Entries Tagged 'Finance' ↓

How Not To Get A Record Deal.

I’m absolutely certain I could not have asked two better guests to lead the first module in our GrindXDesign eight-week tele-course.

The conversation takes place this coming Wednesday, August 15, 8 pm ET. It’s called, “How To Get A Record Deal,” and it’s led by Wendy Day, right, and Dan Booth, below.

Why do I think they’re the best choice? Have you ever looked at a modern recording contract?

Wendy has, and so has Dan, both many times. Apparently, what they’ve seen has so terrified them that they’ve decided to warn every human being who may, even accidentally, come across such a labyrinthine, all-encroaching, aggressively one-sided document.

Wendy does this through her activism, as the long-standing founder of the advocacy organization, Rap Coalition. Dan gets it in through his firm, Booth Sweet LLP. He describes himself as an attorney for “people in creative industries”—that probably means you—with a focus on copyright and trademark law.

Most of all, though,  Dan and Wendy both have a passion for right that, in this cynical age, probably strikes evil people as mad corny, but that to me is admirable and desirable. Also, I dig Wendy’s direct, no-nonsense e-book, How To Get A Record Deal: The Knowledge to Succeed, right, so much that I bit the title for GrindXDesign, and malformed it for this post.

(Plus, Wendy was a guest this past Friday, August 10, at 2 pm ET, on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION. If you missed the live show, here’s the link; go to the 32-minute mark if you don’t check out the whole thing. It’ll be in our archives for up to 90 days after the broadcast.)

How not to get a record deal? The best way not to get a record deal is to not take the GrindXDesign telecourse. And HURRY! The early bird price is an awesomely reasonable $77 for the whole eight weeks—less than 10 bucks a session—but it goes up to $97 on Sunday night! Don’t cry to any of us when the industry takes your money, B. When they do, it’s gonna be a lot more than a hundred bucks.

Still Greedy, Still No Good: In New Teaser for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Gordon Gekko Shows He’s Still Got A Lot of Lizard In Him.


wall_street_money_never_sleeps_ver2What absolutely thrills me about the teaser for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, right, Oliver Stone’s follow-up to his 1987 classic, Wall Street, are two hilarious sight gags that take place near the 1:00 mark. Both have to do with the release of corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from prison. (Lovers of the first film, below right, know that it ended with Gekko’s protegé, Bud Fox [Charlie Sheen], turning over information to the Feds that would put Gekko away for a long time.)

Of course, the short’s best visual effect—Douglas’ nearly quarter-century older face—isn’t one, and in a powerful close-up, above, Stone and the actor put it to tremendous use, to convey both the unrecoupable passage of years, Gekko’s great humiliation, and his desire for infinitely lucrative revenge.

wall_street_filmOne of the most fascinating aspects of revisiting definitive works is learning, as one inevitably does, how fungible they were when created. Few, now, could imagine anyone but Michael Douglas as the oily and sinister Gekko, and, ultimately, Douglas was given an Academy Award for his portrayal.

But as noted in Wikipedia, referencing James Riordan’s Stone: A Biography of Oliver Stone and other sources,

the studio wanted Warren Beatty to play Gekko but he was not interested. Stone initially wanted Richard Gere but the actor passed, so the director went with Douglas despite having been advised by others in Hollywood not to cast him. Stone remembers, “I was warned by everyone in Hollywood that Michael couldn’t act, that he was a producer more than an actor and would spend all his time in his trailer on the phone”. But the director found out that “when he’s acting he gives it his all”. The director says that he saw “that villain quality” in the actor and always thought he was a smart businessman.

In Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Shia LeBoeuf co-stars as Jacob “Jake” Moore, a Wall St. trader on the come-up, engaged to Gekko’s daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan). From the looks of things, this apparently gives Gekko more than usual parental concerns. Check out the teaser, then the trailer, below.

Also, as a special bonus, watch the original trailer for the first film, also below. When you do, keep an eye out for the very first, brief image after the logo and, realize, yes, that was a different world.

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The Elements to Producing Precious.


Precious, Lee Daniels’ adaptation of author / poet Sapphire’s 1996 novel, Push, has gained wide acclaim for the director. Perhaps even more, though, it has procured deeper regard for both Gabourey Sidibe, as the titular, obese, frequently-raped, illiterate, 16-year-old Claireece “Precious” Jones, above, and comedian Mo’Nique, as her acid-tongued, trigger-hair-violent mother, Mary.

lisacortesUnless you closely study indy film credits, though, you may not heard of Precious executive producer Lisa Cortés, right. (A sr. v.p. with Lee Daniels Entertainment, she’s also worked with Daniels, in varied roles, on the Academy Award-winning Monster’s Ball, The Woodsman, Shadowboxer, and Tennessee.)

That Cortés does this in comparative obscurity, however, may prove she possesses what those in a producing role actually need, even more than publicists: The ability to work relentlessly, behind the scenes, to make movies happen, and an ego healthy enough not to pursue media visibility as its own end.

Lisa Cortés is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, December 11th, at 2 pm ET.

Then, Theodore Gray, is cofounder of software company Wolfram Research, makers of the legendary Mathematica. But that’s just his day job. In his spare time, Gray writes Popular Science‘s “Gray Matter” column…and collects samples of the 118 elements which populate the periodic table.

9781579128142But why leave all that hydrogen, helium, and ununoctium just sitting there? Working with Nick Mann, the two shot seemingly everything in Gray’s hoard for publication.

The result is The Elements A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, right.

Organized in order of appearance on the periodic table, each element is represented by a spread that includes a stunning, full-page, full-color photograph that most closely represents it in its purest form. For example, at -183˚C, oxygen turns from a colorless gas to a beautiful pale blue liquid.

You can hear Lisa Cortés’s and Theodore Gray’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

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404px-jeff_koons_at_the_2009_tribeca_film_festivalRandom thought I had today: With the King of Pop’s death in June, the price of superstar conceptual artist Jeff Koons‘ famed 1988 sculpture, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, above, must be rocketing in value. (Made in an edition of three, plus an artist’s proof, one of the life-sized, 42 in. x 70 1/2 in. x 32 1/2 in. porcelain tchotchkes sold at auction for $5.6 million in 2001.)

Indeed, legendary art dealer Larry Gagosian, who reps Koons, right, told The New York Times back in July that if one of the creations

was to come up for sale now, it could make more than $20 million. “And that’s conservative,” he added.

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Main Street, You’ve Officially Been Chopped and Screwed.

Paulson & Company menu

I’m going to guess that at least some of you misplaced your invitations to financial mogul John Paulson’s shindig three weeks ago. (That’s the menu for the event, above.)

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Papa’s Got a Brand New Heir.

Family reunion.
Miss Dynamite: LaRhonda Petitt easily passes the
“Looks Like Her Daddy” test

As the Washington Post archly puts it, “There was no off switch on the ‘Sex Machine.'” So, rightly, upon legendary musician James Brown’s Christmas 2006 death, a lot of his far-strewn kids started coming home…with their hands out for a piece of the Hardest [Working] Man in Show Business’s estate.

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The Century for the Arab Skyscraper

Imagine that…
One heck of an alternate timeline: Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest planned skyscraper, shown for scale in a New York City skyline where 9/11 never happened

Spurred on by this NY Times piece on the Middle Eastern / Asian rush to construct the world’s tallest building, I dug up this impressionistic, 90-second promotional YouTube, below.

Do you see what I see?

In it, both man and beast are awed by the dawn of the Burj Dubai hotel and residence, which, at a yet-unfinished 2,087 feet and a planned 160 stories minimum, is the world’s tallest structure. (I say “planned” because the building’s final height is being kept secret, in order to intimidate would-be one-uppers.) Let’s hope that, along with the Giorgio Armani-designed hotel, the $4,000-a-square-foot office space, and the 700 private apartments, they put in one unbelievable bungee cord.

Redefining “Paid.”

Paulson is paidAccording to Forbes.com’s 2007 list of top TV personalities, in the year between June 2006 and June 2007, talk show host Oprah Winfrey earned over a quarter of a billion dollars, $260 million, precisely, or over $1 million a day.


In a report cited by The New York Times yesterday, Institutional Investor’s Alpha (IIA) magazine ranked the 50 top hedge fund earners of last year. (The incomes on this list are so outrageous that you need to have made at least $210 million to get on it. Were Oprah a fund manager, she’d have ranked 38th.)

At #1, John Paulson, right, 52, of Paulson & Company, utterly nuked his competition by taking home compensation of…hold your breath, people…$3.7 billion.

That’s not his net worth. That’s three billion, seven hundred million dollars in salary.

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“Well, if I did, they weren’t one for long.”—Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, suggestively responding to the question, asked at a February Young Americans for Freedom forum, as to whether or not she’d ever dated a liberal.

Ann Coulter…Smokin’ HOTT!Tee-hee. This week, The Huffington Post quoted a New York Times‘s article on the new Wall Street Journal parody, My Wall Street Journal. Apparently, it so angered Rupert Murdoch that someone from the company went throughout Los Angeles, buying up the entire stock of local newsstands.

Last Thursday, Alexander Laurence was working at one such stand in Los Angeles, chatting with a customer, David Metz, when, both of them say, a man in a shirt with a Journal logo asked if anyone had seen a paper that looked sort of like The Journal.

“This guy comes by all the time to bring promotional stuff for The Wall Street Journal — bags, coin trays, stickers,” Mr. Laurence said.

Sure enough, they found what he was looking for. “He grabbed them all, said, ‘I need to buy all of these,’ ” Mr. Laurence said. “He had been going around to different stands, buying them.”

The man paid with a corporate American Express card. “At first he’s saying they have to make a correction or it’s not supposed to be out yet,” Mr. Metz said. “But then he said these are not published by The Wall Street Journal.”

Perhaps what most outraged Murdoch, and what the Huffington Post reproduced but the Times didn’t, was this, above: A full-page, topless spread of conservative “#1 FOX News Fox” Ann Coulter, done painstakingly in stipple, per Journal stylee.

On one hand, though satire, it could be argued that the image refines the use of women’s bodies as a territory over which men do battle, often symbolically, and that this post is part of that.

On the other hand, if accurate, the picture of a sow-like Coulter raises serious questions about the veracity of her Young Americans for Freedom forum quote, in the hed, further proving that conservatives not only mangle the truth, but exaggerate the greatness of Americans, particularly when speaking to naive, impressionable audiences.