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
The Bitch has many times professed her love for the Sagamore at 1671 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach. It's a long-held infatuation based on admiration for the open-to-the-public Taplin art collection in the boutique hotel's lobby. But lately the dog-museumette relationship has been strained, owing to a sudden increase at the Sag's intimate Video Lounge of skankitude, a B-minus-list population seemingly attracted more to the late-night open bar than Massimo Vitali's photography or Christine Borland's pedestal-topping head sculptures.
Fortunately emergency therapy was initiated by Nick D'Annunzio of TARA, Ink., who recently took over promotions and events organization for the storied structure. The Bitch is hopeful this will usher out the "ho" part of the hotel, and judging from a party this past Wednesday at Social Miami, a new restaurant on the second-level lobby, the upgrade is in action. Social Miami offers a menu of tasting plates from a nonexistent Atomic Age cookbook think deviled quail eggs topped with caviar, nori'd tuna cubes matched with watermelon, martinis strained through guava pulp dreamed up by Miami's own Michelle Bernstein and executed by the litigious Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill and Rocco's fame.
Around 9:15 p.m., glancing up from a mango cocktail laced with serrano pepper juice, The Bitch was pleasantly startled to notice a steady stream of people with whom she would fearlessly shake paws: Us Weekly scribe Linda Marx, SoBe Social Club founder Edison Farrow(the only man in the world who can pull off a fauxhawk), MTV president William Roedy, the Ocean Drive girls, and author Brian Antoni.
1671 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Category: Hotels and Resorts
Region: South Beach
Leslie Armstrong, the psychologist who hosts the "Meet the Shrink" segment of Howard Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio talk show, sauntered up, dressed in a shockingly short Chloé chiffon wrap-dress, the cost of which exceeds The Bitch's student loan debt. A scene possible only in South Beach ensued. "Do any of you have the phone numbers of any celebrities I can interview?" purred the red-haired, suspiciously full-lipped Armstrong. Instead of the downcast eyes and headshakes such a public inquiry would generate elsewhere, a feeding frenzy of fame ensued.
Piped up one diner: "I've got ... let's see ... Jay McInerney."
"Do you want Stephen Dorff? I have Dorff! Here's his number," echoed another voice from across the room.
"Susanne Bartsch ... how about Susanne? She'd be crazy!" essayed a gentleman surveying his jammed digital Razr phone book.
The names and numbers Hearsts, Vanderbilts, Entrekins, Culkins came in a torrent (faster than The Bitch could memorize and transcribe in her own cellie).
Armstrong finally gazed at The Bitch. "Do you know anyone?" the shrink demanded. Before the dog could consider the ramifications of answering, the psychologist stormed downstairs to play pool in the hotel's library.
"Well, I only had Jack Schaeferand Barry Scheck anyway," The Bitch admitted later.
Taking the stage around 10:30 p.m., headliner Trent Reznorplowed determinedly through the Nine Inch Nails set list, desultory renditions of songs old and new from the current "You Know What You Are" to Nineties dance-floor standard "Head Like a Hole." But the crowd that had waited since noon to see the industrial deity at Saturday's Global Gathering in Bicentennial Park remained stiff. The new, buff, drug-and-drama-free Reznor, despite a few perfunctory mike-stand tosses, was in good voice but not energized enough to deliver a galvanizing "Closer." Even hard-core fans seemed not to feel it.
That's the only bad news from the inaugural GG in the U.S. The good make that great is that Sasha and John Digweed absolutely killed it in their mid-evening set on the Bacardi main DJ stage. This pair is beloved among house enthusiasts for good reason, but something about this set the cool night, a happy but not excessively E'd-out crowd, the stellar sound system made the two-hour marathon that included a remixed remix of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" and an extra-long version of "Age of Love" the best the electronic-music-loving Bitch has ever experienced.
The Bitch witnessed only one tweaking puker: a linebacker-size girl who bumped into the dog with such force that a five-dollar Diet Pepsi went flying profusely, and then sincerely apologized.
Tim Schmand, executive director of the Bayfront Park Management Trust, says the number of "paid tickets through the gate" equaled 13,480, plus a couple thousand more bodies' worth of media and comped attendees. "The show had a great vibe, and the production was first-rate," Schmand observed the Monday after the event. The Bitch agrees.
It's a Condo Party
Although The Bitch usually burrows under a blanket and watches The Shield reruns on F/X on Friday nights, the promise of a Saks Fifth Avenue gift bag this past week was too much to resist. So she and the pack ventured north to 17181 Collins Ave. in Sunny Isles Beach for the condo sales opening of Jade Ocean.
"This party had better be good," growled one grumpy work-week-addled entourage member from South Beach as they passed the halfway-point of the Bal Harbour Shops. "And there had better be no parking hassles."
When The Bitch pulled into the valet parking line, she wondered whether the crumpled Hamilton hidden in her glove box would be enough to retrieve her car at night's end. "It's complimentary," assured the valet as The Bitch handed him the keys. A good sign.