By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
By Frank Owen
By Allie Conti
Even in summer, The Bitch likes to be covered in sun-repellent fabric from whiskers to tail, and her attire regularly consists of a Ludacris/Curtis Sliwa-inspired urban uniform of a short-sleeve T-shirt over a long-sleeve white T-shirt and Lucky Brand jeans. The culturally conscious canine does make some concessions to Miami style, though, so she sometimes ditches her favorite ragged gray My Bloody Valentine overtee for something a little more onda buena, such as Havana on the Hudson's lacquered-looking red-and-gold number commemorating Cuban-Chinese take-out.
HOTH is a T-shirt and clothing design company owned and operated by Carlos Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Rojas. After visiting Miami in May for the Cuba Nostalgia expo at the Youth Fair grounds, Rodriguez decided to move his half of the business to town. (Rojas remains behind in Union City, New Jersey.)
Rodriguez gears his sassy slogans toward what he calls New Generation Latinos. "We want to be associated with art, music, fashion, and nightlife that is 180 degrees from the mainstream," says Rodriguez, who earlier studied graphic design at the Parsons School and mastered Websites for Time and HarperCollins.
Despite the Cuba-referencing name, HOTH's tees represent with a kind of Pan-Latin system of graphemes, including a map of the U.S. labeled "Estados Unidos" but made up of Spain, Portugal, and the countries of South America; and The Bitch's favorite, the look-twice-to-figure-it-out pun of a tilde placed over an orange traffic cone.
"To us, Nintendo is just as much a part of our culture as rice and beans," says Rodriguez of his visual shorthand. Check out the shirts at www.havanaonthehudson.com; they're also available at Tinta y Café and Yvonne & Angelina in Miami.
Chocolate CityThe Bitch scored her golden ticket and was filled with jittery sugar-rush excitement when she arrived at the Museum of Discovery and Science Blockbuster IMAX Theater in Fort Lauderdale this past Sunday afternoon. Though she personally despises white, dark, and milk chocolate, this scavenging pup would have been happy to score a plate of fruit, marshmallows, and pretzels while bypassing the sinful flow of the cocoa fountain. But while prepared for a mad crunch of sticky-fingered children leaving fudgy handprints on her fur as they scrambled for free candy, she did not expect to be shoved around and hollered at by adults who were more concerned with mimicking Augustus Gloop by shoveling free food into their backpacks than on the whereabouts of their young charges.
In line for the movie itself, The Bitch was merely a pylon for the snaking line, as more pushy parents pulled their offspring ahead of the cowering canine -- whose tail had already been stepped on twice -- with total disregard for common movie theater etiquette.
"Excuse me!" shrieked a Violet Beauregarde-like voice charging from behind. "I need to get to my husband!" The Bitch tried to shuffle her paws out of the way, but the shrill woman with skunk-striped highlights and platform espadrilles stomped on, leaving a perfect impression of "Candies" on The Bitch's smashed appendage. She then yelled at the next person in line: "Are you going to sit down, or are you just going to stand there?!?!" managing theatrically to block the flow of traffic.
When The Bitch finally was able to procure a seat near the center of the second row -- close enough for Mike Teavee but far away from the crazy-actin' parents who plowed their way to the back rows -- she overheard two Cocoon VI: A Ruckus at the Early Bird Buffet-age women next to her complaining about the aggressive seat-saving.
"They're like animals," one said.
"Beasts," her friend agreed.
"So, where are the 3-D glasses?" the pair leaned over to ask The Bitch, who was sad to report that, um, this film isn't in 3-D.
"Are you kidding? And we drove all this way? We could have just gone to the regular theater," the first woman huffed to her friend as she swatted her on the arm. "Florence, you never get anything right. Just wait until I tell Johnny [presumably not Depp] about this."
But once the film began, all were blown away by the giant screen filled with Tim Burton's magical images. "Wow," Florence whispered. "It feels like it's in 3-D."
Like a Triangle with Two SidesThe Bitch and some of her lupine brethren were howling at the moon from Nocturnal's rooftop lounge when she noticed the absence of lovable nightclub promoter Tommy Pooch and his crew. Perplexed as to the whereabouts of the king of the velvet rope, who has been a Saturday standard during the club's short history, she pawed her cell phone and dialed her Poochy pal. "We haven't been there in weeks," Pooch growled. "They have $15 million to build their club, but they don't have a dime to pay their promoters." The acrimony began when the promoters arranged to bring down photographer and Rize director David LaChapelle for an exhibition and covered all of his expenses. Nocturnal then abruptly pulled the plug on that event, opting instead to invite DJ Jazzy Jeff to the decks. "Jazzy Jeff," said Pooch with utter disdain, "didn't even show up."
That was just the beginning. The Nocturnal fracas led to some internal cat fighting, when Ingrid Casares, formerly the I in TAI Entertainment and a high school chum of Nocturnal's club director Dade Sokoloff, parted ways with Pooch and Alan Roth.
"[There was] no falling out. We just decided that it wasn't working out and we wanted to change direction on Saturdays," said Sokoloff in a statement.
Pooch, however, sees things a little differently. "We haven't been there since the end of June and they're still using our name. I'm going to have to confer with my lawyers about that." What about IC? "TAI now stands for Tommy and Alan Incorporated," Pooch declared. Casares didn't return The Bitch's calls, but told the Miami Herald's Lesley Abravanel she just wanted to do some different things, including "working on Madonna's new album." Right.
Candy DarlingCoin purses in dazzling orange and electric blue. Clutches in shimmering purple and silver. Fluorescent yellow tote bags that glint in the light. The range of colorful accessories sold by Ecoist are eye-catching and adorable. And they're made of shiny recycled candy wrappers.
"My sister-in-law brought these handbags from Mexico. They were designed by Marisa Rey, and she had been selling them in gift stores around Mexico. We brought some samples back to Miami and gave them to some friends, and to my mom. They were a hit. People would literally stop her and ask about them," says Jonathan Marcoschamer, the cofounder of Ecoist.
The Marcoschamers were enticed by the unique products and the prospect of selling them to high-end boutiques in Miami. "We did more research and we were even more attracted by the fact that they're made from recycled candy wrappers," explains Marcoschamer. "All of the materials came from factories that are throwing them out because of misprints or discontinued candy lines. So we saw something that was not only an attractive, stylish product, but there was a good message and a good cause behind it. I think there's a huge opportunity here to market, to sell, and to get the message out about environmental preservation."
For every purse purchased, Ecoist has a tree planted through organizations like Global ReLeaf and Trees for the Future, which work with grassroots groups on tree-planting projects in deforested areas. Marcoschamer is especially excited about Ecoist's reforestation projects. "Hopefully we can make a serious impact," he says. "In Haiti we're working on a project where we're adopting a village. We're planting 4000 trees there and trying to rebuild a village that was destroyed by the lumber industry."
As a born-again environmentalist, Marcoschamer is convinced the indifferent masses can be mobilized to act against ongoing social and ecological threats. "You don't have to be a hippie, Greenpeace, Save the Whales type of person to make a difference. Just be more conscious. Next time you go to the supermarket or to buy clothes, be conscious of what impact you're having on the Earth. Like, is it made in a sweatshop in India by twelve-year-old kids, or is it made responsibly? Think about your personal effect on the world," he entreats.
Ecoist bags are sold at boutiques such as KoKo & Palenki in Aventura and Coconut Grove, Simons & Green in South Miami, and at the Bass Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Visit www.ecoist.com for a complete list of stores and to take a gander at their sweet items.