Miami's Grand Openings and Charity Galas
by bill kearney
Choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard with a few of his burlesque performers at The Strip's grand opening
Miami recovered from the Super Bowl/Boat Show/Wine & Food Festival tag team by doing what any decent party town should do: It partied. Electric Pickle’s first anniversary bash bridged the generation gap in Miami’s booty-shaking community, as 40-ish Aquabooty acolytes and fans of owners/DJs Tomas Ceddia and Will Renuart sweated with Pickle-loving downtown indie kids. Gen Art’s David Glass and artist Caroline Geys took in beats outside as Poplife’s captain, Aramis Lorie, spun from his treasure chest of tunes.
At The Strip’s grand opening, burlesque performance artists healed the pain of having to wait around for more than an hour: These girls were professional dancers serious enough about their craft to make this reporter wonder if pole dancing should be an Olympic sport. The crowd, including nightlife vets Robert Ziehm and Michael Capponi, real estate manager Tony Cho and Rock Band designer Lee Dahlberg, watched from the balcony as the acts occurred on the suspended main stage. Cocktail waitresses wore pasties and shimmied through the tight crowd, testing glue strength. “Have the drugs kicked in yet?” asked the gender-nebulous emcee. As most were occupied upstairs, random spankings occurred downstairs, begging the question, If a spanking happens and no one is around to see it, does it really happen? Apparently it does, because the new girl on stage said, “Ow!” and she meant it.
The Blacks’ Annual Gala, held at the Fontainebleau, was what everybody referred to as “kinda black-tie.” “Gawd, I’m overdressed for this thing,” bemoaned one very in-shape mom whose full-length dress draped creatively to reveal plenty of side cleavage (a theme for the night). Bobby Flay walked into a logjam at the end of the red carpet, resulting in one trophy wife getting a bit wet. “I’ve got Champagne running down my ass,” she said calmly, as if it was not the first time bubbly had been poured there. Elaine Lancaster towered over just about everyone else in the room, until Alonzo Mourning and his wife showed up, while a pinstriped Helio Castroneves bounced from group to group and reality-television kids-abouttown Erin Newberg (Secrets of Aspen) and Ariel Stein (Miami Social) gesticulated and made their rounds. Once everyone was seated for dinner, Paulina Rubio and Natalie Cole took the stage and crooned, and eventually Rick Ross grabbed the mic and got everyone off their butts. Charity bidding ensued: $160,000 was dropped on the mere opportunity to buy one of eight Bentley Ghosts in the country, and a threesome with Mike Piazza went on the block (there was a moan of disappointment when it was clarified that the threesome would involve a golf course). Either way, tons o’ money was raised for kids at risk, which is reason enough to party.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SETH BROWARNIK/RED EYE PRODUCTIONS (PACKARD); BILL KEARNEY (RENUART); CASTRONEVES, STEIN, SIMKINS)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.