Name that celebrity endorsement!

robbins-edwards.jpgIn this inaugural post of 2008, I figured it would only be fitting to stay on the topic of Hillary Clinton (our No. 1 Person of the Year) and politics for a sec. After all, with the Iowa Caucuses a day away, that’s all anyone is talking about today.

Pretty much everything that can be said about the candidates has been said — except, that is, for an exhaustive rundown of celebrity endorsements. And no, I’m not talking about the Chuck Norrises, Barbara Streisands, and Oprahs of the world — we’re just looking at the who our beloved Lower Hudson Valley stars are campaigning for.

Our full report is after the break.

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Christmas leftovers with Martha Stewart: a prison-made nativity set, holiday donkeys, and more good things!

martha-reindeer.jpgLet’s just make this clear upfront: I didn’t actually watch the episode of Martha Stewart’s NBC show that aired yesterday. I’m pathetic, but not quite that pathetic. Still, maybe I should have. According to the AP, it included one truly memorable moment, with Martha showing off a creche that she created while serving time in West Virginia. As Stewart explained, “Every inmate was only allowed to do one a month, and I was only there for five months. I begged because I said I was an expert potter – ceramicist actually – and could I please make the entire nativity scene.”

Alas, when I went looking for an image of this fabled scene — which supposedly includes ornate clay forms of the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, three camels and others she sculpted at a pottery class — I couldn’t find any evidence of the reveal on MarthaStewart.com. No luck on Hulu or YouTube either.

But what I did find, on Martha’s blog (yes, Stewart has a blog), is an image of her two miniature donkeys, all dolled up like Santa’s reindeer, plus plenty of pics from the domestic diva’s holiday party in Katonah. Nothing says “I value my stable manager, foreman, electrician, and carpenter” like a Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart Favorite Holiday Ham, “available at Costco Wholesale warehouses nationwide!”

(Martha Stewart with a real reindeer, not her miniature donkeys: AP Photo/The Martha Stewart Show, Anders Krusberg. To see the donkeys go to Stewart’s blog.)

People of the Year — 8. Martha Stewart

itw_people08.jpgDon’t call it a comeback. Judging by the indomitable growth of Stewart’s empire in the last year, her prison stint wasn’t so much a setback as it was a speed-bump. Of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s 15 licensed product deals, nine came in 2007 (including 2,000 home products at Macy’s, a crafts line at Michaels, wines made by E&J Gallo, and prepared foods at Costco). Add to that the continued successes of her daytime show and magazine, and she seemed unstoppable. That is, except in her present hometown of Katonah. After attempting to trademark the village’s name for a line of home products, she encountered an organized resistance from the chamber of commerce and the Katonah Village Improvement Society (KVIS). Among their tactics: a satirical Marthometer newsletter (themarthometer.com) and two protest songs. Meanwhile, Martha showed up at a town meeting in February to plead her case bearing plenty of chocolate-chip cookies.

Prediction for 2008: Stewart won’t get off that easy. Villagers and KVIS have been trying to organize a Times Square Stewart roast (originally scheduled for early November), a pending lawsuit, and other shenanigans. Next time, Martha, try brownies.

UPDATE: As with some of the other “People of the Year” writeups, there were some breaking developments with Martha that took place after we already went to the printers. The roast did indeed take place, on November 28. But that was about a week after Martha and the KVIS came to a settlement about her usage of Katonah, and what products she can and can’t trademark the name under. To read more on the compromise, check out our post from November 16.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� InTown Westchester, December 2007

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

EXCLUSIVE: A Martha Stewart Roast, without the main course

tish.JPG These days it might seem like Martha Stewart and Katonah couldn’t be any cozier if they were cuddling in a color-coordinated pillow and duvet set, but Katonah resident Bill Tisherman is still taking a few more jabs at the business magnate/ baking queen via YouTube. Tisherman (“Tish” to anyone but Martha) recently posted several video clips from “The Martha Stewart Roast,â€? an amateur comedy show and wine tasting sponsored by his company, Wine For All.

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Martha Stewart settles on ‘Katonah’ kerfuffle

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The great “Katonah” trademark battle of ’07 appears to be coming to an end. As the AP reported, the compromise boils down to this: “Katonah furniture, OK; Katonah paint, no way.”

In other words, Stewart has said she’ll drop her applications to trademark products “such as hardware, paint, lighting and home textiles,” while the Katonah Village Improvement Society and other people fighting the domestic diva have said they’ll drop their challenge to certain other products — i.e. her furniture, mirrors, pillows, and chair cushions, a product like that is already on sale.

It’s worth pointing out that Stewart also already had a line of KB houses that uses the Katonah name, even if the buildings weren’t officially trademarked as “Katonah.” Still the joint statement from Stewart and the KVIS does clearly set a precedent for the future.

Bill Tisherman, formerly of the KVIS, told the AP, “Martha Stewart caved. That’s my opinion. She gave up a huge chunk of what she was looking for and that’s good for the future of this town.” No word yet on what this all means for the Martha Stewart Roast, which was just recently scheduled for Nov. 28 in Times Square. Perhaps instead of a roast, we can just now call it a toast? Ba dum bum.

“Settlement in Stewart Trademark Feud” [AP]

(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Panettiere’s heroism, Stewart’s roast, and O’Donnell’s pundit no-go

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This week’s quiz:

Which local celebrity’s son was just elected to the position of Putnam County DA?

A. Jerry Orbach
B. Glenn Close
C. Judge Judy
D. Chazz Palminteri

The answer is at the end of the clip and after the break.

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‘Martha Stewart Roast’ postponed to November 28

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Woe to the civic activists who dare challenge Katonah kingpin Martha Stewart. As those in the domestic diva’s town have discovered, fighting her steamroller plans isn’t always so easy.

First the Katonah Village Improvement Society (KVIS),tried to ambush her plans to trademark the name “Katonah” for a new line of home products. Her response: Show up to the town meeting bearing cookies. Despite protest songs on YouTube, a court case, and the lampooning Marthometer newsletter, Stewart has continued leveraging the town name for her new line of development houses from KB Home and her Katonah Collection furniture line at Macy’s.

Most recently, anti-Martha activist Bill Tisherman tried to turn up the heat by organizing a “Martha Stewart Roast” in Times Square. Alas, the event is now on hold. Planned for Nov. 13 at the Sage Theater, the event has been postponed indefinitely. The reason? Tisherman would only give us a simple “no comment.” Maybe before taking such a drastic measure, they they’re just holding out for a more equitable court settlement. Brownies, for instance.

UPDATE: Tisherman wrote in to clarify that (a) he is no longer with KVIS; (b) despite some setbacks, their efforts have still born fruit; and (c ) the Roast has been rescheduled for Nov. 28 (tickets at wineforall.com).

“I left the group in late March of last year,” he explains, “specifically so that my use of satire and comedy to poke Martha were independent of their very careful diplomatic efforts — which, incidentally, paid off when a settlement was announced last week. Martha caved, giving up three of her four TM applications, and norrowing the last one to only furniture, pillow, mirros and chair pads. Citizens of Katonah are not doubt sitting more comfortably on that news.”

“Plans on hold for ‘Martha Stewart Roast’ in NYC” [LoHud]

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Matchbox 20’s return, Aaron Sorkin’s retreat to Broadway, and Marthapedia’s rise

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This week’s quiz:

Which Lower Hudson Valley native has been signed on to headline the “300� spoof “301�?
• Mamaroneck native Kevin Dillon
• Rye native Jason Bateman
• Former Sneden’s Landing resident Angelina Jolie
• Peekskill-born Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman)

The answer is at the end of the clip and after the break.

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Chevy Chase, Howard Stern peace talks continue through charity fundraiser

chevy.jpgOn Howard Stern’s Sirius satellite radio show Tuesday morning, he and Chevy Chase chatted on the phone for 20 minutes to discuss their turbulent past and plug Stern’s involvement with Chase’s fourth-annual Green School Auction to improve environmental education and services.

Nearly 20 years ago, peace in the Middle East seemed more likely. In the late ’80s, Stern had a far angrier phone exchange with Chase and his wife, Jayni, and the two comedy stars took brutal shots at one another over the airwaves for most of the last two decades.

But in recent years, Stern, who launched his pro career in Briarcliff Manor, and Chase, a Bedford resident, talked in private and began to work out their differences. And at a recent party thrown by Jon Bon Jovi, Stern extended peace talks to Chase’s wife, Jayni, who hadn’t spoken to Stern since the angry phone call.

Relations improved to such an extent that Stern agreed to auction off the prize of sitting in on his talk show for an hour to raise money for the Chases’ charity, the Center for Environmental Education Online. Money raised through the auctions will “educate for sustainability, the science of climate change and supporting healthy food in schools,” according to its Web site. Bidding on the final auction items ends today.

At the time of publishing this post, the current bid for sitting in on the Howard Stern Show ($91,000) was way ahead of having lunch with Chase and his “close friend,” Chappaqua resident Bill Clinton ($51,500); playing pool with Chase and Bedford resident Billy Baldwin ($4,500); meeting former Larchmont resident Joan Rivers for cocktails at NYC’s Cutting Room and a jewelry gift ($2,500); and having Katonah resident Martha Stewart lead a personal tour through her gardens ($1,001). Check out all the bids here.

Katonah Vs. Martha Stewart (music and lyrics by Marc Black)

First there was, “The Times They Are A-Changin.'” Then came “Fight the Power.” Now, a new tune is ready to be inducted into the pantheon of classic American protest songs: “Chief Katonah.”

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Katonah resident Marc Black penned the comical diddy lampooning Martha Stewart’s attempt to trademark the name Katonah for a line of Home Design products at the request of his neighbors, who have been fighting the domestic diva’s plans.

“In the beginning when they asked me to write it, the idea was to have fun and I just hoped to raise peoples’ spirits a bit,” the songwriter told the Journal News. “Music tjndc5-5epn2p4vysl10igldaj6_layout.jpgvery often grows out of a problem, as all art does, so now I’m kind of interested in knowing if it can have an effect.”

The surprisingly hummable song is currently on YouTube and Black says he’ll perform it live this Saturday at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling.

A few sample lyrics:

<blockquote><div>And while we were sleeping

And the chief was crying

Somebody snuck in

And I ain’t lying (and she’s got lawyers).

She’s the personification of gracious living

Capacious gal from New York City.

She sells in the north and she sell in the south

Cookies made to melt in your mouth.

She could be a good pal.

In the summer of love she became a stockbroker.

While I was getting high, she was learning poker.

She’ll cater to you

She’ll cater to me

Cater to KMart, woo-eee.

Welcome to the neighborhood.</div></blockquote>

More lyrics after the break.

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Tough housing market: Martha Stewart’s Westport house went for 26% below asking price

AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano

It turns out even Martha Stewart isn’t immune to the housing slump in this area. The domestic diva’s  Westport, CT home, aka “Turkey Hill,” which she sold this spring after 35 years, actually went for a whopping 26% below her asking price. Stewart had the home on the market for over a year, with a $9 million price tag. She eventually sold it for $6.7 million, according to The Westport News.

Considering what Martha paid for it back in the early 70s–$80,750–the multi-million dollar sale doesn’t seem all that bad.

Here’s how the Westport News describes the home: “The four-acre property with a three-bedroom farmhouse, built by an onion farmer in 1805, includes a converted carriage house and a ‘party barn’ that Ms. Stewart used to entertain guests.”

Stewart now calls Katonah home, where she lives on a 153-acre piece of land.

And who bought Stewart’s infamous Wesport home? That would be Charles G. Berg, former chief executive of Oxford Health Plans Inc.
He told the News: “We’re not planning on doing very much to it. Ms. Stewart spent 35 years making it beautiful.”