Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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rabid raccoons and rabbis

Thanksgiving dinner

phew.

It was fun and now its over. The last of the turkey was fed to the cats. and the raccoons, our guests have left, its quiet. Iona misses her friend Amanda and the twins are bummed, they love a full house, parties, action, and opportunities to dress up in glitzy gowns. Yes i said raccoons. And cats. Just up the street, at a large abandoned theater, there live a dozen homeless cats and four raccoons with their two raccundles. and every evening we collect our leftovers, get in the car, and park in the lot and i sneak out, weary of those either maternal or rabid raccons, and dump the food. Usually one tiger-striped cat with huge serious eyes walks out and sits right under our rolled down window. and stares. She stares us right down and we try to figure whether its a grateful stare, or a take-me- home-with-you stare, or a fuck-off-we-dont-need-your-food stare, or a I-remember-the-humans-who-abandoned-me-here-stare. or just a meditation stare before she tucks in. Then there’s the black alpha cat who always gets first dibs, and a ginger  one who lingers until there’s the invisble sign that she too can join the feast. Tonight one raccoon was eager, it may have been the liver laced, wine soaked, cranberry dotted gravy smell, and tiptoed like she was drunk in high heels across the beam from my headlights, dove into the food, found a large turkey bone heavy with meat and carried it, head held high as if she was afraid  to get her loot dirty, into the bushes where one youngster waited for her like a Tim Burton shadow against the white wall.

I have a hunch that this ritual of feeding cats and coons will be the sole reason my twins will finally fall in love with Miami.

Last night we held a small screening here, at our candy-land-bachelor-pad, of the movie that Roland, dear friend and godfather to all our kids, has made. This film follows three of his Bronx high school students over several years in their attempt to escape the ghetto  through writing poetry. The movie is a powerful and touching piece of work, which will be shown by PBS sometime next year. As all twenty of us sat quietly and watched and listened to loud, intense rapping and slamming, another, even louder noise, seeped in through the open windows. Alastair and I looked at each other. WTF? A street fight? On our ultra secure Aqua island? A spousal argument? The new neighbors?

Rowdier shouting and hooting competed with the rap poetry that echoed from Tiesto’s Bose sound system.

Words like: You cant have sex!!! Bounced from the street walls. And no masturbation!!!

I peeked outside and  through another open window across the street I saw ten young Hassidim men and their Rabbi sitting around the dinner table. The ten men cheered as if the Rabbi had just scored a goal.

As we finished Roland’s movie and ate a second Thanksgiving dinner, more loud and explicit sexual warnings about  the pre-marital relationship were delivered across the way, whether we liked it or not, as we wondered what was going on, how long it would last, and where it would lead. (Any explanations? )

Tomorrow is the day before Art Basel Miami launches into its week of over-the-top art events. Alastair and I will be blogging it all. Both here and at his new blog, Alastair Gordon, Off the Wall, so stay tuned for more from rabid Miami….

the godfather

roland, leila, evonne, turkey chef and tom


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thanksgiving in miami

gordon models

aah Thanksgiving.

I scan my emotional radar for signs of homesickness. hm. there are a few pockets. I think of a fire in the fireplace, of picking Roland and Ian up from the train, preparing the turkey in my pajamas, and seeing the forest in the the fog through the glass wall of my kitchen, the bare wet trees beside me, the streams and falls  swollen and roaring, a last yellow leaf falling reluctantly past, the sound of shooting far away because hunting season opens on monday, Roland  at the kitchen table cracking nuts and catching up on the news of the year, the girls peacefully playing or watching a movie, the smells of the turkey mixed with smoke from the fire, the long walk to the waterfal before we eat, amber straining at her leash, setting the table with layers of plates and late or dried flowers and plants from the garden, Donna arriving with yet another evolution of Happy Feet, the dancing penguin who became a dancing turkey, and last year a dancing Obama, and Anouk with Zeb and Zoe, and then finally as its now dark, lighting the candles and sitting around the long table  fifteen or more, kids and friends and family, and holding hands and saying a prayer of grace and thanks, and tucking in, and pouring the wine, and laughing and telling tales of Thanksgivings past…

But I’m here in Miami. Its ten thirty. I anticipate. I’ve already done thirty laps in the pool. I set the glass table for ten. Arranged the designer chairs alongside the ones from IKEA, I opened all doors and windows to let in the sun and air, so fresh after a night of rain. Roland is here, I’m thankful, it would not be Thanksgiving without him. Al is preparing the turkey. Evonne just called, her voice still raspy from sleep. Their flight to Miami was four hours delayed and they didn’t arrive at the Fontainebleau till two this morning. Iona is eager to see Amanda. Together they’ll make the  sweet potatoes with marshmellows. And so it will be different, but I’m excited and thankful for all of it, the memories and the day that lies ahead. For my family and my friends, the ones who are here, the ones who are elsewhere on the planet…


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is sex green ?

WHY the green yacht by Hermes

Plastiki, David de Rothchild's ship

Green green green green greener greener greener greenest greenest greenest. Never was a color hotter. Fifteen years ago merchandisers told us, designers, that green did not sell. no way in hell would they get behind a green turtleneck, a green dress, a green jean, a green T-shirt, blouse, sweater, skirt, legging, hat, bag or mitten. As design director at Calvin Klein i tried calling green anything from tundra, moss, chartreuse, grass, olive, celadon to sprout, fir, loden but no matter what organic name it wore, green did not sell. Ha! Where are you now, you no-green-mantra-maidens? Eating sprouts, moss or celadon? Its the 21st century and  the new mantra is: if it aint green it wont sell. Everywhere i see oxymorons from green fashion to green kids, green cars, green skyscrapers, green vacations, green luxury brands, even a green earth beauty pageant.  I could go on but no doubt you were already thinking along the same lines and do you, like me, go from green with envy (those perfect eco celebrities seem to have it down) to green with guilt? I dont have green kids, i dont live in a green condo, i hardly drive a green car. i dont even dress in green. In fact i’m sick of green. I’m sick of hearing about green enterprises like the Hermes yacht, called WHY (indeed), which any green billionaire warrior can call his own for a mere $100 million. It’s ohso green. they say, and sustainable, but can’t they do mankind a favor and invest that $100 million in micro-finance projects around the third world?

WHY oh WHY

Then there is another oxymoron: de Rothchild and green. Or maybe not. The tall and handsome trust fund adventurer,  David de Rothchild, is soon sailing his PLASTIKI, a 60-foot catamaran, inspired by Thor Heyerdahl, and created out of plastic recycled bottles, from the Golden Gate 11,000 miles across the Pacific to Sydney Harbor. His young crew, which includes Josian Heyerdahl (yes granddaughter of that Thor) and blonde skipper Jo Royle, appears to have been picked for their sexy good looks (did you see the size of Plastiki’s deck?) and the pr for the adventure reads like Swept Away meets March of the Penguins.

Is de Rothchild the Calvin Klein of eco?  And does he figure that a green label may sell stuff which is hardly eco-friendly, but only sex will sell green technology?

David de Rothchild and hull

Josian Heyerdahl

skipper Jo Royle and floatables


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on the topic of women and inhibition

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A pill that blunts female inhibitions?!
No matter how men try to get into women’s sex heads, the results are always funny. And scary. I don’t know how many women chemists worked on this new pill that is supposed to re-awaken our desire (is it really so asleep? Not in Miami Beach!) but judging from the quotes in the Boehringer press release a bunch of men take the credit, and after being released on Bloomberg all the top Google results are macho sites touting this much anticipated drug, by men, by bankers, counting on their shares becoming gold as women start having more sex and their world will be a happier and richer place.
Maybe what Boehringer calls “blunted inhibition”, am I the only woman who feels misunderstood by this misogynist pr line, is really a survival mode. Like a way to not get pregnant again, and not be judged for having an abortion (how will our culture balance and consolidate Viagra, this new pill, unwanted pregnancies and right to lifers?) This unblunting pill’s clinical trials, the so-called Bouquet studies, dubbed Violet, Daisy, Dahlia and Orchid (are we throwing up yet?) showed that their test-women took the drug daily (therein lies the money, otherwise why not just pop Ecstasy when this woman in her thirties and early forties finally finds the time to get to bed while her man is still awake) and after taking it for three to six weeks displayed the side effect of feeling tired. Pardon me? And this is BEFORE feeling horny? Now I’m confused. Don’t we, the smart ones, the women in our thirties and forties and fifties, KNOW (without studies) that we’re sexually blunted because we are ALREADY tired? Like DUH! And now men have designed a drug that will make us tired yet horny? Either they’re just dumb or I’m lost.  And how do they know that this drug blunts only the sex inhibition part of the frontal lobe? What about the other inhibitions? Like the inhibition that stops certain women from getting in the car with the wrong guy, use a condom, or leave the kids home alone to go on a hot date? Isn’t inhibition in some cases just a word for each woman’s own interpretation of common sense? And how exactly can this safety valve be selectively controlled by a drug that increases our sex drive?
Really? My sick “undersexed “sisters, is our disinterest in sex a legitimate medical condition, called by researchers HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder), and are we gonna try this one? Hands up by those who admit to HSDD? Hands up by those who sometimes simply feel too tired? Hands up by the men who want more sex than their partner does? Hands up by the men who take Viagra?
AHA!
More AHA!: Boehringer faces the loss of 1.5 billion dollars in annual revenue when their two older medicines, Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease and Flomax to treat enlarged prostate, lose patent protection next year. Poor poor Boehringer.
I agree with the notion that HSDD is a clear example of a disease created by pharmaceutical companies to make healthy women think they need medicine. But what do I know? Sitting by my Miami Beach pool where women of all ages  wear almost nothing and are buff, nipped, tucked, filled, implanted, and look like they have sex all the time. I mean Christ, Miami wouldn’t be safe if these women took this drug as well, the whole city would be bounding up and down, causing tidal waves.
Call me old fashioned but I’ll stick with the notion that a nanny (for the kids), a vacation, a husband on a diet so he’s nice to reach for under the covers, a few hunky young men around the pool or the supermarket for fantasy value, maybe a Percoset, a drink, a joint or Ecstasy (note to Internet Police, I’ve never touched the stuff) are likely to cure most cases of HSDD. But hey, who am I and what do I know? To be blunted, I’m just a menopausal bitch with young kids, who likes sex but is too responsible and inhibited to say let me do something for Boehringer’s shareholders and get horny more often…


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nature naturally…

IMG_3415here he comes again. i cant stand it anymore. i’m gonna cut his gas line. since nine this morning, there have been outside my window the following: man worker with noisy gas powered bush clipper cutting to shreds a perfectly lovely bush, half an hour later same  worker with noisy gas powered lawn mower mowing 1″ high grass, half an hour later same  worker with noisy gas powered weed whacker whacking 3/4″ grass, and an hour later another  worker with noisy gas powered leaf blower blowing one visible and several microscopic leaves across the pavement.  this process of curbing and preening nature takes at least two square inches out of the ozone layer, and therefore shortening the survival chances of nature by several what? Minutes? Hours? Years? but. this is what I find. some in miami think green is just a color. GREEN as a movement for sustainablity is not  a prevailing concept. its a color that you cut and mow and whack and blow. hummers are STILL the car of choice for the rich and richer. recycling at my condo means separating your garbage and then having it all thrown together again by waste management so why bother. at publix, the local supermarket monopoly, the baggers give me a foul look when i bring my reusable set. i’m scared of those baggers. they yell at each other, so surely they’ll yell at me. the beach gets cleaned every day, morning and afternoon, by giant scoopers. this does not make anyone responsible for the crap thats left behind. THEY, a force which is not generally seen as another human, cleans it up and as a result waste is  left where it was used in its process. parks, streets and shoulders are littered before THEY clean them up and what doesn’t get picked up in time ends up blown into the ocean or the canals, like floating publix bags, styrofoam cups, coke bottles, halloween candy wrappers, tide containers and so on. the city itself makes an enormous effort to keep  miami clean, and it’s a beautiful city, but this process of constant cleaning and controlling of litter seems wasteful and doesn’t motivate individuals to take responsibility in creating a sustainable lifestyle. one that uses less and recycles and reuses more. this is my observation after six weeks, i’d love to be proven wrong, and will  join any local group that is working to teach greener policies…

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i’d rather be a princess

my mother (on the phone from amsterdam) said last saturday when i told her i was cooking another dinnerparty for eight new miami friends, you cant stop can you!? this, coming from my mother, is funny. where do i get this urge to celebrate? whatya think? my mother at age forty something, after my stepfather had departed with one of her best friends, celebrated by starting a singing telegram business. this was the early eighties, when in amsterdam such a thing was considered another over the top american extravagance. SINGING TELEGRAM AMSTERDAM was the first, and really the one and only for years and my mom the go-to-madame of dutch celebrations. she planned at least ten bunnies leaping from cakes, singing clowns, whacky clumsy waiters, homeless women crashing parties and breaking into opera, dashing crooning  valentinos, a week. my mother couldn’t stop and only retired a few years ago when  requests for strippers and other seedy sexist telegrams (which she referred to the local escort service) exceeded the regular fun-o-grams. and this was only her day job! whenever there’s a friends with not only a birthday, but a wedding anniversary, a new grandchild, a first birthday grandchild, a retirement, an actor friend who’s been on the stage for fifty years, a new home, a new job, a graduation, an opening night, my mother is there with personalized gifts for everyone. for chrissake she even celebrated my, and my sister’s, first period with cake and fanfare and when my little brother felt left out she celebrated his first wet dream with same cake and pomp (he later admitted it wasn’t his first at all….). so when my mother says to me you cant stop can you? i blame her, in the nicest possible way, and say : mom i’cant help myself, i am still getting over that one birthday when all your good intentions became my nightmare…

for my fifth birthday she had a full carnival fairground  designed by  my stepfather (he was an architect) and built  by his crew.  i was the icecream vendor. this was supposed to be my dream come true birthday, since, every day in the summer, when the ice cream man began ringing his bell at the corner of our street, i went into convulsion of nervous anticipation. could i have one? would i have one? would i be able to convince my mother that i NEEDED one by the time he passed our house, would he even stop for me? my daily nervous breakdown, to some extent, ruined the short lived joy of  dutch summer for my mother and so, for my  fifth birthday , i would have all the ice cream i could imagine in my own rietvelt meets picasso plywood icecream cart. i wore black and white plaid bakers pants, a white shirt, a skinny tie and a slightly too large captain’s cap. i remember the start of the party. i hated birthday parties, all those kids i barely knew, making so much noise and pushing and yelling, but anyway there they were crowded around my cart, screaming and pushing and shouting: chocolate. i want chocolate, i want vanilla, i want strawberry, and grabbing and getting ice cream all over their face and coming back for seconds and thirds and fourths. BUT. i was a good girl, i lived up to expectation so i kept on scooping. i scooped and scooped and  scooped and slowly before my very eyes the icecream went down, first the chocolate went, then the vanilla and the strawberry. Until there was nohing left. not a scoop, not a teaspoon. and i hadn’t had one cone,  one lick,  one crumble bit of wafer. it was all GONE! i was devastated. tears choking my throat, i looked for my mom,  she was across the room holding my newborn little sister, laughing and throwing colored balls at colored cans in a red, blue, green, black and white wooky frame. i looked around me. all the kids had scattered, playing different games,  ignoring me. again. cause i was out of icecream.

that night, when my mother tucked me into bed, she said. and? did you have fun?

reportedly i answered that next year i’d rather be a princess…

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e-mail from my husband this morning

Hey you,
what’s on your mind?
Lunch?
Afternoon delight?

Miami is a bubble,
a construct for voyeurs.
After lunch I felt
as if I’d been drugged. Slept for the rest of afternoon. Do you think they put
something in our organic jicama?
All the hotels and spas are empty except for me,
being escorted around by adorable PR girls
named “Destiny,”
I swear,
(tight gray fibers, aquamarine necklace)
as I’m trying on the loofa headgear,
trying out the spinach facials,
dunking in the polar tub then
hurried by a short black gay stutterer
to the volcano pool
where the water bubbles
and then you get the green
slime all over your body.
There were two Latino guys prepping the
herbal soak but they looked more
like they should be pulling out
spark plugs
and they laughed when I dipped
my nkd body into the soupy swill of
chamomile buds and savory twigs.
What? Is this a big joke?
I’m not paying nuthn’ Julio!
This be compt!
Go fck yrselves!
There are three Israeli guys in steam room,
arguing about something and
check me out as if I’m sporting
body-wrap explosives instead of
asparagus textile wrap.
But I have to say the waterfall room is pretty
amazing – a fifty-yard run of water jets
shooting down from a true cathedral  ceiling,
splashing against faux mountain rocks
and dried Mangrove roots that hang from threads of monofilament.
The big gnarly roots turn and jiggle in the downpour
to an overall effect of what? I wonder…
(jungle boogie woogie?)
Who designed this?
But it’s quite a feeling to be drowned beneath torrent
of scented water and deafened by the waterfall roar
while  Israeli dudes come out the other end
yelling at each other,
“Fuck you! Fuck your stupid fucking face!”
My little waterproof guidebook talks about keeping one’s center
and maintaining
a holistic environment of wellness
but these guys are so beyond the Yoga fold that I can’t imagine them
ever calming down. They’re just pissed about everything
What is the intended message here?
The long deafening shower, the Turkish marble chaises
carved to human form, rubbed with cinnamon oil and heated
from within, somehow, the pungent smell of burning sage?
I’m getting the final rub down and natural pine needle treatment,
drifting into trippy dreams of Amazonian orgies,
and that’s when  I start to wonder if the fucking jicama
salad had been laced with Nembutal.
I twist my toes against the ratchets of the stretching apparatus
just to stay awake but by the time I’ve
showered and checked out
I can hardly walk in a straight line through the
purple silk lobby and out to the plaza with the dancing fountains, reeling like a drunken
fuck. The nice valet parking dude smiles at me as he hands me my car keys. Is it the crisp twenty
I give him or does he know that I’ve been slipped a mickey? Is he in on it too?
He’s whispering something into his micro-headphone as I skid
back onto Collins with a sickening crunch of shock absorbers and fenders
hitting pavement since I overlook the six-inch speed bump on the downward curve.
But at least I’m back in the heady sunlight with
with only a few blocks
to my candyland pad at Aqua.
I drive very very slowly.
I’m telling you,
I slept like a baby for the rest of the afternoon.
AG