"the" Mrs. Astor

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish left yesterday for The Great White North, Palm Beach, to take care of the Wilmerding estate and its dogs; I hope Mrs. Wilmerding locked up the liquor. Before she left, and after she called me a hag, Mamie asked that I keep a lid on the bad behaviour so prevalent on South Beach, which I found interesting since Mamie herself if behind most of the bad behaviour here (and if you knew that behind...).

So, Mr. Astor and I got into our carriage to check up on what Society was up to at Tommy Decker's gin hall last night and were shocked to see what was going on. First of all, Baroness Seitzinger, who earlier in the day said she couldn't possible entertain the idea of going out, was totally out of control. Not only had that purchased title gone to her head, but so did a lot of feathers. She behaved like a chorus girl gone wild, grinding her buttocks into any man standing and making loud proclamations much the way Mamie does when the tequila soaks her brain. Ex-Palace owners Douglas and Henry were doing The Charleston on the bar, Mark 1 and Mark 2 were trying to out-potty mouth each other, and Dr. Brad was trying to hold onto nurse Georgette, who was one step away from a striptease. The place was packed with everyone vying to be the one who drank the most and lived to remember it. We felt like we were watching the fabric of society unravel before us and quickly jumped into the fray.

This is how people cope with the none-ending flood of bad news; the quickest stimulus package is the one that pours out of a bottle and the mood is quickly sliding into a Weimar Republic sensibility. As long as the printing presses keep rolling and the gin flowing life will be beautiful.

Several friends called to say that, once again, I had made The Herald . It doesn't take much to titillate the small town mentality; a smart turban or a Baby Jane wig makes the newsroom swoon. I just wish The Herald would write about the growing number of homeless people walking the streets and sleeping on the sidewalks of The Riviera of America. Our own street--one of the quietest, well-manicured areas of Miami Beach--now has a homeless woman sleeping on it. You just feel helpless seeing all these people, some very well-groomed themselves and obviously new to the situation.

Yes, the parties and decadence do smack of The Weimar Republic; who will the new Hitler be? Much is made lately of the growing influence of Rush Limbaugh, but he strikes me as more of a pill-popping Hermann Goering. Sarah Palin could be the new Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS, if she could just utter something that didn't make her sound like a loon. It's almost comforting to hear the Republican party being described as the new Whigs, a party in the early 1800's that simply ceased to be relevant. I'd re-invent them as the "Wigs" and bring back knee breeches and the minuet, but the mob outside with the pitchforks and torches seems to be clamoring for something else. I constantly wonder if we will really get through it this time because the figures just don't add up.

I'd better stop as I seldom wring my hands here. I'm too sober, too, and will take care of that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

There continued to be exceptionally warm and beautiful weather here this week. We had dinner outside last night and, I guess if you can eat outside in shorts and shirtsleeves at this time of year, we should stop whining about the chilly days that pop up here and there. We enjoyed a dinner of pork chops and macaroni and cheese. I found thick, luscious pork chops which I lovingly cooked for five, well-monitored hours and Terry made the macaroni from Martha Stewart's cookbook; as much as I despise that witch (Martha), I have to admit that--if her recipe is followed with fascist precision--the result if divine.

Leopoldo dragged me again at the crack of dawn to the gym; The Baroness cabled me that I had to work out every day in order to do battle with that social behemoth, Mamie, on a daily basis. We had a problem, though. The gym obviously had not been prepared for the 80 degree temperatures in the early morning and had neglected to turn on the A/C. Under the regimen that Mr. Astor has designed for me--something akin to what hard labor must be like in Siberia--I had a dizzy spell between machines. Knowing my delicate, if determined, nature, Mr. Astor abbreviated my stay at the gulag and whisked me home.

Massive, skeletal frames are being erected two blocks away in back of City Hall for the Boat Show. Art Basel was a big disappointment in sales; sure, the people came, but who wouldn't want to come to Miami Beach in winter. They just didn't buy. We are all waiting to see what happens with this traditionally extravagant exhibit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It was a beautiful day, and I took a walk along Lincoln Road to see what was up on a mid-week afternoon. There wasn't much up at all; just about every store was empty of customers. It seems that the town is holding its breath, waiting to see if "season" actually happens this year. The Shoppes of Bal Harbour--a bastion of high end stores--continued to hemorrhage jobs, and you can call me Miss Cleo, but I wouldn't expect to see Coral Gables' shopping center, Merrick Park, even open next Christmas if what I hear is correct. The restaurants and bars are still filled on weekends; people will always need to entertain themselves, even if they won't buy new clothes, but the mood is one of wariness. The annual Boat Show is staged soon, and you have to wonder how many people are planning to buy one this year.

My poor Leopoldo didn't come out of this past, wild weekend unscathed; he was so exhausted that he had to stay home Monday and be pampered by me. As Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish would so eagerly point out, I am a battle-hardened social warrior not easily tired or scared off.

And, speaking of that social wind bag, Mamie actually tip-toed up to me at Twist yesterday and startled me with a pinch. This is notable because I can usually hear the thunder of her charge down the road for a drink long before I see her. It's like "Boom, Boom, BoomaBoom" and there she is. But yesterday she crept in like the fog, or--as I pondered last night--what must have been like the Great Molassas Flood in Boston in 1919. Today Baroness Seitzinger warned me that Mamie was stirring up the airwaves with incendiary references to my backside (one must always try to deflect from one's own backside as much as possible). Still, we love her so, and she realizes that in times like this the look of plenty has taken on new meaning. But I must warn her to watch her words or I will have her forcibly taken back into house arrest.

It wouldn't be the first time I had to have her carried out of one of my parties.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Carl Zablotny sold his magazine, The Wire, last week in a planned move that took almost two years to complete. He sold it to a friend of Thomas Barker's (who will take over the executive editor position); no immediate change in format is at hand, but it will come.

I met Carl shortly after he purchased the paper ten years ago; I drummed up some advertising revenue and we quickly determined that we would be close friends. Our meeting spot, The 11th Street Diner, was the epicenter of gossip and action then. The Diner is across the street from police headquarters and was the gathering spot every day of gays, drags, police, and politicians (the Diner's lawyer was the mayor--such a small town). Carl and I hatched plots, planned photos, and helped work on the race of the previous mayor, David Dermer. We also plotted the demise of commissioners we regarded as dangerous. I spent my finest hours plotting with Carl.

For two years he has planned what he has just about completed: his move from South Beach to Puerto Vallarta. He purchased a dance club there and is about to realize that dream of club owner (God help him). In the meantime, The Wire was sold to a friend of of Thomas Barker's and Thomas now will assume the duty of putting that paper out.

It's been a wondrous time here with Carl; like all of us, he's had his moments of craziness, but that is what runs this town. I'll miss him and his lecturing ideas on everything that a handful of drinks brings out in an intelligent person. Leopoldo, myself, and Carl had a farewell brunch at our favorite Lincoln Road bistro, da Leo; three omelets and five bottles of champagne later made us happy to have been as close as we have been for the last decade.

Like many politicians whom have dined on rubber chicken during public events, Carl never hesitated to enjoy a free meal--even if had a tail.

I was able to get two, local celebrity party boys to submit themselves to Carl's lusty desires on his birthday. It was the least I could do.

Sometimes, Carl had to be put in his place by an internationally recognized artist.
And, there were some times where he had to "squeeze" into a photo.

Even through the craziness of the past year, you are always "top drawer" with me, Carl.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I donate a lot of time to a lot of causes here on South Beach, but--obviously--one of my favorite causes is the annual dachshund festival. I love dogs, as everyone knows, but a dachshund owner is a particular case. The dachshund actually owns the human; they are the controlling factor in the relationship.
Every year I volunteer my time to entertain the dogs; the fact that their humans are amused is secondary. This year, the organizers talked me into being the dachshund fortune teller. Leopoldo made me a fantastic turban, complete with cape.

I don't know what I did, but there developed a great fun in my reading of dog fortunes; I ended up having as much fun as the humans. There was an inherent basis of camp that formed.

The frame of the dachshund is particularly given to back problems, and there were many handicapped dogs in attendance.

I began my work for the Dachshund Festival several years ago at the behest of my friend, David Hart Lynch. It was then that I realized that the dachshund human was another breed of human; that creature thought of its dog as an equal. David didn't attend last year's event because of the sudden death of his beloved child, Cloeh, but he was back yesterday. Without him, Ruth and myself wouldn't have been able to pull it off this year.

I started with some cheat notes, but quickly learned that all one needed was to size up the patient. A chubby dog "Knew the value of a good meal", a skittish one "...was anxious always to please his human with new tricks.", and a calm one "...thought only to please his human." Add to this the occasional prediction that they would have a TV show or become an Olympic pole vaulter, and you had a satisfied audience.

Leopoldo, who stood beside me for the two, tortuous hours, noticed this first. In the long line to have the fortunes read, the children were the most fascinated. They looked into the chrystal ball and several asked how I could see the future in such a cloudy formation; I always replied that it was what you sensed in the dog, that the dog actually told the future, and that the dog ruled. They ate it up, as did their parents.

Ruth Remington, the long-time organizer of the festival, told me today that they had never had lines for the fortune teller, that she always had to be on the bull horn asking for people to bring their dogs up. Many asked what was behind the chrystal ball and I say, "A cocktail from Mr. Astor."
In the end, I learned that it was all show ("something you knew all along, Dorothy"). It meant a basic knowledge of human and dog nature, a fabulous outfit, and some jewels. Maybe I should be in Washington.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Without much of a miss of beat, let alone a nap, we quickly switched from pool mode to fashion goose step in order to prepare ourselves to accompany Henrietta to Twist's notorious Warsaw Ballroom party.
As usual, we had the honor and the duty to escort Henrietta, The Queen of South Beach, out for the evening. She glimmered in diamonds and fox. At one point an admirer asked, "Just how many animals had to die for your cape tonight?" to which The Queen replied, "Just how many animals did I have to fuck in order to pay for it?" It doesn't get better than that. My baby looked GOOOOOD.

Troubled times have created an abundance of sycophants.

We got to know Nicholas from his relationship with our BBC friend, Neil Bull.

What a wonderful evening it was to once again escort The Queen of South Beach on her appointed rounds. Call me crazy, but I love this.

In the end, we were lucky to run into some normal people...ha, ha. Good ol' Thomas Barker and his engaging boyfriend, Jonathan, were there to lend us some support in trying to land our crazy evening down.
Warsaw doesn't happen more than once a year, and we are extremely grateful for that.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Newport celebrity doctor, Alan and his boyfriend Darren, asked me to organize a party at The Tides hotel's pool. I wish someone would give me a difficult task to perform. A very fun crowd turned out for an afternoon in the sun, drinking all afternoon and forgetting that Rome is burning. In fact, when told the Huns were at the city gates, Alan invited the cute ones in for some high-end alcohol, instead of the grog they were used to.
And, so our afternoon party began; after a week of very chilly weather, the afternoon blossomed into a warm and clear day.

Darren and Geraldine ordering drinks; Geraldine wonderfully captured the Nancy Reagan, afternoon party look.

Tiffany was ready with the Michelle Obama look; her time has come.

A girl who knows what she wants can get her shoes into the photo too.

The day, which began cloudy, turned into one of those crystal blue January days; it was finally warm again.

Leopoldo and Aaron van Powell. By this time the sun was setting and all hands were on deck to take a lifeboat to Twist's happy hour.

I'm glad that life preserver was in back of us, because we took it. We'll need it for the next rocky voyage we take tonight: Twist's Warsaw Ballroom party.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Non-Dachshund owners should not fear to attend our event. Special ribbons have been made awarding your dog, "Honorary Dachshund" for the day.
Brooke Astor lavished much attention on her two dachshunds, Boysie and Girlsie; in later years they were to keep her much-needed company. When, a few years ago, her son tried to take over her affairs by declaring her incompetent, a cry was raised by The Daily News about how her two, beloved dachshunds were being mistreated and, basically, bound for the Humane Society. For a long time the events surrounding Brooke overshadowed the fate of the dog, but--in the end--Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, an old friend--not only rescued Brooke, but her dogs. They eventually came to the care of a long-time friend, Iris Love.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Like many of us who dreamed of the day we would be free from The Bush Occupation, I spent much of the day watching TV. Mr. Astor was returning from San Francisco; during the slow periods, I ran around town shopping for his return dinner. He arrived at 10 PM after a 12 hour trip filled with delays. As usual, I welcomed him with dinner ready, the table set, and myself in his favorite, aqua chiffon cocktail dress, two cocktails in hand.
One of our original "7 th" members, Matty May, visited on Monday from Ft. Lauderdale before my meeting with the organizers of the dachshund festival. We did a lot of catching-up, longing for the old days but knowing that the world we created could never come back. Matty's working on his graduate degree and some day we will all be going to traveling Broadway musicals again.
One of year's most decadent events will be presented this Friday at Twist's Warsaw Ballroom party. My discovery of The Warsaw Ballroom was an epiphany; not since Studio 54 had I witnessed such depravity and--in the late 80's in Miami with all those Latinos--it was as if Sherman had said to me, "Mr. Peabody, let's go in the Way Back Machine". Twist brings back the memories once a year. "Well, Sherman...let's go."

And, of course, the 7 th annual Dachshund Festival will be held in Lummus Park across Ocean Drive at 11 th St this Saturday, Noon to 2 PM. There will be contests, fortune telling, play grounds, and much more for all the little wiener dogs. The annual march of the dachshunds will again be headed by an accordionist, and we expect, the people's mayor, Mattie Bower and Commissioner Saul Gross to again represent The City.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday will give to this kooky town the annual Dachshund Festival. It is one of the most unique events of South Beach and we meet tonight to iron out the final details.
Kim was the guest of honor at Baroness Seitzinger's elaborate affair. The most amazing thing about her--apart from her belief that she could get away with pawing my man--is that she has three grandchildren. Girl! You look good, but don't make me go ghetto; I'll cut you!

I had tea with Pimpernel and Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish yesterday. Both were quacking away, Pimpernel about numbers, Mamie about the world as she sees it. She showed me a photo she took earlier in the day of the back of a 1960 Eldorado, snipping that it reminded her of my rear end.

If there has ever been any doubt concerning my contention that Mamie's non-stop gibberish can put a standing man asleep, I present Exhibit A.