Waking the Nation

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 21 - 2009

Celebration at A Fish Called AvalonAs the dreamers woke the nation and made history on Tuesday, South Beach marked a milestone of its own and inaugurated a few new venues and ideas that echo our desire for change and reflect the collective hope ever-present in the week’s festivities in Washington and beyond.

Last Friday, A Fish Called Avalon celebrated its 20th anniversary with a South Beach reunion that was a cross between a sexy, swanky Latin nightclub and a 10th grade house party — and by “reunion” we mean everybody you’ve ever met. Ever. The party was thrown by owner Don Glassie, executive chef Brian Cantrell and Alex Duff in conjunction with Tara Solomon, the original “Queen of the Night,” and fiancé/business partner Nick D’Annunzio, who packed the tiny Art Deco hotel’s lobby, bar and patio with a crowd of over 1500. Mark Leventhal (“Sista,” for those who’ve known him since back in the Lua days) spun old-school music while the crowd danced amid stopping to say hello to old friends and new. In addition to all of the South Beach veterans, including Sarah Halstead, former Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin, documentary filmmaker Andrew Delaplaine, editor Sophie Delaplaine, restaurateur Joe Delaney, developer Dan Carlo and wife Tina, producer Renee Delaplaine, nightlife impresario Mykel Stevens, South Beach documentarian Tom Austin, artist Bobby Radical, South Beach: The Novel author Brian Antoni, architect Joe Swedroe, designer Glen Miller, entrepreneurs and philanthropists Gary and Dana Shear, producer Ross Powers, publicist Gigi Ganatra, photographer Tom Grizzle, Trend Tracker Tara Gilani, and philanthropists Merle and Danny Weiss (whew), there were quite a few new young and beautiful faces, who were barely a twinkle in their father’s eye when the restaurant opened 20 years ago. While the party was quite the throwback to the halcyon days of South Beach — the Latin jams by the Beach Brothers and dancers atop the bar were reminiscent of Debbie Ohanian’s salsa nights at Starfish, circa 1997 — a few aspects of the party were very un-South Beach, such as the unlimited delicious seafood, free-flowing cocktails, complimentary parking and the ungodly starting time of 7 p.m. Instead of the traditional 20th anniversary gift, china, partygoers were treated to a private photo booth, where they were invited (OK, downright tempted) to unleash their inner porn star. Overheard at the photo booth exit: “I hope this doesn’t end up on the Internet!”

Affairs of the Heart

More than 200 locals gathered in the penthouse of the Hotel Victor last Wednesday to celebrate the launch of Single and Fabulous, an exclusive social networking group designed for professionals to socialize without the pressure and awkwardness of a first date or the impersonal approach of dating Web sites, and the brainchild of Miami local Tiffany Rosen.

“I’m not trying to be a matchmaker, I don’t want the responsibility,” Rosen said. “But I just want to truly provide a place for like-minded singles to get together, experience something ‘fabulous’ and hopefully make some friends, and potentially a future partner in the process.”

Just down the block, at Casa Casuarina, a “Heart Court” sunset cocktail party started in honor of Go Red for Women, a national movement founded by the American Heart Association to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease, to kick off the luncheon scheduled for March 13 at the Intercontinental Hotel.

On the same night, the Doubletree Grand Hotel inaugurated Double Grand Waterclub with a bash featuring live performances by DJ Le Spam, The Spam All-Stars, and sets by Dirt Nasty and Luther Campbell, which lured guests including Scott Storch, Brooke Hogan and Abercrombie and Fitch model Buddy Krueger dancing.

Fresh Squeezed

The fresh new FRESH, Ink. celebrated MLK weekend on Sunday night with a party at Plunge, on the rooftop of the Gansevoort South. For those of you who have delighted in the frozen treats distributed by FRESH, Ink. from an old-fashioned ice cream truck and wondered what it is, here’s The 411. FRESH, Ink. is a new branch of public relations firm TARA, Ink., that caters to businesses who cannot afford the agency’s retainer structure, but show tremendous business potential. FRESH, Ink. enables these fledgling or struggling businesses to maintain brand exposure through the media and supports their existing marketing operations with low-cost solutions. According to co-principal Nick D’Annunzio, “FRESH, Ink. is for clients that are rich in idea but poor in pocket.”

Coming Up:

Real estate developer/entrepreneur/nightlife impresario Michael Capponi, as well-known for his business and nightlife savvy as for his philanthropy, will open his home Friday evening for a prelude soiree to the eighth annual Heart and Star Gala, which raises awareness for the Wellness Community, to help those afflicted with cancer through participation in a professional program of emotional support, education and, most importantly, hope. The after party will be held at SET nightclub, where famed DJ Roger Sanchez is scheduled to spin.


Basically all of Hollywood in Washington, D.C.; musician and daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley Alexa Ray Joel performing at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; comedian Artie Lange promoting his book Too Fat to Fish at Books & Books in Coral Gables; Michael Jordan dining at Red, The Steakhouse two nights in a row, and at LIV over the weekend; Steven Bauer at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian.

One Response to “Waking the Nation”

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