With whiskey-warmed, Factory-fab openings (even by post-Basel standards); connectedness in the art, fashion, and nightclub worlds; favorable mentions in Art in America and the recent coup of being host to the traveling exhibit William John Kennedy Meets Andy Warhol at 231 East 47 St... 1964, times seemed flash for the Daniel Azoulay Gallery.
So when The Bitch rolled up to Miami's finest photo gallery last weekend to admire her favorite works (Guy Le Baube's black-and-white portraits of exquisitely articulated dogs), she was astounded to find the studio shuttered. A note on the door and the Website www.danielazoulaygallery.com says that the gallery is being relocated. Long-time fashion photographer and South Beach entrepreneur Azoulay, who showed his own work as well as that of numerous other photographers, opened the gallery at 3900 NE First Ave. in November 2001.
Coulda Been Contenders, Pt. 1
Next thing you know, they'll be selling out Caesar's, appearing in the essays of Joyce Carol Oates, maybe even hangin' with Mickey Rourke ... no, not the welterweight hopefuls at the 27th Avenue Boxing Center. Consider eight rounds pitting Miguel de Grandy against Michael Pizzi. Would de Grandy, the rock mining industry's top hired gun, go the distance or would it be a TKO for Pizzi, the Miami Lakes city councilman voicing the anti-mining sentiments of residents who take exception to the detonation of dynamite in their neighborhood?
A no-holds-barred boxing match featuring Palooka Pizzi versus the Cuban Stallion could be in the offing. The Bitch notes that the two men were ready to rumble at the May 11 commission meeting, when Pizzi, angry about pro-mining pitches, approached de Grandy and issued a rooster's challenge.
"You know, I grew up in Brooklyn," Pizzi said. "And I just wanted to let you know that I didn't appreciate some of the things you said at the last meeting. And the way we settle things in Brooklyn is I would ask you to step out into the parking lot. "
"Well, I grew up in East Little Havana, so I am used to going out into rough parking lots," de Grandy replied. "If you want to do it now or later, you just let me know."
No word yet on when the first round is set to start. Both men declined comment pending negotiations with Don King.
Real Life Cop Tales The Bitch's life is not glamorous, and never less so than when dealing with those whose jaws drip with the blood of the powerless: the parking police.
While The Bitch was purchasing French toast at the Miami Arts Café at 200 NE Fourteenth St., too low on carbs to realize that it might in fact not be cool to park on Biscayne Boulevard, a fellow diner noticed that the Bitchmobile was being ticketed by a Miami Parking Authority enforcement officer. Charmaine Mike handed out the ticket and threatened further action -- towing. The Bitch's query about where she should park was answered with: "Anywhere you want as long as you get that car out of the street."
The next parking space -- 200 feet west, off the main drag, away from all fire hydrants, crosswalks, bus stops, and loading zones -- seemed safe, but to be sure, The Bitch asked, "Is my car okay over there?" Officer Mike was apparently troubled by this question, too troubled to make eye contact or formulate a reply. A repeated, "Is it okay that I parked my car over there?" again got no response.
Emerging from the café moments later, The Bitch discovered Officer Mike dashing off another ticket fewer than four minutes after the first and for another whopping $34.
When The Bitch placed a call to the parking authority to ascertain information on behalf of her readers, she was surprised to get a call back from the suddenly loquacious Officer Mike.
"You a professional writer?" Officer Mike yipped incredulously (The Bitch gets that a lot). "You're gonna put this in the newspaper?"
Well, uh, yeah....
"You go ahead and put my name in the paper and find out what happens," Officer Mike threatened.
If any attempts are made on The Bitch's life in the next few days, you know who to ask about it.
Tasteless, Yet Bling-y
Florida Marlins president David Samson was big pimpin' at the May 11 Miami-Dade County Commission meeting; laughing off Miami City Manager Joe Arriola's barbs while flashing a gaudy World Series ring at reporters and public officials.
Encrusted with more than 200 gems -- rubies, white diamonds, and a rare teal diamond in the eye of the marlin -- Samson's quarter-pound bauble sent a sparkle bouncing like a disco ball around the cavernous chamber on the second floor of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center. "Priceless," Samson replied when asked about the ring's retail value.
Too bad the same can't be said about the Byzantine financial deal among Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, and the Marlins to build the team a retractable-roof $367 million (yeah, sure Dave!) stadium and parking garage next to the Orange Bowl.
Real-Life Brat Tales
The emphasis on students' communication skills inspired by FCAT mania is clearly paying off for Miami's public school system. On May 5, a six-year-old boy at Banyan Elementary School in the Westchester area told some friends that he had killed several girls in Cuba and that a student at Banyan would be his next victim. The classmates tattled on him to their homeroom teacher. The school duly recorded and investigated the incident, but holes were immediately spotted in the boy's story. "Note: [the boy] was born in Hialeah, FL and has not been in Cuba," a helpful official wrote in the report.
Cursed Busy-ness of Life After FTAA
Miami-Dade County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Jimmy Morales accepted the AFL-CIO's endorsement on May 12 with predictable platitudes about "rolling up his sleeves" and "working for the working men and women of this county." Nonetheless the AFL-CIO has never before endorsed a Miami-Dade mayoral candidate -- and Morales's sentiment was probably heartfelt, given his parents' union membership. As he put it: "It was union wages that fed me and clothed me, that put a roof over my head."
Morales aroused The Bitch's curiosity, however, when he stood next to the AFL-CIO's South Florida president, Fred Frost, and reminisced about protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas. First of all, The Bitch had no idea that Morales actually marched with union members against the hemispheric trade agreement in November, and second of all, where the hell was he when the police were cracking skulls?
When cornered by The Bitch, the Harvard-educated politician clarified his position on the FTAA: He's against the agreement as it now stands. Morales added that "if there is going to be an FTAA, Miami should be the secretariat headquarters. Locally, that would be a great thing, perhaps. "
Greatest Living Investigative Journalist
A story in the May 10 edition of the Miami Herald by Casey Woods, headlined "Major scandals rock small city," belatedly chronicled the legal woes of city officials in the tiny enclave of North Bay Village. The rhetorical "It all brings up the question: What happened?" appearing in the third paragraph of the story, made way for a deconstruction of the arrests of four NBV commissioners and the investigation of the police department by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
This device also allowed the Herald to avoid explaining that "what happened" in the way of first bringing the problems in North Bay Village to light was a series of pieces by New Times reporter Francisco Alvarado. Starting in October 2003, Alvarado chronicled the misadventures of the village's obsessed civic activist Fane Lozman, influential businessman/thug Al Coletta, Commissioner Bob Dugger, Mayor Alan Dorne, and police Chief Irving Heller.
North Bay Village city attorney Robert Switkes should consider using part of his $5000-a-month retainer to pay for an educational course on Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.
For more than a month Switkes has failed to comply with The Bitch's official request to obtain the logs of cellular phone calls made by North Bay Village public officials in March. Sought are records of former Mayor Dorne, former police Chief Heller, Commissioner George Kane, and police Ofcr. Steve McVay.
On April 21, a day after New Times submitted its public records request, city manager James Vardalis said that Switkes had instructed him to not turn over the records.
However, assistant state attorney Joe Centorino, head of the public-corruption unit that is prosecuting Dorne and Commissioner Armand Abecassis for violating the sunshine law, says, "The call logs of publicly owned cell phones are, in fact, a public record."
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The law allows Switkes (whose Miami Beach law firm, coincidentally, employs Dorne's son Craig) a reasonable amount of time to go over the records and black out information -- such as the home telephone numbers of police officers -- that is exempt.
On May 10 Switkes claimed that the cell phone records were still not ready. "I'll turn over whatever I have to you tomorrow," Switkes said. Of course, May 11 through May 14 came and went, and Switkes has neither produced the records nor returned The Bitch's phone calls.
Attorney Sanford Bohrer, who represents New Times in First Amendment litigation, insists that Switkes should have turned over the cell phone logs weeks ago. "This is not a month-long process," Bohrer railed. "Switkes needs to get on the stick. It should not take longer than a day or two to process this public records request."
On May 17, Switkes sent New Times a twig: Dorne's records. We're still waiting for the rest.