Sunday, September 28, 2008

William Morris Agency sells headquarters

A group led by South American investors pays $143 million for the Beverly Hills complex.


By Roger Vincent
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 29, 2008

William Morris Agency, the century-old talent firm that has represented generations of movie stars and other artists, has bucked a tough real estate market and sold its Beverly Hills headquarters complex for $143 million to a consortium led by South American investors.

The price amounted to $783 a foot, about twice the average price of an upscale Los Angeles office building. But the buyers, a partnership consisting of Cape Horn Group of Chile and Lincoln Property Co. in Dallas, aren't complaining.

"We are extremely happy with the properties," Eduardo Covarrubias, a co-founder of Cape Horn Group, said in a phone call from Chile. Owning them offers a sense of financial certainty in an uncertain era, he said.

"They give us ideal protection from inflation at a time when there is turmoil in the financial sectors," Covarrubias said. "We're putting our money into hard assets that are going to preserve their value."

William Morris said Friday that it would stay at its current site as a tenant until 2010, when it expects to move into an environmentally friendly building under construction on nearby North Beverly Drive.

The three-building complex, dating to the early 1950s, holds down a prestigious corner near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive and hasn't been on the market before. So it drew strong interest from investors even though financing for real estate deals has nearly dried up in recent months because of the global credit crunch, said David Binswanger, who heads Lincoln Property's L.A. office.

One of the buildings fronts Rodeo Drive and is backed by the other two facing El Camino Drive.

With sales of properties that cost $50 million or more growing rare in the last six months, "there is no way to dispute that this [sale] is an anomaly today," said Marc Renard of Cushman & Wakefield, one of the brokers who represented William Morris in the sale.

The talent agency has owned and occupied most of the 182,000-plus square feet of space in the buildings for decades, Chairman Jim Wiatt said, but it's time to go.

The company's expansion and planned relocation "was the catalyst behind our decision to sell these incredible assets," Wiatt said.

William Morris will move about 400 employees to the new six-story headquarters in 2010. The building being developed for them by George Comfort & Sons Inc. will include a private movie theater, seating as many as 200 people, and restaurants on the ground floor.

After the agency leaves its historic home, the new owners plan to rent the offices. "The space is immaculate," Binswanger said. "William Morris is very image-conscious."

The acquisition is the first in Southern California for Cape Horn, which also owns about 1 million square feet in Chicago and Miami.

"We've been looking for over a year to get into the L.A. area," Covarrubias said. "We focus on purchasing prime properties and hope to buy more in Southern California."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Christian Science Monitor

Palin’s hacked email account — what’s next?

By Jimmy Orr | 09.18.08

The news buzz last night was all about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s hacked email account.

Palin’s personal Yahoo account was apparently plundered late Tuesday evening and the contents of the account — personal emails, email addresses of her parents, children and friends, private family photos, and phone numbers — were published all over the Internet Wednesday.

Shocking invasion

News of the break-in received a harsh response from the McCain campaign.

“This is a shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law,” McCain’s campaign manager said. “The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities, and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them.”

Those appropriate authorities are the FBI and the Secret Service as they’ve teamed up to investigate the breach.

Yeah, but…

The hacking community however isn’t really in to the “authority thing.”

Upon word of Davis’s statement, one blogger at said - we think with a touch of sarcasm - “I guess we’ll have to blow up the internet now?”

Ryan Tate over at Gawker doesn’t condone the break-in but said the hacker “succeeded in reviving the unanswered question of why the Alaska governor had two quasi-official email addresses.”

“This use of the accounts is a naked affront to public records laws in Alaska,” Tate writes. “But it’s not exceptional: It’s one battle in a 30-years war between conservatives and civil libertarians over government openness, during which the current presidential administration itself blurred the lines between public and private email. Is there any way to finally stop these hijinks?”

Why use Yahoo?

The topic of whether Palin should be using a personal account for state business has been subject of a lot of talk recently. Two days before the email account was hacked, the Anchorage Daily News discussed it.

“Even before the McCain campaign plucked Palin from Alaska, a controversy was brewing over e-mails in the governor’s office. Was the administration trying to get around the public records law through broad exemptions or private e-mail accounts?” the newspaper asked.


The British IT website The Register published an article early this morning with the wonderfully attractive headline: Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers.

Translation? If the feds were to contact an individual named Gabriel Ramuglia they might be able to track down the, as President Bush and Aquaman would say, “evil-doers.”

The 25-year-old webmaster and entrepreneur is the operator of, the browsing proxy service used by the group that hacked into the vice presidential candidate’s personal email account and exposed its contents to the world. While he has yet to examine his logs, he says there’s a good chance they will lead to those responsible, thanks to some carelessness on their part.

“Usually, this sort of thing would be hard to track down because it’s Yahoo email, and a lot of people use my service for that,” he told El Reg in a phone interview. “Since they were dumb enough to post a full screenshot

Act now and save

The article, written by a San Francisco based reporter named Dan Goodin, suggests the law enforcement communities get working now as the logs on the server which house this information expires in seven days.

Ramuglia told The Register he would “probably” comply with requests from law enforcement but has not yet been contacted.

Karl Rove

Former Bush strategist, Karl Rove, gets brought up nearly every time a controversy with a Republican candidate emerges. No different this morning. Farhad Manjoo, over at Slate, this morning says the use of the Yahoo based email is “Rovian” in nature.

“The Yahoo breach does raise a few questions about Palin’s e-mail habits,” Manjoo wrote. “Why was she using Yahoo? Critics say she was taking a page from Karl Rove, who cooked up the idea of using an off-site e-mail address to confound investigations of his activities in the Bush administration.”


Web proxy firm working with FBI to trace Palin e-mail hacker

The webmaster of a Ga. company says he's been asked to save server logs

by Jaikumar Vijayan

September 18, 2008

The webmaster of a proxy service called, which may have been used by a hacker to illegally access the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is working with law enforcement authorities to track down the person behind the break-in.

Gabriel Ramuglia, the Athens, Ga.-based webmaster of Ctunnel, said today that URLs in screenshots of Palin's e-mail -- photos were posted online yesterday on and other sites -- suggested that whoever accessed her Yahoo Mail account had used his proxy service.

Ramuglia said in an interview that he was contacted by FBI officials last night and asked to retain computer logs of the past few days' activity on his service and to make sure nothing is deleted. Ramuglia, who normally stores only a week's worth of log data, said he would not have deleted anything anyway because of the illegal nature of what had happened.

Ramuglia is now in the process of importing more than 80GB worth of log data into a database for analysis. He said he's reasonably confident that he can help authorities sift through the logs and trace access back to the originating IP address -- especially because the self-professed hacker has admitted using just one proxy service to access Palin's account.

The alleged hacker said in an online posting that he gained access by simply resetting the password to the Alaska governor's Yahoo e-mail account using its password-recovery service. That's according to a description of events posted on a blog site run by conservative syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin.

The first-person account was originally posted on by a poster identified only as "Rubico." That post, along with a related thread, was later deleted from that site -- but not before a reader of Malkin's blog apparently snagged a copy of it and sent it along to Malkin. Rubico's claims could not be verified, and security analysts have been skeptical of the claims.

According to the Malkin blog reader, hosts multiple boards, each of which is dedicated to specific subjects. The individual who first broke into Palin's e-mail account apparently belonged to a group called "/b/," which the reader described as the "most notorious" of the boards on "'/b/tards,' as its denizens are called, are interested only in their own amusement," the reader claimed.

Rubico allegedly became interested in Palin's e-mail after reading media reports of her using a Yahoo Mail account. He decided to try to access it by resetting her password. "It took seriously 45 minutes on Wikipedia and Google to find the info [needed]," Rubico claimed. "Birthday? 15 seconds on Wikipedia. ZIP code? Well, she had always been from Wasilla, [Alaska], and it only has two ZIP codes (thanks, online postal service!)."

Rubico said it was harder to find the answer to one of the other questions needed for a password recovery: Where had Palin met her husband? After some digging, Rubico determined that the couple first met at Wasilla High School.

He said he used the information to reset Palin's password and go through her e-mail to see for anything incriminating that might "derail her campaign."

It was only after finding nothing that the hacker realized how easily he could be caught, since he had used only one proxy to access the account. So he decided to make access to it available to others on the /b/ board by posting Palin's recently reset password. Rubico claimed that he "then promptly deleted everything and unplugged my Internet and just sat there in a comatose state."

However, one of the other members of the bulletin board whom Rubico described as a "White knight f...," saw the thread and used the new password to go back into Palin's account and reset it. That person then sent an e-mail to a "friend of Palin's" informing her of the new password and what had happened, Rubico claimed.

The New York Times
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September 18, 2008

You Just Can’t Kill It

DON’T know how it happened. It felt more like a gradual, irresistible drift, but in retrospect, it might have been a sudden, overnight conversion. Maybe our local video store rented “The Hunger” one too many times.

Perhaps one teenager too many lay awake after midnight, unable to get Edward Gorey’s disturbing Black Doll image out of his head. Maybe a girl with 14 piercings in each ear sang Siouxsie and the Banshees’s “Cities in Dust” to her cat enough times to warp the entire light spectrum.

But there was a distinct point in San Francisco, in the late 1980s, when all the postpunk wardrobes of my extended tribe — a lower Haight-Ashbury aggregate of motorcyclists, college dropouts, would-be artists and nightclub workers — turned as abruptly and completely black as if a wall of ink had crept up from the Pacific and saturated everything, save for occasional outcroppings of little silver skulls.

Secretly I nursed grandiose ideas that my funereal vintage attire aligned me with beatniks, existentialists, Zen Buddhists, French Situationists, 1930s movie stars and samurai. (In reality, my style could probably have been more aptly described as “Biker Madonna with mood disorder.”)

We were all young and poor: If your clothes were all black, everything matched and was vaguely elegant (especially if you squinted). Entropy was a thrifty, built-in style; if your tights ripped into cobwebs, that, too, was a look.

We lived in squalid tenements and worked until 4 a.m. Goth was a fashion response to doing infrequent laundry and never seeing the sun. A Northern California anti-tan could be an advantage if you made yourself even paler. On the bright side, our new monochromism was helpful to community building: We were able to recognize our neighbors as well as if we had all adopted regional folk costume. You knew you could rely on your blackly attired ilk to answer questions like, Hey, where should I go to get my 1978 Triumph Bonneville repaired/get green dreadlocks/get the word Golgotha tattooed in five-inch letters across my back/buy jimson weed/cast a reverse love spell for under $14/(insert your vaguely but harmlessly sinister demimonde activity here)?

“ ‘Gothic’ is an epithet with a strange history, evoking images of death, destruction, and decay,” the fashion historian Valerie Steele writes in “Gothic: Dark Glamour” (Yale University Press), a new coffee-table book, written with Jennifer Park. An exhibition of the same name, curated by Ms. Steele at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, unpacks the evolution of goth in fashion from its early beginnings in Victorian mourning to its most current expressions.

“It is not just a term that describes something (such as a Gothic cathedral), it is also almost inevitably a term of abuse, implying that something is dark, barbarous, gloomy and macabre,” she wrote. “Ironically, its negative connotations have made it, in some respects, ideal as a symbol of rebellion. Hence its significance for youth subcultures.”

But goth fashion is not just for maladjusted latchkey kids. A recent proliferation of Haute Goth on the runways of designers like Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh and the spidery crochet webs of Rodarte (not to mention various darkly inclined Belgian designers) suggests, once again, that black still is, and probably always will be the new black.

The goth subculture, however, for those who live it, is more than the sum of its chicken bones, vampire clichés and existential pants. It remains a visual shortcut through which young persons of a certain damp emotional climate can broadcast to the other members of their tribe who they are. Goth is a look that simultaneously expresses and cures its own sense of alienation.

This sentiment was echoed by Wendy Jenkins of Powell, Ohio, whom I contacted via a goth group on Facebook. “To me, Goth is like an escape,” wrote Ms. Jenkins, who is 18 and attends Olentangy Liberty High School.

“No one really judges each other,” she continued. “It doesn’t matter if you are tall, short, black, white, heavy, thin. Goth can fit everyone! I think it is a great way to bond with others who are different and who are just like you at the same time! Because we are wearing black most the time we are EZ to find!”

Missy Graf, 20, of Edmonton, Alberta, became fascinated by the goths at her Catholic high school. “One of the goth girls was in the choir with me,” she wrote in an e-mail message, “and we talked about depression and God’s apparent absence from her life. It was one of my first encounters with the world outside of the ‘Christian bubble.’ ”

“I guess I slowly became (eh-em) ‘goth’ starting a year and a half ago,” she added. “I was afraid of what my mom would think (she is still convinced that goth is associated with Satan-worshipping and that dying my hair black is one more step into the oblivion ... oh mom! You dye your hair red. Don’t you know that Satan panties are red, not black?). Whatever. Eventually I got to the point where I stopped trying to make people accept me.”

The Bay Area was home to a number of influential goths. Courtney Love successfully introduced the kinderwhore look: filmy Victorian nightgowns with fright-wig doll hair and heavy makeup. The band Specimen kept an apartment in the Mission District strewn with artificial cobwebs. Diamanda Galas frequently gabbled in demonic tongues on concert stages with her grand piano. I was privileged to direct the poet/performance artist/goth icon Danielle Willis in “Breakfast in the Flesh District,” her candidly hilarious, autobiographical one-woman show about working in the Tenderloin’s strip clubs as a self-styled vampire.

Ms. Willis, who embraced goth the second she saw Tim Curry’s “sweet transvestite from Transylvania” in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” used to write great articles on the ironies of goth fashion, like “Lord Damien Stark’s Makeup Tips for the Bleak” (originally printed in Ghastly Magazine):

“Whiteface should create the illusion that you really are that pale, and not that you have a bunch of makeup from Walgreens caked all over your face. Done badly, Gothic makeup can look painfully stupid. After spending money on a decent base, take the trouble to apply it evenly. It’s appalling how many Goths overlook something so basic and vital to their entire aesthetic. Equally bad and unfortunately just as frequent is the tendency to overpowder and the tendency to end one’s pallor at the jawbone. I can understand someone having difficulty with liquid eyeliner, but some mistakes are just inexcusably stupid. Don’t make them.”

I just wore black, but Danielle Willis was a Satanic blood fetishist who had her own 19th-century phlebotomy kit, permanent fangs dentally bonded to her eyeteeth and serious drug problems. I once teased her about her decorative penchant for red velvet chaises, heavy curtains, ball-and-claw side tables, stigmata and other forms of morbid opulence, saying that they didn’t necessarily mean she was goth, just Italian. She clocked me pretty hard.

THE origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning.

A Victorian mourning dress from the 1880s.

“Victorians had a joke when women got into fashionable mourning dress — they called it ‘the trap rebaited.’ ” Ms. Steele said, showing me one of the highlights of the F.I.T. exhibition: a 1905 Victorian cult-of-mourning gown by Desbuisson & Hudelist that was off-the-shoulder, had a plunging neckline and was covered with matte-black sequins.

The show also makes a healthy foray into what Ms. Steele calls the “diabolism, dandyism and decadence” of Dracula. “Just as the devil is the prince of darkness, the dandy is the black prince of elegance,” she explained. “And the paradigm of the gothic man is a dandy vampire aristocrat.”

The vampire introduces the idea of the “erotic macabre” into gothic fashion. There are stunning examples in the show of vampiric sex appeal — e.g., a voluminous blood-red gown by John Galliano for Dior, printed with a Marquis de Sade quotation: “Is it not by murder that France is free today?” (Which, accessorized with its huge chain and cross made of railway spikes, would inspire even the Easter Bunny to absinthe and Emocore.)

One display acknowledges the fetish culture’s influence on goth (“kinky nihilism,” as Ms. Steele describes it): buckled PVC corsets and other snazzy bondage accouterments in addition to the usual Morticia Addams styles.

But to Wendy Jenkins, vampires represent more than just a hot batch of spooky formalwear. They provide a romantic narrative for sympathizing with her own perceived abnormalities. She wrote to me: “I think vampires are freeking sweet because they have such true emotions that no mere mortals can express! I too at times think I am a vampire being with my hate of garlic and how my eyes r sensitive to light.”

This sense of bathos-dripping, emotional fragility draws no small ridicule to the idea of “goth.” The word still brings to mind Anne Rice à la Renaissance Faire, moody bodice-ripper connotations, as well as ruffled shirts, tarot cards and sad girls who wistfully change their names to Pandora and Esmeralda (a tendency finally ridiculed to death in the “Saturday Night Live” sketch Goth Talk, with its teenage hosts, Azrael Abyss, “Prince of Sorrows,” and his friend, Circe Nightshade).

Nocturne Midnight, a k a Josh Klooster from Millet, Alberta, a 17-year-old student at Leduc Composite High School in Edmonton (and another goth in the Facebook group), prefers “a suave gentleman style,” he wrote. “Dress shirt, dress pants, top hat, spiked collar, light make-up. It makes me feel like an aristocrat.”

Tia Senat, 15, a sophomore at Ellsworth High School in Ellsworth, Kan., identifies her goth-influenced style as “emo.”

“Some Goth people seem different, but really they’re just normal people hidden behind a sort of personality ‘curtain,’ ” she said. “Emo is being extremely sensitive and showing your emotions.

“What drew me to it was because it basically explained how I acted. You can’t just decide to be. It really just happens. Many people believe that all teens such as me participate in self-mutilation, or cutting, and that they whine about their life and how bad it is compared to other people. Not all Emo kids do this unless something very very traumatic happens, believe me.”

Mr. Midnight takes exception. “Emos tend to take themselves far too seriously,” he said. “Every emotion they have is one extreme or another. Extremely happy, crushingly sad, screaming rage. Just too much emotion. All the time.”

Looking back at my own experience, it seems that black clothes were a response to certain catastrophic influences that came up with terrible regularity. We had all lost, or were in the process of losing, friends to AIDS, addictions and accidents. There were always disappointments in romance, and no surplus of mental health or functional families. Boots, black and leather provided a certain group with a certain emotional exoskeleton, a blustering attempt to express an edgy, careless willingness to hurl ourselves into oblivion. But the writing on the collective black flag, for all our reckless posturing, may have been best articulated as: “Ow, I’m hypersensitive. Please don’t hurt me again.”

Nocturne Midnight explains the importance of being goth: “It’s a part of who I am,” he said. “Nothing else worked. Goth just seemed to fit. I suppose Goth invokes in me a feeling of happiness, of belonging.”

Later Wendy Jenkins wrote to tell me: “Case you didn’t know, I am in a wheelchair.”

There are certainly worse ways to misspend a youth than living it in a vampire costume. After all, sometimes the most sympathetic character in a story is the villain.

But being goth doesn’t mean you have no sense of humor.

“Gothic style should be as opulent, decadent and individual as possible,” Danielle Willis wrote. “If you’re not up to making the effort necessary to carry off this most high maintenance of affectations, try wearing plaid shirts and listening to Nirvana instead.”

Goths on the Loose, From the Appian Way to the Runway

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

If You Don't Have Sirius…

Perezzers talked with Howard Stern for almost an hour this morning!!!!!

Things went sooo well. Check out the first part of our chat above.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

AC/DC to return to road for first time since ’01
Band to open North American leg on October 28 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

By Mitchell Peters
Sept. 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Anglo-Australian rockers AC/DC will launch their world tour on October 28 at the Wachovia Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The 24-date North American leg of the arena jaunt is scheduled to wrap December 18 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

The worldwide trek follows closely behind the October 20 release of "Black Ice," the band's first album in eight years, which will be sold exclusively in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores as well as at The first single, "Rock'n'Roll Train," rocketed 10 places to No. 5 on Billboard's latest Mainstream Rock chart.

Tickets for the North American dates will go on sale during the weekend of September 20 via Ticketmaster and Specific on-sale dates and ticket prices have not yet been announced.

Following the North American run, AC/DC will visit South American, Europe and Asia, with dates to be announced. The Black Ice World Tour will be AC/DC's first outing since 2001.

Here are AC/DC's North American tour dates:

October 28: Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Wachovia Arena)

October 30: Chicago (Allstate Arena)

November 3: Indianapolis (Conseco Fieldhouse)

November 5: Auburn Hills, Mich. (Palace of Auburn Hills)

November 7: Toronto (Rogers Centre)

November 9: Boston (TD Banknorth Garden)

November 12-13: New York (Madison Square Garden)

November 15: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)

November 17: Philadelphia (Wachovia Center)

November 19: East Rutherford, N.J. (IZOD Center)

November 21: Columbus, Ohio (Schottenstein Center)

November 23: Minneapolis (Xcel Energy Center)

November 25: Denver (Pepsi Center)

November 28: Vancouver (General Motors Place)

November 29: Seattle (KeyArena)

November 30: Tacoma, Wash. (Tacoma Dome)

December 2: Oakland, Calif. (Oracle Arena)

December 6: Los Angeles (The Forum)

December 10: Phoenix (US Airways Center)

December 12: San Antonio (AT&T Center)

December 14: Houston (Toyota Center)

December 16: Atlanta (Philips Arena)

December 18: Charlotte, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Arena)