Friday, February 8, 2008

Score tickets to Brian Antoni's book launch party at Books & Books‏

“South Beach: The Novel is one part fairy tale, one part travelogue, and one part X-tube porn video mixed with several tabs of ecstasy. Decadence has never seemed so sweet and innocent as it does in Brian Antoni’s lost world of deco and disco in premillennial Miami.” –Jay McInerney

“You might just recognize some boldface names and their bold doings, I did.” –Patrick McMullan, author of S08O's, Glamour Girls

Reading and signing,
South Beach: The Novel
(Grove/Atlantic, $14)

Tuesday, February 12, 8pm
Books & Books, Miami Beach

Buy a copy of the book ($14) and you will receive (2) two tickets to Brian’s launch party at his home in Miami Beach on Friday, February 15th. Brian’s parties on South Beach are legendary and this one promises to be no different!

The key to getting through the front door is having purchased the book in advance at any Books & Books location.

About the Author:
Brian Antoni is a descendant of the second oldest family in the Caribbean, an aristocratic dynasty whose multi-ethnic roots stretch from the southernmost island of Trinidad, to the northernmost island, Grand Bahamas. His family tree includes French Creole sugar plantation owners, utopians, pirates, oil tycoons and now a new generation of cutting edge creative artists and thinkers.

Brian’s sister and brother are accomplished artists. “I have a sister who chews and spits out chocolate and lard and a brother who writes in monkey language and my parents hang in drag in museums all over the world.” He credits their courage in pursuing their art for showing him the way to follow his own passion for writing. His brother Robert has authored four novels, including Divina Trace, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize. His sister, Janine, won a MacArthur Genius Award and is one of the most acclaimed conceptual artists in the world today.

Twenty years ago, Brian moved to South Beach, following his family’s tradition of being a pioneering settler. He bought and renovated a run down Art Deco apartment building named The Venus De Milo Arms and an exotic 1930’s home, which he named “Chateaubrian.” Brian’s home contains a brilliantly edited collection of high and low art, furniture and objects that evoke the energy of the South Beach Renaissance—when eccentric pioneers ran amok but were still outnumbered by old Jewish retirees. Antoni’s home captures that raw inspired moment when cultures were clashing for the first time, and features an Alligator Wrestling road sign (hurricane Andrew Debris), works from several generations of Miami artists, a statue of a headless woman made from remains of demolished deco buildings, a fountain with his own face coming out of a mirror and spiting water into a pool, and seashells and ocean flotsam that his father, Dr. Robert, has glue-gunned to create entire walls. This is all amidst the priceless modern furniture he collects, and a yard that is a full on tropical (bring a machete) jungle. Much like his father’s famous Black and White clinic, Brian’s home became the scene of many sociocultural gatherings and celebrations. Everyone attended Brain’s parties, from neighborhood folk, Cuban refugees, drag queens, and senior citizens to celebrity guests (Timothy Leary, Bianca Jagger, George Plimpton, Zaha Hadid, Anselm Keiffer, Stephen King, Candice Bushnell, Oliver Stone, Betty Friedan, Kurt Vonnegut, Derek Walcott, P.J. O’Rourke, Gianni Versace, John Berent, Calvin Trilion, Mario Batali, Cameron Diaz, Joey Stefano, Joey Arias, Ellen Barkin, Marissa Tomei, Michael Stipe, Bernadette Peters). “Chateaubrian” has been featured in magazines, television shows, and in many table-top books, including Tashen’s Miami Interiors, along with South Beach Style, Outdoor Living Room and Garden Ornamentation.

Brian spent the last twenty years researching South Beach: The Novel, working – at times -- as a doorman and bathroom attendant at South Beach’s hippest clubs. He traveled illegally to Cuba to study the plight of refugees, interviewed numerous Holocaust survivors and visited Auswitch. To learn about the fashion business, he rented his house out for photo shoots. Bruce Weber shot part of an infamous Abercrombie and Fitch catalog at his house, in a photo story entitled Can You Find Love in a House of Lust?” Helmut Newton shot porn star Vanessa Del Rio in his Florida Room in an advertisement for Taschen Books.

Brian became a contributing writer to Ocean Drive Magazine and was Editor-at-Large of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design Magazine. Brian also wrote about Miami, along with Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Elmore Leonard and other authors, in the New York Times bestselling serial novel, Naked Came the Manatee. All proceeds from the novel were donated to charity.

“I felt I had to tell the story of South Beach,” Brian says. It became an obsession. The reality of it was much stranger than fiction. I went out every night with a pad in my pocket and I just couldn’t believe the things I saw. I want everyone who comes to vacation here to know how close South Beach came to being totally destroyed, and I want them to know the soul of my neighborhood.”

About the Novel:

Gabriel Tucker is a globe-trotting, trust fund–endowed twenty-nine-year-old who suddenly finds himself penniless and alone in the world, except for an old Miami Beach apartment building named the Venus De Milo Arms, the last thing of value left to him by his now-vanished family. Lacking skills or resources, he heads to Miami Beach to reconstruct his life, finding himself neighbors with an unlikely mix of tenants: an elderly Holocaust survivor, a lip-synching drag queen, a cynical two-bit gossip columnist, and a rebellious young performance artist who will eventually capture his heart.

Within days, Gabriel is thrust into the outrageous world of South Beach, Miami of the nineties: temptations, quick fortunes, mountains of drugs, notorious murders, nonstop sex, and beautiful women (and men) for sale (or rent) are the order of the day. He is a ringside witness to the excesses and intrigues of Italian fashion empires, Cuban refugee supermodels, rapacious German developers, old-fashioned crooked politicians, and a cast of characters that would make Caligula blush. He is witness to a place evolving from God’s Waiting Room to the American Riviera, from slum to brand name.

It is in South Beach, in this most surreal time and place, unlike any other, that Gabriel will eventually discover the long-buried mysteries of his family and find a soul he never imagined he had and a love he never dreamed he deserved.

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