Jonathan Riesco's encaustic painting series draws admiration from scenesters and family friends alike. "I was drawn to the encaustic process, despite its toxicity, because I'm a texture guy," Riesco said

You're the Man Now, Dog

Jonathan Riesco, the stalwart of the small Westchester neighborhood (The Bitch always mentally prefaces with so-called) known as the Bird Road Art District launched another successful show this past Saturday evening in his studio at 4552 SW 71st Ave. Riesco, a jovial redhead who often sports a papi chulo-meets-ska getup including guayabera and porkpie hat, is effervescently quotable and extremely media savvy. His painting career began in oils and recently surged into complicated, figurative texturescapes and multimedia events (his Crash Site collaboration with New Orleans painter Clark Derbes at December's Art Basel was a crowd pleaser). He has genuine talent that neatly intersects eye appeal with a top-down high concept.

The reception for the new show, "Wax Addicts," was populated with soul-patched and probably penniless art scene regulars but also included well-dressed, slightly older aunts, uncles, and family friends — Riesco's pop is the influential José "Pepe" Riesco, an avid supporter of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. And there were a half-dozen preteen princesses, Riesco's young cousins, who strutted around the studio, repeating the name of their favorite piece (which suspiciously included the word toilet) and comparing their Lacoste polos and Juicy handbags.

"I've thought about moving the studio up to the Eastside," mused Riesco. "I think I'll stay here, even though it seems like I'm the only flag-bearer for the neighborhood. But the rent is only $800 a month, and it's quiet and peaceful when I work at night."


Jonathan Riesco

Head Again
The saga of Erin — the thirteen-foot mural of a woman at NE 37th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, which has appeared in several incarnations since its birth in November 2004 — continues. This past week The Bitch noticed Erin had undergone a bit of plastic surgery and had an updo loosened into flowing blond waves, so the hound quickly contacted would-be Pygmalion, painter and graphic designer Daniel Fila, to find out the latest.

"Your article is the main reason I changed her face," was Fila's response. "If Erin doesn't want her face on it, no problemo, she's gone." Fila was referring to The Bitch's February 23 column, which reported that the flesh-and-blood Erin, Erin Wozniak, a former classmate of Fila's who now lives in New Zealand, took exception to her face and body being represented in the very public work.

The 25-year-old Fila hinted that more Erin-related drama is in store for the mural, which exists by permission of property owner, architect Chad Oppenheim. "There will be small changes here and there to the mural as the story I'm telling develops," Fila said. "This has become an interactive project. So stay tuned!"

Night Fever
The Bitch has learned that the Bee Gees' recording studio in Miami Beach will likely meet the wrecking ball soon. The Sunset Harbour studio recently sold for $2.75 million, and the new owners, Solomon and Zalman Fellig, aren't interested in making it a shrine to the brothers Gibb, according to Frank Reilly of Sports and Entertainment Realty.

Much to the ire of some local residents who fear a Home Depot, the Felligs have proposed a 78,000-square-foot retail complex for the site at 1801 Bay Rd., which they would combine with other property they already own.

Although the Bee Gees recorded many of their early group and solo project albums at Middle Ear studio, it had been shuttered much of the time in recent years, according to Reilly. "This was kind of an obsolete studio," Reilly said. Last year Barry Gibb revisited his halcyon days in the studio to produce and sing a few duets with Barbra Streisand on her album Guilty Pleasures.

On another real-estate front, Jazid, one of South Beach's most consistent spots for jam bands and seemingly interminable sets by the Spam Allstars, has changed hands. Well the lease has anyway, according to Robert Ziehm, also of SE Realty. For $575,000 (the asking price) Daniel Wohlstein took over the lease, which has nine years remaining. Wohlstein, a long-time area DJ, has been doing incremental renovations such as expanding the upstairs lounge. Despite the interior upgrades, Wohlstein said, the place will remain more or less the same in its approach and the bands it books. "The only thing that will change is there won't be any bad bands," Wohlstein said. "I think the quality of Jazid was going down a little."

Michelle McKinnon, long-time promoter and booker for the club, confirmed she is a victim of the overhaul.

"I have moved on from Jazid," McKinnon acknowledged. "I am moving forward with my newest creative adventure."

Successful Endiver
From a press release announcing the two-year anniversary of a certain restaurant at NE 40th Street and North Miami Avenue: "The District reopens for lunch with a new and tasty menu that includes the steak and tangerine salad (skirt steak, tangerines slices, tomatoes, mixed masculine greens, mango, roasted nuts, onions, and coriander)."

You know, like the Hulk or the Jolly Green Giant, not a femme, like Kermit.


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