In honor of his favorite New York neighborhood Sylk dubbed the ersatz model agency SoHo Model
Management. For billing purposes and to avoid blowing the SoHo Models cover the real operation needed
a different name, a name officially registered with the New York labor board that sounded inconspicuous
as possible. That title, Glasser stressed, shouldn't even suggest impropriety. Moreover, fearful that a
business which sexually exploited young women would comprise his garmento reputation Glasser also
insisted that his name not be used. Fred Baum, on the other hand, couldn't care less. He actually liked the
idea of lending his name to the sex business. It made him feel like a real pornopreneur. Sylk proposed
Baum Multimedia. Glasser liked it because his name wasn't in it. Baum liked it because he thought it
sounded classy. And Sylk liked it because if something went terribly wrong (which was certainly a
possibility), he wouldn't take as much heat. The three new partners shook hands all around. Contracts
were drawn up. Even though Glasser was fronting the bulk of the $250,000 seed money and Sylk wasn't
putting up anything, each of them would own 33 and one-third percent of the new business. Bruce and
Fred went back 20 years. They always were equal partners in joint ventures. Sylk was getting a full
cut because of the expertise he supposedly brought to the table. His partners had no problem with this.
Especially since Sylk had spent an entire year researching every conceivable aspect of the adult on-line
industry. Or so he said. In reality, he had just punched "streaming video sex business" into Google and
scanned some articles. Not long after sealing the deal. Sylk met Lee Kalt. A doe-eyed pretty boy who
would become an integral cog in the Baum Multimedia sex machine. On a frigid January night Kalt was
seated at a table in Joe's Pub with two model types. Sylk instantly homed in on the table and introduced
himself. The soft-spoken NYU student was studying dramatic writing and playing house music on the
weekends at friend's parties. Of these two pursuits, he was more enthused about being a D.J. But he
knew this wasn't a viable career option. He came from a wealthy Westchester family and had become
accustomed to certain comforts. At 25, he was drifting through life -- and Lee was open to suggestions.
As the evening progressed, it became obvious that Kalt's true talent wasn't writing or spinning vinyl it
was attracting gorgeous women. "Lee's this James Dean character that girls fall in love with," says Sylk
respectfully. "He was perfect for Baum Multimedia because with his looks he pulled in beautiful women
who would work there just so that they could hang out with him." Sylk briefed Lee on the SoHo Models /
Baum Multimedia gestalt and offered him a job on the spot. Kalt couldn't care less about the pseudo
model agency. He thought it was "bullshit." He could sleep with a model any time he wished. But he
was interested in learning about the online sex business ... and the considerable income it could generate.
Sylk promised that the job would be an invaluable education Cyber-Sex Marketing 101. He also promised
to build a D.J. booth at work and install a "kick-ass" sound system, where Kalt could play his precious
"deep house music" as loud as he wanted 24/7. Kalt took the Spring semester off at NYU and signed on
as Baum Multimedia's senior office manager / model magnet. With the business model in place and the
first hire under his belt, Sylk set out to secure a suitable location for the business. On a sentimental whim
he approached Jimmy, the owner of TriBeCa Blues, and inquired about the availability of the club's
basement. To Sylk's surprise a deal was struck. But after ten cubicles had already been completed an
outside party offered to buy the club outright. Jimmy accepted, which meant that right out of the box, Sylk
had spent over $20,000 and had absolutely nothing to show for it. Sale of TriBeCa Blues would eventually
fall through. But Sylk and his partners had already moved on, writing off the experience as freakish bad
luck. Fnding a good space was more difficult than they had imagined. Real estate brokers panicked when
they discovered what type of business Baum Multimedia really was. Some landlords even feared that
accepting an internet sex business as a tenant would ignite the monastic wrath of then Mayor Giuliani.
written by Rene Chun


Sweat Shop"

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