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
There are so many rude and incompetent public relations professionals (and of course many thorough, decent, and rigorous agents) right here in South Florida it is shocking to The Bitch that anyone would look beyond our area to obtain what is so readily, locally available. Yet at least briefly, incoming, much-anticipated restaurant Table 8 (eventually to be housed in the Regent Hotel at 1458 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) contracted with some folks from the big city to promote its inaugural event.
The new Table 8 will be the first satellite of the Los Angeles namesake, and its chef, the dreamy, dreadlocked Govind Armstrong, has already become quite the person about town, hanging out here and there with fellow celebrity chef (who will also open a Beach-based eatery this winter) David Bouley. So The Bitch was semi-excited to receive an extremely ornate vellum-and-cardboard invitation to a preopening tasting to be held Tuesday, November 7. An RSVP to the designated flack, Pamela Wittman of Manhattan-based Millissime Ltd., generated the following query from Wittman: "How did you find out about this event?"
In response, The Bitch took a photograph of the square-foot swatch of origami clearly bearing her name and address and e-mailed the image to Wittman and to Table 8 general manager Nick Fielding with her normal notation in such circumstances: Nice manners, babe!
Not content to let matters lie with face-saving silence, Wittman pressed forward: "Your name and your publication are not on my lists!... Because of Table 8's INABILITY to get permits for the opening, the event has been moved to VICK'S [sic] at the Victor Hotel anyway!"
Fielding, a soft-spoken, exceptionally congenial Englishman and hospitality professional who has lived in Miami Beach off and on for a dozen years, was brilliantly conciliatory under what must have been excruciating circumstances.
Fielding noted that Wittman's connection to Table 8 was through one of the restaurant's liquor distribution contracts and that "I have not had the most pleasant experiences dealing with her either."
But what about moving the tasting party?
"Due to permitting issues and an untimely gas leak, we are unable to do the party at Table 8 and it has been moved to Vix at the Hotel Victor," Fielding conceded. "This was a situation far beyond our control and something that we did not anticipate."
The Bitch thought about the situation for a bit. Her track record for getting into events at the Victor, the restored luxury hotel at 1144 Ocean Dr., is poor; events manager Victoria Prado normally meets the dog at the door with a rolling pin. The Bitch decided to stock up on bruschetta beforehand at Grazie on Washington Avenue, where Abitare Italia, a group of European furniture purveyors from Dania Beach, was having a strategy session about how best to invade Art Basel. (The tactic: Flood the market with $3000 red granite countertops.)
Upon the hound's arrival at the Victor a bit after the appointed time (7:00 p.m.), though, there was no hassle. Prado has moved on, leaving the appropriately named Victor Zaroli in charge of lobby access. Wittman, whom The Bitch had greatly anticipated meeting, was not to be found, nor was much of any food (though there was plenty of off-label champagne), nor any sign of Fielding or Chef Armstrong. For that matter, the actual chef at the Vix, James "The Spiceman" Wierzelewski, was also AWOL, having announced apparently that very day he would not return to the Victor's kitchen, only not in those exact words.
Wierzelewski didn't return The Bitch's phone calls inquiring about what he'll do next.
The Victor was rumored to be both the hotel of choice (though the band actually stayed at the Standard) and the site of the post-Bang party for Duran Duran on Saturday night, which the music festival-weary dog didn't investigate. Instead myth-debunking energy was devoted to deconstructing the purported "final appearance" of French electronic act Daft Punk.
Turns out the duo's announced swan song was an illusion promulgated by concert promoter Alexandra Greenberg of MSO PR in Sherman Oaks, California. "Sorry about leading you to the wrong info," Greenberg shrugged once the fake data had been successfully planted (in this publication as well as VIP concierge Michael Capponi's high-res packaging).
Location-based services, global positioning, and metamessaging have been embraced by two normally disparate groups: white-shirted corporate fleets who require constant and uniform contact, and the teenage tech lovers who are the logical descendants of the hackers and phreakers of the early Eighties. South Florida, surprisingly, has shown a fair amount of forward-thinkingness when it comes to officially embracing the new-school gadgetry already favored by its mobile, international, ceaselessly communicative citizens.
This week the City of Miami sponsors a geekily prescient workshop at the Riverside Center on SW Second Avenue called "Mapping Your Community to Serve You Better," starring a team of National Geographic urban explorers demonstrating how a GIS (geographic information system) works. (The digital-imaging tool overlays natural and humanmade landscape elements such as buildings, streets, sewer systems, sea-level elevations, power grids, and waterfronts to create a survey of what's going on in a given area. The generated data is viewable and available on the fly on screens as tiny as a cell phone's.)