Mike Margolis didn’t know what to expect from the reception in Seattle welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to America.

“Sometimes world leaders surprise you,” said Margolis, 61, a partner in the Century City law offices of Blank Rome, who attended the September event with his wife, Claudia. “There’s a famous story of Khrushchev from the Soviet Union giving a speech where he actually took his shoe off, pounded the heel on the podium and said ,‘We will bury you.’ So you really don’t know what to expect.”

Xi’s speech, however, was nothing like that, Margolis said. Instead, he focused on the importance of working in the world together despite political differences.

Although it was a cordial speech, Margolis said Xi also threw in a bit of humor about Western culture.

“One I remember most was when he was speaking about the anti-corruption drive that has gotten a lot of press,” he said. “He assured the audience what was going on with the drive was trying to rid China of corruption and it was not a reflection of a power struggle. But then he said something to the effect of ‘It’s not ‘House of Cards,’ and the whole crowd cracked up.”

Open Shutterbug

As an investment banker, David Herman follows the rules of the investment world when he makes deals for his clients as managing partner of Diamond Capital Advisors in Century City.

To get away from those rules in his spare time, Herman takes his camera to the city streets of Venice, downtown Los Angeles and New York. There, he waits and watches for people to interact with each other against interesting backdrops and then records it with his camera.

“The kind of photography I’m now focused on is street photography where I’m trying to tell a story about people’s behavior in public places,” Herman, who declined to give his age except to say he was in his mid-60s, said. “What people do in public is just amazing to me.”

Take for example a shot he took of a man embracing a woman against a building in New York’s East Village. The man is trying to kiss her, but she is looking unhappily at Herman – or maybe it’s at a woman who just walked by and disturbed them.

“It’s for the viewer to come up with the story for the photo,” Herman said.

Sometimes, interesting situations find him. Photographing a guy playing a guitar for tips outside a Venice coffee shop led to a new friendship – and maybe a new hobby.

“I sent him a bunch of pictures he was going to use for publicity, and I bought him a cup of coffee, and now whenever I go down to Venice, he offers to give me guitar lessons,” Herman said. “I told him I’d pay him, so next time I go down, I’m going to get guitar lessons. We really did become friends.”

Staff reporters Cale Ottens and Carol Lawrence contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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