By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
A Los Angeles entertainment production company has been running classified ads in newspapers across the country, seeking exhibitionistic kooks saddled additionally with addictive personalities for a television documentary series to be called HABITS. The series will chronicle the various misadventures of people battling debilitating obsessions or compulsions. According to the habitstv.com Website: "We are seeking to explore the raw, unfiltered truth about addiction and its impact on the lives of those struggling with it, as well as their family and friends."
The Bitch knows someone who would be an ideal candidate for an impulse-control makeover. She's warm and funny; true, a little loca and given to behavioral binges, but lovably so. This subject hoovers up booze, drugs, fried plantains, and caffeine at a rate that gives pause to even the truly hard-core. Some parts of her aren't pretty. Typical of this hotheaded, reckless personality, instead of working out a sensible plan for healthy living, she compensates through the wonders of modern technology. She's a joker, but inside she's shrieking for an intervention.
So The Bitch faced her down in the street and said, "Look, just fill out this form. These people can help you see what you're doing to yourself." The following questions are taken directly from the HABITS Website, the producers' way of culling the merely messed-up from the true junkies who want to document their hellish foibles on national television.
Q: Please introduce yourself: Tell us your name, your age, your occupation, and the addiction/compulsion that you are struggling with.
A: My legal name is the City of Miami, but people call me a lot of things -- "Magic City," "Capital of the Americas," or just plain "Crazy Town," depending on who's talking. I am 109 years old, give or take. You might say I've struggled to find myself over the years. For a while I was big into Indian wars, slaves, rum running, gambling, real estate scams. Then I grew up a little and traded in the native-slaughtering and slave-holding for drug smuggling, money laundering, and clandestine operations aimed at foreign nations. Sure, I dabbled a bit in destabilizing political warfare, voter fraud, and exploiting cheap immigrant labor, but my heart was in real estate. My attitude was, hey, I'm selling dreams here. Reality isn't my concern. By the time I was in my eighties, though, I was a brittle beauty with a hollow center and a runny nose. Still had a pretty waterfront, but also a hell of a reputation for crime, riots, poverty, and the like.
Then about five years ago, things started looking up for me. People started inviting me to parties again (although only because I put out like a five-dollar hooker -- I mean, "personal assistant"). But my tendency to overdo everything is coming back to haunt me. The addiction I am battling right now is condo fever. I can't get enough of those big erections. I just want more. They make me feel like a big important city.
Q: How did you hear about the show?
A: Saw an ad in a free weekly I only read to keep up with animal rights and obscure municipal politics.
Q:Where do you live? What type of home do you live in (apt., house, halfway house etc.)?
A: Southern tip of the Florida peninsula. People keep saying I should move. What can I say? I kind of like the fixer-uppers.
Q: What is your level of education and what schools (if any) did you/do you attend?
A: Yeah, well, education has never really been a priority. I've got what you'd call street smarts.
Q:Have you ever been in treatment? When and what type of treatment (outpatient, 30-day, 12-Step etc.)? Are you currently in counseling?
A:I guess you could say I've had my share of treatments. The state imposed a financial oversight board on me for a while. A fair number of my elected officials have been convicted of various excesses. There have been frequent bouts of national ridicule.
Q: What has your addiction cost you? What has it kept you from accomplishing in your life? A: Well, I've always kind of wanted to be more of a Seattle, like with the Starbucks flagship store, or a Singapore, but all those orderly building codes and clean streets just aren't in my blood.
Who's Fighting Now? Part IVJohn El-Masry, who owns popular Coconut Grove bars Mr. Moe's and Barracuda, spent part of his 41st birthday behind bars after he was arrested and charged with false imprisonment and aggravated battery. The case stems from a January 25 altercation involving El-Masry, Moe's general manager David Bello, and a Gold Coast Beverage Distributors delivery guy by the name of Marcelino Corbea. El-Masry and Bello confronted Corbea and accused him of shorting their delivery by some 46 cases of beer (and while the arrest report doesn't disclose certain data, The Bitch is going to go out on a limb here and surmise that, this being Mr. Moe's, the beer in question was likely frat-boy favorite Corona or union-busting Coors rather than Chimay Blue). El-Masry allegedly socked Corbea in the face. Bello and El-Masry then reportedly dragged Corbea into the restroom (the men's restroom, The Bitch hopes), tied up the hapless driver and gave him a beatdown that resulted in his passing out. Miami police and an ambulance squad showed up, and Corbea was taken to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital.
When The Bitch tracked down Corbea, he referred her to his lawyer, but owing to the fact that his eyes were swollen shut, he couldn't read the attorney's phone number to her from a business card.
El-Masry has this to say: "The whole thing is completely bullshit. The guy is a fucking liar and a thief who was caught red-handed stealing from me. He is going to be charged with filing a false police report and 46 counts of grand theft. I mean it's fucking nonsense, laughable really. I have hours worth of video surveillance and I can prove I never touched the guy."
Free on $12,500 bail, El-Masry adds he expects the State Attorney's Office to see things his way and drop the charges. The Bitch thinks "Mr. Marcelino's" has a nice ring to it.
Dress for Every SituationThe Bitch often sighs sadly about the small size and insular nature of Miami's gothic-industrial music community (described in detail by Ted B. Kissell in "Coffin Classics" in October 2004); nothing here comes close to Tampa's fabled gothic gathering place The Castle. Nonetheless, what the scene lacks in population it makes up for in individual profile and ingenuity. Catherine Kunt, who with partner (and baby daddy of Mirabelle Isabella) Carlos Saint Germain is one of this area's main crypt keepers, became richer by five large on February 1 when she sold the rights to use her breasts as a billboard for Internet casino GoldenPalace.com.
Kunt made the sale via auction on eBay, where her user profile reveals her to be an omnivorous Web trader whose recent purchases have included a Lucite-encased scorpion and a case of Similac baby formula.
Saint Germain and Kunt will bring their passion for black to a new party called Shattered Heart the second Friday of each month beginning this week at I/O. Saint Germain along with Danny Bled and Dracula's Daughter will be the DJs. Perhaps Kunt's newfound fame -- she's been interviewed on several radio stations and on the BBC regarding the cleavage rental -- will bring out the notoriously fickle and cheap goth crowd.
CollaredThe Bitch cannot extend a hearty welcome to the Miami Heat's newest acquisition, six-foot-eight forward Qyntel Woods. Although the 24-year-old single-handedly makes up for the recent deficit of criminally minded players on South Florida sports teams (as lamented of late in this column), he's on the wrong side of an important distinction.
Sports journalists tend to lump players with minor marijuana arrests or drunk-in-public citations with those whose crimes ooze true sadism. The Bitch just can't slap the same "troubled sports star" label on, say, Lamar Odom, who liked to get high every now and then and got busted a couple times, and Woods, who was released from the Portland Trailblazers January 21 after pleading guilty to animal-abuse charges in Oregon.
The Jailblazers are desperately trying to rehabilitate their image following a string of player arrests, and they jettisoned Woods after he was seen abandoning his bleeding pit bull in an alley. Police subsequently searched his home and found evidence that Woods was having dog fights in a room above his garage. Needless to say, this is the sort of thing that makes The Bitch froth at the mouth.
Woods used to be an amusing knucklehead, best known for handing over a trading card (of himself) to a Broward County cop who pulled him over in March 2003. Now he's the jerk who had the nerve to release the following statement after pleading guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse: "I've tried to be a responsible pet owner all of my life. Because of that I am very sorry and saddened that my dog, Hollywood, was injured." Woods, who earns one million dollars a season, also donated $10,000 to the Humane Society. He has started his tenure with the Heat by serving a five-game suspension not for ditching the dog but for violating the NBA's drug policy.
Empty by DefinitionThe time has come for a reappreciation of the hyperintelligent concept album based in equal parts upon deconstructionist theory and mythology, Cupid & Psyche '85 by Scritti Politti, essentially the monolithic project of Kant-quoting, wide-brimmed-hat-wearing, harmfully romantic recluse Green Gartside. Released as a St. Valentine's Day depth charge twenty years ago, what both dates C&P and marks it as a classic are not Green's Motown-rooted falsetto or dense, sweeping synthesizer arpeggios, but his pre-age-of-irony transparency.
Green seemed to realize that the erudite pedestal-placing of "Absolute" would ultimately be perceived as lamely naive. Doomed to a continued existence as a mere disillusioned mortal, Green did a Robert Walser-like retreat from public existence, returning to the Welsh countryside, where he still lives in seclusion.
Interestingly, one of his fans was Miles Davis, who called Green "a genius and a traveler" and covered Cupid & Psyche's first single, "Perfect Way," on The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux 1973-1991. Not exactly a red-and-pink construction paper cutout, but a decent and lasting Valentine nonetheless.
This Just, Just InClubplanet.com and Track Entertainment CEO Andrew Fox this past week closed on a deal to purchase cooljunkie.com, along with a handful of other concert ticket brokerage and Zeitgeist data urls.
Bitch tipsters have called and e-mailed the insomniac dog with local sightings of her fellow Irish citizen Colin Farrell. Indeed, the master thespian is in town preparing for his role as Sonny Crockett in the upcoming film version of Miami Vice. The Bitch thinks it is great to have another Dubliner on hand to help out with the drinking and brawling, but actually would prefer it if WillFerrell(as the Jacobin Mugatu character from Zoolander) would start hanging around instead.