations of continuing price increases fuel purchases.Three weeks earlier, a Fed policy meeting veered into a debate on stability, where participants observed “elevated” risk appetite and discussed dangers posed by hedge fund activity. In a subsequent report, they warned of “vulnerabilities” and “stretched valuations,” exacerbated by high corporate debt.Meanwhile Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey recently wondered aloud if speculation in stocks and Bitcoin might themselves be a “warning sign.” And a Norwegian official said that cryptocurrency volatility could threaten lenders if their exposures keep rising.Central banks have had nagging concerns for a while. Already in January, ECB markets chief Isabel Schnabel told colleagues that stocks could become vulnerable to “more broad-based repricing.”In China, with a recovery cycle more advanced than the U.S.’s, the top banking regulator revealed in March that he was “very worried” about bubbles, specifying “very dangerous” real-estate investing.That might be partly what UBS AG Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers had in mind in late April with his own alarming view. Noting “bubbles in some asset classes,” including real estate, he told Bloomberg Television that “we are getting close to the peak of things.”Some senior central bankers are trying to be sanguine despite flashing warning lights. After the Fed decision in April, Powell insisted that “the overall financial stability picture is mixed but on balance, it’s manageable.”ECB Vice President Luis De Guindos -- whose job includes preparing his institution’s threat assessment -- dialed down from its worried tone last week by saying economic risks are “much more balanced than in the past.”The difficulty for central banks is in managing the consequences for asset prices of their monetary policies, a challenge that has bedeviled them since the 2008 calamity. Periodically, that makes institutions such as the Fed the target of criticism.“Central banks are desperately wanting to make sure, be certain,” said James Athey, investment director at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc. “It also means they keep policy way too easy for way too long.”The alternative officials face is to dare to wind down stimulus, taking on the risk of choking an economic recovery with a corresponding cost to livelihoods.Iceland took that plunge last week, delivering the first policy tightening in Western Europe with an interest-rate increase to contain inflation and a rampant housing market.The larger euro area, whose constituent regions vary from some of the world’s most prosperous to examples of perennial malaise, can’t be so nimble. That’s why the ECB recommends “more targeted” fiscal support for companies while avoiding stimulus withdrawal.Similarly, the Fed cited use of macroprudential tools as important to allow monetary policy to take its course. JPMorgan economists wrote this month that they anticipate Australia’s banking regulator will “formalize” debt and loan-to-income restrictions soon.However central banks and financial regulators respond to ebullience, they know the stakes are as high as ever, with the need to cement a rebound from a severe crisis in a world which will struggle to tolerate another one.At least officials can take comfort in recognizing a more familiar pre-pandemic environment: The last time their worries about risk were so synchronized was in November 2019, just weeks before the coronavirus began to cripple the global economy.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Is Buying Bitcoin Right Now a Smart Idea?

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Sizing Up Old Hollywood--Heights, Weights, and Measurements of Classic Cinema Stars

This information is now also permanently posted on the Sizing and Silhouettes page here on GlamAmor and will be regularly updated for your reference. You can also learn about vintage sizing there and how it differs from fashion today.

53 comments:

Very interesting! I'd argue however that the information regarding the bra sizes of any of these actresses over a size 34 band (such as 36B) is very likely to be wrong. It's impossible that a woman like Elizabeth Taylor, having a relatively petite frame with 36" hips, could have a size 36C bra size, at least in modern sizing. 36" bust sure, but I'd guess 32D+ bra size is more like it!

Surprising how small almost all of them were, even allowing for the general population being a little shorter than we are today. I especially imagined Greta Garbo to have been quite tall.

Thanks Irene! You know what? I'm think I'm going to go along with your thoughts on Elizabeth Taylor. You may be right there.

Other actresses may have a 36" chest, though, especially if they're not petite/short. My family is German and on the taller side, and the girls all have bigger ribcages/chests with smaller waists. Just genetics. Also, it's entirely possible that some of those numbers--particularly waist size--were skewed with some kind of corsetry. Or PR person. )

I really appreciate your feedback and will be adjusting Elizabeth Taylor's info the next time I refresh the chart. :)

It's true, Howard. They are much smaller than they seem onscreen. At the TCM Classic Film Festival, my friend Kay (Movie Star Makeover) and I were constantly amazed at how tiny the stars were. Tippi Hedren, France Nuyen, Mitzi Gaynor, etc. etc. So petite!

I was stunned to see how short Garbo was! Monroe was taller than I expected. And Bergman - she was a giant!

Fascinating post. Thanks so much for sharing this info.

Great information Kimberly. I think there should be no doubt that movie actors tend to be shorter, but no pun intended,have bigger heads with more prominent features.I think Garbo was sensitive about her height and stooped to appear shorter, and probably had her height fudged too. I always like to try to figure out when "the box" was used in scenes when the male lead stood next to the female lead.

I know, Silver Screenings! There are a lot of surprises in there. Interesting that you pointed out Bergman--I believe that her height added to the tension between her and Bogart on CASABLANCA. One of my future updates on the chart will include some of the men's heights against their popular co-stars, such as Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. :)

Thanks Christian! I think of "the box," too. even in still images. I can't even imagine what that does to the male ego when they're the ones on "the box" next to their female co-star. Yikes. And not surprised to hear about Garbo stooping a bit to compensate for her height. Even I have to remind myself to stand up straight since I'm so much taller than the average woman (5Ɗ") and man (5Ǝ"). That said, I still love being tall! :)

Interesting statistics! Obviously, Sophia Loren was (and may still be) the classic hourglass. I am suspicious, though, that in some cases the data came from studio PR.

Thanks Patricia! Sophia is stunningly beautiful and a perfect representative of that hourglass shape. And you're right to be suspicious--some numbers we know came straight from studio PR (e.g. numbers given in fan magazines). But at the very least we can get a sense of their size and how they compared with the rest of Hollywood. On that note, I plan on adding a few men the next time I update the chart so we can see the ladies next to their co-stars. Always interesting. )

1) Amazed at all the folks who think that 5ƌ 1/2" is short- (Garbo) That's well above average for an actress even today. (Actresses, not models!) The only thing I see that seems wildly impossible is Carole Lombard's weight in relation to her measurements. Even with her smaller bust, to have a 28"waist and 38" hip and claim 112 pounds is nearly impossible. (Speaking as a 5ƌ" 37-25-38 who weighs over 140.) )

Thanks for the input, Veronica! I love how much everyone is studying this information. I definitely will keep your comments in consideration when I do the next update on the chart. I agree that 112 seems a bit unrealistic if those are indeed her measurements.

Interesting but dubious. The stats show Jane Russell as having smaller hips than Marilyn Monroe but if you look at them together in the
movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that obviously is not true.

Thanks for your feedback, Anonymous. Not sure if you saw my disclaimers galore about the list, which include:

1) These numbers were taken at various points of these stars' careers--some at very start, some at their height, and some later on. It is highly unlikely that the numbers for Marilyn and Jane, for example, were recorded at the same point during their GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.
2) These numbers do not take the weight fluctuation of the stars into consideration, and some--such as Marilyn--had much more fluctuation than others.
3) These numbers were sometimes provided by studios' PR folks for magazine copy, so they were definitely idealized (just like today's PR folks do and all the photoshopping that goes on).

This list is compiled more for entertainment, though I am often taking numbers from the studios themselves as well as some costume designers for the stars. Just interesting to see them all together, especially when it comes to the variety of heights!

Carole Lombard's height has been a subject for debate for some time. She's been listed at everything from 5ƈ" to 5ƌ" in his Lombard bio "Screwball," Larry Swindell states she was 5Ɗ 1/2", while Jean Garceau, longtime personal secretary for both Lombard and Clark Gable, said Carole was a mere 5ƈ". And the site carolelombard.org (independent from my carole-and-co.livejournal.com site) says she was listed at 5Ƌ 1/2" on her driver's license other stats there include a weight of 112, glove size 6 1/4, stocking size 9 and lingerie size 32.

Loretta Young was taller than generally believed -- her relatives have told me she was between 5ƌ" and 5ƍ", but didn't reach her full height until age 21 (in 1934, meaning she literally grew up on screen!). And the youngest sister of the Young clan, Georgiana, topped out at about six feet, making her a giantess by ཤs standards. As a result, she focused more on modeling than acting before marrying Ricardo Montalban. (There's an amusing photo from the early ླྀs showing Georgiana doing the twist with designer Jean Louis, who would become Loretta's last husband. He's semi-crouching while twisting, accentuating the height difference between them, but even had he stood up straight she still would've towered over him.)

I'm a little fuzzled about their weight. I expect Marilyn to be around 150 pounds because she did have large assets, a large behind and big hips. I think some of those measurements are smaller than they actually were. I'd add a few inches onto all of Sophia Loren's, she doesn't look skinny, she looks very feminine and I'd say her hips are at least 40" which would be a UK size 14.

Also look at the women in comparison to their male stars. I think most of those measurements are bogus and are to skinny, the proportions are probably the same but i don't buy into Judy Garland having such small hips. Look at her standing next to the very slimy Ray Bolger whilst he's in his scarecrow padding. I think she's taller too.

Thanks all for the ongoing feedback. To those who argue with the numbers, be sure to read my intro which is one giant disclaimer. lol Again, the numbers come from different points in their careers, come from different sources (some from costume designers--believable, some from studio PR--not so believable), and so on. This chart is primarily for entertainment since so many dispute the numbers that are out there, and everyone thinks that their numbers are right. :)

Kimberly: I truly enjoyed this list and it brought to mind how much the studios and their PR departments had control even over the stars measurements! Understandable enough when fan magazines and Saturday matinees were the only source of information. Plus, we then believed everything that was said to us by the studios and the stars themselves.
We are now so conscious of our sizes, weight and health in general, that I wish I had a PR person, deciding that 106 pounds at 5ƍ" is "normal". Thank you so much for giving us this great site.

Thanks so much Kimberlee! I love that you really understood the intention of this list and enjoyed it. Yes, those studios really liked to control things, didn't they? Especially the stats of the stars. But it's always fascinating to me to get some sense of their size, especially height when so many of these women seemed larger than life onscreen.

You know, I think I always have something of an ulterior motivation to make people--particularly women--understand that we shouldn't be so attached to numbers or images that are pushed out by the media, seen in magazines, and so on. We are so hard on ourselves and far too often compare ourselves to fantasies that are pushed by PR folks, especially now in the age of Photoshop. We are all unique, all special, and should celebrate that.

The measurements do seem small, but when I went to the Victoria & Albert museum's Hollywood exhibition I was completely STUNNED by how tiny the costumes were. The Marilyn Monroe dresses were absolutely tiny, maybe a UK size 8 for the white Seven Year Itch iconic one, and the ones she looked very big in in Some Like It Hot were certainly no bigger than a UK size 12, and she looked so much bigger in that movie than in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, on screen. The Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce pinafore was tiny. Vivien Leigh's Gone With The Wind dresses, particularly the red one, might have fitted my skinny five year old around the waist, but no adult I've ever met. Even with a corset, I cannot believe she was so slim. I also saw a dress of Elizabeth Taylor's from Little Women in Paris, the one covered in autumn leaves, and that was child sized, both short and skinny.

Thanks Second P! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments. Having an eye witness to how small these women--and there costumes--were helps with those who insist there's no way that these measurements can be right. Not that I'm saying they're iron-clad, but much of the resistance seems to come simply because they're so SMALL. It's just the way it was! :)

Thanks for sharing Kimberly. I live in Denmark we use kg and cm for measuerments. which measurements did you use?

Hi Anonymous, all numbers are in feet, inches, and pounds. Thanks for asking.

Hello, I've heard that Betty Grable's weight was between 112lbs-114lbs. Perhaps it was from the PR studios? She does look slender though. Was the weight system different or the same from today? Is 115lbs then like 1125lbs now for example?

I am disappointed you left out Greer Garson.

Thanks for your interest, Anonymous #2. Betty Grable was actually a lot tinier than she looked on film. I've seen some of her costumes up close and they are so small! And that weight that you mention may have been toward the beginning of her career as well. Though sizes have dramatically changed over the years (and are essentially meaningless because of it), weight is still measured just the same as always. A pound is still a pound. ) Women were simply much smaller back then, as any vintage dealer will tell you.

And yes, Anonymous #3--Greer Garson! I'll definitely include her in any future updates. Thanks!

Thanks for compiling and sharing--this is fascinating! Veronica's comment above illustrated to me just how much all numbers—sizes, measurements, or pounds are relative to frame, body mass, weight distribution, etc. and are thus pretty meaningless. As a 5ƌ" 34-25-37 weighing 113, Veronica and I may have similar measurements but different weights. One of us probably looks more like Marilyn Monroe, and the other Grace Kelly! I recently saw the Grace Kelly exhibition in PA, and was shocked that her wardrobe looked perfectly sized for me. I think no matter their actual size, these stunning women always appear larger than life on screen. :)

Thanks so much, Discerning Dilletante! I appreciate that you really get the purpose and spirit of this list. And you're absolutely right--one can have similar measurements and different weights. So much is discussed about our different diets today (generally, a negative, when it's brought up), but we are also very different in how active we are. There are many more women athletes today, and muscle weighs more than fat. That means a gal today may have the same measurements as one of these stars, but weigh more.

And, as you agreed with me, these numbers--especially dress sizes--are essentially meaningless. I put this chart together more to bring these people more to life as we only see them in two dimensions on the silver screen. I also wanted to call more attention to the genius of the costume designers, who make these people seem taller, slimmer, whatever.

Fascinating to me that measurements are generally available for the women, but not for the men. With men, only heights are available.

Thanks again for your interest and comments!

Maybe if you calculate hip to waist ratio you can determine if some of these measurements are more or less accurate. Ex. Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren had .70 hip to waist ratio. If you're interested.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1306012/Beauty-summed-To-tell-womans-really-attractive-figures.html

There's a concept known as "paleo-future," examining how the past envisioned the future would be. Some results are accurate, others wildly inaccurate, still others verging on the absurd.

In December 1949, with the half-century on the horizon, the Associated Press ran a story which predicted that in 2000, the average height of the American woman would be close to, or perhaps over, six feet tall. Last I checked, U.S. womanhood had not developed into a society of giants.

First I was like, "Hey, why is Katharine Hepburn all the way at the bottom?' They I was like, "Oh, they're in height order. and she was hella tall. " I feel smart. I also love that she and I have literally the same measurements, minus one inch in height. That might be tmi, but I am very proud!

Happy to hear you found your favorite actress, Margaret AND that you and she have such similar measurements. I can imagine how happy you are about that. It's a fun chart, isn't it?

Very interesting! I'm always looking up heights & stats when watching TCM & the silver screen & even modern screen does make them all appear larger than life! Followed your link & loved seeing how little most of the men were ☺. You forgot to put one of the biggest men on there, possibly the tallest, to the point they occasionally lied about his height stating he was shorter! Rock Hudson was 6ƌ"! That was practically a giant for those days. Again, thank you for having all this infotmation in one spot. It is surprising how much larger we've all become as a whole in just 70 or so years with easier access to nutrition & vitamins. Like going on a historic tour & looking at their tiny little beds & thinking 'how did they sleep in that?'

Dress sizes where numbered differently in the classic era. They converted all of the dress sizes in the late 60 early 70's to the standars we now have.

Stopped by to say they really were 112 and those measurements in the 1940's. My Aunt won a beauty contest in 1945 and weighed exactly that..great figures too. I was in college in the 70's and a size 7 5Ɗ 105 35/22/35 no girdle nothing. We had much smaller waist. I joke it's the hormones in the milk now. But then they moved the Size 7 to a 4 to accommodate the weight problem. I have my old clothes and I go into them to figure out the old sizes. Go to a vintage store you can see it. When I was a child those women were still around the H.S. beauties of the 40's and 50's and they really were gorgeous they had glamour.

Forgot to say they moved the sizes again in the 80's and 90's both decades. Always down to a smaller size so people could weigh more..that's what I mean by a 7 is now a 4.

Forgot to say they moved the sizes again in the 80's and 90's both decades. Always down to a smaller size so people could weigh more..that's what I mean by a 7 is now a 4.

Thanks for your comments, Marilyn! You're right about the changes in sizes--if you go to my Vintage Sizes & Silhouettes permanent page, you'll see this chart and a huge discussion on the evolution of sizing in women's clothing. The bottom line is that essentially it's meaningless because it has changed so much. There's also a chart on the men's sizes there, though only heights are available for the men (versus all the measurements for the women).

I stood next to Raquel Welch once --this was at an airport-- I am 5Ƌ and Raquel, even with high heels (I had on flats) was at shorter than I. I put her at no more than 5ƈ.
Thank you

I saw Elizabeth Taylor when she was still married to Eddie Fisher. I would guess her to be 5Ɖ". She was thin at the time and had a low cut sun dress on and she really filled out the top and very small waist. Her face was beautiful beyond belief. Never saw a pic that captured her beauty.

Saw Debbie Reynolds at a party and was amazed at how petite she was. Maybe 5ƈ.

Saw Raquel Welch at the same party. She had on high heel boots and seemed like she was 5ƍ, so maybe she would be about 5Ɗ.

I would say Loretta Young would have been about 5ƌ. Wonderful posture.

Not that it could have made a drastic difference, but it did make some difference in their appearance (not their actual measurements of course, but the perception of them) that they wore some heavy-duty foundation garments back then-it almost seems that the further back you go (with exceptions of course, like the Twenties and early Thirties), the more heavy-duty the foundation garments. Remember that wonderful scene from "The Women" where Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer (my favorite Golden Era actress) and Rosalind Russell are at the fashion show at the dress designer's, and one of the models after the show is strutting around in a foundation garment under a sheer peignoir, repeating "Our new one-piece lace foundation garment-zips up the back and no bones", and apparently that was considered a lighter foundation garment, lol. This was 1939. Also, after WWII when Dior's "New Look" came out, heavy duty foundation garments came back into style to achieve that tiny-waisted, pointy-breasted look-bullet bras, girdles, even updated corsets and crinolines under skirts. Whereas in the early (pre-Code Thirties), Norma Shearer, taking a bath while on honeymoon in the film "Private Lives", asks new hubby to hand her a "bras", slang of the day for "brassiere", which "bras" is not much more than satin ribbons attached to a bit of chiffon (no support whatsoever, not even jiggle control, more of a feminine bon-bon type garment),and little tap pants (a funny bit of business is that she asks hubby for the peach "bras", and he mistakenly hands her the pink, so when she asks for the pink underpants, he mistakenly gives her the peach, lol, a small bit of business which plays up his unfamiliarity into the mysteries of femininity). Jean Harlow was famous (or infamous) for wearing nothing under her bias-cut satin frocks in her movies. Shearer also wore the Adrian bias-cut satin gowns so often in her early films that they were known as "Norma's nightgowns". She usually wore underwear, except, it's rumored, when she played opposite Clark Gable in "A Free Soul". Gable commented to friends on her apparent lack of underwear.

Norma was often on the Best-Dressed lists, even though in her real life she wore a lot of American sports-type clothes, and her chic was the Parisian kind, not the glamored-up Hollywood kind.

Shearer, BTW, was rumored to be app 5Ɖ", and was short-legged and long-waisted, as were many famous actresses-Stanwyck was another, Edith Head spoke of designing her dresses and suits to have a waistline which was higher in front and lower in back to lengthen her line. If you look, you may also notice sometime that Stanwyck, a former Follies Girl, had the famous Follies walk, where she kind of "dragged" her feet as if she were always trailing a mink stole behind her. Rita Hayworth also had that walk (though she was never a Follies Girl, she was a trained dancer, but now I wonder if it had something to do with the platform shoes in vogue in both their heydays). Natalie Wood did it to perfection in "Gypsy" after she becomes a famous strip tease artiste (the swayed back, dragged-feet walk, and she literally does drag a stole behind her in one act :) )

It's also true, as another commenter noted, that it's not untypical for actresses to have tiny bodies and comparatively larger heads. This feature seems to hold true up to this day.

Regarding the larger heads-I recall as far back as the silent era, Mary Pickford in her autobiography "Sunshine And Shadow", noting this about herself. Constance Bennett also noted it (and I noted it when watching her, she was one truly petite woman-not just in height, but in build, small-boned, etc-just tiny, except, comparatively speaking, her head).

Jeannette McDonald was petite in height-I've seen 5Ɖ" and 5Ɗ" (5Ɖ" is considered the "official" cut-off for petite height). The only thing I've found in a quick google search regarding her weight is that during an illness, her weight apparently dropped to a "dangerous" 110 lbs, so I don't know what that means her normal weight might have been. I recall in her 1932 film "Love Me Tonight" (co-starring the ever-charming Maurice Chevalier), in one scene where she is giving her vital statistics to a doctor, she claims (in song) that her waist is 28". That wouldn't have been considered large in 1932, at the tail end of the vogue for boyish, slim-hipped, small-breasted, sportive figures. I could wish that shape was still the vogue, as I have it from the waist down, but large-breasted and short-waisted, long-legged ("chic" and "elegant" are two of the many positive attributes I'll never possess, lol ! Don't have the necessary long line required for chic or elegance!) A certain kittenish sexiness was one of the desired styles in that era, along with the well-known Art Deco streamlined look.

Anyway, hope I'm not boring anyone to tears with this trivia, it interests me no end, as the fashions and desired figures, superficial things like that, can say deeper things about the era, as sociologists know. But I'm just here for the fashion, too :)

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this so far.
Katharine Hepburn was always regarded as being flat-chested (for want of a better description). You can see it on screen too..she had an amazing body which had its angularity and posture as the highlights, but not an enviable bust.
If you see the list, Bergman-34 Hepburn 34B?
What I mean is that just by looking at them on screen you can say that the difference is more than that right?

So many things written about Marilyn's weight. When she died, she weighed 118, per the autopsy. It's clear from photos of her in bikinis or mostly nude that she was very skinny in the last year or so of her life. Clearly, she weighed more than 118 in much of her adulthood. I don't know if she reached 150 in a film.

Generally, she looked fleshy, as in The Seven Year Itch, yet people say her famous costume would barely fit on a modern size 2 mannequin. She was pregnant when she made Some Like It Hot, which explains her amplitude in that film. I'm guessing she was usually between 120 and 140 in her films.

I have been self conscious about my weight and body shape for most of my adult life that is, until I learned I am very close in size to THE Grace Kelly. Actually, learning that changed the way I have viewed my figure. Being an avid collector of all things vintage it was great to find out I could definitely fit into a ridiculous amount of authentic antique clothing without much alteration (if any). We are the same height and shoe size reportedly, but I'm 31-25-33 and weigh 115. My dress size today depends on where I get my dress. There actually isn't a one size fits all for me. Typically I fall somewhere between a 0-2 in even numbers, and a 1-3 in odd ones.

They wore girdles and had a different diet which explains the difference in body composition and size. Less refined sugars and carbohydrates + more activity usually means a lower body fat % and a generally leaner looking body. You can even see the difference between 80's actresses and celebrities and the ones from now.

I do not think a size 4 is exceedingly small for a woman. Actually that's a nice, healthy size. Size 4 women can still be voluptuous and healthy while being slim at the same time.

in an episode of I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was crash dieting so she, a size 14, could fit into a size 12. I do not see that she is so much bigger than most of the actresses mentioned in this article. In the 60's the model Twiggy introduced the ultra skinny woman. The sizes on the stars listed here would have qualified as ultra skinny so what gives? I am very suspicious.

Some of these are obviously fudged, especially the waist measurements. Monroe's weight seems spot-on though. At her thinnest she was only 115 but that was the last year of her life. The heaviest was around the time she starred in Some Like.It Hot. Most of her career she was between 120 and 135. I think her height is a little fudged in this though. She was more like 5Ɗ. And her waist was 25-28 depending on her what her weight was. Ann Margret seems spot on. 120 and more of a rectangle shape (she had small hips).

Vivien leigh was 5"1 on a good day, exact same with Natalie Wood. 5"1. Not 5"3. Wood was proud of being the same size as her idol, and reportedly borrowed her dress from "streetcar" for a costume ball, without needing any adjustment. I saw both women's dresses from GWTW and "rebel without a cause" in museums. They literally looked like baby gap frocks.

Hi,
I really appreciate this chart of starlet sizes. It's absolutely fascinating! I was wondering could you add Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne to the list?

My size is close to Vivien Leigh except i have flat chest only 31 lol silly me!


The hardest question to answer

Since I am moving to Morningside at the end of July, presumably, I have been doing a lot of research and am at the end of my rope. After countless hours of analysis, debating, and deep self-reflecrion, I realized I lack the expertise to find the answer I seek. So, as a humbled and broken man, I come to here as a last resort in hopes of salvation. So my question is:

Where is the first place I should eat at after moving to NYC?

I am talking the best food! I want it to blow my hair back. I want to see God (even though I am not religious). After the meal, I want to be inspired to commit my life to building a time machine just so I can go back and relive the experience of tasting it for the first time over and over again.

Also, it does not have to be in Morningside and the whole meal doesn't have to occur at one restaurant.

Provided anything is open, the best restaurant experiences I've had in New York are Sushi Noz, Jean-Georges, Eleven Madison Park, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in that order. People have militant opinions about the above, be warned.

Inside Morningside heights my favorite is V&T's pizzeria (criminally underrated-- don't come at me, Mama's Too people, I truly think it's better than MT), and Max Soha is great too. Tartina has some excellent pasta and a beautiful interior with friendly staff. Thai Market is an incredible lunch option. Go to Red Rooster in Harlem at some point, it's extremely good and an underrepresented style of cooking in the city. The best coffee is from Oren's and it isn't even close. Absolute Bagels is an Absolute Treasure, just don't go on a Sunday. Egg bagel (untoasted, of course) with scallion cream cheese was famously proven to be the optimal order by the math department a few decades ago. Every bar in Morningside heights essentially sucks except for 1020 which somehow integer underflows with its shittiness and becomes gold. The Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlburg flop "The Other Guys" has a bar montage entirely filmed inside 1020 and set to "Imma Be" by the Black Eyed Peas. I did a shot of captain morgan with Martin Shkreli here once. Imagine naming your bar just its street number.

The best dessert experience I've had in the city is Chɺn teahouse in the LES Grace Street in Ktown is also excellent. Honorable mentions go to Baar Baar for Indian in the LES, Via Carota in the west village, Veselka for Ukranian* food in the east, Sarabeth's Central Park for a classic brunch, and Gaonnuri for 50th-floor luxe kbbq.


Opinion: The New York Times taking down LocoL was like booing at an elementary school musical

When chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson opened the first LocoL near 103rd and Grape streets in L.A., they weren’t grasping for restaurant-review stars. It wasn’t about reviews it was about bringing a sense of “We’re not forgotten-ness” to places like Watts and Oakland, where the second LocoL opened at Broadway and Grand in May. LocoL’s motto is “revolutionary fast food for everyone,” and that’s about right.

But, lo and behold, the Oakland LocoL just got what it didn’t need: a nasty critique in the New York Times food section. As part of a very occasional series on restaurants not in New York, Pete Wells wrote the review.

Wells was in the Bay Area, but he passed up the chance to review the French Laundry in St. Helena, or Quince, which just got three Michelin stars, in S.F., or the equally honored Manresa in Los Gatos. Instead, he went for LocoL, and he went for it with a vengeance.

LocoL didn’t even rate one star Wells blasted it with “satisfactory.” He referred to a fried chicken sandwich “mysteriously bland and almost unimaginably dry…. The best thing to do with it is pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Choi responded with an eloquent post on Instagram: “The pen has created a lot of destruction over the course of history and continues to. He didn’t need to go there but he did…. It compelled him to write something he knows would hurt a community that is already born from a lot of pain and struggle.”

In a text to me Choi wrote: “I ain’t mad at Pete. But, what he didn’t take into context is that none of our team ever had a job before. They didn’t deserve these harsh words as they’re trying their best every day. It’s like yelling ‘booooo’ at an elementary school musical.”

Maybe Wells decided that Choi’s and Patterson’s resumes — rife with awards, stars, books, even a movie (Jon Favreau’s “Chef” is based on Choi’s food truck) — opened LocoL to all critical comers.

In highly seasoned language, I texted Choi back. He might not be mad at Pete, I said, but I’d like to give Wells the opportunity to meet several Grape Street Crips in the Juniper Street parking lot at Jordan Downs.


Contents

Kasem was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 27, 1932, to Lebanese Druze immigrants, Helen and Amin Kasem, who were grocers. [1] [2] [3] [4] He was named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a man Kasem said his father respected. [5] Kasem's parents did not allow their children to speak Arabic and insisted they assimilate into American life. [6]

In the 1940s, "Make Believe Ballroom" reportedly inspired Kasem to follow a career in radio. [7] Kasem received his first experience in radio covering sports at Northwestern High School in Detroit. [8] He then attended Wayne State University, where he voiced children on radio programs such as The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. [9] In 1952, Kasem was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea. There, he worked as a DJ/announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network. [10]

Early career Edit

After the war, Kasem began his professional broadcasting career in Flint, Michigan, later working in Detroit as a disc jockey for WJBK-AM (and doing such shows as The Lone Ranger and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon), WBNY in Buffalo, New York and a station in Cleveland before moving to California. [9] At KYA in San Francisco, the general manager suggested he tone down his delivery and talk about the records instead. [11] At KEWB in Oakland, California, Kasem was both the music director and an on-air personality. [12] He said he was inspired by a Who's Who in Pop Music, 1962 magazine he found in the trash. [13] He created a show that mixed biographical tidbits about the artists he played, and attracted the attention of Bill Gavin, who tried to recruit him as a partner. [8] [12] After Kasem joined KRLA in Los Angeles in 1963, his career began to blossom and he championed the R&B music of East L.A. [14] [15]

Kasem acted in a number of low-budget movies and radio dramas. [7] [14] While hosting "dance hops" on local television, he attracted the attention of Dick Clark, who hired him as co-host of a daily teenage music show called Shebang, starting in 1964. [8] Kasem's roles on network TV series included Hawaii Five-O and Ironside. [9] In 1967, he appeared on The Dating Game, and played the role of "Mouth" in the motorcycle gang film The Glory Stompers. In 1969, he played the role of Knife in the film Wild Wheels, and had a small role in another biker movie, The Cycle Savages, starring Bruce Dern and Melody Patterson, and The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (also with Dern).

Kasem's voice was the key to his career. In 1964 during the Beatlemania craze, Kasem had a minor hit single called "Letter from Elaina", a spoken-word recording that told the story of a girl who met George Harrison after a San Francisco Beatles concert. [16] [17] At the end of the 1960s, he began working as a voice actor. In 1969, he started one of his most famous roles, the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. [14] He also voiced the drummer Groove from The Cattanooga Cats that year. [9]

1970–1988: Acting/voiceover work and American Top 40 Edit

On July 4, 1970, Kasem, along with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds, and Ron Jacobs, launched the weekly radio program American Top 40 (AT40). [18] At the time, top 40 radio was on the decline as DJs preferred to play album-oriented progressive rock. [14] Loosely based on the TV program Your Hit Parade, the show counted down from #40 to #1 based on the Billboard Hot 100 weekly chart. [8] Kasem mixed in biographical information and trivia about the artists, as well as flashbacks and "Long-Distance Dedication" segments in which he read letters from listeners wishing to dedicate songs to distant loved ones. [14] Frequently, he mentioned a trivia fact about an unnamed singer before a commercial break, then provided the name of the singer after returning from the break. [19] Kasem ended the program with his signature sign-off, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." [19]

The show debuted on seven stations but soon went nationwide. [14] In October 1978, the show expanded from three hours to four. American Top 40 's success spawned several imitators, including a weekly half-hour music video television show, America's Top 10, hosted by Kasem himself. [14] "When we first went on the air, I thought we would be around for at least 20 years," he later remarked. "I knew the formula worked. I knew people tuned in to find out what the number 1 record was." [14] Because of his great knowledge of music, Kasem became known for his commentaries on music history that he interspersed with trivia about the artists. [20]

In 1971, Kasem provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail. [9] In the same year, he appeared in The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, in what is probably his best-remembered acting role. [14] From 1973 to 1985, Kasem voiced Robin for several Super Friends franchise shows. In 1980, he voiced Merry in The Return of the King. [21] He also voiced Alexander Cabot III on Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, and supplied a number of voices for Sesame Street. [8] [9]

In the late 1970s, Kasem portrayed an actor who imitated Columbo in the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries two-part episode "The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom." He portrayed a golf commentator in an episode of Charlie's Angels titled "Winning is for Losers", and appeared on Police Story, Quincy, M.E. and Switch. In 1977, Kasem was hired as the narrator for the ABC sitcom Soap, but quit after the pilot episode because of the show's controversial content. [ citation needed ] Rod Roddy took his place on the program. In 1984, Kasem made a cameo in Ghostbusters, reprising his role as the host of American Top 40. [9] For a period in the late 1970s, he was the staff announcer for the NBC television network. [8]

In 1983 Kasem helped found the American Video Awards, an annual music video award show taped for distribution to television, which he also hosted and co-produced. His goal was to make it the "Oscars" of music videos. [22] There were only five award shows. The final show aired in 1987.

1988–1998: Casey's Top 40 Edit

In 1988, Kasem left American Top 40 because of a contract dispute with ABC Radio Network. He signed a five-year, $15 million contract with Westwood One and started Casey's Top 40, which used a different chart, the Radio & Records Contemporary (CHR)/Pop radio airplay chart (also employed contemporaneously by Rick Dees Weekly Top 40). [14] He also hosted two shorter versions of the show, Casey's Hot 20 and Casey's Countdown. [9] During the late 1990s, Kasem hosted the Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony. [12]

Kasem voiced Mark in Battle of the Planets and several Transformers characters: Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I and Dr. Arkeville. [18] [21] He left Transformers during the third season because he believed the show contained offensive caricatures of Arabs and Arab countries. In a 1990 article, he explained:

A few years ago, I was doing one of the voices in the TV cartoon series, Transformers. One week, the script featured an evil character named Abdul, King of Carbombya. He was like all the other cartoon Arabs. I asked the director, 'Are there any good Arabs in this script for balance?' We looked. There was one other — but he was no different than Abdul. So, I told the show’s director that, in good conscience, I couldn't be a part of that show. [23]

From 1989 to 1998, Kasem hosted Nick at Nite's New Year's Eve countdown of the top reruns of the year. [8] He also made cameo appearances on Saved by the Bell and ALF in the early 1990s. [24] In 1997, Kasem quit his role as Shaggy in a dispute over a Burger King commercial, with Billy West and Scott Innes taking over the character in the late 1990s and early 2000s. [8] [9]

1998–2009: American Top 40 second run Edit

The original American Top 40, hosted by Shadoe Stevens after Kasem's departure, was cancelled in 1995. Kasem regained the rights to the name in 1997, and the show was back on the air in 1998, on the AMFM Network (later acquired by Premiere Radio Networks). [25]

At the end of 2003, Kasem announced he would leave AT40 once his contract expired and would be replaced by Ryan Seacrest. [14] He agreed to a new contract to continue hosting his weekly adult contemporary countdown shows in the interim, which at the time were both titled American Top 20. In 2005 Kasem renewed his deal with Premiere Radio Networks to continue hosting his shows, one of which had been reduced to ten songs and was retitled American Top 10 to reflect the change. [14]

In April 2005, a television special called American Top 40 Live aired on the Fox network, hosted by Seacrest, with Kasem appearing on the show. [26] [27] In 2008, Kasem did the voice-over for WGN America's Out of Sight Retro Night. [18] He was also the host of the short-lived American version of 100% during the 1998–99 season.

In June 2009, Premiere announced it would no longer produce Kasem's two remaining countdowns, ending their eleven-year relationship. [28] Kasem, at 77, decided against finding another syndicator or replacement host, citing a desire to explore other avenues such as writing a memoir. He sent a press release announcing he would retire from radio on the July 4 weekend, the 39th anniversary of the first countdown show. [29]

Kasem also performed TV commercial voice-overs throughout his career, appearing in more than 100 commercials. [9]

In 2002, Kasem reprised the role of Shaggy. [8] In 2009, he retired from voice acting, with his final performance being the voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword. [30] He did voice Shaggy again for "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley", but went uncredited by his request. [ citation needed ] Although officially retired from acting, Kasem provided the voice of Colton Rogers, Shaggy's father, on a recurring basis for the 2010–2013 series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, again uncredited at his request. [21]

As for his recognizable voice quality, "It's a natural quality of huskiness in the midrange of my voice that I call 'garbage,'" he stated to The New York Times. "It's not a clear-toned announcer's voice. It's more like the voice of the guy next door." [10]

Kasem was a dedicated vegan, supported animal rights and environmental causes, and was a critic of factory farming. [31] [32] He initially quit voicing Shaggy in the mid to late 1990s when asked to voice Shaggy in a Burger King commercial, but returned in 2002 after negotiating to have Shaggy become a vegetarian. [32]

Kasem was active in politics, supporting Lebanese-American and Arab-American causes, [33] an interest triggered by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. [34] He wrote a brochure published by the Arab American Institute entitled "Arab-Americans: Making a Difference". [35] He called for a fairer depiction of heroes and villains on behalf of all cultures in Disney's 1994 sequel to Aladdin called The Return of Jafar. [17] In 1996, he was honored as "Man of the Year" by the American Druze Society. [36] Kasem campaigned against the Gulf War, advocating non-military means of pressuring Saddam Hussein into withdrawing from Kuwait, [34] was an advocate of Palestinian independence [37] and arranged conflict-resolution workshops for Arab Americans and Jewish Americans. [38]

A political liberal, Kasem narrated a campaign ad for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, [39] hosted fundraisers for Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988, [40] supported Ralph Nader for U.S. President in 2000, and supported progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich in his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. [41] Kasem supported a number of other progressive causes, including affordable housing and the rights of the homeless. [38]

Kasem was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979. They had three children: [42] Mike, Julie, and Kerri Kasem. [43] [44]

Kasem was married to actress Jean Thompson from 1980 until his death. They had one child, Liberty Jean Kasem. [42]

In 1989, Kasem purchased a home built in 1954 and located at 138 North Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, previously owned by developer Abraham M. Lurie, as a birthday present for his wife, Jean. [45] [46] In 2013, Kasem and his wife put the home on the market for US$43 million. [45] [46] After the dueling lawsuits between Kasem family members were settled, the property was re-listed in 2021 for US $37.9 million. [47]

In October 2013, Kerri Kasem announced her father had Parkinson's disease, diagnosed in 2007. [48] [49] However a few months later, she said he had Lewy body dementia, which is hard to differentiate from Parkinson's. [50] His condition left him unable to speak during his final months. [51]

As Kasem's health worsened in 2013, his wife Jean prevented any contact with him, particularly by his children from his first marriage. On October 1, the children protested in front of the Kasem home. Some of Kasem's friends and colleagues, and his brother Mouner, joined the protest. [43] [44] [52] The older Kasem children sought conservatorship over their father's care. [53] The court denied their petition in November. [54]

Jean removed Kasem from his Santa Monica, California nursing home on May 7, 2014. [55] On May 12, Kerri Kasem was granted temporary conservatorship over her father, despite her stepmother's objection. [56] The court ordered an investigation into Casey Kasem's whereabouts after his wife's attorney told the court that Casey was "no longer in the United States". [51] He was found soon afterward in Washington state. [57]

On June 6, 2014, Kasem was reported to be in critical but stable condition in hospital in Washington state, receiving antibiotics for bedsores and treatment for high blood pressure. It was revealed he had been bedridden for some time. [58] A judge ordered separate visitation times for Kasem's wife and his children from his first marriage. [59] Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that Kasem had to be hydrated, fed and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer reported on his health status. Jean Kasem claimed he had been given no food, water or medication the previous weekend. Kerri Kasem's lawyer stated that she had him removed from artificial food and water on the orders of a doctor and in accordance with a directive her father signed in 2007 saying he would not want to be kept alive if it "would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning." [49] Murphy reversed his order the following Monday after it became known that Kasem's body was no longer responding to the artificial nutrition, allowing the family to place Kasem on "end-of-life" measures over the objections of Jean Kasem. [60]

On June 15, 2014, Kasem died at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington at the age of 82. The immediate cause of death was reported as sepsis caused by an ulcerated bedsore. [14] [61] [62] His body was handed over to his widow. [63] Reportedly, Kasem wanted to be buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. [64]

By July 19, a judge had granted Kerri Kasem a temporary restraining order to prevent Jean Kasem from cremating the body in order to allow an autopsy to be performed. However, when Kerri Kasem went to give a copy of the order to the funeral home, she was informed that the body had been moved at the direction of Jean Kasem. [65] [66] Kasem's wife had the body moved to a funeral home in Montreal on July 14, 2014. [66] On August 14, it was reported in the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that Kasem was going to be buried in Oslo. [67] [68] [69]

Jean Kasem had him interred at Oslo Western Civil Cemetery on December 16, 2014, more than six months after his death. [70] [71]

In November 2015, three of Kasem's children and his brother sued his widow for wrongful death. The lawsuit charges Jean Kasem with elder abuse and inflicting emotional distress on the children by restricting access before his death. [72] A 2018 police investigation initiated by a private investigator working for Jean found that he had received appropriate medical care while in Washington, and that there was no evidence pointing to homicide. [73] The suits were settled in 2019. [74]

In 1981, Kasem was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [75] He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division in 1985, [76] and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. Five years later, he received the Radio Hall of Fame's first Lifetime Achievement Award. [8] In 2003, Kasem was given the Radio Icon award at the Radio Music Awards. [75]


EXCLUSIVE: Guy Fieri on Dealing with 'Loser' Critics: 'Anybody That Pays Attention to Hate Is Wasting Their Time'

With multiple top-rated Food Network shows, an ever-expanding restaurant empire, five cookbooks (plus another on the way), his own winery, and a line of sauces, Guy Fieri has proven himself a culinary force to be reckoned with. Despite this massive success, he’s certainly had his fair share of naysayers — but he doesn’t seem to mind.

𠇊nybody that pays attention to hate really is wasting their time. I don’t subscribe. I don’t buy in,” he told PEOPLE on Wednesday at the Carnival Summertime Beer-B-Que in New York City. “If you’ve really got a problem with me and you came and told me you had a problem with me, I𠆝 be interested to listen to you. But if you’re just some loser that sits there and hammers away on some blog form or whatever, I don’t have time for that. Why even worry about it?”

His most recent on-going feud was with fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who consistently criticized Fieri’s look and bemoaned his New York City restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. Fieri concluded that Bourdain’s �initely gotta have issues.”

Such critiques didn’t start or stop with Bourdain. In 2012, Pete Wells delivered a now infamous scathing New York Times review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar—in which he compared a blue drink to “nuclear waste” and gave the restaurant 0 out of 4 stars. Fieri defended his New York eatery on the Today show, commenting that he felt the review was “ridiculous” and that Wells went “overboard.”

WATCH THIS: Guy Fieri Grills Up the Perfect Summer Steak Skewers

Despite these setbacks, Fieri maintains an optimistic outlook — something that was instilled in him from a young age. “I was raised with hippie parents, so I get down with the positive,” he says. “I don’t pay attention to the negative.”

Instead, he keeps a focus on his restaurants and all the good his brand contributes.


Watch the video: How a Legendary Chef Runs One of the Worlds Most Iconic Restaurants Mise En Place (June 2022).


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