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Names

He's taken his painting to a whole new level

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March 5, 2008

Word that Paul Stanley is coming to Boston next month to show some of his paintings got us wondering what the KISS frontman could possibly know about art. So yesterday we called Gene Simmons's sidekick, and tracked him down tooling around LA in his black Mercedes sports car. Stanley, who'll be at the Wentworth Gallery in the Mall at Chestnut Hill on April 25 and 26, was remarkably well-spoken - erudite even - for a guy who's been singing "Rock and Roll All Nite" for 35 years.

What's going on with KISS?

I'm on my way to rehearsal in about an hour. We'll be playing in Australia and New Zealand next month, and then we're doing a really large tour of Europe. Stadiums in Stockholm and Helsinki sold out in 20 minutes.

A band I thought was a cool novelty act way back when has managed to make quite a go of it.

What can I say? Sometimes beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

Tell me about the art? Who knew you even painted?

I actually started about eight years ago. I was getting divorced, and sometimes you reach a point in traumatic situations like that where you can scream and bang your head against the wall or do something else. Someone suggested I should paint. I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew I wasn't going to depict reality.

Given the personality of the band, I figured your paintings would be full of girls. But they're actually tame.

They're somewhere between abstract and abstract expressionism. As far as I'm concerned, there are no rules in art. The only boundaries are the edge of the canvas.

You've been around the world many times over. Who are some of your favorite artists?

It's humbling how many great artists there are who aren't famous. In the last century, Picasso embodied everything that art is. He saw art in everything. Then there's Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Anybody who looks at a Pollock and says they can do that, I say try. The beauty of everything that's done well is that it appears easy.

Do you collect?

I've had pieces from time to time, but I've let a lot of great stuff slip through my hands. Andy Warhol wanted to do my portrait and I always said, 'I'll do it tomorrow.' Then Andy left this world. I had a great Miro, but my house isn't a museum.

With pieces selling for $14,000 and up, I imagine painting has been pretty lucrative for you.

$2 million last year. I guess it's pretty lucrative.

Why are you coming to Boston?

If you're going to spend that kind of money, it's a huge bonus to meet the artist. I've had some great times in Boston. I used to spend summers in Rockport when I was young, and I love the Orpheum. There were all those years we couldn't play Boston because of the fire marshal, but it's a great city. I'm looking forward to it.

Brady heads west
We suspect Tom Brady knows by now that his favorite receiver Randy Moss has re-upped with the Pats. After all, Brady has returned from his post-Super Bowl stay at Gisele Bundchen's multimillion-dollar Costa Rican compound. While Bundchen went right back to work in New York, we're told No. 12 headed to the West Coast, presumably to spend some time with his 6-month-old son John. Brady's supermodel sweetheart leaves shortly for Rome, where her debut design collection for her pals Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is drawing near. (Other launch events will be in New York, London, Dublin, Paris, Barcelona, and Sao Paulo.) No word on whether the QB will join her.

Series gets presidential treatment
Historian David McCullough and series producer Tom Hanks are in Washington, D.C., tonight for a screening at the Capitol of HBO's seven-part miniseries based on McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Adams. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Bill Delahunt, whose district includes the Adams homestead in Quincy, are the featured speakers. McCullough and Hanks will then attend a Friday gala at the Boston Public Library. Paul Giamatti, who plays the second president in the miniseries, which starts March 16, was at the New York premiere Monday, along with McCullough, Hanks, actors Josh Charles, Justin Theroux, David Morse, Eva Amurri, and Mamie Gummer.

French chef gets the call at Mandarin Oriental
Boston's Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences has tapped French chef Nicolas Boutin for its in-house restaurant, Asana - as in the yoga pose. Asana's menu will focus on "refined American cuisine and authentic Asian dishes," according to the hotel's local PR firm. The hotel, scheduled to open in July, will also feature two restaurants from chef/owner Frank McClelland: L'Espalier, which is moving from Gloucester Street, and a new Sel de la Terre. Boutin's most recent post was at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong; he previously cooked at Lameloise in Burgundy and Troisgros near Lyon, France.

Author welcomes return to his Southie roots
The paperback of "Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion" is just out, and Southie-bred scribe Michael Patrick MacDonald is celebrating with a book tour. (He'll be at Brookline Booksmith tonight.) "I'm using these appearances to talk about the issues in the book," said MacDonald, whose first memoir, "All Souls," is being turned into a movie by "Bull Durham" director Ron Shelton. "I'm getting back to my roots. I'm tired of questions like, 'Have you met Ben Affleck?' I want to get to the stuff that matters." To that end, MacDonald told us his next book, which he's working on now, is about Roca, the Chelsea-based agency that works with high-risk teens and young adults. "These are the people that have been written off," he said. "Roca finds hope in the bleakest situations." MacDonald will be back in Boston March 14, when he'll take part in the Corita Kent Arts & Culture lecture series at the Commonwealth Museum.

Saluting an anti-violence stance
Gary Koepke, cofounder of the Boston-based ad agency Modernista!, was honored last night for his efforts to end handgun violence. Koepke and his crew are behind the messages on the iconic and oft-controversial mega-billboard that runs along the Mass. Turnpike near Fenway Park. Others chosen by the organization Stop Handgun Violence for their work in Boston and recognized at the State Room gathering were Mayor Tom Menino, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, and Kevin Burke, the state's Secretary of Public Safety and Security. Last night's fete was hosted by Jim Apteker, Don Law, Patrick Lyons, and developer John Rosenthal, who owns the Turnpike billboard and is a cofounder of Stop Handgun Violence. Among those expected last night were cable pioneer Amos Hostetter and his wife, Barbara, Red Sox brass Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino and his wife, Stacey, developer-turned-movie producer Steve Samuels, former ambassador Swanee Hunt, former Governor Paul Cellucci, chef Gordon Hamersley, and Boston Landmarks Orchestra conductor Charles Ansbacher.

Imus returns for St. Patty’s party
Syndicated chat-show host Don Imus is returning to Boston for his ninth St. Patrick's Day "Kiss Me I'm Imus" live show, which will air on WTKK-FM (96.9) from the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common. Local rockers the Gobshites will join most of 'TKK's daily lineup - Jay Severin, Michael Graham, Jim Braude, Margery Eagan, and Michele McPhee - for the broadcast. The show's producer, Bernard McGuirk, newsman Charles McCord, comic Rob Bartlett, and new cast members Karith Foster and Tony Powell will also be on hand. After being fired for comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team last spring, Imus returned to the airwaves in December.

Bowling with Beckett
Sox pitcher Josh Beckett has picked July 10 as the date for his second charity bowling match to benefit Children's Hospital Boston. Last year's outing raised more than $275,000 and drew a slew of Beckett's teammates, including David Ortiz, Jon Lester, and Jason Varitek, Patriots players Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Adalius Thomas, Revolution forward Taylor Twellman, and "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier. The Beckett Bowl will return to Malden's Town Line Ten Pin.

Around town
"Law & Order" district attorney Sam Waterston will be in Boston on Monday to receive the American Repertory Theatre's Robert Brustein Award. This year's ART soiree will be held at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in South Boston. Oscar-winner Chris Cooper and his writer/ actress wife, Marianne Leone Cooper, are the honorary cochairs. . . . TV financial adviser Suze Orman will receive the Amelia Earhart Award from the Crittenton Women's Union at its annual luncheon on April 11. . . . Singer-songwriter John Legend is scheduled to perform at the annual Mothers of Inspiration fete at the Fairmont Copley Plaza April 10.

Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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