Wednesday Eve. at Art Basel BlackBook with Gemfields Hosted a Cocktail for React to Film & LACMA

LACMA, Gemfields, and BlackBook hosted a beautiful outdoor Art Basel opening on Wednesday evening, presenting a poolside React to Film screening of three short documentary films showcasing the work and talents of three of the most extraordinary artists of today, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, and David Hockney.

To supplement the short films showcased during the cocktail event, guests were treated to a Gemfields video featuring Mila Kunis (an ambassador for the brand) in her travels to the Gemfields mine in Africa. Gemfields has set a new industry standard in sourcing colored gemstones, ensuring the best possible safety practices and social/environmental responsibility. Beyond their corporate practice, Gemfields fosters creativity and innovation, and proudly supports React to Film and the creative arts.

Guests Cynthia Rowley, The Met’s Contemporary Curator Nick Culliman, artist Will Cotton, Rose Dergan, the Guggenheim’s Junior Director Ari Weisman, React to Film’s Coralie and Dennis Paul, LACMA’s Erin Wright, BlackBook’s Hunter Hill and Evanly Schindler, Jim Kloiber, Gemfield’s Randi Molofsky, Allison Sarofim, Alexandra Kimball, Tinsley Mortimer, Nicky Hilton, Lilly Johnson White, Sandy White, Charles Rockefeller, Warrie Price, Christine Mack, Jennifer Kennedy, Lise Evans, Tanya Selbartanam Scheib, Beth Rudin  DeWoody, Dori Cooperman, Lady Victoria Harvey, Michele Barouh, Alexandra Caprotti, Simone Levinson, Evan Bousis, Dana Farouki, Helene Comfort, Michael Slenske, Capucine Milliot and Charlie Ruger gathered at Orchard in the Delano Hotel for the React to Film screening, enjoying vended popcorn and Bombay cocktails in the warm Miami night.

Coralie Charriol Paul, Michael Slenske, & Randi MolofskyCoralie Paul, Michael Slenske, and Gemfield’s Randi Molofsky

Kyle DeWoody, Lily Johnson White, & Vera NeykovBeth DeWoody and Lilly Johnson White

Marina T Schindler & friendsEvent Producer Marina Schindler and friends.

Click for more information about Gemfields and React to Film.

Frank Owen’s Article on Chris Paciello Reveals All, Q& A With Owen Inside

How does that song go? I can never get it right: "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…" Something like that. I can’t seem to get away from old acquaintances and the weird thing is, I can’t remember why I should want to never bring them to mind… but something tells me I should. The Limelight movie now out on DVD has made me a movie star. I am recognized in restaurants and get a few Facebook shout-outs a day because of it. A couple of days ago, old acquaintance Frank Owen alerted me to an article in the Miami New Times he wrote about my old acquaintance Chris Paciello . When Chris got out of prison, he had a good run out in LA, did something or other in Vegas, and is now bringing all the celebs and beach beauties to the bar at the restaurant Bianca at the Delano South Beach. I haven’t talked to him in years, but remember we were on good terms last time we met. I always liked him even though it has been reported we had some beef.

There was a time when he reportedly wanted some guys to beat me up, but even then I understood his side of it. I wanted his partner Ingrid Casares to open up Studio 54 with me and not him, and the compensation I offered him wasn’t sufficient to justify my approaching her. I knew the playground I was playing in and I knew the rules and the resulting confrontation wasn’t a surprise. We talked it out a few months later and that’s that. I read Frank’s story, which is amazingly detailed. It paints a not-too-flattering picture of Chris in straight-up black and white…mostly black. Somewhere near the end, a Delano publicist offers this spin from Chris: “I regret the mistakes I made in the past. I am working hard to make a positive impact and to build a new life for myself in Miami. I am grateful to the many people here who have welcomed me back with open arms, and look forward to a positive future.”
 
I think I said the same thing once or even thrice. Chris and I have learned from our past mistakes; mine was mostly hanging around people like those "co-starring" with me in that Limelight documentary and people like Chris. Hey, I used to be 3-foot-6… but I grew out of it. No one understands the club world of that era except some of the players who created it and wallowed in it. Even then, they only have their own perspective. It was big, there was a lot going on. The Limelight movie can try to summarize 10,000 nights, millions of partying people, and the actions of differently motivated players but it can’t possibly bring you there and into the minds of the players, the whys, and what for’s in a couple of hours.
 
Frank’s article takes it farther than before. It paints a picture of the forces I was dealing with when I was director of some famous clubs back in the day. In a game of musical chairs, I got left without one and did my piece. I stood up mostly because back then, when pressed hard, I chose to stand up rather than sit in a chair I would feel … "uncomfortable" in. Do I have regrets? Yeah, I have a few. If Chris can run joints after murder and other such bad play, I guess I could have done some things I was denied if I had decided to tell a few lies. "You don’t rat against people," I was told growing up and during the ordeal. "When you become a rat, it’s your very soul that you are ratting on"…goes the mantra that I agreed with at that time and now. I didn’t, others did. For now, like Mr. Paciello, "I am grateful to the many people here who have welcomed me back with open arms, and look forward to a positive future.”
 
Frank Owen was running off to give the keynote address at a criminology conference in Missouri in the morning. I asked him what was new in his Killer Comeback story, and this is what he said. I then followed up with a little Q & A.
 
Frank Owen – Here are some of the never-before-revealed highlights:
 
*A 1997 plot involving Paciello and Colombo crime family boss Alphonse Persico to murder a dissident mafioso.
 
*Another murder plot, this one to kill Paciello, which was nixed by Bonanno captain Anthony Graziano.
 
*A 1994 kidnapping of a Staten Island businessman from an auto body repair shop by Paciello and a Bonanno family soldier.
 
*A million dollar robbery of a Westminster Bank in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn that provided the start-up capitol for Paciello’s first Miami Beach nightclub.
 
*The burglary of more than 30 bank night safety boxes in four different states by Paciello in alliance with members of a Bonanno-affiliated gang called the New Springville Boys."
 
 Why do you keep digging into this story?
I didn’t. I haven’t written a major clubland investigative story since I Ieft the Village Voice. Actually, Lera was the one who rekindled my interest in Paciello. She became friendly with a Lord Michael associate and I reunited with Lord Michael after not speaking to him for well over a decade. Plus, there was the Limelight documentary, of course, which brought back a lot of old memories.
 
What has been your personal relationship with Chris? How has he reacted in the past to your articles/book and how do you think he will react, if at all, to these incredible new disclosures?
I don’t have a personal relationship with Chris. I know his brother, Keith, just de-friended me on Facebook because of the story. Keith is a good guy. He’s twice the man his brother is. Over the years, I’ve contacted Chris a number of times but he’s always refused to be interviewed.
 
How does he get away with it after all is said and done? How does he still operate?
I don’t know. In LA, after he was released from prison, he got involved in two major nightclub brawls and was arrested for felony assault and assault with a deadly weapon while he was on parole. For most parolees, that would mean being sent back to prison – not for Chris. A couple of LA defense lawyers I talked to firmly believe that Chris is still working for the FBI.
 
Why is the city of Miami in love with him? What does he represent?
He represents South Beach when it was really happening — the fabulous ’90s, when South Beach became a beacon of international glamor. People down here miss those times. A friend of mine said: "What is wrong with people in South Beach? They think this guy is God." They do. As Paciello’s friend Michael Capponi once told me: "Party people will forgive anything for a good time." Especially in South Beach, the Land of the Lotus-Eaters.

This Week’s Miami Happenings: Sunset at Dolce, Sundays at Bianca, and Free Ice Cream

NOW: Dolce, chef Paolo Dorigato’s stylish restaurant at the Gale South Beach, has launched two specials designed to get you tipsy and full early. The Aperitivo Happy Hour serves two-for-one beers and specialty cocktails, including Bellinis and Rossinis (strawberry puree and prosecco). The daily Sunset Prix Fixe dinner menu, priced at $29 per person, offers a three-course meal that pulls together some of Dorigato’s fresh pastas, appetizers, and classic Italian desserts. Both programs get underway at 6 pm and run until 7:30 p.m.

DETAILS: For more information on Dolce (1690 Collins Ave., South Beach) check out the BlackBook Guides listing.

SUNDAY: Chilled out Sundays? Not on Bianca’s watch. The beige-loving eatery at the Delano is launching a high-energy Classic Sundays party this week. DJs will spin classic tunes as you feast on a $65 three-course meal with unlimited prosecco for extra $35. You can sleep at your desk on Monday.

DETAILS: For more information on Bianca (1685 Collins Ave. South Beach), check out the BlackBook Guides listing.

MONDAY: Summer is coming to Miami. Good thing the Ben & Jerry’s truck is coming too, passing out free ice cream to keep you cool.  To get your fix on this Free Cone Day, follow the Vermont-based sugar fairies’ truck on Twitter and ask it to drop by. If you’re lucky, the truck will bring ice cold refreshment right to you. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

DETAILS: To summon the Ben & Jerry’s truck, tweet @BenJerrysTruck and use the hashtag #OMGFreeBenJerrys. 

[To get the scoop first, subscribe to BlackBook Happenings, and browse the BlackBook Miami Guide for all the best spots. On the go? Download the free, GPS-enabled BlackBook app for iPhone and Android; More by Anetta Nowosielska; Follow Anetta on Twitter.]

Miami Opening: The Rose Bar at the Delano South Beach

Even a classic needs the occasional reinvention. Of course, the Rose Bar at the Delano South Beach was doing intimate when everyone else was still doing mega lounge. Now it’s gotten an understatedly elegant (but still really sexy) makeover, all warm woods, graceful rose upholstered walls, and glamourous Venetian chandeliers. The art deco sophistication prevails, and the place still feels like a bit of Paris in Sobe.

But it’s the cocktail menu that has experienced the most dramatic transformation. Head bartender Bernie Waters has conjured a new medley of cleverly-titled concoctions, including the Napoli Smash (Disaronno, lemon juice, simple syrup and mint), Dad’s New Car (roasted almond-infused Hennessey, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup), and the East Indies Sling (Bombay Sapphire Gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca, lemon juice, maraschino liquor, rhubarb bitters, and, yes, simple syrup). The truffle popcorn, by the way, pairs smashingly with each and all of them.

Oh, and the people watching, with a view through the lobby, will still be aces.

[Related: BlackBook Miami Guide; Listings for the Rose Bar and the Delano South Beach; Subscribe to the Miami Happenings weekly email newsletter; More by Ken Scrudato; Follow Ken on Twitter]

Miami Opening: FDR Lounge

Following on from the recent opening of the Delano’s new Bianca restaurant, Vegas’ Light Group has opened the doors on FDR Lounge, an intimate new drinking spot in the basement of the hotel, named for our late great Prohibition-beating president (as is the hotel itself).

Justin D’Angelo’s drinks menu continues the homage with cocktails like the Eleanor, the Lucy, and the New Deal, which we guess won’t be ordered by many Republican types. Sam Robin’s Deco-inspired design is all dark velvet banquettes and glittery gold accents.  Mos Def has already performed. 

Miami Opening: Bianca at the Delano South Beach

The unchallenged rulers of glamorous Vegas nightlife, The Light Group, have, let’s face it, decisively conquered Sin City. So it was virtually inevitable that they would finally make a home in that other Mecca of unapologetic decadence, South Beach. And choosing to install their chic new eatery Bianca in the legendary Delano, SoBe’s original celeb-magnet hotel, sends a clear statement: WE DO NOT ARRIVE HERE QUIETLY! But Bianca is more about enjoying epicurean pleasures than it is about just showing off.

The four distinct Sam Robins-designed spaces are airy and casually sexy, with Italian furniture, gold linen drapes, and antique Southeast Asian pillars. Chef Brian Massie (who was mentored by Lidia Bastianich) offers up creative takes on Branzino, Snapper and Sirloin Bistecca, and cocktails like the Tuscan Sunset and Bianca Bellini round out the breezy, Continental vibe. As the Delano is still a prime draw for the glittery people, expect lots of famous and fabulous faces.

Wrap Basel: Criminal Intent, Sponsored by Apple.

Art Basel is one big, enticing, honey pot of rich folks, semi-rich folks, and broke folks posing as rich folks, and generally a lot of inebriated folks with expensive things. In other words: a grifter’s paradise.

Which brings us to the door of the Delano’s Florida Room, once again run by Paris boite Le Baron, and by an order of magnitude, the hottest spot to get into at, say, 4:32 am on a Wednesday night, after hitting off the more buttoned up affairs around town. The mob scene attracted a lot of pick pockets apparently, as desperate partygoers pushed, clawed, and pawed, each other to get in. Some were even grabbing wallets and purses, and scurrying off into the Miami night.

One very chic fashion chick whose phone was pilfered on her way into Le Baron last Saturday, told us she felt a hand groping her as she eased her way past the ropes, then looked down and saw her credit cards lying on the floor, while her well-dressed thief ran off toward the mess of people on Collins Ave. with her iPhone 4. When she reported the incident to hotel security, they informed her that iPhone thievery at the door was the number one security incident being reported to them.  Then again, the whole experience might have been a genius experiential marketing campaign by Apple, in which case, you got me. And her. And a bunch of other people, along with their phones.

Interestigly, when our fashion victim turned on Mobile Me, Apple’s device retrieval system, it pinpointed her phone’s precise whereabouts to a house in Hialeah, Florida, a relatively sketchy suburb of Miami. She and her fashion friends considered going over to confront the iPhone thieves before taking one look in the mirror and deciding that Basel vigilante wasn’t on their itinerary for the day. Instead, they went to get their nails did at Dzine’s Imperial Nails Presented by Perrier at The Standard Spa instead. 

Illustration by Fernando Cwilich Gil

The Best Party at Art Basel Was at a Place Called Purdy Lounge

"You down here working or partying?" was the most quoted line at Art Basel this year, and more often than not, the answer was a bemused shrug, and then the latter. 

As far as art world elites actually working were concerned, my pick for best party was the Art.sy party on the beach, at Soho Beach House. The mix of high-brow-low-brow-middle-brow-uni-brow (Both Hilton sisters bumping into ancient A-list collector Aby Rosen bumping into Will Smith bumping into Gagosian, then stumbling into the ocean) was commendable. I also pick this as a shining beacon of a great super art world insider party because, full disclosure, Art.sy is my brother’s company. But again, Basel is more about the hardcore party people these days than the legit art world people, so let’s move on to where the real party people were doing their thing this year.

French club Le Baron‘s annual Basel takeover of the Delano‘s Florida Room was so slammed, as expected,  that they did an offshoot next door at the Shelborne, called Paris Paris Cabaret, where the French party people rocked kook karaoke, and the always entertaining Simonez Wolf held down the entrance with typical aplomb and well timed fuck yous.On Saturday night, when the Le Baron DJ got fed up with the Florida Room management’s insistence on turning the sound down, they took the Le Baron spinoff next door and merged it with their Paris Paris offshoot, creating a French Miami art world party clusterfuck of epic proportions. In the picture above, the Le Baron crew hang poolside at the Shelborne on Sunday after the Delano debacle, and offer their advice to Florida Room management. 

All that said, the very best party of Basel was the Sunday night end-of-madness industry throwdown at the reliably sketchball Purdy Lounge, where true Miami hip-hop heads and Basel industry elites threw caution to the wind and went apeshit bananas on their last day in town. Le Baron went low-brow that night as well, taking over the Free Spirits dive off Collins, but there’s always something about Purdy’s Basel debaucherous finish that gets everyone dancing and going nuts. Perhaps it’s their Tony Montana room in the back? So our pick for best Basel party: Purdy Lounge, Sunday night. We’re looking forward to winding down our Basel down there next year as well.  

Purdy

Photos by Eric Ervin

The Drug of Choice at Art Basel Was a Gal Named Molly

For good reason, Miami is known as a cocaine town. The skyline is built from the stuff. But the girl on everyone mind and in everyone’s cerebral cortex this year was Molly, and she made this one of the most touchy feely, affectionate Basel editions thus far. According to insider Basel sources, everywhere one went, the quest was on to link up with Molly, otherwise known as MDMA, or Ecstasy, or the drug that shut down nightlife as we know it in New York City.

We were at the Delano, discussing this fact with Jen Gatien (daughter of Peter, and producer of a great doc about her eye-patched pops called Limelight, that screened at Art Basel this year, and which happens to chronicle the rise of ecstasy and subsequent demise of the NY night), while watching two pretty young Basel girls in town from LA, fondling each other under the Molly spell.

Also in on the conversation was a striking med student studying to be a neurosurgeon, in town from Washington DC. Both girls had never tried the stuff, and were talking about pills this and pills that, when someone pointed out that the preferred medium for Molly these days–certainly among the Basel set–is the pure powder form. Then, we also remembered that Jen also produced the wonderful Holy Rollers, which stars Jesse Eisenberg as a hasidic jew who flips E in New York City. Yet she seemed blissfully unaware of the physical properties of the drug itself–commendable for someone who grew up in what the federal government alleged was "a drug supermarket." (The crack aisle must have been entertaining). 

So in conclusion: Molly put the E in Art Basel this year, and really seemed to take the edge off the otherwise uptight, elite art world that descends on Miami for their annual Spring Break.