"the" Mrs. Astor

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Well, we haven't been exactly confined to the convent I thought about. While I have wanted to be sent to a convent, I have been out-voted and forced to go out to all-night fests with Henrietta and my, dear Leopoldo. Last night started with a private party at the Hel Mar and then wasted away to Score and then Twist. I need a better convent lawyer. Obviously, I can't resist the tease of diamonds, glamour, and designer clothing. I try; those close to me know how hard I try.

And, what do you know...just when I spend a weekend listening to one of my greatest musical heroes, Laura Nyro, I find this. Hey guys...if you ever make it to South Beach, we will make sure the town is turned out for you; our Mayor--the People's Mayor--Matti Bower will officiate at your union. Miami Beach is the only city in Florida to defy the state and allow unions. I love this video and it's always the little ones who jump up and take the stage. LOVE it!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

There are so many hydras raising their heads and I will cut them down one swoop at a time. In the meantime, I am recalling a song from my infancy, one that I never forgot, one that I will never put down the sword for.


The thing I remember most: "In my mind I can't study war anymore...." and, of course "Save the country".

Also, as the great song writer she was, she wrote this, too:


Friday, May 29, 2009

The pythons are in the news again; it seems that they are getting the upper hand in The Everglades with nothing really able to match their strength and numbers (which have topped 150,000). Governor Crist toured the swamps last week with rangers begging him to initiated a bounty system for killing the creature which is rapidly depleting The Glades of its natural inhabitants. No decision has been made, of course; guns are not allowed there. But now that the Nile monitor lizard is gaining ground, too, someone better make a decision soon. What's next? Pterodactyls?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Someone in our small, little society made a big mistake last night when they made a remark about my boyfriend. We all have our little secrets, but they are never mentioned over a dinner table (or a bar). Accordingly, proper society is rearranging their afternoons to demonstrate to this service person that these things just don't go unnoticed. I am warmed by the unanimous support we have received; I really hope, now, that he does have a Green Card.

Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish put it the best: "The world is ending."
No not from invaders from outer space or melting ice caps. Not even from Chinese drywall.

Christian LaCroix declared bankruptcy while the world slept. It was Edina Monsoon of Ab Fab who made the term, "It's LaCroix, sweetie", something that rolled over all our lips in the 90's; and, we all take notice. I guess I'll just go to the gym and work on my machine an extra half hour in honor of him. Church is so silly; all that room and no guests. I'll wear black today, though; Edina would do the same.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones refused to stop dancing in the street, police said.

Florida Panthers forward Ville Peltonen allegedly hit a fire-rescue truck with a metal pole
Marlins All-Star pitcher Dontrelle Willis was "confused and disoriented" while driving his black Bentley, police said."

Good Lord, is this is what the much feared, ever maligned for eight years Memorial Day Weekend has come down to? Call me jaded, but that is an ordinary weekend. And, really, who should really stop dancing in the street? And, poor Dontrelle....where was his driver during all this; maybe Dontrelle just needed to get home.

The count....Memorial Day Weekend was a boon for business; all the low-lives had been left behind in the carnage of years past coupled with the bad economy. The business owners I know were divided. Those in "the thick of things" enjoyed enormous profits; those dependent upon weekend visitors from the mainland and locals suffered dearly. Their customers were afraid to come out.

I think we can all declare the fears of the last eight years over; from what I saw, from what I heard, it was a well-organized event during which everyone had fun. For us, this is the end of the year; now hurricane season begins...and, I fear the hurricanes more than urban party monsters.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Urban Weekend certainly has not touched the stratified neighborhood we live in, but I keep receiving cables of dramatic incidents in mid-South Beach. None of us will go there, of course. The Baroness Seitzinger, always ready to throw her money around (with the purchased title and all), actually took off to Nicaragua for a five day jaunt; unfortunately for her the flight was diverted to El Salvador. We don't know the full details yet, but the rumor that the airliner wasn't carrying her favorite bottle of wine and she threw a fit and it half sounds good enough for me to believe.

Mrs. Styvesant-Fish and I dared the Gods and met yesterday at Score for tea; she is such a doll, being a friend interested in what I'm doing with myself. To her credit, she announced that she and her staff would be keeping South of Fifth safe for decent people; on my side of the coin, I assured her that--once again--machine gun nests had been placed on the roof of Casa Astor. Everything in between is a No Man's Land. Still, life goes on, as always. I travel with two carriages, the first with the Astor crest and the second with me disguised as a fish monger.

The Herald had a story of a Miami Dolphins superstar making his way slowly up Ocean Drive with fourteen people inside and a girl on his lap. The officer asked him to stop, which he wouldn't, and when demanded to do so after it was determined that the plates on the car didn't match the records, the idiot slowly turned in order to pin the policeman to another car. Needless to say, Mr. Football Star is in jail; what possesses someone who make millions a year to throw it all away like that? Poor breeding? The girl on the lap? That's what we are dealing with.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I love Thomas Barker (as all you know for years)....but sometimes the evil monster comes out in me and I become...
...the fire breathing, Godzilla. No worry, though; I can out-monster any Japanese creation.

Charlie is one of those most, engaging bartenders at Score. Leo and I love him; he makes an evening wonderful.

There he is, again; that famous Barker...

And...Oh....No...!!!! There is one of the most rare photos of me and my beloved, social matron, Mrs. Styuvesant-Fish thinking the Unthinkable. (But, know what? Those things happen.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The party if over; the New Yorkers and New Englanders have all returned home (or to their summer homes in Rhode Island, as the case may be). There will be no grand feasts until October when the party begins again (between the lack of help and the pounding heat, outdoor feasting doesn't make sense). "The Party" is actually what we call Season. Unlike the rest of the nation, Memorial Day signals the very end of Season; now hurricane season starts. The weekend, itself, signals something else: the near hysterical flight of the locals out of town to escape the Hip Hop event entitled Black Urban Weekend. The non-stop Hip Hop events are looked forward to by the business community as any such entity in a resort town would, but there are always problems. It may have to do with 250,000 people descending down upon a town of 90,000 that worries. Still, I have predicted to anyone who would listen and was panicking, that it will be much ado about nothing. Properly handled, even the Visigoths can be coaxed to spend their last gold on a great party or meal.

Last weekend here was either an usually excessive display of indecency or "great fun". The two are too close to call sometimes, but as Terry quipped, "What goes on in the back yard, stays in the back yard".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

KiKi's condition has made me sooo sad. I remember when he came out every Saturday with my Little Pal Johnny. They loved each other as much as I loved them.

There were the days when we had pool parties that KiKi RULED; no toe went unbit. We would talk until the wee hours about the poor dogs; we would howl. My baby is slipping away from me now; I don't know what to do. The only bright spot is that when he sees Leopoldo, he goes crazy. Well, who wouldn't? He is slipping into a well-guarded haze, with every detail of a great life emphasized by Ramon, Leopoldo, and myself. That guy has lived the good life.

The three-day party wasn't without some redemption; I got to spend some quality time with my beloved KiKi. He has gotten so old (he'll be 18 and 1/2 on June 14). He has trouble walking and tends to get into a space that he drifts off into. Although he still loves the home-cooked meals I bring, it sometimes takes him a while to recognize me, and then he jumps up and licks my face. The poor old guy; growing old is a bitch.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It likely won't be the last pool party, but the three-day bacchanal that just ended proved one thing: Only the strong survive. Wally, grinning ear to ear, said even he had never experienced the activities of this weekend. I, for one, am taking the vow of chastity and abstinence for a day or two; two days is enough to re-establish one's virginity here. Wally says that he doesn't believe we can do that; he smiled broadly when he told me that as I picked up the clothing that had been discarded all weekend. I could just about open a second hand store with what I found.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There's no end to the danger of nature. The latest star on the scene is the Nile monitor lizard, a deadly, carnivorous monster that grows to 7 feet long. It likes alligator eggs, cats, and--reportedly--dachshunds. Native to Africa, like the pythons now battling for dominance with the alligators, they were let go by owners no longer able to deal with the beast. Said a biology professor from Tampa University, "One thing we do know: These are not little lizards eating bugs." Now, the little lizards we have hundreds of in the back yard (along with the possum family), but no carnivorous monsters, yet. The Everglades, however, is becoming a sort of Jurassic Park and, since most canals connect to it one way or another, it won't be long before they make an appearance in our own back yard. Look out, possums.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The bible-thumpers are coming. Members of the forward-thinking Bonkersboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas are targeting several locations in Florida this weekend to protest that America has gone too pro-gay for its own good. Yes, these are the same fanatics who picketed the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq because they felt that America's pro-gay stance was the reason for the deaths of soldiers there. And you thought it was Islam all the time, didn't you? Someone didn't tell me that America has gone pro-gay; I thought it was only New England. (The family of that soldier was awarded five million dollars by a court. The church is appealing; they probably couldn't come up with five hundred dollars between them, anyway.) But, that's not going to stop them. They plan to start at Key West High School and work their way up to Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale; St. Thomas Episcopal, University Baptist and Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables; Temple Israel in Miami; the University of Miami Law School graduation, and the consulates of Japan, Israel, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Quite a schedule for a bunch of hicks, but why-oh-why don't they come to South Beach? If, as they proclaim, America has fallen to ''sodomy, adultery, incest, idolatry'' and other sins, they are bypassing the self-proclaimed capital of All Of The Above. Such a pity to miss them; we could have thrown them a party they would never forget, or survive to go back to the hills.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There's a new book by Steven Gaines entitled, Fools' Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach which is stirring up a lot of interest here. I arrived on these golden shores at the end of 1996, but had been visiting since the late 80's; the things I saw. I eventually was hired by Gerry Kelly to control his infamous nightclub, Level. For all the gangsters, corrupt politicians, drug dealers, and general freaks that made up this town, Gerry was the only honest man in the club world; his word was gold. But the rest of the town was like the Wild West with celebrities like Cher, Madonna, Stallone, the Estefans, Versace, and countless others living and roaming around the club circuit.

When Leopoldo brought up the book at lunch yesterday, he asked, "What happened?" And, all I could reply was that it exploded with the murder of Versace, an incident that happened two blocks away from me that day. After that, the celebrities slowly sold their homes as the City clamped down on the fun with raids and regulations and developed a vision of modern hotels and condos to supplement the old, Deco hotels on Ocean Drive. Back then there wasn't one, new hotel south of 23rd St., the official, northern bindery of South Beach. The City gave generous tax and land breaks to Loews to build the first hotel on South Beach since the Thirties; Mayor Kasdin told a friend of mine, who was questioning the deal, that it was the only way conventions and other hotels would come to town.

Now, it's like this; towers crowd a small town of 90,000 full-time residents. The glamor is still here, but it's a lot quieter and you have to know God in City Hall to attempt anything even mildly fun. The new Mayor, the delightful Mayor Matti, has done a lot to lighten up City Hall and we even have her to thank for our recent Gay Pride parade and festival. The new book has raised a lot of debate about what was better: The Sodom and Gomorrah of the past or our respectable current life. You apparently can't have it both ways. I can't wait to read that book and relive my love of Sodom.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I am not really into the early morning gym routine anymore; I like the early afternoon when I can spend one hour on each machine watching Law and Order rather than watching the pre-opening of the market on CNBC in the morning. (It makes you want to run and hide). I was forced out today in the early morning by my favorite possum, Leopoldo; it was hard, but it was good.

After we had a late breakfast, I was forced to dress for a trip downtown (to Leopoldo's eye doctor). For Mr. Astor, dressing is life, it is everything, it is the measure of what your own measure of yourself adds up to. So, I added a trip to a wonderful restaurant we went to when we were dating and agreed to conform. Leopoldo always is the height of fashion; I probably am just on a staircase up to that floor. But, it is fun to climb up.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We finally had a lovely weekend of no visitors and gracefully waltzed from bar to bar, party to party without any pressure to do bad things, like leading the Bunny Hop with a lampshade on the head.
Leopoldo and I have just been gagging on the Great Oprah Winfrey KFC Flap. I thought that woman was smarter than she apparently is. Who in their right mind would post a coupon on their popular site that gave away a free meal of KFC's new grilled chicken at a time when many people can't adequately feed themselves or their family. Honey, get out of your bubble; there is a depression out there and while you can delight an audience by giving them each a now-obsolete Pontiac, even you in all your grandness can't feed a hungry nation where one in ten people need food stamps. Wrote one disappointed coupon-holder, "I went over to our nearest KFC a few minutes ago (this was around 42nd and Park)and chaos ensued. Despite the very visible grilled chicken behind the register, the manager told everyone with coupons to leave and that the promotion was over for the day. The people there are currently holding a sit-in and refusing to leave until they get their free chicken...or the cops are called. Racial epithets were being spewed, people who actually wanted to pay for chicken were facing a potential beatdown, and the manager ran from the screaming horde. Oprah, what have ye wrought?"

Ever since the panic at our outside dinner when a baby possum approached (probably wondering what we were feasting on), I have been fending off general disgust for the creatures. Miami Beach has possums instead of squirrels; they are everywhere, totally nocturnal, and simply like to be left alone. Even, Miss Vickie--who visited the Exxxotica Show this weekend with the ravishing Penelope and is one of the most kind and generous people I know--winced when I told her of the possum family living in the back yard. Yes, they are ugly, but that is no reason to hate them; I find them rather interesting and I recently started putting out fruits and vegetables (they love Brussel sprouts) for them at night. Leopoldo even saw one mother possum carry a banana off to her babies huddled in the bushes.
So, last night I left out some leftover meatloaf and cream cheese and both of us waited. Now my meatloaf has been feeding the Mens' Wear Dept. of Saks and most of the bartenders in town for some time (discounts and free drinks must be maintained), so it was no surprise to see the possum family come out for the feast. Yes, I know they are ugly, but so is promising to feed a nation with KFC and then saying you had "no idea how bad it is out there".

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Miami Beach is such a colorful town; there's always something popping up in front of you to grab your attention. If it is not the brilliant blue of the sky, it is a drag queen on Lincoln Rd. in broad daylight.

We attended some of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations on Tuesday and met up with Carl and many friends on the one just off Lincoln Rd. We were tired and both had colds, but there are some things which just can't be missed.
A very popular Mexican restaurant, El Rancho Grande, throws a block party every year; there are several, large block parties, but this is our favorite (and the closest to home). It goes on for six hours or so (or about the time it took the woman in the foreground to get that eye makeup just right).

Everyone is happy at a block party like this one was; the weather was superb, the crowd 90% Latin (that made me happy), and the beer and tequila flowing.

And, of course, you always end up a a bar afterwards, as we did at Score to see one of favorites, Kathy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I shouldn't jinx it by mentioning my belief that this past weekend marked the end of the non-stop visitors. I watched it morph into visits that used to begin on Friday and end on Sunday to arrivals on Thursday and departures on Wednesday. I can finally concentrate on ridding myself of this nagging cold and get back to work on our projects.
Of course, no one put a gun to our head to go out all day and night, but it sure was fun. Henrietta, as always, was the star of the night. I get such a kick at watching the faces of tourists and then asking if the have met The Queen of South Beach. And, then there are the strippers, who need no introduction.

And, we had a surprise visit from Carl; his club, The Balconies in Puerto Vahatta, was closed by the government along with every other business in an attempt to contain the Swine Flu. It pretty much seems to not be the threat perceived last week and everything should reopen in Mexico by the end of the week. Our livers should also come back from the cleaners by then.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ok...I am going to make a statement that I intend all parties to take and stop the nonsense about the fucking picture hats. The hats were made two years ago by the great Countess du Barry and left in my care; yes...left in my care and cared for lovingly for those two years. They could have been taken back to Newport, but were instead left here. Countess du Barry, unfortunately, passed away last year. She had reportedly been run out of Newport for some grand indiscretion, was taken into the witness protection program in Vermont, and died from an overdose of maple syrup. A distant relative, the dubious Countess von Cartier, has attempted to take over du Barry's position in Newport; no one ever told her that the "von" was German and hardly fitted the Cartier name. If the hats had been left with anyone else, they would be history; and--anyway--Countess Bedelia needs fancy hats when she visits.

So, please, think of the hats as being preserved and utilised for the good of society. And if some distant relative with a dubious title more suspect than that of Baroness Seitzinger's, then come and get them.

It's not as if there is nothing going on, as I had hoped; it has just jumped to a level of insanity that makes even my mind dizzy. There's a lot to write about, the dozen nude boys on Saturday night brought home by crazy Terry being just one. But suffice to say that any weekend which begins with picture hat for all is destined to be a doozy.
Of course this was relatively early in the day, before the hard liquor had come out and "Joe Snow" made two trips to the house. This was when everyone was still pretty; it wouldn't last long.

The twelve boys rounded up by Terry had nothing to wear but fancy hats; that was just fine with all of us, but we think it scared Terry's nephew to near-death. Bob's father--a old navy officer--took one look and ran upstairs.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

One of my dreams have come true: Susie-probably the most popular female bartender on South Beach--has been hired by Twist to add to their tremendously popular happy hour. For a long time, I have been promoting the fact that there is a long-unused revenue center at Twist with a charming bungalow bar and an outside sitting space. Twist throws a well-attended cook out every Friday, but--in my ever-revenue-producing mind--I argued that they could throw a BBQ every night with little cost. Anyway, Susie will be a great addition to Twist; she has her own well-heeled crowd that will always follow her where she goes. I am beside myself because she will drain The Palace of more of the monied crowd while they now try to get me back. But, that is a different story, and Leopoldo is not letting me tell it yet. (He thinks I should play my cards close; I think the cards were put down a long time ago and the owner is now desperate.)

I have two great club stories. I'm too tipsy to run them by you now, but one involves the great popular bartender, Susie, and the other telephone calls tto me from the owner of The Palace. Both are telling, but Leopoldo won't let me go into them. He's right (and if you could climb into bed next to him, you would do the same).