By Michael E. Miller
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Munzenrieder
By Sabrina Rodriguez
By Michael E. Miller
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Luther Campbell
By Kyle Munzenrieder
A tray of champagne-based mojitos greeted the pack at the entrance. Another auspicious tiding. And then adorable servers with trays of food began passing by (as they continued to do all evening), while trash and empty glasses were picked up with Disney World-custodial-cast-member efficiency. When The Bitch confessed her love for Parmesan-dusted shoestring potatoes to one server, a Greek hero named Achilles, he made sure to find her every time he exited the kitchen with a fresh tray.
The gigantic chocolate-dipped strawberries emblazoned with tiny J.O. s, the twenty-piece orchestra, and the fireworks were classy additions, and the coffee cart and Krispy Kreme doughnuts were a welcome nightcap. But the pack agreed something must be done about DJ Irie, who ushered the guests into the lounge phase of the party. There should be no mercy in this DJ-rich town for a dude who gets a party started with Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real" and can't be bothered to beatmatch "Billie Jean" to "Tainted Love."
University of Miami president Donna Shalala has been widely and publicly rebuked for her perceived insensitivity to that school's striking janitors and gardeners; grumbling continues despite Shalala's belated offer of 25 percent higher wages and healthcare for the laborers. But controversy and struggling workers weren't enough to dampen the UM Arts & Sciences Dinner, which took place a couple of weeks ago at the Shalala estate. Invitees mingled with wine and hors d'oeuvres before sitting down to a dinner of pan-roasted halibut with pink peppercorn beurre blanc, horseradish-crusted filet mignon, herbed Peruvian potatoes, and a medley of seasonal vegetables. Desserts, served in the foyer, featured mini-versions of tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake, and strawberry shortcake.
While on a quest to snare some haute doggy-bag scraps, The Bitch couldn't help but overhear guests ruminate about the ongoing strike. No, they weren't calculating how many years it would take an employee earning $6.70 per hour to afford a family dinner as lavish as those routinely served at Shalala's Shangri-la. They were whining about the inconvenience of life without janitors and gardeners. On the other hand, at least they still had waiters eagerly refilling their glasses of crisp Chardonnay.
Pimp My Bus
The Bitch learned this week that a mutant, pimped-out form of Greyhound bus would be cruising the peaceful streets of Miami Beach. This particular Greyhound is nothing like the creeping, cross-country movers of yore. The colors are wrong black and silver, not classic blue and white. It looks menacing, like the Oakland Raiders team transport.
It turns out the "Greyhound Unleashed" which will be in town for spring break is part of the "Unleashed Tour" through Panama City, Daytona, and Fort Lauderdale. The bus has also traveled to historically black colleges: Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern, and Southern University.
"We're trying to target urban youth," said Anna Folmnsbee, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based company. That's marketing-speak for "black college students." African Americans are 31 percent of Greyhound's clientele, said Folmnsbee. A quarter of the buses' customers are 18 to 25 years old.
In thinking about ways to "reach out to urban youth," Folmnsbee said, the company has been trying for the past several years to get street cred. Said Folmnsbee: "So many of our riders love hip-hop."
So earlier this year the Greyhound people contacted Funkmaster Flex, a hip-hop DJ in New York City. Flex, who owns a car-customization company, enthusiastically pimped out the bus (hip-hop exterior, lots of bling inside, flat-panel TV sets, PlayStations, womp-ass speakers). He also cut a track and agreed to party with guests as part of the "Ride. Win. And Party with Flex in South Beach" promotion. The bus transports no passengers and charges no fare; it's strictly a marketing vehicle intended to catch the eyes of spring breakers who are invited to tour it and take in the coolness of long-form mass transit.
Locally the partying with Flex will take place April 1. "It's so college students can see that Greyhound is just the affordable option. It's the cool option," said Toby Purdy, another of the marketing minds behind this scheme.