Swelter

Following that golden interlude, the party moved on to the pool area for a testament to glamour, Michael Aller ("Let's applaud the great models that are here tonight") and Donald Trump paying tribute to the civic contributions of the hosts: Jerry and Sandi Powers, working with Jason Binn, the prince of cellular darkness. After Trump's speech -- Stone laughingly conceding that Oliver Stone's Trump might be a viable project -- the fireworks began, accompanied by everything from the 1812 Overture to house music. An astonishing tableau, straight out of Carl Fisher's more exuberant public relations high jinks, the pyrotechnics framed by a row of mega-yachts. A tony Englishman went into rapture mode, awed by the American horn of plenty: "This is so wonderfully American, so wonderfully Miami. God bless the vulgar heart of this country."

In rare form, Binn unveiled his final party favor after midnight, Jack Nicholson arriving with the heraldry normally attendant to the second coming of the Warrior Christ. The man who's got it all -- talent, respect, absolute cool, and big bucks -- somehow stayed ironic and vaguely affable, a great prism refracting the attentions paid by the adoring public. Nicholson affably addressed my frazzled being, dopey fans ("You're the boss hog, man"), and a group chanting "Jack, Jack, Jack" while shaking the decorative lights across the pool. And there were the countless women, on a mission of conquest, Nicholson gently moving along the little dogies, "Ladies, if it's agreeable to you, it might be time to get warm." Yet another VIP room forming inside, Nicholson nodding at a waiter ("In fact, I did order a bourbon and soda . . . and there it is") while listening to a model's spiel about how the cold had prevented her from wearing a shorter skirt.

Steven Tyler took in the agitated groupies at the door and drily noted, "Don't worry, girls -- if you're tall and blonde, you'll get in," as Nicholson pondered a question from Stephen Dorff, his costar in the Blood and Wine production. "When is my next scene? Frankly, I don't have a clue." As it turned out, Nicholson's next shoot was that same evening, down in Homestead. And so, accompanied by his driver, bodyguard, and three models, he bid us all farewell at about 2:00 a.m., off to another hard night's work. The American dream come to life, and one tough icon to boot. The constant glow of money and fame makes superheroes out of ordinary men. Or, failing that, the hunger of humanity drives them mad from need.

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