Martell Park
Photo by Dan Evans

You can dress her in a parka, crimp her fur, and keep her in your purse, but don't forget: Your dog is still an animal. A pack animal, and it's time to re-acquaint Princess with her long-forgotten species. The Martell dog park is a wedge of suffering grass in the middle of a severe cement landscape, rimmed on the north and east by I-195 ramps, the west by a condo tower, and the east by Biscayne Bay and the sex offender-habitated Julia Tuttle Causeway. But to the finally unleashed urban dog, this is nothing less than heaven: a tract large enough for an epic game of catch (it's about the size of a little-league park) ornamented with a half-dozen big trees to pee on and, if you time the visit right, a plethora of friends equally interested in ass-odor appreciation. Arrive after 5 p.m. on a workday — parking is tricky, so it's wise to drop off your car a few blocks away and make the walk — and the place is packed with downtown-residing yuppies and their toaster-size canines. Run free, purse dogs!

Anri Sala hijacks the language of cinema and video to create disorienting dreamscapes that gnaw at the senses like acid eating through cheap cement. Featuring seven films dating from the late Nineties to the present, the impressive exhibition marks the Albanian artist's first major U.S. museum show. It also includes photographs and sculptures that explore a dialogue about the interplay of space and time. Many of the works mine the artist's interest in films that create their own soundtracks and addle the skull with a sense of disconnect.

In Mixed Behavior, a DJ appears on the roof of a building in Sala's native Tirana as fireworks pepper the sky and sheets of rain drench him on New Year's Eve. The artist blurs the line between the music and the pyrotechnics, hinting at the relationships between festive celebrations and acts of war. Sala's films are like jangled poetry in motion, at times both moving and banal yet hewing to the intriguingly ambiguous.
Feb. 12-March 1, 2009

$15 Drinks Bring Peace to SoBe

Several words can be used to describe South Beach, but serene definitely isn’t one of them. However, the Setai is trying to convince patrons that they can escape from the Beach’s normal hustle and bustle during Serenity Thursdays. The hotel’s exquisite bar and courtyard area play host to the night, serving up their version of hawker stall food — cuisine found in Malaysia and Singapore. This Eastern street food is usually inexpensive, but after the SoBe makeover, it has been repackaged as sophisticated and tony, setting you back anywhere from $16 to $32 per plate. Pair that up with one of the Setai’s signature cocktails made with all-natural ingredients (average price $15) and you’re sure to be in a meditative state before the night is over. Just don’t look at the final bill.

The party goes from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with DJ Stefano L providing the calming tunes.
Thu., April 30, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; Thu., May 7, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., 2009

When Carol Anne Burger called police just before 1 p.m. October 23, 2008, she sounded panicked.

"I... I don't know if this is an emergency, but it could be," she told the 911 operator. Carol was breathing heavily. "My girlfriend didn't come home last night." She immediately rephrased her statement: "my roommate."

Carol stammered on: "And... um... I... you know, that's very unusual — she went to the gym... about 8:30 to 9 or something, and she didn't come home. I woke up this morning, and she wasn't here. And I just got a call now from a woman at Pyramid Books... somebody turned in her wallet and her car keys." Carol's heels clicked rhythmically in the background as she paced around the house. "I don't know where she is!"

The operator asked for her address, and Carol gave it, but she sounded hesitant, as though she wasn't quite prepared for the reality of investigators showing up at the house. "Now... you know... I don't know what what's... that's not... that's —"

"Hold on, ma'am," the operator interrupted. "I have to ask you some questions."

Carol said she wasn't sure about her roommate's age. She said she drove a gray BMW but didn't know the license plate. The cadence of her clicking heels picked up.

"I'll send someone over to meet with you," the operator told her.

"Oh," Carol said. "I can't — I'm supposed to be at the unemployment office." Then she relented: "I guess I'll call them."

Officer Evelyn McCoy arrived at the pink and yellow Boynton Beach house minutes later. Carol, age 57, was wearing makeup, a pantsuit, and three-inch heels. She repeated her story to McCoy: Her ex-girlfriend — they were separated but still living together — had left for the L.A. Fitness around 9 the night before and hadn't been home since. Carol said she'd tried calling to ask her to bring home milk but that the call had gone straight to voicemail.

"I don't know where she could be," Carol told the officer. "This is so unusual." McCoy briefly looked around and saw no signs of a struggle.

Police issued a missing-persons alert by 4 p.m., just in time for the evening news. The story aired on every local TV channel that night and was on the front page of every daily newspaper the next morning.

Jessica Kalish was a gregarious software executive who used to host AlterNet, a gay and lesbian radio talk show in Miami. Her wife, Carol, was a writer covering the presidential election for the Huffington Post. To outsiders, it seemed they were the embodiment of contemporary domestic bliss: two smart, professional women living in an immaculate house replete with screened-in pool, a cabana bathroom, and plenty of room for their two adopted racing greyhounds. Soon, though, all of South Florida learned the unsettling truth.

Just after 11 that night, a woman driving on Congress Avenue spotted Jessica's BMW sedan between two dumpsters, around the block from a police substation. The driver's-side window was smashed. There was blood splattered on the left side of the car. On the back tire. On the undercarriage. There was more blood — and hair the color of Jessica's — along the rear bumper. At the edge of the trunk. On the upholstery of both front seats.

And there, on the floorboard, stuffed headfirst beneath the back of the driver's seat, her legs bent awkwardly across the back seat, was the body of 56-year-old Jessica Kalish.

Lead detective Alfredo Martinez arrived within 20 minutes of the discovery. He knew immediately this was no indiscriminate robbery or random act of violence. "When I looked in the back seat, at first glance, you could automatically see that this was an emotionally driven crime," Martinez would recall. "Somebody was in a rage."

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Jessica spoke four languages, had a black belt in karate, and prided herself on being a tough, strong woman. She was tall and lean, with short, dark hair and eyes like tiny flames. She liked fine single-malt Scotch, expensive cigars, and smart, passionate women. She grew up in a quiet neighborhood in Queens, in a traditional Jewish home with both parents and a younger sister, Sibyl. As a child, Jessica would disassemble kitchen appliances and put them back together. She had an intense fascination, her family would later say, with the way the world fit together. She knew very young that she liked women, and at 17, she left her parents' house in Forest Hills to live a bohemian life in Greenwich Village.

"It was the 1960s, and Jessica epitomized the new kind of fearless lesbian," Sibyl Kalish remembers. "She wasn't really butch, and she wasn't a fem. Jessica always defied any label anyone wanted to put on her, but everyone around her fell in love with her energy and her desire to get the most out of every moment in life."

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Jessica earned a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was one of the first women enrolled in the esteemed engineering department. To pay the bills, she lied about her age and began working as a bartender in a lesbian bar and driving a taxi at night.

Late one evening in the early '70s (friends disagree on the exact year), a group of women flagged down Jessica's cab and dumped a very drunk, petite, fiery woman in the back seat with instructions to take her home. Jessica liked the woman — Carol Anne Burger — and the two became friends. In time, however, life carried each in a separate direction. Carol moved to Hawaii and became a scuba instructor. Jessica moved to Miami, where she worked at a series of tech companies and began hosting her show.

In 1998, Jessica took out a classified ad in a local GLBT newspaper. She was particularly intrigued by the clever response of a diving instructor named Carol living in Boca Raton. When the two met, they realized they'd dated 20 years earlier.

Carol was another well-read, worldly woman from New York. She was smaller, with a wild blond mane and a smile that lodged in the memories of the people she met. Like Jessica, Carol was verbose and passionate about politics. She quoted Shakespeare and liked fine dining, obscure trivia, and relaxing with her greyhound, Cleo, in front of the TV set, where she'd watch her favorite show, CSI. Growing up, she'd been a tomboy and a bit of a wild child. She attended the original Woodstock. (On the 25th anniversary of the festival, she bragged to a Palm Beach Post reporter: "I did inhale.") In her 20s, she worked as a photographer as well as a scuba instructor, bouncing between New York and Hawaii before moving to Florida in the late '80s. She worked at the now-defunct Delray Beach Times and Twin Cities News in Pompano Beach before landing a job writing for Credit Union Times, where she won awards for her coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

She told friends that most of her family had shunned her because of her sexual orientation. (Her family says it was actually Carol who cut communications, saying their conservative beliefs were too frustrating to deal with.) Her closest friends recall a gentle, sensitive woman. "If Carol found a cricket in the house," friend Helen Gale remembers, "she would gently scoop him up and take him outside and let him go. Sometimes she got upset if she thought she hurt an animal."

Carol appreciated the secure feeling she had around Jessica, and Jessica liked Carol's free spirit and tenderness. Soon they were spending every free moment together. One night when Jessica was away on business, they talked to each other on the phone until the sun came up. They decided to buy a house together in 2000, on Churchill Drive, in a quiet, diverse subdivision on the east side of Boynton Beach. The couple made quick friends. Neighborhood children came over to watch movies and play with the peaceful greyhounds. On hot days, Jess and Carol would pass out old-timey glass bottles of Coke.

When they noticed conservative bumper stickers on a new neighbor's car, the women baked a welcoming cake and brought it over to announce — in front of the children — "We're gay!" As a couple, they were ardent, vociferous participants in the political process. "If there was a rally anywhere around here," a neighbor recalls, "they were the first two there, with signs." After George W. Bush moved troops into Iraq in 2003, Jessica and Carol began flying their American flag upside down.

Jessica was the moneymaker, always suave, always the first with a sharp, witty joke. Carol was the dreamer, at home in the vastness of water, a freelance writer — and also financially dependent upon Jessica. Money eventually became a contentious issue for the seemingly happy couple.

Another point of tension: Jessica's family didn't like Carol. Early in the relationship, while they were staying with Jessica's parents in New York, Jessica's mom caught Carol smoking pot. On another trip, as the couple said goodbye to Jessica's family at LaGuardia Airport, Carol realized she'd forgotten her laptop and began shrieking at Jessica. "She threw a childish tantrum," Sibyl says. "She made an awful, embarrassing scene in the middle of the airport. Even security wanted to know what the problem was."

Other people witnessed Carol's tantrums too. One morning, as a lawn service was cutting down a neighbor's branches with a chain saw, Carol bolted out of her house, phone in hand, screaming at the startled landscapers. "It was 11 a.m. on a weekday," the neighbor remembers. "I kept telling her: 'You're out of line here, Carol. You're out of control right now.' But you could tell by the look in her eye at the time, there's no way to describe it other than just pure 'crazy.'"

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A few days later, Jessica apologized for Carol's behavior.

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Despite their growing problems, the couple couldn't resist the chance to make a political statement. In 2005, not long after the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in that state, Carol and Jessica flew up for a ceremony of their own. The reception party, paid for by Jessica's parents, was held in Connecticut.

By then, though, friends noticed the couple fighting more frequently. At a party just after the wedding, the women had to excuse themselves for the duration of dinner to go to another room and argue.

Near the end of 2007, Carol and Jessica began telling friends they were separated but still sharing the house until they could sell it. Carol slept in the guest room, and the two would go days without speaking to each other. She told friends that she and Jessica wanted to divide their property and go separate ways, but neither woman trusted the other enough to sell the house and split the money fairly. And a traditional divorce wasn't an option: Since their marriage wasn't recognized in Florida, they couldn't get a divorce here; and since they didn't live in Massachusetts, they couldn't get a divorce there.

Then Carol lost her job at the Credit Union Times. She applied for — and began receiving — unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, Jessica bought a BMW and started seeing another woman, a feminist writer living in Massachusetts named Wendy Hunter Roberts.

"Carol would get so sad," Helen Gale recalls. "She said [Jessica] had become cold and cruel to her." Carol told friends that Jessica said she'd never loved her, that she didn't know how she'd ever been attracted to Carol. She complained that Jessica would spend hours on web-cam dates with her new girlfriend, intentionally speaking loud enough for Carol to hear.

In June 2008, Carol wrote out a suicide note, but she couldn't follow through with the act.

"Jess didn't even say happy birthday to me this morning," Carol wrote in an email to Helen later that month. "What a putz. [It's] hard to reconcile the person I loved so much with the person I see before me now."

Helen was a close confidant of Carol's in the year before Jessica's murder; Helen too was ending a long relationship, and the two women connected over the shared experience. Carol stayed with Helen in California for two months in early 2008. Helen often came to Delray Beach to see her mother and also visited Carol. They emailed daily.

The correspondence reveals, in Carol, a torn, complex woman. She was at times optimistic, hoping to sell the house, travel, and put this part of her life behind her. Other times, she sounded jaded: "Frankly, I just don't have much faith in living in America in the next coming years," she wrote at one point. She was still devastated by the death of her mother a few years earlier. She was worried about losing the money she had tied up in the house and felt alone and abandoned. But she never hesitated to extend warmth to her friends, often dropping in a quick "I'm thinking of you" or "Please feel better..." and always closing with "Love, Carol."

Some emails reveal she made a conscious effort to be cheerful. "Better days are coming," she wrote Helen in early summer. "Happy days, brighter days... I'll put the house on the market and get away from this toxic human being ASAP!"

Last July, Carol was invited to cover the presidential election for the popular political blog Huffington Post. She wrote about young Florida Democrats, about the opening of the Obama campaign headquarters in Delray Beach, and about the South Florida gay community's push to shoot down Florida's Amendment 2, which would, as Carol wrote in a post, "enshrine one-man, one-woman marriage into the state Constitution."

"The amendment is vague," Carol told her readers, "so it could allow for disenfranchising contractual and domestic arrangements and take away recognition already granted by many cities and counties in Florida."

Though the exposure on such a highly trafficked media outlet was great, the Huffington Post job didn't pay. Still, Carol told Helen she was hopeful: "I'm gathering the strength I need to do the unpleasant work that lies before me: getting the house ready to sell and then selling it and moving on," she wrote.

A week later: "I've so much work to get done in order to put the house on the market," Carol wrote. "My goal is to list it in Sept. or Oct. and hopefully to do the sale and be out by year's end."

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In an email from August, two months before the murder, Carol mentioned that Jessica "had her lover pick her up again." She said she was sad. "I'm feeling pretty isolated," she wrote. "I just can't bring myself to punish people with my sad self whenever I'm down. But I usually bounce back in time."

As credit markets froze in September and the price of real estate in South Florida plummeted, Carol grew more desperate. She told people she felt trapped. The rotating highs and lows seemed to spiral, taking Carol deeper into a dark depression. But she refused to take medication. "I'd rather just be sad than chemically dependent," she wrote to Helen. "If medication works for you, great. It's not for me. Most people I know who've taken them never seem to get off that merry-go-round."

When she took Helen to the airport at the end of a trip in October, Carol began sobbing uncontrollably, saying she didn't want Helen to leave. "I can't go back to that house," Carol cried. "Not with her. I can't take it."

"You've gotta move out, Carol," Helen said as she comforted her friend. "You have to."

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About noon on Friday, October 24, Boynton Beach Police announced they had found Jessica's body. Calls to the house and to Carol's cell phone went to voicemail. Knocks from neighbors and reporters went unanswered. When officers didn't get an answer at the door just after 2:30 p.m., they headed around the side of the house. They could hear a greyhound barking inside. In the back yard, they found Carol. She was dead, lying in a pool of still-warm blood next to the screened-in pool.

"When we first found her and secured the scene, we weren't even sure at that point what we were investigating," Detective Martinez recalls. "We didn't know if Carol was distraught, missing Jessica, and just couldn't take it anymore. Or maybe this was a double murder, set up to look like suicide."

As police moved from room to room, Martinez noticed what looked like a single drop of brown paint on the floor of the garage, near the washing machine. But since the rest of the garage appeared undisturbed — there were piles of furniture, scuba gear, old lamps — the detective didn't think much of it. Only later, when another detective found a similar spot on the wall in the cabana bathroom, did they test both drops and determine they were blood.

Police obtained the necessary warrants and spent the rest of the afternoon moving furniture out of the house. The back bathroom was the first place crime-scene investigators went with the Luminol, a chemical that attaches to iron found in hemoglobin. Even if the area has been cleaned thoroughly, when sprayed under a black light, Luminol turns bright blue wherever blood has been present — a reaction scientists call "chemiluminescence." The Boynton Beach crime-scene technicians first sprayed the chemical on the bathroom wall, near the spot of blood. The wall began to glow. They sprayed over the sink. It too started to glow.

"From the amount of blood we found in the bathroom," Martinez says, "we originally thought the murder must have occurred in that room." Evidence of blood was present on every wall, all over the shower, on the door, the mirror, the tile floor. The sink had overflowed at one point; the Luminol unveiled haunting blue streaks down the front of the cabinets.

That, though, did not compare to what police discovered in the garage.

With the carpets and futon and scuba gear out of the way, the Luminol revealed what looked like a killing floor. There had been, at one point, three large puddles of blood and a set of footprints mapping the killer's path. There was more blood in the washing machine and patterns outlining where Jessica's car had been parked during the attack.

Though friends and family members dispute some of the details, police pieced together a narrative of what they think happened: On October 22, Carol spent the day helping Helen Gale's mother move boxes after a flood. After work, Jessica and her new girlfriend chatted via web cam until about 7:30 p.m. Jessica showed Wendy her new haircut; she had just gotten her dark brown hair cropped short, with sassy spikes in the back. Jessica used her L.A. Fitness membership card at 7:48 p.m. and worked out for an hour. Carol was at home, stewing over something — what exactly, no one will ever know. When Jessica pulled the BMW into the garage, Carol confronted her in a rage. Carol picked up a screwdriver.

Because there were scratches on the car door and the driver's-side window, police believe Jessica was still in the car when the attack began. When Jessica got out, Carol didn't stop swinging the screwdriver. Jessica's forearms were scratched, her hands punctured. Carol chipped Jessica's front teeth. She struck Jessica's chest. Then again. Then Jessica's face. Her shoulders. Jessica fell to the ground. Streaks of blood beneath where the car had been parked suggest that Jessica — who was much taller and stronger than Carol — was stretching out her hands, desperately trying to get under the car. Then Jessica crouched into a prone position near the rear driver's-side tire.

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Most of the screwdriver blows landed on Jessica's neck and on the back of her head, perhaps directed at her new haircut. All told, there were 222 stab wounds. The lacerations were, on average, an inch to an inch-and-a-half deep, and most were shaped like the tiny plus sign on the tip of a Phillips-head screwdriver. The fatal strike was likely a blow to the spinal cord. The struggle — and subsequent overkill — probably lasted about 20 minutes.

After the attack, an exhausted Carol pulled Jessica's body toward the trunk, but she was too tired to lift her lifeless former lover. She dragged Jessica's body back around the side of the car — leaving smeared blood and hair along the front of the trunk and on the tires. She opened the back driver's-side door and pushed Jessica up, onto the back seat. Then she walked around to the passenger side, leaned in, and pulled Jessica the rest of the way into the car.

Carol drove the BMW, with Jessica stuffed in the back, to the parking lot where it was found — at some point leaving a broken cigarette on the back seat to throw off the police. (Though Jessica relished the occasional expensive cigar, she detested cigarettes.) Then Carol walked home two miles in the rain and began cleaning. She wiped the weapon clean and put it away. She mopped up the blood in the garage (except for the drop Martinez saw). She stripped down, ran around back to the cabana bathroom (so as not to track blood through the house), washed herself, and then washed that bathroom. She got dressed, drove a mile in the opposite direction of the BMW, and dropped Jessica's keys and wallet in a rough neighborhood. Later, she moved carpets over the spots in the garage where the most blood had been and put furniture over the carpets.

Then Carol made herself a snack, worked on her resumé a bit, and waited.

After she got the call that Jessica's wallet had been found, she called 911 with a panicked voice. She paced through the house while on the phone, her heels clicking down the seconds before her life unraveled. She spent most of that evening talking with police and, later, telling a neighbor how worried she was. "Where could she be?" she said again and again, still pacing. "I don't know where she is."

The morning of October 24 — after police had discovered Jessica's body but before the information was made public — Danielle Dubetz, a reporter with WPTV-TV Channel 5 at the time, went to the house with her cameraman and spoke with Carol, seeking an update on the previous night's missing-persons story. Carol answered the door in her bathrobe and looked like she hadn't slept in three days. She agreed to email photos of Jessica but asked not to appear on camera. As they left, Dubetz noticed something especially odd: As Carol had repeated over and over I don't know where she is. Where could she be? — the supposedly grieving woman wasn't making eye contact.

"Normally people are in such distress," Dubetz remembers, "they stare at you in your eyes and it just cuts you to your core. We're the first people there, and they're pleading for help. She was asking for help, but she wasn't looking at me at all. It was so strange."

At some point between 11:30 a.m., when the reporter left her house, and 2:30 p.m., when police arrived, Carol brought her .38-caliber pistol to the dining room table in its case. She loaded the gun and walked out back by the pool, shaded by the screened enclosure extending from the house. She removed her flip-flops and reading glasses and placed them gently on the glass patio table. Wearing only a bathrobe and panties, she looked at herself in the mirrored sliding door and placed the gun under her chin.

Nobody heard the shot. The bullet left a hole in the top of the screen.

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When police found Carol's body, they noticed an odd, deep, L-shaped abrasion on her knee. It looked fresh, but they couldn't think of what might have caused such a wound. But when they examined the garage, they noticed that a large, metal Coleman toolbox had one drawer sticking out slightly. The shape of the drawer matched the wound exactly. Detectives concluded that Carol must have been running at the car when it pulled in, and she knocked her leg on the drawer's metal lip. Perhaps that was what pushed her over the edge. That drawer contained three Phillips-head screwdrivers.

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After the sad incident, some observers suggested that the story of Jess and Carol highlighted the need for across-the-board legal recognition of civil unions and same-sex marriages. "It's very messy for us to get disentangled," says Elizabeth F. Schwartz, a Miami-based family attorney specializing in same-sex issues. "This is one example of many of a couple that entered into a marriage and then couldn't get themselves out of it. When the kind people of Massachusetts grant you the right to marry but Florida won't recognize those marriages, it can make getting a divorce very difficult. Certainly the answer is not to kill your ex, but it does remind us that the consequences can be grave when we don't have a legal and appropriate way out."

As details of the murder-suicide trickled out, the crime captivated the public. Not only was it remarkable in its brutality (the number 222 was an inescapable representation of one woman's immense pain and anger), but also perhaps more shocking were the demographics involved — two married, postmenopausal, educated lesbians.

In spite of the uniqueness, what happened with Carol and Jessica echoed so many other cases of domestic violence: Tension built and built until the relationship, and the lives of the participants, came to a horrible, climactic end. Beyond the luxury cars, the beautiful house, and the high-profile careers, they were not impervious to the stresses of a sour relationship, worries over money, or the desperate pains of mental illness.

And in that way, Carol and Jessica were just like everyone else.

When former beauty queen and spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission Anita Bryant took a stand against a Miami-Dade gay rights ordinance in 1977, she caused such a stir that Michael Yawney was inspired to write a play to document the media brouhaha. 1,000 Homosexuals portrays Bryant as a musical Joan of Arc battling a powerful and perverse gay mafia, twisting government records and newspaper articles into a carnival of ’70s-style sex and faith. If you’re not totally up on your LGBT history, Bryant is the woman who led the “Save Our Children” campaign, which aided in repealing an ordinance that protected the rights of gay Americans.

Another human rights ordinance was not created until 1998, and the Christian Coalition challenged even that in 2002 — but this time the opposition was unsuccessful. It’s been only a few months since a ban on same-sex marriages had the South Florida LGBT community crying fowl yet again, go see the play that documents how the fight began. The show runs from through March 1 at the Colony Theatre. Visit camposition.org for more info.
Feb. 28-March 1, 2009
It’s not easy being a great girl volleyball player. Wake up, apply acne-preventing face wash, dance with your friends to generic bubblegum pop music, catch a rerun of The Wizards of Waverly Place, chant to your Jonas Brothers poster for a few minutes, txt ur buds, and then gather up your kneepads of destiny and scrunchies of doom. It’s sort of like Bloodsport if you replace the blood with glitter. CHONG LI! It’s the 2009 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior Olympic Championship at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Don’t be mistaken by the ages of the girls on the 788 teams. The young ladies in the 12-and-under division will make you cry for your Teddy Ruxpin, and the setters of the 18-and-under teams are so intense their fingertips could be weapons. And this is no small-time deal. Championships in the Open, American, and National divisions are on the line. So grab your lip gloss, US Weekly, and defibrillator — someone is going to choke on a spike with a glitter comet trail. Tuesday’s games are at noon, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. The competition runs through July 5. Tickets cost $12 a day or $45 for a tournament pass.
June 26-July 5, 2009

400 Ways to Get Your Party On

There was a time when New York promoters controlled the South Beach party scene, and on any given night, the clubs were filled with hip-hop that seemed to be piped directly from the Tunnel or a late-night Hot 97 broadcast. Nowadays, you’ll hear more dance than Nas, and see more gold glitter via Ed Hardy tees than bling via diamond chains draped on the rap scene’s glitterati. But members of one party crew are showing they’ll never lose their luster: the 400 Club. And since their Friday nights at Play (formerly known as the Fifth) have already reached legend status and become a must-visit for both tourists and locals, it’s high time for them to shake things up a bit. And by “shake,” we mean move their Saturday-night fete, Eye Candy Saturdays, to a larger venue — the newly re-opened Cameo. So now celebs, beauties, and their groupies have more room to swag and surf, pop champagne, and do whatever else a song tells them to do. The party rolls from 10 p.m. until the last dance is done. Admission varies based on who you know, how you look, and what you say. Work it out.
Saturdays, 10 p.m., 2009

60-Something Kilos, Er, Candles

Imagine you were one of Miami’s original cocaine cowboys, a man infamous for having transported — by air, sea, and street — $2 billion worth of Colombian powder into the United States. How would you choose to celebrate your birthday? Excessively, right? Surrounded by naked ladies, loaded weapons, and a huge sampling of your own product, right? Dead wrong. And that’s why you are not and never will be Mickey Munday.

If you had any brains at all, you’d keep your party action clothed, unarmed, and sober. You’d organize something modest, like Mickey Munday’s Birthday Bash at Tobacco Road this Saturday. You’d invite a few — or several hundred — adult friends and book a couple — or 20 — live bands. You’d start things at a decent hour, around 9 p.m., and you’d charge an affordable entry fee, say ten bucks. It’s the game’s greatest rule: Do not attract undue attention. Or, as Mr. Munday says, “Why do you want to advertise yourself? Keep it low-profile.” That’s how a true coke kingpin parties.
Sat., June 27, 9 p.m., 2009
Maybe it's bad taste to get on some kind of eulogy bender before the corpse is even cold, but the diagnosis is terminal and it's only a matter of time ... Your favorite hipster bar, PS14, is dying. So say goodbye, Miami, and make amends for all the wrongs you've committed against this party spot that's done you so right on so many nights. Then, once you've thoroughly cleansed your club karma, show up next Wednesday for the final installment ever of Finger Lickin', presented by scene stalwarts Iamyourvillain, Benton, and Javi. The bash is being billed as "the farewell party of all farewell parties" and it's gonna feature a million and a half awesome activities to keep your grief-riddled mind preoccupied: a 14th Street BBQ, bike races, pool partying, ladies' arm wrestling, a rummage sale, and the so-called "whatever jam" featuring, um, whatever. Plus, for extra credit, ride your bike to the party and get $2 beers that you can tearfully dump on the freshly dug grave of PS14. Indeed, it shall be a sad night, friends. But there's no better way to honor a short life lived recklessly than kicking it hardcore with DJs Oly, Stravinsky & Salami Fingers, Contra, Benton & Juan, and DS, not to mention all your recently deceased celebrity friends like Wacko Jacko, Farrah, and the OxiClean guy. So come party the pain away, you'll need it.
Wed., Oct. 28, 2009

A Better Fantasy Than the Football Kind

Yes, this Saturday’s Captain Morgan’s Fantasy Fest Parade on Duval Street in Key West is a healthy distance from Miami. But is three hours really so long to drive for hordes of shirtless women with butterflies painted on their boobs? We think not. Especially when the theme this year — the 30th anniversary of the event, by the way — is “Villains, Vixens, and Vampires” and the grand marshal is Bridget Marquardt of The Girls Next Door. Expect the 50 gigantic homemade floats stretching from White Street to Front Street to be plastered with exotic sights galore, in keeping with the unwritten rule that all Fantasy Fest events be awesome.

The festival as a whole began last Friday, October 23, but this Saturday is the night. Get out on Duval at noon if you’re hard-core; otherwise, Marquardt kicks things off at 7 p.m. The parade is free, but if you’re going down to Key West, we imagine you’ll be spending cash on other things.
Sat., Oct. 31, 7 p.m., 2009

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