Acropolis Now

Though The Bitch normally wouldn't notice a 100-meter dash even if one happened in her back yard, she thinks the Olympics should be taken seriously. People in the ancient world really knew how to party; long-snouted, rose-eared hounds gained welcome just about every place in Greek society; and intramural sports competitions were serious communal events saluted with integrity, respect, and a lot of wine.

OLA father-and-son proprietors Ed and Brian Lieberman,who own the restaurant with chef Douglas Rodriguez, are interested in the Olympics, too. Ed, 50, and Brian, 25, were invited by Coca-Cola to be official corporate torch-relayers at a ceremony to commemorate the games this past July in Athens (Greece, not Coke's headquarters, Georgia). Brian returned to Miami apparently inspired, though not, it would seem, by Plato's arguments for the virtues of sophrosyn over hubris.

This Thursday, August 12, Brian plans to run down Biscayne Boulevard to OLA, carrying an Olympic-type torch to light the Caja China, the barbecue coffin used for OLA's weekly pig roast.

Brian Lieberman of OLA poses with the "pseudo Olympic torch" that looks sort of like a bottle rocket and sort of like some other things
Brian Lieberman of OLA poses with the "pseudo Olympic torch" that looks sort of like a bottle rocket and sort of like some other things
Residents of NE 28th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard say the developers of Onyx 2 are illegally cutting down trees on city-owned property, and turning a once-green strip of land into a muddy parking lot for construction crews
COURTESY OF DANA MURPHY
Residents of NE 28th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard say the developers of Onyx 2 are illegally cutting down trees on city-owned property, and turning a once-green strip of land into a muddy parking lot for construction crews
Maseo was Rockin' Spelling counts at Mansion ... but not for much
Maseo was Rockin' Spelling counts at Mansion ... but not for much

This event has been heralded with many thunderbolts from the mountain of Tara, Ink, the formidable PR firm representing OLA, whose representatives initially indicated the cookout-lighting would be performed with an actual Olympic torch. This terminology was later amended to "pseudo torch," and finally a beleaguered Tara, Ink staffer said: "Maybe pseudo-torch is the wrong term. We call it that, because it is an exact replica of the real Olympic torch. Yes, it will be aflame!"

The Bitch was impressed with the unseemliness of this, and did an instinct check with the United States Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs.

"The USOC is interested in contacting the restaurant owner to provide some background educational information regarding the use of Olympic imagery and terminology, and why it might not be a good idea to feature the Olympic Torch in this manner," huffed Carol Gross of the legal affairs division of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Though The Bitch just can't get comfortable in OLA's unergonomic, chilly interior; squirms at the blasting piped-in soca; and has better (not to mention less expensive) mojitos in the trunk of her car, she doesn't begrudge struggling restaurateurs the opportunity to cash in using any means necessary, including slumming as meeting central for every Junior Achievement club and neighborhood association in town. However, commandeering the torch, an ostensible symbol of teamwork and collective victory, for association with profit, individual excess, and gluttony is uncool.

OLA-mpics aside, why is the sign that says "5061 Eaterie & Deli" still displayed on the north side of the bistro building? Are the proprietors so busy they haven't had time to remove it? Have they forgotten it is there? Or are they keeping it up just in case things don't work out?

Palms DownBAP-CGM Development is planning a 50-story condominium building at the end of sleepy NE 28th Street, apparently figuring that people will line up to pay millions for penthouses with a view of the water, a Papa John's pizza outlet, and more crack smokers and hookers than you can drop an arsenal of water balloons on. Though the building, dubbed Onyx 2, is still in the permitting process, some residents are questioning the impact that traffic flow from the 122-unit complex will have on egress to Biscayne Boulevard. "These cars are going to be backed up all the way to the bay every morning," complains Dana Murphy, who lives a few houses down from the Onyx 2 site.

Murphy has already beefed with the construction crews twice for cutting down trees on city-owned property adjacent to the project without the proper permits. "I called code enforcement and an inspector came down and asked them for a permit, and they showed him an unsigned permit application," Murphy fumes. He says residents used to pick up trash in the area at the end of the street, a task that has been made impossible by the fact that construction crews have turned the land into a parking lot. "They completely trash the place, they sprayed something that killed half the plants, and they drive all over the grass -- it's all mud puddles now," he says. Murphy organized a protest this past Saturday, and about 30 neighborhood residents showed up to vent their concerns about the new megabuilding.

The advertising touts Onyx 2's location -- squarely in the middle of Edgewater -- as "located in Miami's emerging Arts District" (funny how the Arts District seems to grow based on the spread of lofts rather than, say, art galleries), and promises all manner of loft and condo options (including four-bedroom penthouses) priced from $400,000 to "more than $3 million."

The Long Bob GoodbyeSo Steve Inskeep and Renée Montagne are doing very good, low-key jobs as the interim hosts of NPR's Morning Edition, and as it turns out, Bob Edwards has gone, since his ouster in April, from being a sympathetic martyr to youth demographics to being something of a spotlight-hogging pest.

Edwards, who this fall begins a new gig with XM Satellite Radio as cornerstone announcer of the network's fledgling news service, won't be further inflicting his tale of woe on South Floridians, at least not on behalf of the Friends of WLRN. Edwards was to have been the speaker at the group's annual True Friend Award Breakfast in October.

Friends executive director Rick Lewis explains: "We will not be having Bob Edwards after all.... We're talking to some other people. I'm sure it will be someone very interesting. Perhaps we'll have [Edwards] back in his new role one of these days." The Bitch, who delights in antagonizing WLRN-FM (91.3), hereby notes that Mr. Lewis was extremely prompt and gracious in answering her questions, and also that he has a good radio voice himself.

Meanwhile the voice of traffic-jam tabulator Marisa Martin has disappeared from the station's prime morning air space. This is on account of "personnel reorganization at Smart Route Systems" (the Traffic 511 company), according to WLRN's special projects manager, Adrienne Kennedy.

RansomA real celebrity -- the artist Anastasia the Great, who compares her talents to those of Leonardo and Giotto and has had commissions from such modern Medicis as Warren Henry Jaguar of Florida -- was on hand for the opening of Sofi Lounge in Miami Beach (which as you might guess is south of Fifth). The Bitch thought she'd surreptitiously snapped Anastasia with the photophone, but as Tony "Mr. Nightlife" Miros gently pointed out: "Um, that's a picture of a dog."

Sofi is owned by the also-gentle Lou Olano, who had the good sense to install enormous flat-screen televisions tuned to MTV over the long soda-fountain-style bar, and also to paint the walls of the place orange, which is the best color, so this place should do pretty well.

Maseo Was Rockin'Spelling counts at Mansion ... but not for much.

Evolution in ActionMiami's summertime gallery world means a few sluggish studio hops propelled by the brisk promise of Art Basel in December. But the business of art isn't pretty. Scene-making Rocket Projects recently cut ties with fifteen affiliated artists, and has generated rumors of ageism in doing so. Of the dozen-plus creatives released, only David Rohn was represented full time, says 28-year-old Nina Arias, co-owner of the Wynwood District space. "The rest were artists that we showed," she adds.

Rohn, whose conceptual paintings, sculptures, and installations are complemented with live performances, was told recently that the show he had been planning on opening in the fall is canceled and that he should pick up his work at the gallery. No sweat, says Rohn, who is in his fifties; after a year with Rocket Projects he realized he did not fit in. Digital visualist Dimitry Said Chamy found out he'd been dismissed when his profile was deleted from the Rocket Projects Website.

Arias and her partner, Nick Cindric,42, maintain the reason for the downsizing was to concentrate on the works of the eleven artists they continue to represent. With the exception of New Times contributor Michelle Weinberg, each of the artists now represented was born between 1971 and 1979. "Age has nothing to do with it," says Cindric. "The whole point was to focus on the artists that we do represent and to galvanize the aesthetic of the gallery."

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