It's 11 pm at the Shelborne Hotel, the newest home of South Beach's best weeknight soiree. Not only because of its insane renovation, but because it's now the spot Miami's famed Tuesday night party hosts Alan Roth and Tommy and Michelle Pooch -- Miami's ultimate party couple -- call home. "People think we swing," says Michelle, standing in her six-inch YSL pumps and wearing a Gucci dress. "We don't. The only things we swing are big fat parties."
They sure do. And tonight there's an elevated sense of partying like it's 1999 because it's the inaugural night at the Shelborne after running five years next door at the Delano hotel.
Standing beside Michelle is one of her closest friends, Jinelle Benitez Resnick -- a cross between Mariah Carey and Blake Lively. Her name alone tells her story. She's a Latina model/actress, who married a Jew, and is decked with big fat diamonds, red soles and a red Lanvin dress. I'm obsessed. She and Michelle are best friends and so are their families that reside in, gasp, Pembroke Pines.
With drink tickets running out and guests beginning to arrive in droves, Michelle gets her act into high gear. "The hot bitches, my gays and the guys that love them all are here," she says with pride. Resnick adds in her two cents, "so true."
I agree; and notice that except for Michelle's sisterhood, identifiable by their expensive shoes and their protective stances, everyone looks alike, the girls in last seasons' BCBG and the gays wearing H&M. "If I didn't have my girls around me I wouldn't know what to do," Michelle says.
Or if she didn't have her husband Tommy, who, as Michelle notes, has taught her everything she knows about Miami's lucrative nightlife. "We are the biggest fans of each others," she says. "In this industry you have to work hard and with that comes playing hard. We both do that very well."
Indeed. In between sips of champagne, Michelle is as always consumed with making sure her guests are having a good time at the dinner tables where wealthy 50-year-old men, who all seem to be divorced at least once and wear expensive watches, hover around the young hot chicks who scream in silence "me love you long time."
I find it all predictable. But it's money and the vehicle is sex, two of the evening's underlying factors that make big bucks. Sheepish about the amount, Michelle confesses that this is a lucrative night, yet she and Tommy will only walk away with a very small portion of the evening's earnings. "I'm not greedy," she says. "I have mouths to feed from the bathroom attendants to the valet and the people cleaning up the floors," which must take a lot of work thanks to high-heeled girls stamping out their cigarette butts like falling fireworks.
However, the only thing she may be greedy about is respect. After one guy tells her the steak is too small at the hotel's restaurant, Vespa, Michelle does an eye roll that even scares me. "A complaint is only worthy if you pay your bill."
One girl who pays her bill is VH-1's Basketball Wives star Suzie Ketchum, who arrives around midnight and is part of Michelle's sisterhood. "Where Michelle goes so does everyone.'"
And that includes long time pal Jerry Brandt, a nightclub legend who owned The Ritz and tells me "he's horny" looking at all the young girls. He also seems amused by all of this and I can tell he has seen it all, been there and done that, which of course intrigues me.
"Has any of this changed?" I ask. "Not since the 60s, he says. "The only things back then was the girls weren't wearing panties and they were taking Quaaludes."
Today the girls wear G-strings from Victoria's Secret and wait in long lines for the bathroom stall (ahem), with needy faces and bad hair extensions.
By 4 am I am, like Michelle Pooch, quite exhausted taking all of this in, seeing how money and sex in South Beach create, well, more money and sex. I think to myself how I can't wait to go home, jerk off, smoke a cigarette and ask myself, "What the hell just happened?"
Michelle is thinking along the same lines and this is why I like her. "I'm going to go home, have sex with my husband, wash my face, brush my teeth and pass out."
And that's all in a days work.
For updates from Michelle on her party of the week follow her on Twitter @michellepooch.
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