Swelter 32.10

The perfectly amiable actor Stephen Dorff did hang around awhile. He's playing the son to Nicholson's character in Blood and Wine, Judy Davis functioning as Mom, the whole project directed by Bob Rafelson, who's done great work with Nicholson in the past. Dorff just back from shooting a movie in Ireland with Dennis Hopper ("I'm really getting some great wild-man role models to learn from recently") and looking forward to the Blood production, a case of art sort of imitating life: "Jack plays this older guy who parties and fools around with women on the side, cheating on my mother, and Michael Caine is his sidekick on the town. Anyway, I fall in love with this woman Jack's been seeing, and I get the girl in the end." True love triumphs, that kind of thing? "Yeah, it's cool . . . and she's hot, too."

From then on, the cultural Cuisinart spun out of control, a coagulated puree of hot and cool dialectics that would defy the organizational powers of Martha Stewart. The Embers hosting the Ain't Misbehavin' cast party, the former Miami Beach mayoral candidate Andrew Delaplaine triumphant in defeat at the bar. Loews Hotels and the Raleigh throwing an early Thanksgiving dinner for Project Cradle at the Shore Club, pediatric AIDS activists Pat and Chris Riley entertaining the children. The reopening festivities of Follia, akin to being beamed back to Regine's, circa 1987, with certain stylistic exceptions, Marvella serving as a drag queen hostess. As with Regine's, the restaurant-cum-club seemed to be mainlining glitz steroids, adorned with leopard-patterned fabrics, deeply primary color schemes, evocative mushroom-shape stools, and tiny chairs. And the same cast from that era turned up for a dejÖ vu variety show, like the aging-but-still-smoldering gal erupting at her escort, "What the fuck does it matter if I get up and dance on the table?"

Plus a change, plus c'est la mame chose, as we all used to say at Regine's, and it's on to the annual return of the Miami International Book Fair, studies in literature and collision. Two authors of seemingly opposing worlds, Gloria Steinem and Loni Anderson, united by spectacular romantic careers and just-us-girls revelations. sberauthor Anne Rice signing books for seven straight hours, devotees bearing chiseled vampire teeth A some people have all the best fans. And then there's the case of books and me, passing acquaintances at best, photographer/writer Bill Wisser debuting his South Beach: America's Riviera, Miami Beach, Florida. Without any prior favors, something of a novelty in the hook-up life, Wisser incorporating the bleak Austinian world view in a chapter on district nightlife.

An honor actually, and the accompanying photo supports his doomed-gossip-columnist theory: unhealthy pallor, bloodshot eyes, chomping on a swizzle stick like a buffoon. Oh Lord, the price I've paid for fun. The specter of the graven image sent me to bed in a fugue of remorse, reading Tobias Wolff's In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War, an elegantly written memoir of Vietnam's true horror. Wolff's epigraph, taken from Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, might be suitable for all future South Beach historians: "For it is not unusual in human beings who have witnessed the sack of a city or the falling to pieces of a people to desire to set down what they have witnessed for the benefit of unknown heirs or of generations infinitely remote; or, if you please, just to get the sight out of their heads.

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