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411 p.20

Calendar p.14

Baselmania! See who was in town during the largest Art event in the country.

Funny Man Louis C.K. hits town this weekend for an evening full of laughs.

Vol. XXV No. 47

December 9, 2010

Visit us at sunpostweekly.com

WHO YA GONNA CALL?

The League of Paranormal Investigators is on the job in Miami MAYHEM P.4

PROFILE P. 6

POLITICS P. 8

NEWS P. 8

CALENDAR P.14

CINEMA P. 18

DANCE P. 19

411 P.20

GO! P. 22

SEE PAGE 10

SEX P. 26


EXECUTIVE EDITOR Kim Stark kim@sunpostweekly.com SOCIETY EDITOR Jeannette Stark jeannette@sunpostweekly.com COPY EDITOR Mary Louise English

PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER Kim Stark kim@sunpostweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Stuart Davidson stuart@sunpostweekly.com ACCOUNTING Sandie Friedman

CALENDAR EDITOR Jake Orsinni calendar@sunpostweekly.com

SALES DIRECTORS Jeannette Stark Julian Avila

Pantoni Chair $265

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jeffrey Bradley Charles Branham-Bailey Stuart Davidson Marguerite Gil Jennifer Fragoso John Hood Dr. Sonjia Kenya Joshua Malina Ruben Rosario Mary Jo Almeida-Shore Michael Sasser Kim Steiner CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Stuart Davidson Jennifer Fragoso Marguerite Gil Ines Hegedus-Garcia Jipsy Mary Jo Almeida-Shore Mitchell Zachs

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Page 2 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS First class mailing subscriptions are available at $150 per year. Call 305.538.9797. Copyright: The entire contents of SunPost are copyright 2010 by SunPost Media Inc. No portion may be reproduced in whole or part by any means including electronic media without the express written consent of the publisher. Covering Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Surfside, Bay Harbor Islands, Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles Beach, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Aventura, Coconut Grove, Brickell Avenue, Downtown, Design District, Wynwood, Upper Eastside, and Miami Shores.


www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 3


Tropical Mayhem BITS AND PIECES OF MIAMI LIFE

Tea with a Twist

Miami through my iphone

After the madness of holiday shopping, take a break and head to the Ritz for a ritzy, Italian-style afternoon tea complete with Italian tea sandwiches, mini pizzas, prosciutto, panini, Italian cookies, torrone, crostini and a shot of house-made gelato. The fun begins November 11. The price includes two beautiful holiday teddy bears – one to keep, and the other to be donated to an underprivileged child at the Children’s Home Society of Florida. Very cool. 2pm. $35. The Ritz-Carlton, 3300 SW 27th Ave, Coconut Grove. For info: 305-644-4680.

Mod Airline Chair From Disney and Avant Gallery comes this fabulous

mod chair. The Signature Airline_009 Chair was designed by industrial designer Cory Grosser. Inspired by the original Airline Chair from 1934, which Walt Disney selected when he built his original animation studio

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tan, red, orange, yellow, and green leather. Visually

Call me crazy, but I consider a big juicy burger to be a comfort food - it's my interpretation of meat and potatoes a la Americana. And nothing like a 10 oz, prime angus beef, Hotel California burger from the epic Burger and Beer Joint in South Beach. Is your mouth watering yet? This photo totally makes me hungry.

beautiful and exceptionally comfortable, the Airline Chair was used widely throughout the studio by Walt Disney animators. $3,900 + $1,400 for the matching ottoman. Available exclusively at Avant Gallery, 3850 N. Miami Ave Miami or avantgallery.com

DINNER

AT

PARADISE

FARMS

Dinner in Paradise is a series of monthly charity driven dinners which showcase the best chefs in Miami. Dinner in Paradise has become one of South Florida season’s hottest venues. The new season starts November 12 with four of Miami's best Chefs; David Bracha of River Oyster Bar, Timon Balloo of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and Fredrick Delaire and Jason Prevatt from the Loews Hotel Miami Beach. Dinner is a six course meal made with local organic products and paired with fine wines. $165.50 per person. 6pm. Reservations required. Paradise Farms, 19801 SW 320th St; Homestead. For info: 305.248.4181 or paradisefarms.net.

MIAMI, SPEAK YOUR MIND! We welcome submissions to Tropical Mayhem. To get your business or item considered for publication, email a hi-res photograph and a description to kim@miamisunpost.com.

Page 4 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com


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www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 5


PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW

Daniell Washington Ocean Activist Compiled By Kim Steiner

Who are you? My name is Daniell Washington but most people know me as Danni. What do you do in real life? Currently, I’m serving as the Founder/CEO of the Big Blue & You Foundation, which organizes and implements several different programs for youth in South Florida. Why should we care? This blue planet belongs to all of us. It is our home and life source. Over 70% of Earth’s surface is covered in water and 70% of our bodies are made of water…you would think that would be an obvious indicator as to why we need to protect the natural systems on this planet. But for those who cannot correlate the previous statement, its very simple…no water, no life. What excites you most about what you do? Knowing that I have the ability and opportunity to leave this world a brighter place than it was before. What inspires you? The indescribable glow that lights up a child’s face

when they realize discover something new about the natural world and want to protect it. I see it almost everyday when I’m working at the Biscayne Nature Center. Even on the most difficult days, this keeps me motivated.

What dream have you had that you have accomplished? Becoming a marine biologist and having the opportunity to see my absolute favorite animals in the wild (orcas – killer whales) in Puget Sound, Washington with Untamed Science.

Where have you been to in the world? Jamaica, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Peru and all over the United States.

If you had to move to a deserted island what 2 items would you take? A machete and water filter

How would you describe your personal style? A cross between Bohemian and modern. I like to keep it simple yet chic. I love fashion and wearing things that are comfortable and functional. What do you do now, that you did not do 5 years ago? The power of collaboration…working together with people who believe the same vision has limitless power. It will be the force that will solve our biggest global issues. This is especially true when you empower young people from elementary to high school to take on these challenges and use their fresh minds to come up with creative solutions.

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Something new that you have just discovered about yourself? I love filmmaking! From the initial brainstorming phase to the final stages of editing, I’m interested in every step that produces moving images. It’s a tool that can be used to communicate beyond borders and languages. What are your guilty pleasures? Cuban guava and cheese pastelitos One luxury that you cannot live without? An apple macbook Three Words to describe you? Vibrant, determined and soulful.


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www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 7


Can He Say That? COLUMN

Has Sanity any Hope? When Pope’s a Dope? Nope. By Charles Branham-Bailey sobefla@gmail.com

This must be the silly season in the book publishing world. I refer to the public leaders-cum-authors that have come crawling out of the woodwork with justifications / excuses / revisions for their past conduct. One’s memoirs begin more like those of a Hollywood celeb fresh out of the Betty Ford clinic rather than of a president fresh out of the White House. Such is how Dubya’s tome unfolds: Unlike past presidential memoirs, not with a reflection on statecraft or politics but rather on his boozing. And then we have Benedict XVI’s. You’ll find His Holiness’s latest (“Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,” but I’d call it, “A Vatican in the Dark: A Pope and a Church Pathetically Behind the Times”) in the religion section of your bookstore, when it by every good reason ought to be shelved more appropriately in the humor section. My preference would be the nearest wastebasket. No doubt by now you’ve heard of the most talked-about (and confusing) tidbit from its 185 pages: The pope’s rationalization for the use of condoms. A rehash: They’re OK if, say, you’re a prostitute and trying to avoid spreading HIV. For everyone else, rubbers are still verboten. Prophylactic-related pontification from the pontiff seems in keeping with this Vatican’s current preoccupation with all things sexual, especially given the persistence of the Church’s predicament with priestly pedophilia, a prickly subject about which Benedict has been such a wiz of a captain at steering his church through the troubled waters of. Yeah, right into the shoals, that is. Past evidence has amply shown that the last people who should be foaming at the mouth, finger-wagging to us about what our sexual moralities should be, are politicians (particularly the conservative kind) and religious figures. For men of the cloth who have sworn to lives of

celibacy and all the inanity of that, they sure know a lot about sex and how it ought be practiced, now don’t they? The pope’s book has been rushed to print in hopes of staving off all the harsh criticism he has rightly earned for an unending series of comments and decisions over the last five years that have been called “self-inflicted public relations missteps” of a “gaffe-prone” papacy. Good luck with that. In 2009, he told reporters that condoms weren’t the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa: “One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.” An international uproar followed. Earlier this year, the Vatican chickened out of conducting a study to determine what it should say, if anything, on the matter of condom usage, preferring to leave congregants shrouded in darkness, which is and has always tended to be the Church’s favorite ambient environment on many subjects besides that one. This pope plainly doesn’t get it. Nor a lot else. Commenting on the furor he sparked last year when he lifted the excommunication of four reich-wing bishops, including that of Richard Williamson, a Holocaust denier, Benedict says in retrospect he wouldn’t have pardoned Williamson: “Unfortunately, none of us went on the Internet to find out what sort of person we were dealing with.” You don’t say. For an enclave that seems to still have its head buried in the sand of the Dark Ages, a wi-fi connection seems rather too modern and secular a utility for the Vatican. And if they are connected, they were all probably too busy surfing porn sites anyway. Like everybody else. The journalist-author to whom Benedict poured out his questionable wisdom fawned over him effusively during this literary project. Except for this one collaborator, Benedict despises the media and blames them – them – for miscommunicating his nutty views to an outraged, head-shak-

Page 8 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com

ing world audience. Among the book’s other disappointing revelations, Benedict – declares that the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ order – whose charismatic founder was exposed as a notorious child molester and embezzler – “is sound” and calls for its members to continue the mission of their disgraced founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado. says sex abuse victims should be a Church priority, but refuses to address his management of the scandal nor his own controversial role in dealing with specific cases while he was Archbishop of Munich. blames a relaxation of societal mores in the 60s and 70s as the root cause of the abuses, rather than – well, what else? – the failure of priests to keep their pants zipped up under those cassocks, perhaps? reasserts all those tired, old prohibitions – mandatory celibacy for priests, no ordination of women, no communion for divorced Catholics, no artificial birth control for anyone. His susceptibility to foot-in-mouth disease being such as it is, Benedict’s opinions over the years have prompted such head-scratching that most sane people would have already dug a hole through their skulls by now. One agreeable statement from the pontiff’s pie hole: He says he would consider resigning if his physical or mental faculties failed. Some would argue that the latter has long ago occurred. Retirement would be a wise and welcome move. At which time the College of Cardinals would meet once again, blow white smoke up a chimney, and name his successor. One, we can only hope, who will be an infinitely better improvement. And one who doesn’t have to shake a lot of sand off his head. THE SCENE: Man gets pissed off with a work colleague. Utters a threat. Man #2 dares him. Man #1 grabs Man #2, then raises a fist to hit him. Man #2 summons the cops. Cops arrive, take a report, then leave. Same workplace: Man #1 was previously accused – months ago – of hurling a chair at yet another colleague. Cops get called; no charges filed. Same workplace: Man #2 – last year – had some sort of an exchange himself with another colleague, provoking Man #2’s wife to seek a restraining order against the man with whom her husband had the confrontation. The workplace? (Are you ready for this?) Miami Beach City Hall. The cast of characters: Man #1 (Capital Improvement Projects Director Charles Carreño), Man #2 (Emanuel Mayer, a city manager’s assistant), Target of the Alleged Flying Chair (CIP employee Miguel Vicente Perez), Man Confronted by Man #2 (Com-

missioner Jonah Wolfson), Man #2’s Wife (one-time Commission candidate Maria Mayer). What a soap opera. If stuff such as this keeps up, sounds like a police substation right there inside City Hall might be in order.

LEAVE THEM SNAILS ALONE, YOU BASTARDS! Well, well, well. Some of those pink snails that have become the Beach’s own sort-of answer to Cristo’s “Hanging Curtains” of Central Park these last few weeks have been rudely, crudely assaulted. These gargantuan escargots that we’ve grown to like, in the short while they’ve been here (an Art Basel fixture), were at first enigmatic to most of us until their presence and purpose were explained to us in news reports. One should have guessed it wouldn’t have been long, though, before the crummy-scummy element among us would scheme to vandalize and graffitiize them. One even got catapulted into the Bay. Salt kills the real ones, but no vandal’s spray paint is going to take these out. YOU BASTARDS GOT THAT? I’ve actually gone up to the one that all-of-asuddenly materialized one day in my neck of the woods, and, out of curiosity, touched it to gauge what it was made of (merely touched it, I say, not petted or hugged it – there might have been neighbors watching and I would never have been looked at the same way again). As of the other day, “my” snail, I’m happy to report, was still unmolested, which can be chalked up to either the civility of those in my neighborhood or that the malevolent miscreants have yet to encroach upon it. So stay away from it, you ass-wipes. A lot of us like our town’s newest and colorful visitors. And we’ll be keeping a protective eye on ‘em. SHE MAY NOT HAVE GOTTEN TO BE the nation’s Second Lady in 2004, or its First in 2008, but the resiliency and unflagging optimism of Elizabeth Edwards in the fiercest campaign of her life – that against cancer – made her a victor in ways that politics never did or could. The profile in courage she evoked in that last stage of her life, as well as the candor by which she shared her highs and lows with us as she struggled against terminal illness and marital infidelity, makes her a First Lady in the truest sense. We knew you for only six years, Elizabeth Edwards, and that was too, too brief.


Politics

AT ONE OF OUR MANY DISTRIBUTION LOCATIONS:

COLUMN

Art Gratis Artis Wreckers, Slugs and All That By Jeffrey Bradley In days of old, raffish folk eking a living from meager coastal margins would light bonfires—even erect an entire faux lighthouse replete with beckoning beam— to lead sailing ships astray. Once the doomed vessel foundered, these wreckers, by name, carted away any cargo that floated ashore. (The crews’ fate can only be shuddered at.) This land-based freebootery depended on the ability to dupe others with a false lighthouse, kind of like the one slated to be raised at the veriest tip of South Pointe Park. Isn’t it funny how art imitates life? SOFNA (the South of Fifth Neighborhood Association) has signaled strong opposition (“Importance: High”) to what it considers the biggest wreckers’ scam since towtrucks. Apparently, there’s an Art In Public Places project afoot for that troubled park featuring—what else?—a lighthouse. Parsing an email that recently crossed our desk (parsing is a favorite of ours; same with dispatching the 17th Street Irregulars on covert spyful missions), we sense there’s parsing of another kind occurring. For SOFNA very delicately frames the issue not as one of “aesthetic” but of more dubiously “iconic” value. Well, that and a bit of blather over the “expenditure of significant public dollars”. But who’s bean counting? After reading more warm fuzzies in the letter we finally get at what’s really eating these Gilbert Grapes: “We can and should do better.” Figuring what day-trippers and visitors filled with world-ennui view as “HUGELY important”, whatever is there must “immediately say: Miami Beach”. We were thinking more along the lines of the giant HOLLYWOOD sign that would say instead MIAMI BEACH. Nevermind. Flush from the latest installment of Art Basel Meets Woodstock (where outré’s so far out it’s in), cognoscenti giddily proclaim the Roy Lichtenstein Mermaid sculpture artistique nonpareil, or something very like it. Said sculpture languishes without the Jackie Gleason Theatre where, proponents say, its public artsyness screams “This is Miami Beach” while evoking a “fun, sun and fantasy” vibe. Good Ford! When we were there it barely squeaked, let alone screamed. In fact it seemed to mutter, “Behold the failed Britto.” But what do we know from artsy-fartsy? We channeled the 23-skidoo stick figure of the Great One which looks like someone sketched a gesture that captured forever the and-away-we-go frenetic departure. Talk about iconic! It could have been worse. Much worse. Imagine Mark Siffin had got hold of the lighthouse idea. He’d have slathered it with a kaleidoscopic concrescence of pulsating light before he linked it to his garish downtown advertising towers and endlessly stream swirling subliminal

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subtexts—hey, you can download the apps—in a weird blend of Hieronymus Bosch and Peter Max. You wouldn’t forget that. And while we admire the genteel rowdiness of SOFNA’s environs, we couldn’t help notice the puffery behind the plaint. Unhappiness is hinted with a staid lighthouse, but nothing but concepts gets offered. And if the best advice they can muster is “give our world class city the artistic symbol it deserves”, at least there’s nary a hint of passing off Britto silliness or Keith Haring cartoonishness as High Art. Say, here’s an idea. Forget that boring lighthouse and head-scratching icon stuff. Slugs is the thing! That’s it— lug those slugs cropping up all over the Beach like toadstools after a heavy rain down to South Pointe Park—right over that freshly-painted grass—and bunch ‘em into one big happy wormy family waving hello or good-bye. And why stop at 8 feet? The really big ones could be blown up just a tad shorter than the lighthouse. Can someone get Cracking Art cracking? After all, despite a few ill-mannered bug-bashers that among other offences indulged themselves in snail-tipping and worse—one gastropod was hurled into Biscayne Bay—they seem to have arrived amidst general approval. (This despite our own late-night misadventure when unaware these monsters were works of art we took them seriously in the gloom of night and mists of rain and stumbled across a pod while surreptitiously crossing the golf course. As they loomed from the drizzle we seemingly slipped in a puddle of slime before we knew what had happened. We know better now, but then we broke for cover before they could pounce and rasp us to shreds with \murderous radula. We finally broke free; but under some menacing palms, while catching our breath, something the size and texture of a smaller slug fell from a frond and, despite every effort of wrenching it off, clung to our shoulder chattering madly.) As we hurried home, for some calming conch chowder, we realized the sport of it, that they were really just friendly pieces of art. How could it be otherwise when we saw French folks break out some butter and salt near a fairly plump slug and later, near the Yeshiva, two larger ones wearing kipas? They can make everyone happy. So, down with the lighthouse, and up with the sluggies! Spend all that money on creating the essence of slugdom—putting some real effort into it, we mean—and when you’ve produced a world-class gastropod that the world will remember, something that (make no mistake about it) screams “this is Miami Beach”, well, name that slug Arthur and put him at the tip of South Pointe Park where everyone sees him. And don’t forget his plaque!—the one that reads the Snail Officially Named Arthur. SOFNA, for short.

MIAMI BEACH Miami Beach City Hall Miss Yip Davids Cafe Books & Books Score Panfiore SB Finest Carwash Uncle Sam’s Music Manolo Normandy Gym Majestic Properties Georges 11th Street Diner

MIAMI Andiamo Balans Magnum Bagels & Co Bagel Bar East Daily Creative Food Company Ascot Outoor Furniture A&A Village Treasures Design District Post Office Miami Shores Library North Miami Post Office Stembridge Furniture Majestic Properties

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www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 9


ON THE COVER: LEAGUE OF PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS, ATENA KOMAR, ED DE JONG AND DANNY DE JONG AT PINEWOOD CEMETERY IN CORAL GABLES


COVER STORY

WHO YA GONNA CALL? The League of Paranormal Investigators is on the job in Miami Written by Michael W. Sasser Contributing Writer Photography by MagicalPhotos.com / Mitchell Zachs LEAGUE OF PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS, ATENA KOMAR AND ED DE JONG AT PINEWOOD CEMETERY IN CORAL GABLES


rom the time she was a young girl, Atena Komar felt connected to a world of which other people seemed unaware. “I’ve always had a mystical part of my life,” Komar says. “My godfather told me that when I was a kid, I used to talk about his woman in all white talking to me. As an adult, I didn’t remember that — he told me about it later. He was a religious man, and he could tell that whatever it was, it wasn’t something evil. He thought it was the Virgin Mary, because he was religious and that is how he chose to interpret it.” Instead, Komar chooses to interpret the lady in white as one of several spirit guides, with whom she interacts on a regular basis. When she heard tales of her childhood observations, she wasn’t surprised. “One of my spirit guides is a lady in all white,” Komar says. “I work with her frequently. I’ve had her for my whole life, but it’s only been the past few years that I really noticed her.” Komar has been a working psychic in Miami for eight years. She began becoming away of her gifts after several classes in the paranormal. “My boyfriend took me to a pizza place that he really wanted me to try out,” she says. “Afterward he asked me how I liked it. I told him it was good but that the lady sitting in the corner of the place really creeped me out. He told me that there was no lady in the corner.” The way Komar sees it, she is hardly alone when it comes to possessing extrasensory or psychic perceptions. “I believe everyone on earth has some level of psychic ability — but most people close it off because [it

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doesn’t fit into their perception of reality],” she says. “People cut themselves off from a multi-dimensional world.” Komar has a multi-dimensional world in the material plane herself. She is an artist and jewelry maker when not doing one day a week psychic readings for Miami shoppers. However, Komar is also part of a special team of psychic and scientific explorers and is one of the founders of that team. Along with her cohorts, she helps make up the roster of the League of Paranormal Investigators (LPI). But, hold the capes and cowls, please. ccording to LPI President and Research Director Ed de Jong, the organization was founded by a group of friends who had previously been involved with similar groups around Florida. “We do it for fun and because it’s interesting,” de Jong says. He says that one of the early inspirations was he and friends being intrigued by ghost tours. LPI was officially founded in February 2008 by de Jong, Komar and two other friends. Today he says the group includes 24 ad hoc member who volunteer for the group’s work — and that in addition to Miami, they have functioning groups in the Netherlands and in Louisiana. “We’re getting calls from people who want to volunteer all of the time,” de Jong says. “We turn away a lot of people. Our investigators have to be very secure and we have to really trust them.” De Jong clearly asserts that his not a psychic or medium, although his girlfriend and fellow volunteer

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is. Instead, he is the science end of the team. With a background in science, de Jong has a career in hightech computer security. His interest is the scientific, data collection end of the group’s investigations and he has spent a good deal of his own money on equipment as well as written specific programs for LPI’s use. Despite being the face of the science side of LPI, de Jong says that critics aren’t hard to find — even right around him. “That would be everyone in my family,” he says. “They are religious and they think this all has to do with the devil. We run into people all the time who think we’re crazy and who don’t believe in what we do. We respect their opinions.” Komar says that she doesn’t feel it is the group’s role to change minds. “Our job is not to convince people,” Komar says. De Jong says that it is difficult for many people to divorce rational exploration of the paranormal from religion and dogma. “The religious aspect comes in when it comes to naming things,” he says. “For example, a Catholic might refer to a negative energy as a ‘demon.’ In our practice we respect people’s rights to believe as they choose. We will use their terminology to explain what we can.” Of course, de Jong says, they have never run into a “demon” as a group to date. In the past, investigation of the paranormal was considered at best, a pseudo-science; one in which there was no set of absolute rules, control groups or even adequate technology to even begin to grasp the field’s fundamentals. It was also usually considered taboo to the religious and, frankly, hokey to most other people. Today, Komar says, it is considered an “emerging science.” She rightly points to the preponderance of loosely scientific based television programs featuring ghost hunters and their use of scientific equipment in their work. “There’s no doubt that people are more openminded today than in the past,” Komar says. “We just want to learn and to understand. Until people have their own experience, they won’t understand. Even sometimes when people are presented with hard proof — they won’t believe it. We just want to show evidence and to try and find answers.” De Jong says that the work that LPI has done and the work the members have done individually, demonstrates one certain thing. “We know [paranormal entities] exist,” he says. “We respect the opinions of other people. But we have also had a number of cynics who changed their minds when they have been presented with real evidence.” PI asserts that each of its members brings certain talents to the mix, blending scientific with psychic.

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“We have data loggers, we look at the data and interpret it,” de Jong says. “It’s all a pseudo scientific setting and it is hard to get beyond that because it doesn’t work on command and it’s not something that can be reproduced.” Psychics involved with LPI provide the context, Komar explains. While scientific data — derived from sources such as infrared cameras, digital recorders, cameras, electronic meters and even dowsing rods —

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is useful and necessary; the sensitives attached to each investigative team can help translate that data into understanding to clients. To their credit, LPI has in place very detailed guidelines and structure for their work. Once the League has been contacted by a client, a Case Manager or Team Lead, acting as the liaison between client and team members, begins preparing for the investigation. The client will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which asks for details about the location and its paranormal activity Another member of the team, the Research Manager, then performs a very detailed background check on the location; this information will be stored in a special case file. In addition to background details, the case file contains an historic timeline, all relevant information about the location, and any pertinent information about current and/or past residents. This research, which begins with an internet search, often leads the Research Manager to visit public libraries, cemeteries, and courts in order to find even more information As the background case file is being compiled, the Team Leader assembles a team of paranormal investigators. This investigative team is based on experience, training, availability, size of the location, and special requests from the client. The duration of the initial investigation ranges from one to six hours depending on the size and first hand experiences from the psychics on the team. The goal is to investigate the property thoroughly; this often requires a follow up investigation. Only the Team Leader and Research Manager are informed about the possible activity and the background of the location. All other investigators are not informed about the investigation site until an hour before the investigation begins. This will prevent any contamination before the investigation starts. LPI asserts that its team of psychics is extremely useful with pointing out the hotspots of psychic activity and with relaying psychic impressions. When it comes to analyzing the evidence, the scientifically collected data will determine if a location is haunted or if it houses a certain amount of paranormal activity. LPI’s scientific method consists of collecting data, such as temperature and EMF readings with handheld devices, during an investigation. Digital cameras, voice recorders and infra-red cameras are also used to collect physical evidence. A special designed software program called Ghost Lab is used to collect as much data possible during the investigation. This program collects temperature, magnetic field, humidity, vibration, and motion. During collection of information, the program will also analyze the incoming data for rapid sensor changes and motion detection. All facts will be stored in a database so that a meta-analysis research project can be conducted at a later date. Immediately after the investigation and while still on site, all investigators turn in collected evidence and fill out an initial investigation report. Within 48 hours after the investigation, a detailed report containing personal experiences and findings is submitted to the Team Leader by each team member. A final report will be completed and presented to the client. The combination of information gathered by psychics, investigators, skeptic investigators, and scientifically collected data will determine if a location is


haunted or not. To date, LPI has investigated a whopping total of 66 sites. Some of those have been famously “haunted” places such as Pinewood Cemetery, Deering Estate, Wagner Homestead and Fort Dallas in downtown Miami. Most often, however, they have investigated homes of private citizens who have reported paranormal activity. “There are many different reasons why people contact us,” de Jong says. “Sometimes they just want an answer or an explanation. Other times they just want to know they aren’t going crazy. Sometimes other family members are calling them crazy. We try to provide explanations.” Most often, by the time a private resident has gotten to the point where he or she is calling in professionals, there is a presence to be found in the house. “For them calling us in is a very emotional experience so when they get to that point, there is something going on,” de Jong says. “In only a small percentage of cases do we then find nothing — maybe five percent.” LPI’s private clients are notably — and perhaps understandably — not eager to speak out publicly about their experiences. However, anonymous case file information, complete with multimedia presentations are posted on the League’s website. Most often, according to both LPI members and data from their case files, energies or spirits inhabiting homes are relatively harmless. Apparently the majority of the “hauntings” that they have investigated derive from spirits attached to the current residents of homes

— deceased relatives, friends and ancestors. “Usually if an energy is attached to a person its because that person has somehow invited it,” Komar says. “It’s not as easy as a cleansing or something. People have to change their life. Or else in some cases, it’s just grandma and there is nothing to worry about.” Komar’s own sensitivity is “clair-sentient” than clairvoyant, she explains. Information and perceptions present themselves to her as fully-formed memories — but not her own. “Some people are clairvoyant — they see things,” she says. “For me, that happens only very occasionally. Frankly I’d rather nor see things, because that would creep me out.” Instead, Komar says, she becomes aware of what an entity is trying to communicate. “One client had a friend who passed away right after they had an argument,” Komar recalls. “Even though the spirit had started jumping on the client’s bed, the two would just not notice each other. From the minute I walked in the door, the spirit grabbed my hand as if leading me to safety. It had an intense, deep need to get a message [to the client]. It was all about getting some closure.” Other times, Komar says that spirits react as if they don’t know why a psychic or medium is there — as if it’s a disturbance. “This one time recently at a client’s home, these spirits didn’t want to scare anyone,” Komar says. “They were acting like teenagers just messing around. They left as soon as I got there. It was like, ‘oops, we got caught,’ and it was over.”

Although she has experienced negative energies a number of times, Komar says she has only once entered a home where she could feel the clear presence of true evil. “I’d experienced angry and upset spirits before — but not pure evil until then,” she says. Komar does not know how that situation was resolved as it took place with a group she was involved with prior to the founding of LPI. As a rule, de Jong says, LPI provides data to support an explanation to private resident clients; and then it is up to the resident to decide what to do about it. More often than not, just the confirmation of the presence of a paranormal energy is all a client desires. When a client wants more — basically some sort of psychic or religious service to exorcise a spirit, LPI will help the client connect with other professionals, but they will not get involved with dismissing spirits as a group. “We know some people outside the organization,” de Jong says. “We don’t do that.” De Jong says that some services to cleanse a home of paranormal entities cost money; some do not. LPI does not get involved in charging for services at all and thus completely avoids those entanglements. Independent professionals with no relationship with LPI believe the group’s entirely volunteer efforts, lack of commercial activity and scientific approach to their work lends them credibility in a field not necessarily rich with it. Practicing psychologist Dr. Jenna Bradford says that if a client came to her discussing perceived para-

normal activity at home, her first reaction would be the obvious. “My initial thinking would be that whatever a person thought she was experiencing was an extension of her own emotional and cognitive state,” Bradford says. “If she then told me that she had brought in paranormal investigators and was paying them or was going to be charged with anything, I would be concerned.” However, Bradford says that in the case of an entirely volunteer team of investigators, she would put a degree of cynicism aside. “I’m in no way a believer in paranormal activity just because it is something that can not be quantified or explored in a hard-science way,” she says. “However people believe as they want to believe and if they aren’t being exploited somehow, there is nothing wrong with that. I also think scientists, including professionals in psychology and psychiatry, make the mistake frequently of believing that, as a species, we have it all figured out. All you have to do is have been in love to know that science can’t calculate and explain everything.” Bradford says that she has had clients who discussed the presence of spirits — even of demons. But through therapy, those people have been helped: helped to the point where the alleged presence “suddenly disappeared.” “There are also a number of medical and mental conditions that very much present the exact same symptoms and behavior associated with things like possession and hauntings — from legitimate psychosis to Munchausen by proxy for example,” Bradford says. “We‘re taught that the origin of belief in things like demonic possession are really the result of lack of understanding of the full range of psychological and psychiatric conditions.” Still, Bradford says that she would never discuss with a client in a therapeutic session that client’s visiting a psychic, fortune teller or other type of spiritualist. “Unless there is some type of dysfunction or exploitation associated with the habit, there is no valid reason to do that,” she says. “Any doctor or scientist who claims to know the answer to everything is being dishonest.” PI members don’t claim to have answers either. Instead its the trying to understand that propels them. “In human history, it takes years and years to learn new things,” Komar says. “People didn’t believe in electromagnetic energy for the longest time. Now we have magnets on our refrigerators. We would like to help find ways to merge this emerging science with existing science.” Of course, for LPI members, their work also has lighter elements. “Hey, we take road trips with friends,” de Jong says. “It’s fun.” In the meantime, the League of Paranormal Investigators are on the job in South Florida. And they ain’t afraid of no ghost. For contact information and details on LPI, visit leagueofparanormalinvestigators.com.

L

www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 15


Calendar WHAT TO DO IN MIAMI THIS WEEK

LOUIS C.K.

Page 14 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com


HUBBARD DANCE

December 10 DANCE The Art of Dance This concert dance performance features ground-breaking choreography from the Leaps and Bounds Artistn-Resident Choreographers, Stephen Cruz, Carlota Pradera and LeVerne Washington. Guest performance by recording artist Adore illuminates the evening with soothing serenades of Neo-Soul zest. The Art of Dance is a celebration of Creativity: Synthesis and Solidarity. 7:30pm. Miami Dade College Kendall Campus, McCarthy Theatre, 11011 SW 104th St., Miami. For info: 305-237-2426.

December 10 COMEDY Louis C.K. Catch comedian Louis C.K. when he hits town for a one-night show filled with hilarity, innuendo and comedic schtick. $47.50. 8pm. The Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave; Miami Beach. For info: livenation.com

December 9 ART Bruce Weber: Haiti This extraordinary exhibition of photographs of Miami’s Haitian community by celebrated photographer Bruce Weber is part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series and includes approximately 75 photographs taken by Weber from 2003 to 2010. Through February 13. The Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami. For info: 305.893.6211 or mocanomi.org.

December 9 FOOD Hedy Goldsmith Chef Hedy Goldsmith of Michaels Genuine Foods and Drink, a presenting chef of the 2011 South Beach Wine and Food Festival, will do a cooking demonstration of her signature desserts and Champagne. Space is limited, pre-registeration required. 7pm. Free. Whole Foods Market, 6701 Red Rd; South Miami. For info: wholefoodsmarket.com or 305.421.9421.

December 9th BOOKS Carlos Eire In his 2003 National Book Award–winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire narrated his coming of age in Cuba just before and during the Castro revolution. That book literally ends in midair as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother leave Havana on an airplane—along with thousands of other children—to begin their new life in Miami in 1962. Learning to Die in Miami, his latest book opens as the plane lands and Carlos faces, with trepidation and excitement, his new life. Eire will sign and lecture on his new book. Free. 8pm. Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave; Coral Gables. For info: booksandbooks.com

December 9 BOOKS Book Sale Book lovers and bargain hunters are in for a treat when the Friends of the MiamiDade Public Library holds their 10th Annual Book Sale. Perfectly timed for holiday gift giving, the four-day event is South Florida’s largest book sale, with more than 50,000 donated books, DVDs and CDs to choose from. Proceeds go to free public library programs. Main Library, 101 W. Flagler St., Downtown Miami. For info: mdpls.org.

December 11 ART Sin! This exhibition of original contemporary artwork is inspired by the traditional concept of human transgressions. The 65 exhibiting artists, chosen by a reputable panel of jurors, will display their works that are directly related to one of the seven deadly sins; lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath and pride. Each of the seven deadly sins is explored through a variety of media and styles from across the country and overseas. BAC, 561 NW 32nd St; Miami. For info: bacfl.org.

December 11 DANCE Hubbard Street Dance Founded in 1977 by pioneering dance teacher/choreographer Lou Conte, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is one of America’s most innovative contemporary dance companies. Hubbard boasts a unique legacy of attracting national and international choreographers to set exciting, contemporary new works. HSDC is recognized as a leader in the creation and development of new choreography, unique collaborations, and innovative production concepts, all featuring the unparalleled versatility and virtuosity of its 16 dancers. These performances will include repertory pieces by Ohad Naharin and Jirí Kylián, as well as a new work by choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo with music by Mason Bates. 7:30pm. $25 to $90. Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd; Miami. For info: arshtcenter.org

SAVE THE DATE: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2010

Rock Of Ages ADDING BIG TIME HEAT TO AN ALREADY EXCITING SMASH BROADWAY THEATRICAL SEASON, ROCK OF AGES, A HILARIOUS, FEEL GOOD- LOVE STORY TOLD THROUGH THE HIT SONGS OF SUCH ICONIC ROCKERS AS JOURNEY, STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON, FOREIGNER, PAT BENATAR AND WHITESNAKE, WILL OPEN IN DECEMBER. TONY AWARD NOMINEE CONSTANTINE MAROULIS OF AMERICAN IDOL FAME, RECREATES HIS ORIGINAL BROADWAY ROLE AS DREW. RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 9. TICKETS $25.00 TO $65.00. BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 201 SW FIFTH AVE, FORT LAUDERDALE. FOR INFO: BROADWAYACROSSAMERICA.COM. www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 15


Calendar WHAT TO DO IN MIAMI THIS WEEK

CARLOS EIRE

December 11

December 13

CHARITY Skinny Dip 2010

ART BAC Resident Artist 5X7 Show

A Two-Stage Multi-Bill Concert to benefit Melanoma Research and Awareness in memory of Linda K. Snyder. Silent auction and door prizes. Some of the bands performing are: The U-School Testostertones, Shawn Snyder, The Jacob Jeffries Band, Radioboxer, Griffin Anthony, Raging Geisha, John Hancock and The Deadly JONATHAN MEES Arm, Fernando Perdomo and Big Poppa E. Proceeds to Benefit: University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center's Melanoma Program. $20. 6pm. Kitchen 305, Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort, 16701 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles. For info: TheSkinnyDip.org.

The BAC presents the second installation of the successful small works exhibition 5X7 in the Swenson Gallery. All of the work measures 5"X7". The show will consist of a variety of media, from painting, drawing, sculpture, fiber art and more. Give the ultimate creative gift this year! Each orginal artwork is $100.00 each. BAC, 561 NW 32nd St; Miami. For info: bacfl.org.

December 11

THEATRE Forbidden Broadway

December 14

ART Art Walk

This long-running, Off-Broadway satirical revue began over a decade ago and has since spread around the world. Forbidden Broadway is a musical comedy revue that satirizes Broadway's biggest shows and stars with parody lyrics set to popular tunes. With its rapid-fire delivery, ability to present 10-20 musical sketches within the course of a 60-minute show and its huge array of costumes and prop gags, Forbidden Broadway is a small show that creates a huge impact. 7:30pm. $45 to $50. Carnival Studio Theatre, 1300 Biscayne Blvd; Miami. For info: arshtcenter.org

Plenty of amazing local art to see in Miami this week after Art Basel. Participate in Second Saturday Art Walk and immerse your self in the local color. Check out Visions at the Daniel Azoulay Gallery or This Time in America: Part 1: Juliana Beasley, Nina Berman, Sean Hemmerle, Tim Hetherington, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Gillian Laub, Randal Levenson & Emily Schiffer at Gallery I/D. Wynwood Walk, North Miami Ave & NW 23rd St; Miami. For info: wynwoodmiami.com

December 12 ART Holiday Open House Head to the Bass for a holiday celebration of diversity and the inauguration of Collins Park and the Bass Museum’s new entrance. On offer is a full day of art, music, and cultural experiences with performances by: St. Patrick Catholic School Choir, The Voices of Cushman, South Pointe Elementary Chorus, Belen Jesuit Jazz Band, Belen Jesuit Drum-line, Yeladim Sharim: Temple Beth SholomChildren’s Choir, Miami Gay Chorus Chamber Group and many more. brunch@thebass by lyon+lyon. $20. 3pm: ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Matti Bower. Bass Museum, 2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. For info: bassmuseum.org

BRUCE WEBER: HAITI FORBIDDEN BROADWAY

December 12 ART Jonathan Mees: Sculpture The first major solo museum exhibition in the United States for German artist Jonathan Meese, renowned for his multi-faceted work, including wildly exuberant paintings that mix personal hieroglyphics and collage, installations, ecstatic performances, and a powerful body of sculptures in a variety of media. $5. Through February 13. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami. For info: 305.893.6211 or mocanomi.org. Page 16 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com

FOR KIDS

December 14

Over the Rainbow TREAT THE KIDS TO A FUN EVENT WITH SINGER AND NOW CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR, JUDY COLLINS. FOR MORE THAN FIVE DECADES, JUDY COLLINS HAS THRILLED AUDIENCES WORLDWIDE WITH HER UNIQUE BLEND OF INTERPRETATIVE FOLKSONGS. SHE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS, BOTH FICTION AND NONFICTION. OVER THE RAINBOW IS AN ENCHANTING PICTURE BOOK AND 3-SONG CD SET, FEATURING JUDY COLLINS’ VERSION OF THE SONG THAT JUDY GARLAND MADE FAMOUS. A TREAT FOR THE EYES, EARS, AND IMAGINATION, OVER THE RAINBOW WEAVES A CHARMING SPELL OF MUSIC AND VISUAL IMAGERY. PAINTER ERIC PUYBARET'S COLORFUL MAGICAL ARTWORK TRANSPORTS CHILDREN FROM A LITTLE RED FARMHOUSE ON A STORMY GRAY DAY TO CASTLES HIGH IN THE CLOUDS AND A DREAM-COME-TRUE ESCAPE, COMPLETE WITH STAR BEAMS, CHUCKLING MOONS, AND GLORIOUS RAINBOWS THAT SPAN PAGES. 1PM. BOOKS & BOOKS, 265 ARAGON AVE., CORAL GABLES. FOR INFO: BOOKSANDBOOKS.COM


www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 17


Cinema

KINGS OF PASTRY

REVIEW

Little Films That Could By Ruben Rosario (ruben@sunpostweekly.com)

It’s a French baker’s worst nightmare. You’ve spent your entire career striving to be the best at your vocation. After years of hard effort and countless sacrifices, you’re finally competing for that tricolored collar that would certify you as the crème de la crème in your field. You carry that elaborate sugar sculpture, your grand centerpiece, to place at a table for the judges to view. The crack is barely audible. Two seconds later your delicate creation comes crashing down in pieces. This heart-stopping moment comes at a crucial moment in Kings of Pastry, the soulful and entertaining new documentary from filmmaking couple Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. They spin one hell of a yarn out of subject matter most people would deem better suited for The Food Channel and, along with a DVD release I’m also reviewing this week, their film represents the smart alternative to the glut of holiday movies about to rain down on moviegoing audiences (more on those in the coming weeks). Kings of Pastry follows French-born, Chicagobased pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer as he prepares for, then faces 15 other opponents vying for the title of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF, aka Best Craftsmen in France), a prize awarded by none other than Nicolas Sarkozy. The French president is seen briefly at the beginning, but Hegedus and Pennebaker waste no time in immersing the viewer into the grueling work schedule by which Pfeiffer, who co-founded the Windy City’s French Pastry School, must abide if he’s to stand a chance in the upcom-

ing competition. Narrative-wise, the directors run a very tight ship, and even though there’s ample footage of Pfeiffer’s domestic life (he’s raising a daughter from a previous marriage with his fiancée), their primary concern is their subject’s journey from initial designs to awards announcement, and they capture it with fly-on-the-wall efficiency. Once Pfeiffer travels to Alsace (his hometown) to prepare for MOF, which takes place in Lyon, the film introduces two other chefs. There’s Regis Lazard, who’s competing for a second time after having dropped his sugar sculpture the first time around. Then there’s Philippe Rigollot, the sad-eyed pastry chef at the only three-star restaurant in France run by a woman. Their culinary creations, such as Pfeiffer’s “raspberry Nutella”-filled dome cake, and Rigollot’s stunning bride-and-groom sculpture, took my breath away, and I wished Hegedus and Pennebaker had devoted more time to make the food look more sumptuous. They should know presentation is important in a foodie documentary like theirs, but what’s astounding about Kings of Pastry is that by the time the actual competition rolls around, I was far less concerned about how the pastries looked than on the gifted men giving everything they had to finish them on time. If Pennebaker’s name rings a bell, that’s because in 1967 he chronicled Bob Dylan’s rise to folk stardom in the seminal, oft-imitated Don’t Look Back. Beginning in the seventies, he and Hegedus, his partner in business and in life, started a collab-

STRAPPED

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oration best known for producing the Oscar-nominated Clinton-campaign documentary The War Room. Kings of Pastry might lack the thematic weight of some of their earlier projects, but it might just be their most emotionally satisfying effort. When the aforementioned calamity takes place in front of the cameras, the camaraderie that it elicits among these men is nothing short of awe-inspiring. There might be art in making cakes and chocolates, Hegedus and Pennebaker seem to convey, but this is above all a craft in which practice makes perfect, and the best thing to do when days of painstaking labor crumble before your eyes is to take a break and sweep up the mess on the kitchen floor. This is a modestly produced gem well worth savoring. Another low-budgeted overachiever is San Francisco-based filmmaker/comic book author Joe Graham’s Strapped, a debut feature that takes familiar archetypes of gay cinema and makes them feel freshly minted. The moody gigolo tale, which is being released on DVD this week following a limited theatrical run in other cities earlier this year, deals with a young character, simply credited as The Hustler, as he navigates a dingy apartment building to which he can’t seem to find an exit. When we first see him, he’s walking into a client’s sparsely decorated bachelor pad. Instead of getting down to business, though, the balding, sharply dressed john asks him to join him in a slow dance. The intimate moment seems to trigger something in our protagonist, and when his client confesses that he’s only been with another man once before, The Hustler (Ben Bonenfant) in turn reveals that his own first time involved his dad’s drinking buddy...and that daddy dearest asked the seducer for money when he found out what had happened. It was at this moment that I knew this was not going to be

your typical gay film festival late-night slot-filler. Strapped has more than its fair share of erotic imagery, to be sure, but it’s the minds of the men Hustler meets in the course of the film that really seems to interest Graham. As he ventures into the labyrinthine hallways of this haunted-looking building (The Shining is overtly referenced), this selfdefined “agent of desire” meets a swishy cokehead and his posse, a deeply closeted married man whose shame turns into violence, a man in his sixties who stood on the front lines during the ACT UP era, and the shy writer who requests something more than a mindless lay. Graham could have contented himself with replicating the furtive sordidness of films like Patrice Chéreau’s L’Homme Blessé or Fassbinder’s Querelle, but there’s a joy in the film’s sexual encounters that stands as a sharp contrast to the sadness that courses throughout the rest of the film. Graham intends to get under the surface of these sad sacks, and he does so with a welcome desire to eschew the self-hating vibe so characteristic of this genre. He finds in Bonenfant an understated vessel to propel these portraits of lives on the margins. Hustler’s existential foray reawakens a desire to connect with others, and it gives the film an unexpected romantic quality that signals Graham as a filmmaker to watch. For more information on Strapped, go to tlareleasing.com. Kings of Pastry begins a one-week engagement at the Coral Gables Art Cinema this Friday. For showtimes go to www.coralgablescinemateque.org.


Dance COLUMN

Dancing Baselmania By Tiffany Hanan Madera Artburstmiami.com

On my eighth birthday, my parents gave as a gift a large box filled to the brim with Hello Kitty love. Bright pencils, stickers, keychains, little dolls, and figurines all jumped out at me, flooding my eyes with shapes, lines, and colors. My heart beat fast, my hands and eyes darted about digesting the excitement — grabbing and feeling the elements of discovery and surprise. Cellophane wrapping with foreign writing made up of lines and sticks covered some of the pieces. Tiny objects looked back at me, smiling and celebrating with their own signature aroma of plastic and childhood. The exuberance of the moment made me jump and dance, swirling and spinning with Hello Kitty delight. It was a crystallizing moment. Thirty years later, I reconnect to that visceral and aesthetic celebration walking in to Arsht Center’s presentation of The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Legacy Tour this past weekend. House lights down, walking down the aisle and up onto the stage at the Ziff Opera House, my eyes darted and danced. Taking in the majestic sculpture of visual artist Daniel Arsham towering over the orchestra seats in heavenly white cubes and peaks, I am overwhelmed with happiness. Once onstage, the audience transforms into performer and audience remixed, reviewing and engaging one another through the shared experi-

ence of fascination and discovery. There is even a crazy musical wizard onsite, making sounds with homemade saws and springs, waving his hand over a theremin, using body heat and movement to travel over sound frequencies. The dancers arrive quietly and powerfully, taking their spots over three multileveled stages spread out across the stage. The sound of their feet and lungs at work was satisfying and inspiring as signature Merce movements leap across space into perfect arabesques, lines, and poses. I loved how the dancers would go from choreography to jogging in a circle around their dance

space, eye level with the audience and resetting their starting positions, or resting, stretching, or sipping on water. What a perfect way to start to Baselmania. From Merce, I sashayed over to the black box to catch South Beach Babylon, an original play by newly formed theater troupe Zoetic stage. The highlight of the nearly three-hour experience was Octavio Campos and Rosie Herrera’s cameo performance-art/choreography in the “performance within the performance” storyline. While the play was guilty of the self indulgence it intended to comment on, Campos and Herrera’s fresh and fantastically funny duet refreshed and energized. I ended the night at Transit Lounge where Philbert Armenteros and Los Herederos were celebrating the eve of St. Barbara — syncretically known as Chango. The rumba brought out the best dancers in Miami, keeping close to the stage with authentic guaguanco steps and Yoruba chants. The following day I was able to get my own performance art on when I visited local fashion icon Karelle Levy at her booth at Scope, the Basel satel-

lite art fair in Midtown. She and I created a collaborative performance art piece as she fitted and cut her unique, handmade, and original fabric across and through my body as onlookers took photographs. She answered questions about her on-thespot, “quickie couture” and I left with a wearable work of art. I drove through Wynwood, eyes drinking in the murals, immersed in music blasting and championing the marriage between hip-hop aesthetics and Baselmania. It all ended perfectly when I entered the 8,000square-foot exhibit, curated by Roger Gastman and Zio Fulcher, titled “Small Gift Miami,” celebrating 50 years of Sanrio, the makers of … Hello Kitty! A long list of distinguished artists presented original Sanrio inspired works. There were Hello Kitty cars and murals and you could get original Hello Kitty tattoos by commissioned tattoo artists. It was an inner child extravaganza and I looked at the life-size Hello Kitty in the corner and sighed. Hello Kitty made everything come full circle.

www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 19


The 411

Jr & Loren Ridinger, Russell Simmons, Emilio Estefan

Vogue YSL Fashion Show Art Basel 2010.jpg

Gerard Butler, Serena Williams, Jr & Loren Ridinger, Alejandro, Russell Simmons and Kelly Rowland at the Vogue, YSL party

COLUMN

Baselmania By Mary Jo Almeida-Shore maryjoshore@aol.com

Vogue YSL Fashion Show Art Basel 2010

Vogue, YSL party at the Ridingers' Hadley Henriette, Jilian Sanz

Those with an unrequited, inexplicable obsession with all things social, artistic, fashionable and fabulous got our annual fix last week during Art Basel 2010, where for seven straight days we were over stimulated from the rooster’s crow to the coyote’s howl-and are just slightly the worse for wear this week. At what other time of the year does the bar line at any given event seem transported from the Tower of Babel? Or does one’s daily conversation involve such derivatives of the word “Basel” as: Baseling, Baselites, Basel brain, Basel Tov, Basel hangover or Baselitis? And when else are you just as likely to bump into Academy Award winners, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon as funny men, Steve Martin and Ben Stiller; social fixtures, Andre Balazs, Daphne Guinness, Nicky Hilton; designers, Calvin Klein, Christian Louboutin; music moguls, Russell Simmons and the Estefans, or singer, Pharrell Williams; swoon-worthy beautiful people, Gerard Butler, Isabella Rossellini, Naomi Campbell; sports figures, Alex Rodriguez and Serena Williams; art collectors Johnny Pigozzi, Sheikh Mubarak AlMuhairi, or artistic genius Julian Schnabel, in mismatched clothing as if he’d just gone on a shopping spree at Goodwill? Far from exhaustive, here’s the short list of some of the Basel events that put the “ART” in P-ART-Y. The week started off on Monday with a chic and sophisticated barbeque hosted by Veuve Clicquot champagne, Craig Robins and Vanessa Kay at the Soho Beach House’s Tiki Bar. The small outdoor space was packed with 200 A-list guests who could barely contain their excitement as they compared agendas for the action-packed week ahead in between delectable barbeque bites and flutes of champagne. Guests included Pharrell Williams, DJ Mia Moretti, Vice Mayor Michael Gongora, artist Mathieu Lehanneur, Sabina Belli, Christine Kaculis, Robert and Enid Kay, Trudy and Paul Cejas, Rob Brown, Todd Davis to name a few. On Tuesday, Veuve Clicquot unveiled Once Upon A Dream, an exclusive exhibit at Design Miami which afforded guests the opportunity to experience ultimate relaxation in an actual sleep capsule, as if the previous night’s bubbly weren’t enough to knock them out for a few. Designer, Mathieu

Vogue, YSL party at the Ridingers' Cristina Menedez, Mary Jo Shore

Page 20 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com

Lehanneur, referenced the research of noted professor René Quinton, and findings of sleep specialist Alain Nicolas, when he created the space. London’s White Cube party took over the Soho Beach House’s Club bar, pool area and Tiki bar on Tuesday night- banishing even its top-tier members to the eighth floor and restaurant. The White Cube party, comprised mostly of jet-set billionaire art collectors and their offspring and pretty people, proved to be a gluttonous Bacchanal with free flowing champagne and liquor, unlimited food from the menu, extensive raw bar and a grill on at the Tiki Bar featuring limitless grilled meats and seafood. On Wednesday night, Jeffrey Deitch, director of LA’s MOCA hosted one of the biggest musical events during Basel week- a concert by LCD Soundsystem in keeping with a tradition he formed at Deitch Projects. This year’s Grey Goose sponsored concert on the sand at the Raleigh drew the one of largest crowds of the week- a mob scene with throngs of VIPs (or those who perceive themselves as such) clamoring to get past security. Artist/collector Johnny Pigozzi was reportedly seen trying to scale the back fence to gain access but was turned away. Thursday required helicopter transport between the Design District, Wynwood, South Beach and back. Jerry Powers, Plum TV, Michael Capponi and Jeff Feldman presented the kick-off to Haiti Art Expo in the Design District, wherein 3,500 guests and supporters demonstrated their overwhelming support for Haitian culture and relief and were treated to music by the sixteen-member Haitian band Rara Lakey. Thanks in part to celebrity hosts Venus Williams and Haitian born World Welterweight Champion Boxer, Andre Bertom the event raised over $120,000 in sales including multiple purchases by the aforementioned celebs. Philippe Dodard, who flew in from Haiti to attend, showcased his world- famous contemporary pieces. Also on display were works by world-renowned Haitian artists Levoy Exil, Payas, Alix Roy, Lousiane, Sully Gutemberg and Manuel Mathieu. Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen; Haitian born


Vogue Lounge Art Basel 2010 - Tracy Mourning with Honey Child

founders of Bogosse, Fabrice and Patrick Tardieu; Nick Pritzker, Don Soffer, Craig Robins Deede Weithorn and Jerry Libbin, were also in attendance. Throughout the weekend, Russell Simmons made a special appearance and Wyclef Jean performed live. At the same time, PAPERMAG and AOL, in partnership with Pharrell Williams, Shepard Fairey and FriendsWithYou, hosted an opening night celebration to kick off the FriendsWithYou Rainbow City installation with a special performance by popular alternative rock trio N*E*R*D and DJ Mia Moretti. The special event drew a crowd of 2,000 including: Christian Louboutin, Kim Hastreiter, David Herschkovits, Noah Hilfiger, Jax Hilfiger, Lea Hilfiger, Chloe Hilfiger, Perry Farrell, Etty Farrell, Craig Robins, Sam Talbot, Michael Yo, Arturo Sandoval, Sam Borkson who experienced a multisensory event, as the concert took place amid the Rainbow City installation in a huge field in the heart of the Design District. The forty-piece installation of enormous, bright and colorful inflated sculptures-several of which were actual bounce houses for adults(!) and a few of which walked around (LSD trip, anyone?) embraced visitors, creating the ultimate backdrop for N*E*R*D performance. Over the bridge, Interview magazine partnered with MoMA PS1 for a huge bash at the Delano which featured synchronized swimmers, and an outlandish poolside performance coordinated by artist Mariah Robertson, which featured a singer singing Hanukkah songs, a Bahamian Junkanoo marching band, a few naked performance artists, Mariachis and a parade and limbo contest out on the beach for even more free-flowing champagne. No, we are not making this up in our post-Basel stupor. Nearby an A-list crowd gathered for Maybach Night, a formal dinner hosted by Maybach to benefit Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization. The dinner and rooftop after party were the first events to take place at the New World Symphony Building designed by Frank Gehry. Julian Schnabel donated five large-scale paintings created on nautical maps of Haiti for the live auction, which raised nearly $1 million dollars for the organization (roughly the cost of a couple of Maybachs). Among the highest bidders were: Naomi Campbell, Michael Chow and Peter Brant. Academy Award winner, Sean Penn was on hand for the festivities. Later that night, celebrity photographer-turned celebrity, Patrick McMullan joined novelist Brian Antoni and artist Robert Chambers to host a private party at Cafeina, dubbed, “Three Stooges We Love” for over 1,000 locals and New Yorkers who showed up to view the McMullan’s So80s photo installation, a bulletproof glass sculpture

Brian Antoni, Robert Chambers, Patrick McMulan at Cafeina

showcase by Chambers, and partake in a book signing of South Beach the Novel by Antoni, who donated a portion of sale proceeds to The Trevor Project. McMullan was in full force throughout the evening, snapping pictures of party goers and friends into the early hours of the morning.

VOGUE’S STARRY NIGHT UNDER THE STARS Vogue hosted an Yves Saint Laurent fashion show on Saturday evening at JR and Loren Ridingers’ Casa de Suenos (House of Dreams), the pinnacle event of the week, and one of the most coveted invites. As usual, Loren Ridinger and Vogue’s attention to detail- right down to the YSL engraved napkins- resulted in an event that was nothing short of perfection. Paris famed fashion house YSL displayed its stunning new resort collection with special never-before-seen pieces, as models paraded around the pool, to the live sounds of the Aleksandar Djuric string quartet and delighted gasps from the stellar crowd (several pieces even drew applause from the audience). A few onlookers considered the show to be a live-interactive version of their Christmas list (Can you guess who?) The gorgeous show and setting were rivaled only by the well-heeled attendees, many of whom struggled to balance their stilettos on the limestone. After the show and requisite photo ops, hundreds of lucky guests which included Gerard Butler, Natalia Jimenez, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Lili Estefan, Giselle Blondet, Daisy Fuentes, Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Russell Simmons, Cliff and Mary Floyd, Alex Rodriguez, Donald and Lisa Pliner, Nick D’Annunzio and Tara Solomon, Belkys Nerey, Jilian Sanz, Frank Amadeo, Ingrid Casares, Dana Garcia, Serena Williams (sporting a bejeweled cast and crutches), and Kelly Rowland mingled, danced and sipped Crystal with the gracious hosts. While throughout Basel week, Miami’s glitterati were sprinkled throughout a seemingly endless myriad of dinners, art shows and parties, all roads seemed to converge at the Ridingers’ on Saturday evening.

Julian Schnabel with Sean Penn at Maybach Night

former model/actress and award-winning Green Porno producer, left Art Basel’s beaten path to visit the animal portraiture during Arts For A Better World at Soho Studios in Wynwood. Nicole Miller hosted an exclusive evening to benefit the MakeA-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida at her Collins Avenue boutique on Thursday. Miller, along with Ines Rivero and Tracy Mourning, shopped at the Vogue Lounge at the Raleigh Hotel. R.E.M’s Michael Stipe hit the Rooftop Lounge at the Townhouse Hotel this weekend for the Broken Hearts Club events. On Wednesday, a couple of hundred lucky guests attended Steve Martin’s book reading at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences followed by dinner at Mr. Chow. After dining at the new Blue Door Fish at Delano with friends, world renowned photographer Sante D’Orazio celebrated the opening of his “Priests” exhibition in the hotel’s iconic lobby. Friends, including Perry Ferrell and wife Etty Ferrell, Natalie Kill, Heidi Klum’s ex Ric Pipino and Milk Studios creator Mazdack Razzi enjoyed cocktails in the orchard. Afterward many of the guests moved on to Parisian club transplant, Le Baron in The Florida Room. On Friday night, Pringle of Scotland and London’s Serpentine Gallery celebrated their joint project, 195 Collaborations at the Webster with an event hosted by Tilda Swinton (a.k.a. the “White Witch” from Narnia). Susan Sarandon was also at the dinner. Sarandon, owner of NYC and LA’s SPiN Ping Pong Club, was on-hand at the Delano on Saturday night for MOCA and SPiN Galactic’s The Art of Ping Pong. Isabella Rossellini & Vice Mayor Michael Gongora

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: The ubiquitous Isabella Rossellini was spotted about town Baseling amongst locals and rubbing elbows with elite art enthusiasts. Rossellini was feted at a private dinner at the Wolfsonian museum on Wednesday night, made an appearance at the museum on Friday evening and also received a key to the City of Miami Beach from local favorite Vice Mayor Michael Gongora at a brunch on Saturday. The www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 21


411 Save Haiti PHOTO: SETH BROWARNIK/WORLDREDEYE.COM

Zili Ruiz

Andre Berto & Jennifer Santiago

Feldman, Capponi & Jean

Nicole Miller Art Basel Event

Michael Capponi & Wyclef Jean

Shareef Malnik and Nicole Miller Photo by Cengiz Ozelsel

Anna Mixon, Michael Capponi, Jerry Powers & Venus Williams

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

Philippe Dodard

Tracy Mourning, Nicole Miller, Katrina Campins Photo by David Moreno

Page 22 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com


411 Pringle 195 & Webster Dinner PHOTO: MAGICALPHOTOS.COM / MITCHELL ZACHS

Andre Balazs, Katherine Keating

Michael Musto, Mickey Boardman

Paper Mags, David Hershkovitz & Kim Hastreiter

Frederic Dechnik, Tilda Swinton, Laure Heriard Dubreuil

Michelle Harper

Julia Peyton Jones, Nadja Swarovski

Renzo Rosso, Rolf Snoeren, Viktor Horsting

Olympia Scarry, Piper Marshall

Ryan McGinley, Tilda Swinton, Susan Sarandon

Wally Green

www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 23


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GO! UPCOMING SOCIAL EVENTS

Share the Joy! By Mary Jo Almeida-Shore maryjoshore@aol.com

A MAGIC GALA IN THE MAGIC CITY Head to the Miami Magic Gala sponsored by the Junior League of Miami (JLM) next Friday, December 10 at the Four Seasons (1435 Brickell Avenue). Enjoy dinner and dancing under the stars, and have the opportunity to bid on 15 raffle packages, along with a special diamond raffle. Tickets cost $150 a person, with all proceeds benefitting the JLM projects which help empower Miami’s women, children and families. Contact Bibi Cruz-Ledon Sears/Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, 305.443.0160 or email: cruzie@aol.com or marleneafernandez@yahoo.com.

BE AN AMIGO! There’s still time to donate a toy for the 19th Annual Amigos For Kids Holiday Toy Drive Caravan which will take place on Sunday, December 12 at various locations throughout Miami, embarking on a joy-filled journey of delivering gifts with Santa Claus, celebrities and hundreds of volunteers. You may request to become a volunteer for the caravan by contacting the telephone number below but all are encouraged to log on and donate toys! The Toy Drive fulfills the specific wishes of each individual child, as indicated on their wish list. You may deliver toys for the caravan to Ford Lincoln Mercury locations, select TotalBank locations, Gulliver Schools, Miami Dade College, Republica Agency, Todo Frio and any El Dorado location in South Florida throughout the entire month of December. Visit the website for exact locations. To donate your time or resources to children in need, or to volunteer to help with the Amigos Toy Drive, please call 305.279.1155 or visit amigosforkids.org

SANTA PAWS AT DADDY O On December 16, Daddy O Hotel (9660 East Bay Harbor Drive), the Palm restaurant, and Salon Poochini present a special holiday party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to benefit PetNet, the young professional group of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. A $25 donation entitles guests to complimentary beer and wine throughout the event and delicious bites, courtesy of the legendary Palm restaurant. Gluhwein, a German holiday drink of hot spiced red wine will also be served. Santa-Paws will be there for photographs of guests and their dogs for the holidays with a portion of the photo proceeds going toward the cause. There will also be a silent auction. Daddy O is a dog-friendly hotel and all well-behaved dogs are welcome. Tours of the newly renovated hotel will be given. The Humane Society of Greater Miami will have a few of Miami’s most eligible dogs there for adoption. RSVP to Ricki Diamond at ricki@humanesocietymiami.org or 305-7491814

WILD FOR THE HOLIDAYS AT ZOO MIAMI Zoo Miami, formerly Miami Metro Zoo (12400 SW 152 Street) is hosting a few special events this season. The zoo’s glorious grounds come to light for 12 brilliant nights during Zoo Lights, December 17 – 30 (excluding December 24 and 25) from 7 – 10 p.m. (ticket booths close at 9:30 p.m.). Guests can enjoy dozens of bright animal-shaped lights, while sipping hot chocolate, munching on delicious cookies, and listening to wonderful holiday music. Included with admission is a pair of 3D glasses, which will make the Zoo Lights experience even more engaging and amusing. General admission is $8.95 plus tax per adult and $6.95 plus tax per child. Zoo members are $7.95 plus tax per adult and $5.95 plus tax per child. Dinner with Santa will take place on December 23, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Families will be treated to a delicious dinner and photo op with Santa at Wings of Asia. Children will receive a holiday plush gift and will get to make their own holiday ornaments! Admission includes parking, entry to Zoo Lights with unlimited carousel rides from 7 – 10 p.m. and a classic holiday menu of fresh roasted turkey with homemade gravy, baked ham, candied sweet potatoes with melting marshmallows, herbed buttery carrots, homemade cranberry sauce, dinner rolls with butter, homemade seasonal pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, strawberry-infused lemonade, and cranberry mint-infused water. General admission is $42.95 per adult and $39.95 per child ages 3-12. Zoo members are $38.95 per adult and $36.95 per child ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and under are free. Dinner with Diego will be held December 28, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., at the Wings of Asia building. Diego will be available to take his picture with guests between 8:30 – 8:50 p.m. Dinner with Diego’s admission includes parking, entry to Zoo Lights with unlimited carousel rides from 7 –10 p.m. and a wonderful dinner including a fresh garden salad with dressing, pan seared chicken breast with herbed shallot cream sauce, chicken tenders with dipping sauce, honey glazed carrots, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls with butter, chocolate fudge brownies, chocolate blondies, fresh tropical fruit salad, cucumber and lemon infused water, lemonade, and iced tea. This event is ideal for families with children under eight years of age. Every paying child also receives a Diego beanie baby plush gift and a meet and greet and photo with Diego! General admission is $39.95 per adult and $43.95 per child ages 3-12. Zoo members are $35.95 per adult and $38.95 per child ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and under are free. For tickets and more information, visit: zoomiami.org. www.sunpostweekly.com • SunPost Weekly • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • Page 25


Sex COLUMN

Purity Balls By Dr. Sonjia Kenya

Sonjia@drsonjia.com Did you grow up with any porn stars? Before you get all self-righteous about your upbringing, you best do some research. Might I suggest Facebook for the task? That’s how I discovered Persia Pele, the award winning x-rated actress, is the same girl who attended catholic school with me and served as an integral member of my three-chick clique. Of course I spent the better part of an evening googling her. Boy, has she grown! I had to give her props for the great stage name. Persia is so smart because it reflects her culture and distinguishes her as the ‘Muslim girl gone wild’. Brilliant. While rising to the top, she also learned how to stop time, as her bio indicates she’s now nine years younger than me. Actress, cultural icon, and magic time machine. Who knew she’d be so successful? While I don’t remember all these talents growing up, I remember Persia well. She was raised in a Muslim family and the rules in her house were strict. No boys, little unsupervised socializing, and definitely no slumber parties. I didn’t know much about her religious culture back then, but I remember Persia was eager to experiment with the opposite sex. I now understand this is not a cornerstone of the Muslim faith and have been wondering if her upbringing influenced her career choice. I looked high and low for data on Muslim girls in the porn profession and was overwhelmed by the variety of videos that fit into this category. Have you ever seen fierce fellatio performed by females wearing headpieces, face jewelry, and scraps of Islamic looking clothes? Despite the abundance of visuals, I found that published studies on the topic are severely lacking. Budding researchers, you may have found a niche’ here. Since I couldn’t find anything on Persia’s culture and porn, I started to think about other women raised in religious families that considered virginity an indication of a woman’s worth. This led me to contact my good friends Jessica Simpson and Brittany Spears, two of society’s most prominent role models for modesty. Since each ignored my questions about their vows to retain virginity until marriage, I resorted to modern society’s most comprehensive body of pop-culture data, MTV.

Apparently, Britt and Jess (we’re cool like that) were both raised in Baptist families and Jess’s father is a former Baptist minister who gave her a purity ring when she was 12 years old. Other revered research organizations, such as Glamour, New York Times, and Wikipedia, revealed that purity rings are usually given at a purity ball, an evening of dinner, dancing and commitment between fathers and daughters. Every year at purity balls, thousands of females between 4 and 22 years old vow to maintain their virginity until marriage while their fathers pledge to protect their daughters in the area of purity. Who knew 4 year olds were on the brink of impurity? Going to a purity ball is serious business. It requires the girl to put on her prettiest dress and shoes so she can go on a formal date with Dad to signify their mutual commitment to protect her purity. Dads sign a contract, give their daughter a ring, and together they dance the night away. Randy Wilson, the clergyman credited with creating purity balls about 12 years ago, advises Dads to model the type of behavior expected from a future husband, including praising her physical attractiveness, “I applaud your courage to look your daughter in the eye and tell her how beautiful she is.” It’s no wonder that older girls attending purity balls could easily be mistaken for young wives, especially when wearing a purity ring on the finger traditionally used to indicate marital status. Among purity ball supporters, one-on-one time with Dad is a “date,” and the only one she should have until she is courted by a man who has won over Dad’s approval and intends to marry her. Aside from siblings, Dad is basically the only man in a girl’s life until her husband. This sounds eerily similar to Jess’s relationship with her father, who was her manager and the primary male in her life until she married Nick Lachey at 22 years old. A few years back, Jess’s Dad publicly commented on her breast size, which some interpreted as an inappropriate indication of physical intimacy, “She’s got double-D’s! You can’t cover those suckers up!” Though I wanted to ask Jess and Britt (who is currently under her father’s guardianship) lots of questions about their backgrounds, both were still avoiding me. Thus, I was

Page 26 • Thursday, December 9, 2010 • SunPost Weekly • www.sunpostweekly.com

forced to resort to my usual tactics and asked strangers how they felt about being raised with purity balls and virginity pledges. The assignment was complicated because everyone has a very dirty mind. Each time I mentioned purity balls, people automatically assumed I was talking about a sex toy. Disgusted by such filthy thoughts, I somehow forced myself to overcome this obstacle at Art Basel’s VIP celebration of XXXX Magazine’s upcoming special issue, entitled Voyeur. After an entertainment attorney clarified the question by asking if I was talking, “about those balls you put in your butt,” she provided a surprising, yet worthwhile analyses, “Essentially, I think the concept is good because it encourages fathers to take an active role raising their daughters. Whether or not they participate in the ceremony or religion, don’t most fathers aim to protect their daughters and guide them into healthy, respectful relationships? The only issue I have is, what about the boys? How can the girls commit to this if the boys don’t as well?” Good Point. In the “What about Boys” section of Randy Wilson’s website on purity balls, he describes the ‘Brave Heart of a Warrior’ celebration, a manhood ceremony that occurs when boys are 12 years old, “the same age Jesus first questioned rabbis and discussed the Scriptures in His Father’s house.” Fathers give their sons a ring and a sword as symbols of a pure and purposeful transition into manhood. To help boys develop relationship skills with females, they are invited to purity balls to observe father-daughter interactions and encouraged to model such skills with their female siblings. Apparently not every little sister is routinely tortured by her big brother. Later on at the Setai’s frustratingly slow bar, I passed time with a woman visiting from Boston who named her daughter Malcolm. Of course I wanted to ask about that, but Lawman kept me focused by reminding me to get her opinion of purity balls and virginity pledges. After telling me she was not married, but committed to and living with

her long-term male partner, she quickly rejected the concept. “That’s just weird. It robs a woman of her own agency. She has a right to decide how she wants to live her life and a parent’s job is to instill values that a daughter can rely on to make good, responsible decisions based on what she wants in life.” Now that I had the opinion of one single person and one unmarried parent with one child, I was inspired to diversify my data by getting input from a normal married couple with kids. Although hard to find, I spotted one at the Miami Art Museum’s Annual Party on the Plaza. She was a gorgeous dermatologist and her husband was a pharmacist. I introduced myself and made them listen to me (I have that way with people). He laughed as I described the purity balls and turned his attention to Lawman as soon as I paused. Before she could do the same, I purposely blocked her from the bar, and she realized that answering me was the quickest way to get a drink. She relented,” I think it’s important for fathers to instill self-confidence in daughters by modeling good behaviors, but it can get sketchy when a father treats his daughter like a partner. My husband would never take our daughter to a purity ball. There are many other ways to reinforce self-esteem and worth in young women. Besides, doesn’t research show that girls who pledge to abstinence have a greater risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted disease? ” The doctor is correct. Research from scientists at Columbia and Yale revealed that risk for sexually transmitted diseases is actually higher among youth who commit to abstinence because they are less likely to protect themselves from something they’ve promised not to do. Another study by the same researchers concluded that “virginity pledgers” substituted oral and anal sex for vaginal sex and had similar rates of STDs as “nonpledgers.” The Prevention Research Center found that kids who informally commit to abstinence delay sex but those that make a formal pledge do not. A study by Harvard scientists reported that more than half of the kids who take virginity pledges deny ever taking them the following year. In 2009, the same team found no difference between the sex behaviors of pledgers and non-pledgers, except that non-pledgers were 10% less likely to use condoms or birth control. Why get protection since there’s no intention to have sex? Supporters of purity balls believe this bonding experience between fathers and daughters will instill self-worth and minimize the chances of promiscuous sexual relationships with multiple men. I know three females that made virginity pledges: Brittany, Jessica, and Persia. I guess that’s why they remained so pure.


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