I didn’t expect to love Miami when I went there the beginning of this December to visit my son, Troy, and his wife, Simone. The reason I didn’t blog about this trip sooner is because I’ve had no internet for almost 2 weeks.
I’d been to Miami in 1972 –protesting the Vietnam War at the Republican convention together with Vietnam Veterans– and thought “yuck.” But a lot’s happened to Miami since then plus Troy does have a way of putting together a visit to a city that makes things fun and beautiful. He did it for me and my grandkids a few years ago when we visited him in Chicago while he was shooting the series “Boss,” with Kelsey Grammer. We all fell in love with the city. Of course, it was in the summer. I had made films there but always in the winter.
This time, Troy was in Miami for a few weeks shooting an HBO series, “Ballers,” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and, again, he put together a wonderful series of visits to different parts of the city and South beach and I found it a sexy, sensuous, and arty with some fabulous places to eat.
I did tweet this photo a while back, but here I am with Dwayne on set. What an incredibly nice, humble, and impressive man he is. I watched a scene of Troy and Dwayne walking out of someone’s home. Troy looked so tall and handsome. I was so proud. Wish I could have taken more set photos but you’ll just have to wait for the show. Based on what I saw though, I’m sure HBO has another winner.
We ate in some fantastic places. The first dinner was in the brand new Matador Room, in the new Edition Hotel. It is the site of the former Seville Hotel which dates back to 1955. When they renovated, they kept the same quintessentially 50s deco chandelier that hung above the Seville restaurant for the Matador Room. The Edition is another property from Ian Schrager which I am told is bringing a new standard to Miami. I mean the place has an Ice Rink, Bowling Alley, and absolutely gorgeous pool.
Here’s a tequila cocktail I had at the Matador Room. Those are edible flowers, and it was the best tequila I’d ever tasted, called Ocho.
I took photos of the dinner but the only ones that came out were the desserts. Total yum!
There’s still a lot of deco to be found in Miami. One need only drive the main drag in the southern part of South Beach to see–all the old hotels
Deco Hotel style
This is the mansion that belonged to great designer Gianni Versace. He lived right on Ocean Drive. Gianni was my very sweet, generous friend.
This is the front of the mansion (currently a restaurant, I believe). Gianni was murdered on those steps by a violent stalker.
Troy really loves the Deco vibe at The Raleigh. It is also a favorite of Anthony Bourdain. It dates back to the 40s-50s and the deco style is still totally evident.
Lobby at the Raleigh
Raleigh outdoor bar.
Pool at the Raleigh.
We had a wonderful lunch at the W Hotel. These playful statues were at the entrance
The W’s pool.
Many South Beach hotels have great boardwalks and paths to the beach. I plan to go back in February and I will walk them all.
I had a delicious dinner of stone crabs at Joe’s, a famous South Beach landmark. I went with Richard’s lifelong friend, Kenny Vance, the famous doo wop singer, and his friend, Sandie Cauff. Sandie has lived in South Beach for more than 40 years.
Casa Tua was one of the most delicious and glamorous of all. This is part of their garden
Troy pointed out the frequent orchid plants that are attached somehow to tree trunks
I stayed at the Loews, right on the beach.
My room at the Lowes had an Ocean View.
View of the pool at the Lowes.
Another view from my room.
My favorite place for lunch was The Lido at the Standard Hotel. It juts out over the water looking west across the bay toward the city of Miami.
The Lido Bar and Grill at the Standard
The view from The Lido looking east towards South Beach.
Simone told me that Miami is the only American city founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle who is known as “the Mother of Miami” bought vast acres of land right off the Miami River. According to this Huffington Post Article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/12/julia-tuttle-miami-mother-of-miami_n_3262488.html despite the fact that there was was no bank, no newspaper, few homes and no hotel, Tuttle foresaw Miami as a great city that would became the center of trade for North and South America. She knew however that in order to do so the city would need a railroad. Tuttle was instrumental in convincing Henry Flagler to build the railroad through Miami and eventually gave him hundreds of acres of land to do so. Later Flagler brought the railroad down through to this southern most part of Florida when he realized that, with the completion of the Panama Canal, routes would be open to countless Latin and South Americans businessmen and traders.
As it turned out, my visit coincided with the start of the famous Art Basel week when artists and dealers (and buyers) from around the world converge on Miami. Needless to say, the city got very crowded but I also ran into friends and I did see some fascinating art.
We didn’t visit the main Art Basel exhibit, but we did visit some of the private collections.
Here is Troy at the Rubell Family Collection.
From the De La Cruz Collection
From the De La Cruz Collection
This enormous painting is from our visit to the Rubell Family Collection and is titled “Guernika”. like Picasso’s. The painter is Lucy Dodd, a New Yorker. I was fascinated by the combination of ingredients she used: Spanish hematite, Miami rain water and lavender oil, cochineal, kombucha SCOBY, Rota squid ink, earth from Monasterio de Suso, Aracena, Rio Tinto, la Aldea-Bejes and Guernika, chamomile and pomegranate from Segura de Leon, lichen from Sierra de Gata, yerba mate, Rio Tinto water, mica, spiraling, mixed pigments and Tyrian purple. I’m sorry that my picture doesn’t do justice to the massive work. Dodd, the artists, has a playful humor:behind the huge painting we found she’d placed this little tribute/shrine to Picasso, the source of her inspiration.
From The Rubell Family Collection
The Art Basel tents come and then go by the end of the week.
But in a section of Miami called Wynwood, there is graffiti art that is permanent.
We spent a good deal of time there.
This is an Argentinian Artist, who’s work Troy was familiar with, named Ever Siempre.
He was commissioned to do this mural.
. . . and then there was ‘arm graffiti’
It was a magical three days and I can’t wait to go back.