Swelter

For some other reason, probably, it seemed insanely vital to get close to Gloria Estefan, who stayed eerily composed throughout her September 1st surprise birthday party in the very chic, very Euro-stark, Egoiste VIP room. It took a while, though. After a tour of the club with publicist Woody Graber, and a chat with the pleasant owner Mandy Fernandez ("The Tatou people were all down here this weekend from New York with some Japanese investors. They want to close in 90 days, but I want to get started on a restaurant and jazz lounge. They come up with the money, we'll do it their way"), we dodged a formation of Cuban aunts and waded in.

The crowd, composed of family, friends, band members, and apparently, every hairdresser Gloria has ever worked with, was greatly augmented by our own unwieldy but appropriately Latin entourage. Chase Manhattan Vice President Manuel E. Gonzalez, in town for some rest. The ultra-fun Norma Niurka ("Gloria is only star I know keeping up same soul, like they were ten years ago."), an El Nuevo Herald entertainment reporter. Socialite-Realtor Cristina de Cardenas. Filmmaker Hamlet Cassels, and the very Bohemian-looking actress Miriam Acevedo ("I am going to do cabaret at Les Violins; old Cuban songs, text. Mine and others. Not in modern style").

Gloria, as it turned out, was "surprised, feeling great, and loving this" and like Elvis, taking care of business. "We've been touring, working hard. Everybody is tired, but we're still looking for a place to do that Hard Rock Cafe thing. Soon as we get some time, we're going to do it.

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