Luxury Lounge

Mad swag, flaunting felines, and Burger King as haute cuisine

The anniversary issue of InsideOut contains, incidentally, an article about the growth of the Burmese python population in the Everglades, and wildlife biologist Skip Snow's attempt to beat back the snake invasion with the help of one of The Bitch's distant cousins, a beagle named Python Pete.

Pete's human, National Park Service wildlife technician Lori Oberhofer, was much ballyhooed for her efforts to teach the beagle to sniff out snakes. But like The Bitch, the scent-hound prefers a life of leisure, and it seems the pupster has virtually retired at the young age of eighteen months. "I've managed to take him out on some good python sightings," Oberhofer reports, "but found each time that Pete was leading me to heavy brush piles."


The Ritz-Carlton's Billboard Awards bash was a royal scam
The Bitch
The Ritz-Carlton's Billboard Awards bash was a royal scam
Unfortunately the baby tiger did not devour the ugly shoes
Lyssa Oberkreser
Unfortunately the baby tiger did not devour the ugly shoes

Large Feline Predator News
Downtown condo megadevelopment Everglades on the Bay doesn't have mangroves or herons, but when completed, it will include 870 residences, more than 1000 parking spaces on six levels, and a tiki bar on the eighth-floor "amenity deck."

Just like the Everglades, right? Playing on the name and all the threatened wilderness it represents, Tinsley Advertising devised a print ad for the development at 244 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, that stretches even The Bitch's threshold for crassness. In it a plaintive-looking panther sits on a pool deck high above Biscayne Bay. A sun-tanning chica's manicured paws dangle over a lounge chair nearby. "Hurry," the ad urges, "before this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is extinct."

The ad, which was first published in the Miami Herald's April 16 edition, will run in the Herald and various magazines, according to Rick Balter, executive vice president of Tinsley.

Unsurprisingly, Balter and Dorn Martell, the agency's creative director, are unapologetic. The ad copy is simply a play on the condo's name. "The name of the property is Everglades," Martell said, pointing out that he and others involved in its creation are "environmentalists" and even have a few panther-theme license plates among them.

Martell said he had heard no bad reactions to the ad and doesn't expect anyone to take exception to the word extinct. "I think in this market it's not going to be controversial. I don't think people are going to pick up on that."


The Bitch pondered attending a party last week at her beloved Sagamore Hotel on Collins Avenue, but then her pack reminded her of the previous event sponsored by Singapore's Tiger Beer. "We couldn't find the free beer," one salty dog complained about the Chinese New Year party, which was held at SkyBar in January. "And there was some dude running around in a tiger suit."

Still The Bitch hoped the Sagamore environment would provide an uplifting evening, and was looking forward to chilling with some snacks and a brew.

Chilling was definitely not an option. Perhaps inspired by Singapore's noted reputation for being a non-fun-tolerating society, an annoying drum circle prevented anyone from talking, let alone relaxing, by the pool. Although the less-than-romantic music didn't discourage a couple from swilling bodily fluids in a papasan chair like two post-prom teenagers going at it in the back seat of a Kia.

The Bitch finally situated herself away from the drums and the STD-swapping twentysomethings and found a spot right in the line of the spring roll-toting servers.

"Hey, is that a real tiger?" a friend asked while piling his napkin with empanadas. The Bitch spun around to see a young tiger cub restrained by two leashes, his paws desperately clawing the sand as he tried to pull himself away from the drumming and partygoers. Camera in hand, The Bitch was ready to document another wild animal suffering for the sake of a soiree (See "Destruction Boom," July 28, 2005.)

"You'll need to get closer to him if you want to take a photo," one of the handlers said as he struggled to keep the cub from running back to his cage. The Bitch snapped a few shots of the scared and squirming cub before he zeroed in on a toddler and his mom. "Oooh! Look at the tiger!" the woman cooed as her 25-pound towheaded progeny reached out his tiny hands to the wildcat.

"Um, is that really a good idea?" The Bitch asked one of the guys, in an attempt to avoid a mini-Siegfried and Roy incident. "We've got him," the handler replied with a smirk as he pulled the cub toward another crowd of camera-ready revelers. "Come on, let's go," he told the tiger.

Yeah, let's go.

Tiger Beer's Mara Siegler, the event's planner, at first told The Bitch: "I had no idea there was going to be a tiger at the party, and was quite surprised to hear about it. We have never had a live tiger at any of our parties before."

Grrrr.

Later Siegler coughed up the hairball of data that Vanishing Species — www.vanishingspecies.net — had provided the small big cat and that Tiger Beer has donated money to the group before. Still, for a conservation group to bring a tiger to a party, and for the hotel not to know better, is way uncool.


Prune Danish
Plum Sykes's newest addition to chick lit, The Debutante Divorcée, was welcomed with the intellectual gravitas its content deserved at a book-signing in the Oscar de la Renta store at the Bal Harbour Shops last Thursday.

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