NOW 24/7 Prometheus may have given fire to man, but living the high life, as a minimum-wage gopher at the Mutiny Hotel, set my dead-end life ablaze. A peanut farmer was prez, Barry White was king, and the Mutiny Club's infamous eyepatched pirate logo in hand was sure-fire proof that one was rubbing elbows with Miami's elite.
The Mutiny seemed a fantasy come true for a 17-year-old Cuban kid from Miami's Shenandoah neighborhood. I'd bused tables and worked construction, but swinging the housekeeping night shift at the notorious hotel was hog heaven. The Mutiny Club "hostesses" were quid pro quo artists who kept the high rollers and cowboys insane with generosity.
The Hollywood, Egyptian, and Jungle rooms were glitzy no-tell theme parks where life lessons were doled out like hundred-dollar tips. Gifts of blow, blow jobs, and Dom Perignon were the norm (think an Enron board of directors' meeting).
From Sammy, a retired "piano player" who lived in the $2000-a-week Egyptian Suite, I learned that three quacks (Quaaludes) and four fingers of vodka through a blender in the morning was the best cure for a Peruvian flake hangover.
Gus, a regular from Chicago, had me drive to Western Union in Little Havana to pick up cash wire transfers and deliver nickel bags stamped "Graveyard." Oh, and I couldn't forget his box of pastelitos.
Hostesses Tania and Maria came as a package with the Hollywood Room. They swore that a double colada in a douche drove the old guys wild and had me running for them at all hours of the night. They were Miami's original Sucias; a double dose of equal-opportunity-dirty-girl I'll always remember.
Wish to share your own Glorious & Notorious Mutiny Club Memories? The Mutiny Hotel is running a contest embracing the three T's: Tawdry, Torrid, and Tasteless. For submission information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for entries is August 30. Here's your chance to win a vintage gold coke spoon, a decomposing body in a Beamer, or an all-expenses-paid luxury weekend in the witness protection program. -- Carlos Suarex De Jesus
Learning to Eat Well
THU 8/12 Happy meals are not so joyful. In the long run, a steady diet of fries, beef patties, cheese, and preservatives is one of the factors that have led to the nationwide problem of obesity. Bad eating habits start at a young age, and it takes some work and persistence to get young appetites on the right track. Chef Lorena Garcia, proprietor of the Design District's Food Café, knows this, so she is helping youngsters learn how to make healthy meals for themselves in Big Chef - Little Chef, a fun and informative cooking seminar. The class is part of an effort by nonprofit organizations Women in Action and Ayuda, Inc. to fight childhood obesity. This will be the first of a series designed to enlighten young minds about the perils of junk food and the wealth of healthful alternatives that are easy and fun to prepare. Sprouts, anyone? Participants must be between the ages of 8 and 12 and be accompanied by an adult. The class starts at 10:00 a.m. at Ayuda, Inc., 7118 Byron Ave., Miami Beach. Admission costs $10. Call 305-844-7557. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Mayoral candidates get the last word
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TUE 8/17 If the name Jay Love rings more pimp than politician, Miguel Diaz de La Portilla sounds like a Spanish bullfighter, and Jimmy Morales and José Cancela seem to be the Florida Marlins' newest shortstops, you've got a lot of learning to do and not too much time to do it. Those are just a few of the many men running for mayor of Miami-Dade County. The election is in exactly two weeks. Tonight is your last chance to learn what these guys are all about and hear them detail their vision for the future of this county. The final mayoral debate will take place at 7:00 in the Moot Court Room at St. Thomas University (16401 NW 37th Ave.). WPLG-TV (Channel 10) political reporter Michael Putney moderates, while St. Thomas law students, faculty, and alumni will ask the questions. If time remains, the audience will participate too. Admission is free. Call 305-474-6880. -- Nina Korman
SUN 8/15 Vegans are cool. Really, we think they are. Sebastian Urrutia, resident chef at downtown Miami's vegan eatery, Tree of Zion, and raw food gurus AJ and Sunshine, formerly of South Beach's Food Without Fire, are bringing their healthful fare to the South Beach party scene. The young food artists are serving entrées and appetizers good enough for the most discriminating vegan to eat at the chilled-out funky soiree known as Eclectic Sundays at the Marlin Hotel and Lounge. Among the goodies offered are fresh vegetable pizzas, nori rolls, and a spectacular coconut curry tofu. Washed down with a sugar cane lemon-ginger punch, your weekend's finale will mellow out tranquilo-style like a slow-burning summer sunset. Keeping the scene hopping will be the infectious sounds of live funky reggae. The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Marlin Hotel and Lounge, 1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-604-3595. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez