The art of parties and beyond

Casey Spooner, Art Basel

DECEMBER 5-9, 2006
Anyone's who's ever been to Art Basel in Miami knows it's as much about the parties as it is the art. So, in our absence this year, we asked Hint friend Casey Spooner, who hosted his own party at the Delano, to give us a diary of his four-day debauchery. Who knows debauchery better than one half of Fischerspooner?

Dear Diary,
This is my fourth Art Basel. The first year Fischerspooner performed, the second year I went to the convention center, where all the galleries shill their wares, but only for fifteen minutes to buy a painting from Deitch that I knew I wanted, and last year I found the experience exhausting and overwhelming. It is not an exhibition, it's a warehouse sale. Therefore, this year, my schedule would be full of fun times with friends!

Day One:
I arrived later in the day and, as I had flown Jet Blue, was absolutely starving. I could hardly speak to the chic crowd that was already teeming at baggage claim. I checked into the Shore Club and went directly to Sultan, the Middle Eastern falafel shack wedged between Mynt Lounge and the hotel. Sultan is THEEE place to eat in South Beach. Everyone is there and it is the only place that doesn't take two hours to have a mediocre meal that is needlessly expensive. Within five minutes of sitting down, the parade and excitement began. Ben Cho and artist Nate Lowman landed at the table beside me, Spencer Product stopped by on his way to DJ the Visionaire tent, while Suzanne Geiss from Deitch, Stefano Tonchi from the New York times and I witnessed the hoards of VIPs pouring onto Collins Avenue. I was there and it was on! Let the social marathon begin.

I went from there directly to the beach to catch some of Peaches' show. I had missed her show in London and New York and I really wanted to see her new band. The beach was beautiful and it was a big crowd. I love Peaches' shows and I have seen many, but Miami sound ordinances made this one not one of my favorites. The city kept the Db levels so low that it took some of the punch out of a great performance.

I ran back to the hotel and donned my pink YSL cruise collection tuxedo and threw a bow in my hair and raced to the Deitch party at the Raleigh to see Devendra Banhart perform with his posse of hairy men. The show was very mellow. It was nice to slow down among the anticipation and excitement of the first day of the fair. But the minute the encore was cut off, again due to sound ordinances, the energy picked back up. The Perez Projects cabana was especially hopping and I hung with Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny. Around 4:00 am, we went to David's and had cuban sandwiches and plantains and discussed Shakespeare. We were surprised to see the ladies of Avenue D. I stumbled home and called it a night.

Day Two:
Believe it or not, I am not a big partier. I just play one on TV. So I awoke with quite the hangover. I made it across the street to get a "grande" Cuban coffee and headed for the beach. I was out of practice at lounging in the sun so I headed to the Raleigh to meet the painter Michael Bevilacqua. We had dinner and drinks by the pool to get through the obligations ahead.

Mathu Placek, the photographer, and I headed to Yvonne Force's dinner at the Standard. It was beautiful and everyone was lounging on kick-ass beach towels made by various artists. The Marilyn Minter was my favorite. I saw the core of the New York art posse. We said hello and goodbye and busted a move over to the Delano to see Dita Von Teese perform. I have always wanted to see her and have never had the chance. We fought our way through the door and waited by the pool, over which the stage was suspended. The show began with model-y dudes in black jeans and no shirt pulling curtains back to reveal a giant tube of lipstick that she rode like an electric bull. Dita's costume was so sparkly! I have never seen anything sparklier! EVER. Not Vegas. Not Paris. Damn, I was jealous. Again the sound was a bit underwhelming as is the case I see now with every outdoor performance in Miami. Dita is good, but in a way...too good and perfectly executed. It was as if I was seeing something I had never seen but already imagined, strange but not surprising. She danced. She pranced. She stripped. She rode the giant electric-bull lipstick, which was choreographed beautifully and was pretty damn ridiculously awesome.

The minute the show was over I had to get my ass over to my party. I hosted an evening at Studio A with Hernan Bas, Naomi Fischer, Michael Bevilacqua and Armando Alexander. Whitey performed and they were fantastic. I had heard of him/them, but I had never seen a show. They have been on tour, opening for Peaches, and it was by far the best show I had seen all week and in quite a while. We drank too much tequila and danced, then headed to the next and final stop.

Le Baron. Okay, I have had a beef with these Frenchies as one of my favorite places in Miami is Star Studios, the karaoke bar in the basement of the Shelbourne. These peeps took it over last year and ruined my favorite uncool hiding spot, but this year they redeemed themselves. It was the den of sin for all of the most talented and exciting decandents of the art world. And no matter how I tried, I was always drawn to the debauchery of Le Baron. The best part was the live karaoke band of French rockers with sullen faces who you only find in Paris. And the host was a kind of circus sideshow hawker with a big moustache and a great personality. One night, the crowd at the door was deep and it was not pretty. After enjoying waiting outside with all the right people (often I have more fun waiting to get in to an event and I have learned to relax and enjoy the scene on the street), we were pulled through a terrifying throng of hungry revelers. It was serious scary and on the verge of real danger. But no matter, we were in. Along the way I ran into the artist Robert Melee and the minute we got in we figured out how to jump the line of karaoke singers and did a very experimental version of Nightclubbing. WE WERE ART. And a good time was had by all.

Day Three:
Alright, I'm getting tired now at Art Basel and feeling like I should just cut and run. It is all a bit too much and this year's fair seems to have taken the whole endeavor up a notch. More parties. More dinners. More artists. More celebrites. More money. More sponsors. MORE. MORE. MORE.

The photographer Thomas Dozol and I go to the Paper Magazine Store in the Design District. It is a great little shop filled with interesting artist-made objects and products. We bought several of the beach towels that Yvonne Force produced and admired much of the rest. But the best part were the amazing murals painted by Jim Drain all over the store. Beautiful and brightly colored stencils of dollar signs and the words "thank you." Forget wallpaper! Call Jim.

We then went to the Albion and played miniature golf, then raced home to change for the night. The wind on the tented terrace of The Raleigh was insane. We were there for Arden Wohl's screening of her short film and the weather only heightened the excitement. The film starred Domino, who is also in a band called Domino that is made up of the founding members of Dopo Yume. They performed after the film and they sounded great. She has a fantastic voice and a really nice presence. Very folksy, but not too folksy. In fear of being flung from the terrace in gale force winds, I escaped to the Vanity Fair/Moma party at the Shore Club. It was very big. After seeing Doug Aitken, I busted a move to the best scene in town, Le Baron. And you know the rest.

Day Four:
I booked myself a full day of spa treatments at the Standard. I steamed, I sauna-ed, I got rubbed and scrubbed and came out feeling like a new man ready for a final lap around town. I had a great dinner with Simon Hammerstein (one of the owners of the Box in New York, the newest best venue in town) and raced over to the Delano to host a cabana by the pool. David Byrne, Marcelo Krasilcic and others stopped by for a quick drink. Pictures were taken and we were off to the Visionaire party. We ate caviar and drank vodka and shimmied to the musical stylings of DJ Michel Gaubert. We also gawked at the Miami-style strippers, male and female. I saw artist Jack Pierson and introduced myself to Andreas, the super hot super male super model. He looked so lonely and sweet. Mathu, photographer Abbey Drucker and I wooed him and proceeded to get him drunk and steal him away to Le Baron, where we molested him on the dance floor. At 5:00 am we closed Sultan, which is unheard of, and had a finale slice of pizza on the steps of the Shore Club. And when Paris Hilton drunkenly stumbled out of her Maybach in front of us and into the hotel, ending her night before me, I knew it was time to turn in.

I survived Art Basel 2006! Love, CS



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