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- 03/31/14--21:00: _Vampire Weekend Bri...
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- 03/31/14--21:00: _'Miami Herald' VP P...
- 03/31/14--21:00: _Miami Builders Make...
- 04/01/14--07:00: _Miami Concierges Sp...
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- 04/07/14--06:47: _Eva Longoria Cover ...
- 04/07/14--07:40: _Video: Eva Longoria...
- 04/08/14--07:53: _Easter and Passover...
- 04/09/14--01:00: _Find. Eat. Drink. T...
- 04/09/14--10:34: _The Original Ground...
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- 04/01/14--08:56: _Local Curating Duo ...
- 04/10/14--09:01: _The Miami Vintage S...
- 03/31/14--21:00: Vampire Weekend Brings New Grown-Up Sound to Miami
- 03/31/14--21:00: Miami-Produced Show Reunites Celebs and School Teachers
- 03/31/14--21:00: 'Miami Herald' VP Puts Digital First
- 03/31/14--21:00: Miami Builders Make Eco-Friendly Strides
- 04/01/14--07:00: Miami Concierges Spill Their Wildest Requests
- 04/01/14--13:00: Miami Bars Grow Their Own
- 04/01/14--21:00: Giorgio Rapicavoli Teaches Us How to Eat in Season
- 04/01/14--21:11: Rosario Dawson Talks Playing Feminist Icon Dolores Huerta
- 04/02/14--07:21: Spotted: Leonardo DiCaprio and Miley Cyrus Go Italian in Miami
- 04/04/14--07:36: Exclusive: Dewey LoSasso Dishes on AQ by Acqualina Menu
- 04/05/14--21:00: Guess Wants You to Wear Jeans Everywhere on April 23
- 04/07/14--06:47: Eva Longoria Cover Party
- 04/07/14--07:40: Video: Eva Longoria's Ocean Drive Cover Party and Birthday Bash
- 04/08/14--07:53: Easter and Passover Brunches All Over Town
- 04/09/14--01:00: Find. Eat. Drink. Trending Report
- 04/09/14--10:34: The Original Groundskeepers of Polo in South Florida
- 04/09/14--10:48: Are You Ready for Two Days of Sustainable Fashion Bootcamp?
- 04/01/14--08:56: Local Curating Duo Rethinks the Gallery
- 04/10/14--09:01: The Miami Vintage Shop Where Fashion Dreams Come True
Following its first Grammy win, New York rock band Vampire Weekend plays to an increasingly indieemphatic Miami crowd.
Lead singer Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performing on the Pyramid Stage on the fifth day of the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.
And the 2014 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album goes to… Vampire Weekend for its third album, Modern Vampires of the City. The band returns to Miami this month after four years away.
The group, after forming at Columbia in 2006, burst onto the modern rock tour scene with The Shins in 2007, even before its self-produced, self-titled debut album was released in January 2008.
Vampire Weekend immediately hit the top of the charts and ranked high among the review boards, injecting a new sound into the indie rock genre with experimental African influences, flirty guitar riffs, and fun, sing-along lyrics. Upbeat and catchy singles like “A-Punk,” “Oxford Comma,” and “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” featured Ezra Koenig’s light, noncommittal vocals that danced on top of drummer Chris Tomson’s percussion.
Contra, the band’s second album, released in 2010, built on the group’s preppy rock-pop lean with a more electronically produced foundation as guitarist and keyboardistRostamBatmanglij’s piano scales felt more present (“Giving Up the Gun” and “Diplomat’s Son”).
That same year, Vampire Weekend made its first trip to Miami, where concertgoers raved about the group’s energetic set, as the off-stage subdued lead Koenig let it all out on stage.
But since then, the band has grown up, and for its April 30 and May 1 shows this year, will be slowing down the tempo with tracks from Modern Vampires of the City, a clear departure from the sounds of Vampire Weekend and Contra. In this iteration, with more purposeful percussion and a nod toward deep consideration and accepted melancholy, Koenig’s haunting vocals wax poetic on life philosophies.
All three albums point to the band’s true source of inspiration: 20-something life, including the rise of immediate post-college optimism that gives way to quarter-life-crisis conflicts and eventually settles into the inevitable turn-of-a-decade reality check.
Nathan Brackett writes in his Rolling Stone review of Modern Vampires of the City, “On their third album, Ezra Koenig and the band have rid themselves, once and for all, of the precious post-collegiate references that used to be their calling card.” The industry-standard publication ranked the album as the Best Album of 2013.
This year’s Grammy win feels more like recognition for the band’s entire body of work rather than just its latest album. As a group formed on experimentalism and dedicated to constant self-progression, Vampire Weekend keeps innovating in the right direction, without forsaking the base sound that carried it to success in the first place.
And speaking of evolution, Vampire Weekend’s presence in Miami points to the city’s own shifting music landscape, one that, “say, 10 years ago, wouldn’t usually see an indie band of their stature,” according to Jason FitzroyJeffers, a culture writer-about-town. “There once was a sense that there wasn’t a big enough audience around here for these bands to justify the expense of taking their tours here.” Miami’s new generation of creative cool is establishing its influence on the city’s culture. Adds Jeffers, “Miamians are hungry for these acts.” Vampire Weekend will deliver a satisfying performance. That, and a “Horchata.” Vampire Weekend performs at 8 pm Wednesday, April 30, and 8 pm Thursday, May 1 , at The Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-7300; livenation.com
The Miami-based REAL ChangeProject is funding classrooms and helping teachers one crayon at a time, with a little help from Hollywood.
Pitbull embracing his former high school teacher Hope Martinez during an emotional moment while visiting Mater Academy in Miami, his old school, on The REAL Change Project, Season 1.
It was 2013 when Miami producer Liam Murphy was in Los Angeles, backstage at The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno. There working on another client’s production, he spotted Billy Crystal, with whom he shares the hometown of Long Beach, New York.
“Mr. Crystal,” Murphy remembers saying, “your brother Joel Crystal was my art teacher—I remember him fondly.”
While Murphy, 36, drew on his personal past in starting that conversation, the concept of connecting teachers and celebrities is seemingly his professional calling. A former sales executive at CBS, Murphy today produces from Miami the national television special The REAL Change Project—Artists for Education (airing annually on CBS), during which celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Jason Mraz, and Matthew Morrison visit their hometowns to offer gratitude to a teacher who provided great inspiration or influence.
In producing the show, Murphy partnered with the Miami-based charity AdoptAClassroom, which nationally matches registered teachers with school supply donors—and the show’s first airing helped the organization raise more than $1 million. While REAL Change debuted in April 2013—two weeks before Teacher Appreciation Week—its second production will air this September, in time for the back-to-school season that motivates both kids and broadcast advertisers.
Miley Cyrus made a surprise visit to J.T. Moore Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee, for The REAL Change Project.
“I wanted to create a show that can educate, entertain, and inspire people at the same time,” says Murphy, the son of two public school teachers. “I want to produce what will be considered a Super Bowl for teachers. Every show has a first year—the Academy Awards had a first year—and I want this to be something teachers look forward to watching 75 years from now.”
Murphy got the idea for REAL Change—the acronym stands for Recognize, Explore, Adapt, and Live—while working in sales at CBS. He’d started his career in Manhattan but had since moved to the network’s Miami office, where he acknowledged the need for programming with three components: attract advertisers, foster corporate responsibility, and champion education. Murphy started producing the show in 2007 while still working at his CBS sales job, continuing to hit revenue targets and en route to becoming a national manager, but found himself increasingly focused on REAL Change. Just eight months before the show aired in 2013, he left the network—not to mention a “strong six-figure salary”—to produce television full time.
“It was all or nothing,” he says now, from his office on Biscayne Boulevard, where in addition to REAL Change he produces televised media for a variety of corporate and celebrity clients, including the project that got him backstage at The Tonight Show.
REAL Change Productions’ Liam Murphy (right) with founder of AdoptAClassroom James Rosenberg, Sandy Altman, and Ludacris at Banneker High School (the star’s alma mater) in Atlanta.
He wouldn’t have to go it alone for long. He had a partner after teaming up with Dr. Sanford Altman, a Miami Beach interventional radiologist who is 16 years his senior—and enough private equity funding to finish production. He inked a broadcast deal with his former network and secured corporate giant Boca Raton-based Office Depot as the title sponsor. But as for television production? That was on-the-job training.
“I was so excited because our first interview was with Quincy Jones,” recalls Murphy. “I was asking him questions and everything he said was perfect, so I’d interact with him, agreeing with his answers, and the camera guy would under his breath try to stop me, saying, ‘You’re stepping on him,’ because I didn’t realize my voice was being recorded as well.”
Murphy secured a bevy of international celebrities and filmed them returning to their childhood schools, but went further when it came to Miami’s appearance on the show, he says. That’s because Pitbull, who attended Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, attributes his entire career to a teacher demanding he rap for an MTV executive, who later signed him and launched his career. For the cameras, Murphy’s team brought the teacher out of retirement and organized for Pitbull to perform in the school gym.
“Any producer will tell you that when you’re on set, magical things will just happen,” says Murphy. “This Miami-born-and-bred kid coming back to his school was one of them.”
In the dawn of the digital age and following a relocation to Doral, the Miami Herald's Mindy Marqués Gonzalez looks to the future while preserving the legacy of the historic newspaper.
Mindy Marqués Gonzalez at the Miami Herald’s printing press building, which also prints for 22 clients, including The Wall Street Journal and New York Post. “Our parent company invested $50 million in this move, taking apart the presses, putting them back together,” she says.
In the world of breaking news, there’s nothing like being in the right place at the right time. On the day I visited the Miami Herald, that was no more evident than when veteran Herald photographer Al Diaz was stuck in traffic on the Dolphin Expressway.
In seconds, Diaz went from just another inconvenienced driver to hero photographer when a woman caring for an infant came running through stopped traffic screaming that the baby in her arms wasn’t breathing. Diaz sprung into action and summoned help from within the jam in the form of an off-duty police officer. More help arrived, CPR was given, the baby started breathing, and Diaz’s photos of the entire ordeal made not only the front page of the State & Local section of the Herald but went viral around the world.
For Executive Editor and Vice President of the Miami Herald Mindy Marqués Gonzalez, it was just another day for the 110-year-old paper. The Herald has been calling Doral home since last May, after its downtown Miami location sold for $236 million. Marqués Gonzalez says, “It was a great business move,” and in a world where consumers expect their news immediately—and digital—a “great business move” is more important now than ever. Here she talks with Ocean Drive about the move out to Doral, the future, and her first job at the paper.
Executive Editor Martin Baron and Managing Editor/News Mark Seibel when the paper won a Pullitzer in 2001 for its coverage of EliánGonzález.
How has the transition from your old and original location gone?
The transition has gone really well. There was a lot of emotional attachment to the old building. But this has given us an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art, modern newsroom that really points to the future, and that’s a big difference compared to the old space, built many decades ago completely around a print product only.
You’re in the old US Southern Command building. What’s significant about it?
The US Southern Command is the center that controls military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America. This building is hurricane proof, built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Also, those windows are ballistic proof, which we love to say. We have generators that can not only run the printing presses but also run the building. We have enough generators to run the whole operation in case of a hurricane. We’ve never not published in our 110 years.
How was staffing affected by the move?
We went through some downsizing—like a lot of companies—a few years back, but we’ve stabilized. We’re probably about half the size we were 10 years ago. Technology is impacting all media companies, and almost every business has to adapt.
That can be a good thing for you because of online and mobile.
The digital space has been an amplifier for us. Our average traffic now to the Miami Herald website is 6.3 million monthly unique visitors. People want to immediately know what’s going on, and we do that through online, or Twitter or Facebook. We are on so many different platforms [more than 55 digital outlets, including social media and mobile], dishing out the news. We’re really pushing towards a digital-first philosophy. A big percentage of our revenue now is digital; I think we’re at 20 percent.
Marqués Gonzalez with Herald reporter Steve Rothaus during a morning meeting.
You started out as an intern here in 1986. What was it like back then?
When I started working, we weren’t even on the modern PC. It was like the first iteration of a PC. It looked like those old, big televisions. You had your notebook, your pen, and the phone with a cord on it. I remember the first cell phones; they weighed like 10 pounds, and you only got them for breaking news. You’d take this big boulder with you in case of breaking news, and everybody didn’t have one. Then there were beepers. Deadlines were simple: You were writing for the daily the next day. Now, we’re continually publishing online. We have all these ways to tell stories that we didn’t have before.
What is the daily circulation of the paper in terms of sales?
The circulation daily for the Miami Herald is 155,113 (207,007 on Sundays), but you can’t measure our reach just by circulation anymore because we’re not just a newspaper alone anymore. It’s such a small part of the story now. We actually grew our Sunday circulation by 3 percent last year.
What would you say are the biggest problems facing South Florida right now?
I would say on a statewide level, we continue to look very seriously at the issues of children, child deaths under the watch of the Department of Children and Families
Is that neglect? Lack of funding?
There’s been a shift in policy that really tilted heavily toward family reunification, and so it was almost family reunification at any cost. Children were left in very dangerous situations in an attempt to keep the family together, and that resulted in their death. The other thing is this resurgence of corruption on the [part] of government officials in City Hall. We saw three mayors indicted last year. Public accountability is a key part of what we have to do. We had a Pulitzer Prize finalist for public service in 2010. We’ve won 20 Pulitzers in our history. We don’t do what we do to win prizes, but it is a recognition that the work you’re doing is important, and in the last seven years, we have either won or been a finalist for five Pulitzer Prizes.
What is next for the Herald in the future?
I can’t tell you exactly how you’ll be getting your news, but I know we’ll be delivering that news. We’ll be here.
Miami may not be the Portland-esque pinnacle of green, but environmentally friendly design practices are being incorporated into new construction in a wide variety of interesting ways.
The upcoming Grove at Grand Bay, designed by renowned architect BjarkeIngels, is part of the new wave of eco-conscious buildings going up around Miami. Here, an interior rendering.
When 2020 Alton Road broke ground in 2011 overlooking a busy intersection in the heart of Miami Beach, the building, which resembles an encrustation of white rectangles and planes, was ballyhooed by its promoters as the greenest house in the world.
On such an extremely visible site, it was a house that made its point: Miami, Miami Beach, and South Florida must all become very green, and fast. The house was built to be “net-zero,” meaning it requires no electricity from the grid, and it would eventually return back to the grid energy that was created by a veritable power plant, including photovoltaic cells and vertical wind turbines within the building.
The property finally sold last August amid media coverage of its construction, including a feature by Bob Vila. But in 2011 the emphasis on building “green” in Miami was still just a whisper. Since then it’s grown from a novelty to a more fundamentally mainstream aspect of new construction. This shift, although smaller—and slower—than other cities more on the vanguard of the seismic trend, is important.
321 Ocean will feature Nest Learning Thermostats that turn themselves down to save energy when owners are away.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely accepted standard for green building in the US. An office building of all things, 1450 Brickell, was the first LEED building in Miami, achieving its LEED Gold certification in 2010. But condos seem to be the new frontier. The list of new residential towers, where exotic green features and amenities attract the curiosities of buyers, is long and only growing.
Grove at Grand Bay (Sales Gallery at 2665 S. Bayshore Dr., Ste. 500, Coconut Grove, 305-929-8646), a set of twisting towers designed by internationally famed “It boy” architect BjarkeIngels and now under construction in Coconut Grove, is slated to be LEED Gold.
Aria Development’s under-construction 321 Ocean (321 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-490-7559) obtained a special permit from the EPA to protect the sand dunes and sea turtle nesting grounds on its beach, and the building features Nest Learning Thermostats, which learn your temperature habits and turn themselves down to save energy when you’re not around. The lobby reception desk at Key International Sales’ planned 1010 Brickell is being sculpted out of a fallen tree from the Colombian rain forest. The sculptor will replace it with 25,000 seedlings to counteract rain forest decimation.
1 Hotel & Homes in South Beach is transforming a 1960s-era building into an environmentally friendly luxury hotel.
Hotels—notorious for consuming energy and nature’s resources—are putting in their efforts too. Miami got its first LEED-certified hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites in Brickell, in 2012. And now in South Beach, Starwood’s under-construction 1 Hotel & Homes (2399 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-361-5100) is doing a rather extraordinary thing by converting a 1960s-era concrete structure—designed in many ways to be inherently unsustainable—into a much more green colossus. The reusing of the building itself, originally designed as an auto-oriented, air-conditioned fortress walled off from the rest of Miami Beach, already lends itself to the environmentally friendly practices the Beach is adopting.
Then there’s the huge “Climate Ribbon” that will be suspended above the pedestrian mall at Brickell City Centre. At its most simplistic, this is an awning of the future. The advanced engineering of the Climate Ribbon will passively cool the indoor-outdoor space below it by shading the sun’s rays and channeling breezes coming from Biscayne Bay blocks away.
When green technologies and practices are masterfully executed and integrated with local conditions and passive environmental design, the result is something like the stunning Pérez Art Museum Miami. The entire building is shaded by elegant overhangs, while on the wide terraces long, stalactite-like hanging columns covered in living plants and designed by Patrick Blanc, the inventor of the green wall, help cool the building they surround. The museum’s design itself, which so lightly touches the parking level beneath, feels like it could float off into the bay leaving a garden, and a few cars, behind.
Miami’s warm and watery location, made accessible by the railroad and highways, is what originally brought the throngs to our shores. Our climate and environment have always been the base attractions, the context of every other entertainment and diversion no matter how air-conditioned or far removed from beach sand.
Sea-level projections show that South Florida will be the first to be affected by rising water levels. But perhaps we can prevent the ocean’s intrusion into our city with focused and concerted efforts on features like thermostats and desks, low-flow toilets, concrete foundations, impact windows, and the myriad other elements that it takes to attain LEED certification. Additionally, our experience with hurricanes could prove useful in some way. It’s all a part of our collective effort to save Miami from the destiny Mother Nature could have in store for it.
From first-class travel arrangements to all-hours parties and shotgun weddings, Miami’s top concierges make Champagne wishes and VIP dreams come true.
Sonja Hoffmann at the Epic Hotel downtown.
An Epic stay can turn a vacationer into a local as long as Sonja Hoffmann is involved.
“Expectations are high in Miami when it comes to style,” she says. “It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people and beautiful things. They want a little piece of that life, so it’s, How can we make it happen?”
Traveling in style is key for visitors at Epic. Hoffmann has rented a ’62 Mustang convertible for a guest—a car that usually comes with a driver, but the guest insisted on driving it himself. She’s also been asked to charter a helicopter to take a guest from the hotel to the Sony Open—the tennis tournament that’s a mere seven miles away—because he didn’t feel like dealing with the toll on Rickenbacker Causeway.
Some guests don’t like to travel at all, which is why Hoffmann, who is originally from Germany and has been with Epic since it opened in 2008, can bring the world to you. One guest didn’t want to make the trek down a few flights on the elevator to the gym, so they put a treadmill right in his room. Another couple brought their pet monkey to Epic, so they did a lot of in-room dining. Picture Joe’s Stone Crab with a side of bananas.
“We provide all the amenities for the pets,” she says. “The couple that travels with their monkey, they bring a little bed that we make all nice for him. He was quite a star here.”
The thing about Epic, though, is that once people come, they often want to stay. It’s the kind of hotel where people will move in for months at a time while their Miami home is being built. All of a sudden, they’re no longer concerned with fancy cars and instead have their eyes set on a certain stone for the floors or artwork for the walls.
“We have guests who ask us to help with their apartment,” says Hoffmann, who has even assisted one such guest with finding a fingerprint-touch door lock for his future home. “We have a lot of people who stay with us for a long period of time because they came here to visit and they decided they really love Miami.” It’s just like with the cars: Once they saw Miami, they had to have it. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-424-5226
ItaloFornoni at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami.
Whatever you want, Mandarin Oriental’s concierge Italo Fornoni can get it.
“Stories? We’ve got a few,” says ItaloFornoni, concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, when asked about the memorable moments from his five years behind the desk at the Brickell Key hotel. “Some of them are PG and some of them are not, and I keep those to myself.”
He’ll quickly rattle off tales of closing the gym for three hours every morning for an entire week so an actor could get in shape for a movie, booking a week’s worth of restaurants for a guest so eccentric that he would cancel the reservation if the table wobbled, and hiring a “little person” from a talent agency to party with a Mexican man who was throwing a wild bachelor party.
If you want stories, Fornoni will give them to you at the speed of light, and if you want something else—anything else—he’ll get that for you right away, too.
“Most of our guests are very well traveled, so they know what they want,” he says. “Brazilians, for example, they read in a magazine [what] the top five restaurants in Miami [are], and they say, ‘I want to go here no matter what. I want to rent a Lamborghini or Ferrari for the weekend. I want tickets to the Miami Heat, and I want to sit next to LeBron James.’ It’s the same with the Eastern Europeans or guests from the Orient. They want Prime 112. They want Joe’s Stone Crab. They want to rent the car that they saw on Miami Vice years ago. They don’t care about the price tag. Just get it.”
After nearly 20 years in the business, Fornoni—born in Chile but raised in Argentina—has a guy for just about everything, and believe it or not, getting your hands on some stone crabs is actually more difficult than catching the sweat off LeBron.
“You cannot do this job without a good ticket broker,” he says. “But having a relationship with the maître d’ at Joe’s is key in Miami. Bones—the maître d’ there for years—he’s everybody’s friend and he’s nobody’s friend.”
It’s a game of give and take in the land of concierges, and in his hand Fornoni holds access to Mandarin Oriental’s five-star spa and popular restaurants Azul and La Mar. He’s got the hookup all over the world, and as he’ll tell you, “The concierge is a good friend to have.” 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8288
Claudia Abma at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Silk embroidered gown, Blumarine ($12,520). Diane Firsten, 28 Via Mizner, Worth Ave., Palm Beach, 561-833-2353
Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s head concierge, Claudia Abma, makes magic happen.
If it doesn’t seem possible to create a totally private, romantic moment at the Fontainebleau—a bustling hotel with 1,504 rooms and an estimated 20,000 guests walking through the doors on a big weekend either staying on the grounds, dining at top-tier restaurants like Scarpetta, Hakkasan, and Michael Mina 74, or partying at the world-renowned LIV nightclub—then you haven’t met head concierge Claudia Abma.
“A few years ago, a couple wanted a baby grand piano in their room so he could play and she could sing,” says Abma, who within hours had the piano shipped down from Broward County. It didn’t fit through the doors of the suite, so Abma improvised, searching throughout the hotel for an area they could make intimate. They settled on a ballroom, and a magical moment was created. “The next day, she told us she was crying, she was so excited.”
What the guest probably didn’t even realize was that there really is no better place to tickle the ivories than a Fontainebleau ballroom, where everyone from Frank Sinatra to Sammy Davis Jr. to Elvis Presley has performed.
Abma—a Peruvian who has spent 17 years with the Fontainebleau—and the team of 13 concierges have done everything from waiting in seats at The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater so a VIP guest could sit front row at a first-come, first-serve My Morning Jacket concert to preparing poolside proposals for guests looking to pop the question. One time a proposal went so well that the very next day, Abma was asked to prepare a wedding.
“He asked her if she wanted to get married tomorrow, just out of the blue, and she said yes, so they both came back to the concierge,” she says. “Everyone was working on something different to get it together in time for a sunset wedding. Getting the official that quickly—someone who would actually marry them—was the toughest part. But we made it happen.”
They always make it happen. There is a classic story told among the concierges at the Fontainebleau about a child falling into a wishing well that, when the hotel first opened, sat where Bleau Bar is today. There was screaming as if the boy were drowning, but it turned out he was just trying to pick up the coins. These days, the well is gone, but thanks to Abma and company, the wishes still come true. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-538-2000
Gabriella Di Falco at the W South Beach.
The W insider Gabriella Di Falco turns the happiness business into a 24-hour-a-day job.
Imagine the horror of chartering a yacht and discovering, once you’re in the middle of the ocean, that you’re out of limes to enjoy with your favorite tequila. For most, that would be an Art Basel disaster, but for a VIP guest of the W South Beach, there’s “lead W insider” Gabriella Di Falco to save the day.
“The guest was like, ‘I don’t know where I am, but I need my limes for my tequila,’” says the Sicilian Di Falco, who has been with the W for five years. “So we got on a little boat with a big tray and brought her the limes. Of course, it’s impossible to enjoy the tequila without lime.”
It’s also impossible to enjoy a party without a lion, apparently, since Di Falco has helped a famous actor wrangle one in for a last-minute celebration at the hotel. “I thought it was a joke,” she remembers. “I called someone who rents lions for photo shoots and movies, so long story short, he came around with an old car with the lion in the back scratching the window. The guy was driving with one hand and holding the lion with the other hand. The guest was so happy. He thanked me forever.”
She has also melted chocolate to fill a tub so a couple could bathe in it, talked Zuma into opening on an off night to cater a meal to-go on a private jet, and become a 24-hour personal assistant preparing guests for club arrivals or solving their “where do I go now?” South Beach problems at 4 am.
“My phone is on 24 hours,” she says. “I built a little plastic box inside my shower for my phone, so if somebody is calling and it’s something important, I just take it. And at night, my phone is always under my pillow. It’s a little strange, but I like to work like that.”
Alongside Di Falco, there are three other “insiders” and a director of guest services supervising, but at the end of the day, it’s the guests who call the shots. They control where she is and when, which is why sometimes she’ll go to a club ahead of time to make sure the red carpet is rolled out for her guests’ arrival, and other times she’ll be in the club with them making sure everything is just right. “In five years, I’ve never had the opportunity to say no. It’s a real challenge, but it’s exciting for me every day.” 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-938-3000
D’Michael Haas at the Delano.
Delano concierge D’Michael Haas makes South Beach feel like home for celebrities.
There is a unique duality to the Delano: On the one hand, it lies in the heart of the bustle of South Beach, and on the other, it often serves as a serene getaway for VIPs looking to turn the iconic hotel into a weekend home. The job of keeping that balance belongs to D’Michael Haas.
Those who read the gossip pages know that Jay Z and Beyoncé partied at the hotel’s club FDR, Lindsay Lohan once rested poolside after a brief post-New Year’s hospital run, and Leonardo DiCaprio dined with Hollywood pals at Bianca. But what people don’t know is that Haas, his two concierge colleagues, and the guest experience manager have also closed the dining room down to allow VIP guests to dine privately, sent every amenity possible (that list will remain confidential) to a guest’s room so they wouldn’t have to leave, and even moved the bar to the penthouse for guests who wanted a private party.
“Sometimes people who are very well known want a retreat and shy away from the attention, and sometimes they come to Delano and they want to be in the center of it,” he explains. “That’s the nice thing: You can have it however you want it here.”
The aforementioned penthouse party was a 50th-birthday celebration where the host didn’t want to deal with anyone outside her circle of friends. “She raved about our mixologist from the Rose Bar and wanted them to come up and be her private bartenders for the party,” Haas recalls. “Of course, we made that happen.”
He’s filled a room with everything from green hydrangeas to kombucha tea to Lindt chocolates for VIP guests, planned a helicopter ride to Kennedy Space Center, and arranged all-hours spa and fitness amenities inside a suite.
“If you’re a penthouse guest, you have 24-hour access to the team,” he says. “If you’re someone who takes their fitness routine on the road, we can get you the private yoga session right there in the penthouse or get you a trainer 24 hours a day in our gym.”
Haas and his team will do what they can to accommodate guests because, as he says, “We need you to feel at home to be happy.” And as “residents in paradise,” as he calls them, no request seems too absurd—except maybe the time a guest wanted a horse by the pool. Did it happen? What happens at the Delano stays at the Delano. 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-672-2000
Miami bars are going beyond farm-to-table and tending their own gardens, growing fresh herbs, flowers, and other ingredients for their haute creations.
Magic City Swizzle cocktail at The Broken Shaker, made with herbs just picked from the garden.
Herbaceous is a buzzword in the cocktail community that’s growing as fast as the aromatic gems it describes. A select group of bartenders in Miami, along with one chef, have actually created on-site gardens, bringing their passion to life with their own hands. April is the best month of the year to taste the fruits of their labor—literally and figuratively.
At The Broken Shaker (2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach, 305-531-2727), the inventory of the garden rivals that of the premium spirits found on the back bar. Lush, tropical landscaping showcases fragrant stems of rosemary, sage, lavender, oregano, tarragon, shiso, chives, and various kinds of mint that surround the courtyard of this bohemian playground.
Co-owner Gabriel Orta stresses that there’s more to this garden than meets the eye. “The aesthetics only satisfy one of our senses. The goal with every cocktail is to touch them all,” he says as he grabs a handful of lemon verbena. According to Orta, it adds a subtle combination of lemon and mint that never overpowers. Herbs like this and other homegrown treasures, such as nasturtium (edible flowers), lemon, lime, orange, star fruit, mango, papaya, and banana are used to complement the drink recipes.
Julie Frans, the executive chef of Essensia Restaurant + Lounge(3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-908-5458) at the Palms Hotel & Spa, says the garden tells her when it’s time for a specific drink. Every day, she spends time in the plot she built by the pool in order to eye the freshest, most seasonal ingredients for her restaurant’s bar (and kitchen). The Kaffir lime tree is a consistent standout that helps Frans and her bartenders craft the Kaffir lime drop cocktail, a signature drink featuring garden-picked lime leaf, Tru Garden vodka, egg white, and fresh ginger syrup. The scented leaves from the lime tree taste like spices, celery, dill, cumin, and pink peppercorns. After muddling them thoroughly, the other ingredients are added to make what is one of the most refreshing martinis in Miami. “It’s nice to keep it like a secret garden,” adds Frans.
The rooftop of The Redbury hotel is home to the fresh herbs for Lorenzo (1776 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-483-1796), an Italian restaurant owned by chef Tony Mantuano. Basil, mint, and rosemary are grown for cocktails created by Michael Jack Pazdon from Napa Valley’s Goose & Gander. His TazzadiSuolo (or “Cup of Earth,” featuring AmaroAverna, mixed citrus, rosemary, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, ginger beer, and bitters) is a garden-party-style cocktail to bring waves of earthy, herbal flavors to the table. The rosemary is rubbed before it hits the liquid, releasing pungent oils that add unparalleled complexity.
On the other side of the bridge, mint is the most popular herb. It covers the walls of Blackbird Ordinary’s (729 SW First Ave., Miami, 305-671-3307) expansive outdoor patio on the edge of Brickell. Owner Dan Binkiewicz and bar manager Fraser Hamilton call it the “edible wall” because guests walk right up to it and pick leaves to eat. While this gets in the way of their scheduled harvests, they say it makes them smile to see people engaging with the bar’s fresh ingredients.
|Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli|
After two years of line-out-the-door success, Eating House chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and partner Alex Casanova will expand their empire with Taperia Raca, opening in the MiMo district at the end of March. The vibe, inspired by the duo’s culinary trip to Barcelona a few years back, is all about sharing, with communal garden seating and dishes designed in twos and fours to encourage diners to try “a bite of this, a bite of that.”
As always, the 28-year-old chef will incorporate fresh ingredients sourced from local organic markets like Paradise Farms, Robert Is Here, Tina’s Pride, and now, the farmers' market in Doral. He explains, “It’s nice to see where your food is growing, and who’s growing it. It gives you more of an appreciation and connection to what you’re eating.”
Here, Rapicavoli tells us which produce picks are in season right now, and how to use them.
Asparagus: "My personal favorite way is to not even poach asparagus stalks, but to hard grill them. When you don’t poach them, it allows the stalks to char nicely, while keeping the inside vegetal and raw. Some olive oil, salt and pepper, and you’re done. Check for asparagus that’s bright green, with no bruising."
Kohlrabi: "It’s a funky cabbage with the fibrous texture of an apple. I like it raw in a salad, drizzled with an acidic vinaigrette to really break it down. Just remember, kohlrabi shouldn’t be perfect, those imperfections are good."
Peas: "They’re everywhere right now. Peas are phenomenal creamed and made into a sauce for pasta. Spaghetti with a pea cream is really beautiful and delicious."
Cherries: "They’re not local per se, but I love them for spring—especially paired with game meats like venison or duck breast. You can pickle them, freeze them, eat them raw, or conserve them in a syrup. Stewed Amarena cherries over ice cream also make an incredible dessert. Make sure your cherries are firm, but not rock-hard."
Radishes: "Radishes are a very well-versed vegetable. It pairs well with fatty things. It’s beautiful, great color. We use it a lot to finish dishes, just raw."
Grapefruit: "I use the zest a lot—it’s really floral. Grapefruit pairs nicely with seafood, because it’s bitter with a little salinity. It’s very well rounded. Grapefruit also makes for a great light sorbet or granita. When choosing my grapefruit, I always like to give it a little scratch to break the skin and smell it."
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay.
—ROBERTA NAAS, ATimelyPerspective.com
We know you love Tudor timepieces, so we are happy to bring you one of the newest—just unveiled at BaselWorld 2014. The newest watch, the Heritage Black Bay Reference 79220B, is a blend of heritage and authenticity. Heritage Black Bay's design calls on the brand’s first diver watch, the Tudor Submariner 7922, which was launched in 1954. It also fulfills the needs of water adventurers thanks to a “Big Crown” that recalls the reference 7924 introduced in 1958 to make turning the crown easier. Additionally, it blends features from pieces dating back to 1970s with its angular hands known as “Snowflakes.”
The Heritage Black Bay Reference 79220B isn’t all vintage, though. Its bold 41mm steel case is accented with an updated midnight blue anodized aluminum crown tube bezel that is deeply alluring. It is sold with interchangeable bracelets. What makes the watch a real keeper in terms of aesthetics is the high-tech feel thanks to the deep-black dial, silver luminescent hour markers, and unidirectional rotating bezel in midnight blue to match color of the crown tube. It is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, the Tudor Caliber 2824.
The watch is water-resistant to 200 meters and is sold with both an adjustable black-and-blue fabric weave strap and with a choice of either a midnight blue distressed leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. Stay tuned on ATimelyPerspective.com for more on Tudor.
Founder and editor-in-chief of ATimelyPerspective.com, Roberta Naas is a veteran award-winning journalist in the watch industry with more than 25 years of experience. She was the first woman watch editor in the US market—breaking in to an “all boys network” with a pioneering spirit that would be her signature to this day. Naas brings responsible, factual—yet always timely and insightful—reporting of the watch industry to the forefront.
The Puerto Rican, Cuban, African-American, Native American, and Irish actress takes on the role of Dolores Huerta ("a feminist before feminism was even a word") in Diego Luna's just-released Cesar Chavez biopic.
It’s early afternoon on an especially sunny day, and Rosario Dawson is just getting into the swing of things. She was out late last night with friends and her younger brother, Clay, carousing in her old Lower East Side Manhattan stomping grounds. The highlight was a stop at a karaoke bar called Boho, where she belted out a mean version of “Bat Out of Hell.” Meatloaf is her karaoke go-to—“‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ and those long, epic songs are just so outrageous,” she says.
It's been quite an epic ride for Dawson: It was 20 years ago that she was discovered by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine just a few blocks away from last night’s scene of the crime—on the stoop of the squat where she grew up (and the building where her dad still lives).
In Clark’s controversial Kids (scripted by Korine), which details a day in the life of a group of skate teens living dangerously on the edge in the mid-’90s AIDS-epidemic era in NYC, Dawson was riveting as Ruby, best friend to ChloëSevigny’s character Jennie, who tests positive for HIV. Since then, she’s starred in dozens of films, ranging from independent titles (Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof ) to big-screen releases (Men in Black II, Rent, Sin City, 25th Hour).
Her knockout looks—a mix of Puerto Rican, Cuban, African-American, Native American, and Irish roots—are of course spellbinding. But it’s also her passion, humanity, and sense of humor that keep audiences riveted.
Now 34, she’s grateful to be not just still in the business but thriving. “I’m proud I’m still doing it,” she says, looking back over her 20-year career arc. “I’m proud that I’m still feeling challenged, that I’m still working on things that scare me a bit or inspire me, and that I still get to do what I love. As a woman in her 30s, I know I’m supposed to feel like I’m about to have a nail put in my coffin or something. But I don’t. Actors I’ve always admired have acted until pretty much the end.”
Besides, she reasons, “I work a lot more now than I used to when I was really young. I was scared throughout almost my entire career that I wouldn’t have one, and then 20 years later, I’ve done over 50 films, so I’ve stopped worrying about that.”
Embroidered organza eyelet jacket, YigalAzrouël ($1,490). Saks Fifth Avenue, BalHarbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-1100. Signature silk cami, Tibi ($158). Saks Fifth Avenue, SEE ABOVE. Crystal Saffiano cuff, Prada ($1,395). BalHarbour Shops, 305-864-9111. Pink and white diamond floral ring set in platinum, Tiffany & Co. ($30,000). BalHarbour Shops, 305-864-1801
Right now, she has other things on her mind, like a move back to the East Coast to be nearer to family. For the past several years, she’s been living in Venice Beach in Los Angeles, where she leads what she calls a “Burning Man kind of life,” riding her bike along the ocean when not stuck in LA traffic.
Being a beach-lover, she also cherishes time spent in Miami, savoring the local Cuban food when visiting relatives in Palmetto Bay, near Coral Gables. “My cousin Paco is like 6-foot-6—you’ve got some big Cubans down there!” she cracks.
One of her all-time favorite Miami jaunts involved her brother and her late grandmother. En route to see Dawson’s mother in the Dominican Republic, the trio stopped over in Miami to visit relatives on the way. “We had dinner with my family, and then we went into the club in our hotel and stayed up until 3 in the morning. My grandmother was drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes,” she recalls. For once, she wasn’t the main attraction. “People were just beside themselves with my grandmother. They weren’t even taking pictures of me—they could have cared less—they just wanted to take pictures with my grandmother because they thought it was the funniest thing. Here’s this beautiful, white-haired lady in her 70s who’s dancing and cheers-ing and having a good time. I’ll never forget how cool that was.”
For her current role, in the Diego Luna-directed biopicCesar Chavez, Dawson steps into the shoes of another truly awesome woman who is still living life to the fullest in her eighth decade: civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta. “She’s still rockin’ in her 80s—filing petitions, marching, protesting, and advocating.”
The film tells the story of Huerta and Chavez forming the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, but their inspiring story is certainly pertinent today. “A lot of the issues in this film are still very imminent: immigration, labor rights, and unions—watching the movie, it feels like you’re watching the news today. It’s really good for perspective and to see just how interconnected all of these things are. Dolores was a feminist before feminism was even a word! When I watch this movie, I feel like it’s Activism 101. The film really shows how together we can make a big impact and really help people—and how transformative that is.”
Tricolor ivory ripple knit dress, M Missoni ($1,245). Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-466-3939. Yellow beryl and diamond earrings set in rock crystal and platinum, Tiffany & Co. ($60,000). BalHarbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-1801. Perlée cuff bracelet ($35,100) and Frivolebetween-thefinger ring ($4,450), Van Cleef& Arpels. BalHarbour Shops, 305-866-0899
These are lessons Dawson learned from a young age, surrounded by generations of activists and philanthropists. It’s no wonder her Facebook page is full of encouraging messages to her 797,907 followers to get involved in a multitude of causes dear to her heart (including the nonpartisan group she cofounded 10 years ago, Voto Latino); she’s been an activist since she was a young girl.
“My first campaign was to save trees when I was 10—it probably was wasting more paper than saving any trees,” she says. “But I was highly encouraged by my mom. These things are passed on: My grandmother was involved in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union; she used to march and translate material into Spanish so that more of the community could be engaged. My mom was in ACT UP and used to work at an organization called WOMAN, Inc. in San Francisco that would take in mothers who were abused and their children, help them get a leg up on life again. This is my family, my community.”
Family is clearly key to Dawson. But what about a family of her own? “I have always had a very strong mothering instinct. My first job ever was babysitting and tutoring. I would even tutor and babysit my peers’ younger siblings! Today, I work with a lot of different organizations and public schools, and I have a family that I sponsor in Sierra Leone that I love, and my godchildren. That mothering part of me has just always been in action. I wouldn’t be surprised to have it evolve and transform.”
Vetiver jersey cap-sleeve dress, Donna Karan Collection ($1,195). Saks Fifth Avenue, Dadeland Mall, 7687 N. Kendall Dr., South Miami, 305-662-8655. Brass hoop earrings with coin, Dolce & Gabbana ($910). Neiman Marcus, BalHarbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Perlée cuff bracelet ($35,100) and Perlée bracelet featuring diamonds set in 18k rose gold ($45,600), Van Cleef& Arpels. BalHarbour Shops, 305-866-0899. Gold liquid cuff, Alexis Bittar ($275). Saks Fifth Avenue, BalHarbour Shops, 305-865-1100. Valnina glitter/calf pumps, Christian Louboutin ($795). 155 NE 40th St., Miami, 305-576-6820
She’s had some high-profile paramours throughout the years, including Sex and the City beefcake Jason Lewis and, most recently, Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle (she starred in his 2013 film Trance). While she won’t comment on her current romantic life, she will admit that there is “lots of love in my life.”
And lots of work to be done. Coming up later this year: Dawson plays a celebrity journalist profiling a star comedian in Finally Famous, written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock. This made us wonder what key messages she would want to get across if she were profiling herself. “I’m very human. The more I see my flaws, I see them with perspective,” she muses. “I’m a very optimistic and passionate person. I love that I’m still in awe of so many things. I love learning and challenging myself and trying things, and I’m not afraid to be weird or silly or outrageous at all. I can be really shy, which I know can be surprising, but I do like to deliberate on things and take my time and figure stuff out. I feel really grateful that I grew up with people who were really human, too. I’m not a perfect human being, but I think that’s what makes me perfect. We’re all perfectly imperfect.”
They say opposites attract, or at least, in this case, have the same taste in Italian food. Find out where Miley and Leo (and a host of other huge stars) have been spotted around town...
Leonardo DiCaprio brought his golden glow to sunny Miami last week. (photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Miley Cyrus and Leonardo DiCaprio Go Italian in Miami
Oscar-less but still golden in our book, Leonardo DiCaprio swung by Cecconi's with a large group for lunch on Saturday, March 29. Miley Cyrus was also spotted at the restaurant on Friday, March 21, the day before her "Bangerz" concert at AmericanAirlines arena. She sat in the back and ordered drinks with her entourage.
P. Diddy and Guy Gerber Throw a Model Pizza Party
Israeli DJ and producer Guy Gerber joined P. Diddy Saturday, March 29 for a VIP party at Rec Room at the Red Bull Guest House during the Winter Music Conference to celebrate their new album, "11:11." The exclusive guest list of 100 people included 50 models hand-picked from agencies around the world. Revelers danced to live jazz and feasted on pizzas from Dolce Italian upstairs.
Shahs of Sunset Stars Pile in at Juvia
Stars of Bravo's Shahs of Sunset, Reza Farahan and Mercedes "MJ" Javid, brought a group of 13 to Juvia on Sunday, March 30 around 10:30 p.m. and stayed at the restaurant until 1 a.m. The group ordered a bunch of the restaurant's signature dishes, including the crispy rice, one of Reza's favorites.
Paris Hilton jumped on the Avicii Hotel bandwagon during Miami Music Week.
Paris Hilton Dances with Alesso at Avicii Hotel
Paris Hilton sported a pair of leopard kitty ears and danced on stage with Alesso Thursday, March 27 at The Avicii Hotel at SLS Hotel South Beach. Wyclef Jean was also seen at Ushuaïa's ANTS pool party at the hotel on Friday. Then on Saturday, DJ Deadmau5 enjoyed music at SLS with pals, and NERVO dined with family and friends before their set.
David Beckham and Avengers Star Lounge at Cavalli Restaurant
David Beckham and a posse of five friends dined at Cavalli Restaurant & Lounge on Tuesday, March 25, finishing their night upstairs with a bottle of Grey Goose at the lounge. Also spotted at Cavalli was a star of the upcoming Avengers movie, Anthony Mackie.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union Toast Engagement with Famous Friends
Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union hosted their engagement party at the Pearl Champagne Lounge in Nikki Beach on Saturday, March 15. The couple toasted their upcoming nuptials with gold bottles of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Champagne with family and friends, which included Kelly Rowland, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Hart.
There will be fruit from LoSasso's own backyard—and kale mojitos...
Chef Dewey LoSasso reps Acqualina at Moet Hennessy's The Q during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. (photo: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
It’s hard to imagine a more magical setting for a dining spot than Acqualina’s private oceanfront on Sunny Isles. With a $50 million residential penthouse and suites that begin at $1500, the property has tapped chef Dewey LoSasso for its newest coup, AQ by Acqualina, opening later this month.
Acqualina lured the longtime Forge chef to oversee AQ, and all of the hotel’s food and beverage service, and he has devised a creative menu that focuses on fresh, local ingredients with a Mediterranean slant. For instance, goat cheese drizzled with lavender honey and served with basil and pink peppercorn crostini comes from a farm in Homestead; local black grouper is plated with a carrot-pomegranate reduction and apple cakes seared with Florida celery root; borscht is enhanced with stone crabs; and a mango tarte tatin is made with fruit from LoSasso's own backyard in Miami Shores.
“We have a global market, but we want to entice and enhance our local following, and have people in the area come back regularly,’’ said LoSasso, who worked for Donatella Versace for years and did a stint at China Grill Management before opening North One 10 on Biscayne and then revitalizing Miami’s legendary Forge steakhouse.
Acqualina's luxurious, oceanside environs inspired LoSasso to create a Mediterranean-style menu.
The chef also has an eye to healthy preparations. The bread in his panzanella salad is whole wheat, beignets are made with tofu and seaweed, and there is a wide range of inventive salads, from quinoa studded with cherries and preserved lemon to kale with shaved Parmesan and fennel-cured salmon.
Even mojitos are being whipped up in a kale variety. He extends this wholesome approach to children, adding soy panna cotta and whole wheat French toast on the kiddie menu, and offering healthy pizza classes.
“Of course, you do need to have a balance and provide some indulgences,’’ said LoSasso, who plans to include a prime steak, hamburger, and crispy corn and truffle ravioli on the menu.
He also has fun with food and modern molecular techniques. His Spanish octopus is sous vide for tenderness and served on crostini that's been smeared with boiled garlic. Chopped escarole is mixed with black walnut dust and avocado oil powder, and popcorn used in cocktails is dried with liquid nitrogen so that it pops in the mouth and emits smoke.
“I get inspired by my surroundings,’’ said LoSasso, adding that the space is becoming more intimate and less formal with the addition of curtains and a communal station. A full sushi bar managed by chefs from North Miami Beach’s Hiro’s Yakko-san will remain, as will Piazetta Marketplace, where visitors can grab artisanal cheeses, pastries, and coffee.
The outdoor dining patio will become even more extraordinary with the addition of LEDs and dramatic up-lighting. AQ will serve lots of small plates, as well as larger entrees, and guests who want to graze are welcome. “You will be able to have a few small plates and a drink and enjoy the environment,‘’ said LoSasso.
Acqualina’s beach is quite an environment.
The global fashion brand is raising awareness for Denim Day and donating $100,000 to Peace Over Violence. All you have to do is shimmy into your favorite jeans.
With its sexy denim pinup girl ad campaigns, Guess has helped launch the careers of some of the world's most sensational supermodels—from Claudia Schiffer to Kate Upton. On international Denim Day (April 23), Guess, Inc. and its Guess Foundation will launch their largest philanthropic campaign to date in support of the non-profit Peace Over Violence.
Peace Over Violence is a Los Angeles-based organization that aids those affected by sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence. Denim Day is an international movement that originated in 1998, when a judge in Italy overturned a rape case on account of the fact that the victim was wearing tight jeans. Italian women banded together to protest the ruling; pledging to collectively wear denim as a gesture of solidarity.
Peace Over Violence has led Denim Day in North America for the past 15 years. And considering that Guess is a denim-focused fashion brand, the partnership comes naturally. The company, which is made up of a trio of brands (Guess, Guess Factory, and G by Guess), will encourage its customers and communities to sport jeans on Denim Day and help raise awareness.
Across its more than 400 stores—including three in Manhattan—there will be Denim Day messages in storefront windows, social media campaigns (with the hashtag #DenimDay), and in-store pledge books where shoppers can commit to wearing jeans the day of the campaign.
Guess’ commitment also extends to a $100,000 donation to fund Peace Over Violence services like hotline crisis counseling, therapy sessions, and sexual abuse response teams. Check out the video above for a word from musicians Maya Jupiter and Aloe Blacc on Guess' Denim Day campaign.
Ocean Drive celebrated with spring fashion issue cover star Eva Longoria at Cavalli Miami.
The always radiant and bubbly Eva Longoria celebrated two special occasions at Cavalli Miami: her 39th birthday and her Ocean Drive magazine cover shoot. Watch the video below to see Eva tucking into her cake and talking about her poolside cover shoot (and her new bangs!). Click here to read the cover story.
Our weekly food and drink news serves up intel on restaurant openings, chef buzz, culinary events, must-try dishes, and more.
Mondrian's new Dig In brunch promises a Bloody Mary and condiment bar with all the fixings.
Brunch Party Saturdays at Mondrian with PB French Toast & Disco Jams
Mondrian South Beach is kicking off its new Dig In brunch party Saturday, April 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The brunch series, which will take place every Saturday, includes new menu items like peanut butter French toast with Brioche loaf, barbecue ribs and salt and vinegar chips; smoked pork belly croquette with olive oil poached egg and cheddar cheese grits; and chicken and waffles with ricotta and honeycomb. Brunch also includes DJs spinning soul and disco beats, as well as a Bloody Mary Bar with a smorgasbord-style table of spices, garnishes, and hot sauces for the Absolut Vodka-based breakfast cocktail. 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach, 305-514-1940
Easter Bunny Brunch at The EPIC Hotel
Area 31 executive chef Wolfgang Birk is whipping up a multi-tiered Easter buffet at The EPIC Hotel in the Metropolis Ballroom on Sunday, April 20, with dishes including roasted strip loin with béarnaise sauce, cabernet jus herb and truffle roasted chicken, Belgian waffles, and cheese and omelet stations. The family friendly brunch buffet ($75 per person; $35 for children 10 and under) includes optional cocktail and wine pairings, as well as a kids' section complete with a separate buffet, DIY cupcake decorating station, and an appearance by the Easter Bunny. Reservations required by Wednesday, April 18. 270 Biscayne Way, Miami, 305-967-7303
Luxe Passover Prix Fixes (Read: Matzo Ball and Black Truffle Soup) at BLT Steak
From Monday, April 14 through Tuesday, April 22, BLT Steak at The Betsy will serve a nightly blackboard dinner menu with Passover specials curated by executive chef Laurent Tourondel and chef de cuisine Danny Ganem. The steakhouse will offer three-course prix fixe menus ($60) with options including matzo ball soup with black truffles; prime dry-aged brisket with dried fruit compote and horseradish salt; and pike "gefilte" fish with picked chanterelles and English pea velouté. The meal ends with a flourless chocolate cake with Frangelico ice cream and hazelnut brittle or a passion fruit soufflé with chocolate-dipped macaroons. 1440 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-531-6100
Four Course Italian-Style Easter at Cavalli
Cavalli Miami Restaurant and Lounge is celebrating Easter Sunday with a four-course prix fixe menu ($95) on April 20. The menu starts with fritto misto alla Toscana, a traditional Italian dish with fried prawns, scallops, artichoke, zucchini, and scampi tails, and then proceeds with pear and goat cheese tortelli in butter-sage sauce and pan-roasted lamb loin, concluding with bigne rolls in a hazelnut sauce. 150 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-695-4191
Welcome to our monthly Find. Eat. Drink. trending report, highlighting the top spots where chefs, bartenders, and industry pros are eating and drinking around Miami.
Josh’s Deli: Recommended by Daniel Serfer
“Chef Joshua Marcus is bringing back the deli,” says chef Daniel Serfer (Blue Collar). “He makes his own bagels, he does all his own corned beef, all his own pastrami, all his own bacon, and things you might not think you’d find in a deli—shellfish to swine. And he’s a one-man show.” 9517 Harding Ave., Surfside, 305-397-8494
Cote Gourmet: Recommended by Michelle Bernstein
"It's a fun little neighborhood haunt, super homey and funky,” says chef Michelle Bernstein (Michy’s) about this French Provençal restaurant. “The woman who cooks is straight from Provence and makes the most beautiful, simple French salads and creative dishes like you would get at a grandmother’s house in France.” 9999 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami, 305-754-9012
Sumi Yakitori: Recommended by Matt Hinckley
Chef Matt Hinckley recommends this yakitori house for its skewered chicken parts that are grilled Binchotan-style using white charcoal imported from Japan. They also have lots of imported Japanese whiskies and sake to pair with your dinner. 21 SW 11th St., Miami, 786-360-5570
Eating House: Recommended by Daniel Serfer
Chef Daniel Serfer (Blue Collar) says, “The menu changes a lot, but there is always a tomato dish in some fashion. They use heirloom tomatoes and will do something like a frozen coconut granita with fish sauce. The chef here sets a lot of trends, like using burnt vegetables, which not a lot of people are doing. It’s just a fun vibe and a great place.” 804 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 305-448-6524
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Find. Eat. Drink. is the first travel guide app curated by the world’s top chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and food stars passing along their favorite places to eat, drink, and food shop around the globe.
Elephants! In honor of Miami Beach Polo, we look back at how two gentle giants helped keep polo running smoothly in the 1920s.
Carl Fisher’s elephants, Rosie and Baby Carl, rolling the polo field between games, 1925. (Photo courtesy of the state archives of florida, florida memory)
The heavy lifters of the polo scene haven’t always been the ones wielding mallets. In the mid-1920s, American entrepreneur and developer Carl Fisher enlisted two Asian elephants to ensure that polo season ran smoothly by tramping down and rolling the grass on the polo fields between games, working in the garden, and scooping sand during the construction of Fisher’s Nautilus Hotel. And when Rosie and Baby Carl weren’t working the fields, they worked the press, putting Miami Beach on the map as a place that had to be seen to be believed.
That reputation is far from fading. Though polo’s popularity in Miami saw a lull from the 1950s until the millennium, it made a comeback in 2005, when Bruce Orosz, founder of The Polo Life, LLC, moved the stylish sport to the sand. This year, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup (MBPWC), the only polo tournament in the US played on the beach, brings the “Sport of Kings” to South Beach from April 24 to 27.
With spectator tents that have doubled in size over MBPWC’s 10-year term, Orosz says that a redesigned layout and new nightlife elements will heighten the entertainment experience at this year’s tournament. “People get to experience polo in a way they normally don’t see,” says Orosz. “It creates an environment very like Miami: culturally diverse and very international.” Though Fisher’s posh pachyderms won’t be present, a nonpareil crop of Miami big shots is sure to be in attendance. miamipolo.com
At this year’s Sustainatopia, the Ethical Fashion & Sustainable Design Summit cuts a pattern for the future of eco-fashion.
Fair-trade pima organic cotton wrap dress, Indigenous.
In the world of fashion, designers must progress or risk becoming irrelevant. But Sustainatopia is challenging the entire industry to innovate from the inside out. Leading the charge is John Rosser, South Florida resident and founder of Sustainatopia and its Ethical Fashion & Sustainable Design Summit, a conference that offers solutions to reduce the environmental and social impact of the business of chic.
“We are creating an event that can educate and help businesses that are trying to make money and do the right thing,” says Rosser.
As the fifth Sustainatopia returns to Miami Beach from April 16 to 22, a new highlight is the inaugural Ethical Fashion & Sustainable Design Summit, two days of panels, as well as an awards and fashion show. The summit addresses sustainable practices for fashion-industry players, differentiating between eco-fashion—the practice of minimizing a waste footprint—and ethical fashion, a company’s consideration of fair treatment.
Behind the seams stands a host of eco-fashion’s leaders, a passionate advisory board including architect Chad Oppenheim, and recognized environmentalists, like Victoria’s Secret model Amber Arbucci, this year’s awards ceremony honoree. Previously, Sustainatopia has attracted eco-conscious powerhouses Donna Karan and Selita Ebanks.
“It’s where fashion is moving,” says Rosser.
Miami natives Laura and Cristina Cartagena are establishing an online marketplace for the next generation of collectors and emerging artists.
Sisters Laura and Cristina Cartagena at Create Collect. The Miami warehouse holds nearly 300 pieces, including Baby Box (BOTTOM) by multimedia artist MRKA.
Take a stroll in Wynwood and it’s clear that the creative class “brain drain” that once plagued Miami is a distant memory. The next wave of innovators is emerging locally, and among them are Laura and Cristina Cartagena, CEO/founder and COO, respectively, of Create Collect.
Part online gallery, part artist collective, Create Collect pioneers a progressive approach to the traditional world of selling art, bridging the gap between artist and consumer. “We realized there was this problem with artists…. they could make stuff but didn’t know what to do [with it] afterward,” explains Laura. “We could do that for them. Our main goal is to promote and sell their work and expose them in any way possible.” That is done, she explains, by connecting collectors directly to the artists themselves.
The sisters launched the Create Collect website with much aplomb during the recent Art Basel fair while simultaneously executing a corresponding multiartist pop-up show. “It was a huge success,” recounts Laura. “We sold a lot, and a lot of people showed interest. They were like, ‘This is very different from everything else we’ve seen.’”
The duo’s creative and operational vision has yielded an inspirational collection of close to 300 pieces in their Miami warehouse. “I’m looking for contemporary art,” Laura explains. “And I’m looking for more of a personality, someone who is open to new possibilities and who really wants to expand the way they work. They are willing to do a painting just as much as they’re willing to do a poster.”
She sources works from her own network of artistic friends as well as from artists who send in submissions. A handful of Miami-based artists the two represent include photographer Yuri Tuma and vibrant painter Marilyn Rondon. Others, like illustrator Nicolas Linares (who goes by the moniker NKONE) and multimedia mastermind Lucas Benarroch (MRKA), hail from Spain, Portugal, Colombia, New York, and Boston.
The pair has been tapped to be art ambassadors for Think Hotel Group, the group behind Boulan South Beach hotel, helping dress rooms to “inject culture into their hotels.” “Art is very much branching out into hotels, restaurants, galleries, and events,” Laura says. “Art can translate in so many different places, and I think that is the future—all of the different platforms that are available to us. It’s exciting.”
Tucked away in North Miami Beach, Madeleine Kirsh’s vintage shop, C. Madeleine’s, is brimming with style from days gone by.
Among the standout finds at C. Madeleine’s is this Mary McFadden minidress from the 1980s, cream silk organza hand-beaded with pearlized glass beads and micro sequins in an Art Deco pattern.
On Biscayne Boulevard, amid concrete strip malls selling fast food and even faster fashion, C. Madeleine’s stands as a portal to the past. At 11,000 square feet, the vintage showroom by Madeleine Kirsh houses 10 decades of fashion, with one-of-a-kind pieces dating from the Edwardian era of the late 1800s to the grunge trend of the 1990s. While the location of C. Madeleine’s is unassuming—unglamorous, even—its lust-worthy inventory serves as a reminder that the most difficult things to find are often worth the journey.
The store is organized like a museum, with each zone representing a specific period. Near the front, a couture designer area displays the most “important” pieces, like a lushly tiered, off-the-shoulder Simonetta gown from 1952. The psychedelic ’60s are nearby and easy to spot. There’s a corner devoted to outerwear from the ’70s, brimming with funky shags as well as capes and faux furs. In the back, beside the men’s area of Pac-Man tees and Bermuda shorts, is a tented “multicultural area,” where hand-embroidered vests and weathered Western wear take center stage. The southernmost corner houses the rarest finds: cream-colored confections from the ’20s alongside Victorian bracelets and hairbrushes. Then there’s the ’90s region, with its plentitude of safety-pin-covered denim jackets.
Madeleine Kirsh at her glamorous vintage mecca C. Madeleine’s.
At 62, Kirsh herself embodies an ode to personal style. Her outfit—which she admits to changing “three to four times per day”—is a mash-up of layers, decades, textures, and places. Today, her gray-green eyes peer through rhinestone-studded cat’s-eye glasses. Her violet bob is nearly the same shade as her oxblood lipstick, which, of course, matches her nails. Jewel-toned crystal strands spill down the front of a silk kimono, and the look is finished with sheer black tights and pointed-toe boots. “With attitude,” she says, “you can pull off anything.”
The sartorial force got her start in interior design and originally opened the shop as an antiques store, but eventually her love of clothing took over. Still, though, she rounds out the store’s décor with kitschy sitting areas, retro boudoir vanities, and even an old ice cream shop façade she discovered in Paducah, Kentucky. Every item has a story. Every detail evokes a feeling.
A selection of colorful jewelry on display, to set off that latest fabulous acquisition.
“In the past, shopping was an art,” says Kirsh. “My mother and I would sit and sip coffee—or Champagne on a good day—as saleswomen presented the most gorgeous pieces. One day, they brought out a magnificent Oscar de la Renta gown. My mother, slipping it on, turned to me and asked, ‘Do you think Daddy would mind me spending so much money?’ And all I remember, even to this day, is how strikingly beautiful she looked, standing there in the delicate boned corset. That sort of glamour is lost today. But not at C. Madeleine’s.”
Kirsh opened the store 12 years ago, thrilled to discover that, despite its overall newness as a destination, South Florida was a treasure trove for vintage. “By the ’50s,” she explains, “Miami was the new French Riviera. Women flocked down, bringing all of their fabulous belongings with them. So you’ll find incredible pieces from the ’50s to today right here in South Florida, oftentimes from the grandmas in Palm Beach. For older pieces from the ’20s and ’30s, I have to travel to the more metropolitan cities of the Midwest, like Chicago, where women dressed to the hilt years ago.”
While she stows away select irresistible pieces in her personal archive, Kirsh saves the rest for her customers—savvy locals, bicoastal costume designers, and clients who fly in from England, France, and South America to admire original designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, and Christian Dior. Such iconic names also bring in their fair share of celebrities. “Pharrell Williams adores our Chanel,” she says. “Katy Perry loves the ’80s. Then there’s Miley [Cyrus]…. She’s off the charts with her taste but has a tremendous sense of fashion.”
Ultimately, C. Madeleine’s is a labor of love. “This store is a piece of me, an amalgamation of my loves and treasures. At its heart, though, it’s an experience, an experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.” And, with that, she breaks out the Champagne. 13702 Biscayne Blvd., N. Miami Beach, 305-945-7770