Everybody bitches about the lack of inexpensive, cool things to do around here. But when something actually happens, complaining natives don't show up. When Sugar Ray performed for free on November 6, courtesy of Smirnoff Vodka at the Clevelander, the 500 people who turned up were almost all from out of town. How do I figure? Most of the crowd was tall, milky white, and wearing orange Tennessee Volunteers apparel. They were here for the UM game (a sore subject for me and many others).
Sugar Ray should drink Smirnoff for good after getting a chance to put on a concert in South Florida without having to worry about something as pesky as ticket sales (which may have led to the cancellation of several Florida dates last August, including a Fort Lauderdale show). Too bad less than a carful of locals attended. Mark "Cheeseball" McGrath sounded cool at times, bashing "Ocean Drive bullshit" before playing Bob Marley and Ramones songs. Thing is, what the kids really like to do here is to rub elbows with the rich and famous. That's why more people head to Opium Garden/Prive than a free concert; they'd rather walk past McGrath than see him perform.
By now you've noticed that happening celebri-people love to live it up at Prive every week. The latest celebrity shindig was Tara Reid's birthday bash on November 7, brought to you by the names that set the bar for South Beach style -- Michael Capponi (who happens to taste-test hot models on the side), Antonio Misuraca (hookup to the stars), Ingrid Casares (still lusted after by famous blond babes after all these years), and Opium Garden's owners, the Milon Brothers (godfathers to French doormen everywhere). Schmoozing along at Reid's fiesta: Tara herself, Sammy Sosa, Traci Bingham, a mohawked P. Diddy, and Nas. The latter two were chumming it up hard. Apparently their friendship goes as far back as when Nas released his last good record ... years.
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The Clevelander is located on 1020 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach. Call 305-531-3485. Opium Garden/Prive is located on 136 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-531-5535.