Friday, March 20, 2009

Miami (Ad)Vice

Bill's Story

It is always great fun to fly south to Miami Beach to visit my daughter Hadley Case Henriette and her husband Yannick. Hadley is the Miami managing editor for 944 Magazine, an "irreverent lifestyle magazine that covers fashion and entertainment with a youthful eye." (check out ) As you might expect, Hadley's position affords her entree into an array of great parties and happenings in south Florida. When I am in town, she usually hustles up an extra ticket so I can rub shoulders with the in crowd. I am always a proud and impressed dad as I watch her work the A list. And I try not to embarrass her by wearing a corduroy sports coat or something else hopelessly Midwestern to these events. Hadley really pulled out all the stops for my visit in March.

Upon my arrival Thursday night, Hadley, Yannick and I attended a soiree marking the grand opening of the beyond posh Viceroy Hotel in downtown Miami.

Hadley is the blond below.

The Viceroy Hotel (check out ) made a big splash with its opening party. We were greeted with champagne, hit the buffet lines hard, and were dazzled by the Viceroy's pool in the sky and Club 50 (50th floor). I met several interesting friends of Hadley's including Brian Elias, an attorney and owner of the hip Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes in downtown Miami, and Elizabeth Schwartz, another attorney who has been active in protecting the rights of gays and lesbians in south Florida. And talk about beautiful people! Sharon Stone was in attendance. I tried to be casual and avoid gaping as I slowly sauntered past the lovely Ms. Stone's table. I apologize dear readers for not doing the paparazzi thing and snapping off a picture so I could more fully share this moment in time with Ms. Stone with you, but that would not have been too cool. (When I told Lisa, she asked if I had mentioned to Ms. Stone how much I enjoyed Basic Instinct 2 and the rest of her "body" of work!)

The next afternoon we visited the Viceroy's magnificent spa. As we soothed our bodies in the hot pool, the staff offered us orange slices and refreshing juices. Our celebrity encounters continued as we checked out of the spa just ahead of Miami's own Gloria Estefan (who was comped of course).

The big events kept on coming Friday night with our appearance at the Miami International Film Festival. My Hadley was serving as one of the three jurors in the "Cutting the Edge" category. (see ) The opening night of the festival was held at the Olympia Theatre at the Gusman Center where we watched the American debut of the documentary film "Valentino-The Last Emperor."

I am told that it is unusual to have a documentary as the opening film at a festival. But this look at the mercurial fashion designer at the end of his career was so well edited that the film had the look and feel of high drama. The movie was multi-themed: (1) the aging artist tiring of his work but reluctant to let loose of the limelight; (2) the corporate takeover of the fashion industry, and (3) Valentino's relationship with his collaborator-lover, Giancarlo Giammetti. All who know me will resoundingly affirm that I know nothing about fashion but I nevertheless found the film riveting.

I loved the Olympia Theatre, an example of an "atmospheric theatre" designed by theatre architect John Eberson in 1926. The Olympic gives the theatergoer the illusion that he is located outdoors in an elaborate Moorish courtyard with magnificent plaster statuary under twinkling stars with clouds passing by. I first encountered Eberson's work at the Akron Civic Theatre as a kid back in the sixties. I wondered then and now what makes the "clouds" move on the theatre's ceiling. This was a fitting venue for the festival's sparkling opening night.

Saturday marked my first golf game of the 2009 campaign at the difficult Crandon Golf Course at Key Biscayne. Hadley and Yannick struck the ball well for as little as they play. I attributed my disappointing effort to rust.

Then, back to the film festival at the tiny jewel box Cinematheque in Miami Beach where Hadley along with her affable fellow juror Cricket Taplin, judged "Cutting the Edge" films, The festival describes this category as including "provoking and sometimes extreme" films. .An example which we viewed that night included "Shallow." This film featured twenty five excerpts of couples about to have sex taken from obscure movies from the sixties. These clips were accompanied by mixes of popular music from the period. These same scenes were repeated over and over. Not everyone's cup of tea and a few viewers walked out. While "Shallow" was not my favorite, I still had a blast at the festival and hope to return some day.

This whirlwind of events came to an end when I said goodbye to my daughter and son-in-law and left Miami on Sunday. Hadley and Yannick were great hosts. Lisa and I can always count on them to give us unique material for "The Sporting Life."

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