Yes, it's time for Ocean Drive magazine's 15th annual VolleyPalooza celebration of sand and surf, music and limber models.
As always, there'll be celebs of various stripes and makes -athletic, fashion, music- who come by to have fun and take in the scene, too, some of whom aren't even paid to be there.
Like me, they just like it for what it is.
It doesn't pretend it's educational!
(Now if they'd only play more rock music and a LOT LESS rap/hip-hop. So many people I run into there say that, but nothing ever changes. One of these years...)
Of course much of the fun from this particular event comes from watching the hundreds of people who show up whom your intuition tells you probably wish they were models themself, or at least, looked more the part.
How else to explain their strategic response of dressing or behaving in such a way as to draw inordinate amounts of attention to themself, even while feigning surprise anyone notices them.
Perhaps it's the unusual sunglasses or hat they're wearing, or for the women, wearing almost nothing at all, but with high heels -at the beach!
A classic example of fashion trumping function!
Sort of a funnier and less irritating version of the pathetic loner guy who regularly shows up at the park or beach you frequent, who frequently comes by with a snake around his neck or a parrot on his shoulder, a small remote-controlled car, etc., etc.
You know the type!
While I lived in the Washington, D.C. area from 1988-2003, the most frequent scene for that sort of amusing/oddball behavior was at my favorite people-watching spot in all of Washington, right in front of the Sequoia restaurant in Georgetown, down at Washington Harbour, right across from Arlington, with the Kennedy Center and the Washington Monument .
(Sequoia is just a stone's throw away from another popular SouthBeachHoosier spot, the U.S. Park Service's Thompson's Boat House, where I used to run into then-Attorney General Janet Reno quite a lot, both before and after she'd gone rowing on the Potomac.
She was always quick to notice whaever particular style Dolphins cap I was wearing that day, and say hello or wave or give a nod of the head.
At times like that, I was constantly surprised by the reaction of other people around us, usually some family in town doing the tourist thing for a week, and being so amazed at:
a.) just seeing Janet Reno in person in the first place -with no microphones around!- and
b.) seeing her so relaxed and enjoying herself, and
c.) their apparent surprise that she was so friendly and open -albeit with her armed protective unit nearby- since I'd always known how very personable Janet Reno was, from the days when I'd grown-up and lived in Miami, both before and after she replaced Richard Gerstein as the Dade States Attorney.
(I also once ran into present-day Miami-Dade State's Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle one day over at The Florida House when she was up in Washington for a visit and still working as an Assistant to Reno in Miami, circa '89 or so.
I agreed to walk with her and a friend around the Capitol Hill area for a bit and even took some photos of them in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, while dispensing some suggestions for some things to see and do while they were in town, no doubt for some DOJ meeting of some sort.)
That's one of those things you never really think about or are prepared for, until it happens right in front of you: someone else's apparent puzzlement at something that you already know or consider perfectly self-evident.)
See more on Sequoia at http://www.arkrestaurants.com/section_home.cfm?section_id=1&location_id=2&restaurant_id=15
I spent many spring and summer weekend afternoons relaxing there near the adjoining deck, reading the Washington Post, the N.Y. Times and the N.Y. Post, watching the boats go up and down the Potomac, listen to Oriole ball games, and sipping cans of cold Coke in-between writing down random thoughts or brain storms in my handy legal pad. (If only current blog technology had existed then!)
Whether it was one of the many irritating guys with the excessively loud motorcycle, pulling up alongside the access road entrance of Sequoia near the Sun Dial, who keeps gunning the engine; the guy with the new sports car being a little obvious about wanting attention; the clueless, shirt-less guy who acts like he was just working-out and is now cooling down by making really excessive noises and arm and leg movements; the trippy rollerblading guy who gets a little too close to the people he's weaving thru on the sidewalk...There, as at VolleyPalooza, the people-watching is half-the-fun, though the models do have a way of refocusing your attention when they're in a good rally back and forth across the net, as they battle for Ocean Drive magazine's Grand Prize trophy and the opportunity to get a trip to the Turks and Caicos.
Unless something quite unusal happens, as per usual, I'll be rooting for the Elite Models, since of all the modeling agencies with offices here, they've always been -by far!- the friendliest to interact with over the years. In that sense, they're more my type -the girl next door.
Trust me, it's not for nothing that most of the photos I have from VolleyPaloozas past are of their agency.
Plus, whether by intention or circumstance, to me, Elite has always seemed to be the one agency in South Florida with the largest number of what could pass for "corn-fed Kappa cuties" the alliterative description of IU coeds in the early '80's that Playboy used in their Big Ten issue.
It's a phrase that's obviously deeply imprinted on me. http://www.elitemodel.com/
Not least of all because because the description of that girl next door appeal was 100% true then, as I was blessed to have so many friends at the beautiful Kappa Kappa Gamma house who were Exhibit A of that assertion, with brains and personality to spare.
If I can, I'm also going to try to swing by Collins & 22nd Street and take some photos for future posting purposes here of the W Hotel construction that's now in progess, which I haven't seen
posted anywhere else, though I suppose I could've missed it.
I really loved the W in San Francisco when I was there in 2000 on vacation from Washington!
The artist's rendition of the hotel's exterior, below, is interesting, but could also prove to be eerily iconic for the whole SoBe area after a Cat 4 hits, like those tourist hotels along the shore in Cancun the past 2-3 years that seem suddenly denuded and absurd being where they are. Just a thought.
For more photos of the W South Beach project, see: www.starwoodhotels.com and http://www.wsouthbeachresidence.com/EN-presentation-w-south-beach-residences-hotel-condo-hotel-condotel-condhotel-south-beach-miami-beach-florida.html
My prior post on VolleyPalooza was last year, so you might want to check that: http://southbeachhoosier.blogspot.com/2007/02/2007-volleypalooza-on-south-beach.htmlInformation at: http://www.oceandrive.com/flash/interface.html or (305) 532-2544
Some good photos from last year's event at:
Video at: http://volleypalooza.org/
All but the latter of the following will likely be represented this weekend in the matches.
I've tried to find am list of the competing teams and I've come up dry: