Forecast: May

FEUDS
05/08 STEVE BELKIN FIGURES OUT HOW MUCH HE’S GOT TO SPEND ON THAT SKYSCRAPER

Illustration by Jason Lee

A strange four-year odyssey for Weston entrepreneur extraordinaire Steve Belkin could at last be at an end after final arguments are heard in a Maryland courtroom. Belkin, who had tried hard to buy the Celtics in 1983, realized his long-held ambition to own a pro team when he became the principal owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers in 2003. But things haven’t gone well since. After a spat with his seven co-owners two years later over a trade he didn’t feel like making (for erstwhile Celtic swingman Joe Johnson), Belkin agreed to sell his 30 percent stake in the clubs and their arena. The legal wrangling that’s dragged on since centers on the price: Belkin wants a cool $143 million, plus interest. His unhappy partners, who say their teams have lost $50 million in the past two seasons, are convinced that Belkin is sticking it to them especially hard. They’ve even called him "evil" in court documents.

Belkin, who made his fortune pioneering so-called affinity credit cards (the gold-mine business that puts things like Boston College logos on MasterCards), has been attacked for his perceived arrogance in the Atlanta press. His woes in Georgia have corresponded with some epic frustrations closer to home: You’ll recall that Belkin, in 2006, announced plans to build a 1,000-foot skyscraper downtown. Of course, he subsequently lost his star architect, Renzo Piano, and the FAA blasted the massive structure as a hazard to Logan-bound jets. Though Belkin is still sanguine about the project, ambitious multimillionaires, take note: Buying ballclubs and building skyscrapers is harder than it looks.

SPEECHES
05/17 CAN THE GUV’S MESSAGE OF HOPE RALLY DISAFFECTED GRADS?

Deval Patrick addresses the commencement crowd at Tufts, less than three weeks before he does the same at MIT—bookings that would seem to attest more to his oratory prowess than to his current poll numbers. Perhaps the schools figure Patrick’s inspiring rhetoric can serve as a salve to young grads heading out into a shaky job market. Or at least carry their spirits through the car ride back to their parents’ basement. (For more on how our grads are facing the suddenly dreary real world, see page 84.)

KUDOS
05/18 FINANCIAL PROPHET GETS A PAT ON THE BACK
After Sheila Bair left UMass Amherst in 2006 to head the FDIC, she became one of the first officials to raise a stink over subprime lending. Now more than ever, people are listening to what she’s saying (she’s rumored to be a possible replacement for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should, you know, this bailout thing not work out). Today, Caroline Kennedy presents her with a Profile in Courage Award at the JFK Library.
jfklibrary.org.

My Agenda
Grace Kelly

Jazz Wunderkind  

Illustration by Antony Hare

Just 16 years old and already a freshman at Berklee, the saxophone prodigy releases her fifth CD, Mood Changes, on 5/5. That’s not all the Brookline-bred Kelly has going on this month.

The first week of May I have final exams. Argh! But I really can’t complain. At Berklee, every day is packed with music; it doesn’t seem like school at all.
I’m looking forward to performing at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York, on 5/19 at a screening of Delta Rising. It’s a blues documentary, which I’m in, along with Morgan Freeman and Willie Nelson.
In between all that, I’ll be reading a biography of jazz legend Lee Konitz. I have the pleasure of playing with Lee a lot, and it’s like I hear his voice when I open the book.

Everyone probably thinks I do nothing besides practice and perform. But that’s not true at all! I got a bichon puppy a couple of months ago. I’ll be starting doggy kindergarten with him this month. I’m also beginning to get into kickboxing. I have a punching-bag man in my basement. I program him so different body parts light up, and then I just punch away. Oh, yeah—I’ll be 17 on 5/15. It’s hard to imagine. I’m not sure where 16 went. AS TOLD TO BRIGID SWEENEY