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Victor Cruz

Stiff Drinks

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Every playa knows pimpin' ain't easy. Late-night hours are a must and low energy a bust. No surprise then that a whole new lineup of nightlife energy elixirs has hit the marketplace, each hoping to replace Red Bull as the premier stay-awake party drink. Last month we saw rappers Nelly and Ice T truck out their liquid energizers Pimp Juice and Liquid Ice, respectively. And August saw the release of the boo-yah beverage Def Con 3, a Russell Simmons production. Now South Florida has become the gateway for the next wave of coochie concoctions. West Palm Beach entrepreneur George Wilson says he's secured the sole distribution rights for Erektus and Semtex, energy drinks that, like our best exotic dancers, hail from the Czech Republic.

"Erektus is basically Viagra in a can," quips Miami sales rep Rodney Patton. The graphic design on the yellow can seems to wink at you as it tells the same joke: It features a slender abstract figure suggestive of a male sporting what might be breasts and a half hard-on. The drink itself is noncarbonated and leaves a fruity aftertaste. Color? Patton replies: "Purple, pink, and red." Hmm. Sounds familiar. The more clinical-sounding Semtex, which comes in a red can with a nondescript design, is the Red Bull wannabe of the pair: It's carbonated and chartreuse.

But Wilson, who is making a run on Miami sex shops, strip joints, nightclubs, and grocery stores, naturally, swears by his drink's superiority. "I'll go head to head with Red Bull in taste and nutritional value any day," he says while rattling off a score of nutritional facts. Wilson's master plan is to take Erektus and its more staid brother, Semtex, from the love bazaar to the health food store. Meanwhile the 8 2/5-ounce cans are appearing in convenience stores from O-town to South Miami to Pembroke Pines. -- By Victor Cruz

Buy the cans at the Love Zone, 19800 S Dixie Hwy, 305-255-2190; and Flamingo Liquor Store, 12117 Pembroke Rd, Pembroke Pines, 954-430-8896. For wholesale purchases, call 561-445-3983 or 786-395-0090. See

Culture Vultures

Scavenging is good, classy fun

SAT 10/18

Ah, scavenger hunts. Ripping through your friends' possessions. Stealing street signs. Riding in limousines? The Tropees, the young professionals group of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, glam things up for a ninth year with their Historic Pursuit Limo Rally. Scavengers (drinking age only) team up, 10 to a limo, to caravan to historical places like Opium Garden and Pearl. At each spot, they must use their clue booklet to seek an item or perform a task, such as "sit at a piano and try to belt out a song about Miami. Who knows what it might be?" says Maria Meilan, the museum's director of marketing. The goal? Answer 10 questions about the city's colorful history in 3 hours. The team answering the most questions wins a plaque and those all-important bragging rights, but everyone wins a midnight party at crobar. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks provided throughout. The fundraiser begins with a preparty at 6:00 p.m. at Taverna Opa, 36 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Admission is $100 for museum members, $125 for the rest. To register, call 305-375-1619 or e-mail -- By Marlaina Gray

Catch of the Day

Land shark sharpens teeth

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In 1974 Peter Benchley penned Jaws. Zillions canceled beach vacations. October, 2003: Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, the sharks have come out. On Monday and Tuesday afternoons through the month, local artist Joey Kerniskey is creating an aluminum "7-foot, life-size, lifelike sharpnose shark" at CocoWalk's Cafe Tu Tu Tango (3015 Grand Ave.). Neither the monster's realistic choppers nor the torches involved in the live birthing need cause patrons alarm, Kerniskey added hastily, describing his process as "a new type of welding that is done with propane and is not very dangerous to the public." (International Shark Attack File statistics show only 13 shark mishaps nationwide in 1996, compared with 43,687 toilet-related injuries.)

Kerniskey plans to mount the finished land shark on "a large skateboard" and cruise the streets. "Hopefully it will make an endearing impression, enough to make us care more about the environment." -- By Pamela Robin Brandt

Who Dat?

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The Condo Queen was what folks called Annie Ackerman (1914-1989). Although she looked like a harmless little old lady in her Smurf-like hat, when it came to supporting and defending the causes she believed in -- better schools, better cities, better treatment for all -- the sweet-spirited Jewish great-grandmother exhibited a will of steel and enough pull among her senior-citizen brethren to deliver votes in overwhelming numbers. Honing her persuasion skills in the wards of Chicago, she began her Miami activism in the late 1960s. Politicians of all stripes soon learned that she would not be ignored, nor would the block of elderly retirees who were her neighbors in the condos of North Dade. Going from door to door, the outspoken dynamo would rally their support, making sure they headed to the polls on election day. Now as drivers zoom north on Biscayne Boulevard, they can remember the tireless pavement pounder. In 1987, the state legislature dedicated the stretch of road from SR 826 to the William Lehman Causeway in her honor. -- By Nina Korman


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