An Afternoon in the Garden of Good

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 23 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Sterling Nancy, Jesse and Al Malnik at Maw Garden Party

Al and Nancy Malnik, lifetime benefactors of the Intercontinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, hosted an intimate garden party at their palatial, Art Deco estate on Sunday, for two hundred of the foundation’s top supporters. During his emotional address, Malnik set the bar for this year’s Intercontinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball at a record $2,000,000.00, eliciting a collective gasp from the select crowd. The billionaire with the huge heart motivated and moved his guests with a personal account, “Nancy and I have recently been touched with our own personal tragedy with one of our little ones, so the foundation has come to mean even more than ever before.” Al Malnik’s son, Shareef, returning Gala Chair, beamed with pride as his father spoke, making it obvious that the two have a close relationship and that Shareef admires his father’s zeal and stamina, (after all, Al, who is in his mid-seventies, has given Shareef six siblings ages of ten and under!) Now that’s chutzpa!

The jazz band and choir from King’s Academy entertained the crowd, who mingled in the estate’s gardens, just steps from the ocean, enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on a perfect Sunday afternoon. At last year’s garden party, a team of synchronized swimmers delighted guests by performing various numbers in the pool, with the precision and prowess of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

Distinguished guests included Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, who assured supporters that he “would not stop, would not sleep, until every wish was granted;” Jack Miller, General Manager of Hotel InterContinental Miami and Gala Host of the IMAW Ball; L. Robert Elias, Chairman of the Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida and James Ferraro, of The Ferraro Law Firm and Wish Benefactor of the IMAW Ball. Other notable guests in attendance: champion boxer, Bernard Hopkins, burgeoning singer/songwriter, Jamie Jo Harris, designer, Richie Rich, Baby Chic, Nick D’ Annunzio, Tara Solomon, Fabian Basabe, Antonio Misuraca and Michael Valdes. The palpable excitement prevailed throughout the afternoon, in anticipation of this year’s ball to be held on November 7 at the Hotel Intercontinental. Over 900 guests are expected to attend. This year’s host remains a secret, but several attendees requested Sharon Stone return as host this year. Shareef promised he would try. Kim Kardashian did a good job last year, but Sharon Stone left some pretty tall stilettos to fill after the 2007 gala!

 

 

Back in Black

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 23 - 20093 COMMENTS

Lance BassRoy and Lea Black upped the hip factor once again at their annual Power of Hope charity gala benefitting the Consequences Program and Bay Point Schools, held at the newly revamped Eden Roc Hotel, (which is sure to bring some stiff competition to it’s next door neighbor), as evidenced by the crush of people gathered around the red carpet to catch a glimpse of the many celebs promised to make an appearance.As usual, the Blacks delivered, hosting a perfect evening replete with stellar performances and a guest list to include: Lance Bass, Dennis Rodman, Joe Francis, Craig David, Mario Barth, Jeffrey Donovan, Moon Bloodgood,. Vicki Gunvalson, Elaine Lancaster, Richie Rich, and Bernard Hopkins (and those were just the VVIPs who DIDN’T perform)!

The night started off with a lavish reception in the Eden Roc’s swank lobby, and resembled a “Taste of the Beach,” with mini food stations set up from some of the area’s favorite restaurants including, the Setai, Bova Prime, and 8 oz Burger Bar to name a few.Grey Goose lounges were conveniently stationed throughout the lobby surrounding the extensive silent auction, because the evening’s liquour sponsor knows there’s nothing like a buzz to get people bidding!People were having such a great time during the reception that event staff struggled to coax the crowd into the ballroom when it was time for the dinner to begin.

During the four course meal, Roy Black got on-stage and said, “Thank you for your money and thank you for your time.That’s my line,” but then gave an inspiring speech, in which he encouraged guests to be generous by saying, “Better to be smart on crime than tough on crime, before introducing a Bay Point School’s graduate who is now attending Barry University and working in a law firm.Next, Lea Black took over for the live auction, and was relentless on the mic, working hard to get the attention of the noisy, talkative crowd.The Texas-native would be a welcomed addition to the Bay Point School’s award-winning staff- if she can wrangle over 1, 000 rowdy socialites on a Saturday night, imagine what she can do with a bunch of teenagers!To be cliché:“Don’t Mess with Texas!”At one point, Roy got back on the stage and quipped, “The only way to keep her (Lea) contained is to get her off the mic. “ Lea managed to raise top dollar amounts for auction items including the Jeffrey Rackover diamond earrings worn by Maria Conchita Alonso during her performance, a spot on the waiting list for the first 2010 Rolls-Royce EX200 from Braman Rolls Royce in Miami, a speaking part on Burn Notice, VIP tickets to the Indianapolis 500 and VIP tickets to the Heavy Weight Championship in Las Vegas among other terrific items.Lea also boasted about the Power of Hope Gala, which was put on for a mere $35, 000 and raised $1.4 million.Not bad for a night’s work.

Several superstars performed throughout the evening, including:Elvis Crespo, Craig David, Jencarlos Canela, Alto Reed, Maria Conchita Alonso, and comedienne, Heather McDonald.The crowd did not seem to mind that there wasn’t a dance floor, especially when Patti LaBelle (back by popular demand for a second year) took to the stage and belted out “Hey Sister Soul Sister…” which got everyone on their feet and dancing between the tables.LaBelle followed her performance of Lady Marmalade with a touching rendition of Over the Rainbow.The crowd showed no intention of leaving well after midnight, when Lil Wayne, took over to sing a few songs.DJ Irie capped off the exciting night, spinning his usual, addictive music.

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Who Let the Dogs Out?

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 21 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Dwyane WadeOK, so it may have seemed as though Miami was in the doghouse with regard to celebrities last weekend thanks to the Super Bowl mayhem a few miles west, but the doghouse was just the place to be on Friday night, for Pawpurrazzi, the annual fundraiser for the Humane Society that was held at Jungle Island, showing that socialites and VIPs love few things more than their dogs. Designer Rene Ruiz and pooch Dexter Rosenblatt wore matching red and black outfits. Dexter’s was emblazoned with the label “Rene” in rhinestones. Dogs walked the catwalk in the “Great Pets Who Walk in Front of Great People” show. I mean, have you ever?!?! Strutting their stuff on the runway behind their pups were Read the rest here »

Star Gazing

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 21 - 20091 COMMENT

Kellan Lutz at Florida RoomWhether at the racy Raleigh, sophisticated Mondrian, celeb-packed Shore Club or any of our fair city’s other amazing nightclubs, New Year’s revelers were afforded plenty of opportunities for “star gazing” (sans telescope) and rang in 2009 with much fanfare and flare, South Beach Style.

The Raleigh’s Burlesque New Year’s Eve, hosted by famed New York City “Queen of the Night” Susanne Bartsch, was an outrageously raunchy affair that would have had Dita Von Teese blushing: from the gargantuan, inflatable open pair of women’s legs floating in the hotel’s iconic pool, to theatrical performances, unforgettable peep shows, strip teases, flamboyant gender-benders and freak shows including well-endowed men wearing zebra and horse heads and female strippers sizing up their (ahem) man hoods, literally, ruler in hand. Bartsch rung in the new year accompanied by designer Read the rest here »

Winding up as it Winds Down

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 16 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Typically April signifies the end of the season, as the spring breakers and snowbirds return home and we locals get to reclaim our beloved restaurants and nightclubs.  But this year it seems that season is still going strong- with new clubs, restaurants and spas opening or revamping and fashion, dining and charity events filling our busy social calendars, even as temperatures continue to soar. 

Opium’s New Zip Code

Miami locals trekked to Hollywood this past weekend for the Grand Opening of Opium at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Friday night, which was hosted by Michael Capponi, featured Swedish DJ Steve Angello, known for kicking Paris Hilton out of his booth during WMC, on the turntables.  On Saturday night, reality star, Kim Kardashian, served as hostess, accompanied by her brother Rob Kardashian, boyfriend Reggie Bush and friend, Venus Williams, all of whom were pretty mellow throughout the evening, hanging out in a corner booth talking.  The throngs of club-goers cheered as Kardashian swung an Opium-branded guitar over her head- a Hard Rock opening tradition, before retreating to her table.

Gen Art’s FASHIONscape

As if the Delano’s orchard isn’t already like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland, set designer, David Glass, added to the whimsy during Gen Art’s FASHIONscape on Tuesday night by installing fashion vignettes to showcase the collections of up-and-coming designers, John D. Schoemann, of John David Collection and Claudia Estrada, of Claudiae.  Like living mannequins, the gorgeous models added to the already visually stunning surroundings and seemed to be having just as much fun as the guests.  At one point, two models in the showcase were chit chatting and cutting up to the point that several of their counterparts had to tap them on the shoulder repeatedly so that a photographer could take their picture.  The unique set-up of the vignettes, which were conceptualized by the designers, afforded guests the opportunity to get up-close to the fashions and enjoy them from multiple perspectives, rather than just catching a glimpse of each look on the runway.  This was most appreciated by the FFWADHD:  Fashion Forward with Attention Deficit Disorder, who often miss entire segments of runway shows due to excessive texting, twittering and/or talking, present company INCLUDED.  On-hand during the evening’s festivities were hosts, Project Runway’s, Uli Herzner; celebrity stylist/ costume designer for Sex and the City and Burn Notice, Danny Santiago; 944 magazine publisher, Alan Roth; nightlife impresario, Alexis Mincolla and a few hundred locals.  Gen Art has catapulted the careers of renown designers such as Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Uli Herzner, Rami Kashou, Eduardo Lucero, Geren Ford, Katy Rodriguez and Vena Cava, to name a few.

Spaaaaaahs

Agua spa at the swanky Mondrian hotel is officially open. Barbara Becker recently hosted a preview of the spa for a few of her BFFs, including: Iran Issa-Khan, Sam Robin, Hello Campos, Tracy Mourning and Amaris Jones, who relaxed in the private lounge areas while enjoying bites from Asia de Cuba.  The gals scored great swag, filled with Sjål Skincare products and invitations to return for complimentary treatments.

 

Equinox, the fitness center of choice around the nation for VIPs and celebs including President Barack Obama, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mario Lopez, Queen Latifah, Jesse Metcalfe, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Lance Bass, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris, is not typically thought of as a spa.  However, on a recent visit the gym-to-the-stars, we found that in addition to their rigorous and fun exercise classes, which include Boot-camp Boogie, (personal favorite) and state-of-the-art equipment, Equinox boasts an awesome spa, complete with all the bells and whistles, available to members and non-members alike.  Equinox puts the “ah” in spa!

 

 

Coming Up

Smith and Wollensky, which is known as Smith’s to locals, officially unveils its multi-million dollar facelift on Thursday, with a private party.  The renovations include two new spaces – Smith’s Patio and The Overlook Deck. A major draw of this local favorite is its unique, unobstructed, unparalleled views of Government Cut, Fisher Island and the downtown Miami skyline.  Boasting the longest-standing South Beach happy hour, Smith’s is also ideal for intimate or business dining and private events.

This Friday, Solé on the Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach premiers its anticipated poolside happy hour, Alba, and pool party series overlooking the ocean.  Happy hour goes from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and features two-for-one cocktails. During the weekend pool parties, DJ Baby Dré will spin and a summer “lunch box” menu will be available to nosh on while you bake.

Two and four-legged eaters can blow off steam and get a great bite at China Grill this Sunday, as the South Beach staple celebrates Gay Pride with a Bitch ’n Brunch from noon until 4:00 p.m.  In the spirit of the restaurant’s famous “Dogs Gone Wild” parties, China Grill encourages guests to bring their pooches to the “dog friendly” patio for al-fresco dining.  “Pack leaders” can enjoy a luxurious and recession-friendly three course brunch for just $23 (exclusive of tax and gratuity) while their “best friends” hang out in the puppy play areas or unwind in the puppy lounge provided by Pet Smart Midtown.

You can knock on heaven’s door, (Blue Door, that is) on Monday, April 20, when Blue Door at the Delano, hosts a five-course Joseph Phelps wine dinner featuring chef Claude Troisgros’ culinary creations, which will be prepared by Delano’s executive chef, Maria Manso.   Each of the scrumptious courses, which range from seared tuna to rack of lamb, will be paired with one of Joseph Phelps’ signature wines.   Dinner starts at 7:00 and costs $150.00 per person, exclusive of tax & gratuity.  For more information, call: 305-674-6400. 

Brazil’s most sought-after jewelry designers, Francisca Bastos and Andrea Ventura, will showcase their latest creations during a show at the Conrad from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on April 23.  Brazilian hors d’oeuvres and canapés will be served and a portion of sale proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Greater Miami Adopt-A-Pet.  For more information, visit www.franciscabastodesign.com.

 

 

Celebrity Sightings

 

Josh Hartnett made the rounds last week, starting off on Thursday night, where he took over the Florida Room and performed four songs.  Rumor has it that on Saturday night, Hartnett made his way back to the Florida Room with a hot blonde he had picked up at the club the Thursday before.  Prior to his return to the Florida Room, Hartnett attended Scott Campbell’s Make it Rain gallery show at Miami’s O.H.W.O.W. Gallery.  On Sunday night, Hartnett and a couple of friends hit Bella Rose’s weekly “Black Sunday” party, hanging out at Alexis Mincolla’s table. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony spent the weekend at the posh Viceroy Miami at IconBrickell, where they swam in the pool at Club 50, toured the property and dined at the chic 15th floor restaurant with developer, Jorge Perez and his wife, Darlene.  Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan was spotted grazing on a salad at delicious 8 oz Burger Bar. Really?!!!   Gabrielle Union was the guest of honor at the AE District Gallery event in the Design District.  Former Sopranos’ star, Lorraine Bracco, a.k.a. Dr. Melfi, dined with a friend at The Grill on the Alley last week, as did- A-Rod, who was spotted having dinner with his children.

 


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Fashionistas Swarm Zac Posen

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On April - 15 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

zac-posen4 Neiman Marcus Coral Gables hosted designer Zac Posen at an in-store cocktail soirée on Wednesday, April 1, 2009,  as he presented his fall 2009 collection.

 Event hostesses Carolina Argiz, Evangeline Delgado, Julie Dill, Mari Alarcon Grimalt, Marysol Patton and Sheri Swerdlow were joined by over 100 guests including Cynthia Rodriguez, Sarah Harrelson, Gigi Ganatra, Conchi Argiz, Maria Delgado, Jeanine Hinson, Courtney Parmenter, Lydia Touzet and Dana Shear to meet the iconic designer.

 Miami’s A-list fashionistas enjoyed a full runway fashion presentation reminiscent of Posen’s New York fashion show featuring a grand Steinway piano on the runway.  An ultra chic black u-shaped carpeted runway and sleek black backdrop with the prominent Zac Posen logo also came to life as guests sipped champagne and were treated to passed hors d’oeuvres. Clear ghost chairs and mini lounges were set up along side the runway, while accents of violet and white florals by Karla Conceptual Event Experiences completed the décor elements.

 A collection of forties-inflected styles were seen on the runway. Grand Joan Crawford shoulders, pouf sleeves, ruffles at the hips, and great swags of fabric pooling on the floor were featured in textiles such as metallic jacquards, violet moiré silk, and double layered floral prints.  After the show, guests mingled with Posen and shopped the new collection as a swarm of paparazzi and fashion lovers swarmed the designer.

 

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