After bankrolling a few elusive festivities, such as a free concert at Margaret Pace Park on August 21 and pre-parties at B.E.D. and Banana Joe's, Viacom's favorite daughter has wooed you for an extended urban tryst that begins on Thursday and quickly snowballs into Sunday, the 21st birthday of the Video Music Awards. And she's bringing fledgling songstress Paris Hilton, a freewheeling and adamantly political P. Diddy, and a slew of righteous parties with her. It almost makes up for ruining modern music.
VMA Cocowalk Takeover: Just hours before students at the University of Miami return for their inaugural Thirsty Thursday binge session at the Grove, MTV is scheduled to commandeer a choice location for libations. Expect a live set by Big Apple DJ trio the X-ecutioners for the main event, with local hip-hop tablists Rob Dinero, Irie, and De La Soul's Maseo. VMA Cocowalk Takeover takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, August 26, at 3015 Grand Ave, Coconut Grove. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com for more information.
No Romance: Though it's unfortunate that the funky boutique Osiel Store is no longer nestled on Washington Avenue, offering fashion hints to quizzical passersby, the man behind it, Osiel Rojas, has stylishly reappeared as the coordinator of No Romance, an invite-only affair at the Marlin for the VMA-involved and various creative types. It's curiously multidimensional in its focus on thought-stirring music (a six-turntable, dual-laptop mix of electro, reggae, and rap by local DJ crew Los Four Amigos), haute ambience, art (aseptic, surreal works of futurism by New York graphic designer Arnold "AS1" Steiner), and alcohol (read: open bar). Here's hoping Rojas plans an immediate follow-up. No Romance takes place from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday, August 26, at the Marlin Bar, 1225 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-604-5000.
VMA Block Party One: This free and overly generous helping of Dirty South crunk served up to the furious, sun-sick heads that didn't hit the VMA ticket lottery simply promises to bring a ruckus. With performances by Lil' Scrappy, Trillville, a chart-clawing Ciara, and local homie Pitbull, bet it all on black that their mega-producer, Lil' Jon, will be leaning back as the consummate master of ceremonies. All that's missing is Mr. Don Cartegena himself. VMA Block Party One takes place from 7:00 p.m. to midnight Friday, August 27, at Club Row, NE 11th St between NE 2nd Ave and Miami Ave. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com for more information.
Diamonds on Ice: Like a clashing montage lifted from House Party, urbane gatherings of socialites will attempt to mingle on white carpet with invited VMA presenters and elite movers and shakers such as Roc-A-Fella CEO Damon Dash and Diddy, the weekend's unofficial mogul himself. $20 million worth of diamond jewelry, provided by Jacob "the Jeweler" Arabo, Lorraine Schwartz, and others, will be on display for this modest, VIP-only toast to Billboard magazine's so unnecessary "Diamonds & Music" theme issue. Diamonds on Ice takes place from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday, August 27, at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-672-2000.
P. Diddy presents Welcome to Miami: Mansion's sleek red décor will reportedly receive an Art Deco makeover with palm trees and such in preparation for one of the more lavish weekend soirées open to the public (for a steep price). The affable clown prince of boom bap, Biz Markie, is scheduled to work the one-and-twos and possibly do a few truffle-shuffles in Sean John board shorts, and Microsoft is cosponsoring the event 'cause they live dat shit, too. Oh yeah, all those spooky "Vote or Die" T-shirts you'll see are from Diddy's Citizen Change Initiative, his commendably nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses "Spider-Man marketing saturation" to urge the youth to vote or die. A moderate downer, if well intentioned. But nobody beats the Biz. P. Diddy presents: Welcome to Miami takes place from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Friday, August 27, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.
VMA Block Party Two: This free VMA block party sequel brings a far less intense, more soulful roster of acts such as Anthony Hamilton, Carl Thomas, and, hell yeah, the Spam Allstars, not to mention a rumored cameo by New Edition (!). Meanwhile, the Cash Money Millionaires, Beenie Man, De La Soul, and Mason Betha will pave over the R&B smoothness with bangers spanning three decades. Seemingly tacked on to the lineup, as their name aptly implies, is Yellowcard, but never mind that. VMA Block Party Two takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, August 28, at Club Row, NE 11th St between NE 2nd Ave and Miami Ave. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com for more information.
Paris Hilton's Screwed party: If Ashl-eeeek Simpson can go platinum, who's to keep the limber, pun-drunk debutante from turning into a microphone controller? Then again, after leaking her no-go single "Screwed," it's mighty unlikely the evening's killer mixmaster, Hollywood's DJ-on-tap and Hilton pal DJ A.M., can reverse such doo-doo pomposity. But even though he turned down the VMA in light of his recent $50 million show-and-prove for Comedy Central, Dave Chappelle is hosting this, along with cosponsors Clubplanet.com, so shit's got to be money. Paris Hiltons Screwed album launch party takes place from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Saturday, August 28, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.
MTV2 presents A LIFEbeat Benefit: DJ Mark Ronson's kid sis and Roc-A-Fella's only traditional rock-a-cutie Samantha Ronson is on deck to spin a tasteful carousel of punk, classic rawk, and a little Killa Cam at this shindig for LIFEbeat, a charitable AIDS organization. All proceeds go to the cause, and De La Soul (they're everywhere) and DJ A.M. are booked to get this humanitarian jump-off started properly. MTV2 presents: A LIFEbeat Benefit takes place from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Saturday, August 28, at crobar, 1445 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-672-8084.
R. Kelly party: Guess who's back? R. Kelly steps back into Vice City after cleaning up at the recent Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards with, oddly enough, even more to celebrate. Alongside a belated mega-tour next month with Jay-Z in support of their ancient Best of Both Worlds LP, the so-called Pied Piper effortlessly dropped a double-album last Tuesday with an instant classic title, Happy People/U Saved Me. Resident DJ Khaled creates tonight's soundtrack. The R. Kelly party takes place Saturday, August 28, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. at Opium Garden, 136 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-531-5535.
OutKast party: Dre and Big Boi, who are up for five statues (including Video of the Year) for "Hey Ya!" are reportedly pulling out all the stops for this VIP-only event with a high-concept, debauched Old World theme inspired by the island nation of Madagascar. The evening's soundtrack will be domestic, though, as Aussie supermodel Sky Nellor and bottom-of-the-map DJ Goldfinger pass around the wettest sticky-icky anthems fit for two of the VMA's biggest presumed winners. OutKasts post-awards bash takes place Sunday, August 29, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.