Last night, father and daughter team Fred and Claire Distenfeld welcomed guests to the opening of their much hyped UES boutique Fivestory. Occupying 2 stories of a grandiose townhouse on East 69th Street, the boutique features men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, shoes and home decor. The Distenfelds brought in interior designer Ryan Korban who lavishly decorated the space with black and white geometrically patterned marble floors and a velvet-clad entryway. A noticeable highlight of the store – a sky lit “shoe garden” is sure to elicit shoppers’ delight. Following the opening, party-goers celebrated at Mr. Chow on 57th Street. DJs Cleo Le Tan and Matt Creed charmed guests, who included Natalie Joos, Anne and Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Marina Rust Connor, Ellen von Unwerth, Anja Rubik, Heather Marks, Alexandra Richards and Poppy de Villeneuve.
At Art Basel Miami Beach this year, there were many contenders for top culinary attraction. The Dutch’s new Miami outpost was a major draw, booking up well in advance by New Yorkers eager to get their hands on their favorite little oyster sandwiches. Cecconi’s at the Soho Beach House was crammed with brunch-going scenesters sipping bloody mary’s and basking on the olive tree lined terrace. Pubbelly and Yardbird earned the foodies’ attention, while classics such as Mr. Chow and Casa Tua remained packed throughout the event. But the real draw for food-loving art-goers was Jennifer Rubell’s 11th annual breakfast installation at the Rubell Family Collection.
I arrived to find a fascinating two-part installation, each side exploring the creations of life, art, and food. The first was an incubation gallery where yogurt was being made and served by sterile and expressionless women in nurse uniforms. The second was an observation gallery where both gallery-goers and local bees feasted on honey being dripped from the ceiling. Spectators were encouraged to scoop up spoonfuls of the honey to mix with yogurt for a sumptuous breakfast.
Rubell, yet again, created a successful conversation starter that infuses food, art, and social gatherings to create a consumable sensory experience. Beckoning onlookers to participate and engage, Rubell’s large-scale installations form a shared experience, where gallery goers can eat, touch, and deconstruct the piece’s edible goods, breaking the traditional boundaries of art. Rubell’s past projects have included constructing a gargantuan size piñata of Andy Warhol’s head for Icons at the Brooklyn Museum’s 2010 Brooklyn Ball, creating a performance piece called The de Pury Diptych at London’s Saatchi Gallery – which involved thousands of edible props–and producing an installation at the former Dia Center for the Arts called Creation, wherein Rubell pulled from biblical inspirations to create an enthralling installation involving honey being dripped onto a ton of ribs (she must have a thing for honey).
As with most provocative artists, Rubell’s craft is difficult to define. Performance, installation, and food artist don’t quite suffice in describing her dexterity. In addition to working as a vegetable butcher at Mario Batali’s Eataly, producing wine in Puyloubier, Provence, and raising her daughter, Stevie, the Harvard grad is a seasoned hostess. Her book Real Life Entertaining was published by HarperCollins in 2006. As the niece of Steve Rubell, famed co-owner of Studio 54, Rubell has been surrounded by artful and creative minds from an early age. She learned her love of entertaining from her famous uncle as well as her art-collecting parents, Don and Mera, whose legendary Whitney Biennial parties were frequented by the likes of Liza Minnelli, Ryan O’Neal, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.
While restaurants in Miami’s dining scene come and go, Rubell’s bona fide expertise in hosting social gatherings has led her breakfast installations to remain a hit for 11 years and counting. Make sure to check out what artful and edible treats she conjures up for 2012.
Papa’s got a brand new bag, and we’re all jealous. Known for designing iconic women’s handbags with an exotic touch, Nancy Gonzalez is now exploring the world of menswear, with the help of her company’s president, Santiago Gonzalez. The collection, named after and inspired by Santiago, includes an impressive range of luxe travel accessories in various shades of crocodile skin. Men have a choice of over 50 (that’s 5-0, seriously) styles that include everything from money clips and zip wallets to weekenders and duffle bags. And each piece is masculine enough to convert man-purse skeptics, but also chic enough to make women fawn.
To toast the collection’s launch, which is sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, an intimate group of designers, actors, and tastemakers gathered this week at the famed Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills for dinner and drinks. I stopped by to congratulate Mr. Gonzalez, who was grinning ear-to-ear as he humbly accepted praise from guests like Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Stephen Dorff, Balthazar Getty, and Sharon Stone (photo of Stone and the guest of honor below). The hit event—hosted by China Chow, the actress, model, and daughter of Mr. Chow owner Michael Chow—is just a prelude to the success that this collection is sure to enjoy.
Shop the Santiago Gonzalez collection here.
Photos courtesy of LaForce + Stevens.
● Billy Joe Armstrong at the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot: I don’t have any favorites. I like anywhere and everywhere. I went to go see “Everyday Rapture” last night, and then I went to punk-rock karaoke down on the Lower East Side, it was at Arlene’s Grocery. ● Mike Dirnt: Honestly, I like to meet friends for a nice pint at McSorley’s, the oldest pub in New York. ● Tre Cool: I like to go to Gray’s Papaya at 72nd Street and get cheap hot dogs.
Serena Williams: Oh, I don’t go out too much. I love Mr. Chow in Miami. ● Donald Trump: Only at Trump properties! Jean Georges. ● Carla Gugino: I’m a big fan of Morandi. I just went there for brunch for the first time. And I love a little Mediterrean place called Taim. ● Camryn Manheim: The truth is I like to go to a casino and play some poker in Los Angeles and Vegas. And I love to go to all the places here after the show. Joe Allen, Angus, Bar Centrale. ● Whoopi Goldberg: I don’t go out, but when I am out in the city, I go and get my hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya. Which one? I like all of them. ● Dr. Oz at HealthCorps “Garden of Good and Evil” gala to fight obesity: I like Candle 79 a lot. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It’s easy to get to, and I love the way they pull together tastes that are unique. And by the way, they supply my food in the green room, for my show. I order out, and Candle 79 caters it. They have a seitan dish and they look like chimichurri. ● Roger Ross Williams: I hang out a lot at Norwood, which is a private club, on 14th Street. It’s a whole brownstone. There’s a restaurant and a number of bars. I live on the Lower East Side, so I hang out there at a lot of different bars. I love restaurants, so sometimes Spotted Pig, Pastis a lot for lunch. Right now, I’m like editing in the Meat Packing District at an edit house, so I’ve been to the Standard a lot. ● Rocco DiSpirito: I still go to Balthazar and Spotted Pig and places like that. I love going to Balthazar and getting a big plateau of fruits de mer, you know the three-level plateau, with a couple of friends and some good white wine. ● Ben Vereen: Koi restaurant. I like the food, the ambiance, and the people.
Janice Lipton is not a professional photographer. She’s a woman who finds solace in flowers and greenery, and she allows this fondness to guide her in photographing flowers and publishing compilations of her images. Her books June, July, August and September are filled with stunning visuals of blooms, mostly from Colorado. Each image is paired with a corresponding inspirational quote to complete the viewer’s full experience. More on the life threatening illness and the lifelong love that inspired Lipton through her journey, plus a gallery full of flora.
How long have you been taking photographs? It’s always been a hobby of mine, and I’ve always had a passion for flowers. It wasn’t until about four years ago when I was in Colorado and would send e-mails to my friends with pictures of flowers, saying, “Isn’t this gorgeous!” Everyone’s response was always the same: “You should publish them.” I had so many people saying the same thing to me. So, I decided at the end of the summer, I would publish this book. I did it, not knowing how hard it was and how much time it would take, but it was so fabulous and rewarding. Of course, after one book came out, all I remember hearing was, “When are you going to do your next book?” It took me three years, but that’s when Septembercame out. This was, of course, more challenging than June, July, August because I didn’t want any duplication of flowers. I had to look at flowers with a different eye for the second book and dig a little deeper to find flowers that were prettier and better.
Are the flowers in September also from Colorado? Ninety percent of them are from Colorado. To shoot the orchids, I went to the New York Botanical Garden for the orchid show. What was also fabulous about September was that I was able to get there at peak week when the leaves were changing from regular to dead. It only snowed one day, and I was there that one day. That’s when I got the pictures of the red leaves and the frost on the leaves and the frost surrounding the flowers. It was amazing! It was one of the highlights of my life.
When in your life did you start noticing and taking interest in flowers? I grew up in Los Angeles, and I’ve always had a passion for flowers, whether it’s wallpaper with flowers on it or flowers themselves. I’ll be somewhere and see a flower growing out of the dirt and say to someone, “Look at that gorgeous flower!” And, they’ll say, “How did you even see that?” It’s almost like I have a divine sense for it. I had a calling to do this book. When I did book number one, it was almost like I was possessed. I’d take a picture and look at it and I wouldn’t love the way it looked. So, I’d go back and take it or wait until the sun was a little farther over the hill so that the lighting would be better. Then, the next summer when I went back, it wasn’t inside of me. It was the first time that I understood what a writer feels with writer’s block. You just can’t go take pictures and say, “I’m going to make a book.” It has to come from within.
How did you choose the quotes? Every quote from the book matches every flower. It was very challenging, and I did a lot of research. I have particular authors that I love. I wanted to have all types of inspiration, whether it be spiritual or metaphoric or more pedestrian. Whatever way, I wanted to contact people.
What feedback have you received from the books? Every day, I get an e-mail or a text from someone saying, “I saw this rose and it made me think of you.” I got an e-mail today from a person who said, “I have an aunt who is dying and I gave her your book. She says it’s really helping her.” I got another one from a woman that says, “I’m going through a really trying time in my life and your book is giving me the strength to go through.” Every day, people are telling me how my book has changed their life. It blows my mind. I’m just a regular girl who decided to follow a dream and do this, and I’ve changed people’s lives. It’s so rewarding and fulfilling. I’m a philanthropist at heart, and this is just another way that I’ve been able to touch the world.
Does that mean you’re going to put out another one? I’m working on it. I want to do the next one on tree trunks. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed or if you’ve lived anywhere or gone and seen great trees, but when you walk up to a tree, there’s a life in them. Sometimes, in between the crevices of a tree trunk, there will be a plant growing. There will be a moth with a pearlized finish or little bugs living inside. I’ve already started working on it. It’s a process of learning how to do it properly. I am an amateur photographer, so, I’ve just started thinking about where in the country I’m going to visit. I’d like to go to the state of Washington to take pictures of the sequoias.
In the book jacket for September, you mention that a life-threatening illness guided you in putting this book out. When book number one came out, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I had to have brain surgery. Part of why the new book took three years to do was because I had to emotionally recuperate. When you face a life-threatening situation like I did, you look at life a little differently. I have a different way to see how flowers bloom now and a new appreciation for life.
What do you grow in your own flower garden? Mainly orchids, but I have a smelling garden with all types of flowers. I have another wall that I have covered with all hibiscus.
What are your favorite flowers to receive as a gift? That’s a touchy one. It’s probably not a particular flower as much as the combination. It’s the art of putting the flowers together. What you put with a hydrangea, what you put with lilies, what you put with orchids make the visual appearance. I’m all about the visual. A dozen roses doesn’t cut it.
Where are your go-to places? In Miami, I like Il Gabbiano. You sit outside there and you’re right on the water. At La Piaggia you feel like you’re in St. Tropez, because all of the tables are on the sand. I love Mr. Chow and taking the boat to Fisher Island. In Aspen, I like Matsuhisa and Il Molino.
More on Janice Lipton at www.janicelipton.com.
At the At Why Did I Get Married Too? premiere: 1. Janet Jackson: “[In Atlanta,] I go to Cafe Sunflower. It’s a vegan restaurant. Everything is good there. It really is. And there’s another vegan restaurant called Veggieland — very good.” 2.Tyler Perry: “And the restaurants in the movie were, actually, on the lot, so they weren’t real. Okay. You want a restaurant?! Okay. Rathbun’s in Atlanta was right across the street from our old studio, and they had the great lobster tacos – the best I ever had.” 3.Cecily Tyson: “Pure Food and Wine here. I’m a vegan — a vegetarian. And we had one in California that no longer exists. But, Mr. Chow has always been [a favorite], in Los Angeles.” 4.Lamman Rucker: “For New York, it’s the Sugar Bar — Ashford and Simpson’s Sugar Bar is the spot. In Atlanta, it’s Cafe Circa that’s in the Auburn-Edgewood area, yeah, real cool little spot. That’s, probably, my favorite spot there.” 5.Jill Scott: “My favorite restaurant is Buddakan in Philadelphia and in New York. Oh, forget it! Nobu in Malibu.”
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame press room: 6. Phil Collins: “My favorite restaurant? Why, have you got plans?! No, the local Indian in Switzerland, where I live. See you there!” 7. Graham Nash: “My favorite restaurant? My wife’s kitchen! [In New York,] Mr. Chow’s.” 8. Chris Isaak: “I never hung out in bars, in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink. I don’t drink, and I play in nightclubs all the time, so for me, to go to like, a club or a bar, would be like you on your day off going to the office. My favorite place to hang out – I go to the beach. Any time off I have, I go out to the beach, Ocean Beach, San Francisco. I’m a surf guy. Bill’s hamburgers [Bill’s Place] is about three blocks from my house, and it’s a really good hamburger in San Francisco.” 9. Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) of Abba: “Viva Viva, in London.” 10. Carole King: “I live in rural Idaho, so not a lot of restaurants– there are some, but not a lot.”
At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”
● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”
At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:
● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”
At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:
● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”
At charity:ball for charity:water:
● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” ● MARK BIRNBAUM – “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”
At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:
● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”
Sandra Novas is the co-owner and chief creative director of the events firm the Siinc Agency in Miami. Novas handles clients such as Discovery Networks (Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel International and Discovery US Hispanic), Nokia Latin American and HSBC. For Art Basel, Siinc partnered with Audi to conceptualize and construct the 42,000 square foot Audi Art Pavillion in honor of the world premiere of the new Audi A8. Novas fills BlackBook in on the exciting project and tells us what she loves most about Art Basel.
How did you pair up with Audi? I founded Siinc Agency with my partner Isabel Chattas about a year and a half ago, but before that, I had my own agency called SGA Consulting. For six years I was working with Audi in different capacities: as a consultant, media buying sponsorships and later doing events.
How did you decide on the location of the Pavillion? The Audi Art Pavillion came forth because Audi wanted to find a unique venue and location to host the world premiere of the A8, so we started the process of scouting potential locations in Miami in late May of this year. We found the best location on a lot of sand north of the Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau on 46th and Collins. No existing structures in Miami were the right fit for the sort of presentation that Audi wanted, so we suggested that they build a temporary structure.
What’s inside? A selection from the Rubell Family Collection is displayed inside, called “Beg, Borrow and Steal”. They split the exhibit in two parts, which is one of the first times that they’ve done this. To see the entire collection, you’d need to come to our pavilion. The designer Tom Dixon created an installation called “Light Light” which is really stunning and beautiful.
How long will the structure stay up? Nothing inside would lead you to believe that it’s a temporary structure. It looks permanent and very solid, but it’ll be torn down in about a week. Audi donated the space and they’re going to build a children’s playground there to thank the community for letting us ravage their sand lot for awhile.
What events have taken place inside? It’s been open since November 30th, when they hosted the Audi premiere and the next night, the Audi of America premiere. Last night, they had a South Florida Audi presentation and art school students came to visit the pavilion to speak with members of the Rubell Family Collection and some of the designers of the structure. The next planned event is for December 5th and the local band Suenalo is performing. This will be open to the public. It’s also open to the public from 12-8pm daily and there’s beer and wine bar service with light appetizers.
How is Art Basel different this year from years past? The way that people have scaled back this year is by putting exhibits inside. Almost everything this year is inside the Convention Center. Many of the containers that have housed art in years past are now moved to the Convention Center. The Cartier Dome that was once in the botanical garden is now indoors as well as Scope. A lot of the shows have been consolidated. Creating your own space has a significant additional cost. But, the fairs seem to be very well attended. At the pavillion, we’ve been over capacity.
How about the mood in nightlife? The big, splashy parties and events have been toned down and now there are much smaller after parties, but the atmosphere this year is really, really charged. People who are here are here for the art shows. I was at the W Hotel South Beach last night and there was no standing room. Even if the funding isn’t there, the interest in the art shows and interest in coming down here for them is still at peak.
And the crowd? There are a lot of younger people and young exhibitors. Newer galleries are taking advantage of the fact that it may be more expensive for the bigger, more established galleries to come down here and transport their art. The younger crowd is filling in the gaps. This is my fourth year working with Art Basel and year after year, I think more people are aware. At the beginning, it was very exclusive and a lot of local people didn’t attend the fairs. This year, I see more local people and I think it’s expanding. The art experience is really meant to be shared. I haven’t seen a somber mood this year.
Where are your go-to places? I’m really loving Mr. Chow. The food’s outstanding, and they never let you down. I also like The Standard. It’s one of the few places where you can really sit on the water and have a Bellini or a coffee. It’s much less of a South Beach vibe. I like Bardot, a lounge that opened in the design district a few months ago. I also love the Poplife parties.
What’s your favorite thing about Art Basel week? My favorite thing is being surrounded by so many people that have come from all walks of life and all spots on the planet to experience and share art. You feel that energy. You walk into conversations that are not typical in the other 51 weeks of the year in Miami. It’s very, very unique in that sense. The energy is completely different. It’s more international than the rest of the year, and I love being surrounded by that creative energy. It’s inspiring. A lot of the things that I see this week stay with me throughout the year and help inspire other events, programs and campaigns that we do.
● Stone Rose Lounge (West Hollywood) – The East Coast version of this star-lit bar is NY’s reigning cougar palace. This is similar, except the furniture—and the cougars—are a burnt orange. ● The Ivy (Beverly Hills) – Studio bigwigs are more than thrilled to let their bored wives run wild on the company expense account, which means lunch (and dessert) at this Hollywood clubhouse is just a “How you doin’” away. ● Ecco Ultra Lounge (Hollywood) – The only thing that trumps a regular cougar is one that drives a Prius. Savor the ride home from this eco-friendly supper club, because it’s about to get dirty.
● Downtown Standard (Downtown) – No one really knows why owner Andre Balazs named his crack den for design junkies The Standard, but we’re pretty sure it’s because every time you hit the rooftop bar, a hungry urban wildcat is waiting to take you into her mod-tastic room for a swift disemboweling. It’s the standard here. ● Sidebar (Beverly Hills) – If you’re wondering what business a slobbering cougar would have in classy establishment such as this, well, none. The cougars here have funds and they’re willing to spend them. Congratulations, you just discovered how to support yourself between auditions. ● Whiskey A Go Go (West Hollywood) – Because cougars are a lot more vicious when they’ve been Motley Cru-ed, Poison-ed, and Bon Jovi-ed. ● Chateau Marmont (West Hollywood) – When Cameron Diaz appeared on SNL as a cougar in early 2009, a new queen was crowned, and this is her court. ● Hal’s Bar & Grill (Venice Beach) – An L.A.-based photographer tells us this where cougars “specifically seek black guys with money.” You know who you are, fellas. ● Mr. Chow (Beverly Hills) – This legendary Asian restaurant, big with Hollywood types and hip-hop royalty, should be renamed Mrs. Chow, if you buy what we’re selling. ● The Dresden Room (Los Feliz) – This hepcat haven (immortalized in the movie Swingers) puts out a distinctly retro vibe. The cougars here just put out. ● Good Luck Bar (Los Feliz) – We appreciate the superstitious name, guys, but the question is: who needs luck when you serve vodka sodas to vaguely single women in their late thirties and early forties? Anyone know the number to a taxi?