Things to Do in Miami When You're Dead
In her abundant spare time, The Bitch has been thinking of ways to entertain herself while annoying others this summer, and has decided to adopt the following affectations:
1. Pretending to smoke Nat Sherman's clove cigarettes.
2. Developing and deploying a complex personal gang sign.
3. Angrily demanding that people call her "il Duce."
4. Speaking exclusively in terrible Milanesan Italian slang.
5. Constantly referring to her "agent."
Sweetwater Beatdown Redux
The grinding and clanking heard by a nineteen-year-old who claims to have suffered a near-fatal beating at the hands of Sweetwater police officers may be the engines of justice finally coughing to life. Peter Daniel, the alleged victim, and his family have been waiting for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to complete its year-long investigation into the incident. Daniel says he was brutally beaten on June 18, 2003, by Sgt. George I. Alvarez and officers José F. Lopez, Catalino Rodriguez, and Allen St. Germain in a holding cell in the Sweetwater police station.
Daniel, whose injuries were so severe he required extensive surgery followed by a long hospital stay to mend wounds to his liver and spleen, says that the night of the beating he was driven around by Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño in the mayor's city-provided Ford Excursion along with three of the officers. "I'd like to see them all go to jail," hisses Lourdes Lima, 45, Daniel's mother. (Under advice from his attorney, Daniel declines comment. Lima says the family will file a lawsuit against the city.)
After nearly a year of being relieved of duty -- with pay -- Rodriguez and Lopez returned to work earlier this month. Alvarez and St. Germain remain on paid leave.
Assistant State Attorney Joe Centorino, head of the SAO's public corruption unit, won't comment on the investigation. "It's not something I can discuss," Centorino says. "But I can tell you we are close to the end." The SAO last year fired one of its chief investigators, Jorge Alonso, who was suspected of leaking information regarding the beating probe to Sweetwater assistant police chief Robert Fulgiera.
Maroño insists he did nothing wrong that night: "People have only heard one side of the story. The whole truth has not come out yet. But it will."
Where Will Noonish Cravings For Shrimp Po'Boys Be Served Now?
It has been a little while since The Bitch had lunch at northern Design District bistro One Ninety, but she didn't think anything of it when, waiting for a companion operating on subtropics time to arrive, she had the place to herself -- entirely to herself -- for about 30 minutes last week. Did The Bitch help herself to some intoxicating One Ninety lemonade? No, the dining partner showed just in time, and chow was downed elsewhere.
Contacted later, One Ninety's ever-congenial proprietor Alan Hughes said the resto-bar's gentle, relaxing, and decidedly European vibe didn't suit itself to the American power lunch, even by laid-back Miami standards, so One Ninety continues to throw a successful Sunday brunch and to serve dinner, atmosphere, and great music every night. "It's fine," said the sanguine Hughes. "We don't mind keeping things intimate and a little quiet."
A little quiet? "Well, there's usually somebody here," said Hughes. "We'll do better about keeping an eye out."
Dr. Faustus; or a Really Wilde Time
The Bitch has found the fountain of youth, and it is in the pages of the Miami Herald. Specifically, the May 23 "Neighbors" section, which includes a full-page ad for a product called Biocell Ultravital, which claims (in large type) to be "the most important and significant anti-aging discovery in history."
It doesn't take much perusing of the ad to realize that someone involved with this product is a genius. The ad asks, "Why should we use this treatment?" answering with the following statement: "A human being's life passes through constant aggressions that limit its health; the environment is usually polluted; inadequate eating habits; the existential anguish, etc.; this places us on the road of premature aging." Indeed existential anguish alone has subtracted many dog years from The Bitch's life span.
The scientific portion of the ad is similarly lucid, mentioning "synergetic action" and "proteinic structuration," leading The Bitch to ask two questions: First, is it possible that in some ad agency somewhere, furiously typing away in a cubicle, there is a thinker whose mind encompasses both the philosophical and scientific areas of inquiry with the alacrity of Descartes or Pascal? (Come to think of it, the ad reads a lot like Pensées.) And more important, where does she sign up for a product that "prevents organic aging"? For more information, the ad states, call Propharma International Corp. at 305-670-0212.
But as one of The Bitch's most infernal sources would note, negotiating immortality is tricky: The woman who answered the phone, notably unimpressed by the possibility of free publicity, referred The Bitch to another number. Someone who sounded an awful lot like the first woman answered the second phone, saying only: "That person is out of town. I don't know when he'll be back. Bye." So The Bitch called the first number back, and this time the woman on the other end really let loose: "He's not here!" she screeched before hanging up. But the Bitch, like Ponce de Leon, would not be dissuaded. A public records search turned up a Miami-based company called Propharma, but spokesman Ray Farinas said his company has nothing to do with Biocell Ultravital. "They're using our name, though," the flustered Farinas griped.
Jesus! The Bitch thought soul-selling was easier in this town.
Mikey Meets His Match in Midtown
Traci Cloyd, star of the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Hollywood's Hot 105 (WHQT-FM), almost stole the show at the opening Friday of Midtown Design Studios. Almost, because the very tall, very stunning, and totally hilarious radio personality had The Bitch's undivided attention until Cloyd's tiny Brussels Griffon, Mikey, peeked furrily around a corner.
Sensing the presence of a sucker, Cloyd coached Mikey through a series of petite canine tricks, including a very convincing moonwalk. The studios at 400 NE Second Ave. in Miami are the new home to a collective of marketing agencies, developers, and design companies. Guests explored the building -- once the home of the Red Rooster Bar, which held one of Miami's oldest liquor licenses -- and honored the past by leaving no free Bacardi beverage unconsumed.
Not all PRmy events are cause for celebration, much less successful; such was the case at what was possibly a groundbreaking event for Mosaic, another rarefied high-rise condo soon to hog the ocean view at 39th Street and Collins Avenue. A strange pitch involving hula dancing and whiskey sours confused a crowd so unaccustomed to the sight of food that some guests actually ambushed servers coming through the hors d'oeuvres prep area, and the message to buy overpriced real estate was lost in a medium-size bout of ennui.
People in Suits Have Drama, Too
A lawsuit filed May 28 in Miami by Stephen Van Drake against his former employer, the South Florida Business Journal, seeks damages for the journalist, who claims editors there inflicted "severe and extreme emotional distress" upon him. The suit comes in the wake of additional Florida turmoil at the 41-paper, North Carolina-based chain. Veteran Orlando Business Journal editor-in-chief Pat Beall cleaned out her office at the beginning of the month, following the departure of Gordon McKerral, who held the same position at the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The sixteen-page complaint (filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court before Judge Roberto Piñero) contains standard legalese from Van Drake's lawyer, Miami's Mark Vieth, but the attached 25-plus pages of exhibits are rich in workplace intrigue of Office Space-y magnitude.
Van Drake and SFBJ editor Kevin Gale went round and round over everything from microwaving fish and broccoli in the Deerfield Beach-based paper's break room to the interpretation of Van Drake's comments about being in the market for an AK-47.
Van Drake, who lives in West Palm Beach with his wife, a dog, and 28 cats, told The Bitch: "I really didn't quite understand why they set out to keep me off balance and mystify me." Fired in March of this year, he also claims that Gale and managing editor Alexis Muellner caused him to have severe depression, panic attacks, and insomnia, requiring psychiatric care.
"There are many wild accusations in Mr. Van Drake's complaint. We take issue with them and we intend to fight them in court," Gale read Tuesday from what he described as a statement from the company, adding that the newspaper was seeking to have portions of the complaint dismissed.
One More Reason The Bitch is a Vegetarian....
Axleigh Whereabouts, a multidisciplinary artist based in Miami, specializes in the exploration of alternative forms of sustenance. This past Saturday at the PS 742 black box installation space in Little Havana, Whereabouts demonstrated how to cook meat with hydrogen peroxide. In several small pans enclosed by an acrylic shield, she whipped up a froth as she cured meat with the disinfectant, making a bloody, sudsy mess.
The exhibit inspired both wonder and revulsion. Whereabouts, who had promised to eat some of the peroxide-beef tips, reneged. The audience was thus challenged to either accept the performance as a work of art unto itself, or retreat in reality show-withdrawal bitterness.
Susan Caraballo, the executive director of Artemis, the arts group that manages PS 742 and has produced the series of Surreal Saturdays of which the Whereabouts piece was a part, said the event was one of the best-attended and successful to date (though the presence of many autism-aggravating strobe lights caused The Bitch to nearly have a seizure).
"In many ways, we have outgrown the space," Caraballo told The Bitch, adding that the present Sixth Street home of PS 742 will close at the end of August. Events will continue around town, though, as a new, larger, permanent home is sought.
The Bitch has noted before the usefulness of "public" radio station WLRN's (91.3) copious broadcasting of the Motley Fool's investment-guide program and A Prairie Home Companion to the many poor, non-English-speaking potential listeners the Miami-Dade County Public Schools-owned outlet is supposed to serve. It is pleasing to further note that some station associates are also doing what they can to change the global climate.
The enormous, candy-apple-red 2002 Ford Expedition bearing the Florida vanity license plate "WLRN" belongs to Friends of WLRN, Inc. senior corporate marketing representative Michael Peyton. Peyton, spotted by The Bitch heading south on U.S. 1 in the sun-blotting-out-size SUV, says he just likes people to know about the radio station.
Get This Lapdance Here for Free
As Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D. observed in "Lapdance," "Politicians, they sound like strippers to me."
Yet despite sharing common mound, it is easy to discern one from the other in a tangle over aesthetics at Miami Beach's Club Madonna. Clearly club owner Leroy Griffith enjoys a good spectacle. In a perfect world, that would include both naked chicks and free-flowing booze. But where that's not possible, the old rascal will settle for putting a city commissioner's do-gooder spouse through the legal titty-twister.
Hence, when Jane Gross, wife of Saul, led a group of residents in the defeat of a proposal to rewrite city codes banning the combo of full nudity and alcohol at Club Madonna, Griffith slapped her with a lawsuit. In his complaint, he is demanding a jury trial and monetary damages, alleging Jane Gross slandered and libeled him during her campaign.
"I have been trying to get a liquor license here three or four years," Griffith grumbles. "[Mayor David] Dermer was for us all the way through. Then Mrs. Gross started going out spreading rumors. He backed out."
Mrs. Gross, though, gets rhetorical points for such bons mots as: "I don't know what kind of tour Leroy gave you guys, but the Website virtual tour is kind of like a gynecological/rectal exam," which the suit quotes her as saying at a public meeting, further alleging she called Griffith a "litigious, tax-evading citizen" and his club a contributing factor in area prostitution arrests.
Griffith, a delicate flower of a strip club mogul, will not suffer his reputation to be tarnished. He thinks Saul Gross orchestrated or at least inspired his wife's efforts. "Somebody said he was going to run for mayor," Griffith offers. "Maybe this was to generate publicity."
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office will not file charges against former North Bay Village Police Chief Irving Heller, who resigned earlier this year. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating Heller as a result of allegations the former police chief authored obscene letters that were sent anonymously to local civic activist Fane Lozman.
According to the FDLE's investigative report, Special Agent Ed Fortune found sufficient evidence to show that Heller authored the letters, one of which depicted a character identified as Lozman performing fellatio on another man. Fortune could not establish, however, that Heller had committed a crime against Lozman. Fortune states the letters were also sent to federal agencies for review. "Both the F.B.I. and the U.S. Postal Inspector who also indicated the contents of the letter, while vulgar and cruel, did not constitute a criminal act," Fortune wrote.
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