Monday, February 23, 2009

Fool’s Paradise

Fool's Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach -- As two of South Beach's famous ladies (the Hotel Fountainbleu and Madonna, respectively) reinvent themselves yet again, this sour-sweet city history exposes scandal, intrigue, sex and drugs in the sun-drenched social spot. Gaines (Philistines at the Hedgerow) doesn't let a garish outfit or randy dialogue escape: "they were an odd sight, Barbara Capitman in her frowsy clothes, Leonard Horowitz in his hand-me-downs; Barbara buttonholing people on the street to tell them about Art Deco preservations, Leonard spouting sexual come-ons to passing gay men like he had Tourette's syndrome." The author rounds up the usual suspects: the hotelier, the mobster, the model, the other model, the night club owner, Frank Sinatra (in his greatest real-life hoodlum roles), and a chorus line of backstabbers, petty criminals and reformed drug addicts, all attracted by the wealth and possibility of South Beach. Gaines is more gossipy tour guide than investigative journalist, and readers will rightly suspect that most of the characters would revel in his nastier descriptions. Nevertheless, this book is perfect reading for a lazy afternoon in the double-decker cabana.

No comments: