• TheSmokingGun.com is known for publishing damning documents penned by celebrities, their mug shots and more. Exposing lies in James Frey's autobiography A Million Little Pieces is perhaps the site's greatest triumph, but lately the site seems to have a knack for uncovering the stars' backstage demands. Earlier this month, the site revealed that jazz singer Diana Krall's lengthy list of dressing-room requirements includes red wine from a list of "premium bottle[s]" she finds acceptable (Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon, Saintsbury Pinot Noir and Matanzas Creek Merlot among them). British rocker Amy Winehouse requests red wine from Rioja, Spain, and "chilled Champagne," according to the site, and rock group The Killers cite Merlot and Shiraz as good bets for their backstage booty. Mellow rocker Sheryl Crow asks for "good Australian Cabernet" and "good Merlot," but Iggy Pop's 18 pages of demands are far more specific: two bottles of "smooth, full-bodied Bordeaux-type red wine … probably French … and something we've heard of but still can't pronounce," according to the site. He goes on to request that the bottles be chosen from specific vintages ('86, '89 and '90) produced in "Médoc, St.-Emilion, Pamerol [sic] or Pauillac." Whoever wrote up the backstage request may have forgotten the spelling tutorial, but like Krall, we commend Iggy on his taste.
• "Bartender, we'll have the Champagne. All of it." Last weekend in London, a partying Dubai businessman decided to challenge his friends, all 15 of them, to a little drinks competition, according to a bartender at the Crystal Club, a haute haunt that commonly serves celebrities such as Kate Moss and Diddy. "[The group] started with a £25 ($51) bottle of Pinot Grigio and some Cokes, and then the guy with the tab said to his mates, 'I bet you can't drink the club dry of its Champagne.'" Alas, he and his friends were unsuccessful, but not for lack of trying. During their seven-hour spree they downed various vintages of Dom Pérignon (28 bottles) and Cristal (40 bottles) for $65,000, as well as one methuselah (eight bottles) of Cristal Champagne costing $62,000, two jeroboams (four bottles) of Cristal costing £9,600 ($19,678) and nine magnums of Dom Pérignon costing £6,900 ($14,149). The final bill came to $216,780. The biggest danger of drinking that much Champagne, however, is what came next: The party switched to drinking vodka and Red Bull. Yuck!
|Hey, let McMahon spray another bottle … he hasn't won much since '85!|
• Insert blind-tasting joke here: For the past two years, Ben Uphues has been hosting a weekly dinner party at Los Angeles' Hyatt West Hollywood hotel in which guests eat completely in the dark, served by visually impaired waiters. Called "Opaque: Dining in the Dark," the concept is meant to help guests develop their senses of hearing, touch, smell and taste as they partake of three courses of chef Phil Beltran's food. Uphues, originally from Germany, was inspired by similar events in his native country and other European cities. "No one cares what you're wearing!" said recent Opaque guest Jamie Mackta and, indeed, dining in complete darkness can also spirit away such pesky concerns as how to cover bald spots, and whether that last injection of Botox in her forehead really makes her look 25 again. (Um, no.) In a few weeks, the event will expand to the US Grant Hotel in San Diego. And for wine lovers planning to give Opaque a try, caveat emptor: "There was one mishap," admitted Mackta. "The waiter tipped over the bottle of wine that was on our table." You've been warned.
• The city of Bordeaux is finally getting the credit it deserves. In late June, a portion of the city was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, a distinction from the United Nations' cultural committee. "The city, internationally renowned for its wines, currently welcomes some 2.5 million visitors, many of whom just pass through on their way to the region's vineyards," explained Sophie Gaillard, tourist office spokesperson in charge of wine tourism. "Today it is entering a new dimension, that of a historic tourist attraction in its own right." The recognition, awarded on June 28, recognizes Bordeaux's homogenous, largely 18th century architectural heritage covering half of the city (4,277 acres) from the outer boulevards to the banks of the Garonne. To celebrate the event, the Bordeaux tourist office is offering a nighttime tour within the area defined by UNESCO to show off the city's most beautiful monuments under the floodlights. Bordeaux is now one of more than 30 sites in France on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The city is expecting to draw 10 to 30 percent more tourists a year as a result of its newfound status.