Bill Maher Takes Posthumous Pot-Shot at Bourdain

June 30, 2018

By Karen

For his liberal, albeit cynical, voice, I generally appreciate Bill Maher. But when it came to Anthony Bourdain, I’ve thought he behaved like a weasely little dick. It’s probably height envy.

The only time I ever saw Bourdain on Real Time with Bill Maher was August 5, 2011, when he joined in mid-debate the panel, which included Neil deGrasse Tyson and Steve Bannon. Tony came onstage carrying a paperback book that was probably Medium Raw, apparently thinking he was there to discuss it. But it was never mentioned.

This clip shows a just a slice of the welcome he got from Maher and their somewhat wary body language…

Here’s Tony’s contribution to the general discussion, when he could get a word in…

Now, fast-forward to last night. It marked exactly three weeks since Tony died by suicide. It was also the last live episode of Real Time before a month-long hiatus. Bill Maher offered a series of “future headlines” to tide viewers over until he returns on August 3.

Among them was this headline about Bourdain…

Here’s video of the whole series of headlines so you can judge for yourself how the audience reacted to Tony’s…

They seemed to me to laugh and applaud as had been the pattern, but then they caught themselves. Maher quickly recovered by launching right back into another dig at Sandra Huckabee Sanders and regained their full enthusiasm.

I’m still scratching my head trying to make any sense of the Bourdain joke. Pairing the destruction of Asia with Tony’s death seemed like a random dig to get in a gratuitous last word. It was a punch below the belt by Bill Maher, IMO.

PS: OMG, OMG, how did I miss the OBVIOUS??!! I just got the “joke.” Comet destroys ASIA!!

UPDATE LATER JUNE 30 : Bourdain had the last word. Lenora contributed this quote to the comments on this post from an interview Tony did on December 29, 2016…

Bisley: A few years back you were on Real Time with Bill Maher and part of the discussion was about people living inside their own bubbles. What do you think of Bill Maher?

Bourdain: Insufferably smug. Really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left. I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He’s a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.

That’s our Tony.

Advertisements

French Now Say Bourdain HAD Been Drinking

June 25, 2018

By Karen

Today should have been Anthony Bourdain’s 62nd birthday, but instead we’re still trying to learn the truth about why the hell he isn’t here to celebrate it, after taking his own life during a Parts Unknown filming in France on June 8. It appears alcohol played a bigger role than we knew.

The day it happened, it seemed almost that the French dispatched Inspector Clouseau to investigate. Bourdain’s death was immediately ruled a suicide with no foul play implicated and his body was whisked off to a morgue.

If only the French knew what fans and those close to Bourdain knew — he suffered from an inexplicable, self-destructive obsession with Italian actress Asia Argento, 42, one of the women who helped launch the movement to take down Harvey Weinstein.

From the beginning, the stench of Argento’s dark, demented existence permeated the relationship, but Bourdain publicly and persistently extolled Argento’s “magnificence” and myriad virtues that few could see.

The two-year affair culminated in two damning series of photos taken by separate paparazzi in Rome of Argento being flirty and intimate with a 28-year-old French journalist. Three days after the photos appeared online, Tony took his own life.

On Friday, June 22, exactly two weeks after Bourdain’s death, the French released statements about their toxicology report, the only known investigating they did — not the report itself…

First it was, “no trace of medicine, no trace of alcohol.”

Then they said, “trace of a nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose.”

That was amended to, “trace of alcohol.”

Now this morning on the Today Show, NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports the French are saying there were “significant traces of alcohol.” And that “there were signs he drank significantly the night before he was found” hanging in his hotel room.

WTF, WTF, WTF?

It doesn’t change the fact that Argento is still likely a major contributing factor, but it could indicate that Tony tried to self-medicate the pain of her publicly humiliating him and then taunting him on Instagram. When that didn’t work, he resorted to permanent oblivion. If he was suffering from depression, alcohol may have been what sent him over edge into the abyss.

At this moment, I’m not seeing corroborating news reports to back up NBC, but I’m just putting it out here as another chapter of the story. To me it indicates there’s probably more yet to be revealed to help us understand.


Some News from the Post-Bourdain World

June 23, 2018

By Karen

It’s now been two weeks since Anthony Bourdain’s June 8 suicide in Kaysersberg, France. He was found hanging in his hotel bathroom by the belt from his robe, and reports now say that he was discovered by the hotel receptionist, not friend Eric Ripert.

The French authorities who investigated found no suspicious circumstances around his death, so the only testing they apparently did was to collect blood and urine samples for a toxicology report, whose results were announced yesterday.

Reuters quoted prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny as concluding…

“No trace of narcotics, no trace of any toxic products, no trace of medicines, no trace of alcohol.”

REUTERS UPDATE JUNE 22: Reuters revised their story to say that a trace of alcohol WAS found, according to the prosecutor, who apparently doesn’t speak fluent English or doesn’t know how to read a tox report…

“‘No trace of narcotics. No trace of any toxic products. Trace of medicines in therapeutic dose. Trace of alcohol,’ he said, listing the findings of the investigation.”

This is what the prosecutor told the New York Times News Service, neglecting to mention the alcohol…

“There were none, save for the trace of a nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose, Christian de Rocquigny, the local prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said in a text message to The New York Times.”

I remember Tony once saying that he took a statin for his cholesterol. Perhaps that’s what the trace of therapeutic medicine was.

What we now know from this is that Tony’s thought process was not impaired by any substance when he decided to end his life. Exactly what his thoughts were, we’ll never know.

Tony’s brother Chris received on June 15 Tony’s ashes and all of the belongings he had with him in France — this presumably included his electronic devices.

If one of Tony’s last acts wasn’t to erase the history on his devices, Chris may hold the key to whomever Tony last communicated with and whatever writing he may have left behind.

In the New York Times story, Tony’s mother Gladys said she was no fan of Tony’s tattoos, but she plans to have his tattoo artist put her son’s name on her wrist as a personal memorial.

Asia Argento’s behavior on social media has swung between melancholy and defiance. Page Six provided a run-down. She’s working as a judge on X Factor for Sky Italia, filming in Turin.

With input from the family, Chris is arranging a small private service for Tony. No public memorial is planned, but I’ve seen these stories of memorials popping up around the country.

Food & Wine reported…

“New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Camden proposed an official Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, which would be established by the Division of Travel and Tourism. In a decision that would seemingly make such a trail authentic to Bourdain’s own wishes, the proposed route would encompass the ten spots he visited during his “New Jersey” episode of Parts Unknown that aired as part of Season 5 of the series back on May 31, 2015.”

Brother Chris accompanied Tony for that episode.

Artists are busy creating murals, such as…

Marcus Zotter in Naples, Florida.

Nathan Lyle and Brandon Barnhart in Pensacola, Florida.

Jonas Never in Santa Monica, California.

Posthumously, Bourdain has been nominated for a TV Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. The awards ceremony is August 4, and here’s who Tony is competing against. He’s swinging against some heavy hitters…

  • “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” – CNN
  • “60 Minutes” – CBS
  • “Blue Planet 2” – BBC America
  • “The Rachel Maddow Show” – MSNBC
  • “The Vietnam War” – PBS
  • “Wild Wild Country” – Netflix

Eater has a preview of the Season 11 Parts Unknown finale in Bhutan. Warning: The opening of the clip is disturbing. And filmmaker Darren Aronofsky wrote about traveling with Tony to Madagascar several years ago, and also tagging along for this shoot in Bhutan.

PS: Tony’s birthday is Monday, June 25. He would have been 62 years old.


New Facts on Bourdain’s Final, Fatal Attraction

June 20, 2018

By Karen

CORRECTION: It’s been pointed out to me that I got my wires crossed in the 5th paragraph below (now crossed out) about the divorce. I erroneously linked back to my blog post of February 2017 where People had just announced Bourdain was dating Asia Argento. The replacement paragraph has a correct link to the original September 2016 Page Six article about the divorce.

I’ve felt like a mouse bumping into blank maze walls while trying to uncover what led Anthony Bourdain to die June 8 by suicide. But I’ve gained a few insights from a source I can’t name (sorry!) who’s close enough to the situation to have unquestionable validity. Please, just trust me.

First, I’ve been completely wrong to suspect Tony suffered from an underlying medical condition. The rumor about Parkinson’s is untrue. He had a thorough health exam several weeks ago and checked out fine, although he’d resumed smoking and drinking heavily while involved with Asia (which anyone could see).

Tony’s ashes were returned to New York on Friday, June 15, to his brother Chris. I believe there’s still no decision among his close family on how to pay proper final respects. Knowing Tony’s disdain for pomp and formality, he didn’t leave them many options.

We’ve established that Tony was with Asia in spring 2016 filming Parts Unknown in Rome. He was still living with Ottavia and Ariane in New York City at the time, although they were all amicably doing their own thing.

In February 2017, Tony told Page Six that he and Ottavia had been apart for some time, which blindsided her and Ariane. He then got his own apartment, but continued to be involved in Ariane’s daily routine whenever he was in town.

Correction: On September 19, 2016, Page Six ran an article based on “sources close to” the Bourdains who said they had officially separated, had been estranged for a while, and that “there was no one else involved.” Hmmm… Actually, they had recently returned from their annual family vacation together in the Hamptons. The public announcement came as a surprise to Ottavia and Ariane, but Ottavia went along and confirmed it with a carefully worded statement. Tony then moved out and got his own apartment.

He eventually confessed to Ottavia that the separation announcement was at Asia’s urging, presumably so she could step up as Tony’s new partner, which was announced in February 2017.

As he did with first wife Nancy when he met Ottavia, Bourdain took no further steps toward divorce. He said recently he never intended to marry again. He still spent holidays and special occasions with his family in New York.

However, you won’t find those good times anywhere because friends were careful not to post them to help Tony keep Asia believing his split with Ottavia was solid and permanent.

I don’t know how Asia expected him to spend five days a month with Ariane, which he mentioned often with fondness, without seeing her mother, but she’s never been known for clarity of thought.

Basically, Asia demanded that Tony lead a double personal life, in addition to his grueling, nonstop professional schedule.

Ottavia’s social media accounts show scant, if any, mentions of her husband after the separation was announced. I thought it was their mutual agreement to move on. But, to borrow words from Princess Diana, it was more because there were now “three in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Although still legally married to Tony and raising his child, Ottavia essentially became “the other woman.”

I’ve also verified the account by the unnamed friend in People who revealed that Tony was so besotted with Asia, it raised red flags among his friends. The word used to describe it to me was “brainwashed.”

To keep my source’s anonymity safe, I can’t provide more detail now. Suffice it to say that Asia kept the affair tempestuous, and Tony would do anything to keep her happy.

The sad irony is that Bourdain proudly claimed his success was due to his finely honed bullshit detector that helped him avoid assholes. In the end, he got suckered by an asshole who shoveled more bullshit on him than he could live with.

Blogspot blogger Bruce Elliott: Geriatric Genius had good rapport with Tony whenever he was in Chicago. Bruce has written eloquently about Bourdain, Asia and Rose. I can’t sum it up any better than he did in his post describing Tony’s ultimate despair, “To Be Crushed In The Winepress Of Passion”

“I don’t think tears of jealousy filled his eyes when he saw the photos of Hugo and Asia. I think it was her calculated vindictiveness. Instead of jealousy, I think he was overwhelmed with humiliation.”

AND: For the record, this article for the Hollywood Reporter from June 2 may stand as the last writing for publication Tony ever did. He describes living his “cinematic dream” of shooting the now-infamous Hong Kong episode. He effusively praised Asia and her work ethic, although Instagram posts by justicefortony and others describe her as a nightmare.

I believe them because Bourdain rendered his whole tale suspect by disingenuously marveling at how Zach Zamboni and two other photographers were lucky enough to be “mentored” by Christopher Doyle.

Zach Zamboni, Bourdain’s long-time director of photography, has earned three Primetime Emmys and seven nominations for his cinematography, yet Tony FIRED Zach in Hong Kong for allegedly disagreeing with Asia about something.

In this article, Tony also revealed he had gotten an Asia tattoo. Scant honor, since he described his body art as like adding dents to an old car. In any case, they’re all ashes now.


Anthony Bourdain’s Death: What We Know So Far

June 18, 2018

By Karen

In case you’ve been under a rock the past week or so, on Friday morning, June 8, in Le Chambard Hotel in the town of Kayersburg, in Strasbourg, France, while on a shoot for Parts Unknown, Eric Ripert found Anthony Bourdain hanging from the belt of his hotel-supplied bathrobe in the bathroom of his room.

Bourdain’s body was transported to nearby Colmar, where it remained for five days, the typical time to complete French formalities in such situations.

The authorities almost immediately ruled it a suicide, but took urine and blood for a toxicology report.

By Tuesday, June 12, Eric Ripert seemed to be back in New York because he tweeted a landmark there.

On Wednesday, June 13, Bourdain’s body was cremated. He was to be returned to the U.S. on Friday, June 15. This is where the story stops.

But backing up a bit…

On Tuesday, June 5, photos of Bourdain’s girlfriend, Asia Argento, 42, were published online, showing her in Rome on Monday, behaving overly friendly with 28-year-old French reporter Hugo Clement. Hugo had apparently accompanied Asia to the Cannes Film Festival, where on May 19, she took the stage and denounced the festival as Harvey Weinstein’s “hunting ground.”

Bourdain had publicly praised Argento’s courage at Cannes.

More photos of Argento and Hugo dancing and flirting in a restaurant were published by another paparazzi in a restaurant sometime over the weekend immediately prior. This was the same weekend the Hong Kong episode of Parts Unknown, which Bourdain had hired Argento to direct and he considered the pinnacle of his career, was aired in the U.S.

On June 8, three hours before Bourdain’s death was announced, Argento posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a T-shirt that said “Fuck Everyone,” with the caption, “You know who you are.” She later deleted it.

Bourdain was not yet divorced from Ottavia, so she is next of kin and Bourdain’s mother Gladys said Ottavia is in charge of all further arrangements.

Now, here’s what we don’t know…

Did Bourdain, a prolific and constant writer, leave a note or anything explaining his mental state?

Who last saw him alive? When was that? What was his demeanor? Did he say anything?

What was the exact time of death? He missed dinner Thursday night and breakfast Friday morning before he was found. That’s a large window of time when it could have happened.

Will results of the toxicology report ever be released?

Was there any communication between him and Argento from June 5 when her photos surfaced and June 8, when he was pronounced dead?

What became of his electronic devices that would most likely have those answers: phone, iPad, laptop? Last we knew of them, they were in a safe in France.

Did he ashes arrive safely back in New York?

Has there been a private funeral?

Will there be a public memorial?

Argento has posted photos and cryptic messages on Instagram, and authorized a bizarre rant in her defense by Rose McGowan. Will those two go any further to claim attention for themselves to capitalize on this tragedy?

AND: Remember the West Virginia episode that opened season 11 of Parts Unknown? Apparently, Bourdain borrowed a miner’s lunch pail for some shooting and forgot it in the mine. That family will never forget Tony. Here’s what happened.


Bourdain Cremated, Coming Home

June 13, 2018

By Karen

According to People, Anthony Bourdain’s remains were cremated today in France and his ashes will be flown to New York on Friday. There’s no word on whether anyone close to him is in France right now. Eric Ripert was there through the weekend, but he posted a tweet early yesterday morning indicating he was back in New York.

I still haven’t seen any results of the toxicology report. And it would appear that no other testing will be done for underlying illness or cause since the body is now gone.

There’s been no memorial service announced, but I can’t imagine that some celebration of his life won’t happen. Arrangements are in Ottavia’s hands.

Asia Argento and her “spokeswoman” Rose McGowan seem to have gone blessedly silent online about what a victim this has made of Asia, and here’s hoping they remain so.

I’ll share some extras that I or Cats Working readers have found. If you haven’t been following developments in the comments on my posts, these may interest you…

Bourdain’s father Pierre died at age 57 of a heart attack when Tony was 20, and his remains were also cremated and given to someone (presumably to scatter). I would expect Tony to wish the same for himself. Here’s Pierre’s obituary with his photo. See any resemblance?

Zamir Gotta, Tony’s zany Russian friend who accompanied him on a number of adventures over the years, posted a link to a “must read” interview Men’s Journal from the October 2011 print edition. It contains a lot of Bourdain’s philosophy of life, and makes you wonder what changed his attitude about perseverance.

Zamir also wrote his own tribute to Tony for the Hollywood Reporter.

Finally, here’s an almost exhaustive article about his life from the New Yorker. It’s the only one where I’ve ever seen first wife Nancy discuss their marriage (or anything, for that matter). Near the end, it also details how Tony emailed Nancy immediately after he had an earlier health scare while he was traveling alone in France around 2013.

Unless there are new developments, such as a surprise in the toxicology report or some writing Tony left behind that has any bearing, it feels as if we’re finally approaching closure and can be thankful for what little we knew of him, rather than grieve over the loss of what we’ll never know.

The one consolation is that he left behind such a huge body of writing and film to be enjoyed for years to come. Oh, and Netflix decided NOT to remove Parts Unknown from streaming this month as scheduled.


Piecing Together Bourdain’s Last Days, Aftermath

June 10, 2018

By Karen

Although the toxicology report isn’t back yet, the New York Times reports that French authorities have concluded no foul play involved in Anthony Bourdain’s death, and they’re releasing his body so his family can bring him home.

Exactly when Tony killed himself seems unknown. He failed to show up on Thursday night (June 7) for dinner with Eric Ripert as they had been doing all week, but apparently no one checked on him.

When Tony didn’t come down to breakfast Friday morning and didn’t answer his phone, Eric had someone from the hotel let him into Tony’s room, and that’s when he discovered Tony dead. The Times story (link above) says…

“When Mr. Bourdain’s body was found, the hotel staff immediately called the local gendarmerie, which arrived within less than half an hour and sealed off Mr. Bourdain’s hotel room for the day. His belongings were put into a safe, and his body was taken out the backdoor to Colmar, the nearest city, where the local prosecutor opened an investigation.”

Tony is in the Colmar morgue until he can be flown home, and the investigation has apparently been closed.

Page Six reported on how the Parts Unknown crew was busy setting up one of Bourdain’s classic market strolls nearby while Eric was back at the hotel as tragedy unfolded. This story also has a bit more on Tony’s mother Gladys’ reaction.

Four days before his death, Tony and Eric dined in Colmar at Wistub La Petite Venise, where Tony had braised pork knuckle, sauerkraut and sausage, which was the last photo he posted on Instagram. The restaurant has since become a tourist destination, with people wanting to see and sit at the same table.

Citing an unknown source close to Bourdain, Page Six reported that Tony was exhausted in his final months, working like a maniac. This was clearly borne out by his haggard appearance. I wonder if it was just fatigue, or if Tony knew something else was going on with his health, although he seemed to give no indication of that if he did.

And now here’s where it gets really weird. Tony’s girlfriend, Asia Argento, according to People, was apparently Instagramming a lot on Thursday with various stuff. Then about three hours before news broke of Tony’s death, she posted a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt that said “FUCK EVERYONE” and captioned it, “You know who you are.”

That post has since been taken down.

I believe Eric Ripert has remained in France, probably to escort his friend’s body home. I base this on a poignant tweet I saw yesterday from his wife asking him to come home and telling him that he is loved. I feel so sorry for Ripert. He can never unsee what he found in that bathroom. Perhaps once he processes everything, he’ll be willing and able to provide a bit more context.

I haven’t heard from nor seen any statement from Ottavia. I’m sure her hands are more than full with questions and helping daughter Ariane understand and try to get through this. My heart goes out to both of them.

Also no word yet on a funeral or memorial service. If anyone has more facts to add to any of these points, please comment.

AND: Here’s an interview Tony gave People published May 16 where he talked about never retiring and “dying in the saddle.” I thought it was a particularly good piece, and again, it gave no indication that anything sinister was going on with him.


%d bloggers like this: