Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Miami My Vice

Still processing the whirlwind press tour I took to Miami this week. There were gay journalists from all over the world and the Miami Tourism's goal was to show us that there's way more to Miami than sun, surf, and hard bodies. See, I never knew!

Let's just say their goal was achieved...and then some! We had incredible hosts (thanks Jennifer and Malcolm), and I really enjoyed the International company. I'll be doing a write up for Gay List Daily, but here's a brief rundown of the highlights for when you're headed to gay Miami:

Pelican Hotel--Art Deco splendor, right on South Beach. I fell in love with my room and, for the first time ever, the color of seafoam green. Yes, and I'm still gay.

Paradigm "Test Kitchen" dinner: Noemi's at Trump International. 10 seats, 10 out-of-this world dishes. We're talking radishes and white chocolate; scallops and marshmallows; wasabi sorbet and peas. I know, I will never forget this experience. Plus I met this great PR girl named Vanessa.

Casa Casuarina. This is the former Versace Mansion! Not just a murder site, it's a fabulous boutique hotel and restaurant. They took us to breakfast and on a tour of the splendor. We got to see the "Madonna" and "Elton John" rooms. You know I went in the bathroom and took a good long gander at where Madonna once took a tinkle!

Little Havana! We ate at this really authentic Cuban place and saw where a ton of the Cuban migrants came to settle in the states. "Castro" is a swear word, and it all sort of made me want to sue the government for my consititutional right to visit Cuba!

Canyon Ranch. This is a "spa, with a hotel" just north of SoBe. NoBe? There's exercise classes, a rock wall, and we got to relax in their "Aquavana" spa. This place I've got to go back--you had an "igloo" right across from the sauna that not only chills you, but scented frigid mist sprayed down from above. Ok! Oh, and the showers? They have different settings. "Atlantic Storm" and "Caribbean Monsoon" with lights blinking and water shooting at you, hot and cold, from all directions. A riot in there!

Mandarin Oriental, Miami. We moved to this luxury hotel on our 3rd day. It's on Brickell Key downtown and man, I could get used to this kind of service. I finally understood those people who go on vacation and never want to leave the hotel.

MGLFF. We hit the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for their opening night at this really kitsch fabulous theatre, the Gusman, and saw a great Swedish film "Patrick 1.5" which I highly recommend. It's about a gay couple who adopt a kid they think is 1.5, but really he's 15 and... homophobic! Was great to be at the festival, and see some friends (Hi Kareem!) for the first time since my film premiered there in 2007.

Brosia. (above) We had brunch at this great outdoor restaurant in the Design District. Also some really great mix-up of brunch dishes like Pancakes, cornbread, and Salmon! The Design District isn't much to write home about, yet. There's lots of potential there.

Madame Butterfly. Okay, we only lasted one Act. Hey, if you're getting married and it takes you a full hour to KISS, and only then when it gets dark and you're behind a scrim...damn, it made me very happy to be gay. Don't you just want to put opera on Fast Forward? Sorry, Puccini!

Miami World Cinema Center. I've never seen an organization like this! They promote filmmaking in Miami and will help young filmmakers with their script, pre-production, locations, actors, even funding. Wow! Please remind me to set my next script in Miami!

There's so much more to talk about, but this is my blog! Not a promotional packet! Let's just say I have a whole new appreciation for the place. Could be because I previously only thought of Miami as sun, surf, and hard bodies. It's one gorgeous creature after the next down there. Ay, Papi!


The Blackout Blog said...


Lol, it's so weird to see other Kareems. Not exactly a popular name in the South, so it was rare that I met another one growing up.

I wanna go to Little Haiti. It'd have to be in an armored car, but I still want to go.

samael7 said...

Glad you had a good time down there. I grew up in Miami, and visited there for the first time in many moons last year. It's a great place to visit. Check out the Biltmore Hotel next time you're there. Beautiful place.

And the Gusman theater was always one of my favorite places to go, and back in the day, one of the only places to go to see actual theater (built in 1926, which, for Miami, is ancient history). Last show I saw there was Dead Can Dance in the 90s.

The whole Baroque/Rococo vibe was what you'd mostly have seen in Miami Beach prior Art Deco revival in the 1980s in the older hotels. The shells 'n' cherubs were mostly swept out along with the old people, the two being not-unfairly linked to one another.

I'll never forget some of the dreadful items owned by my late Grandmother (who lived on Miami Beach from the 40s until the 90s). Some of the ugliest lamps and tchatchkis you ever did see, bless her.