Arts patron Alberto Vilar sentenced to nine years in prison


Arts patron gets 9 years

Former international arts patron Alberto Vilar was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for stealing from investors at his Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan announced the sentence at a hearing in Manhattan federal court, where Vilar, 69, was convicted in 2008 of all 12 criminal counts against him, including fraud and conspiracy.


Vilar also was ordered to pay $21.9 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said Vilar and his former Amerindo partner, Gary Tanaka, stole from clients to keep the firm afloat and to fund Vilar’s philanthropic pledges and lifestyle after Internet and technology stocks plunged beginning in 2000.

Vilar made numerous multimillion-dollar pledges to opera companies around the world but failed to deliver on many of them, including a $12-million gift to L.A. Opera.

-- bloomberg news Clarkson weighs in on Swift

The Taylor Swift Grammy Awards hoopla -- the one concerning her pitchy performance, not the four trophies she took home Sunday night -- simply will not die down, and now original “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson is taking issue with comments that Big Machine Records Chief Executive Scott Borchetta made in Swift’s defense.

Clarkson took to her blog after Borchetta declared, “This is not ‘American Idol.’ This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It’s not about that technically perfect performance.”

“Thank you for that ‘Captain Obvious’ sense of humor,” Clarkson wrote, “because you know what, we not only hit the high notes, you forgot to mention we generally hit the ‘right’ notes as well. Every artist has a bad performance or two and that is understandable, but throwing blame will not make the situation at hand any better.”


Her advice to Borchetta: “You should simply take a breath and realize that sometimes things won’t go according to plan or work out and that’s OK.”

-- Shirley Halperin Crichton pieces to be auctioned

Michael Crichton was the mega-selling thriller writer behind “Jurassic Park,” “The Andromeda Strain” and TV series “ER.” He was also a private and passionate art collector who bought works by 20th century masters including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns.

Four pieces from Crichton’s collection valued at $32 million went on display Friday in London before being auctioned by Christie’s in New York in May.

The centerpiece is “Flag” of 1960-1966, one of a series of images of the U.S. standard by Johns that transformed the art world -- challenging the supremacy of abstract Expressionism and paving the way for pop art’s obsession with boldly colored found objects.

“It’s truly the first great pop art object,” said Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman of Christie’s, Americas. “It allowed artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to look to the world around them.”


Crichton -- who died of cancer in November 2008 at the age of 66 -- bought “Flag” directly from the artist in 1974, and it has not been offered for sale since. It once hung in the writer’s Beverly Hills bedroom.

-- associated press Academy settles producers issue

The “extraordinary circumstances” provision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ rule on producers’ credits for best picture Oscar nominees has been invoked in the case of “The Hurt Locker.”

As a result, four producers have qualified to be honored should the film win as best picture: Kathryn Bigelow (also nominated for directing), Mark Boal (also nominated for writing), Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro.

That issue had not been resolved when the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday. Nor had the academy determined who was eligible for “The Blind Side.”

The nominees for “The Blind Side” are Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson.

The academy says no more than three producers may be listed for best picture nominees; however, extraordinary circumstances may allow the inclusion of a fourth producer. Academy officials concluded that all four individuals acted as genuine producers on “The Hurt Locker.”


-- Paul Gaita Finally

Art honor: Suzanne Lacy, a Los Angeles-based artist whose work has embraced feminist and social-justice issues, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the College Art Assn.

Sidelined: Svetlana Zakharova, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet, has a hip injury and will not be traveling with the troupe when it performs at the Orange County Performing Arts Center this month.