Bacon on the menu at Gorbachev gala
An original, signed Francis Bacon triptych is one of the remarkable items up for auction at the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Annual Gala, which raises money for cancer care in Russia and Marie Curie in Britain. The work was kept by the late artist in his private collection at his 7 Reece Mews studio in London and, after his death, treasured by his lover, John Edwards, who died in 2003. The foundation's patron, Mikhail Gorbachev, whose late wife it is named after, and chair, Evgeny Lebedev, who is also chairman of Independent Print Ltd, publishers of The Independent, are hoping money raised in the fifth annual gala will exceed the £1.1m generated last year at a star-studded event in the grounds of Stud House in Hampton Court Park. Other lots under the hammer include a pair of tickets to the 2011 FA Cup final at Wembley, lunch with the actor Kevin Spacey, and a dinner cooked by the model-turned-chef Sophie Dahl, with musical accompaniment by Jamie Cullum. Those of a frothier disposition can bid for a jelly wrestle with Lara Stone, refereed by David Walliams.
Gallic gangster is still most wanted
A biopic about the life and crimes of Jacques Mesrine, who rose to fame, and infamy, in the criminal underworld of 1960s Paris, is underway, I'm told. A British production, last seen drumming up interest at the Cannes Film Festival, is planning to set to his colourful life to music. As France's most notorious criminal, Mesrine was admired by some – he was rumoured to give away all the money he stole to Parisian street girls and the homeless – and vilified by others who claimed he bought sports cars with his stolen loot. He made his name in the 1960s – when a spate of songs were written about his rock'n'roll ways – after a series of bank and jewellery shop heists. He is said to have killed scores of people including a near fatal attack on a journalist, and was finally killed by police sharp shooters in broad daylight, on the direct order of the president of France. The musical is being made in Britain, and has so far cast Tony Christie as a prison governor. Its USP is that it will be performed on stage while being filmed and released as a DVD, simultaneously.
All strung out
Nigel Kennedy's "Fiddler on the Roof" event left him a little worse for wear. More than 10,000 people gathered to listen to Kennedy at the Southbank last weekend, in a performance which started on Saturday morning and ended at dawn on Monday. After performing four concerts a day spanning rock, jazz, classical and folk, Kennedy's last gig put his fatigue to music. He surprised the hall by putting his violin to one side and singing a blues improvisation, with the line: "I want to sleep... like a sheep".
Attica Locke, one of two debut novelists nominated for the Orange Prize, whose Black Water Rising is a keen favourite, told me she's bringing her three-year-old daughter to the awards dinner in London from Los Angeles next week. "The whole family is coming," she said. "If she doesn't like it when she gets there, my husband will take her home". Meanwhile, security will be tighter than ever after it was announced that voracious reader, Camilla Parker Bowles, will be presenting the prize.
Provocative portraits of the ladies
A private collector has revealed his plans for a large sculpture park in Oslo, dedicated to works with a "feminine" theme, according to The Art Newspaper. The Ekeberg Skulpturpark, funded by the real-estate investor Christian Ringnes, is scheduled to open in 2012 and the "gender" of its artworks has become a hotly debated issue. Marianne Hultman, director of Oslo's Fine Art Society, said: "What would happen if one of the country's richest women had suggested a sculpture park with works depicting only men. Who would have taken her seriously?" Hultman also said she expected 90 percent of the works to be made by men. Around 20 works, including pieces by Rodin and Richard Hudson have already been acquired.