Art Basel Miami in the era of Trump and Harvey Weinstein



Last year, it was the Zika virus that caused a slight downturn in attendance during what was once Miami’s most anticipated week of pretentiousness, art, things posing as art, people posing as art people, sponsored parties on every corner, and, of course, celebs. But people bought art. And that’s really what Art Basel is supposed to be about. People who can afford to buy art will buy art no matter who is spinning in Wynwood (see: Bjork). But Art Basel Miami–er, Miami Beach isn’t really about that anymore after the greed is good types got their hands on it and turned it into a grotesque, corporate mutation of swill and swillers, an amalgam of freeloaders, phonies and grifters.

Just ask GQ, which, in July, listed Art Basel Miami Beach as one of the 10 Worst Parties in America.  But despite the fact that, yes, “the thing has bloated into a whole series of satellite fairs and branded “art” events that are attached to it like barnacles,” we’re afraid that’s the least of 2017’s concerns. There’s that orange blob in the Oval Office that has nothing to do with art and everything to do with people not wanting to travel to the United States. The “Trump Slump,” The “Trump Tourism Effect,” or, more timely, the Zika Virus of Politics has absolutely affected people’s desires to come to the US for anything, never mind for Art Basel Miami Beach.

According to London’s World Travel Market (WTM), which polled nearly 3,000 travel trade executives, more than a quarter (27 percent) of Brits say they are less likely to visit the United States while Donald Trump is president. Same goes for citizens of pretty much every country in the world, who say they’d rather go to Canada than the United States as long as the Persimmon Pol Pot remains in the White House. The number of international tourists traveling to the US plummeted nearly 4 percent in the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism Office in Washington. But wait, it gets worse!

Enter Harvey Weinstein in his white robe. Shudder. With the wave in accusations of sexual harassers and with the recent resignation of the art world’s power player, Artforum publisher Knight Landesman for allegedly sexually harassing at least 9 women, and more recently, Russell Simmons, who abruptly canceled his annual RUSH Philanthropic Art Basel Miami event because, according to an official word, ahem, “they couldn’t get the space together in time,” the sexually charged Art Basel Miami Beach may be sporting a chastity belt, which may actually hinder the appearance of certain horny celebrities who use Art Basel as their sexual stomping grounds. We can’t confirm that just yet and we’re not accusing anyone of anything yet, but you think all the celebs who come down here just come for photo ops and free champagne? Think again. But the celeb’s Art Basel nightstalking square footage will likely be dramatically reduced.

According to one publicist who asked to remain anonymous, there aren’t going to be that many parties this year. “This year’s Art Basel definitely has less parties than the past,” said the flak, who added that hotel room rates are still going for outrageous fortunes, but aren’t nearly as booked as early as they used to be.

In fact, another publicist has been reaching out to people as late as last week looking to fill up a still empty hotel with people and parties. Said hotel is usually sold out by now and command central for the chic elite.

With just a month away, Art Basel may actually end up being what it originally started as: a prestigious art fair for rich folks, many of whom don’t even come to buy the art and even more who shun parties and publicity. Stay tuned.

Update 11//27/17

With Art Basel just about a week away, we hate to say it, but we told you so. Sure, there’s Duran Duran doing a private SiriusXM subscriber event Saturday at Faena a la last year’s Bon Jovi show,  Bjork doing a DJ set at 9 p.m. Tuesday, December 5 at Mana Wynwood as part of III Points’ Art Basel lineup, which also includes a performance at 9 p.m. Saturday by Wu Tang Clan, 50 Cent hosting a Rolling Stone Live event Saturday at the Basel House Mural Festival, and a few private dinners including one on Wednesday with Cindy Crawford, co-hosted by Eduardo Cosentino, CEO of Cosentino North America at the  TATEL Miami along with one of our own personal picks for Time’s Person of the Year 2017, Chef José Andrés in celebration of the supermodel’s collaboration with Silestone countertops (!), but meh. Just meh. Oh, and Paris–yawn–Hilton at the W. Again. And none of it stops people like the ubiquitous DJ Khaled, who will try to top his infant son and celebrate his own birthday (only 42?!) Sunday, December 10 at LIV with a closing party following a lineup at LIV and sibling Story that includes DiploZEDDAfrojack, and Loco Dice. 

As for the big stars? Who knows, but one publicist told us on condition of anonymity she advises her boldfaced clients to stay away.

“We can’t afford a PR disaster if some woman or girl one of our clients decided to pick up at a club on South Beach or even take a selfie with comes out after and accuses them of sexual harassment. We know girls go to Miami in droves during Art Basel to dig for gold. We don’t need that kind of press right now.”

This could be good news for the true art buyers and sellers who actually go to Art Basel for its intended purpose and who scorn the Kardashification of the event. We shall see.



Cardinal Dolan wants @RealDonaldTrump to become ‘civilized’


Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s prayers haven’t exactly been answered when it comes to Donald Trump. The Archbishop appointed by Pope Benedict XVI,  read a Scripture at Trump’s abysmally attended inauguration in which King Solomon prays for wisdom to lead Israel according to God’s will. “I pray it all the time,” he told Catholic News Service in January and joked that “the Lord still hasn’t answered the prayer.” And today, when Dolan was spotted at the Shannon Airport in Ireland, he told an American tourist that he “wants Trump to become civilized.”

The tourist, who wants to remain anonymous, said “I asked the Cardinal if he could civilize him, and Dolan said that when Trump called to thank him for the inauguration prayer, he asked Trump to ‘be presidential.'” Dolan’s reply? “I’m still waiting.”


Mariah Carey’s South Beach sugar high



Following her show with Lionel Richie at the BB&T Center, Mariah Carey, her 6-year-old twins with ex Nick Cannon, and her boyfriend, 34-year-old choreographer Bryan Tanaka headed to Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Hotel Victor in South Beach after her concert for an exclusive party in her honor. 


Jorge Gonzalez, Acquest Media

The larger than life Carey, who was much more accessible than at parties in years past (this was an open to the public party), arrived around 11 p.m. and posed for pix as she made her way to her table with specially made chocolate strawberry jelly doughnuts.

Twins Monroe and Moroccan danced on the dance floor while Carey and crew kvelled. Before heading out, she ordered chicken tenders and fries to-go for the kids and stopped by the candy store for Rainbow Couture Pops.

Boy toy Tanaka wasn’t just there as arm candy, seemingly in charge of the twins. “Mariah sashayed in without the encumbrances of motherhood,” said VIP attendee Kevin Tomlinson. “As soon as Bryan sat down, he inhaled a huge ruby-colored donut with the songstress’s initials on them.”

Carey wasn’t the only one on a sugar high.  “It was an odd after party,” said Tomlinson. “It felt very unicorn realness. The room smelled like Love’s Baby Soft perfume.”

Photos/Kevin Tomlinson

Why is Marco Rubio cockblocking Miami’s Roy Altman for US Attorney job?


Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired 46 Obama-era Justice Department attorneys in March and as of today, there are still 93 vacancies to be filled over there. And while those gaping holes remain, the scuttlebutt sizzles down in Miami as rumors fly as to who may or may not be chosen to rep the Southern District of Florida. In April, we told you about a Jeb! loving attorney, John Curiel, who was on the almost definite outs because he was a Never Trumper, and a season 5 Apprentice contestant, Jose Felix Diaz, who flat out bombed the DOJ interview. Not so ironically, those two were seen flanking Trump when he flew down to Miami to announce what the New York Times called a “grotesque spectacle” of a Cuba policy.

Emerging as a competent frontrunner for the position, if Sessions (or whoever replaces him when he’s indicted for perjury) ever fills it, is Roy Altman, a trial and appellate lawyer at Miami-based Podhurst Orsek, whose impressive CV  reads like someone who should definitely be hired for the job: “Prior to joining the firm, Roy was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. During his over six years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Roy handled hundreds of criminal cases involving almost every variety of federal criminal offense, including drug trafficking (both domestic and international); arms trafficking; human trafficking; sex trafficking; child prostitution, exploitation, and pornography; bank, mail, and wire fraud; identity theft; armed robbery; attempted murder; serial rape; and the first-degree murder of a U.S. postal worker.”

Sounds like a shoe-in, right? Not if Marco Rubio has anything to do with it. In between tweeting out Bible passages and burying his nose in Trump’s rectum, Lil’ Marco has been going around town telling people he is going to ‘blue slip’ Altman’s nomination if it gets to that point. Why? According to our well-placed source, Rubio has been heard saying, “If Altman was as good as everyone said he was, I would have heard of him before.”

Marco, have you lost your mind along with your spine and testicles? Listed at the very top of the names for Miami Dade members of Rubio’s “Jewish Leadership Coalition, a group of 150 Republican, Democrat and Independent leaders of the Jewish community who are rallying behind Marco in his bid for re-election,” on his Rubio for Senate website is, yup, wait for it, Roy Altman.

So what gives? “Altman’s name was good enough to float on Rubio’s website to pander to the Jews when he was running,” says our very deep throat, who adds, “and now, all of a sudden, he doesn’t know who he is?”

His mind must be in the same place as his missing spine and balls.

Kylie Jenner & Travis Scott get hot & heavy in Miami

It looks like things are heating up between Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott as they were spotted having a private, casual early bird dinner Monday at Miami Beach hotspot Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. This is the new couple’s second time to Miami together in less than a month after Scott’s recent appearance at Story Miami.
The Jenner spawn was seen wearing a black and silver dress while Scott was in all black with a diamond chain necklace. The two were being followed by fans and were quickly ushered into the back of Bodega where they were able to escape the onlookers.
Jenner, a self professed lover of Mexican food, ordered a chicken quesadilla while her boyfriend ordered an assortment of Bodega’s famed tacos. Like teens in the fifties, the two sipped Mexican orange sodas. No booze? “It was practically afternoon,” says our spy. “They save that shit for dinner.” The pair was “very affectionate” and left shortly after eating in separate, matching blacked out Escalades. How in love can you be if you take separate Escalades? Huh.

You down with GOP? Miami Congressman Carlos Curbelo sure was at Yo! MTV Raps (!) DC fundraiser



On the day that new figures showed that an estimated 51 million people will be uninsured under the House healthcare bill by 2026, some GOP congressmen partied with lobbyists and assorted Republican types Wednesday on the rooftop of The Willard InterContinental Washington for a fundraiser called YOPAC, which, according to our source, nobody seemed to know what it meant until they arrived to see Yo! MTV Raps vet Ed Lover on the mic. Strange bedfellows indeed, but the Yo! MTV Raps themed-party was all sorts of strange.

Oh, to be there when Naughty By Nature’s “OPP” started playing and Lover grabbed the mic, asking, “Are you down with OPP—Other Political Parties?!” Or, how about when Miami Congressman Carlos Curbelo, whose final swing vote was one of a few that helped pass the abysmal abomination known as the American Health Care Act or, as it should be known, TrumpCare, was seen singing along to A Tribe Called Quest with San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter and later overheard saying he “really wanted to help his district get the very best medical care”?

Though there were no outright utterances of the I word, Curbelo proudly states that he was the first Republican to call for Trump’s impeachment.

According to Miami-based entertainment biz schmoozer Louis “Uncle Louie” Gregory, no one was rapping about politics. In fact Gregory said he and Duncan yapped about WWE legend Bill Goldberg, a client of Gregory’s and a constituent of the congressman’s. “There was no talk of anything but where we were when the songs came out. It was an amazing and surreal night.”

Emphasis on surreal, we’re sure.

Macy Gray one night only @FaenaMiami

macy approved press shot Stripped no text.jpg
Macy Gray is headed to Miami for an intimate concert at 10 p.m. Friday, June 2 at Faena Theater. The Grammy Award-winning artist will take center stage to perform songs from her debut live Jazz album, “Stripped,” along with select numbers from her impressive repertoire of award-winning tracks, including “I Try” and “Do Something.” Gray comes to Miami after a series of performances overseas, such as one in the UK in which she told the audience, “You got Brexit, we got Trump. “So f*** ’em.”

Tickets begin at $125 and are available at at For more information, visit or call  786-655-5600.