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
Meanwhile the party to broker the waterfront pads suffered from the chronic blight of South Florida promotions for big-ticket items: too much alcohol and not enough food (though the 200 mostly Eastern European guests had to persevere to obtain the booze from four stressed-out bartenders). When Jennifer Becker, an assistant account executive for party organizer the Apple Organization in North Miami Beach, noticed The Bitch making a hasty departure after refusing to wait, like, 45 minutes for a dollop of mashed potatoes with asparagus stems, the flack promised a written post-event statement. Becker later declined to provide said document or to answer any other Bitch questions, which included the query: How smart is it to serve martinis and cosmopolitans to people with empty stomachs and send them out to pick up their valeted vehicles?
Selling Seltzer and Stuff
The Bitch was surprised to learn a short while ago that the Joey New York line of cosmetics and skincare products, which bear quintessentially Big Apple-conjuring names such as "Egg Cream" and "Pretzel Cart," is actually based in Aventura, where founder and CEO Joey Chancis resides. It's great that Chancis lives in the SFL, but what's up with her selling her wares normally found in Bitch-approved environments like Sephora and Nordstrom on cable shopping network QVC? Isn't that, like, an outlet for cubic zirconia rings and Chia Pets?
Chancis herself told The Bitch not to be such a snob. "QVC is a great way to be educated on products, [because] the owner, developer of the company, and its products in this case me appears and educates the consumer on key ingredients, technology, expected results, and who the product is good for," Chancis chided. "Joey New York will not be discounting any products, so it will not hurt the retail stores. We are only launching a select few products on QVC."
Joey will be on the QVC airwaves at 7:00 p.m. June 17, in a segment called Saturday Night Beauty.
The Italian Steps Sequence
Nothing epitomizes Miami Beach excess like Casa Casuarina, the former home of slain designer Gianni Versace on Ocean Drive, so The Bitch keeps track of what's going on within its baroquely decorated walls. Until lately, regular updates came courtesy of de facto spokeswoman Lindsay Dufresne of Zakarin PR in Coral Gables. Recently, though, an invitation to an event at the Casa arrived about five minutes before it was scheduled to begin on a new letterhead, that of Tim Johnson.
Johnson, who seems to dislike the public part of public relations, turned out to be not only tardy but also remarkably uncommunicative. After a few monosyllabic utterances, Johnson told The Bitch it was "a really bad time to talk," refusing to acknowledge many multiple subsequent attempts at communication. Basically, though, this is what the inquisitive hound was able to extract from Johnson: He handles the marketing only for Spa Eleven, the massage-and-facial retreat operating within the mansion. (There's another Spa Eleven in Delray Beach; both are owned by South Florida investment banker Nicole Oden.) Public relations in general were now entrusted to Command PR of Manhattan. The change was engendered by Casa owner Peter Loftin, who, Johnson said, "was unhappy with Zakarin."
Zakarin principal Amy Zakarin, who said she had never heard of Johnson, very diplomatically confirmed the breakup: "When we were hired two years ago, we were very much involved in shaping a strategy to help support Casa's private membership offering. Since then, there have been some changes in the culture at Casa nothing negative, just different. This new firm is suited for that direction. From what I've gathered, there will be a lot more focus on parties and promotional concepts."
Parties do seem to be of special interest to Command PR owner Jonathan Cheban, who is widely known for his frequent managed-photo-opportunity appearances (of himself, not his clients) in the New York Post's "Page Six" feature and in glossy society spreads in Hamptons Magazine. Cheban was not around when The Bitch tried to reach him this past week, but Command agent Simon Huckcharacterized the new Casa strategy.
"The parting was on very good terms, but Zakarin wasn't providing the service that Mr. Loftin was looking for," Huck said. "Zakarin PR is more focused on real estate. Command is more national, celebrity-driven, more focused on national publications as opposed to local ones."
Describing Command's success in media machinations thus far, Huck continued, "We already got a three-quarter-page spread in People magazine. Jaime Pressly was making an appearance on the Tonight Show and talked about the Casa for five minutes. Kristin Cavallari from Laguna Beach stayed there last week. When you're trying to sell a product or get recognition for places in Miami, it very much helps to have a New York-based agency. I think it's important to have a celebrity component, and we have that."
Nasty ... and Sneaky Too
Torrian Ferguson recently reached out to The Bitch to talk about his new book, using the following lure: "Picture this. Some friends invite you to a Coral Gables party that turns out to be a swingers' shindig, a copulation carnival in a sprawling house.