Loot – Luxury Living, Goods, Services and Reviews

Jazz Great Benny Golson Is Young Again

Benny Golson

Viktor Navorski, Tom Hanks’s character in "The Terminal," spent nine months in an airport waiting to get tenor saxophonist Benny Golson’s autograph. The least Loot could do was brave New York's frigid streets to see Golson’s sold-out show at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

The Saturday-night gig may have looked like countless others in a 55-year jazz career, but this was a special occasion. For Golson’s 85th birthday, the Benny Golson Quartet went back in time, donned their sharpest pocket-squared suits and played their set, "Stories From the Past," as their younger selves.

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Germany's Olympic Uniform

Thinking about drawing an interesting parallel between Nazis or terrorists and anything else?

Here's a thought: Don't.

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Couches

Why is your couch taking soooooooo looooooooong?

West Elm, Pottery Barn and many other stores make delivery estimates of eight to 10 weeks. "It's easier to keep a dozen shirts in a warehouse than a dozen sofas," says Judy Smilow, who has a custom furniture company, Smilow Design, with couches costing upward of $12,000. "They don't know if you're going to order the one thing they have in stock or, more probably, the many things they don't."

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The Art of the Smug Marrieds' Super Bowl

Having your closest married friends over for a pot-luck Super Bowl party? In all likelihood, work or kids swallowed up all their free time in January, they've already eaten pot luck three nights in a row and they've just recovered from the holidays' in-law-fest. Now they should feast on canned bean dip and an industrial drum of KFC chicken mementos while you boil up pasta for half a dozen kids?

You know, it would be fine.

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At Nespresso, a Fine Greenwash for Your Coffee

Nespresso

Fiji Water, known for shipping plastic bottles of water halfway around the globe, partners with Conservation International. Capri Sun, whose laminated aluminum pouches need special handling to recycle, has a “pouch brigade” that underwrites the collection of its used drinks. (Tagline: Be green, earn green.) There may be no product so environmentally dubious that a well-publicized sustainability program can’t make it more palatable.

Nestle’s Nespresso, too, has a product that poses some environmental challenges. The machine’s little coffee pods (I go through three or so a day) can’t be recycled with other metals because of leftover coffee grounds. So, not to be outdone, Nespresso has a global “ecolaboration” program. According to its website, it includes support for sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive aluminum mining and a global recycling program, which Nespresso brought to the U.S. in 2011.

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Seduced by Tequila

Blue Agave

If your idea of tequila tasting is Jose Cuervo and margarita mix, that's fine. Just don't drink with these guys.

"We never do shots. After shifts we relax with sipping tequila -- the good stuff," says Javier Perez, 31, a hustling waiter at Toloache Thompson. That's the newest addition to Julian Medina’s little empire of upscale Mexican and Latin restaurants in Manhattan. Perez is a close friend and disciple of Chef Medina, who, along with those at Empellón and Mayahuel, is on a mission to spread the gospel of Mexican as haute cuisine.

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Martin Renaissance Guitar

A company pays to exhibit the history of its founder. Do you want to see that exhibit in a museum?

"Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is "made possible by" Martin Guitar Co., as the Met puts it. Corporate sponsorship isn't unusual. Assembling an exhibition is an expensive proposition. The curator has to track down all the art, convince its owners to part with it, ship it to the museum, frame it and insure it. To offset those costs, museums find companies or foundations willing to pay for the show. The Guggenheim's Futurism show, for instance, is sponsored by Lavazza, the MoMA's Genzken show by Celine, and this year's Whitney Biennial by BCBG Max Azria, Deutsche Bank and Sotheby's.

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Rock of Ages, Wholesale

Diamonds

That $4,000 you just plunked down for her engagement ring? That's good for $3,000-something the second she says yes. (If she says yes. If she doesn't, you've got bigger problems.) To paraphrase Carly Simon, de-pre-cia-tion.

"When you buy a diamond at a retail level, especially from an elegant, high-end retailer, you're not just paying for the diamond," says Reuven Kaufman, president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York and founder of Reuven Kaufman Inc. "You're paying for the whole ambiance that surrounds the diamond -- the rent for the store, the marketing, the glitz."

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How to Pretend You're at Davos

Davos

Right this minute, 2,500 attendees of the World Economic Forum are snapping their valedictory selfies in front of expensive snow-capped Alps. Congratulations, Davosians. We hope you’ve saved the world.

If you don’t, who will? The guest list is made up of our fragile planet's most influential business, political and cultural leaders. Given the $30,000 average entry cost (plus a $55,000 membership kicker), it helps if you run a Fortune 500 company, or a country.

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Speakers

Wireless speakers have long been a compromise between convenience and quality. The sound might be tinny, but look, Ma, no wires.

Several companies want to consign that compromise to the past, and made a point of it at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Brands including Sony and Musaic introduced speakers that can receive high-resolution files via Bluetooth. In theory, that makes them comparable to traditional speakers.

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About Loot

Loot chronicles everything from culture to luxury goods. It's not about being rich but leading an enriched life. Commentary or analyses in this blog are the views of authors and/or commentators, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Contributors

  • James Tarmy
    James Tarmy
  • Jennifer Parker
    Jennifer Parker