Swelter

The posthuman cyborg, comfortably numb for the off-season, beyond feeling and pride. A long revel in the local art form of the disgusting, savoring the various permutations of offensiveness like a true professional, taking a punch-drunk pleasure in an ability to withstand anything. Miami, a cartoon universe, the cast of characters willing themselves into the collective delusion that actions have no consequences. A battleground without real enemies or nondisposable friends, an absurd cult where only the immediate matters, the past and future being a moot point. All in all, a rough town, especially in the killing season, the cruel sun burning into the brainpan, bleaching the landscape into banality. The populace of the Interzone quick-tempered and lethal, the idea of going out in a blaze of bullets, a la David Koresh, not an unattractive proposition.

Homicidal and suicidal, on the verge of sending out a hologram to work the dirty-laundry beat, and then it's back from the brink. The consolation of conversation and good food, the only truly viable entertainments at a certain stage, coming up at the rebirth of Van Dome. Culinary director Norman Van Aken debuting his first evening of interpretive regional cuisine, an energetic crowd, from drag queens to the uncannily buoyant Gary James, everywhere at once with partner Michael Capponi: the Supper Club in New York, working with creative director Susan Ainsworth on Van Dome's Wednesday nights, negotiating for weekly parties at the restaurants Bang and Boom. Table talk embracing food world chitchat A former Strand/Kramer chef Gary Lampner and partner Arron Barberian opening a restaurant in the Paris/Big Time Productions space A and various Mondo Miami tales: mutants with surgically altered fish-shaped dicks; two zaftig Cuban women accosting strangers on the street, pushing up unappetizing breasts and demanding judgment on their respective womanly charms. Brian Antoni, lawyer, art collector, and general plugged-in person, celebrating the sale of his novel Paradise Overdose to Simon & Schuster A pretty much our life story A- and working with Bret Easton Ellis's editor, Bob Asahina, on an assortment of "twisted, compulsive Bahamian characters." In the midst of triumph, Antoni nevertheless bending his mind to small matters, an obsessive Pee Wee Herman-ish quest for a stolen bicycle eventually leading to a transsexual crack house on Collins Avenue: "Everything would be perfect if I could just get my bike back."

A great evening, inevitably followed by an unpleasant day of losing our equilibrium, the obligatory punishment exacted for a moment's pleasure. An irate and way-off-base publicist, in a lather about her client, charging the only crime left in the quid-pro-quo world: insufficent back-scratching. Mankind is indeed, as Nietzsche once observed, nothing but an ungrateful biped. The wisdom of the noted depressive becoming even more evident during an attempt to inflict our rabidly unwelcome presence on a fundraising benefit, a negotiation made even more insane by the fact that we didn't really much care about attending. The important thing being, as always, to be invited. Our ambassador of goodwill championing New Times as an ideal back-scratching venue for Miami Light Project endeavors, but unable to secure an invitation to last Saturday's big-deal dinner party at Ca'Ziff, the Brickell Avenue estate of philanthropists Helene and Dr. Sanford Ziff, deep in the heart of Madonnaville.

The unduly sensitive priestesses of the avant-garde, according to our intermediary, apparently still holding a grudge about something or other. The reception circuit, a theater of confrontation, fueled by spite and boredom. Oh, for the time when a party meant simple good cheer, heartfelt invitations, friends who actually liked each other, an agenda-less good time had by all. Battered, shattered, seeking solace in sentimentality, the last refuge of the heartless, joining the nation at the electronic fireplace for the last episode of Cheers and neglecting tonier entertainments: a New World Symphony reception at 411; a cocktail party at the Banker's Club for MAESTRO, the Florida Philharmonic support organization. In a mawkish mood after the travails of Sam and Diane, arriving very late at the Knight Center for the Latin Grammy awards, the Univision/Billboard presentation of Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina, futilely searching for press credentials and access to the post-awards reception. Reduced to scrambling around with other nonlisted Twilight Zone guests, stray mariarchis and vexed Latin vixens, all big hair and tight dresses, the dream of a big entrance crushed by fate.

Exiting to clubs, bubble-gum land, an emigre from Los Angeles captivated by the free-for-all society of South Beach: "This town is full of paper heroes; it's so easy to be somebody. As soon as I moved here and started hanging out in clubs, it was like my shit didn't stink any more." Greg and Nicole Bilu-Brier at a crazy-jungle-rhythm theme party at Bash, Haitians pounding away on drums, the Briers turning the old Torpedo space into a club called Velvet, David Lynch weirdness reigning in the "Velvet Underground" back room. Partner Jimmy Franzo vacationing in Europe and involved in a juicy contretemp, fraternizing with a girl whose affiliations have included Donald Trump and, more recently, Mohammed Khashoggi, Franzo undeterred by a contingent of thugs, strongly suggesting the advisability of pursuing other romantic liaisions.

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