Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Earns 7 Emmy Noms

July 13, 2018

By Karen

Nominations for the 70th Annual Emmy Awards are in, and media outlets are getting the number wrong on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. I’ve been reading it garnered six nominations. But I pored through all 65 pages of noms and found SEVEN, and here they are. (For brevity’s sake, Bourdain’s listings are complete, but I’m dropping the boring details on the competition):

Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • Lagos • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Morgan Fallon, Director of Photography, Jerry Risius, Director of Photography, Tarik Hameedi, Director of Photography
  • Blue Planet II • The Deep • BBC America
  • Blue Planet II • One Ocean • BBC America
  • Chef’s Table • Corrado Assenza
  • Jane • National Geographic

Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • Lagos • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Hunter Gross, ACE, Editor
  • The Defiant Ones • Episode 3 • HBO
  • Jane • National Geographic
  • Wild Wild Country • Part 3 • Netflix
  • The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling • HBO

Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

  • Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown • CNN (cnn.com) • CNN, Roads & Kingdoms; Kate Kunath, Executive Producer, Joey Zadwarny, Producer
  • The Americans: The Final Season • FX Networks
  • The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story: America’s Obsessions • FX Networks
  • Jay Leno’s Garage • NBC (nbc.com)
  • Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen • Bravo (bravotv.com)

Outstanding Informational Series or Special

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Anthony Bourdain, Executive Producer/Host, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia and Sandra Zweig, Executive Producers, Morgan Fallon, Producer
  • Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath • A&E
  • My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman • Netflix
  • StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson • National Geographic
  • Vice • HBO

Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera)

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • Seattle • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Brian Bracken and Nick Brigden, Sound Editors
  • Blue Planet II • Coral Reefs • BBC America
  • The Defiant Ones • Episode 1 • HBO
  • Jane • National Geographic
  • The Vietnam War • Episode 6: Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968) • PBS
  • Wild Wild Country • Part 1 • Netflix

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera)

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • Lagos • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Benny Mouthon, CAS, Re-Recording Mixer
  • The Defiant Ones • Episode 1 • HBO
  • Jane • National Geographic
  • The Vietnam War • Episode 6: Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968) • PBS
  • Wild Wild Country • Part 1 • Netflix

The last nomination has special significance for me because I’ve said before that Bourdain was becoming the “Susan Lucci of the Emmy for Outstanding Writing” after repeatedly being nominated but passed over. My fingers are crossed he finally nails it this year.

Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown • Southern Italy • CNN • CNN Original Series and Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.; Anthony Bourdain, Written by
  • The Defiant Ones • Episode 1 • HBO
  • Icarus • Netflix
  • Jane • National Geographic
  • Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like • PBS
  • The Vietnam War • Episode 8: The History Of The World (April 1969-May 1970) • PBS

Asia Argento appears in this Southern Italy episode, but if I remember correctly, she was an extra in meal scenes more than a content contributor. Undoubtedly a generous Bourdain gesture to give her more exposure to U.S. audiences.

Although Tony said he considered it one of the highlights of his television career, the Parts Unknown episode in Hong Kong, presumably directed by Argento, did not make the cut for an Emmy.

The Emmy ceremony is Monday, September 17, on NBC.

AND: Yesterday, the LA Times recently ran an open letter to “anyone who loves Anthony Bourdain and what he stood for” asking us all to give Argento a pass on any role she may have played in his death. I only recognized four names among the signers, so I must admit I wasn’t terribly moved.

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More Bits on Bourdain’s Last Months from WSJ

July 11, 2018

By Karen

Some new information about Anthony Bourdain’s last months has been out there in an extensive interview by Howie Kahn in the Wall Street Journal, but I only recently found it.

It was published online March 28 under the title, “Anthony Bourdain’s Globalist Mission.” (I got to view it once, then got blocked for not being a subscriber, so take your chances.)

A print version published in April was entitled, “The Man Who Ate It All.” These are the bits new to me that I gleaned from it.

Tony was living alone on the 64th floor in a Midtown Manhattan apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the city and the Hudson River.

At 11:30 a.m., he was already drinking beer (and smoking). It must have been early January when Trump called African countries “shitholes” because Kahn described Tony’s January 17 appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as if he were there.

Parts Unknown was the highest rated cable news program in its time slot and nominated for 25 Emmys, with five wins.

Tony said, “Am I searching, am I seeking, am I always looking for something more? Yes! I do this for no other reason.”

He had hung photos of Fidel Castro and Iggy Pop on the walls, but his bedroom walls were bare. Perhaps that’s where he was planning to hang his newly acquired paintings from Jacques Pepin and “The Sky is Falling. I’m Learning to Live with It.”

Kahn wrote that Tony and Asia Argento “had fallen in love while shooting the Rome episode.” (April 2016) He goes on…

“In retrospect, it was also an extended first date, and one Bourdain thought was coming to an end too soon amid the fascist architecture. ‘It was a very sad scene,’ he says. ‘I think both of us thought it overwhelmingly likely that we would never see each other again.’”

If only.

The article said Tony’s marriage to Ottavia was ending, and by the time he met Argento, “he’d given up on the concept of romantic love. ‘I was dead,’ he says.”

This confirmed my belief that the affair began when he and Argento were together in Rome and served as an impetus for separating from Ottavia in September. (In December 2016, he drew up his will leaving the bulk of his estate to daughter Ariane.)

Tony also mentioned the book he was working on, described as…

“A collection of essays, many of which will touch on the theme of loneliness — will be more emotional than anything he’s ever attempted.”

Was it finished enough to publish? Will his co-author Laurie Woolever be able to finish it? Time will tell.

Tony said he was also trying to line up financing for a scripted TV project, but only revealed that each season of it would have taken place in different locales, like New York, Berlin and Tokyo.

The interview ended with Kahn asking Tony if he was ever exhausted and would like more balance in his life. Tony said…

“Too late for that. I think about it. I aspire to it. I feel guilty about it. I yearn for it. Balance? I f–cking wish.”

Tony added that he once told Ariane he might quit his job in a few years to spend more time with her, but she burst into tears, saying, “But Dada, your job is so interesting!”

This conversation may have happened around the time Tony told People magazine that he’d probably “die in the saddle.”

My takeaway is that Bourdain had wearied of his globe-trotting and wanted a way out but couldn’t find one. Argento gave him periodic breaks where he could stay still and be happy for a few days. But then she yanked those out from under him in the most public and humiliating way possible.

It leaves a conundrum for his fans. We loved his body of work and wanted it to keep growing, but it had stopped making him happy. The more we learn, the more his suicide seems to become the inevitable end of his life’s arc, rather than the tragedy of an impulsive moment.

Reader Morgan sent these two photos from Facebook of Tony and Ottavia in happier times, as I prefer to think of them…

PS: Last week I saw Drugstore Cowboy, the movie about a junkie couple that Bourdain always likened to his marriage to Nancy. Near the end, Matt Dillon (Tony) makes a speech that seems to explain Tony’s inexplicable, fatal attraction to Argento…

“Nobody, and I mean nobody, can talk a junkie out of using. You can talk to ‘em for years, but sooner or later they’re going to get hold of something. Maybe it’s not dope. Maybe it’s booze. Maybe it’s blue. Maybe it’s gasoline. Maybe it’s a gunshot to their head. But something, something to relieve the pressures of their everyday life, like having to tie their shoes.”

Whenever someone dies, their raison d’etre is instantly frozen in time. They can add nothing to their persona or philosophy of life. Those left behind can only dissect what the person ever did or said to form a conclusion about who they were and why they’re gone. We’ve reached that point with Bourdain, and he would hate it.


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.


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