Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Joan Crawford, the Waldorf Astoria, Times Square and Moi

Poster from Feud and right : Joan Crawford
There is a new movie Feud about to hit our screens staring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon and it
looks sensational. It tells the tale of the rivalry between two Hollywood legends, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.
It brings to mind Whispers part in making the movie based on Joan Crawford's life, Mommie Dearest into a minor world-wide hit. The film was based on a book by Crawford's adopted daughter Christina Crawford.

It was the late 1970s and Whispers accompanied then Daily Express columnist Timothy Swallow (left) to New York to produce a book about famous women. We ensconced ourselves for a fortnight at the Waldorf Astoria. Our madcap adventures in that two weeks are for another time but one incident has now become a legend. Timothy and I on a free afternoon ventured over to a Times Square cinema to watch Mommie Dearest staring Faye Dunaway. The movie was languishing in the box office doldrums and the Hollywood "elite" had turned their backs on Dunaway claiming her brilliant portrayal of Crawford was some sort of betrayal.
We simply loved the movie and early that evening over drinks in a  bar in the Waldorf we created a tale for Timothy's column in the Express: the William Hickey column. We claimed groups of fans were turning up to watch the film and at the crucial moment when Crawford attacks her children with a wire coat hanger, the fans stood up and waved their own wire coat hangers. Silly stuff to fill a column. Within days the tale was front page news around the world and life imitated art : fans began to do just that. The film became a minor box office hit and a year later back in London a producer tracked us down and took Timothy and I to the uber smart Knightsbride eatery San Lorenzo for lunch to thank us. Former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown later recounted our story in her book 1983 book Life As a Party.
Below is a trailer for Feud and beneath the infamous scene from Mommie Dearest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Arrivals

 

Oh the glamour. Pictured is model Adam Williams arriving at Royal Randwick for the races on Monday. Saturday's races were cancelled because of the unseasonable heat with horses being regularly hosed down  to prevent heat stress.


And that's how hot it actually was : for Aussies to abandon the chance of a day betting on the gee gees is unheard of.
Back to Adam. The amazingly sculptured Adam, an ex-boyfriend of celebrity hairdresser Joh Bailey is a model, dancer, choreographer and event compere and he's extremely popular throughout Asia where he is a role model for 1000s of young men who, well want to look just like him. And that gleaming auto is a special edition of a BMW. Everything sparkles! Isn't life so grand at times?

Openings


Wendy Whiteley & Anna Schwartz at the premiere
St George's Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquarie's Chair with it's unsurpassed view opposite the Sydney Opera House is one Whisper's favourite spots on these warm, balmy evenings. Open air cinema takes us back to our childhood when we used to sneak into the local cinema. It had no roof mainly because it burnt off one very hot summer and they sensibly thought, "why bother replacing it?". We were of course so small at the time we could fit between the wooden boards that made up the walls and find an empty deck chair to take in the latest Hollywood flick. It may have been silent film.
 I digress- this was also the location to premier the new film Whiteley directed by James Bogle, a fascinating examination of the career of the late Aussie artist Brett Whiteley. The movie will be released in May and it's narrated by Wendy Whiteley, Brett's widow who has become keeper of the flame for one of the countries most famed painters. (pictures by William Yang)
***************************************************************************** 
Warren Fahey

Picture right is actor Max Cullen preparing for his new role in Warren Fahey's new show Dead Men Laughing.

Fahey and Cullen toured Australia last year to huge acclaim with their show Dead Man Talking.

The new production tells of the lives of Australia's two greatest humorists, Lennie 'Lo' Lower, author of 'Here's Luck', and Roy 'Mo' Rene, star of vaudeville and radio's 'McCackie Mansion' - who are "stuck outside of Heaven's Gate" with the two just about saying or doing anything to get inside! 
 Warren Fahey is one of Australia's most renowned historians of folk music and folk lore. At a Kings Cross party a few moons ago we recorded Warren singing a song he claims was a favourite in the early colonies :  The Kings Cross Harlot's Ball. Here it is for your delight and for bookings for the new show go here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Booted by Wikipedia

It's a sad day when one of Britain's top selling newspapers gets told by the on-line encyclopedia
Wikipedia to clear out their desk and leave the premises. The Daily Mail has been told that it can be no longer be used as a reliable source although Whispers feels quite a few British tabloids could well receive the same treatment.
We here are quite fond of the Mail even if they do nick the odd story from us. We've also made a habit of posting our regular Daily Mail Fails such as this ripper when they reported on the sad death of comedienne Tracey Ullman's mother. In the photo caption they claimed (in several editions) that the lady accompanying Ullman was her mother when in fact it was Australian actress Nell Campbell of Rocky Horror Film fame. The fact both women appeared to be of similar age seems to have eluded the editor.
Alas the curse of Daily Mail Fail has struck again on the very day they get their marching orders from Wikipedia.

 In this story about the sad death of British society identity Tara Palmer -Tomkinson they make some strange mistakes, firstly claiming Palmer-Tomkinson's body had been discovered by her "Portuguese cleaner" and then just a paragraph later claiming her body had been discovered by a 'friend'.
Mind you, perhaps her Portuguese maid was a close friend.



Still, who are we to cast stones. There's probably a blog somewhere compiling some of our corkers.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

David Jones Winter Collection

Whispers as always selflessly attended the David Jones fashion spectacular last night so we could drink many glasses of French Champagne bring the latest winter fashions to you which you simply must have this year. As you can see there was a Media Wall -  a must have at every event, even the opening of a small coffee shop so readers can see yet another blatant advert know exactly where they are. Photographers of course hate love these media walls as they basically date their snaps. When picture editors surf through photographic files for a pic of a certain celebrity they tend to by-pass media wall snaps as they date the pic. Enough bitching. Whispers takes it's job as Nibbles & Fine Wine Inspector at social events very seriously. You know who all these slebs are or you should. They were at the last event. OK Lara Bingle wasn't so among our fabulous snaps you will find her, against that media wall. And the fashions? It's up to you to zip into your nearest DJs and pursue what's on offer. You won't be disappointed

Editor's note : corrected for spelling etc and hack severely reprimanded for supply copy at 2 am after consuming numerous refreshments
Below: Celebrities against the Media Wall!
 Below: models & fashion..a requirement at fashion shows


Monday, January 23, 2017

exclusive: QANTAS drama over Breitbart News

Following on the heels of the drama over the US cereal manufacturers Kellogg pulling their advertisements from the Libertarian website Breitbart News where President Donald Trump is fond of getting his 'news', comes word that one of the world's biggest airlines the Aussie owned  QANTAS are pulling their ads from the site as well.
When a concerned shareholder contacted QANTAS via their Twitter account, the response was rapid which you can read below.
****************************************************************************************

And even more fun & games over the US election, the Inauguration of President Trump and the amazing marches around the world the following day when apparently 3 million women attended the protest in the capital.
 Daily Mail pundit & British TV host Piers Morgan was up in arms with the following tweet:
 It received a quick response from our favorite Woollahra based Hollywood star Sam Neill:
Alas for poor Piers there was a further humiliation to come from reality TV star and multi-millionaire Lord Alan Sugar of the UK's Apprentice fame:

 

***************************************************************************************

The  following message popped up on Facebook (and presumably elsewhere and posted by the high profile lawyer Chris Murphy:


It's all rather sad. Whispers has seen this couple about town so many times and they looked very happy as recently as 3 months ago as our photograph shows. Below: Kelly Landry & Anthony Bell

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Publishing heir James Fairfax dies


 James Fairfax AC (pictures above left with Edmund Capon), the former chairman of publisher John Fairfax Ltd, passed away age 83 on Wednesday at his Southern Highlands home Retford Park in Bowral
James was a great philanthropist and art collector and the son of Sir Warwick Fairfax. In our snap above James donated a substantial body of precious art works of old masters worth then, around $35M to the the NSW Art Gallery.
Barry Humphries at the NSW Art Gallery & one of James' donated works

In 2016 Mr Fairfax bequeathed his Retford Park homestead,  worth around $20 million, to the National Trust for the Trust to preserve in perpetuity for the local community. For the past few decades Fairfax lived and traveled with his companion Ray Hansen who died in 2015.

When the young Warwick Fairfax Jnr, James half-brother launched his ill-fated move to take back the family business Fairfax Newspapers in the 1980s James recived an estimated $200M. He was a director on the Fairfax board from 1957 until 1987, and chairman from 1977 to 1987.

Spending half the year at a property in the UK, James retired permanently to Bowral in 2003. One of the highlights of the social calendar in his Sydney days was an annual masked drag ball where guests, mostly well heeled bachelors from Sydney and Melbourne competed and spent a small on extravagant gowns.
James Fairfax is survived by step mother Lady Mary Fairfax who like James has bequeathed the family home Fairwater in Double Bay to the National Trust on the proviso all her staff live there for life. James leaves behind two half sisters, Annalise Thomas and Anna Cleary, his half-brothers, Warwick and Charles Fairfax.
Below : Retford Park
 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gum Leaf Mafia invasion


WE JUST HAD the local ACCTA Awards in Sydney but this week it was also time for the International ACCTA Awards. Here are a few snaps from the event in Los Angeles. The Big Talk of the evening was the film Lion starring Nicole Kidman and David Wenham and based on the real life tale & book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose.

The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sunny Pawar.
In our top snap is pictured Nicole  with Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar.
 Below is a trailer for the film which is tipped at least for a Golden Globe and maybe an Oscar or two.

And any day now it will be time for G'Day Australia where all those slebs will turn up again for another star-studded bash in LA.



Top row : Sunny Pawar,Dev Patel & Nicole Kidman

Middle row: Zoe Ventiura, Mel Gibson, Kim Wilson and Isla Fisher

Bottom row : Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bob Sings


For your sheer delight: former PM Bob Hawke sings an operatic version of Waltzing Matilda today at the Woodford Folk Festival in sunny Queensland. Whispers can't work out whether Bob was the inspiration for Sir Les Patterson or visa versa.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Death of a Superstar : George Michael


In the 1980s Whispers had quite a bit to do with George Michael.  Working for Wham's then manager Simon Napier-Bell (pictured above left) we filled the UK media with endless tales, sometimes they were true and often concocted but always, always harmless. In fact we named this column in honour of Michael's much loved song Careless Whispers.
In 1985 Whispers traveled to China when Napier-Nell pulled off the most extraordinary feat and convinced the Politburo that Wham should be the first foreign pop/rock band to perform there. It was a surreal experience after European concerts where fans went berserk over any Wham song while in China, each song was accompanied by polite claps from  the audience who were made up of youngsters from the emerging middle-class.
Simon later recorded his efforts in getting Wham to China in a fascinating book I'm Coming To Take You to Lunch.

George was the intellectual of the duo while Andrew Ridgley was the fun guy and together they were a perfect compliment for each other. When Wham finally split the pair remained firm friends as did both with Simon Napier-Bell. Indeed the last time we say George Michael was when he was staying at Napier-Bell's Thailand villa a few years ago while yet another media controversy raged over a London car incident.
George  Michael was a superstar in the true sense and probably one of the world's greatest writers of pop songs. In person he was self effacing, friendly and shy but underneath, a troubled soul who was just pulling his life together following the death of his long-time partner and various bouts of drug abuse. He will be missed.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas to our loyal readers

We get around 2500 regular readers from all over the world every day plus a whole more visiting. This sorta sums up Christmas Day in Sydney. It has everything : sand, a beach, cocktails, Bondi, drag queens, sundshine and a few social identities in that crowd.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sightseeing News

And now some light news: Ivanka Trump has posted a snap on her Instagram page of her current holiday in Croatia with her traveling companion, Wendi Murdoch who we featured a few days ago partying in New York. Is Wendi the girlfriend of Russia's Vladimir Putin as claimed? .

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cate conquers New York

Hugh Jackman, Deborah Lee Furness and Wendi Murdoch at the Park Avenue Armory
Currently on display at the Art Gallery of NSW is the new video installation by renowned German artist Julian Rosefeldt (pictured below) which features Cate Blanchett .
The work presents a series of monologues that Rosefeldt has created by editing and reassembling a collage of artists’ manifestos, from declarations penned by the futurists, dadaists and situationists, to the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers such as Sol LeWitt, Yvonne Rainer and Jim Jarmusch.

Blanchett performs these ‘new manifestos’ while inhabiting 13 different personas – among them a school teacher, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – to explore the power and urgency of these historical words in our world today.
It's on until 19th February 2017 and Whispers will be attending a special viewing next Tuesday. Hopefully there will be some guests of the caliber who turned up in New York as the Gum Leaf Mafia invaded the Park Avenue Armory for a special US screening. As you can see from our exclusive photos it was movie star heaven.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Birthday Boy


It's a very Happy Birthday to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke (pictured here in our exclusive snap on Friday with Labor leader Bill Shorten) who turns 87 today (well yesterday actually). The former union leader won the 1983 general election in a landslide and at one stage was the most popular PM in Aussie history. He was eventually rolled by his (former) loyal deputy Paul Keating.
Whispers often runs into the Silver Bodgie as he is affectionately know, at various social functions and we have featured him on these pages over the years. Always popular with the electorate and he always greets you with a cherry smile and more often than not, a risque joke.
Below: Bob with John Singleton at the opening of Singleton's The Worker's Bar in Balmain (reputedly where the Labor Party was created in 1891) and with wife Blanche d'Alpuget at her book launch Hawke, The Prime Minister, the best selling Australian political biography of all time.
 *******************************************************************************
Photo roundup:
Matty Bennett and partner Rupert Noffs are creating a foodie storm in New York with their successful restaurant The Lucky Bee as celebs pour through the doors- below with gorgeous Victoria's Secret model, Megan Williams
 At the AACTA Awards on Wednesday night at Star City: Claudia Karvan * Mel Gibson * Ky Baldwin * George Miller * Paul Hogan * Cate Blanchett * Hugo Weaving




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Star Power at the ACCTA Awards

International stars mingled with local movie & TV personalities at the 6th ACCTA Awards at Star City.
Below : 1.the always elegant Marta Dusseldorp, 2. Sacha Baron Cohen & Isla Fisher 3. Brooke Satchwell and foodie queen Donna Hay 4. Rose Byrne and 5. Mel Gibson
 

Update on Maria Venuti

 The good news is that entertainer Maria Venuti is on the mend and recovering from her recent stroke. Anyone with any experience of a relative or friend who has had a stroke will know it takes a good twelve months or more to recover from the mildest one so we wish Maria all the best.
A GoFundMe page has been set-up to raise funds to aid in Venuti's recovery and over $3000 has already been raised. The full sum needed is $5000 which seems a little low to Whispers, still, you are urged to support Maria and anyone else going through similar.

The GoFundMe page can be found at this link.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What is happening with James Murdoch?

Whispers asks this question because of a sudden spike in a story we penned in 2010.  It's the tale of how we spotted a 15 year old James Murdoch asleep on a sofa at a party at Lady Mary Fairfax's home Fairwater in Double Bay. At the time Murdoch was accompanying the Sunday Telegraph social writer Primrose 'Pitty Pat' Dunlop (pictured right) on 'work experience'. Our spy disguised as a Tiffany's compact in Jerry Hall's handbag and which sends us regular reports on hubby Rupert Murdoch's movements has produced no news about the Murdoch clan that may have inspired over 100,000 readers from the UK to click on the tale in the past few days.

Read the full story here:

A 15 year old Murdoch and the groom who eloped with his best man in Venice

 

 A screenshot of our statistics shows how readers can suddenly flock from a certain country depending on the current post. As an example, when we published the claim that former Sydney and now Los Angeles based private investigator Frank Monte was heading to New York to work on Donald Trump's presidential campaign, readers from the USA flocked to Whispers at the rate of around 40,000 a day. But why an older tale about James Murdoch has suddenly gained new traction is a mystery.
 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A French Honour

Brian * Emile * and Gene Sherman
Gene Sherman owns the up-market Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation Gallery in Paddington. Now for the second time she has been honoured by the French government for her contribution to the arts and culture presented at a small cocktail party as our snap above shows.
Pinning on the medal is France's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Monsieur Christophe Lecourtier.

And watching were some proud family members - husband Brian and son Emile. Brian Sherman who sold his investment company for $$mega-millions now concentrates on his charity Voiceless started by he and his daughter Ondine which raises awareness of animals suffering in factory farming and the kangaroo industry in Australia.
 Emile Sherman is probably best known as the producer of the 2011 Academy Award winning film The King's Speech. Currently he's working on several TV series : Love Nina and Codes of Conduct, a science fiction film How To Talk to Girls at Parties starring Nicole Kidman and a re-make of the Lynda la Plante Widows starring Viola Davis.
And if you haven't been to the wonderful Sherman Gallery you'll find it at 16-29 Goodhope Street, just off Five Ways in Paddington.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vale Florence Henderson




She was best known as the star of The Brady Bunch.

Actress Florence Henderson has died at the age of 82. Four years ago Henderson was in Sydney to promote a brand of canned tomatoes and Whispers attended a reception for her at the Kings Cross night spot Concrete Blonde.


Florence said she loved tomatoes as her father had been a share-crop farmer who grew and sold tomatoes for a living. A lively, chatty and friendly lady, Florence looked twenty years younger than she then was at 79.








Friday, November 25, 2016

It begins : Christmas

It's a Sydney institution. While others may come and go, Lucios Italian Restaurant in quaint Paddington has been there, well forever. The finest Italian food, an intimate atmosphere and walls laden with art from many of Australia's most famed painters. When Lucio sends out an invitation to enjoy a lunch for Christmas, it would be a sin to turn it down.
Glen Marie Frost & the man himself Lucio * chef Janni Kyritis & Francesa Emerson
Above: famed chef Tom Rutherford * publicist Rae Francis* ABC broadcaster Simon Marnie * Michael Yabsley

Angela Thompson with New Zealand TV star Peter Mochrie
*********************************************************************
Around Town
At the benefit for Taronga Park Zoo,  beautiful Michelle Walsh & hubby Martin Walsh * right: former Labor Party leader Mark Latham with Liberal Party heavyweight Peta Credlin at the Bong Bong Picnic Races

Comedian Bob Downe & drag star Cindi Pastel on the Sydney Harbour Funboat * a feel-good tale about superstar Russell Crowe- read it HERE