Monday, March 18, 2019

Vale Edmund Capon

It comes to us all eventually but it's always a bit of shock when someone you admire passes away. Edmund Capon the former director of the NSW Art Gallery has died at age 78 from melanoma.
Pictured above (right) with philanthropist James Fairfax (who passed away in 2017) Whispers thinks the photo sums up Capon's 30 years plus stewardship of the Gallery.
Fairfax was donating over $30M worth of old masters to the gallery at this small get-together and it examples how Edmund was able to seduce and secure funding and donations from the rich and connected.

But more than that, with his unique personality Edmund Capon "opened up" the Gallery to millions of visitors who may not have ever visited the place. In 2010, the year before Capon retired nearly 1.4 million visitors attended the Gallery. 
Right: Barry Humphreys at the James Fairfax art donation function.
Born in London, Capon was an expert in Chinese art and archaeology and managed that division at the world famous Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) before coming to Sydney in 1977 to promote a V&A exhibition. He never left after being offered the position as director of the Art Gallery of NSW. The V&A's loss was our gain. With a unique enthusiasm and an ability to mix with every possible social and business class and treat all with equal respect, Capon became the face of the Gallery and the numbers of visitors rose very year as Capon was able to attract major art shows from all over the world.
Edmund Capon 1941-2019 is survived by his wife Joanna , two children and three step-children.
Edmund Capon (left) with then NSW Premier Barry OFarrell and art patron Stephen Lowy in 2011

Joanna Capon (left) with Edmund and former "first lady" Lucy Turnbull.
Edmund Capon was able to transverse all strata of society and out the Art Gallery of NSW on the map, attracting the general public in their millions along with movie stars like Hugo Weaving pictured here at an Archibald Portraiture prize opening night.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Silver Dinner- a glittering event

 This year's annual Silver Dinner was hosted at Swifts, that extraordinary mansion in Darling Point with it's commanding views over Sydney Harbour. Swifts may well be the most valuable property in Australia. It was built in 1875 by Sir Robert Lucas Lucas-Tooth, the beer baron and is now owned by the Moran family of nursing home fame. With it's 6 acres of land, approximately 9 building blocks it's hard to estimate it's value. being National Trust listed it cannot be changed so development is off the books.
And with it's own ballroom and band stand in the garden it's the perfect location for a swell party. The Silver Dinner, the brainchild of Skye Leckie (above left) in a gold dress has raised $Millions for the Children's Hospital over the years.

Scenes for a party:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

So shoot us..the ship sails

Whispers has been on holiday and had to forgo the pleasure of keeping our loyal readers (so many in the USA & Russia) up to date.

Well it has been a long extended Silly Season so I doubt much was missed.
Even better: we picked up an amazing story while sunning ourselves in The Bahamas while staying with pals who were family friends of the legendary Sir Harry Oakes ( left ) who created the famous and exclusive Paradise Island resort there. COMING SOON !

However we have noticed that adverts for wacky Clive Palmer's United Australia Party are beginning to flood the airwaves as multi-millionaire Clive resurrects his political career.
But what of that other venture-  rebuild of the fated Titanic which sunk on the 15 April 1912 on it's maiden voyage with the loss of over 1500 lives.

Word reaches us via a Palmer operative that the project which was suspended in 2015 due to financial problems with Palmer's main company Mineralogy was in dispute with Chinese government-owned Citic over the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties to Palmer companies.
The Australian Supreme Court in 2017 found for Mineralogy, awarding it $US150 million, at the time worth about $196 million, in unpaid royalties.
Apparently the funds have now been paid which is why Clive is cashed up, going back into polticis and has relaunched the Titanic 2 project with the following video.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Napoleon's Waterloo

Sad news today as the Napoleon Perdis make-up empire collapses and dozens of stores shut up shop.

Whispers attended Napoleon's very first make-up boutique launch in far-flung Paramatta which was Perdis' stamping ground. It was an odd affair. A token red carpet and red velvet rope to hold back the 3 or 4 locals who possibly thought they were witnessing a glittering event.
One collared Whispers to ask who were the glamorous tall models that just arrived by limo and swanned into the party. We didn't have the heart to tell them they were drag queens from Oxford Street.

Napoleon's problem was he rose too fast and became too large. Taking on the USA, especially Beverly Hills  is always a mistake when you aren't known. Selling a product - and they are good products- when there are 100s of similar is a bit like taking ice to Eskimos. And you need very deep pockets. A little known fact is that some of the biggest brand names that occupy ritzy & expensive real estate on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan are loss making but used as advertising for their products and the stores remain there for the prestige value.

And did the name Napoleon bring with it risky karma? After all his namesake ended up on an island which is where Mr Perdis now is- back on his home soil on at least a very large island. Napolean has been trying to sell the business for some time but the problem is, he just wasn't a big enough name.

Read the full story at the MailOnline. We like promoting the Mail- they nick tidbits from us all the time.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Turning Water into Gold !

More on model Kelleth Cuthbert the gal who photo bombed the Golden Globes with her tray of Fiji Water. Kelly has landed a guest-starring role on CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful” the show announced on Instagram.

 Cuthbert is set to appear in the show’s Feb. 6 episode. It really doesn't get much bigger than this and you have to admire Kelleth for seizing the opportunity. Publicity is everything and the one place that appreciates it is the USA !

I mean if Jack The Ripper was still around today he would score a contract for a Reality TV show and have at least one Kardashian on as a special guest.

But how about Fiji Water who I'm reliably informed only spent around $30,000 for a promotional campaign that went viral around the world and garnered $Millions in free publicity.
Alas one of our correspondents sends us a link and it's not the most positive on the this product: click on the link.
# one thing is for sure- you haven't heard the last of Kelleth.

Fiji Water Girl would be a great meme if bottled water were something to celebrate


Weight Watchers News:

A photo lands on our desk of Man About Town and financial wiz Big Jim Byrnes. Jim is about 6'6" and is a larger than life (Sydney) character who is usually spotted tootling around the ritzy Eastern Suburbs in his red Bentley but who is also known for his pretty hefty frame.

But no longer- Jim has been working out and has slimmed down and is looking pretty good. Word is he's moved into movies and film production. Perhaps it's from hanging out in Hollywood - he was last last seen on the Red Carpet at the 2018 Academy Awards - where looks are everything that matters. Jim is obviously pretty proud of his effort and who can blame him !.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

That Fiji Water Drama

Fiji Water model Kelleth Cuthbert- a Star Is Born !
 You have to hand it to 35 year old Aussie Aaron Zerefos the mastermind behind Fiji Water after the $multi-million publicity coup he pulled off at the Golden Globe Awards.
Zerefos is a tireless promoter of his bottles of H20. A Globes' source tells us Aaron spent less than $50K to be involved in the event.

So successful is his product that Zerefos now spends most of his time traveling the world competing in racing car trials driving a series of Porsche sports cars.
Aaron pictured here by Whispers at his 30th birthday party in Sydney's King Cross)

He's even been spotted dating socialites like Lady Victoria Hervey as our snap shows.
We reckon this wasn't a very expensive promotion and it's simplicity will be the envy of publicists worldwide. It certainly beats those tired old "media walls" that confront guests and media at every party or event.
As for model Kelleth Cuthbert who brilliantly persisted for photo-bombing every celebrity on the red carpet- what can we say : A Star Is Born !

Monday, January 7, 2019

Breaking news

Tragic news today as it was revealed the beautiful model Annalise Braakensiek has been found dead in her Potts Point apartment.
Braakensiek, pictured here in Whispers' photo from some years ago where she jumped out of a cake at a birthday party for fashion designer Alex Perry was 45.

The Australian model and popular Page 3 pin-up girl in the UK's Sun newspaper had been married to stockbroker Danny Goldberg but the pair split up in April last year. She had moved into her $1M Potts Point flat in June.
The cause of death is not known and police have said there are no suspicious circumstances. Friends alerted police when they hadn't heard from Braakensiek for a few days.

Monday, December 31, 2018

A rip-off

Whispers has attended numerous New Year's Eve events in Sydney and 4 at the Sydney Opera
House and the Lord Mayor's Party. We were there when Kylie Minogue launched the famous fireworks and once discovered the US actress Sarah Michelle Geller (left) sitting quietly among the party goers.
While the party's were great fun getting there was something else. You can't drive into the city on NYE and you can't get a taxi when leaving. You spend an hour forging your way through a millions of people and end up walking back to a spot like Kings Cross where, if sensible, you parked your car early in the day.
It's still the same of course so it's very handy now to have a pal who lives in one of Surry Hill's tallest apartment blocks that has a commanding view of the Harbour and the sensational fireworks.

Which brings us to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald and Lord Mayor Clover Moore's outrage at how private business and the NSW State Government are co-opting the fireworks event- arguably the most spectacular in the world- and profiteering off an event paid for by City of Sydney ratepayers (me !) to the tune of $5M each year.
She is correct. The best solution would be to tax every entity that charges, what can be quite exorbitant entrance fees because they just happen to have a handy location to view the fireworks.

'It's complicated': how your NYE celebrations are being privatised

 New Year’s Eve in Sydney was always a simple affair. Dusting off that picnic rug, it was as easy as making a few salads and buying some bread rolls with a chook, putting some white wine into the cooler bag and organising the family to get to the best vantage point to watch the fireworks. What's more, it was free.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Times up

Seven years ago Whispers joined a battery of Nine Network stars at a Kings Cross restaurant to celebrate the launch of celebrity interviewer Richard Wilkins' book Black Ties, Red Carpets, Green Rooms.
Nine's then head honcho David Gyngell was there along with Australia's powerful music mogul, Sony boss Denis Handlin.
TV colleagues who joined the throng included Georgie Gardner and Lisa Wilkinson with Karl Stefanovic who launched Wilkins' book with some pretty raunchy tales. They were all at the peak of their careers. Now they have crashed and burned and their careers lie in tatters.

left- Wilkins with Vanessa Amarosi at his book launch.

A Nine insider has told Whispers that the rot began not with Stevanic's over hyped wedding, rather in 2017 with the pay negotiations over presenter Lisa Wilkinson who demanded $Millions or she would defect to Network Ten's The Project. Our source says Nine's management were more than happy to see her leave and only half-heartedly continued negotiations.

The departing Today crew that includes Richard Wilkins, well passed his prime as a star interviewer and presenter Karl Stefanovic may have believed  as many TV presenters do -that they were irreplaceable and more powerful than the show they fronted.

 Our Nine spy says senior management were secretly delighted over the endless tabloid tales of the Stefanovic shenanigans and were determined to use Karl's courting of the media as a reason to clear the decks.
 His sale of his wedding snaps to a rival magazine lead to the coup de grĂ¢ce. Georgie Gardner remains having never (sensibly) rocked the boat.You can be sure those pretty younger faces who replace the other sacked Today crew are on a fraction of the wages of their predecessors.
right- Georgie Gardner & Lisa Wilkinson at Wilkins' book launch.

# Our source says Karl Stevanovic is sure to end up on the board of his close pal James Packer's Crown Casino in Sydney.
# Difficult to imagine where Richard Wilkins goes from here except downwards.
# And there are warning bells for a particular high profile publicist who seems to court publicity with numerous clients questioning their involvement with her.
Below: Karl on Christmas Day:

Monday, December 24, 2018

Russell Country

A brief look at Russell Crowe's Coffs Harbour property..and his dog.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Salvador Dali at The Billich Gallery

Colourful Sydney artist Charles Billich and his zany wife Christa are hosting a Salvador Dali exhibition at their Rocks gallery until 31st January 2019.

The Salvador Dali Sculpture Collection originated due to a unique agreement made between the artist and the President of I.A.R. Art Resources, Mr. Beniamino Levi.
The Dali Universe also owns and operates the Dali Paris Museum in Montmartre Paris where the entire Dali sculpture collection is on permanent display.
All Dali sculptures being exhibited are recognized in the comprehensive Dali catalogue raisonne "The Hard and the Soft" produced by Robert and Nicholas Descharnes, which is the definitive reference book for Dali sculpture and has 20 pages which dedicated to the entire I.A R. Dali collection.

Expect naughtiness..anything can happen at The Billich Gallery as our exclusive video shows:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tales from The Dreamtime # 2

"I think JFK was murdered"

Thus concludes an article in the Aussie Who Magazine. It's a quote from the colourful ex-mayor of Geelong, former "King of The Paparazzi" and "media personality" Darryn Lyons, he of the hot pink cockatoo hairstyle.
We reckon Darryn's pretty spot on with this observation. A quick perusal of the shocking Zapruder Film shot on the day the US President died clearly shows something dreadful happened.
Apparently Lyons also believes the late Princess Diana may have died because of a conspiracy.

Whispers worked with Diana for three days on her last ever charity appearance : the launch of the Victor Change Institute in Sydney in 1995.

It was quite a shock to read some time later she was apparently having an affair with Dodi Fayed. Whispers had known Dodi in London for years and formed a quartet of party-goes and clubbers that included the actress Britt Ekland.
Most nights of the week we clambered into Britt's tiny black Mini, a gift from her ex-husband Peter Sellers and did the rounds of the West End clubs, like Maunkberrys and  Annabels.

One day out of the blue Whispers was invited to lunch with the then relatively unknown Mohamed Fayed. Mr Fayed had heard of our nightly jaunts and was perturbed about our mode of transport. He doted on Dodi. Fayed loaned Whispers a Mercedes for a year from his collection and requested we drive our little group about in what he said was a much safer vehicle.

When the ill-fated pair died in that Paris tunnel Fleet Street tabloids beat a path to Whispers door wanting the low-down on Dodi's' nightly activities, offering  big bucks for the story. We declined out of respect of Mr. Fayed's feelings even though there was much to tell.

Lyons says Princess Diana appeared on his doorstep one day to request that he photograph her ex Prince Charles and not her. Odd really as Lyons Big Picture photo agency was only created in London in 2002 and was dissolved in 2012. Diana died in 1997.

Darryn says he has photographs of Diana dying in that safe Mercedes taken by a paparazzi who worked for him, stored in safes around the world. We always believed the French police confiscated the paparazzi's film on that dreadful night.

In 2008 at the British inquest into the tragic accident the jury concluded Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed had been unlawfully killed by a combination of the driving of their Mercedes by their chauffeur Henri Paul and the driving of following vehicles - the posse of paparazzi photographers who were dogging their final journey.
We'll just leave that one there.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas shopping..

Baubles bangles and beads! So many gorgeous trinkets to play with at Jewels on Queen, a  Christmas pop-up shop at 40 Queen St. Woollahra. Select pieces paired here with one of Sally Campbell’s fab frocks. @sallycampbelltextiles @jewels_on_queen at Anne Schofield Antiques.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


We'd be remiss not to show a snap of Nicole Kidman in a fluffy chicken dress with hubby Keith Urban who attended the music industry ARIA Awards this week. And here they are.
Our Nic will also be at the film & TV industry AACTA Awards next week when she'll present awards and receive one.

Meanwhile down in Melbourne last night Hollywood star Natalie Portman graced the red carpet for the launch of the Escher x Nendo: Between Two Worlds exhibition.." a groundbreaking exhibition that features the work of Dutch artist M. C. Escher in dialogue with the work of acclaimed Japanese design studio nendo." says the blurb.

 The exhibition is at the NGV International from 2 Dec 18– 7 Apr 19

And entertaining at the Esher x Nendo launch: young heartthrob Troy Sivan who sang up a storm.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Tales From the Dreamtime #1

An invitation landed on Whisper's desk around three years ago. 

It was a request from a well known luxury car manufacturer ( via their "publicist") to attend the launch of a new model and snap guests in front of one of those wretched "media walls" that now appear at every major and minor event.

We advised unless we could mingle with guests (bearing in mind Whispers has a decades long history of cohabiting at parties with the most famous slebs on the planet and have yet to tread on one's toes or spill a drink- publisher Malcolm Forbes 70th birthday bash in Morocco was a memorable one where the late Elizabeth Taylor danced with gay abandon with a waiter) we find those endless celebrity pics in front of an advertising board a tad dull and believe readers may likewise. We tend to like mixing people together at parties for photographs.

Mind you, if of course there really was someone sensationally famous attending of course we would have been there with bells on..but no, the guest list comprised of  numerous names who upon inquiring as to their "celebrity status" we were informed they were "influencers". We've yet to meet an influencer and have little desire to photograph one in front of a board naming various products.

Besides the party was on the north side of Sydney at 6pm which is really a big no no- going "overseas" as it's called (across the Sydney Harbour Bridge) means 2 hours in a traffic jam.

But this little tale says it so much better:


This year marks the 50th Anniversary of IL Porcellino, the Great Boar of Florence statue outside Sydney Hospital on Macquarie St. Donated in 1968, the statue commemorates two of the hospital’s esteemed surgeons Thomas Henry Fiaschi, and his son, Piero Francis Bruno Fiaschi. Coin donations from passers-by have raised over $500,000 for the Sydney Hospital. Well known to those in inner Sydney, the bronze boar statue is said to bring luck to those who rub his snout.

 At 10am on Tuesday 4 December there will be a morning tea in the Sydney Hospital forecourt followed by speakers to commemorate the 50th Anniversary hosted by the descendants of Dr Fiaschi.

 Thomas Henry Fiaschi (1853-1927), surgeon, and Piero Francis Bruno Fiaschi (1879-1948), medical practitioner, were father and son. Thomas was born on 31 May 1853 at Florence, Italy, son of Lodovico Fiaschi, a professor of mathematics at the University of Florence who had tutored the children of Prince Corsini of Florence.

Fiaschi enrolled at the university as a medical student and at age 21 left for Australia and worked on the north Queensland goldfields before becoming a 'house surgeon' at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. on 17 February 1876 . In 1878 Thomas was licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Italy and, after a short time in London, reached Sydney with his family in February 1879.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Star line-up for the ACCTA Awards.

Nicole Kidman will be jetting into Sydney for this year's ACCTA Awards next Wednesday evening. She'll be joined by Vance Joy and Katie Noonan who will perform alongside a star-studded line-up of presenters and guests, including nominees  Simon Baker, Deborah Mailman and Bruce Beresford.
Whispers will be there of course at the The Star Event Centre with bells on to bring our readers all the action.

And what a line-up of talent:
Host Stephen Curry will be joined by top Australian film and television talent who will take to the stage to present, including: Rebecca Gibney, Marta Dusseldorp, Jack Thompson, Sigrid Thornton, Rodger Corser, Erik Thomson, Julia Zemiro, Shane Jacobson, Fred Schepisi, Nazeem Hussain and Kat Stewart, as well as KATH AND KIM’s Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

GQ Awards

 If you haven't noticed the men's GQ Awards have been taking place all over the world.

They did here too in Sydney earlier tonight.  Some of our favorite actors were there as seen above: the talented Joel Edgerton, the ridiculously handsome Jackson Gallagher, actor Jonathan LaPaglia, host of Australian Survivor and the quite handsome model Jordon Barrett. Barrett hails from Byron Bay where Whispers regularly holidays and yes, he was brought up just down the road from our holiday pad,

 Was it he who used to deliver the paper?. Our pals reckon it was. Other Byron Bay locals who have hit the big time?..Chris Hemsworth and his brother Liam !.
Our pals who own the Byron Shire Echo Newspaper (we covered a party in honor of Johnny Rotten once for them) up that way swear blind that at a BBQ many moons ago Whispers helped dish up the food to the Fabulously Famous Hemsworths. Why should we doubt them?

And what a joy to see the wonderful Naomi Watts. At last count Naomi has nine films in post production.

And let's not forget British actress Emily Ratajkowski who looks, well words fail us. Sensational!

## Australia always seems to be the last with these type of Awards. At last count there were a dozen GQ Men's Awards in the last 2 weeks.

In Germany they decided British actor Henry Cavill was Germany's Man of The Year. And why not?. The UK is still in the EU. For now.

### Shoemaker Terri Biviano was not at the party. The Stenmark Twins were.