By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
The equestrians staging this month's Miami Beach Arena Polo Cup are an informal cadre called the Polo Lifestyle Team. They are basically a group of very wealthy fellows from Argentina, Switzerland, Italy, and India, along with American nouveau riche such as Tim Gannon of Team Outback (yes, the owner of the Tampa-based, Bush-lifestyle-boostin' steakhouse). Apparently it's easier to run a passel of Fauxstralian Fosters eateries than to promote a two-day pony show, for the poloists have churned through significant public relations drama on the way to the second annual tournament. The first event was in April 2005 on the beach facing Casa Casuarina at Ocean Drive and Eleventh Street.
At that time, affiliating with the Versace mansion made sense, for the storied pad's manager was Reto Gaudenzi, who was a former pro polo player with Team Europe. Recently though, Gaudenzi reportedly became fed up with Casuarina owner Peter Loftin's transmogrification of the mansion from private club into super-high-priced time-share. So he left the employ of the North Carolina media mogul and took the tournament with him up the beach to the Setai.
Last year Gaudenzi hired Ellen Marchman, then with Zakarin PR of Coral Gables, to promote the polo cup. Marchman, now self-incorporated as Get Ink PR, and Gaudenzi reconnected for the upcoming chukkers parties. The contracts were all but inked when the riders were thrown. "It's a long story," sighs Marchman, a shag-haired brunet beauty with a fiercely determined smile. "It was not my decision [to drop out of representing the polo cup. It was] based on politics of another firm bringing large sponsors. It was a painful experience, as I had several placements already secured."
The sponsor-wielding firm was Miami Beach's Patton Group, an agency so mysterious that browsers must register to gaze upon its Website.
But Patton's grasp on the reins of the polo cup was also tenuous. An anonymous Patton agent contracted to handle the tournament for a few days was animated in telling The Bitch the lowdown: "True I'm not handling the polo but I am sorelieved. No one is interested in it this year. People think it was a one-time gimmick," blurted the aggrieved flack (who is no slouch from what The Bitch has seen). "I pitched stories to fashion editors on polo fashion. No interest, no room. I pitched it to the Miami Herald's sports department; their sections are so small now they told me it was a no-go. Frankly I think a lot of people just don't care about a bunch of horses shitting on the beach."
For the time being, the polo dudes are again hooking up with their original agents at Zakarin. "We handled polo last year and are again this year," confirms Zakarin's Lindsay Dufresne. "Expect plenty of details in the next week or so!" This year's tourney will be held on the sands beginning April 14.
Manipulate Your MindHow about advertisements as entertainment? What about spending your Friday night watching commercial after commercial more than 200 for education and amusement? Go smoke some more crack, you say?
The Bitch was high on life one recent Friday evening when she settled in for Night of the Adeaters, or La Nuit des Publivores, as the host, Alliance Française de Miami et Fort Lauderdale, insisted on calling it. Held in a small theater at the Miami Museum of Science, the event featured some of the most ridiculously creative, funny, and, yes, stupid ads from all over the world. It was a walk down the road you normally avoid: There was everything from the Seventies-era song-and-dance bit for bug spray in Côte d'Ivoire to David Bowie grappling with his digitally resurrected alter ego Ziggy Stardustas he hawks bottled water. Cars, tea, plastic surgery, perfume, condoms it was all on offer in ingenious and unexpected ways that sometimes involved mystery and more often included voluptuous women.
The event began 25 years ago, when a French ad exec committed himself to compiling commercial footage and showing it in a movie-theaterlike atmosphere in Paris. Nowadays you can find Les Nuits des Publivores from Burkina Faso to Mongolia, according to adeater.com. Although The Bitch can't argue with the Website's claim that advertising is a "a statement of our times, a common language for all audiences," she isn't so sure that's a good thing. Case in point: Philippe Lentschener, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi France, opened Miami's adeaters night with a lecture about the "specificity of advertising," whatever that means. Though much of what Lentschener said about the "economy of attraction" seemed valid, The Bitch whined when Lentschener praised Louis Vuitton for promoting its "values" with Uma Thurman's luscious image.
But enough of that esoteric weirdness. Try to picture this public service announcement promoting civil public discourse: A man at a restaurant table is spewing all kinds of hateful rubbish about women and the poor. As the camera pans around the table, the viewer sees other diners' looks of disgust and, finally, the wheelchair in which the speaker is sitting. "This man is disabled," the narrator intones. "But above all, he's an asshole."
Generation TeeWhen Megan Nicolaycame to Miami Beach, she spent her first afternoon exploring Lincoln Road. It didn't take her long to realize how much she stood apart from the crowd. "I was like, do I look as different as I think I do?" she asked with a laugh. (The answer is yes.) Nicolay is the author of Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt.And in a city where the local uniform lists toward designer labels, she sticks out like an origami rose in a store-bought bouquet. The adorably gamine Nicolay is all about T-shirts. At her reading at Books & Books this past week, her entire outfit was made of them. The skirt was created from layers of stitched-together tees. She paired it with the "Brokenhearted" project described in her book, a punk-rock heart slashed into an otherwise generic red jersey. Her fingers were adorned with what she called "un-bling rings," brightly colored strips of cloth decorated with appliquéd fabric flowers. Even her cute Faryl Robin flats were covered in retro T-shirts. The Bitch complimented Nicolay on her wonderfully unique, comfortable-looking ensemble. "Thanks! It's one thing to get a compliment on your outfit, and another to be able to say I made it myself," she smiled.