I'm a little teapot: The tempest at the Fifth
The Bitch

Denying the Day's Demise

Lip augmentation, probably the most common cosmetic procedure performed in South Florida, is trickier than the proliferation of Paris pouts here might suggest. Too little filler and you've got a kisser full of needle pricks; too much and you look like the owner of a South Beach modeling agency.

The Bitch learned that Dr. Fredric Brandt, the famous dermatologist with offices in New York City and Coral Gables, was preparing to deploy clinical studies of fibrinogen, which is genetically engineered (meaning it doesn't come from cows or — ewwww — cadavers) to last longer and be more stable than collagen.

That sounded interesting, but The Bitch, who once met Brandt during a demonstration he was giving at Brownes Apothecary in Miami Beach, finds the doctor's appearance a little, um, unenviably smooth. So she found herself seeking some answers about the lip-puffing process from Brandt's low-key partner at the Coral Gables practice, plastic surgeon Dr. Oscar Hevia. Hevia, a Miami native who graduated from both the University of Miami and Florida State University — and completed residencies at several local hospitals — was rational and informative (and completely, pleasantly normal-looking).

"I think it's safe to say Dr. Brandt and I have different approaches in regard to aesthetics," assured the diplomatic, thirtysomething Hevia, who usually uses Restylane, a nonanimal-derived, hyaluronic acid to smooth wrinkles and up-size lips. (Hevia says about 90 percent of his patients are women.) The doctor told The Bitch that, for a canine, her mouth actually looked okay.

At this point, though, the wisdom-seeking hound had become intrigued and was determined to go through with the experiment.

A nurse practitioner spoke soothingly and asked some questions, such as whether The Bitch had ingested aspirin in the past few days. Well, yes. The fearful dog had actually swallowed a handful in the past few minutes, but pursuing her usual means-justification practice, she swiftly answered, "Um, I don't think so."

There's no getting around it: Having a two-centimeter-long needle poked repeatedly in the lip area hurts like heck. The millions of tiny nerve endings that make kissing male dogs so pleasurable shriek in dismay at the Hostel-like torment. Even worse, as with a Brazilian wax, two sides must endure the pain. Fortunately, though, Hevia has exceedingly steady hands.

By the end of the session, which lasted about fifteen minutes, The Bitch had unbidden, uncontrollable tears streaming down her fur-lined face, and purplish sparkles dancing behind her tightly shut eyelids. But just before smelling salts became necessary, a doggy dose of endorphins kicked in and the hound squelched the sniffles using some ujjayi breathing.

After recovering for a few minutes, The Bitch met with Hevia in his insanely neat office to discuss his philosophy on appearance enhancement.

What do you say, like, if someone asks for something just crazy? What kind of advice do you give novices like me?

"Well, of course I have a dialogue with patients and ask them what they don't like in their appearance and discuss what realistic expectations might be," Hevia explained. "And that's what we pursue, and only that. I don't make excessively overpowering recommendations; it's not appropriate.... It would be like if someone went to a plastic surgeon to have a tummy tuck, and while performing the procedure, the doctor noticed the patient had a mole on the thigh and just went ahead and removed it because he thought it would look better removed. I would never impose my will upon someone in that manner. It's inappropriate and unethical."

Hevia added that he sees himself as, basically, a skilled service provider, not an arbiter of women's issues.

"I'm here to provide what people ask for, within reason. If people have psychological issues related to self-esteem, they need to discuss those with a therapist," Hevia said.

Smiling at his frankness while holding an ice pack to her smarting snout, The Bitch nodded.

This all took place this past Thursday. So far, at least, no one has mistaken the hound — still able to sneer as ever before — for Mickey Rourke or Jocelyn Wildenstein.

"Seriously," Hevia admonished, "Most patients can come in, get a treatment, and go to a party 48 hours later."

And that is exactly what The Bitch did.

It Isn't Perjury to Plead the Fifth

The black-and-blue oral region and the seemingly interminable public furor over a basketball tournament or something — not to mention a Jeepers Creepers marathon on the Sci Fi Channel — provided ample motivation to remain indoors and on a sofa this past weekend. Yet The Bitch could not bring herself to miss Gerry Kelly's birthday party Saturday night at his latest venture, the Fifth, which is located at Lenox Avenue and Fifth Street (duh!) in Miami Beach.

Longtime nightclub inventor Kelly is a personable fellow — he answered the phone himself and chatted pleasantly for a while when the bruise-stricken dog mumbled her RSVP through an ice pack — and The Bitch was eager to see him move past the icky, moldy memory of Shine (the mercifully short-lived club housed in the Shelborne this past winter).

"As a fellow Gemini, you should definitely come to the party," intoned Kelly, who sounds exactly like the Bill Nighy character in Shaun of the Dead. "It's going to be glamorous and decadent."

The promise of, ugh, glamour in South Beach nearly propelled The Bitch back to the Barcalounger, but she nevertheless headed over to find that the split-level, Art Deco-y Fifth contained some pleasant surprises. For one thing, many people wore what Kelly had requested on the party invitation — gowns, suits, and masks. The varied guests seemed to be mostly clothed — a startling sartorial development for the Beach. And the hair of Dustin Reffca, the guy with the annoying bandanna-adorned Bride of Frankenstein-meets-Rock-a-Doodle do, was in full antigravitational effect. But Wire columnist and fellow-about-town Thomas Barker cleaned up nicely, even doffing his trademark Kangol cap. Towering artist Anastasia traded her normally taxidermied accessories for a small Chloé bag. "Yes, the stuffed bat purse is at home," she glowered, peering acquisitively down at The Bitch's brown fur.

New York City DJ Frank Delour — not a spoiled superstar DJ, just a nimble turntablist who wants people to dance and enjoy the music — eschewed the tired oldies mixes for some recorded-in-our-lifetime electronica. The door people, security dudes, and bartenders were all nice — smiley, even — and the air conditioning and drinks were cold.

Satisfied that Kelly's birthday present would be the success of Fifth, The Bitch headed for the door around 1:00 a.m. On the way out, the drowsy hound encountered her virtual photonegative image, the white-haired, deeply tan, ageless philanthropist Merle Weiss. "What happened to your face?" the incandescently direct socialite asked while simultaneously dazzling a few new and very young male admirers. The Bitch gave Weiss a half-smirk and demurred, "Um, nothing.... I have to go.... Say hello to Gerry for me when you see him."

"I better see him," Weiss called to the retreating dog. "I've been carrying around his birthday present [a mysterious-looking white paper bag] all night."

Mega Whats

The popular Grand Theft Auto: Vice City edition is based on Miami, and the videogame's exclusive Starfish Island enclave represents the real Star Island, which is located in the real and virtual worlds just west of Miami Beach off the MacArthur Causeway. Starfish Island's residents live in large waterfront mansions and are protected from troublemakers by machine-gunning private security guards; Star Island's uppercrusters have to make do with a staffed guard shack and a black-and-white striped liftable car bar.

But to call the island a "gated community" — implying it is private property — is misleading. Though residents do pay for some services, including the mechanism that appears to bar the public and the people who operate it, Star Island's roads are actually as public as those of the rest of Miami Beach.

The Bitch was quick to point this out to the rent-a-cop who hassled her as she was trying to attend this past Wednesday's party at Casa De Paolo for Mega TV's summer season. The eco-conscious dog deplores wasting fuel but nonetheless suggests motorists pass through the enclave whenever possible to demonstrate the island's perfectly legal and public accessibility.

Anyway, the party, though hindered by guardhouse traffic problems, was really good, with buckets of margaritas and bowls full of cool ceviche.

Mega TV — part of the Spanish Broadcasting System that operates Miami radio stations El Zol 95.7 FM and Clásica 92.3 FM, among others — was launched locally this past March and has slowly been building a following among the desired "urban youth" demographic.

Brothers Eddie and Andy Blázquez, José "Pepe" Olano, J.M. Cabrera, and Elvis Pérez, the stars of El Show Más Estupido de la Televisión, clowned around the villa. Inevitably they ended up fully clothed in the pool.

Anagloria Mora, the flame-haired therapist who will host the forthcoming Mega advice show Love & Sex, looked as if she were well versed in those subjects, wearing an orange halter dress that both plunged and hiked.

Isabel Adjorno, a tall, blond, pneumatic guest from Argentina, shook her head. "These women who become Latin television stars ... I don't know what they spend all their money on. Not personal stylists, that is for sure."

Meanwhile, Pancho Tosta, editor of Conexiones, a fan mag devoted to just such stars, fretted about the heat; not a breeze stirred on the waterfront mansion's courtyard. Makeup was melting and hair drooping.

"My readers don't want to see sweat dripping on the red carpet," Tosta worried.


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