Temptation City

Burlesque spectacles, earnest chanteuse serenades, and other bubbly-laced fêtes around town.

January 07, 2013

Orchid, a mesmerizing spectacle that’s part Cirque du Soleil, part bawdy burlesque, and part Moulin Rouge, commandeered a grassy plot in the Design District for an opening-night VIP performance. Some 500 of Miami’s who’s who gathered in the Pleasure Garden, a carnivalthemed outdoor mini-city of sorts—dotted with comfy tables, lounge couches, Champagne bars, and a gorgeous Michelle Bernstein pop-up restaurant—beside a huge, ornate, 19th-century European performance tent, which was packed and imported just for the show. Actress Kelly Lynch, wife of Magic City producer Mitch Glazer, mingled with Magic City actress Dominik Garcia- Lorido and Russian/French actress Olga Kurylenko, an actual bona fide Bond Girl. Once the show started, it was a doozy of song, dance, contortionism, flaming pasties, aerial acrobatics, and a compelling storyline of good versus evil in a garden of temptation. Proud producers Martin LaSalle and David Schwarz were on hand, while director William Baker, who has worked with Rihanna and Britney Spears, weaved his girls’ pop tunes into the storyline, along with Guns N’ Roses, Massive Attack, and Gloria Estefan. Veuve Clicquot and Belvedere Vodka flowed endlessly during intermission, as Jennie Yip, Christina Getty-Maercks, Arin Maercks, and Paul Bacardi milled about. Actor Christian Slater and girlfriend Brittany Lopez s tood f eet away a s I a sked D esign D istrict visionary Craig Robins, flanked by Jackie Soffer, how exactly he lured so many luxury boutiques away from Bal Harbour Shops. His answer? “They love the community we’ve built here. They want to be associated with that excitement, that community.” On this night, during Orchid, no truer words were spoken. Bravo!

Russian-cum-New York chanteuse Regina Spektor, the anti-folk singer/ songwriter hero for legions of earnest girls, thoroughly serenaded The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. Bright-red lipstick abounded as she sauntered onstage and dazzled with a humble-then-soaring, angel-voiced a cappella tune that got the party started, the wowed crowd squealing with joy. The Fillmore always makes for great people-watching, but this 2,000-person gaggle was overwhelmingly female, with high percentages of androgyny, refreshingly dubious sexual orientations, and more nerdy girls than an NYU student library. Spektor was surrounded by a three-piece backup band so incredibly subdued that one could have mistaken them for orchestral accompanists—but this was by design, for this critical darling is a real-deal solo act star. Imagine a theater full of energetic disciples, with the crystal-clear concert sound amplified so intentionally low that, even mid-song, one could hear other fans’ offhand comments. Legendary concert promoter Woody Graber wrangled photographers Jason and Carrie Wiesenfeld, who wandered over from Hibiscus Island and swayed to the tunes, while hip- scene-stalwart Veronica Gessa, fiercely clad in Bowery-black leather, unwaveringly studied Spektor’s every move. The songstress twinkled her majestic Steinway & Sons grand, singing her heart out for two hours. World-class music again comes to Miami.

What do you get when you mix red-hot hotelier Sam Nazarian, rocker Lenny Kravitz, designer Philippe Starck, celebri-spawn Rumer Willis, and a sea of genetically blessed, sartorially conscious, absolutely buzzed revelers? One of the best hotel grand-opening parties in memory occurred when SLS Hotel South Beach officially (well, second-officially after its spring fling) opened its sparkly doors on a starry, clear, zero-humidity night with downright magic in the air. In this home of the brave and land of the free, “free” hit a delicious apex as Perrier-Jouët bubbly, Grey Goose, and José Andrés’s The Bazaar and Katsuya food endlessly flowed all night for 1,000 people. Beside gangs of superfreaky, Victorian-wigged street dancers wowing the crowd, Nazarian flew It band Capital Cities i n f rom L os Angeles to poolside electro-rock the house in a good-times way reminiscent of MGMT’s killer synths and harmonies. The crowd had more than its share of young/hot fashionistas, as model Danielle Hamo, Victoria Consolo, The Webster’s Sofia Champalanne, and aspiring fashion designer Monica Exposito absolutely dazzled.

Swedish retailer H&M lovingly refurbished the historic Lincoln Theatre, former home of the New World Symphony, for its flagship South Beach outpost and rightly celebrated with a star-studded street party. It was theater, alright: Hundreds of VIPs lined up outside the gargantuan digs, begging overwhelmed publicists to get onto the red carpet. But alas, the fire marshal had intermittently shut the place down. Meanwhile, the likes of Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford, Glee’s Matthew Morrison, The Real Housewives of Miami’s Adriana De Moura, and rapper Flo Rida basked in paparazzi before Flo Rida hit the stage with a mic, swigging a bottle of Dom Pérignon, and proceeded to tear the place up. It’s a strange sensation for a concert to be thrown in a boutique, surrounded by tops, purses, and skirts, but the soaring, stunning store was indeed open for business, selling frocks amid open bars on multiple levels; the likes of Gingi Beltran, Soho Beach House’s Guy Chetwynd, and model Dashil Hernandez browsed and socialized while rap blared and blared. By the time the open bars shut down for good, a smiling Lauren Reskin, owner of hipster hangout Sweat Records, had her bag of coveted clothes, ready for the next big party.

—dirk desouza
photography by Seth browarnik/worldredeye.com; seth browarnik/worldredeye.com (capital cities, starck); alexander tamargo/getty images for h&m

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