On April 8 Playboy magazine held its 50th-anniversary bash at Mansion. It shouldn't surprise anybody that I arrived with my tongue (and tail) wagging. I remained in this rabid state until my first look around inside, when I had to exhale. What a sight. The place was hopping with Playboy bunnies.
Well, they didn't hop as much as preen in designated spots. But there were some interesting sociological differences among them. A few, like the Midwestern blond bunnies, were all smiles, playful, and wonderfully engaging, while some of the more synthesized, cosmopolitan beauties wore a fearful expression from all the drunk and drooling wolves who would literally leer at them for five minutes at a time while standing just a few feet away. Needless to say, not many people noticed the event's other attractions. Naughty nostalgia such as collages made up of magazine covers, Hugh Hefner's robe, and the rotund bed that was the centerpiece for the television series Playboy After Dark were on display. And next to the bed was Lauren Michelle Hill (Miss February 2001), which gave me some sordid ideas, but she wasn't into that kind of thing, she said.
Then there were the peeps. I immediately recognized the most promising young face in modeling, South Beach resident Amber Arbucci. (Sigh.) With her was an equally pretty, but utterly annoying male model, Brandon. He got a little pissy when I was talking to her about other guys like Michael Capponi, a good friend of hers. "I'm Amber's boyfriend," he informed me, even though I asked for his name, but I guess "Amber's boyfriend" is good enough. Anyway, Arbucci quickly and accordingly put him in his place: next to her for a photo-op.
Others who made for interesting company were Miami Dolphins football players Adewale Ogunleye, Randy McMichael, and Patrick Surtain, all of whom hung out at the bar, but weren't feeling the love. Only on South Beach can NFL Pro Bowlers go relatively unnoticed, due to the fact that nightlife impresarios don't like sports. The way they see it, if you want to look sweaty, lather on some moisturizing lotion. One jock did attract attention, though, especially from a particular group of ladies. But none of those women knew who Akin Ayodele of the Jacksonville Jaguars was. They groped his ass and six-pack with loving adoration anyway, while one of their boyfriends stood aside feeling the sting of his own medicine.
The moment of the night came when one of the world's most stunning people stepped onstage, the glamazon who eloquently blends classic elegance with a stabbing sexuality, the Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese. My heart skipped a beat. And then I realized why there were a few Marilyn Manson fans/freaks around. They came to see his fiancée. As for her performance, it can only be summed up by its ending, in which she arose from a giant champagne glass in old-fashioned, yet modernly skimpy lingerie (Dita doesn't bare all for just anybody), and stood there in a statuesque pose -- her wet, fair skin glistening in the spotlight. I'd say there is a God, but the creator of such a brunette succubus, a wonderfully wicked, freezingly sensuous woman like Von Teese, had to be the Devil himself.
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Mansion is located at 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.