By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
A few flash floods could not keep more than 2,000 influential fans and supporters from the Raleigh Hotel’s poolside oasis on Friday night for The Plum Network’s official launch of Plum Miami magazine, CEO Jerry Powers’ latest, visually stunning, literary and artistic venture. Much like the magazine, the party was splashy and glossy- and not just because of the rain. The expansive pool area was illuminated and decked out in different shades of plum and featured 25 performers including scantily dressed/body painted dancers, an aerialist, models in stilts and an acrobat in a tangle of lights within an inflatable bubble floating in the pool.
The energetic, A-list guests appeared to be in great spirits despite their damp designer duds, soggy stilettos and frizzy, 1,000% humidity 1980s hair- typical of many an April soiree on Miami Beach, dancing on the pool (atop a Plexiglas dance floor) to the energetic sounds of DJ Irie- who channeled David Copperfield as he commanded the party from a two story platform- in front of a digital Jumbotron the size of a movie theater screen. Irie was flanked by dancers inside what appeared to be showers made of crystals.
Just when we thought we had reached sensory overload, (and had retreated to the hotel lobby for a few minutes) we heard the sound of explosives generating from the beach behind the Raleigh and scurried outside to find an all-out, New Year’s Eve style fireworks display, synchronized to Katy Perry’s chart topper, Firework. What ensued was a collective thrill ride of hundreds of otherwise calm and sophisticated people (for the most part) singing, jumping, dancing and cavorting on the dance floor, which may or may not have been designed to hold them. The fear of falling in the pool took a back seat to the energy and excitement of those ten minutes, which we can only define as “one of those great South Beach moments.”
Well-heeled guests toasting to Plum Miami’s success included: Undercovers actor Boris Kodjoe, NBA stars Tim Hardaway and wife Yolanda; Alonzo Mourning and wife Tracy, The Collection’s Ken Gorin, shoe designer Lisa Pliner, restaurateur John Delucie, interior designer Sam Robin, handbag designer Laura Buccellati, socialites Hello Campos, Merle and Danny Weiss, mogul Wayne Boich, renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Tachmus, jewelry designer Jamie Jo Harris, Miami Beach Vice Mayor Michael Gongora, Deco Drive’s Louis Aguirre, Nat King Cole Generation Hope’s Timolin and Casey Cole, nightlife impresario/entrepreneur, Michael Capponi, “Project Runway” contestant Uli Herzner, Southern Wine and Spirit’s Mel Dick with wife Bobbi; nightclub magnet David Grutman, TARA, Ink. Principals, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio and were among the first to page through the new April 2011 issue, featuring supermodel and actress Lydia Hearst on the cover, shot by acclaimed producer and photographer Brett Ratner.
This stylish roster came as no surprise. Since 1993, Powers’ signature parties have drawn celebrities such as Seal, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Kelly Rowland, (all of whom have performed at one Ocean Drive party or another) Jack Nicholson, Steven Tyler, Oliver Stone, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Eddie Murphy, Shaq, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Heidi Klum, Jessica Simpson, Sly Stallone, James Woods, Bon Jovi, Colin Farrell, Pamela Anderson, Michael Bay, Lindsay Lohan, Cindy Taylor, Donald Trump, the Hiltons, Fergie, and P. Diddy to name a few.
It is no coincidence that Jerry Powers, who put Miami in the spotlight 18 years ago when he founded Ocean Drive magazine is now showcasing the best the city has to offer in a whole new light, connecting people in a fresh and intimate way. In Plum Miami’s inaugural issue, Powers admits that he spent a great deal of time on a bench (three years or so) mulling over his next project. The result is a magazine so alluring and beautiful that it can double as a coffee table book with unique and interesting content and insight into the people who make Miami tick. Plum Miami breaks the mold with contributors from a vast variety of professions: actors, DJs, Hollywood producers, designers, and athletes. Then there’s the intimate, almost voyeuristic nature of the profiles, which truly get to the “pit of the plum,” as wives and husbands write about each other-such as in the story by Tracy Mourning about Alonzo and that of Donald Pliner about wife, Lisa. Close friends share details: Brett Ratner writes a profile on lifelong friend, Shareef Malnik; Jamie Foxx interviews DJ Irie and Venus Williams profiles Michael Capponi- proving what we’ve believed all along: in every person lives a writer. Contributors also include seasoned journalists, such as Tara Solomon, former Miami Herald columnist and perennial Queen of the Night-turned-PR-maven, who pens a delightful design column; Executive Editor, Jacquelynn D. Powers, the resident expert on food and popular places; and Sandi Powers, who, along with stylist, Danny Santiago and Art Director, Rick Delgado, are responsible for the gorgeous fashion spreads featured in the magazine. There’s also witty and edgy society coverage written by socialites- who better? All under the direction of the Powerhouse’s Old Guard: Publisher, Lauren Bogage, Associate Publisher, Rich Santelises, Editor in Chief, Glenn Albin, and Managing Editor, Eric Newill.
In this month’s “Editor’s Note” Jerry Powers shares the magazine’s service mark, “The best things in life are Plum.” Judging from the first two issues and the luxury lifestyle glossy’s coming out party, we couldn’t agree more. There’s no doubt that much of this town will be viewed through his Plum- colored glasses.
photo credit: Alberto Tamargo
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