411: Community Rallies Around South Beach Pioneer

Sean Drake, Tony G, Ricardo..DJS

Whether you are a veteran of South Beach nightlife, or new to the scene, chances are you have danced to the amazing music of Mark Leventhal,  a legendary DJ who has been a pioneering force behind Miami nightlife for over 20 years:  spinning since the early 90s at some of our favorite stomping grounds, clubs such as The Spot, Warsaw, Groove Jet, Liquid, Lua, Snatch, Haven and Mynt (to name a few) and at parties for Ocean Drive  magazine and countless private and celebrity events.  Leventhal’s music leaves no room on the dance floor- because he plays the songs people love.  In addition to his music, what’s most appealing about the devoted father of three, is his kind-hearted, positive nature.   In short, Leventhal is an all-around great guy! Unfortunately, for the past week, Leventhal has been hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital in a coma, due to an infection that has permeated his body and his brain.  Friends and family have rallied around the well-known DJ in support (Mark has no health insurance).

On Tuesday, January 28, family, friends and fans piled into Haven Lounge, where Leventhal spins regularly, for a fund raiser to help offset his medical costs.  The party started at 7 pm and lasted into the morning.  More than 400 guests (most of them South Beach pioneers themselves) crowded into the stylish lounge to admire wall-to-wall (270 degree) projected photos of Leventhal throughout his 20 year tenure on South Beach.  More than 12 local DJs spun in his honor.  If love could somehow cure Mark- he’d be back on the turntables already.

Event organizer, Dirk DeSouza shared the following: “First, a sincere thank you to every person and business who contributed to the silent auction and to EVERYONE who took the time to contact businesses and gather items. Also, a huge thank you to Sean Drake for putting together an amazing roster of musical talent…and to Kevin Coster and Jourdan Binder for the event’s graphic design. Special thanks to Haven South Beach- Ben Arndt and Mike Boles and the entire staff.  Lastly, thanks to everyone who showed up last night. It’s remarkable how when given the chance, people in Miami will stop their childish, decadent ways, and grow up for a second, allowing themselves the humane, contributory catharsis that’s frequently missing. It turns out that people do care about some people. Which is nice.”Other fundraisers are in the works- one on Thursday, January 30 at Mynt lounge and another on Tuesday, February 4, at the Foxhole.  In addition, you may make a donation here.  For more information about upcoming fundraisers, contact: Dirk DeSouza at misterdirk@gmail.com.

Puttin’ on the Ritz
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach hosted an over the top party last Thursday night to celebrate its 10 year anniversary.  Over 200 special guests joined the Ritz’s Top Account Executives, for the lavish Dripping In Diamonds event, which also served as the community reveal of the exquisitely renovated ballroom and celebration of 10 years of raising the bar as a landmark hotel in South Florida.  For the party, the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom was divided into four different venue spaces.  Each uniquely-themed room was decorated by a high profile special events designer, who incorporated diamonds into the theme.  In addition to the thousands of sparkling gems, more than a million stunning flowers lined the staircases, bars, walkways and tables for the event.  Each of the themed-rooms: Canary Diamond, Pink Diamond, Chocolate Diamond, and the Perfect Diamond, offered guests a different experience, complete with varied music, cocktails and food.  Master chef, Andres Meraz, was on-hand to tempt guests with his delightful creations. Happy Anniversary, Ritz Carlton South Beach- we look forward to the next 10 ritzy years.

USBG Legacy Cocktail Showcase
Another cocktail is on its way to becoming a classic after Tuesday night’s USBG Legacy Cocktail Showcase at Cipriani in Downtown Miami, sponsored by BACARDI rum. Isaac Grillo’s Snap Apple and Nick Nistico’s Green Dream were crowned victorious during Miami’s regional showcase. Grillo and Nistico competed against 10 other bartenders and will represent the city in the National Showcase and compete against regional winners from across the country for a chance to represent the US in the Global Showcase in May.

Celebrity Sightings:
Actor Carlos Ponce and girlfriend, actress Ximena Duque dined at Seasalt & Pepper on Friday night.  They sampled Octopus Plancha and Chef Alfredo’s Special Branzino al Forno.

John Malkovich and long-term partner Nicoletta Peyran were spotted at Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh Hotel. The couple shared several cocktails, dinner and the bread pudding for dessert. John was happy to hello to a few fans. He and Nicoletta ended at The Martini Bar where they continued their night and were overheard saying how much they love how intimate and quaint it was.

Original Super-Model Kim Alexis made a brief stop through Miami last week to visit friends and to be photographed by Miami based artist Carlos Betancourt for his latest project.  Betancourt called on his long-time friend Brandi Reddick not only for her artful sense of fashion and style, but for her personal wardrobe!  Reddick dressed the 80s cover girl and super star from head to toe in magnificent pieces of clothing and costume jewelry from her personal collection. Much to Reddick’s surprise, her intern Elliot Leiva informed her that she had 326 pair of shoes in her closet.  Reddick’s reply, “I never keep count!”

After being defeated by the Miami Heat, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw of the San Antonio Spurs headed to Bâoli to reward themselves for a game well played.  The two Spurs were personable and enjoyed chatting with other Bâoli patrons about the game.

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