"the" Mrs. Astor

Friday, June 30, 2006

As always, it's funny how things line up in the every day routine of things. Dr. Brad had stopped by to have his afternoon gin and tonic with me and was talking about HIS pal, Dr. Tom, who is a "bug" doctor, and had come to Miami from Orlando to teach the International Airport personnel working in quarantine. I foolishly asked, "Quarantine for pets?" and Brad gently smiled and replied, "No, for humans" and then went on to describe how flight crews focus on ill passengers on international flights and load them into quarantine. They are looking for the first signs of Bird Flu, he explained, and Tom was flying to Indonesia next week to study it more. "Still, aren't we dealing with people who sleep with their chickens?" I asked. "Yes," he replied "but they still can board a flight." He said he was "uneasy" about it all.

So, walking home I see a guy with a wire cage capturing pigeons on Lincoln Road, the Rodeo Drive of South Beach. At first, I thought he was just another freak from Hialeah capturing animals for sacrifice and actually thought of calling the police, when I spotted the car. He was transferring the pigeons from the cage to a plastic crate and loading them into that car for disposal of some sort.

Suddenly, I was a little "uneasy" with the whole situation, too, but more so for the woman who sleeps with him.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Boy's Best Friend...

For his going away present I bought Jeremy a Mormon. These are exceptionally intelligent creatures, loyal (The Secret Service swears by them), of sturdy build, and the perfect companion. Most Mormons come in pairs, though; it seems they compliment each and work well together. Until recently, this was the preferred breed of folks in the upper Mid West; but there has been a sharp increase at the best shows around the country and they can be seen even in Miami. Jeremy named him Justin and--since he was leaving for South America the next day--could only play with him for a while.
Justin was not shy. When I told him I was one of the best judges of good breeds in this hemisphere, he eagerly posed, sat pretty, and wagged his tail on command. I don't know what it is about South Beach. Even the best breeding can be thrown out the window for the right treat or caress.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the rare days that I walk home--those days which are relatively cool and dry--I always marvel at this convergence of shapes at the top of Ocean Drive at fifteenth street. It is a marriage between George Jetson and Art Deco with a little feeling of Metropolis, too.

The developers, The City, and The Preservation Society have engaged in a delicate dance since they decided not to be at each others' throats. The City is the great arbiter here and, as in all governments, the two other sides have infiltrated its ranks with their own agents.

The developers would have razed down the historic district and replaced it with faceless behemoth condos and hotels long ago if The Preservation Society hadn't summoned up the gay community years ago to halt destruction of the Deco section of town. The City sits in the middle, takes money from all sides, passes nonsensical codes, insane laws, attempts to hinder business as much as possible, and employs the most stupid and lazy work force ever assemble before God. The Commission just passed a bill that would spend money on decorating every manhole cover in the city; I won't sleep until I find out which commissioner has a brother-in-law in the manhole business. It's a small town with a lot of money, a dangerous combination.

Still, it's the closest thing to Paradise many will experience, especially if you like palm trees, gay people, the ocean, crazy people, sex, tourists, money, and parties. If you like all of the above, then you may officially write "Heaven" on your return address.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Couldn't Resist

The man on the left, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waisted tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, along with the ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish.

People can be viscous. As the song tells us, "they smile to your face" and then go about all that bad-mouthing.

Because he wears a lot of caps, scarves, turbans, and ski masks, Ditmar is often rumored to be losing his hair. This is scurrilous talk by self-serving scum. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In honor of his departure today for Austria, I am presenting proof that there is a full mane of hair on the top of Ditmar's head.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Friday's Terrorist....

...is Monday's chopped liver.

Isn't it amazing? The story that gripped the country on Friday, the menacing account of "home grown" terrorists in Miami, is nowhere to be found. The equally gripping, Miami Herald, went back to babies tossed out windows and Super Termites; entering "terrorist" on its site this morning turned up one story about Israel and another about Washington, D.C. Either we were saved or fooled.

The group of crack heads rounded up in the abysmally poor neighborhood of the ironically named Liberty City had the combined brain cell capacity of an Arab doorknob. Lacking weapons or plans but funded by the federal government with a grant of $50,000, they are old news in three days and the Attorney General doesn't look any taller for it. How sad that he didn't shoot for moon and spend a million; he might have stayed on Broadway for at least another week.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I was invited Thursday by David, the manager of Hotel Victor's new coffee and gift shop, Viaggi, to stroll over under the last blue skies we have seen since and experience the new place.

Upon entering I thought I saw The Countess (in a well-placed table) wave her lace napkin at me. The shop was so elegant and well-styled that I felt I was once again sitting down to tea on the Ringstrasse. Fanciful pastries and the aromas of exotic coffees toyed with the senses as one had to decide whether to sit and nibble or stroll amongst the gift items. Although there were many, many expensive items, the order of the day was fun and most everything brought a smile. I was about to order a cream fantasy dessert complete with a sugar figure of Franz Josef when a button on my tightly-laced bodice popped with the most horrendous sound and took out a champagne glass on the shelf. I ignored the inccident, as all should, and took only tea.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

With the most dangerous terrorist group since Spanky and Our Gang now in custody, it is important that we don't become complacent. Terror never sleeps and by its very nature catches us off guard.

That said, would someone tell Princess Maxima of The Netherlands that pink and orange has never, and will never, work! The mere thought of this strikes terror into the most hardened troops fighting on the front lines of fashion. The former Máxima Zorreguieta is from a wealthy Argentine family and married (some would say snagged) Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. The Dutch royals are not, as a rule, glamorous or even vaguely exciting, but they ARE industrious and honest and obviously don't know about the walking time bomb in the form of Maxima. (The other Latina in the European royal playing field is Maria Teresa Mestre Batista, who was born in Havana.)

Memo to Queen Beatrix: The most dangerous terror is "Home Sewn".

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Homegrown" What?

By now, you have undoubtedly heard from your Attorney General, Pancho Gonzalez, that the federal government has saved you all from "homegrown" terrorists in Miami. Miami, of course, was too, too busy partying as usual to care about protecting you; so as you slept, as you went to Walmart, or as you pulled those nasty dandelions out of your front lawn, we let a swarthy swarm of swaggering terrorists plot your demise. And it only cost $50,000 for this bonanza of a PR prize. Good Lord, that is less than Gerry Kelly's opening party cost last Saturday night.

Call me cynical, but if you give $50,000 to some crack head in Liberty City (Miami's "Den") you can get just about anything you want. And if you want a terrorist group, you will get it--or something close enough. Of course, having a foreign agent of a "friendly" Arab country recruit them as a phony agent helps, and that narrows it down to a couple of well-paid stooge-states and a few wealthy oligarchies. Damn, but anyone in Liberty City wouldn't know that there's a difference between Dubai and Iran. And one could guess that the obscenely poor Haitians arrested for being "Zombie-like" were-well-just acting naturally, and that their "leader" was doing a lot more things with the money than reported since the local FBI director said, "This group was more aspirational than operational". They never got around to buying any guns or explosives and were watched night and day while neighbors reported out-in-the-open "military-like" exercises.

Wow, with a federal government like this in charge of protecting us from enemies like this, we can all let the party go on. Hold my champagne glass while I pin on my diamond brooch. I know it's hot, but I want the sable cape tonight; someone has to show we are sure of ourselves. And, yes, I will ride in an open carriage tonight, just to let everyone see me in all my magnificence.

Don't call me cynical, but I wonder just where it was "grown".

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The sun set on just not another Palace night, but on one tiny bit of history. As is the case in life, one change will lead to many others and this will all seem like such a fantasy.

My sincerest thanks for such a wondrous year to my best friend.

This is just a record of our party honoring our dear friend, Jeremy.

Nothing needs to be said. Everyone knows the cast of characters, the friendship, the devotion. It was wonderful.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tonight is Jeremy's farewell party, and members of South Beach society with join the remaining members of his famed "7TH" in bidding him well on his long trip to South America. I've never quite accepted the term "Farewell Party" or "Going Away Party"; why would we have a party for the losing of a friend. I thought those were called Irish funerals.

We are actually celebrating his joy at making this trip. I, personally, just don't know what a blue-eyed, blonde haired cute guy will do in his spare time adrift in a sea of Latinos, but Jeremy doesn't seem worried. He is--after all--going on business.

I will also, tonight, formally disband and decommission his "7TH", the loyal band of troops he commanded for the past year. When we formed it one year ago, no one could have guessed how magnificently this group of young men would have banded together in service not only to their palace, but to each other. They traveled, thought, and drank as one, and an attack on one was regarded as an attack on all. Jeremy kept them in line, barking orders as only he could.

There is little use in trying to replace Jeremy and little strength left in me to reform the group. Many have left already for careers in distant lands, many others planning to. The Guard has dwindled down to a few members who can hum every showtune since Cats and a couple of others who would be the first to say, "I'll take Useless, But Interesting Facts for a thousand, Art". It is the end of an era, as all do come to.

So, tonight we celebrate one year of great fun and friendship the likes of which occur so seldom. The clouds of change are rolling in over the skies of The Palace. I'm an old-fashioned New Englander; I don't like change. But it will all be about Jeremy and his fanatically loyal 7TH and the one year they held everything together and kept those ever-revolting peasants surpressed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

These were "my girls" in New York. Laurie Ketcham and Carmina Marcial. Camina was a monster-in-training here, but Laurie and I were full-fledged Doctors of Monstrous Behavior. (I, in fact, had a special permit to stomp on Tokyo because of a Japanese boyfriend.) Carmina’s still very much around, but Laurie passed away two days ago.

Laurie was one of the first REAL New Yorkers I met upon moving there. Her paternal grandfather, William Tredwell Ketcham was a direct descendent of Cornelius Vanderbilt, she had a spiffy condo on Murray Hill, and impeccable social contacts. But I met her at the second incarnation of Studio 54 through my old friend and neighbor, Bob, who met her through our other neighbor and Studio party-giver, Milan. It was the Go-Go Eighties and anything went.

Laurie loved gay men and, in particular, Bob; but as Bob’s schooling took him further away, I became the partner in crime. We addressed each other as “Partner” accordingly, and I would always get a call from her saying, “Hi, tiger; do you want to have a little fun tonight, or a lot?” The question was rhetorical and our activities ridiculous.

I would often pass out at her place and go directly to work a few blocks away at The Empire State Building. One day the office manager politely said, “Alexis, it’s one thing coming in here smelling of vodka and another with glitter in your hair, but the shoe print on the back of your shirt has got to go.”

Trips out to her parents sprawling 20’s mansion in Old Lawrence were cherished. I used to marvel at the way the house was slowly crumbling as the family money dried up while the parties got wetter. Laurie’s mother taught me the phrase, “functional alcoholic”, one brutally hung over morning at The Lawrence Beach Club. Lawrence was crumbling, too, as the old families were being pushed out; one massive home down her street had been sold to a Hasidic group. Talk about “There goes the neighborhood” for the Ketchams!

With the turn into the nineties, Lauries direction went to new career moves and loves and mine toward chronicling the club kids and drag queens who now ruled the nights of New York. We kept in contact and never could forget what we did together. Some time back, Bob (who is STILL my neighbor, but only on weekends in winter) told me Laurie had come down with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and had moved to her parent’s new home on Jamestown Island in Rhode Island. They began to see each frequently and I got to learn about how terrible that condition is. He told me of how, confined to a wheel chair and having lost one leg, he held a martini glass to her lips as they partied all night. One day she called me here and I heard that voice say, “Hi, tiger!” and even though I wanted to cry, we laughed. We always did; why stop now?

Monday, June 19, 2006

This is the face of mischief. Before Mikey Riley left to study in Spain, we had several strategy meetings in planning Jeremy’s run for congress eight years from now. After a few drinks we will start to address each other as if we are on the floor of the Senate (with the bartender being The Speaker, although we know he is in The House). After a few more drinks, we will scream at each other.

Yesterday, Scotty was telling us how he once set his nipples on fire. I interrupted the story with, “Point of order! What is accomplished by setting one’s nipple on fire?”

Jeremy: “Will the senior senator from Rhode Island please stop asking foolish questions.”

Alexis: “Will the Speaker remind the junior senator from Massachusetts that I have the floor and HE has two drinks on his desk.”

J: “I have every right to stand up and stop foolish questions from my respected colleague because he wears high heels in his pool!”

A: “Mr. Speaker, my respected and drunk colleague from the great state of Chappaquidick, I mean Massachusetts, should sit his hamhocks down and decide whether he should return the bottle of gin Senator Kennedy just sent over to him.”

J: “Will the very, very senior senator from Rhode Island shut his pie-hole? He bakes cakes with files in them and sends them to Buddy Cianci and was a mafia butt-boy in his youth”

A: “Mr. Speaker, ever since the Massachusetts delegation got bar service to the floor of the senate AND made Tom DeLay waitress them, they have been drunk with power and just about anything else that comes in a bottle.”

This might have escalated to fisticuffs had not Brazil just won the game and suddenly half-naked Brazilian boys and girls were running up and down the corridors of Congress. We hugged each other, pulled on soccer jerseys, and realized that some things are more important than politics.

Jeremy’s going-away party is Wednesday at 8PM.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Oh, Special Day

Brazil had won the game today and everyone was giddy. I spotted this couple acting up and asked, "Is this the Miami version of Cinderella?" Apparently, it was. Everyone was having so much fun, nothing mattered.

I was--of course--celebrating the final week of my beloved captain and best friend, Jeremy's, stay here when he did something so unusual. I would be THE LAST to say he had too much to drink, but on the way to the bathroom he pattted a knapsck he thought was a dog.

We brought it one step further when he decided to caress someone's poodle.

Another "dog" come in and he offered water.

In the end--and this is sooooo Miami--I got a call from Ditmar asking me to stay until he arrived. When he did, he brought a cocker spaniel who had been abandoned in his neighborhood for several days and asked if I could help take care of him. The dog is 90% blind and possibly abandoned for that reason, but I was happy to take him in and give him a place to sleep. Jeremy went home with me and took him for a bath in the pool. His name is now Danny, because I recall that frightening moment in the 1953 version of "Titanic" with Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyk when the band plays "Dannie Boy", and Barbara (in a lifeboat) knew her boy was doomed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh, Happy Day

It was one of those happy days. KiKi was happy (and THAT was the most important part of the day) when I spoke with him at 6.45AM. Douglas and Henry had returned from South Africa the day before and THEY were happy. Boris had just sold one of his condos that day and HE was happy.

So, when I walked out in the morning I was struck by how well the back yard had reconstructed itself after being devasted by Wilma.

Terry and I had planted all of this and, once again, life had returned to the back yard.

Jeremy called at 1.05 PM and asked where I was and I called a cab right away. Sometimes I feel like Elizabeth Taylor in a trashy movie as I fight my way through the jungle to get to the waiting cab. It is a happy thought.

Tiffany had obviously discovered the slimming nature of vertical stripes today.

And when I showed this image to a customer in the other bar, he said, "Wow, that looks like a rollercoaster ride." And I replied, "Yes, one many have been thrown from."

Geraldine, though, looked the most radiant and happy of all. Sure of herself, confidant of her style, and--most of all--knowing WE were happy with her. As always, she drove the audience into a frenzy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ernie Glam

It takes--admittedly--a lot to make me shake in my satin, six-buttoned squashed-heeled boots, but a call from one of my best club kid friends from the hey-days of New York will do it. Ernie was, is, and always will be one of the most cherished creatures I ever came across, right up there with Lahoma van Zandt, Bunny, and Ru. During a moment of fond memories, I wrote about him and how much he meant to and influenced me.

He made me shudder in anticipation of meeting again, and when we did--well--we felt so good. So much had gone by, so many gone. Ernie arrived for a journalist conference in Ft. Lauderdale and made a special trip here to see me with his sweet boyfriend, David. We went to Balans and then, of course, to The Palace where Boris pulled out all the stops for such an important visit.

Ernie....I could go on and on. On about how intelligent he always was, how much fun could be had from his wondrous smile, and how whenever we met--and it was almost every day--how enriched I felt my life was. There was always a sardonic laughter to whatever we discussed and the promise that the next time we met would be even better.

Ten years later, it was better. Tomorrow, the photos of tonight; I'm tired and so fulfilled.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Half Nekkid (almost) Thursday

Ever since I discovered Half-Nekkid Thursdays on the site of my admired Mason, I have been obsessed with participating. Well, it's not really participating as much as it is lending my imagined aristocratic presence to the event. I dwelled and dwelled in the past two weeks. What could I, a respected member of South Beach Society, really do to not only lend my oft-mentioned name to such a noble event, but also reveal a bit of myself.

Oh, I know all you wags out there. You say, "Alexis, just look at yourself on ANY Sunday afternoon, and anyone can see the real you." But no matter how much they try, they can never get the real me.

So in honor of Nekkid Thurdays, and my friend Mason, I jumped in the pool fifteen minutes ago and took this. (You know what? I couldn't get the pumps on with out standing in the pool first. Some physics problem I guess.)

Oh, and it felt good.

The Freak

The freak who appeared last week as Bat Drag and whom I saw walk by in a floor length black chiffon gown yesterday (for once I didn't WANT to take a photo and encourage him to come in) showed up yesterday in a stunning black sequined cocktail dress, vintage Valentino. It interests me that he doesn't wear (or feel the need to wear) a wig and it bothers me that he never has shoes and handbag match.

But so many things bother me these days; matching shoes and belt or bag are really on the bottom of the Bothered By List. That for another day, because I have to go to City Hall this morning, yet again on Palace business, and that is VERY high on The List. City Hall, a bastion of morons, deserves more that an passing mention here.

Back to Miss Freak, apart from a potty mouth, she seems to be quite harmless. After her entertainment value had elapse Ditmar escorted her out, telling her that he was leaving and so was she. The evening batender last night, Susie, has no tolerance at all for freaks; kooks, yes, by all means, but not psychopaths in vintage Valentino. We all have our limits, and Miss Freak would have been eclipse--in any event--by the next nut in vintage Ungaro.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Carl

My dear, friend Carl's birthday was coming up and he had the mis-guided notion of escaping the event and flying off to some foreign capital. I cut this advance off in a pincer movement of lightening speed. First I made the calls, but then came the challenge. I detest normal, birthday cakes so I scoured the town to see the options and found this in an old favorite Argentine bakery of mine, "The Tastee Bakery". Baked low and flat, it was called "Pasta Frola, Coconut Membrillo" and was reputed to be "addicting".

No one wanted any, at first; the queens all poo-pooing the idea of it all until I had Ricky cut and present it on plates. It was tenuous at first, but eventually there was a stampede for slices as if they were the last train ticket out of St. Petersburg in 1917.

Suddenly, the first to jump on the bandwagon all had a plate and an rather pleasant smile on their face. Guarded compliments started to drift my way about the choice. I laughed it all off, of course; nothing was too good for Carl. My God, he has taken me on so many outings, opening, and outreaches that I should have invented a cake for that bitch from the start.

Julio was there with his boyfriend, David.

And the triumverate which runs The Wire, Augusto (the art director on the left), Carl (the owner and dilettante on the right, and Thomas the publicist, entertainment writer, but most of all WHORE, in the middle) seemed to be happy with the night.

In the end--you know what? We love Carl.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Where Oh Where Has My Insurance Gone...

Hurricane Alberto, coming so early as it has, should remind us of the precarious place and circumstance under which we live. After last year and the unending misery the hurricane season caused a reasonable person would think prudence and good sense would prevail. But, sadly, it doesn't; Florida is full of fools and run by fools.

I looked at a current book of real estate offerings received in the mail and absolutely shook my head in disbelief at these four, lovely homes offered in Key Largo. You can almost imagine yourself in a white, linen suit and Panama Hat lounging around the veranda waiting for a neighbor to drop by for a gin and tonic.

There's one tragic mistake, though. If predictions are right, it is quite likely that none of these homes will make it through a Category 2 hurricane, let alone a larger monster. Developers have pushed the building of residences so fast and so close to the ocean that the great real estate "bubble", long predicted about to burst because of over-building is losing air through another, slower leak: the inability to find insurance.

Suddenly, insurance companies are pulling out of the Florida market or even canceling policies. Recent news reported mass selling of homes on The Keys as insurance has become impossible to get or too expensive for the long time residents. So, in step all the fools with no sense, but lots of money. Florida attracts them like no other. And in the end, just who will foot the bill for clapboard fantasies like these pictured here? Why taxpayers, of course, who will idly stand by while the State and Federal governments provide insurance to fools.

But let's make no generalization here. It will only be for rich fools who love the sound of crashing waves in the sunrise. A drive to the airport here will provide quite a sight: a sea of poor and middle income homes with blue plastic covers on their roofs. There is no help for them and when the winds pick up again little will be left this time. Except resentment, perhaps; but that a big perhaps. The middle class are the biggest fools of all as they actually have something to loose like a roof, a son or daughter in Iraq, a gorgeous mango tree in the yard. They still turn out the vote for the Bush brothers, who are always there for the rich fools.

Don't buy one of these homes, unless--of course--you're a rich fool.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


It was a rainy, dreary Sunday at court and talk drifted aimlessly about the usual subjects: boys, fashion, and peasant uprisings. Somehow--and God only knows how things like this happen--a comment was made by two new-comers about just who Alva Vanderbilt was and why I had mentioned her.

Alva Smith Vanderbilt was the only being on earth who wanted to and could assault the previously unassailable Mrs. Astor (it is to be recalled that the reason for the title of this blog is my mother's constant calling me by that name). Alva, through her marriage to William Kissam Vanderbilt, had just about everything a woman could want except membership in Mrs. Astor's "400", the number 0f people who could fit in her ballroom and a group which members of society eagerly vied for.

When Alva wanted something, she got it, and after the completion of her French chateau-styled mansion on Fifth Avenue, she threw an opening party like no other. Alva was a very early manipulator of the press and thrilled the public with things like electricity. She was a marvel at public relations and not inviting Mrs. Astor's daughter, Carrie, caused the world of New York Society to stand still until the indomitable Mrs. Astor gave in and sent her liveried carriage to deliver a calling card. Alva replied with an invite and the Four Hundred opened up to a calculating member they had always feared. Afterwards, she terrorized "society" by inviting those kept out by the draconian standards of the time; Alva developed her own standards and didn't care who liked them or not.

Alva built the exquisite Marble House in Newport to further position herself beyond the aging Mrs. Astor. Between 1905 and 1908 Mrs. Astor fell into a state of confusion and retired to Beechwood where she gave state dinners to an empty room, dressed in Worth and dripping in the diamond ropes that Henry Lehr once remarked made her look like a chandelier, while talking to imaginary guests. Alva was too busy to care about this as she was brow-beating her husband, W.K., about the furnishings at Marble House; she filed for divorce (a rather big scandal them) because of the house matter and W.K. gave her it in the settlement. She then turned around and married fellow Newporter, Oliver Belmont, and took over Belmont,later Belcourt Castle too.

All this and Alva still had the time, the money, and the drive to marry her daughter, the ravishing Consuelo, to the Duke of Marlborough. Blenheim Palace, thanks to Alva's money, made it into the 20th Century intact, although the sad Consuelo had to endure a loveless marriage.

And THIS is where the money and power of Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont came into bloom. After the death of Belmont, Alva discovered the suffrage movement. Alva turned Newport into a monied time bomb for the suffragette movement enlisting her friend and self-described "society anarchist", Mamie Stuyvesant-Fish into the cause. (I once described a party Mamie gave in Newport for "The Count del Drago". Mamie was from the old Dutch wealth of New York, so everyone invited showed up, only to find out the "Count" was a monkey in a tux.)

Alva in the U.S. and Consuelo in Great Britain never, ever ceased the fight for the right of women to vote. She once said at her famous Chinese Tea Pavillion at Marble House (she never gave up any of the properties), that "...good citizenship was impossible without the right to vote." And, she put her money where her mouth was. She had a china service designed named Votes of Women, and it is still sold today in the gift store of Marble House. She terrorized politicians who were at once afraid of her power and mindful that they were treading in unsafe political waters. Newspapers called her "That Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman", totally unsure of what a woman with such wealth was up to.

"Alva, That Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman" by Margaret Hayden Rector, is sold by the Woman's International Center as "The first biography of one of America's richest and most powerful women who was the Manager and Financier of the American Woman's Suffrage Movement". It's a delight to know you order the book by contacting:-mailto:Email-alva@wic.org.

It's a boring Sunday, but just thinking about Alva makes it fun.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

lA Typical Saturday Summer Afternoon

It WAS a lovely day, although we all knew about tropical depression, Alberto. Nevertheless, I went for a swim in the brilliant sky of an afternoon in Miami and patted myself off. Within fifteen minutes there was the "kerplunk" of a massive power failure and all was dead for several minutes. I had to make my way to The Palace under such threatening circumstances. I ran out of La Casa and looked south to see Carl Fisher's famous landmark office (one block away) surrounded by purple clouds. I hopped in a taxi and called everyone. Jeremy was "...on the way", Mark, "...looking for parking", Brian, "...almost there." I looked around. People were covering their hair, grabbing their poodles and running, screaming for a cab, and holding down their pleated skirts in the ferocious wind that preceeds a storm. And, those where just the men.

At The Palace, along with a big crowd, were Lorraine and Colin a London couple who visit quite often and were here again for sixteen days. They hang out with Ditmar and go every night with him to area clubs. They seem to have so much fun.

I DON"T KNOW WHY, but The Palace runs out of KettleOne very often. I don't intrude upon ordering, and I don't interfer with the owner's dictates about not ordering such goods, But IF a regular--and I mean Jeremy, Mark, Brian, et al...--shows me credit card statement of expenditures at The Palace of $800 to $1,000 a month, I would fucking make sure a representative of KettleOne licked their balls every night they came in. Call me Old Fashioned. (I asked Lorraine to pose for this shot; it was the last bottle of Kettle and had to be brought in special.)

The soccer game (between Argentina and who-cared-less) was being played in every room and I spotted this group of lesbians from BA and Brasil cheering wildly.

In the end, WHAT CAN I SAY. "Brian's Angels"? "Superfly 4"? "Starbooty, The Off-White Version?" I love this town.