Benedikt Taschen marked 30 years of luxury bookselling by jetting in from Munich to christen his latest literary outpost on Lincoln Road. Attending the vinosoaked event was celebrated watercolorist/ nice-guy Walton Ford, whose Pancha Tantra—a collection of insanely detailed “beautiful beasts with murderous intent”—menacingly debuted on the walls. The studious crowd wore glasses, seemed to have brains and actually may have read a book, which on South Beach is the metaphorical “no way!” equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Mingling around? Siegfried & Roy’s superhandler, Bernie Yuman.
Speaking of the opposite of reading, DJ Sharam, fresh off the North American leg of the “please ticket me” Gumball 3000 high-speed roadapalooza (driving a deliciously retro 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee Hemi), hit LIV at the Fontainebleau, Sean Penn’s apparent new watering hole. Unlike his WMC Shore Club Hotel set, Sharam’s crowd writhed to deep, dark, visceral aural platitudes, a stress-killing sonic massage akin to Sharam’s stint at Burning Man. Down on Washington Avenue, slick nightclub/ lounge Pinkroom opened, bathed in pink and purplish hues, and awash in bottle service and table-dancing Amazons.
South of Fifth, the safe, nurturing pre-prison ’hood of Lil Wayne, Red The Steakhouse kicked off its ridiculously perched oceanview rooftop BBQ series, packed with 250 starving Algonquin Dinner Club-ers, who gastronomically and oenologically took over the joint. Legendary DJ Richard Vasquez and newcomer/ doctor DJ Marcello Bentine (of Sushi Samba tag-team fame) provided sultry Brazilian-tinged sounds, eventually switching to guilty disco, sweat pouring off everybody, until a very civilized midnight.
The Mandarin Oriental, Miami hosted Grey Goose’s ironically monikered “Tasting in the Dark” event at an ungodly bright hour (6 PM!). But then we were whisked into a room that was blacker than black—blacker than the late RonnieJames Dio’s devil-horned sessions at Miami’s infamous Criteria Studios recording Heaven & Hell after Black Sabbath threw a wasted Ozzy off their tour bus in 1980. Night-vision goggles be damned; pear, orange and citrus vodka paired with pears, oranges and lemons abounded—a clever way to get vertigo-tipsy yet anonymously groped.
Wynwood Arts District’s Miami Art Space, a soaring gem of a box, hosted Ruinart Champagne’s cleverly titled “20(12): Twenty Twelve” exhibition, where a dozen creatives, most notably Reinier Gamboa, Kiki Valdes and Johnny Robles, presented their impressive, contemporary work. Giant brokenbasketball- hoop-and-vines floor installation? Check. Well-dressed hipsters? Check. Tasty Ruinart bubbly flowing? Check.
Last but not least, the W SouthBeach played impromptu “I just flew in on my private jet” 3 AM host to the Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James Miami Heat lovefest/coming-out party, a high-def display of the Seven Deadly Sins, all wrapped in a giant mound of silicone, Benjamins and skin. Wall? Packed. Living Room? Packed. Mr Chow? Packed. Me? Gone. South Beach? Status quo.
TOP: A dancer performs at Pinkroom’s opening night celebration; BOTTOM: Joy Taylor attends Ruinart Champagne’s “20(12): Twenty Twelve” exhibition at Miami Art Space.