Four Legs Good: 10 Celebs and Their Famous Pooches

 

President Obama recently took some time out of his busy schedule to tell CNN’s Chris Cuomo about the latest addition to the First Family: a puppy named Sunny, who is Bo’s new playmate. It seems that if anything can distract us from the task at hand, it’s our canine companions. But often they are central to the task at hand, like Andy Warhol’s dachsunds, who were depicted in his paintings and were also regular subjects in his diaries. Here’s a look at ten famous Fidos—some of which have stolen the show from their celebrity guardians.

Alan Cumming, Honey and Leon

Actor Alan Cumming, who has two dogs—Honey, a Collie-Shepherd mix, and Leon, a shorthaired Chihuahua—claims his friends don’t think he’s a crazy dog person, although he admits, "My day is kind of focused around them." He may not be crazy, but his melodramatic Masterpiece Mystery! introductions—usually featuring arrestingly effective eyebrow raises, sideways glances and duck faces—hint at a wild and crazy guy within.

Rachael Ray and Isaboo

Rachael Ray brought her beloved dog Isaboo on her talk show to get microchipped in front of a live studio audience, urging all dog guardians to do the same with their precious pups. I honestly never gave much thought to Ray until I saw this segment and found out more about her work helping shelter dogs. I’ll have to try whipping up her Marsala Mushroom Ragout after all.

 

Picasso and Lump

This cute little animation by Raza Shah features Pablo Picasso’s famous line drawing of a dachshund (thought to be the artist’s own beloved dog Lump). In 2006, photographer David Douglas Duncan published the book Picasso and Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey, which revealed the duo’s close relationship through photographs taken in 1957 at the artist’s mansion in Cannes. Apparently, Lump was in charge.

Louis C.K.: An Old Woman and Her Dog

OK, so this clip isn’t about a celebrity and their dog. But it’s a celebrity talking about a dog; specifically it’s a bit about an old lady and her dog that comedian Louis C.K. performed in Phoenix in February that is pretty damn funny. Not sure if Louie is lucky enough to have a dog. I’ve seen him walking with his daughters, though. He was in a rush and all sweaty, kind of like his character in his awesome FX television series, Louie.

In the excellent heist film High Sierra (1941), Humphrey Bogart’s character Roy is befriended by a homeless mutt named Pard, played by the actor’s own dog, Zero.

Parker Posey and Gracie

The fact that I’ve seen Parker Posey and her dog Gracie walking around my neighborhood on several occasions isn’t surprising. According to Gawker, "everyone’s had a run-in with Parker Posey’s devil-dog"—though I’ve never seen anything other than a cute little canine behaving very well. But I’d hate to see what happens if Gracie ever lost her squeaky toy.

Ryan Gosling and George

Note to celebrities who don’t like talking about themselves on talk shows: Bring your dog. In 2011, when Ryan Gosling was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the actor brought along his dog George. "He’s more interesting than I am," said Gosling, "so I thought it would be helpful."

Susan Sarandon, Penny and Rigby

When she stopped by The View, Susan Sarandon brought her two dogs, Penny, who was in at least two of the Academy Award winner’s films: Arbitrage and Cloud Atlas, and Rigby, "who just got out of rehab."

Kevin Spacey and Boston

In May, actor Kevin Spacey adopted a shelter dog from the Surry County Animal Shelter in North Carolina. The two-time Academy Award winner named her Boston in honor of the city. Two more reasons to love this guy.

The Obamas, Bo and Sunny

The White House recently unveiled the newest member to the First Family, Sunny, who seems to enjoy the first First Dog, Bo. Both of them are Portuguese Water Dogs, chosen partly because they are hypoallergenic, as Malia’s allergies require a breed that doesn’t shed. "Bo was starting to look a little down in the dumps inside the house," the pack leader-in-chief told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. "And Sunny, the new dog. she’s only a year old, and the truth is, she’s faster than he is. She jumps higher, she’s friskier…[Bo] is trying to keep up. But I think that ultimately, he’s loving it. I think that ultimately, it’s going to be great for him in the long term."

South Beach Wine & Food Festival Returns With the Usual Madness

Too many ethereal, caramel-flavored sips of Ron Zacapa rum. Too many calorie-swollen cookie pops. Too much caviar and charcuterie and foofy French champagne and s’mores made with homemade blow-torched marshmallows. Too many short-skirted, wannabe basketball wives wearing platform heels in the sand. All. Too. Much. But then, that’s the legacy of the four-day Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Too much is never too much. Over-the-top is where the conversation starts.

Case in point? Last Friday night, Food Network’s Robert Irvine hosted his Party Impossible at 1111 Lincoln Road, the swanky parking garage that doubles as a Spartan party spot when customers of the Lincoln Road Mall aren’t clamoring to park their BMW Z4s for a day of shopping for wrap dresses. It’s a stunning space, with open-air views of Miami Beach’s skyline and concrete pillars illuminated pink for the evening like a taffeta prom dress.

Irvine appears in a three-sizes-too-small black body shirt and two-sizes-too-small head. Unable to get the attention of the hundreds in attendance, he is goaded by Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello to dangle upside down while making a 6-foot-long hoagie. Why? Because Irvine hosted Dinner: Impossible, a series which, after it ran out of implausible challenges, begat the show Restaurant: Impossible. (The only thing left: Impossible: Impossible.) Clearly he can do a pointless sandwich assembly in 60 seconds inverted like a hypodermic needle.

Irvine is hoisted by the ankles and a table bearing meats and cheeses and is rolled beneath him. As Chiarello goads the crowd, Irvine slaps cold cuts on the giant loaf like a Subway sandwich artist who has given his two-weeks notice.

Cue the dirty jokes. Lots of references to meat and beef and thickness and length as Irvine piles gang bangs of deli staples in Plato’s Retreat-like clumps. Half-toasted peri-menopausal women in the crowd jump to rub Irvine’s rib roast abs, spilling their mojitos in the process. Sixty seconds later, a sub that only Jared could love is proclaimed “finished.” Sandwich: Inedible.

But the sandwich isn’t really the point. The spectacle is king at #sobewff. Food, which used to be the focus, now is more of a prop than a raison d’être for the festival’s being.

How else can you explain a quarter-mile length series of tents built directly on the beach sand only a Frisbee-throw from the Gulf Stream? Think of it: you’ve saved enough for a vacation during February from the icy climes of Finland. You’ve spent thousands to bring your pale Finn wife and your translucent offspring 3,500 miles for a holiday. And then you find your view to be blocked by a Pentagon-size pup tent. You’d probably be one angry Scandinavian (assuming such a thing actually exists).

But the thing is: the festival blends into its environment.

Miami Beach is the kind of place where breakbeat dance mixes are the backing soundtrack for the personal injury radio ads. As if you could go to court to sue for a slip-and-fall and be awarded punitive damages by Judge DJ Skrillex. If that’s too subtle a sign, then your first sighting of unwanted midlife halter-top side-boob should orient your compass.

Miami Beach is where actors audition for South Beach Tow by parking next to fire hydrants. It’s a sandy, salt-rimmed enclave where moneyed MILFs go almost topless on the beach but wear wide-brim hats for sun protection. The plain, white, v-neck t-shirt is the standard evening tuxedo. (You don’t want to know what the cummerbund is.)

A four-day bacchanal of this magnitude in this setting is nothing for the one percenters — or at least the fraction of that fraction that actually cares about the difference between a Montepulciano and a Montuni.

Festival organizers know expectations are high. That’s why they give each visitor who ponied up the $225 a pop to get into the Grand Tasting Village a swag bag filled with food magazines, tins of Illy espresso coffee, Keffir sunglasses, and lanyards that let your wine glass nestle between your cleavage. It’s also why sponsors clamor to attach their brands to the event. So plentiful were the American Express banners dangling from the ceiling of the tasting tents that it looked like a Great Hall of Credit Card Flags. Whole Foods built a nearly full-size open-air pop-up market. KitchenAid trotted out mixers, blenders, and other appliances positioned in perfect rows like goose-stepping soldiers.

As if the lure of unlimited booze and bicep-size shrimp wasn’t enough, Food Network, Travel Channel, and Cooking Channel stars spill into every corner of the four-day shindig. See Andrew Zimmern discuss the finer points of grilling octopus. See Nadia G rock a dress so short it shows the rest of her last name. Watch the princess of all media Rachael Ray declare herself the “Queen of the Burger” to absolutely no applause from the hundreds of fans in the audience.

In this proximity, SoBe is a lot like a NASCAR weekend. You get close enough to shake the hand or get the autograph of a real live food star. You get to see someone like Alex Guarnaschelli look way younger in person than her hyperscowly TV self. You see Emeril Lagasse, looking very much like a Jonas Brothers grandfather, hugging Latin heartthrob chef Aaron Sanchez out of network context.

But then you get some truly spectacular moments, such as Saturday night’s Diamond Dishes event. With chefs Michelle Bernstein, Laurent Tourondel, Scott Conant and Hedy Goldsmith turning out amazing food on each base at the pristine, new $515 million Marlins Park baseball stadium, diners ate their way around the horn on a field that has yet to be played upon. Such is the pull of SoBe: they get first glimpse. And they get to turn the dugouts into VIP party pits.

Or the tribute dinner for pioneering Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, who announced recently his intention to leave cooking to study philosophy. Trotter picked a Murderer’s Row of chefs – Lagasse, Frederic Delaire, Wylie Dufresne, Patrick O’Connell and Norman Van Aken – to cook for the 600 guests. For good measure, Anthony Bourdain was master of ceremonies. Not since the Dean Martin roasts has a banquet room been so star-studded.

Even at the Puerto Rico tourism table inside the grand tasting, the earnestness was palpable. Handing out sips of rum and forkfuls of mofongo, tourism execs pressed the flesh with hopes of luring visitors to the island nation with the promise of an April food fest that boosts the profile of its native Iron Chefs.

That’s the thing which rescues the South Beach festival from itself. Amid the bling-on-bling-on-bling glitz, there usually can be found a kernel of authenticity. At its bedrock, the event raised more than $15 million for the Florida International University hospitality school.

Certainly worth hanging upside down with cold cuts over.

Anthony Bourdain & Co. Celebrate South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s 10th Anniversary

We all know that at one point, the entire culinary scene in South Beach needed a boot camp guest appearance on Gordan Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. I still remember, back in 2004, ordering some fish dish that didn’t taste like fish (hey, aren’t we on the Atlantic here?), which I sent back only to have them bring me another fish that tasted even more unidentifiable. The food sucked almost everywhere I went, and your best bet was true, homestyle Cuban food — if you could find it. Thankfully, restaurants in South Beach have ramped it up considerably in the past five years alone, to the point where I can actually recommend restaurants to friends passing through. Another good sign is the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this month with a roster of events and flashy food-types that prove it’s come a long way.

From February 24 to 27, South Beach Wine & Food Festival will spoil visitors with one of the most hyped-up food events in history. Not only was a Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival cookbook published (with a foreword by Anthony Bordain but Alain Ducasse, no less), it will be honored at a tribute dinner. Throw in Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart to host the Let Them Eat Cake event, Rachael Ray bringing beers and cooking up burgers at the Amstel Light Burger Bash, Paula Deen’s Gospel Brunch, and a slew of iconic chefs getting their Croqs on, and you’ve got a feast worth skipping the South Beach diet for.

Links: John Mayer + Taylor Swift, Martha Stewart vs. Rachael Ray

● John Mayer has a crush, and her name is Taylor Swift. What makes her so attractive? Her humility (take note, Jennifer Aniston). Mayer adds: “Taylor Swift is the last person to know she’s Taylor Swift, which I think is totally sweet.” [DigitalSpy] ● Here’s a little insight into the world of Victoria Beckham: She usually wears nothing to bed, loves saying that she eats hamburgers, and has nixed self-tanner. [Us] ● Levi Johnston has shot down Sarah Palin’s Oprah-induced Thanksgiving offer saying it was “a nice gesture, but she didn’t mean it,” and even if she did, it would be totally “awkward.” [People]

● Martha Stewart has some fighting words for Rachael Ray, saying she’s “more of an entertainer” than a “teacher” like herself, and Ray can’t even “bake.” [INO] ● Ladies get ready for “your version” of The Hangover; entitled Desperados, it will follow Isla Fisher and a group of cohorts in Mexico, where hijinks will no doubt ensue. [Paste] ● Gerard Butler pulled a Michael Jackson for the paparazzi, dangling a plant with a towel wrapped around it, mimicking the infamous Blanket incident. Too soon, Gerard, too soon. [CelebGossip]

The Top-Earning Chefs

Stephanie Izard might be bragging to all her friends that she’s some kind of a top chef, but everyone knows the real top chefs are the top-earning ones. Forbes, pathological ranker of wealth, has listed the top ten best-paid chefs. It used to be that Wolfgang Puck was the only celeb chef around (Spago is the tits), but with the rise of the Food Network and shows like Iron Chef, what you do with duck confit can get you just as noticed as the famous mouths you feed.

Rachael Ray sautéed into the top spot with some old-fashioned Oprah endorsements, a few TV shows, a book or two, and of course, an FHM spread. No restaurant needed. Mario Batali, who plops in at number 7, has had some success on TV — but his riches come from his 13 restaurants, Babbo and Lupa, among them. Renegade gourmand Anthony Bourdain makes an obvious appearance (#10), although his show No Reservations is probably more responsible than his string of Les Halles eateries. One of the faces of Top Chef, Tom Colicchio, is also listed, but not just as a judger of food. He also dishes it out at Craft, Craftsteak, and ‘whichcraft in NYC. Sushi emperor Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is fourth, the reason being the first four letters of his first name.