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Viva la Gloria

This past Friday night, the imposing gates of Star Island stood open to the rich, the famous, and the lowly media — all invited to the splendiferous casa de la Gloria Estefan to attend a fundraising gala.

Three hundred guests were expected; tickets cost $5,000 a head, but the journalists didn't need them. On the other hand, the ticket price included cocktails, dinner, a performance by Gloria, and -- an important detail -- access beyond her front gate. The media ticket got you some space by said gate to watch the arrivals.

So that's what we did: as the guests began to trickle across the threshold, the (mostly Spanish-language) TV news crews scanned faces and positioned themselves for celebrities; figuring I wouldn't know a celebrity if one performed a root canal on me (without a mask, of course), I just watched the TV crews.

Rosie O'Donnell appeared — that was exciting.

Everybody shouted "Rosie! Rosie!" but she wasn't taking questions. She grimaced for a few shots and then vanished. Gloria and husband Emilio made their appearance. Emilio had cool glasses on. Gloria seemed laid back. She talked about how great it was that they had raised all that money.

The real show was the media themselves. I don't watch much TV — but I'm gonna start, and not with Fox News, either: do you know how good-looking the Spanish-language TV anchormen and anchorwomen are? Half the guests were like chopped liver compared to these reporters. Among the luminaries were Univision's Rafael Mercadante — who wore a smooth, silky-looking, I'm-a-reporter-but-I'm-still-more-famous-than-you shirt, and Telemundo's Paola Varela — who, just for the hell of it, during a lull, jumped out onto the carpet so everybody could take pictures of her for a while. Que guapos!

The evening's climax (well, the media's, anyway) was the fact that not only were we served shrimp; not only were we served boxes of Chinese food replete with chopsticks; but we were treated to Mojitos as well, and damned good ones.

So, what the hell — viva Gloria! -- Isaiah Thompson

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