And so the winner is? Endeavor. The aggressive, A-list Hollywood talent agency has always been well connected, but things just got a lot better.
Agency founder Ari Emanuel now has the home and cellphone numbers of one of the country’s most important political power brokers. His brother, Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman and former Clinton White House staffer, on Thursday accepted President-elect Barack Obama’s offer to become his chief of staff.
In Hollywood terms, it’s like signing Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Colin Firth (because class is as important as box office) in one day.
Ari Emanuel and his agency have always been big Democratic supporters and fundraisers. But there’s nothing like mixing family and politics to come up with a cocktail of influence.
“It’s a great plot twist of Endeavor,” said celebrity publicist Howard Bragman. “There has always been informal links between Hollywood and Washington. People here produce political events and secure stars. This takes it to a whole new level. It’s all about access.
“The Emanuels are a close-knit family. And now you have two brothers at the apex of two of the most powerful industries in the world. Don’t kid yourself that other agencies have access too. But blood is thicker than water.”
So how will it all play out? Rahm is a famously abrasive figure who once boxed up a dead fish and mailed it to a political opponent. He also has a vocabulary that wouldn’t fly even on “South Park.” But he also has the political smarts to have vaulted over far more senior colleagues to chair the House Democratic Caucus and serve in the Clinton White House as a senior advisor, and he’s considered a centrist, able to talk to the more liberal and moderate wings of the party.
Ari -- model for the caustic agent Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage” -- has a reputation similar to his brother’s, but he wears better suits and has a phone with everyone in Hollywood you’d want to know on speed dial.
It should make for quite a combination, and you could scalp tickets to the Emanuel family Thanksgiving -- and given the way Hollywood works, somebody probably will try.
After hope comes a new message
Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey has updated the visual icon of Obama’s stunning victory.
Unless you spent the last few months at your Albania vacation home (without Internet access or a satellite dish), you’ve seen his strongly colored Expressionist portrait of Obama with the caption “Hope.”
This week Fairey has issued a new strike of the image captioned “Victory.” It also shows Obama smiling. (He has it posted on his website, Obey Giant.com.)
Photos of the new poster are already floating around on the Internet, and you can bet they’re coming soon to Democratic headquarters near you.
Look for them to become the wallpaper of January’s inaugural and a decorative feature of half the dorm rooms in America.
Registration of a young generation
Results are still coming in from Tuesday elections, but youth registration efforts by various groups look to be a solid hit.
Declare Yourself, Norman Lear’s voter registration group, said that more than 2.2 million people signed up to vote using the group’s online tool. The nonpartisan group also sent out more than 4 million text messages to eligible voters reminding them to go to the polls, and more than 5 million people watched the group’s public service announcements, which featured Hayden Panettiere, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, at various online sites.
Rock the Vote, meanwhile, which started promoting youth registration 18 years ago, was also active Tuesday on college campuses in key states. The group’s website claims that 24 million Americans ages 18 to 29 voted Tuesday, up 6% from 2004.
If this were Monday morning in Hollywood, you’d have to call these numbers boffo.
Daunt is a Times staff writer.