Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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inner voices and Dear Abby…

photograph: Robin Saidman for Harpers Bazaar, Model: Barbi

I hear voices in my head. Don’t you?

There’s my mother’s voice. She is the chief, CEO, President, mother of  the voices, although I dont think they talk among themselves all that much. They talk to me. Sometimes when I ask, mostly when I don’t ask at all. Like when I’m just doing my own thing,suddenly mothervoice will say isn’t it time you go to bed (or get up)? Or its been sunny all day and you haven’t been outside ONCE. Then there’s the Judge Judy voice. She mainly speaks up inside the car. That fuckin asshole ran a stop sign, and you have a car full of kids, he’s guilty, guilty, guilty of your wrecked vehicle (she helps me imagine the worst scenarios), he has to pay the millions of rehab bills your insurance will not pay, he is FUCKED for life! (she takes things way too far). Then there’s the Oprah voice. She has me on the show inside my head and tells me how much she likes my books, my jewelry, how much she adores ME. But she’s a quiet one. Usually just pipes up when I’m in a creative phase. Then there’s the Elle McPherson voice. (yes its Elle MC Pherson and not Kate or Giselle). She tells me how she’s aging much better than me, she’s thinner, less wrinkly, has better hair and her tummy is perfectly flat. She gloats about being invited to all the  best VIP parties and modeling the lingerie collection she designs herself. Ha, I tell her, but your love-life sucks. Fuck you Elle Mc Pherson-voice ! Then there’s my Amy voice. My friend Amy Ferris. She tells me whether I’m funny or not. She’s the one I want to hear laughing. My Amy Ferris laughter voice is very potent.

Then there’s my inner Dear Abby. Do you have an inner Dear Abby?I mean is it NORMAL to have an inner letter writing, yes and banal women’s problem Red Book style counselor inside my head? I write a her little notes and wait. She’s ever so reasonable (but sometimes it takes her a while to get back to me), and always tries to see both sides of the issue. I wrote to her, inside my head, last night:

Dear Abby, I have a problem. (of course I have a problem I’m writing to you, [thats another voice, my impatient teacher voice] get on with it already) The bed in our Miami candy land bachelor pad is a queen size, yes you’d think it would be Emperor, and the one back home in Milford is a King. By now you know I’m 6 feet long. And husband is 6.5. Well. I sleep on about 1/3 of the bed, or maybe its 1/4. I’m cool with that. I don’t move much when asleep. But here’s the problem, he moves around a lot. He’s very busy and interacts with the pillows. All the pillows. He hugs them and discards them. He loses them and looks for them. He even talks to them. He has long arms. And this is the part that I need to address: When I’m soundly asleep on my two feather pillows he slips his hand under them like a ferret burrowing a nest. Right under my ear. My sound asleep soft fuzzy, REM zone, head. Frrettt, trrt, trrttt. He scratches at the cotton pillowcase. He turns the hand over. He makes a fist. Its like a restless ferret. So now I’m awake and I carefully take his hand and put it back inside his 3/4 of the bed. I go back to sleep. But its also a persistent ferret. You get my drift? I keep putting it back, it keeps coming back, ferreting. Then, if its a very bad and busy night for the ferret, he will, yes really, he’ll suddenly and unannounced, when I’m fast asleep again, yank the pillow from under my head! Like if he cant burrow on my 1/4 he’l justt have to take the pillow back to his 3/4! This is by far the worst domestic sensation anyone can have in the middle of the night, while asleep. It makes me mad. Really really mad. So I yell at him. I wake him up. Curse and call him names. Of course he has NO idea what I’m talking about. None. A ferret? He says. What ferret, where? I guess its like sleep walking. Or Jekyll and Ferret. And it ruins the rest of our night and sometimes even the next day. So dear Abby what do I do? I love my husband and I like sleeping with him. But…

I’m still waiting for her to get back to me.

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My Miami Christmas Guide, places to eat, play, love…

dreaming of a blue Christmas?

OK. So. I know that some of you might be coming down this Christmas vacation. To escape the snow/20 degree weather. See Mom and Pop. See Grandma. See those silly friends who moved down telling you that Miami is  like the next cool city. Or if you’re just dreaming of a blue Christmas.

After my first three intense months here I dare to share :

EAT:

My, by far, favorite restaurant, and OK so I’m biased because the owners are Dutch, and Ineke and I used to model together in Amsterdam in the seventies, is IndoMania, the only really good Indonesian restaurant outside Amsterdam (I never went to Indonesia), where they serve a full Rice Table, or  great Indonesian inspired dishes that compete with any high class fusion restaurant.
Next fave, for lunch or a very early dinner (close at 7pm) and for those of you who like hole-in-the-wall style Japanese sushi, is at the Japanese Market @ North Bay Village. The deck at the Standard Hotel has great views of Biscayne Bay and also of superstar guests like Naomi, Nars, Weber and Calvin.  More celebs and a great spot for brunch is, of course, under the trees at the Raleigh Hotel, if you’re cool enough to be given a table… Sardinia on Purdy Street is a fancy  Sardinian restaurant where the food is excellent, the  waiters real Italians and real cute,  and I felt like I was back being spoiled on the Costa Smeralda. The Buena Vista Bistro is in the design district, the mainland, just over the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Cafe´ style home cooking like  great grouper/mashed potatoes. Other restaurants in the design district are Michael’s with draft beer and macho fayre (bacon, burnt sprouts and lots of meat) and FratelliLyon. The Red Light, (305) 757-7773, has a fabulous owner chef, a cool quirky crowd and is hidden away in the fifties style Motel Blu , with only a handwritten sign that says Red Light . Upstairs interior is  funky Caribbean diner  and downstairs there’s a narrow terrace on Little River where manatees have been known to lounge around.  Lincoln Road is fun, but most restaurants  suck in a get them in and out fast kinda way, so we have our own three destinations: Books and Books for great salads, superb fish sandwich, magazines from all over the world, and cool well-read waiters. At Sostas the pizza is good and affordable, its where we take the kids. After seeing a movie at the Lincoln Theater next door I like  the Venezuelan Baire where I have the poached pear and gorgonzola salad and hope that the super sexy group at the next table (straight from a Almodovar cast) invites me to join them.

PLAY:

Like shop?
For loitering outside, people watching and groovy stores like Diesel and Miss Sixty (dotted between the same old same old Gap, Victoria Secret and Pottery Barn) there is of course Lincoln Road, which becomes more interesting every other Sunday when a street fair/fleamarket is part of the streetscape.
While being So Be-ward, even if you cant afford or fit into ultra expensive, gorgeous, top of the line, best pick designer clothes, you have to visit the Webster, a newly opened lifestyle of the rich and famous store run by  former YSL execs, Milan, Laure and Frederic, all chic as poodles, and incidently there’s  a Kaspia, the Paris caviar joint ,in the lobby. But in general modern shopping is best in the design district, a small neighborhood of about four blocks square with  furniture/lifestyle, Luminaire, Avanti, Kartell  and fashion/accesories stores like Marni, Fendi, Quinn, Tomas Maier and the recently opened Moore building with several young designers boutiques.  A few blocks down is the Wynwood area with lots of little galleries and cool shops like Las Tias , a consignment furniture store (and more) choc full of Lapidus and Miami Vice-style cast offs and owned by my  fabulous Miami friend Esther Percal. A must!

More PLAY:

Like beaches and pools? We like to walk to the public beach entry on 62nd street where the water is turquoise, the beach is wide and very quiet. But for the complete Miami Beach experience rent a bike and take the boardwalk all the up or way down and pick a spot. Like  South Pointe Park which was recently opened and extends along  the port waterway where  cruise ships like giant UFO’s glide by you on your tiny towel. For a grand feet-out-of-the-sand  experience the beach at the Raleigh is wide and buff boys settle you into their comfy sun chairs for a substantial fee. The Raleigh pool is  fabulous dahling,  models, male and female, are encouraged to hang by the pool (in their spare time) for sex appeal but it made me want to diet, do the gym, botox, tummy tuck, and spray-on tan before ever coming back . The Fontainebleau has a “poolscape” meaning three, or is it four, pools with connecting terraces that are dotted with sun chairs and VIP cabanas which include flat screen TV’s and girls who rub sunscreen into the oily backs of sunburned  Soprano types. Its kitsch but if you’re doing Miami you gotta do the Fontainebleau, even if its only for an hour. My favorite pool ever, anywhere, is the lake sized pool at the Biltmore Hotel in the Gables, nowhere near the beach, but go for a drink at the poolside bar, bring a costume, and float around (preferably at night when the hotel is lit up and feels like the Alhambra.)

Other PLAY:

Like renting a boat? Any size is available depending on your budget, from Indian Creek along Collins Avenue. Nightclubs must still be play for some, and the Wall at the W is one hot-spot, although it made me feel like my own granny. Debbie’s after hours club, called Private Residence @ 1427 West Ave is my Saturday night spot, its small and exclusive and reminds me of the old London clubs like Tramp and Annabel’s. Exploring funky neighborhoods is what I like to do best. Miami is a cosmopolitan experience and if you want to feel like you’ve left the USA go hang out in the South American strip by the beach between 63rd and 75th street. My favorite is the Buenos Aires Bakery where they sell pre-made mini sandwiches which I take to the beach. Or walk around little Havana for quirky shops, great Jazz and cigars if you’re so inclined. Along the railroad tracks on 4th North Court/79th street I found, behind a wall of highly designed  shades of grey concrete panels,  a commune of  cool young fashion designers, artists, hairdressers, architects and Green developers. Its where I want to have my studio. If we stay next year that is…

LOVE.

Love yourself at Canyon Ranch. Love your husband (like me) at the W Hotel. Love your lover at the Setai . Love your kids at the Biltmore.


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Vicodin, the mother’s helper…

Last Saturday morning I reached for clean knickers in the freshly done laundry basket and ping, my back went out. Dont do this to me I said to it, not now, (not ever actually) but it did anyway. It did it badly just to spite me. It doesn’t do it often, maybe two, three times a year, usually when i’ve been sitting in a bad chair, same position for a while, like writing and making jewelry are really bad for my back and they are the two things I really need to do (for my sanity) after making lunchboxes, driving to and from school twice a day, shopping for supplies for my family, that fucking dishwasher, homework, and cooking. But when I get fully into doing my two favorite things, which actually make me money, my back goes out. This is really unfair. Because, lets face it, the other stuff is boring. There are scales of boredom, like driving with the kids to and from school is not acually so boring because we usually have fun, but driving back alone, along the same streets twice a day is boring. Buying food is unbelievably boring, the same isles, the same shitty choices, the same rickety rusty carts, I mean the entire Publix aesthetic is just too upsetting and boring. I hate it. Making lunch boxes every morning has a certain creativity to it, its low on the scale of creative activities, but it rates in a  pathetic way. Then there is cooking. Now I LIKE to cook. I’m a good cook, or so they say, I just dont like feeding, as in whats for lunch? Whats for dinner? Twice a day. Every day. I’m the kind person who likes surprises, challenges, sudden upsets, throw me a curveball and I’m there, ready to play, but the same thing every day, day in day out eventually makes me angry. Anyone can do this shit, in fact a robot would be better  because it wouldn’t get  annoyed. So WTF you say? Didn’t Barbi just party around Art Basel? Yes I did. And  I took all those pictures. And I met interesting people who get to be creative all day long, like men with wives like me. Like my husband.  I wish I had a wife like me. Someone who pathologically has to make it perfect for everyone else.  So anyway my back goes out last saturday morning. I’d been making more beachplastic jewelry because there was an  increased interest after Art Basel when I wore this  new piece that everyone loved. I really need to create a full collection to start retailing. I want to find a retail partner. I want to be recognized for doing something creative, like all those  Art Basel types. So I’m excited. And  frustrated. Like I never have a enough time to actually do what I need to do to get to where I want to get. So, what usually happens at this point of frustration is that my back goes out. Make sense? Now I cant do anything at all. I cant sit. I can shuffle sideways like a crabby crab. But I cant write, I cant make jewelry. So I take a Vicodin. I like this stuff. Not only does it stop the pain, but it also stops my pissed-off ambition dead in its tracks. Now I’m mellow. I don’t give  a shit. But not everyone else in my family is equally mellow. Its Sunday. The day to do things “as a family”. We haven’t been outside Miami since we arrived, my husband says. So he gets us invited to The Keys. They have a boat, he says, we can go fishing. I’m not sure about boating I say. But I take another Vicodin and now I don’t give a shit. So we go, over an hour in the car, sitting, then a long leisurely lunch, sitting, then we drive to the boat, sitting, and then in the boat sort of sitting (in a hopping kind of way)  at 30 knots over big waves, woohoo, what fun cry the kids, bang bang bang goes my back.

What a lovely family outing. Only by the time I get home I can’t actually get out of the car and  my husband says in a I-know-best kind of way: You really shouldn’t have gone on that boat. Really? It must’ve been the Vicodin that made me do it.

I wake up the next day and realize that someone has come along with superglue and glued my right eye shut.  Its pink-eye mom, the girls say. Hurray, now I’m blind and crippled. I will just have to stay in bed. I take another pill and sleep till two. Then I get into the jacuzzi bath for the first time since we moved into this house. I do some gentle stretching. I take it easy while my husband notes how taking the kids to and from school really cuts into  his time to work… HELLO!

Still I’m good for doing homework and making dinner. I go to bed at ten.

This morning I’m sore but I can move enough to resume the daily chores. And the bills. I need to do the bills. And the twins science project is due on Thursday. And the fridge is empty (again). And Christmas is coming. And all I wanna do is make more jewelry. I think I’ll take another painkiller instead. At least then I won’t give a shit and l may even be caught humming: … all I want for Christmas is more Vicodin, Vi-co-din, Vi-co-din…

beach plastic comes in every color of the spectrum, the new piece


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ART, what is it good for…?

Beg Borrow and Steal Show at the Rubell Family Collection

Its over.

One week of feeding frenzy art exposure that had as little to do with the act of the individual expression of divine inspiration as a car show. Art Basel Miami, exhibited at the convention center and other locations around town, was all about the commodification of art. Like the stock market. Thousands of people milling around halls and halls, and booths and booths stuffed with art ready to take the gamble like they were looking for  a lucrative stock portfolio.

An art overdose. An art oxymoron. OK. I know. You gettit. But let me tell you, among all that art and trend, there was hardly any Green.  I’d been pitching the story of “what’s new in green art” to websites like Planet Green, Inhabitat and Treehugger, but phew I’m glad I got no bites because there was nothing to report.  No thing. Nada. NADA was incidently the name of the edgier art show at the Deauville Hotel in North Beach, walking distance from my home, where the Beatles had played in the sixties and it hasn’t been renovated since. The  stale baroque carpet and duck taped doors were supposedly cool and funky, and so all the cool and funky peole stayed there. But my favorite show was Pulse, at the old Ice factory, where that whacky halloween party took place a month ago, the best art, the best setting, the most together mix of people.  Pulse’s old warehouse environment  did not diminsh the art as much as the convention center (still reeking from last month’s wine show) did. Like Pulse had Maria Jose Arjona, the Pain Resistant performance artist who stood on blocks of ice spiked with large nails, which became exposed as the ice slowly melted. As a fakir she stood all day,  blocking out pain, cold and the sight of drones of people ew-ing and ah-ing, watching, pointing and laughing. One woman in the audience said, “OH NO, her hair keeps falling across her eyes.” “Please,” I said, “thats the least of her problems. Like hypothermia and tetanus come to mind…?”

Is art shown at a trade-show still art? Or is it f-art? I mean there are trade shows for everything commercial. Cars, wine, porn,furniture and fashion all use trade shows as a means to connect to their markets. But isn’t art  more? And best understood within the context of the artist’s life, mind, raw loft, rickety farmstead? Call me a romantic, but I want the entire art experience. I used to do trade shows myself. Every season, sometimes four times a year, in London when I had a collection called Giraf and then  again in New York at the Javitz when I did a kids clothing line, called Baby Gordon. And I can tell you, with authority, that trade shows are like being cast  into outer philistine space. They suck unless you’re really really hot. But boredom and not inspired creativity was modus operandus at Basel Miami where the art representatives escaped on their MACs, traveling to virtual worlds (Googling old boyfriends?) beyond their tiny cubicle and the bourgeois crowds.

Of course there were some really cool things with which I shall now debunk myself and I took lots of pictures  for Alastair’s WSJ blog, best Basel Miami blog on the market, and when I picked the projects I liked to photograph I also picked my favorites, all of which are posted on Miami Street Style, and some here:

orgy lamp at Moss, Design Miami

light up books at Pulse

Okay Mountain Store at Pulse

planes at Pulse

red hammocks to relax at Pulse


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The Art Basel Miami Diet, how to lose ten pounds in just five days

dessert at the Rubell Family Collection opening of their Beg, Steal and Borrow exhibition

How?

Easy, they dont feed you here! Events, aka VIP parties, are planned from five in the afternoon through three in the morning, back to back, overlapping, six layers deep, some are even called dinner, BUT, they do not actually feed food. Drinks yes, but dinner, not quite. Maybe its the recession, maybe its fashion, but if a plastic cup filled with three shrimp and a hot pepper passes you between seven and ten, count yourself lucky. Except for Fendi’s dinner at Mr. Chow last night. Well kinda, it was dinner for one, so what was I supposed to do while Alastair ate? Well, I drove Michele Oka Doner to a few events that included Jordan, her son, and when I went to pick Al up at Chows the Peking Duck was just being served so I kinda crashed an empty chair and got enough calories to stay within the Basel Miami diet limit, before we returned home. I should have yielded earlier, I thought, to the donut wall, the symbolic dessert installation at the Rubell family collection, a wall with a thousand donuts hung on nails, for the picking.

But little did I know…

Tonight I write here, its past midnight, lick the peanut butter from my lips, and I wonder, but, more of THAT tomorrow….

it wasn't me