Art collecting used to be a rich person's game but now it is an obesely rich person's obsession. The activity in this normally-neglected area of news lately has been 2 fast, 2 furious to ignore. In our relentless pursuit to broaden and sculpt the minds of our readers and to jump on the latest trend (we totally missed out on Texas Hold-'em), TMT is taking the time today to delve into the cool chasm of art collecting and its equally exciting world of international wheeling and dealing.

How to sell a painting:

At the beginning of November, David Geffen — hot-shot talent-spotter, music mega-king, film and Broadway producer, original Gerber baby, etc. — reportedly sold a painting, No. 5, 1948 by master splatter-and-drip artist and master drunkard Jackson Pollock, for an estimated $140 million, thus making it the largest amount paid for a single painting... ever! (see, it is exciting... you can tell that because I've typed the word "ever" in italics and I also used an exclamation point). To most of us paying that sort of cash for a painting would be on par with dropping $10.00+ at Amazon for this, but to each his own, I guess. The days of poaching Sub Pop's biggest and brightest may be in his past, but it's a small worry for Geffen, who not only made the grand gain on the Pollock, but also snagged $143.5 million the previous week for selling works by Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning.

First reported by The New York Times, the $140 million single sale by Geffen to Mexican financier David Martinez is a new record for a single sale, outdistancing the previously held mark of $135 million that make-up man Ronald Lauder paid for Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I in June of this year. While many are hinting this sudden offloading of art by Geffen is in preparation for his bid to purchase The Los Angeles Times or perhaps to free up money for more philanthropic endeavors, we prefer to think he's got the special powers to predict upturns in the art market, not unlike Miss Cleo. Regardless, when it comes to buying low and selling high and getting deals done, the man knows his ass from his elbow. Unlike...

How not to sell a painting:

In October, Steve Wynn — casino-owning monster, Vegas resuscitator, and our choice for the next Inspector Clouseau — was set to unload Le Rêve, a Picasso that he bought for $48.4 million, to friend Steven Cohen for $139 million. While most reports tell the incident in a rather non-chalant, "no big deal" manner, we prefer to believe something happened more along the lines of a bizarre Rube Goldberg scenario. An unidentified fake witness told us what really went down.

Apparently "one of the hired help" (rich people do NOT have accidents) was quietly cleaning up a spilled glass of Krug Clos du Mesnil champagne and he "must have" let his broom fall, which happened to brush against the erotic zone of an exotic Tanzanian pink pet chimp who immediately popped a boner, got frazzled, and jumped into a $50,000 Ferrari Testarossa junior go-kart and drove throughout the room. After knocking down columns holding such boy toys as gem-encrusted Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads and Swarovski crystal-studded Pez dispensers, Chimpy finally ended his joyride by crashing through the french doors of living room #23 and straight into the pairing of life-size replicas of Batman (in Lego and Beluga caviar) and Robby the Robot (in bright white gold) that Wynn had wedged together in a 69 "for shits and giggles." Meanwhile, the commotion caused private school javelin star Jordan Alphonse Carrington III to flinch and "accidentally" put his hand onto debutante Keely Wentworth's newly enhanced left tit prompting her to squeal and stamp her foot down right onto the toe of Lady Bracknell's Manola Blahnik's alligator high heel. Lady B, who hadn't seen such a scene since the Foresters served salmon at a Tuesday luncheon (a faux-pas of monumental proportions among certain aristocratic folk), fainted and fell onto the levitating hover scooter that Wynn uses to hide Easter eggs every April. The scooter, whirly-birding because of the weight imbalance, started gyrating on the floor, scattering layers of fine pine everywhere. Fearing a splinter might drop into his glass of old-flecked mineral water, Wynn took a step back and put a small tear in the Picasso canvas with his elbow, thus nixing the Picasso transfer.

Of course we wouldn't go out of our way to poke fun at anyone who suffers from eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (as Wynn does), but if Wynn knew his ass from his elbow, there would probably not be a 2" rip in his wall covering. There may be a quarter-buttcheek concave dent though...

The moral to any of this? Um, never let Steve Wynn near any of your valuables? Yeah, that will do.

New Pornographers to Tour, But Probably Not Anywhere Near Where You Live Unless You’re Paul Hogan or Something; Lazy Writers Forced to Revert to Previous Australia Stock Joke Following Steve Irwin’s Death

The New Pornographers are to tour Australia next month amid huge protests, after successfully waging their war of terror across the entire North American continent.

"Tests have shown this new pornography to be up to 50% hornier than traditional pornography, and as much as 65% steamier," Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, said. "We Australians are a simple folk with traditional values - we have no desire to see this in our country." Several family-values groups have already begun to campaign against the tour, imploring Australian citizens to think of the children. "BAN THIS SICK FILTH," ran Tuesday's headline in The Daily Telegraph.

The New Pornographers, including Dan "The Man Juice" Bejar, Neko "Dicks A-Plenty" Case, and "Long" John Collins once reduced an entire Midwestern town to a wild orgy of psychotic fappery after a recent show, which according to eyewitnesses, involved "towering spooge cannons," "knee-high waders covered in barbed wire," and "a goat."

The band is also playing one date in Spain and two dates in Japan in January. Tiny Mix Tapes advises exercising extreme caution and plenty of lubricant:

12.02.06 - Barcelona, SP - CCIB (w/ Teenage Fanclub, The Wrens, The Rapture)
12.08.06 - Melbourne, AUS - Meredith Music Festival
12.11.06 - Sydney, AUS - Factory
12.12.06 - Adelaide, AUS - Governor Hindmarsh
12.13.06 - Melbourne, AUS - Prince of Wales
12.14.06 - Melbourne, AUS - Prince of Wales
12.15.06 - Sydney, AUS - Gaelic Club
12.16.06 - Brisbane, AUS - Alfred?s Block Party
01.18.07 - Osaka, JAP - Club Quatro
01.19,07 - Tokyo, JAP - Shibuya O-East

Malkmus and the Jicks Whore Their Balls Too

Hot on the heels of the recent news of The Decemberists' slightly underhanded and sordid tactics to keep themselves in the media spotlight, Stephen Malkmus (formerly of Pavement – duh) and his band of Jicks have also announced 2007 dates. Now, in their former guise, this would have meant an almighty task for the Jicks, as they were a mere four in number, meaning an almost inconceivable workload of 500 dates apiece. However, according to recent reports, the Jicks are being bolstered by Janet Weiss, formerly of Quasi and Sleater-Kinney, thus giving the already-overworked permanent Jicks some small relief from the undoubtedly ambitious schedule ahead of the band.

These dates will focus on the West Coast before finally ending at a large festival in "America's Wang." That's what we Britishers like to call Florida, folks!

01.05.07 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's
01.09.07 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
01.10.07 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
01.11.07 - Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum Theatre
01.14.07 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
01.17.07 - Bellingham, WA - Nightlight
01.18.07 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
03.09.07 - Sunrise, FL - Langerado Music Festival

Fell in Love with a Twirl? The White Stripes Do Ballet? Yeah Right! Go Fetch Me a Coke!

Let's face it. I don't know much about ballet, and I'm not that cool. However, I am familiar with The White Stripes. Occasionally, while crying over a custom Jack White monster-ballad and a chilled bottle of Riesling, I find myself pondering what is missing in my life.

The answer is simple. The White Stripes music should be interpreted through ballet. This makes more sense than "buying the world a Coke." That was a dumb idea! Mr. White, what good would be done by buying every human being a Coke? What the world needs is a bad-ass ballet. And as I predicted, there will be a bad-ass ballet.

The ballet, set to the music of The White Stripes, is titled Chroma, and it is currently running at the Royal Opera House until November 29. The performance is part of a triple bill called "Royal Ballet," choreographed by Wayne McGregor. The performance was written by composer Joby Talbot, a former member of pop band The Divine Comedy.

The songs used in the ballet are from the newly released album Aluminium, which is an album of avant-garde orchestral recordings of past songs written by the Jack-meister himself. The only thing that confuses me about the whole thing is how the ballerinas and ballerina-dudes are going to perform "The Hardest Button to Button" while wearing spandex. I need spandex with buttons for this to make any logical sense.

In other "Jack White's life is more awesome than your life" news, The Raconteurs will have their own Saturday morning cartoon show on The Cartoon Network called, Broken Boy Soldiers Extreme Environmental Team to the Max!! Also there will be a car wash opening in Spokane, WA that will be based on the musical catalog of The White Stripes. The most amazing part of all of this will be that you can get your hair cut while you get your car washed. A stylist will hop right into your car while you both jam and clip to White Blood Cells. The car wash is aptly titled, "A Car Wash Where You Can Get Your Hair Cut While Your Car is Being Washed, and Somehow This Is All Based on the Music of The White Stripes."

Hey, that was all a joke. If you believed any of that, you might as well just kill yourself now. Wait! The part about the ballet was true. I hope you didn't kill yourself. Reader? READER??

Weird Weeds Embark On Totalitarian West Coast Tour, Replicate Same Pose in Every Restaurant to Wild Applause

Weird Weeds have had enough of you kids. Always "playing music," "hanging out," never getting any honest work done - probably the type who would wait until two in the morning to write a news article that needed to be posted at eight the following morning! Such laziness borders on disrespect! Although I'm sure this hypothetical newswriter would be very sorry for his actions and would make it a point to promptly write all necessary articles in the future, Weird Weeds have no pity for him or any of his kind [editor's note: same here].

Therefore, necessity demands that Weird Weeds will be going on tour this winter in support of Weird Feelings [TMT Review], backed up by members of the UCLA campus police. Anyone caught at any of these shows with any of the following will be subjected to punishment within reason - reason, UCLA campus police style!

- Poor posture
- Fingernail polish
- Menthol cigarettes
- Cinnamon gum
- Cavities
- Asymmetrical hairstyles
- The Flu
- Hoodie strings of uneven length
- Brown shoes w/ black pants
- Black shoes w/ brown pants
- Pennies

Additionally, whispering, cracking knuckles, and/or nodding heads are also strictly prohibited. That being said, have fun!

11.26.06 - Fort Worth, TX - The Chatroom @
11.28.06 - Albuquerque, NM - Burt's Tiki Lounge #
11.29.06 - Phoenix, AZ - The Trunk Space
11.30.06 - Los Angeles,CA - The Smell
12.01.06 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern $
12.02.06 - Portland, OR - Holocene %
12.03.06 - Olympia, WA - Le Voyeur
12.04.06 - Vancouver, BC - The Lamplighter
12.05.06 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern ^
12.07.06 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand &
12.08.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Il Corral *
12.09.06 - Phoenix, AZ - Stinkweeds
12.14.06 - Austin, TX - Emo's ~

@ = w/ The Theater Fire
# = w/ The Lowlights
$ = w/ Moggs & Ferocious Eagle
% = w/Music Population & Mise en Abyme
^ = w/The Dead Science
& = w/Tarnation, Breezy Days Band & Jana Hunter
* = w/Brother Mitya, Bavab Bavab & The Vaginals
~ = w/ Shapes & Sizes

Dischord Records Offers Free Studio Time to Virgins

Think you got what it takes to something something? Have skills but never had the something to something something? Well Dischord's got something for you. With a li'l help from its friends (Inner Ear Studios and Ruffman Records/Swim-Two-Birds Studio), Dischord is offering free recording sessions at Inner Ear Studio to bands/projects in the DC area who are studio virgins.

Here are three examples of what bands might/should look like, along with studio virgin probability:

1. Bleeding Love on the Empty Canvas (80% studio virgin probability)

2. Topps Trading Cards (95% studio virgins, excluding middle dude)

3. Good, No Great Penmanship (63% studio virgins probability)

Applicants must live in the DC area, play original music, and contain 50% members who are 18 or younger. Because it wasn't indicated, there doesn't seem to be any sex or race restrictions (weird). Sessions, engineered by Hugh McElroy, last only five hours, so you better either be improv-based or you best know your shit. Wouldn't it be funny if all the applicants were noise acts? Man, I'd love to be there to see the look on their faces when a noise act starts playing! They'd all be like "Whaaaa??!!?" Looking at each other in astonishment and shit! Haha! Damn, too bad I have to work.

Click here for more info.

Nick Cave Jumps on Super-Group Bandwagon; Misses Point

So the Antipodean, gravelly-voiced, Kylie-killer has decided to form a new band called Grinderman. As new band names go, it's probably better than The Good, The Bad and The Queen, but the personnel doesn't really stack up. When you form a supergroup, you're meant to collect some really tight musicians from other bands and strike out for glory in bloated pretension. However, in his wisdom, Cave has just chosen three of the Bad Seeds and claimed that their new sound would be different enough that it makes no difference.

To be fair, he has a point. Go to their Myspace page (if you're into that sort of thing; personally I can't stand it any longer) to sample a new track entitled, rapturously, "No Pussy Blues." According to this other website I saw, Grinderman will make their debut at ATP in April.

Rumours of a guest appearance in Kylie's revitalised Showgirl tour are, as-yet, unconfirmed.

God Only Knows What We’d Do Without This Brian Wilson Doll (editor’s note: you’re fired)

Just in time for Christmas is the perfect gift for sandbox-slumming, wannabe firemen/fire women everywhere... the 1966 Brian Wilson action figure is finally here! Gone are the days when you had to sit, get stoned, and MacGyver a makeshift toy Wilson out of a potato, steel wool, and the power cable from a nearby lamp when you wanted to play rock-star dolls with your friends. You'll be able to bend him into a fetal position, spritz him with water, and sit him on top of your girlfriend's vibrator to simulate the shaking, sweating, neurotic Brian of days gone by. You can channel your aggressions into Brian by making him lose his marbles over the 42nd take of "Wind Chimes," fret over Phil Spector stealing songs from his mind, and generally refuse to record unless the vibes are positive. Really, is there anything this Brian Wilson doll can't do? (Answer: it probably won't get you laid.)

Okay, as far as recent patents go, it's not the most original (this is), but as doll designer (wha?) Mark London rightly states, "Hey, who wouldn't want a little 1966 Brian Wilson watching over their record collection or their recording studio?!" Duh. Everyone loves Brian Wilson, so expect these to sell like little deuce coupes. There is a limited run of 300 dolls that come autographed by the man himself, for the low, low price of $150, while regular "basic" figures sell for 75 smackers. The doll is available at Wilson's official website and at the two remaining shows on the current "Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary" tour, both in New York City:

11.21.06 - New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
11.22.06 - New York, NY – Beacon Theatre

In other BW news, according to Daily Variety, a Wilson biopic is in the works that has Wilson's approval and song rights secured, with cooperation from producer Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and longtime band biographer and friend David Leaf. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that the end result surpasses the made-for-tv movie Summer Dreams or Matt Dillon's thinly-veiled pastiche in Grace of My Heart.

Mike Love, not war... buy a doll.

Universal Sues MySpace, Brings Confetti and Party Streamers Because As Universal Always Says, “Litigation can be boring, but it doesn’t have to be!”

Vivendi's Universal Music Group announced last Friday (November 17) that it is suing MySpace, which is owned by one of the world's largest media conglomerates, News Corporation. The infringement lawsuit is seeking damages of $150,000 per infringing track, audio or video. Let me restate that in proper TMT format: UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, THE LARGEST MUSIC GROUP IN THE WORLD, IS SEEKING DAMAGES OF $150,000 PER TRACK!! AHHH!!!

So let's do some math. According to recent reports, MySpace has an estimated 106 million accounts. To be conservative, let's say only 30% of those accounts are active. Of that 30%, let's estimate a measly 1% of users uploaded one infringing track owned by Universal. If Universal wins this lawsuit, this would mean 318,000 users would cost MySpace $47.7 BILLION. Holy shit!

Obviously what Universal's seeking isn't so much a settlement, but leverage to negotiate. As Jeff Leeds from The New York Times said, "If Universal can win in court, it is likely to gain leverage in negotiating licensing terms with user-driven services — just at the moment that those services are attracting deep-pocketed partners."

Universal isn't sucking up to the user-generated communities in order to get paid; it's using power politics for control. Just last month, Universal chief executive Doug Morris' public condemnation of YouTube helped the group land a sweet licensing deal just before YouTube was sold to Google, and it also recently filed claims against video-sharing sites like Bolt and Grouper Networks. (On a side note, Universal recently worked out a deal with Microsoft to receive $1 for every Zune sold.)

MySpace has already called the litigation "unnecessary" and "meritless," stating that it is in full compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Furthermore, MySpace separately announced last Friday that it plans to use a new tool to allow copyright owners like Universal to "flag" copyrighted content, which would then be removed. "We provide users with tools to share their own work — we do not induce, encourage, or condone copyright violation in any way," stated MySpace. What, don't they like confetti!?

In other news, MySpace's content is all produced in sweatshops, but you didn't see that on the political agenda earlier this month, did you? Bullshit I say!

EMI Still Way Ahead of the Game, Release Official Mashups to Prove It

Bet you thought you had the upper hand on EMI, didn't you? You clever little Sony Acid Pro superstar! Well, serves you right — they're gonna one-up your garbage mix of Eric Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff" vs. Wolf Eyes' "Stabbed In The Face" with an official album of mash-ups by the notorious, world-renowned Go Home Productions.

Okay, so I hadn't heard of Go Home Productions before either. But apparently Mark Vidler must have given those sexy EMI execs some very good cunningulus/fellatio action, as he gets the official "it's okay" stamp of approval for his album of synchronized songs.

The album, the aptly titled Mashed, is set to feature such pairings as Blondie with The Doors, Kelis with Duran Duran, and my personal favorite, Iggy Pop with Peggy Lee. This CD will be different than the "usual" mashup stuff, as it won't be as heavily dance-influenced, a la 2manydjs or Danger Mouse. Instead, it will just be a bunch of songs you already know being played at the same time.

But man, what an awe-inspiring album title. I feel a little ripped off, though, as I was planning on naming my new potato concept album Mashed, and now I'm left holding the bag.

You maniacs! You ruined everything! Damn you, Go Home Productions! Damn you all to hell!

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