By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Out, out, Prince Albert of Monaco. Waiting for Bono. Tim Robbie, die-hard David Byrne fan and party animal extraordinaire. Pat Booth, author and Home Shopping Network star. Chuck D., public enemy and fun guy. Miami calling Mick Jones. Herb Ritts, photo-vibrator to Seventh Avenue. Models migrating back to town, the first level of the food chain, the plankton of South Beach. Another season begins, and it's the shock of the beautiful, close and not-so-close encounters with celebrities of every kind.
Champagne and an introduction to Prince Albert of Monaco coming up late one fateful Thursday night at Le Loft. The champagne courtesy of publicist Dirk Desouza, escorting client and Albert-acquaintance Jean Pierre Giraud of Remy champagne. The Prince, balding, low-key, resembling a highly successful walking-around insurance agent, surrounded by a brigade of blond six-footers and bodyguards. Claudia Schiffer, his recent companion during a night-life tour of New York, noticeably absent. Being the royal emissary of a flagrantly hedonistic country, as opposed to dour lands like England, has to be the greatest possible job. With the official compulsion to keep dancing and smiling, however, the Prince missing out on a bottle of $300-per-bottle Krug sent over by Giaraud. The Prince's entourage -- models jockeying for position, French restaurateurs, an ephebe scribbling killing jokes about his Royalness on a cocktail napkin -- descending on the ultimate top-shelf stuff like vampires on a blood bank. In the mad scamble, a personal worst established with our own sneaky descent on his noble presence, masquerading as an emissary from Le Loft. The Prince, perfectly polite to a social inferior, just the right pleasantry handy. "Yes, thank you, I'm having a very nice time."
On to The Spot, where Albert had been sighted the night before, co-owner Gary James working on more new ventures: maybe using the old Big Pig as a VIP room, The Courtyard restaurant on Eleventh Street, a new bar/restaurant in the Imperial hotel lobby. A woman talking about the positive aspects of multiple marriages, a reasonable enough proposition at 4:00 a.m. The next day, hung over to the point of death, the weekend taking off with a great David Byrne concert at the Cameo, Byrne opening and closing a three-hour show with acoustic sets, cutting loose in between with a powerful new band. No more Mr. Fey Guy.
The concert experience improved considerably by crashing a private balcony area, reserved by the very accommodating Tim Robbie of the Dolphins, hosting assorted party-hearty friends. Our hot pants-clad young charge worrisomely popular, especially as the beer flowed and the conga line commenced. The gang pounding on the walls, doing the wave, thrusting their forefingers heavenward in the we're-number-one fashion. Byrne tearing through a performance that might have mystified old Joe Robbie, numbers like "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Psycho Killer," throwing out lots of irony-clogged lyrics: "Come down here, you old fart, show me you have some heart/We're all flowers, that's why God throws so much shit around/It's a tiny town but it can make you insane." In between hitting on our companion ("Is that your boyfriend?"), the Robbie crowd meeting every line with an irrepressible enthusiasm ("No, man -- I'm more psychotic than you") and remaining nice enough. A naive young girl, drooled on, rather than brushed, by fame and money. Her real hero, Byrne, suitably elusive: "It's great to be back, and it's nice to have the air-conditioning working this time."
Pushing on, the hangover lurking like some kind of evil cafard, to Parnell Delcham's birthday party at Third Rail, winding up at a Girls in the Night/Wee Hour Boyz gathering at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. Brilliant. A gutted, three-story-tall space, running the length of the building, decorated with palm fronds and Latin-theme graffiti. Go-go drag queens, disc jockey David Knapp, live salsa by Miguel Cruz & The Mambo Kings. The Boyz, the sisters of Sappho, enjoying another field trip off the Beach. And for once, the party ending too soon.
Saturday, the premiere of "Bohemia" at Warsaw, presented by Avenue A. More models posing for a fashion shoot on-stage, dancers, the place packed to the rafters with the on-target. Over to The Marlin hotel for a small U2 postconcert party, lots of waiting around for the band to arrive, nibbling hors d'oeuvres, and catching up on the local scene. Dennis Britt of the Beat Poets putting together an album. Craig Robins of DACRA and developer/Island Records founder Chris Blackwell in attendance, along with a very improbable guest, the seriously accomplished architect and definite nonparty type Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. (As it happens, she'd been approached to do a Seaside-style development in Jamaica for Blackwell.) Pat Booth working on a new Miami book, hawking perfume on television. Sandee Saunders of the erotic boutique Sex Sells reporting that Prince Albert had bought some edible male and female panties at the store, along with chocolate-flavor condoms and playing-card print boxer shorts, suitable for lounge wear in Monte Carlo. Sandy decisively ending any speculations about his oddly hyper-hetero sexuality: "God, he's too boring to even think about."
Negotiating rooftop security with photographer/writer Danny Garcia, having a truly hip child point out Clash legend Mick Jones and Chuck D of Public Enemy, photographer Herb Ritts and Russell Simmons of Def Jam wandering around as well. U2 charging through the front door around 2:00 a.m., heralded by a feminine chorus of "Bono! Bono!," heading straight up to the Blackwell suite. Like the old Rat Pack days in Vegas, Frank and Sammy and President Kennedy, giving the chumps the slip and having the real party, the ultimate action, upstairs. A couple of hours pass and the band actually emerges on the roof, Bono refusing to be photographed without his glasses but smiling anyway, engrossed in a long conversation with Ritts. Irish boys who've actually made the big time. If they haven't found what they're looking for at this point, they're all in big trouble.