Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Sunday, December 31, 2006

Steve Martin - Party Boy

This is just too too

see the parties steve's attended!
find out his social quotient!
throw up!
Thursday, December 28, 2006

A St. Barts retrospective

It's time for Steve's annual trek to St. Barts. Since there's no guarantee he'll make the papers this year, here's a view from a few years ago.

One Wild & Crazy Vacation

By Loren Stein

WHAT CAN BITER say about the week we vacationed with Steve Martin? Well, not really vacationed with him, more like stalked him. OK, not technically legally stalked him, more like kept showing up. Actually, it could be said that Steve Martin stalked us. Mercifully, Biter's not sure he ever noticed, regardless of who stalked whom, but we sure did.

Steve Martin is a big-name guy; he's all over the place. Multitalented, a man of the arts, a Renaissance man. He's a gifted comedian and comedy writer. He's an accomplished banjo player. He stars in movies (comedies and dramas); he writes books and plays and New Yorker pieces; he's on Saturday Night Live reruns. He's recently onstage at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre conversing with a mathematician (then Robin Williams shows up and steals the show). He's a sophisticated art collector. And come March 23, he'll be in his black tux hosting the 75th Academy Awards, for the second time, spinning out his droll wit and crack comic timing for a worldwide audience.

"I'm pleased to be hosting the Oscars again," said Steve Martin, "because fear and nausea always make me lose weight."

We like Steve Martin. We respect him for surviving and, moreover, thriving in the cutthroat cultures of Hollywood and Broadway, not to mention the publishing business. He seems like a classy guy--smart, sensitive and thoughtful.

So there was Biter, on vacation in St. Bart's, the tiny 8-square-mile Caribbean island in the French West Indies. People speak French there; women in sarongs go happily, lazily topless on the white-sand beaches; residents zip around the narrow, winding streets on little scooters with dogs holding on for dear life on the back. Boats rock back and forth anchored in the lovely harbor, framed by brilliant red sunsets. Grand villas with spectacular views dot the hillsides. The air is soft and warm; the water dazzlingly blue and so clear that Biter can see straight through to the sand and to the fish swimming below.

But despite all this solitude, we could never shake Steve Martin. We'd go to a restaurant and, lo and behold, he'd be there at the next table, dining with his girlfriend (we're pretty sure) and another couple. We'd go to a secluded beach, and Steve Martin would show up and, stripping down to yellow and black striped trunks, energetically body surf 10 feet from us. We'd walk to a parking lot along a dirt road and turn around, and Steve Martin would be one step behind us.

One day, Biter was reading Elmore Leonard's Be Cool on the beach in front of our bungalow, after having once again had dinner, the night before, at a table next to Steve Martin. The book, amazingly it seemed, suddenly referenced Steve Martin. Biter exclaimed, "My book has Steve Martin in it!" Biter looked up, and there was Steve Martin striding down the beach directly in front of us, not more than 15 feet away. Was this fate or what? What did this cosmic collision course mean?

Biter doesn't really know, but we do know that it's hard to overlook Steve Martin. He has a shock of thick white hair. His face looks lived in, but he's in excellent shape for a 57-year-old. He looked serious and contemplative almost all of the time, at least when we saw him. People seemed to leave him alone, although they must have recognized him. He's undeniably a world-famous person, a fixture in our collective consciousness.

What does that feel like? Biter wondered, while watching him slyly from the corner of our eye after the fifth time we ran into him. Does it feel powerful and thrilling to know absolutely that you are known (and, hopefully, loved) by so many people? Or does it feel profoundly alienating, make you feel perpetually self-conscious and watchful, moving through the world in a brightly lit bubble of notoriety?

Biter sure noticed him. We felt giddy and star-struck when we were around him. Look, there he is! Steve Martin! A bona fide star! Then just as quickly, we felt dopey and immature. Can't we be more grown-up about this? We hemmed and hawed over whether we should say something to him; we rehearsed our opening lines. How would he react? "Boy, isn't it weird how we keep bumping into you?" "We'd just like to say we really admire your work. We loved you when you were the wild and crazy guy with Dan Aykroyd." Or maybe, "How does it feel to know that wherever you go, nearly everyone knows who you are, that you are an indelible part of so many people's lives?"

Biter elected not to say anything to Steve Martin. Why intrude on his privacy? We thought, he's due a vacation from it all, too.

So on Biter's last night on the island, eating at our new favorite restaurant right on the water overlooking the dreamy harbor, we said, "This won't be a fitting last night if we don't see Steve Martin." And wouldn't you know it, as we leave we walk right past Steve Martin eating dinner at his table, happily--we hope--oblivious.

From the January 30-February 5, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More on Steve and banjo

This has some different info than the Trischka article published earlier

The New York Times
December 17, 2006 Sunday
Late Edition - Final
Section 14NJ; Column 1; New Jersey Weekly Desk; Pg. 12
Five-String Sensation

LEGENDARY musicians are supposed to make their pyrotechnics look easy: deftness and effortlessness, or at least the appearance of it, go hand in hand. But the banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka, who has lived on an unassuming street here since 1989, has a way of making his humble instrument seem a little too easy.

''I can teach anybody to play banjo in an hour. Anybody can do it,'' said Mr. Trischka, 57, who taught the jazz-leaning innovator Bela Fleck in the 1980s and finger-picks alongside modern masters including Earl Scruggs and Alison Brown on ''Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular'' (Rounder Records), his 16th album, to be released next month.

Seated in his living room this month, in front of several gleaming instruments and a psychedelic framed poster of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, Mr. Trischka -- tall, kind-eyed and completely disarming -- seems as mismatched with his lofty reputation as bluegrass would be with hip-hop.

''I guess I'd call myself a guy who broke down some boundaries for the banjo,'' he said, shrugging.

That is an understatement; in fiddle- and fret-conscious circles from Nashville to Groton, Mass., where he still teaches sometimes at the annual Banjo Camp conference, he is known as the father of modern bluegrass.

''It's impossible to imagine what contemporary banjo music would be like today if Tony hadn't blazed a path for all of us,'' said Ms. Brown, who won a Grammy Award in 2000 for best instrumental country performance and operates the Nashville-based bluegrass label Compass Records.

Mr. Trischka's determined march away from traditional bluegrass started with his first solo album, ''Bluegrass Light'' (Rounder), in 1973. Most players ambitious enough to pick up a banjo in those days buried themselves in the finger work of back-country heroes like Mr. Monroe and Mr. Scruggs, now in his 80s. Mr. Trischka experimented, drawing on the music he listened to as a child in Syracuse. It included folk artists like Tom Paxton, jazz masters like Fats Waller and pop idols like the Beatles.

'' 'Strawberry Fields' is still probably my favorite tune,'' Mr. Trischka said. But he might never have found his calling if it weren't for the Kingston Trio's 1959 hit ''M.T.A.''

''There was a banjo break with just 16 notes in it in that song, a little part of it, but that was it for me,'' he said. ''It ruined me. I had to play just like that.''

As it turned out, he did not play just like that. After moving to Manhattan in the 1970s, he pioneered a plugged-in style of his own, one accomplished enough to earn him the respect of the old guard but hip enough to win him collaborations with partners including the novelist William Burroughs and the '80s punk band Violent Femmes.

''I'm an old hippie,'' Mr. Trischka explained. ''We're all sort of in the same crevasse.''

Still, even old hippies can't be expected to walk the cutting edge all the time.

That explains ''Double Banjo Bluegrass,'' the latest of a few returns to traditional bluegrass in Mr. Trischka's long career. Friends including Mr. Fleck and Mr. Scruggs visited studios in Nashville and Manhattan to record original and traditional songs for the CD. But it was Mr. Trischka's experience recording with the actor and comedian Steve Martin, also an accomplished picker, that sticks with him most.

''He wasn't funny at all,'' Mr. Trischka said. ''He was completely straight -- this great friendly guy.''

The session took place last year at Mr. Martin's apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and whatever it lacked in comedy, it made up for in celebrity shoulder-rubbing.

''Paul Simon came over, and he wanted to play some songs off his new record,'' Mr. Trischka said. ''At one point, Steve Martin left the room, and I was there with Paul Simon.''

At that moment, Mr. Trischka sensed Mr. Simon's interest in his banjo. He offered him the 45-second version of his hourlong tutorial.

''He picked it up and played an open chord. I told him, 'You look good in a banjo.'

''That was pretty cool,'' Mr. Trischka said.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Martin Short spit on Johnny Carson in front of Steve

Memoirs are made of this...

WENN Entertainment News Wire Service

Funnyman MARTIN SHORT was left red-faced when he spat potato at his hero, late chat show king JOHNNY CARSON, at a poker party.

Short was down almost $2,000 (GBP1,110) at the celebrity card game, which featured Carson, STEVE MARTIN and other celebrities when dinner was called.

Nervous and sweating, Short was trying to enjoy the meal when Carson cracked a joke.

He recalls, "There was a dinner break... and I was so nervous and Johnny said something funny and I went, 'Ha ha ha,' and I spit mashed potato out and I knew it had landed somewhere and I looked down and it was on Johnny's hand.

"No one saw it apart from Steve Martin. Steve kinda looked over and went, 'Are you gonna leave it there?'

"When I looked back it was gone, so I just assumed Johnny had eaten it."

Pink Panther 2 to shoot in Montreal?

The Gazette (Montreal)
December 15, 2006 Friday
Final Edition
Pink Panther debate chases its tail: Possible local shoot. Conflicting accounts over impact of labour uncertainty

The sequel to The Pink Panther might shoot in Montreal this spring. Or it might not.

John Barrack, chief negotiator for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, said the Steve Martin comedy was set to shoot here but that the studio, Sony Pictures, has decided to bypass Montreal because of the possibility of an actors' strike. The Canadian producers' association is currently in negotiations with ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the country's main actors' union. If no deal is reached by Dec. 31, the actors could be on strike early next year.

But Montreal-born filmmaker Shawn Levy said the allegation from the producers' association is simply not true.

"That is totally groundless," said Levy, who directed The Pink Panther, the hit film that revived the comedy franchise this year. Levy is one of the producers on the sequel and may also direct the new instalment [sic].

"There is no script yet approved by Steve (Martin) or the studio or me," Levy said. "There have been no conversations about where it's going to shoot. I'm thrilled that The Pink Panther did well enough to merit a sequel, but the future of it as far as who's directing and where it's going to shoot, that's totally up in the air at least into January."

Jean Bonini, executive vice-president (labour relations) at Sony Pictures, said Montreal was high on the list of potential sites for the Pink Panther sequel's shoot, but the studio won't shoot the Paris-set film here if ACTRA does not have a deal in place with the producers.

"Montreal and Quebec for Pink Panther makes a lot of sense because of the whole look," Bonini said. "But you're not going to walk into spending millions of dollars to have your production interrupted. There's too much money at stake. It just doesn't make sense. (Montreal) is on the list for consideration, but the stumbling block is the insecurity in connection with the labour agreement, and unless that is removed, it's on the list but it's got negatives that would keep us out."

Brian Baker, business agent at the Directors Guild of Canada, said his contacts in the biz tell him The Pink Panther is coming to Montreal and that "this is just posturing from the producers' association." Baker's view is that the Americans will keep coming even if there is no agreement between ACTRA and the producers. The Hollywood producers could make deals on a film-by-film basis with ACTRA even if there is no signed collective agreement.

Raymond Guardia, regional director for ACTRA in Quebec, suggested the producers' association is simply trying to put pressure on the actors' union by announcing that Montreal has lost The Pink Panther shoot.

"I'm getting a little impatient with this stuff," said Guardia, who was in Toronto yesterday negotiating with the producers. "It's a tactic they always play. But why keep playing these games? It undermines the work we've done at the bargaining table. It's reckless."

The negotiations are set to continue today and resume Monday through Wednesday in Toronto. Both ACTRA and the producers' association say they are making progress, after a slow start, but the two sides have yet to move beyond non-monetary concerns to the tougher issues dealing with actors' salaries.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Miami Herald

At the Dennis Hopper dinner at Delano's Agua Spa on Friday night: Steve Martin; Martha Stewart, and David Byrne. Martin was also seen at The Setai on Saturday.

Posted by KMT


Prices Soar at Art Basel Miami, With Sales Up to $400 Million

By Lindsay Pollock

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Almost everything, from a teeny gray Jasper Johns to a poorly painted orange-and-purple 1987 Willem de Kooning, was offered as top of the line at the fifth annual Art Basel Miami Beach. Sticker prices were higher than even an auction-besotted art world anticipated.

Four days into the fair, the $2 million Johns was unsold at Matthew Marks Gallery, while the $3 million de Kooning at Gagosian Gallery -- pegged to the artist's stellar prices at New York's fall auctions -- had found no buyers.

Still, by the time the fair closed on Dec. 10, three top sellers estimated that sales totaled between $200 million and $400 million, and dealers of both young and established artists reported turnover as strong or even stronger than that of a year ago. (Fair organizers don't disclose sales figures.)

``In the first two days, people were jumping on anything, and certainly everything that was fresh,'' said private New York dealer Nicholas Maclean, who attended the fair with clients.

About 40,000 people attended Art Basel's five-day run, including 8,500 VIPs the first day, according to organizers. This is up from 35,000 last year. About 200 international sellers participated.

As usual, the Miami Beach extravaganza attracted a heady mix of collectors. Blue-chip dealer Larry Gagosian and Sandy Heller, an art adviser to Steve Cohen and other hedge-funders, hosted a dinner for 40 at Casa Tua, a Miami Beach restaurant described in Zagat's special Art Basel edition as having ``outrageous tabs'' and ``pretentious airs.''

Steve and Martha

Other buyers and browsers included actor Steve Martin and media maven Martha Stewart as well as veteran Boston-area collector Barbara Lloyd, who picked up an editioned $2,500 sculpture by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto to hang with her Calders at home.

Lloyd attended the fair with a group from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. ``I just go by the seat of my pants,'' Lloyd said. ``I buy what I like and no worrying about if this will become more valuable.''

By Saturday afternoon, power dealers such as White Cube's Jay Jopling had already left Miami. As a more local crowd pushed strollers down fair aisles, one dealer muttered about ``tire- kickers,'' while another said the real collectors had gone home.

Only a month ago, New York auction totals for modern and contemporary art surpassed $1 billion for the first time, and Art Basel dealers ``were adjusting to the prices that had been paid at auction,'' Maclean said.

High-Price Context

The billion-dollar auction season came on the heels of several big-money private sales, with prices from $60 million to $140 million for artists from de Kooning to Klimt.

``If a de Kooning is $60 million,'' said John Cheim of Chelsea's Cheim & Read gallery, ``it lifts up the whole market.''

Part of the reason for Art Basel Miami price increases is that more than three-quarters of the works on offer at many major galleries are consigned -- by collectors, artists and other dealers.

``When things sell for wild prices at auction, it does pump up enthusiasm,'' said Paul Gray, of Chicago and New York's Richard Gray Gallery. ``But it also pumps up the expectations of sellers.''

Many consigning sellers insisted on auction-inflated prices. Gray's asking price for two small, 1964 Warhol ``Flowers'' paintings was a brash $1.5 million for both, obviously pegged to Warhol's outstanding fall performance at auction: A larger flower painting fetched $6.8 million at Sotheby's.

`Flowers' Unsold

Five years ago, a small Warhol ``Flower'' sold for $60,000 at auction. Gray's ``Flowers'' went unsold, despite an admiring glance from hip-hop star Kanye West.

Much of the fair's buying was focused on contemporary artists whose works were priced in the $10,000-to-$30,000 range. The more than 100 museum groups who attended the fair tended to purchase at this level. Cheim & Read sold six paintings of Hispanic immigrants by Los Angeles artist John Sonsini, priced $25,000 to $75,000; one was bought as a gift for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Marie-Josee Kravis, president of the board of New York's Museum of Modern Art, toured the fair with MoMA curator Joachim Pissarro. She scooped up artworks likely destined for that museum, including a large mauve, yellow and green abstract painting by Los Angeles artist Chris Vasell from Blum & Poe gallery. (Vasell's work costs $24,000 to $30,000, the gallery said.)

About a dozen satellite art fairs took advantage of the confluence of collectors. The Aqua Art Miami fair included artworks from a few hundred dollars to just under $10,000. Brooklyn Museum of Art Director Arnold Lehman and his wife, Pamela, bought paintings by Los Angeles Chicano artists for their own collection, while notable Miami collector Dennis Scholl made his way in and out of the small white rooms of the Aqua Hotel, where art was tacked to every flat surface -- bathrooms included.

Casual Displays

Down the deco strip on Collins Avenue, at the not-so-chic Cavalier Hotel, the first-time Pool fair set up shop on two floors. Artists hoping to find gallery representation placed their wares in rooms and hallways.

This united front of artists seeking dealers was the first link in last week's art-market food chain.

One room was ringed with striking photos by 27-year-old, Brooklyn-based photographer Sarah Small. But Small was nowhere to be found during the fair's Friday night opening. A scruffy young man lounging on a red-velvet bedcover said he didn't know how much Small wanted for her photos.

It was a refreshing break from the hustle and commerce at the Art Basel Miami Beach's main convention hall.

UBS AG is the fair's main sponsor. The next Art Basel fair takes place June 13-17, 2007, in Basel, Switzerland.

(Lindsay Pollock writes on the art market for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Posted by KMT

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