Coconut Grove is not exactly Basra. But as ever-increasing numbers of cars compete for ever-shrinking numbers of metered parking spaces (can we say valet parking?), the Grove sometimes feels like something of a gentrified war zone. As the battle for a parking space heats up, all we huddled masses can do is pray for some Rollerblading fairy to make the situation more tolerable. It certainly won't fly in Basra, but there is a job to be filled in the Grove.
Cynthia Bettner, owner of Best Tourist Publications and lifelong Grove-ite, is looking for an assertive fairy who will plug quarters into empty meters, sprinkle a dose of fairy dust, and skate off to the next empty money machine. Bettner has gotten much of the local business community to chip in money to hire the Coconut Grove Parking Fairy, which in the Grove can be likened to a peace operative loaded with a fanny pack full of peace-loving quarters.
Job qualifications: Bettner is looking for a colorful, one-of-a-kind extrovert who looks good in tulle. Cheery disposition wins points, but Bettner cannot stress enough the need for the fairy to be swift on in-line skates. There is no preference as to whether the fairy be male or female.
"A guy in a dress would be great," Bettner says, but she confides of concerns among the business community at offending gay men. After all, the position is that of a fairy. But how could anybody complain when they have just been reprieved from having to pay an odious parking fine?
Let us remember the demi-scandal that broke recently when Coral Gables meter monitors alleged that their department was forcing ticket-writing quotas on them. Aside from being adept on skates, perhaps the Coconut Grove parking meter fairy might be good at hand-to-hand combat.
Before Dr. Arthur Agatston, local schlubs thought the South Beach diet was equal parts medianoches, overpriced sushi, and Pizza Rustica all smothered in San Loco Cantina's "stupid sauce." Chase the whole joint down with a trendy martini and the chemical du jour and you were happening on Washington Avenue. But since the onslaught of Agatston's South Beach Diet, scenesters have changed their ways. It's now infinitely more hip to carry a smoothie than a batido de trigo. Stone crab is now eclipsed by spinach and hard-boiled eggs as the gustatory splurge of the moment. Combine the health craze with overbearing police presence, and soon flavorful South Beach will morph into a bland, fascistic resort full of trim, worked-out health zealots. This month Agatston (above) published the South Beach Diet Cookbook to accompany his best seller. It comes at a time when the A-list is going underground. Look for more home parties in lofts and fewer bacchanalian hoo-has in thumping clubs for the buff and the beautiful. As for the beer-bellied minions? Let them eat pizza!! -- By Juan Carlos RodriguezTitillation Inspiration
Strip is it for gallerists
Legendary San Francisco stripper Carol Doda was way ahead of her time. The blond bombshell, known for being among the first topless dancers in the U.S., was renowned for bringing a certain kind of 44-inch artistry to her gigs at the Condor Club. But was it art? Does it really matter? She's rich and famous now. Homegrown Miami gallerists Esteban Corbo and Emilio Remior hope to cross the art/smut boundaries with their installation "Art and Strip Clubs" at their burgeoning space, Smoke Gallery (793 NE 125th St.). Remior teases like a coochie girl by withholding details of the evening. He only says the arty pair will be bringing a strip club aura to the monthly North Miami Gallery Walk. The show opens at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free (don't count on a free lap dance, though). Call 305-981-1771. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Minimum Wage Lit
Remember that loser job you had at Kmart? Do you recall the times when you clocked in stoned? When you sent annoying customers to the housewares department because that's where the smelly guy with pizza-face was stationed? If you ever automatically greeted people with "For here or to go?" or "Paper or plastic?" now's your chance to relive the nightmare. The "Worst Dead-End Job" story contest lets you make art out of your misery. Those filthy sheets that you had to change at the Motel 6 -- write about it! Singing the Wal-Mart company song every morning at 7:00 -- when you had to do the "squiggly" as the M came around? -- pen to the paper, baby! Bring your tales of unskilled hell to JC & Co. Books and More by May 5 (7:00 p.m.) and your story could be a winner. As they say, "Make us laugh, or make us cry." Your choice. Haul it on down to 46 Westward Dr., Miami Springs, or call 786-337-8778. -- By Anne Tschida