When it had two publishers, Ego Miami magazine was the perfect Freudian synthesis. Fun-loving David Harris was the hedonistic id, and rational-minded David Bick was the cautious superego. The pocket-size tome, with a circulation in the free-distribution-pile-at-Browne's low ten thousands, actually reflected a more Ego Miami Beach persona, containing as it did pages of advertorial about the scene's regular cast of nightlifers and assorted filler about comedians, musicians, and models. But then, about three weeks ago, Harris ego-tripped his way out of the magazine in the middle of the production schedule, taking editor (and wife) Ginger Fulkerson-Harris, the managing editor, and the art director with him.
The fallout affected Ego's investors and this month's Los Angeles debut.
Bick was matter-of-fact in responding to The Bitch's inquiries: "Different people had different goals and different ideas about how to reach those goals. So they moved on."
"There's not much to tell," said the evasive Harris via phone. "I would rather just let it be something in my background." Harris was also mum on the subject of his new magazine, Six Degrees, which he expects to launch later this fall. Judging by its transplanted editorial staff and creative department, and the fact that it will also be a free monthly minimagazine, The Bitch expects Six Degrees to differ little from the old Ego Miami.
However, The Bitch is looking forward to some therapy and analysis in the new publication. The editor is Jason Jeffers, formerly of Miami's Only Daily and its progeny Street Weekly, and the art director is Rick Delgado. "We're coming up with a new vision for the book," Jeffers says. "Before it was mostly about the photographs. Most people would pick up Ego just to see themselves at parties. I want to be a little more playful with the editorial content.... I also want to skewer celebrity culture a little bit, poke some holes in it."
The Bitch thinks Jeffers might find it a bit lonely in the dog biscuit gallery.
Jeffers says his ideal cover would not feature a lip-glossed sixteen-year-old (and The Bitch wishes to take this opportunity to say please do something about those skanky, scary, nasty American Apparel ads on the back covers) but someone such as Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert, who recently launched his own spinoff, The Colbert Report.
Boo Yah Hoo Ha
The Bitch dislikes loud banging noises unless they are accompanied by music, in which case she evaluates them on a case-by-case basis; thus, the short-haired dog considers the worst privations of Hurricane Wilma to be the cancellation of local performances by her high school boyfriend Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and by candy-ass mama's boys Death Cab for Cutie. Nonetheless, this past Halloween weekend held much in the way of entertainment.
On the Friday night after Wilma blew through town, even South Beach's Prive sported busted-out windows, and a stifling 8:00 p.m. curfew reigned. Still The Bitch could almost hear the sighs of relief over DJ Irie's beats at Mansion just down the street on Washington Avenue.
Lorna, an "over 21" paralegal, had trucked down from Fort Lauderdale, giving the paw to that city's 11:00 p.m. official bedtime. "When I'm ready to go home, I'll go," she said.
Bryan, a veteran scenester looking for bitches in heat, was unimpressed: "This is the most dead I've ever seen it. Everyone I know is out of town. There are some girls here, but nothing like usual."
One of the weekend's most talked-about parties was modeling agency Irene Marie's Saturday night Halloween soiree at yeasty South Beach nightclub Myntlounge. As The Bitch rolled in slightly before midnight in hopes of capitalizing on an open bar and free sushi she noted (then ignored) Mynt's usual assortment of rich and fashionably boring nightlife elite.
The event was ostensibly a costume party, with an invitation beckoning attendees to "Not Be You" (naively implying that people in South Beach are most of the time themselves).
As The Bitch and the male coyote she had interbred with for the evening (and temporarily deputized to duty as a journalist) sipped free drinks and nibbled icky nori which was free for a reason droves of scantily clad nurses, policewomen, stewardesses, and pistoleras strolled by. Coyote Boy thought this occupationally oriented costume trend deserved further investigation and introduced himself to Liza, Jennifer, and Carol who were dressed up as angels in lacy lingerie and skirts short enough to warrant at least three years in Purgatory.
"What's the inspiration for the costumes?" Coyote Boy asked.
"Sex," Jennifer replied. "Originally we wanted to go in a little more hard-core direction with it, but we decided against it."
Jennifer hiked up her skirt to expose white thong panties and a careful wax job. Liza asked, "Are you really a reporter, or are you just trying to get our phone numbers?"
Flemming, a 40-year-old ex-model dressed up as a 40-year-old ex-model, stopped stroking his silk neck scarf long enough to tell his story of hurricane woe. "My strawberry Hawaiian papaya tree died," he said, before segueing into a critique of the scene. "I have to say we need more Europeans, Swedish girls, Norwegian girls."
Joline, age 24, a model booker from Miami Beach and one of many Playboy bunnies, was sick of hearing about the storm. "Compared to Katrina, it's an inconvenience, not a travesty," she observed.
Other conversations were less kookily pleasant. At one point The Bitch was nearly bowled over by a blowsy drunk girl in a tight, mud-streaked tank top and a platinum blond wig.
Are you supposed to be Courtney Love?
"No, I'm Paris Hilton, you bitch." Further insults were unintelligible, lacking wit, and not worth reporting.
Having had her fill of salmon and shame, The Bitch sought comfort across the causeway from her favorite DJ, Poplife's Alex Caso at I/O. And Caso did have some good news: Beloved but recently silent shoegazer-embracing Internet radio station Sonic Sound System will reappear early next year. "I'm also working on some podcasts," Caso added enticingly.
Luckily, after getting knocked around pretty good by Wilma, the place was open for business though for how much longer remains an open question. Aramis Lorie the club's co-owner and all-around hip guy about town says he'll move Saturday-night I/O staple Poplife to The District up on 40th Street beginning this week. He anticipates closing I/O soon and reopening the club in a bigger space. "Miami really needs more live venues," Lorie says. "And there's a lot of shows that I would've liked to have done, but I just didn't have the space for it. Getting a larger place will allow me to do that."
Yeah, and getting some limes would have allowed The Bitch to have a decent Campari and soda (that dangerous Hypnotiq phase having passed). But according to I/O barkeep and manager Alex Milian, lack of the essential citrus, along with bottled water, was further evidence of storm-related supply problems. Whatever.
It beats sitting at home as the last candle burns out, says Lester, a 25-year-old lab technician who had fled an 11:00 p.m. curfew in Kendall. "You don't want to be home. You don't want to be caged up. After eleven o'clock, you know you're fucked in the house," he said.
Isn't This What Ritalin Is For?
After extensive examination (spectral analysis, multivariant tone separation, photon emission tomography) of ExpressaVizzazzaVeeBopanisticOmerang, The Bitch has come to the following conclusion: Gazing at this massive "work of art" for even brief periods of time can cause seizures and eye-rolling in canines and, possibly, humans.
New Hampshire artist Roger Goldenberg's energetic painting, a wildly improvisational splaying of shape and color, was recently hung in the Miami Children's Museum. Thanks go to Tom Haas, a chemical company executive and owner of a Lear jet charter enterprise serving New England, who has been on a philanthropic tear since his ten-year-old son Tommy sang the praises of a Goldenberg work a year ago. Tommy stares at the painting every day, Haas says: "Some days he sees one thing, and other days he sees other things."
Goldenberg's canvases are great for introducing children to design and style, Haas says, because of their abstract playfulness.
Haas has recently made it his business to buy and then donate the artist's paintings to children's museums from San Francisco to Cape Cod. He figures he'll keep donating for about a year. "There are only so many children's museums," he says.
Goldenberg says it's just "happenstance" that his works, filled with dancelike, energetic movement and brilliant color, seem to appeal to the future serial killers amid the younger crowd.
"It doesn't seem to them to be unapproachable," he says. "I'm not pandering at all to them. I'm 47 going on 5."
Goldenberg says he chose ExpressaVizzazzaVeeBopanisticOmerang for Miami because the work made him think of South Florida's boldly colored flora and fauna and reflected the vitality of the area's ethnic mix.
At the risk of enraging museum supporters and Russell Crowe alike, The Bitch, shielding her eyes, can only say, Whatever.
Go Canes, Go Away 'Cane Victims
Miami City Manager Joe Arriola's decision to shut down the hurricane relief center in the Orange Bowl this past Saturday during the game between the Canes and the North Carolina Tar Heels upset many nearby residents and enraged local activists.
Thousands lined up for supplies at the stadium since Hurricane Wilma struck more than a week ago. It is the city's largest hurricane relief center.
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"They set up a replacement center, but it was on NE 64th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, and there were no buses dedicated to getting people from the Orange Bowl area to the Upper East Side," says Sushma Sheth of the Miami Workers Center, an organization that has been monitoring hurricane relief efforts in Miami's low-income neighborhoods.
For his part, Arriola is proud of the city's relief efforts, although he says next time the city will forego the FEMA-based plan, which dictated there be three large relief distribution centers. "It creates chaos and wastes gas," he says. "Next time we'll have a bunch of smaller distribution centers run by the Neighborhood Enhancement Teams. That way, access will be easier for more people."
As far as his decision to shut down the Orange Bowl for a football game, Arriola says he had no choice. "We had a commitment to the University of Miami," he relates. "And besides, I think people needed some kind of distraction. And we reopened Sunday morning."