Artistically Social

February in Miami presented a cultural and culinary hodgepodge.

Amy Rosenberg is an attorney and arts advocate who founded the Overtown Music Project and the Arsht Center’s young patrons group. She is the co-founder of the environmental non-profit Dream in Green. Amy is a member of Art Basel’s Junior Host Committee and sits on the Board of the Funding Arts Network. She also serves on the New World Symphony’s Friends Committee as well as The Wolfsonian-FIU’s Visionaries Committee.

The Raleigh Hotel, an art deco gem, played host to one of the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s first events: a glam seafood beach party featuring Cruzan Rum and Tyler Florence. Hundreds of hungry partygoers stood in line awaiting Tyler’s seafood paella and took pictures of the chef positioned behind a bathtub sized paella pot. Local institution Joe’s Stone Crab may have slightly edged out Tyler Florence for the longest line – guests were given a spoon filled with seafood and rock candy.

Chef Tom Colicchio, co-host of Bravo’s Top Chef, presided over the Perrier Jouet BubbleQ at the Delano Hotel. Guests were greeted with child-sized plastic flutes of bubbles, Godiva sweets and samplers of Jennifer’s Homemade Toasted Almond Biscotti. Local Chef, Howie Kleinberg, served up platefuls of colossal shrimp and brisket. New Yorkers were overheard oohing and ahhing over the mini red velvets at Misha’s Cupcakes. At night’s end, when the Perrier Jouet ran dry, guests began disassembling the tablescapes and lobbing plastic champagne bubbles at one another.

Santiago Calatrava with Oliver GM Weirich and Arthur Marcus

Next up: Harrah’s Casino night hosted by butter queen, Paula Deen. The Paris Theater was the site of a Las Vegas-style hoe-down complete with country and western band and poker tables. Paula’s event highlighted (what else) a carbtastic buffet, featuring biscuits, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork sandwiches and crab cakes. Hungry guests could also sample fried oreos, freshly fried donuts and fried Belgian waffles with whipped cream and fudge. Next year, this writer will pack a purse large enough to fit a defibrillator.

The oldest orchestra in America made its debut at the newest performing arts center in the United States when the New York Philharmonic performed at the Arsht Center. A packed house was captivated by Music Director Lorin Maazel in his final season conducting. The powerful orchestra brought the house down with Mussgorsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition. The work takes the listener through an imaginary tour of an art collection.

Non-profit Arts for Learning, which brings cultural programs to public schools, had its Breakfast for Brilliance event at Legion Park. 200 attendees, including Lilia Garcia, Ricky Arriola, Susana Ibarguen and Suzanna Valdez were treated to a student drumming performance featuring artist Sean Dibble. The “friendraiser” allowed Executive Director Sheila Womble and Development and Communications Officer, Kalyn James to showcase the good works of the organization.

Liza Benkovitch and Seth Jonathan Coblentz on the Historical Museum of Southern Florida’s walking tour of Overtown for Black History Month

Harvard Business School presented an evening with famed architect, artist and engineer Santiago Calatrava at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Calatrava, who is best known for creating buildings that look as though they are sculpted, spoke to a dazzled capacity crowd about his achievements.

The Historical Museum of Southern Florida celebrated Black History month with a tour conducted by Miami’s own human encyclopedia, Dr. Paul George. The tour brought together more than 60 people for a walk through Overtown and a feast at People’s BBQ. Overtown, once the site of thriving storefronts and a vibrant music culture, is now one of Miami’s most overlooked communities.

Artoconecto, a local arts organization that works to connect communities through art, had their annual fundraiser, “Free Pony Rides!” at Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art. The happy attendees were treated to Danny Brody’s hot dogs and hamburgers, real ponies and Miami-based art collaborative Guerra De La Paz’s exhibition, Otherworld.

Gen Art, an organization that gives the community access to emerging talent, presented the premiere of Two Lovers, a dark love story featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow. The audience, mostly dressed in black, headed to Louis for the afterparty where they drank VeeV cocktails and Kim Crawford Wine.

Historic Baptist Church in Overtown

Travel & Leisure moved its annual Design Awards to Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel and awarded hotelier Andre Balazs (the standard and Raleigh hotels) with a Design Champion Award for his “old school glamour and unfussy modern design.” More than 400 guests dined on sliders and sipped Prairie vodka cocktails. In a tribute to 1950s glamour and the iconic Fontainebleau, a bevy of beauties in Esther Williams-style bathing suits and pink bathing caps paraded through the event.

Until next time…

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