Never, or Then?

The chief cuts loose, Michys opens, Carmel Ophir and La Gata rock on

It is rare for The Bitch to close down any party, let alone one thrown by Ocean Drive, but when the lights came on this past Saturday at the St. Regis Hotel in Bal Harbour, the dog was happy to find her tail wagging right next to Miami Police Chief John Timoney.

Hey! You're the police chief! The Bitch barked to the red-faced man in blue, who was among the guests at the glossy's fourteenth anniversary bash.

"Why, yes I am," Timoney bellowed, extending a hand that was clutching a highball. "And who are you?"

Jon Bon Jovi looks a little shaggy at the Ocean Drive anniversary party
Lyssa Oberkreser
Jon Bon Jovi looks a little shaggy at the Ocean Drive anniversary party

While The Bitch waited for a negative reaction upon disclosing New Times employment, Timoney pumped her paw and shouted, "I love the New Times! I have no problem with the New Times!"

Wanting to take advantage of this postparty euphoria, The Bitch asked whether his job is more politics than policing.

"I was police chief in New York and in Philadelphia, and then I come down here, and it's all about Cuban politics," drawled an increasingly animated Timoney. "Fuck the Cubans! I've got a job to do!"

The Bitch's tongue was wagging as fast as her tail, but Timoney didn't blink. "It was nice meeting you," Timoney said as he planted a kiss on her cheek. "Have a great night and be safe."

The party's other highlights included the most exceptionally delicious chocolate martinis ever made by a wonderful, friendly, generous bartender named Crystal, a low-key performance by Seal, and a late-night appearance by a ragged-looking Jon Bon Jovi. Then there was the incessant, incomprehensible babbling of DJ Irie, who raved about being king of the world between badly mixed cuts by The Killers and Michael Jackson. And there were people urinating in stairwells and hallways. Of course there was also the predictable drive-by stage wave from celebrity "host" (and anniversary edition cover thing) Paris Hilton, who then retired to a VIP suite with her mom Kathy.

Oh, and there was enough food, and it was pretty tasty.

Feline Goddess

This past Monday night a small but fiercely determined cadre of about 25 bohemians shivered with cold and ecstasy. They were enthralled by 78-year-old tango singer La Gata and her 81-year-old bandoneon accompanist Alfredo "Gardel" Pedernera.

The occasion for the ad hoc concert on the back patio of Gigi's (formerly the late, great 190) in the Design District was a fundraiser for La Gata, née Mara Angelica Milán, who has stumbled into a bad patch of economic luck.

A modest, cat-painting-covered garage apartment is strewn with sparkly, sequined thigh-high skirts and stiletto heels that hark back to the Argentine's Fifties days in Buenos Aires, Cuernavaca, and Santiago's Bim Bam Bum theater, the spot where Isabel Allende became a famed cabaret habitué. La Gata came to Miami in the Nineties and returned to performing in 2004 after a decade away from the stage.

La Gata's voice, a claxon of keen enunciation, transfixed her audience with "La Cumparasita" and "Malena" — tango classics — but her mere presence and lively banter drew the most laughter and applause.

Artist, poet, photographer, and filmmaker Veronica Milchorena — bundled in brown alpaca and so close to a small bonfire kindled with two-by-fours in the courtyard's center that tiny charcoal embers lighted on her shoes — said she finds both happiness and melancholy in La Gata's performances. "It gives me a feeling that's like memory, but maybe memories of an exciting life in a way unlike my own," mused the Salvadoran expatriate.

The concert was organized by two of La Gata's many friends: Julienne Gage, who has spent two years making a documentary film about the singer (and is also a New Times contributor), and a tall, statuesque Uruguayan with closely cropped blond hair who calls herself Rita.

Defiantly puffing a Parliament as she described an ongoing battle with cancer, Rita turned to tango talk: "There's nothing else in life but love and music, and when you're listening to tango, you've got them both."

At Least Gorgeous

The Bitch stopped by to visit her old buddy Carmel Ophir, creator of Back Door Bamby, at his newest party, Filthy Gorgeous at Glass, adjacent to the Forge on 41st Street in Miami Beach.

Ophir, dressed as always in an it's-wacky-but-it-works brown leather bomber cap and madly patterned canvas jacket, confidently opined, "What I can tell you is that Filthy Gorgeous is going really well; this is going to turn into the same kind of fresh but long-running party Back Door is."

The Bitch, who met some interesting new people and spotted a few of the usual scenesters grooving to the mostly old-school music at the Friday-night bash, thinks Ophir is probably right. But the hottest-coolest dude on the scene was, as always, Glass door guy Felix.

Remote Recording

Recently trotting by the architectural Death Star that is 1 Herald Plaza, The Bitch did a double take. What was a shiny aluminum Airstream International doing in a forlorn lot across the street? Why was this rolling redoubt of midcentury style sitting in the shadow of the hulking, under-construction performing arts center, surrounded by empty sidewalks and smoke-belching buses on North Bayshore Drive?

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