• 18 Jun 2009 at 12:25 PM
  • art

Dealbreaker Theater Review: Monetizing Emma

monetizing emma dealbreaker review.jpgEd. note: Last night was the Manhattan debut of the play Monetizing Emma. We sent Above The Law editors David Lat and Kashmir Hill to check it out. Here’s their review.
Over at Above The Law, we often write about the business side of law firms, but we don’t have the appreciation and knowledge of securities, futures, and the like that you Dealbreaker folks have. So Monetizing Emma, about the first-ever securitization of smart teenagers, was a nice little lesson for us, with its humanizing of the balance sheet.
Interestingly enough, playwright Felipe Ossa wrote the script several years ago, well before securitization became a household (and maybe dirty) word. The play is quite timely today, as we live through what characters in the play, set in 2013, refer to as “the Great Unwinding of 2009.”
An investment bank, Thackeray Walsh, is setting up a fund composed of some non-traditional assets: gifted youngsters. Investors can buy shares in the teenagers’ futures and will get a cut of their future earnings, in exchange for effectively funding low-interest loans for the kids’ college educations. If this idea sounds far-fetched to you, think again. (For the more technically oriented among you, who are curious about the nuts and bolts of securitizing teens, see this flowchart.)
Emma Dorfman is a 15-year-old gifted student that two Thackeray bankers want to securitize. A Jane-Austen-book-devouring nerd, Emma’s painfully shy and doesn’t want to be taken public.

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  • 29 Jul 2008 at 10:00 AM
  • art

Hirst Still Playing Elaborate Joke On Hedge Fund Community

Hey there aspiring Little Steves– nows your chance to sidle up to the big guy and remark, “Looks like we have the same taste in art, though mine clearly veers a little more towards the Renaissance Fair-inspired, gay works.” Artist Damien Hirst is selling some new pieces from his ‘animal-in-formaldehyde’ schtick collection. Up for grabs at Sotheby’s from September 15-16 will be “The Golden Calf,” a calf in a– wait for it– glass tank of formaldehyde, “The Incredible Journey,” a zebra in a– wait for it– glass tank of formaldehyde, and “The Dream Foal,” the unicorn pictured above in a– wait for it– glass tank of formaldehyde, among others. Get them while they’re hot. One item we’d recommend bowing out of is “The Kingdom,” a tiger shark in a glass tank, which cannot please Stevie-boy, who is supposed to be the only one who owns such a display of badassery. Hirst had originally promised SC that the follow-up shark would be submerged in a tank of jello, in order to clearly delineate alpha v. beta fish, but it’s been whispered that he ditched the gelatin at the last second, just to “see what happens.” Spoiler alert: since what will happen is the BG ripping your face off, you’d be wise to let him have this one, unless of course you’re into that sort of thing, in which case, proceed.
Artist Hirst Jumps The Shark, Cuts Out Dealers [NYP]
Golden calf, bull’s heart, a new shark: Hirst’s latest works may fetch £65m [Guardian]

  • 27 May 2008 at 11:32 AM
  • art

Jimmy Cayne’s Head On Display At Bear Stearns

Jimmy Cayne's Magical Painting.JPGIf you walk by Bear Stearns Madison Avenue headquarters tomorrow, you might catch a glimpse of former chief executive Jimmy Cayne on the street.
Unfortunately, we’re not privy to Cayne’s personal schedule. Rather, we know that Geoffrey Raymond, Wall Street’s most important artist, will be displaying his latest masterpiece, a portrait of Cayne, outside the headquarters at 383 Madison. He’ll be asking people passing by to annotate the painting with their thoughts about Bear Stearns and its former leadership.
In the past, Raymond has created similar portraits of Lloyd Blankfein, James Cramer (twice), Eliot Spitzer and Erin Burnett. He first came to DealBreaker’s attention when he appeared outside of the New York Stock Exchange with a portrait of former NYSE head Dick Grasso.
Earlier: Our previous commentary on Raymond’s paintings.
Elsewhere: Raymond’s personal website, The Year of Magical Painting.

  • 08 Apr 2008 at 3:21 PM
  • art


hirstjeans.JPGDamien Hirst, the little artist lover boy of several notable hedge fund managers, has churned out yet another masterpiece of ridiculousness. This time it’s a line of psychedelic jeans for Levis, inspired by work of Andy Warhol. Unlike Hirst’s pickled tiger shark, which Steve Cohen bought for $8 million, and a diamond encrusted skull, sold to an unnamed investment group who requested anonymity because this is the sort of purchase that gets you a reputation for being insane, the pants go for the extremely reasonable price of $80,000 a pop. As we’ve mentioned in the past, a great way to ingratiate yourself with the boss is to suck up to him or her by pretending to have the same interests no matter how out there they may be (hence, my sudden interest in Dungeons and Dragons role play). So while the historically exorbitant cost of buying a dead fish and housing it in formaldehyde may have kept you, lowly SAC analyst, from getting in with the Big Guy in the past, you now have no excuse not to show up to work wearing the same outfit as the BG, and remarking on the “coincidence,” thereby taking your daily interactions from non-existent to awkward. I smell a raise.
Damien Hirst Is Really Into Jeans [Gawker]

  • 11 Feb 2008 at 1:13 PM
  • art

Case Closed

You’ve obviously read the story on Bloomberg about the big art robbery in Zurich; paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh worth more than $163 million were stolen. It’s a big deal if you give a shit about obscure art museums in third-rate European cities. Reporters Marc Wolfensberger and Linda Sandler note that three burglars–packing heat and wearing ski masks–lifted Monet’s “Poppies Near Vetheuil,” Degas’ “Count Lepic and his Daughters,” Van Gogh’s “Blossoming Chestnut Branches” and Cezanne’s “Boy in the Red Vest” from the Buehrle Foundation half an hour before closing yesterday afternoon. Scandalous, we thought, and yet, not really enough information to solve the case.
Then, a lightbulb—we’d made friends with a well-placed guard at that very museum during our semester abroad junior year. We made a call, and after about ten minutes of bullshitting and acting like we were just calling to see how he was doing and not for a favor, we casually mentioned the incident. He was reluctant at first to give up any details—he said the burglar later called from a secure line (203-890-2000) and through heavy breathing that would seem to imply the person on the other end wasn’t in the best of shape, told him, “If you tell anyone about this I’ll fucking kill you,” but I assured him nothing he told me would end up in the public record. Here’s what he said:

“All points bulletin described the third suspect as a portly gentleman, late 40s or early 50s, dressed in black, coke-bottle glasses visible beneath ski mask. Distinguishing features: cookie crumbs cascading down the front of his zip-up sweater, haunting blue eyes. When confronted by gawking, photo-taking tourists at the gallery, the fleeing suspect promised to ‘pay good money for the rights to those snapshots.’ A small shark figurine was found at the scene.”

Draw your own conclusions. We’ve drawn ours.
Zurich Gang Grabs $163 Million Art Haul From Museum [Bloomberg]

  • 07 Jan 2008 at 1:15 PM
  • art

Gary Coleman’s Autographed Track Suit ALSO On Sale

lloydblankfeinportraitsmall.JPGGeoffrey Raymond, the greatest artist of our time (excuse me, of all time), who brought us such masterpieces as “Big Lloyd I (.6 Billion)” (a rendering of Lloyd Blankfein), “Big Jim I: Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” (Jim Cramer), and “Big Dick I (Hundred Million)” (Dick Grasso), and “Big Maria” (Maria Bartiromo), is back at it, this time with another portrait of everyone’s favorite Lil’ Fella, Lloyd Blankfein.
To be honest, we don’t think it’s Raymond’s best work. It lacks a certain phallic rise, but you can judge for yourself this afternoon, when it will be on display around 85 Broad and the NYSE.
For what it’s worth, big deal art collectors Sleve Dohen and Ben Biffen are said to be in a bidding war over the piece already, which is up for grabs on eBay through next Monday.
Raymond’s last entry, “Big Maria” (Maria Bartiromo), sold for $5,000* even with the stains left by passersby invited to flagellate themselves to its colorful curves. Interested buyers should note that, in all probability, the genetic material collected this time around will be exclusively from Goldman Sachs employees.
*starting bid was $4,999.

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  • 29 Aug 2007 at 4:03 PM
  • art

Check Your Head

hirst_skull.jpg“For the Love of God,” the platinum skull that Damien Hirst studded with 8,601 diamonds and called art, has been sold. An unnamed investment group—perhaps requesting anonymity because this is the kind of purchase that gets you a reputation for being insane—will pay $100 million in cash for the piece, which had been on the market since at least June 3.
Less than two weeks ago, Eli Broad, who recently seized the “opportunity” to give Goldman’s GEO fund a bunch of money, warned that major losses hitting hedge fund managers would hurt the contemporary art market, and that many expensive pieces would go unsold. A spokeswoman for Broad declined to comment on whether or not her boss is currently in the process of removing egg from his face. Is the sale indicative of market woes being over or of someone having taste in “art” so bad he/she said “credit crunch be damned, I’ve got to have this thing” (or of Eli knowing nothing)? We say a little bit of both.
On a more personal note, we’re sad to say that it’s highly unlikely that Stevie Cohen, who owns Hirst’s dead shark, was the buyer, as SAC was down as much as 9% at one point this month (which we like to call: “SAC’s worst. month. ever.”).
Earlier: What The Market Hath Wrought
Hirst Sells Skull for $100 Million, Manager Says [Bloomberg]

  • 17 Aug 2007 at 3:00 PM
  • art

What The Market Hath Wrought

damien_hirst-shark-1.jpgThe real tragedy today isn’t that the Federal Reserve is suddenly cool with inflation, that hedge funds are being forced to churn out “Sorry about that” letters on an hourly basis, or that there’s a 39 percent chance that Countrywide Financial will be forced to hold a fire sale. It’s not even that John Devaney will soon be helicopter-less. You want to know what the real crisis that’s unfolding before our very eyes is? What’s the cause of this pandemic of fear? What you should be losing sleep over? What billionaire Eli Broad *is* losing sleep over? It’s this:

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