Bedfellows, Stranger Than Fiction: Banksy & the Rich, Bezos & The Post, and Orson Welles & All of Hollywood
Hide those checkbooks! Graffiti artist Banksy makes art for the masses not private collections.
LA art world: Please leave Banksy alone! The famed street artist has asked that his graffiti works not be purchased so why not respect him. No doubt his images on brick, stone, and cracked concrete are art of the highest order, but that does not mean that money should be exchanged on their behalf. Banksy has made it clear that unless a work is created for the purpose of commerce—which none of his one-of-a-kind spray painted works are— then it should be left alone, unto itself, as any other surface marking facing the degradation of time. Soon a 5,000 pound 9x8 foot piece of gas station wall is to be auctioned off for no less than hundreds of thousands of US dollars. This is art of the people not trophy art...
Banksy's Slave Labour, painted behind a London discount shop accused of selling factory-made goods crafted by children, was sold as a chunk of wall at private auction for 1.1 million USD last year.
Let's talk about a sanctioned, yet still debatable, acquisition: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' purchase of the Washington Post. As a firm believer in the printed word ON PAPER I'm reserving judgement on this most intriguing of deals. Bezos says his intentions are honest and even the venerable Graham family—owners of the paper since 1933, who are selling him the property, believe Bezos is using his power for good.
Bought at auction by her father, The Post passed to the ground-breaking guardianship of Katharine Graham (above) after her husband passed away. Long since past the revenue-generating days of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers coverage, Grahams' grandchildren, Katherine Weymouth, publisher, and chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, have given new owner, Jeff Bezos, their blessing to take on the less-than-vital daily.
At 250 million many say he has overpaid for the paper and he can not expect to make any money back. Of course there are tax implications that favor Bezos, not to mention the bragging rights to owning one of the most storied newspapers in the world, which make this move potentially priceless. As a recent trend for the ridiculously wealthy—Warren Buffett bought his local Omaha World-Herald, and last week it was announced that Boston Red Sox owner, John Henry, is buying The Globe from the New York Times Co. for $70 million—owning a newspaper could be considered a noble cause or maybe it's just nostalgia taking over the checkbook. Either way I would like nothing more than to see the digital age successfully merge with the beauty that is black and white and read all over... Make me proud, boys.
Newspapers are now a hot commodity for high dollar investors like Jeff Bezos, above.
I am so very grateful that no matter the medium—narrative is far from dead... And as one of the most gifted tale tellers to ever practice the craft, the long deceased Orson Welles is still at it! And I'm not talking about this weekend's revelation that what was thought to be his lost last unfinished film has been found in an abandoned warehouse in Italy... I'm talking about a masterwork of salacious storytelling. Released earlier this summer, Peter Biskind's 'My Lunches with Orson', MacMillan Publishers, is the hottest thing going in the printed word...
A young Orson Welles dated Marilyn Monroe before she found fame. He claims that when he introduced her to industry heavy hitters no one took notice—one of many insights shared in Peter Biskind's 'My Lunches with Orson'. Rita Hayworth, sex symbol extraordinaire, he says craved a simple life at home. And before she became a Princess, Welles says the ever-elegant Grace Kelly kissed but never told...
In a series of lunch chats at LA's Ma Maison, Welles' revealed to filmmaker, Henry Jaglom, his innermost mean girl by slinging dirt at everyone in the movie business from Richard Burton and Jimmy Stewart to Grace Kelly and Katherine Hepburn. His tone is sweet when it comes to Rita Hayworth but she's one of the few who is spared. Some may say he had reached a bitter, defeated stage in his 60s when these conversations took place (he died mere days after this last chat with Jaglom) but I say he was just engaging in the world's 2nd oldest form of entertainment. Good gossip.
I'd like to close on a topic that's not very sexy, which is probably why not enough people are talking about it or care to talk about, but pay inequity is more than heresay. This week Bloomberg reported that a study of the S&P's top 500 companies revealed that not only are less than 8% of the top-5 paid employees of each of these companies women, but they're making 18% less than their male counterparts. How are we going to get more women on top if they're not getting what they deserve? Attention Bezos: There's a headline in this somewhere.
- Roxie Mae Lackman