React to Film and LACMA Screen 3 Iconic Artists for an Evening Sponsored by Gemfields and BlackBook at Art Basel

Earlier this month at Miami’s Art Basel, React to Film, LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum), Gemfields, and BlackBook presented a series of three short films from some of the art world’s most iconic personalities. Directors Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, Lace Acord, and Lucy Walker screened their short features on the work of John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, and David Hockney at an intimate event at South Beach’s Delano Hotel. Previously, we wrote about the party, giving you a look at the three fantastic films shown—and now you can take a peak at the minds that brought the event together.

With a mission to inspire people to become interested and connected  in social issues, Reach to Film works to bring issue-based filmmaking to in the foreground and spark civic engagement, and found a common affinity in partnering with LACMA, who have always worked to highlight the best of cinema and the great artists behind it. Here we see React to Film President Coralie Paul, Chairman Dennis Paul, and Gemfields’ Director of Marketing & Communications Randi Molofsky discussing the night’s events and the importance of bringing the artists work to life. Take a look.

Celebrating MoMA PS1’s Klaus Biesenbach with ‘Cocktails and Curators’

By Sabrina Y. Smith

Amani Olu and Larry Ossei-Mensah, the founders of The Medium Group and Cocktails and Curators celebrated last night the legendary Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and chief curator at large of the Museum of Modern Art.

The event was hosted by Spike Jonze and Diana Picasso and was held at The Standard Hotel in Miami.

This is the third Cocktails and Curators the Medium team organizes. The previous two awards were given earlier this year to Paola Antonelli (curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art) and Mary Ceruti (executive director and chief curator of the Sculpture Center).

Olu and Ossei-Mensah are both writers and curators who started this venture a year ago, with the goal to spotlight and celebrate influential curators and create an art environment that is approachable, light and fun.

Klaus Biesenbach, who had just returned from completing a project in Berlin at KW Institute for Contemporary Art of Christoph Schlingensief’s work, made a pit stop in Miami before taking off again for Brazil to install Expo 1. He was in a jovial mood, happily joking around and entertaining friends – a surprising twist to what may seem like such a serious man. Yet he made it clear both through his behavior and speech that neither he (nor life) is to be taken too seriously. In many ways, he seems to share the same motto as the event’s sponsor: “This is Living: Celebrate it.” He’s a visionary curator that can win your mind with art, and your heart with his personality.

Cocktails and Curators Honoring Klaus BiesenbachJean Marc Merine and Klaus Biesenbach

Cocktails and Curators Honoring Klaus BiesenbachDiana Picasso and Glenn O’Brein

Cocktails and Curators Honoring Klaus BiesenbachDiana Picasso and Spike Jonze 

Cocktails and Curators Honoring Klaus BiesenbachKlaus Biesenbach

Cocktails and Curators Honoring Klaus BiesenbachKorakrit Arunanondchai and Angela Godin 

Spike Jonze%2c Diana Picasso%2c Klaus Biesenbach%2c Larry Ossei-Mensah%2c Korakrit Arunanondchai%2c Amani Olu

Matt Lipps, Kadar Brock, and Karl Wirsum: Fantasy Shopping at NADA in Miami

Hey, we’ve got an unlimited fictional bank account and some blank walls to fill in our brand-new Tribeca penthouse. Thanks to Artsy, we can now browse most of the offerings for the NADA fair in Miami early, ensuring that once the preview hours begin, we’ll know exactly where to head for the best deals. Let’s get shopping…

Chris Bradley (Thomas Campbell Gallery): I love Bradley’s ‘totems’ – strands of trinkets hanging from the wall – and this young sculptor’s illusionistic handling of materials (he once crafted a potato chip out of metal).

Despina Stokou and Karl Wirsum (Derek Eller Gallery): Stokou is a Berlin-based artist whose mixed-media paintings cram an overload of language onto the picture plane; Wirsum is part of the Hairy Who cadre. Presenting both artists together, this gallery’s NADA booth guarantees to be a cross-generational serving of irreverent awesomeness.

Matt Lipps (Jessica Silverman Gallery): I’ve always loved Lipps’s photos, which are constructed by staging little collaged vignettes in the studio. This latest body of work takes his own aesthetic and throws in a bit of Carol Bove’s things-arrayed-on-a-shelf style. (And hey, if you’re building a collection according to a very specific theme, why not pick up David Korty’s Blue Shelf #15 over at Night Gallery’s booth?

MattLipps

Kadar Brock (The Hole): Painting-as-sculpture-as-mixed-media-explosion…This Brock piece looks like a city street in the aftermath of a war, followed by a celebratory post-war parade, with lots of confetti. Process-based abstraction gets a slightly longer lease on life.

Robert Moskowitz (Kerry Schuss): I had no idea who Moskowitz was until I started prowling through this NADA preview. (Thanks, Artsy!) According to his Wikipedia profile, I’m not alone in not knowing who he is. I’d like to make up for that oversight by asking someone to buy me this totally weird, totally perfect painting.

Richard Kern (Feature, Inc.): I’m not sure if I’d be able to deal with this on my own wall, but the double-vision nude portrait of Angela Pham – the most self-obsessed of all the self-obsessed Gallery Girls – is something to behold, however queasily.

Jamian Juliano-Villani: I’ve previously written about this young painter’s tangential affinity with Mike Kelley. She’s got several works in this gallery’s booth in the fair’s ‘Projects’ section, and they’re all “affordable,” by the punch-drunk standards of the art world.

Main image: Jamian Juliano-Villani

From Kanye West to Tracy Emin: What’s Hot In Miami

For those of you art world denizens venturing down to Miami for the first time, be warned – all of that fun can be exhausting. My advice for the fairs and attendant revelry: Relax, take several deep breaths, and remember to eat something before embarking on the first of those six open-bar parties. For your convenience, I’ve cobbled together a few of the events I’m most excited about, from Yeezus to a Bushwick invasion (and leaving aside most of the publicist-policed parties that require a kidney donation for entry).

White Cube’s party at Soho Beach House, December 3, 10:30 p.m.

The British gallery teams up with MOCA and Vanity Fair to host an event in honor of Tracy Emin and her all-neon “Angel Without You” exhibition. Okay, so this one is probably guaranteed to be a shit-show at the door, but it might actually be worth the effort.

Kanye West and Vanessa Beecroft opening the “Affordable Care” exhibition, December 4, 6-9 p.m. at the Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd Street 

 It’s a private event, but get creative. The Flaunt magazine-curated exhibition opens with a project from the hip-hop star and the nudity-loving performance artist, in which we’ll “see Beecroft’s choreography of models in interplay with clay amidst her sculptures.”

Ry Rocklen’s Night Court bar for Absolut (oceanfront between 21st and 22nd Street)

LA-based artist Rocklen was chosen to create this year’s Absolut art bar in Miami, entitled Night Court. The brand has savvy taste: they previously tapped Los Carpinteros for the project, and Mickalene Thomas created an installation for Basel in Switzerland this year. Rocklen’s design riffs on his signature trophy sculptures. The official public opening party for the outdoor art bar is on Wednesday evening, but it’s open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, noon until 2 a.m.

Yael Bartena’s Inferno, premiering at the Pérez Art Museum Miami 

The just-opened institution unveils a new film piece from the Israeli artist, shot in Sao Paolo, and focused on “the rise of Evangelism and Neo-Pentecostalism in Brazil.” (Don’t worry, the stills I’ve seen ensure it’s much more action-packed than the rather dry description suggests.) Beginning on December 4.

 Design Miami December 4-8 (preview day, December 3). 1901 Convention Center Drive

A tightly curated, non-headache-inducing celebration of contemporary design, housed in a tent whose entrance has been reimagined by Brooklyn’s formlessfinder. (You can preview the fair on Artsy now.)

Shady Hole. December 5, 11 p.m. – 5 a.m.

A “collaboration between SHADE and The Hole” presented by Ladyfag and perennial party impresario Seva Granik. The location is only divulged once you RSVP through this link, which features video footage of dudes getting haircuts. I’m suitably confused and/or intrigued.

David Levine’s “Talk Show” December 6, 6 p.m. at the Jazz Club at the Deauville Hotel

Levine is a multi-faceted artist who might already be familiar to you via Gideon Lewis-Krauss’s memoir, A Sense of Direction. For the NADA Fair, he’s bringing his faux-talk show format performance project to the Jazz Club at the Deauville; guests include a plastic surgeon and a professional stuntman. Keep an eye out for a BlackBook Q&A with Levine next week.

Jack Shainman Gallery’s party, Friday, December 6, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. at the South Seas Hotel, 1751 Collins Ave.

This private event is billed as a “fête for good music, people, and cocktails,” and promises a screening of Nick Cave’s Drive-by.

Bushwick Gone Basel December 8, 7 p.m. at the Cucu’s Nest, 2805 Collins Ave.

I’m a bit nervous about this one, to be honest, mainly because of the seemingly sincere copy on their promotional Tumblr: “Proving that Bushwick is more than a place, its a lifestyle” [SIC]). BUT after a few nights of A-list schmoozing and corporate-sponsored booze-orgies, maybe an injection of Brooklyn grit will be just what the doctor ordered.

Zev Norotsky On the Launch of New Electronic Dance Music and DJ Magazine “Elektro”

Electronic music has changed nightlife forever, for better…for worse. It has made DJ’s rock stars, strange and remote places destinations, and has filled clubs and stadiums. It’s inspired Woodstockian festivals. It has defined, along with mash up/mixed format, a renaissance in nightlife. When clubs were going through their doldrums just a few years back, it was argued that there had not been a new genre of music to lead us out of the boredom. Mixed format combined other genres and was considered by some to be a sort of wishy-washy sound for the musically-challenged masses. DJs like AM certainly shattered that misconception. Electronic was lumped in as a progression of house and not much new. This has proven to be an inadequate description of the sound that has swept the world. Many DJs I have spoken to speak of how it has united people worldwide, as superstar DJs play for hundreds of thousands, from Asia to South America.

Zev Norotsky formerly of Mirrorball and Get There PR, has joined Harris Publications as president of its H360 Group. They are launching elektro, a new magazine…
"[It’s] geared toward electronic dance music/DJ fans… elektro’s mission is to take you behind the turntables and into the lives of DJs, sharing their passion for the music, giving fans an all-access backstage pass. From Tiesto’s sold-out gig, to David Guetta’s new album and the Swedish House Mafia’s unreleased track, elektro will show you the tools to make the music and the lifestyle they live. Electronic music is now the fastest-growing genre in music. DJs are the new rock stars and are selling out arenas around the world. elektro brings you face- to-face with the fans that attend these events, along with powerful marketing solutions including print, online, and experiential activations at sold-out shows and festivals across the globe."
Tiesto is on the first issue’s cover. It will come out quarterly. I sent Zev a few questions (electronically of course) and got these answers:
 
What is elektro?
elektro is a new platform for electronic dance music enthusiasts to learn about DJ culture and their favorite artists and producers. It’s definitely much more than a magazine as we have also built in a comprehensive digital ecosystem and a large special event calendar for 2012 to round out our presence nationwide. This includes our online hub at www.elektrodaily.com, very active social media engagement, and strategic partnerships with Spotify, future.fm, mixcloud etc. We will also be distributed at all the large festivals including Ultra and Electric Daisy in New York and Las Vegas, etc.
 
You have been a promoter/marketing guy;  is elektro an exit strategy…a way out of nightlife’s day-to-day, er… night-to-night, or a natural progression and a deeper commitment?
I must refer to a quote from Steve Jobs where he said, "You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards." I got my start in nightlife very early working the doors at Limelight and Kit Kat Klub when I was in college, striking out a few times on my own and eventually landing with Eddie Dean at Pacha NYC.  Nightlife is my absolute passion and I like to say that I got my Masters following Eddie around as we launched the Pacha brand in America. That was, by far, the most valuable experience of my life as I learned not only the importance of branding and guidelines, but also how vital nightlife can be to the world of marketing and how strong the connection is between consumers and brands. I have been jumping up and down on corporate board room tables for the last four or five years, begging brand managers to pay attention to what’s going on in electronic dance music (EDM) and people are finally paying attention. It’s an amazing feeling and now I have elektro to make sense of it all. I never could have imagined this starting out but when I look back it all makes perfect sense.
 
Everybody in the world is going electronic..or is it elektronic… as online is more and more the way people want it…why print?
We are very in tune with the digital space. I actually moderated a panel a few weeks back during Social Media Week based on a theory that the explosion of EDM in America is intrinsically tied to social media; that’s why we have created an extensive online presence across every single medium there is for us to share content. We are curating playlists with Spotify, streaming from events with future.fm, YouTube, Instagram, etc., you name it. The honest answer is you need everything to succeed and we take a 360 approach here. The sweet spot for me is how everything connects from the live events, the social media, and the print piece. That gives us maximum leverage as both an editorial property and a marketing vehicle for brands.
 
How did Tiesto become your first cover boy?
This was such a no-brainer for me; he is arguably the most iconic DJ of all time and truly personifies how far dance music has come in America, from the initial burst in late ’90s, to now. I literally made a mock-up of elektro about a year ago with him on the cover to show my partners what I look at every day to remind me how this all started.
 
It’s a quarterly; will there be events to celebrate each issue at various clubs around the world? Will the cover boy be the DJ? Will the distribution of the magazine at these events be a huge part of the marketing strategy?
Absolutely. We are gearing up for a massive launch during Miami Music Week. In addition to a private launch party with Roger Sanchez that we are hosting for the industry on Thursday, March 22 at The Setai, we are going to be distributed in the VIP section at Ultra, are an official media partner of Winter Music Conference, and will be hosting events all week at the National Hotel, Villa221, Mansion, as well as a big in-store event with Guess Jeans on Saturday 3/24. We’re also working on an official launch party in New York on April 14th at Pacha NYC which will be a sort of homecoming for me I guess, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

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.

Fendi x Fashioneer: A Design Miami Partnership

This week, we’re heading to Miami to catch some sun, see some art, oh – and team up with one of our favorite fashion houses ever, Fendi. The Italian luxury brand is collaborating with Design Miami to produce a dreamlike installation entitled "Craft Alchemy," which will feature the work of Berlin-based designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastian Neeb. Using Fendi’s discarded leather materials and signature production techniques, the talented duo will transform a collection of traditional Roman Baroque furniture pieces into a magical environment – and we’ll be providing you with exclusive daily coverage of all the action.

Design Miami occurs alongside Art Basel Miami Beach and is the go-to venue for collecting, exhibiting, and discussing collectable design. "Craft Alchemy" will also extend into Design Miami’s exclusive Collector’s Lounge that is hosted by Fendi for the first time this year.

Stay tuned for dispatches from the installation grounds, behind-the-scenes snaps, all-access interviews, and, of course, party highlights!

Post-ABSOLUT Miami Panel: Comparing Big Apples to Florida Oranges

If you see me out and about this week you will notice my lingering tan obtained in just two days in the sun in fun Miami Beach last week. I was lobster red when I headed north and now I’m heading to beige, but I have no complaints. I left New York cold, tired, and snow-white and returned a better man. ABSOLUT Miami had me down south for a nightclub panel moderated by Cocaine Cowboys and Limelight producer Alfred Spellman. Limelight will come out on DVD tomorrow and I’m all up in that. Sunday’s New York Post did a story on it and I was there putting my two cents in. I put $1.75 in the flick. 

Down in Miami,  ABSOLUT was pushing its new flavor — ABSOLUT Miami. It issued this press blurb: "The world’s most iconic vodka, and a staple of exceptional experiences in nightclubs for more than three decades, we recognize the impact Miami has had in shaping the course of nightlife culture and we look to celebrate that tonight, over cocktails and conversation, with some of the city’s most iconic party personalities. Moderated by renowned documentarians, Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben, an intimate discussion will unfold about the ‘Art of the Party’ — what it entails to take a party from good to exceptional."
 
I was sipping ABSOLUT Miami Heats as discussions began. Freddie Diaz, a panelist, created this cocktail, which was a blend of ABSOLUT Miami, a slice of jalapeno, muddled basil leaves, passion fruit purèe, simple syrup, and lime juice. Freddie was the quietest of the panelists. He talks softly but makes a good drink. The panel was dominated by Ingrid Casares who is described as follows: "’The Queen of Miami Nightlife’ has been seen in gossip pages since 1991 with longtime gal pal Madonna. Among her feats, Casares discovered and developed DJs, such as Victor Calderone and Tracy Young, and worked with the Versaces in the ’90s, throwing their most fabulous parties around the globe. Her entrepreneurial exploits and celebrity connections helped solidify South Beach as an international playground for the rich and famous." Ingrid relived her stint running the iconic joint Liquid with her partner Chris Paciello, who I was told was back in Miami bringing vim and vigor to the Delano. Ingrid talked about the time when Sylvestor Stallone, Gianni Versace, and Mickey Rourke became fixtures on the scene, and how the rest of the country discovered that Miami was a real great place to party. She recalled an event that happened at the turn of the century, where Madonna played drums and Gloria Estefan sang. She was the voice of reason and clarity on the panel as Alfred didnt get much insight from the rest. He could always turn to Ingrid to clear things up. I talked to Ingrid before and after. She is retired from nightlife and working on her family business.
 
Other panelist included Seth Browarnik, described as "a photographer to the celebrities." He was basically a mentally challenged cheerleader for all things Miami. He said things like Miami nightlife is the best in the universe, and things like that. He also said things like there’s more hot girls per mile here than anywhere in the world. He proclaimed that the celebrities don’t go out as much in Miami because they are afraid, citing cell phone cameras and other circumstances. In places like New York and Vegas and LA, celebrities still swarm the clubs because clubs know how to allay their fears and not burn their celebs or let their clientele do so. I suspect they just want to avoid him, and when nightlife is simplified to the amount of hotties per square inch, then it’s just dumb and dumb is only sometimes sexy.
 
Comparing Miami to New York is like comparing Big Apples to Florida Oranges. As Ingrid pointed out, people going out in Miami have tourist money in hand with no desire to return home with it. The entire make-up of the Beach is about that tourist money. In New York, there is a thing called "culture" which sometime distracts locals. Miami is a party town, but as the panel pointed out, it has lost some of its diversity. The large gay clientele has moved away, leaving Miami to become one great bottle-banging bash. They do this well. However, the town follows the lead of Vegas and New York, developing few — if any — trends of its own. If you look at places like The Darby, Provocatuer, the Standard or even the Bowery Poetry Club, you see innovation. The event was held at LIV, a wonderful money-making machine that seems to be a cross between Marquee NYC and Rain Vegas. The wait-trons were all beautiful, tall, and tan with pearly-white smiles. It was perfect for what it was.
 
Miami may indeed not be perfect, but it was perfect for me. The new Fountainbleau was wonderful, maintaining its tacky, almost-chic dècor, and wonderful staff. Everyone was helpful and intelligent. Miami used to be notorious for its awful service industry employees. This has changed as the city has developed from its Marielle days. It is no longer, as Alfred Spellman pointed out, "God’s waiting room." He also conjectured that Miami Vice helped break the city as a glamorous travel spot. Other panelists included Biz Martinez: "Music Director for LIV/Arkadia/MMG, Martinez created Miami’s longest running Saturday Electric Dance Music night and after-hours." Here, I wanted to hear about new music developing in the corners of South beach, but only name or circuit DJs were discussed. With such a diverse ethnic culture, I’m sure there are sounds developing a dozen or so blocks from the beach that aren’t on the radar here.
 
Conrad Gomez, who "manned the gates of  Miami’s hottest clubs including LIV and Arkadia," recognized a need in the market. He recently opened Foxhole, a high-end bar catering to the locals in Miami Beach." I heard great things about Foxhole. Conrad seemed to be reaching back to old-school in a small joint — a place where a blackcard doesn’t automatically mean you are VIP. Conrad remembered Miami and NY door legend Gilbert Stafford who passed, but will always be in our hearts. I toasted Gilbert with an ABSOLUT Coco Miami.
 
I didn’t ask questions at the end. Alfred came up to me and said he wished I had gotten involved in the discussion. I was enjoying the talk but absolutely didnt want to argue. The reality of Miami is the real celebrity, promoter, superstar. The ocean, beach, seagulls, and promixity give good reason to be cheerful. I popped in and popped out, had a great dinner at Gotham Steak House and lunch by the Fountainbleau pool. ABSOLUT made it possible and the weather gods did their part. It was like 18 degrees when I left NYC and 81 down there. I could almost get used to it. Miami’s lack of some things are more than made up for by its historical assets. The 80-somethings have been replaced by partiers with IQs around 80. Intelligence is pushed aside by attractiveness, and money is the currency of culture, but it is a great place to visit. Sipping ABSOLUT Miameras while a warm breeze wipes away your troubles isn’t all bad. ABSOLUT Miami did the trick.
 
Its passion fruit and orange blossom tang will warm me wherever I am. I can’t give you a blow-by-blow account of nightlife at the beach. John Hood, BlackBook’s Miami guy, does that better than I ever could. Alls I know about Miami nightlife was that when the night got real and I didnt want to go home, my friend Donya Litowitz and I headed to Mac’s Club Duece on 14th Street for a good time. Club Duece is a real-deal dive bar where my bottle service came to me as a cold Heineken. The girls in general might not have been considered in that survey about hottest-women-per-square-mile thing. There were no Ferraris parked outside. It was perfect. When I got back to the hotel, a tall, middle-aged, unnatural blonde also falling short of Seth’s survey asked me if I wanted a good time. I can’t be sure, but she looked exactly like a gal who asked me that same question at that same spot 20 years ago. Not feeling nostalgic nor having had too many ABSOLUT Miami Heat’s to cloud my judgement and having had a good time since I landed in Miami, I politely passed. I was getting up early to catch some rays with Donya before returning to NYC.
 
Donya Litowitz and I almost collaborated on a few game-changing projects in Miami. I was part of a design team that had Greg Brier operating a new Sagamore Hotel. It never happened. There was talk of a G Resort, I think north of town, catering to the gay crowd that was leaving Miami in droves. Besides the Sagamore, G Hospitality Group, was initially launching locations in Wilton Manors, Las Vegas, and South Beach — all hotels. Locations were to include Vegas-style amenities with multiple club, lounge, and restaurant venues. She is a brilliant gal who, along with her sister, created Featherlocks, which are rooster-feather hair extensions. They are selling like cuban sandwiches and spinning off into Puppylocks for pets and other businesses. As we sat by the pool, both of us doing our business on our very smart phones, my mind wandered to a simpler, warmer life in a place with more beautiful women per … no galleries or art house films or culture to distract …but then I said… nah.

The Poor & Rich: the NYC Homeless, Champagne at Winston’s, Mark Baker’s Birthday

The night started at Winston’s, where champagne flowed and bon vivants were on their best behavior. I was then caught in that time trap that we Williamsburgers sometimes find ourselves in. It was too early for anything else, but going back to Brooklyn might end up being it for the night. That wouldn’t do: I had places to be. So I decided to take in the glorious night and walk down 14th Street to The Darby and Snap to await Amanda. I would meet my better half there before heading to Meatpacking. The swells and damsels in fine dresses of Winston’s were replaced by desperate men and damsels in distress pleading for anything I had and they didn’t. The $1,000 bottle of champagne set, $1000 shoe sets’ banter echoed in my ear as I ran out of change fast and decided I couldn’t feed the world. Who can.

Maybe a billionare like Mayor Bloomberg could make a dent on this tragedy under our feet. Maybe the city could do more. It got less insane as I moved off Union Square – but still, the hands were stretched for hand-outs.There was a party of some sorts by the Salvation Army Headquarters: dogs and sleeping bags and lots of young homeless drinking inexpensive bottles of swill. I read on my expensive phone earlier that our Mayor had banned food donations to homeless shelters because "the city can’t assess their salt, fat, and fiber content." The people I passed didn’t have calorie counters on their phones. Billionaire Mayor is worried about the nutritional needs of people who are rummaging through garbage and afraid of the places the city provides for them. I needed a drink and some thicker skin. I hated that my eyes avoided them, that I had moves with my hand and arms and head that could tell them I wasn’t going to be helping them.

The long legs of the gorgeous were supporting expensive smiles outside The Darby. The gays going into Stash’s gay night soiree were ear-to-ear as well. A couple of dozen Snap sports bar patrons were watching millionaires run around with balls. The spring is just born and the warm weather will soon bring the desperate hordes from everywhere. It’s beginning to feel like a Steinbeck tome out there. The tourists who support our economy will soon be here in herds, taking serpentine routes around the indigent to get to a place to spend $500 on a bottle of booze. I was swept up by my Amanda, and we politely passed on the cheap flowers from the more tycoon-ish poor. I remembered another article I had read earlier in the day which said that the Bloomberg administration was going to implement a policy where single adults would have to prove that they had no place else to stay but in a shelter. The people I passed could barely prove they were alive. How could they prove anything. Are their clothes smelly or torn enough, their demeanor below the civilized line the Mayor and his set have carved in the concrete? Can they sell their desperation enough to get in. Who are the doormen at these shelters? Will it be "Sorry, you’re dressed too nicely to get in?" I guess the flower peddlers wouldn’t qualify and the old lady with the old coffee cup with change in it wouldn’t either; they’re way too prosperous. That cup and it’s contents prove she can pay for a cot in a flophouse where she will surely meet some great people who will entertain her with threats and possibly worse. Maybe this isn’t the forum. Maybe my nightlife column should ignore what my eyes couldn’t ignore as I traveled from one heaven to the next.

The Double Seven opened up its doors for me and mine. Their door policies being the polar opposite of the Mayor’s. You had to have loot or be someone who can drive their brand to get in here. Single adults are encouraged. Money gets you in, not out. I was there for my dear friend Mark Baker’s 50th birthday bash. Mark will forgive me for using his article to air out my sudden conscious. He has a heart of gold and I’m sure feels the same sadness at the madness all around us.

Six bottles of Beau Joie Champagne were delivered to his tables; beautiful girls and sparklers and all the fluff that goes with a good time. The crowd was known to me, veterans of nightlife and the upwardly mobile, partying like it’s no longer 1999. All around the Goose and the champagne was helping the gathering affirm their good life. DJ Elle was playing a superb set – music that most of clubland has given up for pop mediocrity, offerings spewed by bad boys with laptops. Elle can go. She has the taste, the style, the guts, and more importantly the backing of the club to play the good stuff. I’m sure some of the crowd was soon rushing off to somewhere after for their Rihanna fixes, but while they were at The Double Seven, their ears were to be enlightened.

Mark Baker turning 50 is unbelievable. The energizer bunny of nightlife, Mr. Baker had an earlier go of it at the Liberty Theater for the launch of Malibu Red, with Ne-Yo performing. He’s off to Miami now to continue his celebration. There he will hold court at the Raleigh Hotel for this Music Loves Fashion thing. I have known Mark a long time. Our old dogs played with each other on Hamptons beaches a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when they were alive and young, when we were also younger. He is a young man compared to me. I told him I have shoes that are 50 and, sadly or wonderfully, it’s almost true. He is a gentleman who deserves all that the world has to offer. Seeing him smile as all the love, affection, and attention came to him last night put a smile on my face. Cameras jumped up to catch THAT event.

I asked Mark about hitting the half-century mark.

"First I never even thought I’d live past 40 so making a half century is just a bonus to me lol, I feel better than ever (and cutting some bad things out of my life have made things WAY better) …..no more sweating the small stuff as everything WILL be ok, we’ve made it this far so stressing over bs just isn’t necessary, I cherish and value the LONGTERM friends I’ve made over the years and even laugh harder with a couple that I’ve scrapped with, life is good, business is great and gf relationships .. Well you know how they go in this business lol.its always a work in progress (isn’t there a club called that ? Lol….I’m blessed to have the life I have and I work hard at keeping things as simple and drama free as possible and  happy day to day…Just have to rememember …"LIFE…IS GOOD"…:-).
Ps ! I’m celebrating with a four day marathon party starting on wednesday at the liberty theater and the double seven and ending in miami on saturday with a pool party at the RALEIGH..your welcome to join….if you can keep up….lol"