"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Venusberg Awaits

I am allowing only one photo of the wardrobe about to accompany me to Newport, R.I., the "Venusberg" of the great Edith Wharton's novels. This I do only to set The Countess on her toes; my look will be simple, alluding-yet-distant, and Worth. Not one to flaunt, I think a simple black, velvet choker with an emerald the size of Nantucket will carry the night of duBarry's great ball.

The Countess is a dear friend and was gracious enough to travel down to South Beach for my wedding in a private train car of outfits, goodwill, and young boys to serve her. She left with boundless thanks, more goodwill, and not a few of my boys.

Venusberg was, is, and probably always be the real Fantasy Island. It was America's first "resort", quite truthfully invented by Caroline Astor's court jester, Ward Mcallister; Wharton always thought it a magical but purposeless playground. I doubt it is any less magical than the days when, just a young girl in a hoop skirt, I used to marvel at the one home on Bellvue Avenue with barbed wire on its walls. It was the home of Doris Duke, she still lived there, and had bought up most of the dilapidated, colonial homes on the waterfront for next to nothing. For all the stories of a rich girl gone wild, Ms. Duke saved Newport. She sold those very homes for next to nothing to people who contracted to renovate them and preserve their colonial heritage. Sometimes your life can be a mess and, yet, you know the right thing to do. I was hoisted on my (or some) daddy's shoulder once to see Queen Elizabeth II emerging from one of those saved relics. Ms. Duke was probably the last, true member of a world named Venusberg, but she saved it for the rest of us.

It's Gone

What a joy it was to wake up at four in the morning shivering, even though I was wearing flannel pajamas and under a comforter. Even better was seeing the ceiling fan running. There was still electricity!!! (A day before a storm you run the air conditioning as high as possible in order to retain it for the inevitable power failure.)

But this was the storm that wasn’t. We watched five different weather-reporting stations at once and watched five different guesses; it was laughable. On Sunday tourists were ordered out of The Keys and on Monday the residents; another joke because NO ONE from The Keys ever leaves. By Tuesday morning, the tourists who had come to Miami were being warned that they might have to leave HERE, and it indeed looked like everyone seeking safety should head for The Keys. It was pure Marx Brothers.

This morning I went to The Evil Empire (The Bank of America) and was greeted by the very friendly manager. That is not unusual; we are a large account. But after the greeting he said, “We are conducting limited business today.” “Oh,” I asked, “Just how limited?”

“Well,” he answered, “we have no money.”

“Really,” I replied, “like No Cash?”

“Well,” he explained, “the safe was set to open on Thursday morning because we thought we’d be closed and we can’t get into it.”

Unaware of banking technology as I am, I still asked, “Can’t the person who TIMED it to open on Thursday come in and TIME it to open, say, an hour from now?”

“No there are safeguards…” He looked very nervous as customers were coming in.

I could offer only the most basic advice before I left: “Perhaps you shouldn’t have opened after all. You are in for a very bad day.” He’s such a nice guy; he shook my hand and said, “I know”. His was cold and sweaty.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No, No, Ernesto

It was such a Non-Event. Firstly, the storm kept changing direction as much an Italian Army and then there were the pititful broadcasts from the beaches. You know: the one where the reporters are nearly sucked into the ocean by a large, tentacle arm while you watch; except there is little to watch.
Since horror was the order of the day, I played a little joke on Mike and Thomas , known drunken nightlife columnist and dear friend (no, not slut, or "butt boy") I announced there was no more Grey Goose in the house.
It was at this point that Thomas countered that he was "bringing" four or six "hot latinos" to liven up our party. ( Unempressed, I made a noticeable turn of the head to count how many stars were in the American flag in the corner,) but Mike replied (with the authoritativeness of a lawyer in training) that he "would enforce promissory estoppel (a phrase, in legal talk, which basically means you better, honey, put up the goods or you be doomed).

Thomas looked down, befuddled: I wondered what he thought, what the remark made him do, and I said, "NO Thomas; he doesn't mean you're constipated."

Monday, August 28, 2006

At 1PM today all four major stations switch to Panic Mode, a non-stop weather report of the feelings and notions of all the gay meteorologists (has anyone ever figured out why so many of them are gay?), There was no panic today and, if you could watch all four stations at once, it was laughable to see the different projections and cones.

But nothing beats Fox's channel seven (it's gay-owned and staffed so we forgive it). There, below the scary predictions, ran a news wire reporting school closings, gas lines, the usual nonsense when this private ad streamed along: "Depressed? Hearing voices? Crying uncontrollably? Call the Seder Institute today." Then, more evacuation planning, assurances.... I heard voices right there, and they told me The Seder Institute is one smart cookie and probably filled with more quacks than a foie gras farm.

No panic, just one big party coming up. All I want to know is will the airport will be open by Thursday and if the storm plans to follow me up the coast to Newport.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This is what it came down to; where did I go wrong? For nearly three weeks, Jesse had Chris's gracious apartment which happens to be located on the infamous Flamingo Park, a sort of late night gathering place for nameless romanticism. For three weeks he was the name on everyone's lips: "Who is he? Is he married? What an ass!" And, still, he arrived a virgin and left just as chaste. You can walk down the streets and find one den of sin after another, but you will NEVER find a temple to vestal virgins. I kept telling him that virtue carries no weight in this town.
We took some time out in the afternoon for some final shots; even the slave auction left me with a virgin child. I don't think Jesse knows how this reflects on MY reputation. Many, many children have graduated from Mrs. Astor's School of Gutter Refinement. Just look at Leopold; I rescued him from some tulip field when just a scared lamb with a Dutch boy haircut, and he is now roaming Europe like a drunken, sex-crazed vampire. That makes me proud; I just don't know WHAT I am going to do with Jesse.
Still, it was a fun, if hot, afternoon. Andy was particularly popular, and I think that's why I received a surprise call from Jeremy in Bogata; sometimes you just get "the feeling" that mischief is afoot.
Sequins were the order of the day and my own vampire senses detected a bit of rivalry between current Palace star, Tiffany, and past "Queen of The Palace", Amy Rivers. It keeps them on their toes.

And, Lahoma was right. I DO live in a "gay, cocktail, fantasy Lalaland". Why else would the sight of a lipstick lesbian making out with a hairy top in spaghetti straps seem the height of normalcy?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stress, Stress, Stress

Chris arrived on time but not without the stress of security. A wise man, he took a train to Paris and flew Air France. The French still operate under The Napoleonic Code and don't take the shit other governments do. Still, it took eight security checks and highlights the dramatic decrease in European tourists this month. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be slowly strangled by the interruption of commerce, and this has not been lost on the business discussions this weekend.

I intend to lighten up the atmosphere and bring out the collection of Fornesetti harpie plates (alas, limited to six) because they are very gay and very expensive. Another thought of which I have no doubt is that this is the last summer without crisis; nutcases from Tel Aviv to Tehran will see to that. (And, we shouldn't forget the midget with the Elvis hairdo and elevator shoes in North Korea.) However, as long as we have the opportunity to lunch and drink we should do it and do it well. In roughly one hour a feeding-frenzy of parties will begin, travel up to Newport this week, and burst like Greek Fire over Labor Day. After that, who knows what is next, except that I have an inordinate amount of china that is coming out for Fall. It's the least I can do to relieve the stress.

Oh, and the red gloves never come out in day; they are for dramatic effect only. du Barry doesn't allow them in Newport, either, so they are getting some last minute usage tonight. She called yesterday to confirm my arrival and asked how packing was going. I said that my main concern was that twelve hat boxes might cause suspicion in times like these and that, since I had to remove my shoes in the airport, I would not be wearing my signature high-button, squash-heeled boots and would most likely resolve to wear jeweled mules. She agreed that jewels can always smooth passage, but wisely cautioned against checking any jewel cases; I assured her that I would be wearing everything sewn into my corsets. Troubled times.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Baby is A Star

I can't take more days like this. As has been the usual: got on the line to Switzerland at 5AM to assure that I was within the bounds of their good judgment of time. (Good thing, there, is at noon, they tell you, "Oh, I'm going to Happy Hour"). Then I arrived at the office, dealt with the mindless problems there, jumped in a cab and went home to pick up a Cajun casserole I had baked for KiKi, dropped ito off with endless hugs and kisses from him, returned to prepare for the new, lesbian night, "Pretty Girls" (loved Jesse's question: "Did you decorate?" Answer, "No, I just funded." Tried to get a power nap only to be called back for a computer glich, and then, HAD to pick up the boys at the bowling alley by the house, to bring them to Ditmar's new, Prada Lesbian Night.

THEN! It struck me. I have become a South Beach Soccer Mom.

There is no doubt, now, that Jesse is not only fitting in, but is a celebrity. When I arrived, he was signing autographs of his photo in this week's Wire Magazine. He was in last week's, too. HOW shallow is that? (Shallow enough to make him one of us. )

And, He Designed The Victor....

Chris is right; this about sums it up for all of us.


I just need Jeremy standing in the background with a Kettle One in one hand and a sword in the other.

Pimpernel, the elegant Chris, is flying in this weekend for some business meetings with me. He doesn't want to disturb Baby Jesse and is taking a hotel room not far from The Marlin.

Jesse, while staying at Chris's, enjoys what I've heard to be the largest, private collection of Herbert Hofer paintings in the world. Hofer's wife, Randi is a regular. Hofer's paintings are owned by celebrities like de Niro, Fellini, and the last, dead pope; the represent images of tropical fantasy often with scantilly-clad people, long beaches, and graced by a cat.

Like all meetings with Swiss businessmen, it will be brutal; what ever happened to meetings with Swish businessmen?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Princess Orloff

Sometimes I just drift off. Last night the endless thunderstorms kept me up and I decided to read a little of the history of Malta, a great crossroad in history.

Now I have to stop and say that after Boldini and Sargent, Valentin Serov is my favorite portrait painter. He, too, was positioned in that amazing transition of history and captured the end of an era with incredible insight.

So many of his portraits fascinate me, including my favorite of Felix Yusupov, but one was of Princess Olga Orloff. Her pose intrigues me since a much less scandalous one of Madame X nearly destroyed Sargent in Paris; but such was the Russian sensuality, a strange mix of Western and Asian feeling. Decadence permeates the scene: the shoulders, a rich fur, the oversized parlor, an outrageous hat, and even the crossed leg. Painted three years before the war that swept her world away, I always wondered what happened to her.

So, while reading about the history of Malta, I came across a section, "Russian Refugees" and immediately opened it. Malta was a British colony and had a fine sense of government and record keeping. In that list of hundreds of Russians rescued by The British government in the spring of 1919 aboard warships was Olga Oroff, traveling on the same battleship, The Marlborough, that The Dowager Empress, Marie, was on.

And that brought me to one of the most striking quotes I ever remember of that period. In April of 1919, Queen Alexandra of England approached her son King George about rescuing her sister, Marie, and the other Romanovs trapped in the Crimean. The king was hesitant because The Romanovs has been so reactionary and his new prime minister wanted nothing to do with them, much less save their lives. The tsar and his family had already been murdered the summer before, and Alexandra knew what was in store; she threw a fit in front of her son, demanding he exercise his royal power and send in that battleship. "Just WHAT do you think, 'H.M.S.' stands for?" she shouted. Hundreds ended up in Malta and safety as a result because it was His Majesty's Ship.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lahoma van Zandt Has Nerve!

I genuinely expressed my belief this morning (to the group of New York misfits I used to associate with) that I had been grievously hurt by the theft of an artistic idea: the image of my retarded and distraughtly fashionable daughter, Sweetie. The notion of legal action was pondered when the Legendary Lahoma van Zandt took to the floor and wrote this:

"Alexis, you live in Gay Cocktail Fantasy Lalaland. You are far outside of any legal jurisdiction to sue anybody."

This coming from someone who put Popov vodka on the map and now thinks Carrie Nation should be sainted.

It is the best of example of a dangerous trend I have been warning of for years on my high school lecture circuit: Sober Rage. Just because some of us enjoy A Cool Refreshing Beverage I don't think our rights to redress in the court of law should be revoked ,and I am saddened that an old star should lash out like this. (I mean, really; is her postcard collection in so much order that she shouldn't be keeping her attention there?)

I've mailed her a jar of jelly beans to soothe her nerves; in the meantime there are the photo archives.

Tailgate Party...

...a la du Barry. My sister treated The Countess, Mark, Officer Brian, and others to one of her famous tailgate parties on the grounds of the Newport Polo Club. As you see, no one actually has to sit in the sun, eat off of paper plates or with plastic utensils.

Oh how I miss her days here, although she is in her element in Newport. (I remember one of her final statements here, "I am over this Latin thing." with a haughty wave of the hand.) When she left South Beach, formal dining amongst our crowd ceased. I had the ability, but not the time. We didn't exactly have to resort to eating boiled grass, but the multi-coursed, silver and china-served, sit-down dinners drifted away with the frangrance of the Bechamel sauces.

Labor Day Weekend can't come soon enough.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Temple House

This is purportedly the largest single family home on South Beach, at 16,300 square feet. At a equal distance from where I work and where I live, I have passed it many times, but only yesterday noticed a very discreet sign listing it for sale by EWM.
Built in the 30's as a single family home, it was remodeled into a Jewish Temple after WWII, hence it's name. When the city was over run by refugees from the Mariel boat lift every Jew fled up to 41st Street, apparently deciding some sort of defensive line could be held there and still be within reach of Wolfie's delicatessen. Businesses in South Beach closed by the hundreds a gangs of recently-released Cuban criminals roamed the town. The temples in South Beach were torn down or left vacant. In 2003 an information science guru bought it and turned it into his rather spectacular home.
a quick visit to EWM's site revealed the equally spectacular price of $17 million, surely not unheard of on the Venetian Islands that are part of Miami Beach, but not common in this quiet neighborhood.

Still, Mrs. Astor's famous "400" could probably be adjusted much higher. But, then, would you really want to?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Four Reasons Life Goes On

Bad behavior will always triumph on South Beach.

Glamorous celebrities will always mix with fresh faces.

Speaking from experience, dinosaurs will always rule the earth.

And our new bartenter/DJ, Carlos is going to be a big hit.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Doesn't a hint of royal scandal just tickle you? It does me.

A certain Countess of a rival court spent all of last weekend depleting the supplies of Glenlivet in Newport, to which she had been invited by one of the greatest hosts of them all, my sister The Countess du Barry. Apparently, the ostentation of Newport so overwhelmed her that she made some reference to my having spies placed in Newport to record her every move. (Ha!) Sadly, she had to leave du Barry's truly grand court and return to her own in the dark, barren mountains of Transylchusetts, where married lesbian house maids wash the fine lady's underthings in a local stream.

I hope this countess will understand that it takes time to develop so many photos taken, as they were, from the handles of walking sticks and snuff boxes. But, one rather shocking video is making the rounds of this court already. Apparently, the ersatz Glenlivet and someone shouting out "Zouzou" sparked a dance from The Countess that one can only imagine coming out of some mating ritual in Mozambique.

Great timing,too, for the ten, new video screens at MY court.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Quarter Century (oh-oh)

Thomas Barker, publicist, nightlife writer, friend, and (I will no longer describe him as a whore) a person who enjoys every day of his life, celebrated his 25th birthday tonight at trendy Buck 15. What a joy to have a club party start at 8PM a block and one half from where I live, and I couldn't have missed a party for Thomas even if it were in Hialeah. I bought him a cute pixy hat.
The friends showed up first and, as we know, will be the last to leave. I got off easy: I attended the main party and then everyone was going to the Pre-After Party (who comes up with these things? Oh, yes: publicists.) at Score and finally to The Official After Party in God knows what cavern of sin. ( I don't do caverns of sin unless the bats let me in at 6PM.)

Finally, the older friends of Thomas started coming: art dealers, gallery owners, retail and restaurant shop owners. Everyone needs and wants a good publicist.

Thomas Barker Turns 25

Needless to say, Thomas hangs around a fun bunch of friends.
My own bunch of fun buddies showed up, too.

Obligatory birthday cakes brought out special powers in Thomas.

Jerry, an old beau (of many), warying shared a piece of cake. (I am always reminded by Thomas's telling of Gerry's gymnastic background and how acrobatic he was.) AND, don't you know I was trying to fix up my baby, Jesse with him when Jerry dropped a drink that shattered everywhere. "Assasin I screamed!" But a deadly piece of glass was deflected off the titanium brooch I had borrowed off of Madeline Albright.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Lady Bunny Turns 160

The only person actually older than Lahoma van Zandt, the Lady Bunny, turned 160 years old today.

Like Lahoma, Bunny served in The Civil War, although her interpretation of The Blew and the Grey led to some speculation that she did more to make sure the South kept rising than anyone else.

Bunny has devoted an entire life to the glorification of poor taste; her website speaks volumes on this point. Without her we all might be better people and so boring for it. I have been in attendance (and filming it, by the way) when she gave a speech on the history of flatulence in a club named Poop; I was reduced to tears during the near-Shakesperean event.

I'm not going to go on and on about all her contributions to Western Civilization, because there simply have been none. But, I know my life was made a wee bit more interesting for having known her, and--for that alone--"Happy Birthday, Bunny".

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rubbing it In

I was just taking a beauty nap before joining the Sunday mayhem at The Palace when I look at my missed calls. "Alva" it said along with a bunch of nobodies. "Alva" is the code name for my sister in Newport, du Barry. When "Alva" calls you return it.

It seems that my call interrupted the lunch on the cliffs of Newport of not only The Countess du Barry, but The Countess of Bedelia, Mark, Officer Brian and his boyfriend, Bennett. du Barry rubbed it in my face by saying, "And YOU are stuck in that hot sewer called South Beach." to which I replied, "..A hot sewer FILLED with nearly naked Latinos, thank you."

Then I open my email and get this picture of my crazy, bitch housemate Terry waterskiing on the salt pond his summer house in Rhode Island is on. "I feel glamorous" he writes, and he should. He just sold his penthouse in NYC to the heiress of the Smirnoff fortune, for an amount I'm ashamed to even mention, but if you saw the virtual ad you'd know it was 7.5 MILLION. He's always been glamorous though (he could pull it off when she still shopped at JC Penny).

There is only one thing for me to do: Join them! and I will spend Labor Day Weekend in my old stomping grounds of the Rhode Island coast. Such fond memories: I spent 16 years of my youth on Rhode Island's nude, Moonstone Beach. We drank all day on the beach and then drank all night in Newport, Haversham, or Westerly. I know that nothing has changed at The Olympia Tearoom on Watch Hill. We boiled lobsters in champagne and performed operatic skits on the west lawn. du Barry rules Newport now much the way she did in years gone by. Terry rules Charlestown if only because he has more money in his sock than the town has in its treasury.

It will be fun.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Breakers

Matty, Showtune, alluded to a discussion we had to take Baby Jesse "...up to West Palm Beach". NO ONE admits to going to WEST Palm Beach, a Mecca of white trash. Still, it's is a "blue" county so I will not bad-mouth it. Without being a snob, I have to maintain that there is only Palm Beach and nothing else. It is an anachronism like my beloved Newport, and a stroll up Worth Avenue or across the lawn from the beach to The Flagler Home will transport you to a world long gone.
When I lived in New York I had connections that allowed me to travel free as long as I brought the Continental queen with me. We would fly down to Palm Beach on off-season weekends and always stay at The Breakers, a wondrous monument to wealth and glory built over a hundred years ago by The Keenans. Glorious, perhaps super-glorious is the only way to describe the place. It demanded full dress for every activity whether breakfast, croquet, or tea; you actually HAD to change five or six times a day just to keep up with everyone else. The main lobby set the stage and stage it was, with everyone acting a period play.

The L'escalier restaurant sang hymns to the past;I don't know why they came to know us, but the hostess of the room always greeted me by name. I guess the frequency and our flamboyance might be a good enough reason. But, one day the elevator opened to my floor and I found a beautiful box on a table in the hall which, when opened, revealed a striking Pucci day dress. After a second of contemplation about trying it on, I called down and reported the fact (no, not that it didn't fit).

Within minutes a knock came at the door and a bellman nervously asked for the box. He said "Please call the desk". I did and the concierge practically wept with joy at the finding of this box and said, "Mrs. Keenan couldn't remember where she left it. She wants to invite you to be a guest judge at the employee talent contest tomorrow with her and Mrs. von Blankity-Blank." "Is this one of THE Keenans?", I asked. "Yes, she lives here with her daughter who's dress you found."

By the time I had arrived for breakfast in my morning outfit, THE WORD was out that I was a judge. The very gracious hostess whispered, "Hospitality...vote for hospitality." By the time I arrived to the pool in my swim outfit of a striped jacket over my one piece swim suit, the well-known chair boy whispered, "Hotel services...vote for hotel services." While making my stroll in my white, linen suit across the croquet field to the Flagler House, a grounds keeper menacingly said, "Maintenance...vote for maintenance."

Mrs. Keenan was a kooky lady who was just a hoot and we judges took our seats. It was amusing to hear the names of the judges called out. "The judges are Mrs. von Blankity-Blank, Mrs. Hammersmiggen, you ALL know our Mrs. Keenan, and....." (A pause.) "...and frequent guest, Mr. duB." All applauded, and the show began (the usual nonsense teams dream up) but the prize was a very real thing for them. In the end I nobly cast the deciding vote for the department which meant the least to me, Maintenance. They had made lobster outfits with giant claws and lip-synced "Rock Lobster". I had to hand it to them.

After that, Mrs. Keenan made sure that we were allowed up to the extremely private top floor which was as boring as London on a Sunday, but made me feel good. All I could think of was what IF I had tried the dress on and ripped it Edith Massey-like. All this glory would have slipped as fast as those seams would have.

Honesty is the best policy, especially if you can't fit into it anyway and don't have shoes to match.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Big Story of the Day

Jesse will be a big story for several days now. Everyone remembers and adores him. He has a personality that draws everyone toward him, in a strange, pure way. It is way out of sync here on South Beach and, therefore, highly valuable.

Two of the Italians, Leonardo and Massimo came back to say hello to our baby. They were leaving for San Francisco tomorrow.

But--for me--the big story of the day (and it should have knocked Lebanon and Israel out of The Drudge Report) was that, after deciding to add Lady Bunny to my link I walked by a store on Washington Avenue this morning on the way to the bank. It is a familiar store to me, I look in it every day (I buy my plaid pants there). AND......There is a portrait, something we all called a Thrift Store Painting of The Lady Bunny. I stopped and gazed, walked on, and returned. I returned at least four times!

This was Art imitating Trash, and I know I have discovered something wonderful.

One Down, One More and It's Owner To Go

"And has thou slain the Jabberwock?Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"He chortled in his joy. . .

Joe Lieberman, who (with Tony Blair) enjoyed the companionship of owner George Bush, suffered humiliating defeat against a political nobody yesterday. Blind to the wishes of his state, Lieberman would keep young Americans in this endless war in Iraq for any reason that even slightly aided Israel.

A loyal dog will stay by its owner, though, and Joe plans to run as an independent. The only thing he should run is AWAY before he splits the Democratic vote and CT elects a Republican. If only my Jeremy were here to take care of this very bad dog.

All Hail The Princess

Our baby, Jesse, flew in tonight and will be staying for several weeks. The remaining members of The Palace's Royal Council have made it our mission to finally get him out of that shell so well-built by his family. In true fashion we banded together; I secured Pimpernel's gracious apartment for his use, Mark picked him up, Raymond prepared the red carpet at The Palace, Matty prepared a choir of teenaged songbirds to serenade his arrival, and five, friendly, humpy Italians awaited to please him. You can never count on the summer weather in Miami to be your friend and Jesse's plane circled for hours as an incredibly violent storm quickly formed just off the coast and pounded he beach.
The five Italians had sought refuge from the storm like many others and were attracting a lot of attention; they were very well-mannered, gracious, and of obvious good breeding. Everyone was asking about them and I said, "They are speaking Italian", which only caused more interest. So, I walked up to the apparent leader of the handsome pack and, in Italian, introduced myself and asked if they were from Rome. They were so friendly, explaining they had just come from New York, were going to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. "What a gay vacation", I joked and asked what they were doing tonight. They said they were going to Edison's party if they could find out where it was tonight, and drew them a map. I bought them a round of shots and a bond was established.

At that point Opportunity tuggged at my sleeve and I said that I had a friend, Jesse, coming down from New York, that he was intelligent, gorgeous, but shy, and that I would bring him tonight to meet them. "Remember his name," I asked. "Jesse", they replied in unison.

Damn! I was getting him a date already; how could you miss with five? Then, Jesse arrived hours late, luggage lost, then found, and we met at The Palace to lament the five lost dates. Jesse shrugged it off to fate, and I shrugged it off to "Tommorow is Another Day". Get ready to climb back on the horse and charge.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Reflective Sundays

The recent scandal involving Prince Victor Emmanual of Italy brought back memories of the story of Princess Mafalda. My first real job was with an Italian textile company (I had a background in Italian, economics AND textile design) and all the Italians were very elegant, worldly, and full of stories. Through them I learned the story of Princess Mafalda, the second daughter of The King of Italy and the aunt of the the aforementioned prince. Against her parents' wishes Mafalda married Prince Philip of Hesse who in the early years of Nazi Germany used his position to act as a go-between for Hitler and Mussolini. Philip's brother was married to the sister of the England's Prince Philip.

Hitler came to despise Mafalda as she was not one to hide her distaste of Nazi policies, especially in regard for the Jews, who had always enjoyed fine relations with the Fascist government of Mussolini. As Hitler pressed Mussolini to crack down, Mafalda became more vocal in her opposition, and even her husband began to fall out of favor. In early September 1943 Mafalda made a trip to attend the funeral of her cousin, the King of Bulgaria. While there her father arrested Mussolini and--in return--Gestapo agents arrested her and shipped her off to Buchenwald. She was starved and terribly injured in an allied bombing raid and then denied medical treatment as the final punishment. She died soon afterwards.

One day the Italians at the company I worked for were all excited by a group of visitors and one of them was her son. With all his titles, (Prince of Hesse, Prince of Savoy) he was a very unassuming artist of about 45 who lived in a family home on Lake Como. He showed me photos of his mother's bedroom; nothing had ever been removed since the day she left on the train to her death. Beautiful Art Deco combs and perfume bottles still sat on her beauty table, half-written letters placed in a box, and many photos of her four children. Her clothing was still in closets. It was spooky and touching, and I wondered how much a boy of six (who had been given refuge in The Vatican until U.S. troops took Rome) must have missed his mother.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Scavenger Hunt

I am constantly amazed by what comes by my path. Today there was a party of really fun guys and girls and when I inquired as to their purpose in life for the day, they told me they were on a Scavenger Hunt. I was enthralled and asked why they were at The Palace; they said, "Because it is so much fun". That was all I needed and I scanned the list of The Hunt and provided what I could: photo in a freezer, picked up and carried on Ocean Drive, waving an American flag (I had one), and other delights.

As I scanned the list, I picked up on one: "Group Mooning" and asked them to grace my day and moon me in The Palace. It amazed me at the production needed for such an event. some mooned too early and others were shy. Finally they got their act together and Moon Over Miami was never as sweet.

I still wonder how things occur like this.

Just because I have gone with the trend to new, shortened hem lines does NOT make me a whore. Yes, the apple might seem "suggestive" to minds languishing in the gutter, and YES, although I never show my knees I do wear a captivating garter above the left....

Won't anyone compliment me on the stylish pairing of mauve and apple green?

And, anyway, I never accept money for my favors; it's so rude.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Little Terror is back. Oh, is it just my nostalgia acting up, or do I feel life returning to my veins? Mike Riley is back from two months in Spain and was accompanied with his all-too-viscous wit. After spending several hours at The Palace waiting for me, he called and we decided to meet on the grounds of a neutral principality, The Laundry Bar. It was all downhill from there; Lord how that boy can drink!

I started out noble-minded, sipping only Tangueray tea (I never seem to get a hangover from that). And , I tried to wash his mouth out with soap (opinionated? Save me) at the Laundry Bar, but then he dragged me across the street to Edison Farrow's Buck 15.

I absolutely shudder at what will happen when Jeremy returns from Bogata.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's The Name, Stupid!

Well, it looks like we have dodged the bullet on Chris. This is a relief because it troubles me to no end that we have to be saddled with life-threatening storms so commonly named; can't they at least have come up with "Christophe"? Where is the flair in whatever department dreams up these names; I bet there isn't one queen on that committee to stand up and speak his mind on this matter. And just what is next? Debbie! How can you possibly be threatened by Debbie; doesn't she make cupcakes for cheap variety stores? Names like Patty and Sandy are down the road, too.

How about Hurricane Bodeica? THAT instilled fear on Roman soldiers, imagine what it would do to housewives in Key West. And, I said it last year and will never hesitate to repeat myself, but throwing in the name of a Japanese monster movie could only liven up a five-day cone.

I have, of course, the "Hurricane Party" advertised for Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, those parties are so beloved by the locals, that I really won't have to drum up hysteria (or howling winds). People wake up hysterical here and carry on throughout the day that way(it is a prerequisite for being allowed to live on the island). All know is that if I'm to be terrorized and my clothes ripped off in a storm I want it to be by an Ernesto or Tony.....Oh, wait a minute; they're coming, too.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

absolutely NO ONE is concerned about the inevitable Hurricane Chris; people look at the TV screens and pick between Lebanese being blown to bits, stupid comments by President Bush, the likelihood that Chris will be knocking at out doorstep on Sunday, or the latest episode of When Good Pets Go Bad. I needn't tell you which wins.

For my part, I took the high road and telephoned the publisher of The Wire and told him to add, "Hurricane Party, Saturday and Sunday, drink specials all day". Nothing binds people here on South Beach like a Hurricane Party, and I will shamelessly stretch it out as long as I can. "Storm Surge", "Rain Bands", and "Tropical Force" come to mind as drink specials. We are open now to suggestion. (And, Jesse, don't you dare say "Dance the Beyonce".)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

If The Hat Fits....

...you'd better wear it soon. Castro hats are all the rage around the country, although I wouldn't place Miami in there. I have never known WHERE to place Miami; it exists in a separate mental sphere from the United States. 60% of the population does not speak English as a first language and 80% of those never intend to speak it at all.

Cubans run Miami as a fiefdom, much like the Italians ran Chicago in the 30's. It's corrupt, but once you understand that fact anything is possible. The influx of other Central and South American immigrants has not deprived the entrenched of much power.

All Cubans await The Day. This is the day that Castro dies. The police have plans to deal with the mass celebration which will occur, and the Coast Guard has plans to seal off the waters from the inevitable flow of people back and forth. The ever-thoughtful government of The United States has an "Aid" program ready, too, although I'm not quite sure who this will aid. Call me crazy, but any country that has thumbed its nose at Washington for over 40 years might be smug enough to not want aid, or troops, or helicopters.

However, Castro's health problems combined with the ceding of power to his brother caused what one might call a death pre-party in Miami last night. Crowds danced in the streets, shot bullets into the air, and waved flags; it looked as if everyone had quite a fun time. My Cuban friends wince at such behavior; they, like me, wonder just what will really change upon Castro's death. What, God forbid, if things just go on and something we cherish, continuity, results? They were born here and are completely American; unlike their parents and, especially their grandparents, they harbor no thoughts of "going home" when they already are.

I will not be wearing a Castro hat this season. My sister (du Barry) stated clearly on Sunday that Castro hats will not be accepted in the Newport she now reigns over should I join the crowd there next week. Wide brimmed hats flatter my majestic profile much to much to submit to a sporty trend like this; quite frankly, I can't picture silk roses above the brim, either.