By Lesley Abravanel
Now’s the time for us locals to take back our city and appreciate the things that throngs of tourists pay good money for. We recommend checking out Bella Rose, the new bar/lounge at 423 16th St. in Miami Beach, where one recent Friday night some of us, ahem, were mesmerized by the video screens playing old-school Janet Jackson, Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dogg and even SWV. A purely locals’ scene, Bella Rose is reminiscent of the days of South Beach before the billion-dollar bottle club came to town.
From music videos to film, the 12th Brazilian Film Festival of Miami kicks off Friday and goes through June 7 with screenings at the Colony Theatre, Wolfsonian and Miami Beach Cinematheque. Tickets at the Colony and Wolfsonian can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com and tickets for films at the Miami Beach Cinematheque at www.mbcinema.com. Guests can also purchase a VIP pass for $150, which includes access to all screenings, private parties, and the closing night awards ceremony. The festival launches Friday with a free opening party at the North Beach Bandshell, where an outdoor screening of Urban Snapshots, the festival’s 2007 Best Picture Public Choice, will be projected onto a giant screen. The free event begins at 7 p.m. with music and live performances and will be followed by the outdoor film screening at sundown (approximately 8:30 p.m.). In the event of rain, the films will be shown at the Colony instead. Fore more information on parties and screenings, go to www.BrazilianFilmFestival.com.
Meanwhile, Italy comes to Mansion Saturday in the form of the country’s leading DJ, Benny Benassi, who will spin his inimitable brand of Euro electro house shortly after midnight for a cover of $20. If Benassi makes you hungry for Italian food, consider the first Coral Gables Restaurant Week, June 2-8, featuring three-course prix fixe menus at some of the best restaurants there, including Cacao, La Cofradia, Le Provencal, Ortanique on the Mile, Fritz & Franz Bierhaus, Caffe Abbracci and more.
Another tasty deal can be found at the Conrad Miami’s Level 25, where Elevated Fridays features a melange of $6 cocktails with free hors d’oeuvres prepared by chef Michael Gilligan. Happy hour is from 5-8 p.m. every Friday and free food goes from 6-7 p.m. And as retro fab as Cosmopolitans seem these days, they’re everywhere again thanks to the resurgence of Carrie and her Sex and the City posse on the big screen. At Set Friday night, a fusion of Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour, Dior Beauty and Dulce de Leche will celebrate the release of the movie and the launch of Tinsley Pink, the limited edition, Saks-exclusive Dior Ultra Gloss named after the brand’s beauty ambassador and social-lite, Tinsley Mortimer. The soiree, which goes from 10 p.m.-midnight will also offer Dior Beauty artists doing touch-ups and whatnot. A portion of the proceeds from Tinsley Pink sales go to Operation Smile.
All smiles are foodies thrilled by the return of Pacific Time in the Design District. It’s joined this week by Fratelli Lyon, 4141 Second Ave., owned by Ken Lyon of the much lamented, much loved Dean & Deluca-esque Lyon Freres et Compagnie in the space now known as Sushisamba on Lincoln Road. Fratelli Lyon isn’t your typical pasta place, either. Offering Italian regional and organic fare, the restaurant is a collaboration with Driade, the contemporary Italian furniture company. All the restaurant furnishings, from bar fixtures, chairs and tables to dishes, glassware, flatware and accessories, are sourced from Driade and available for purchase in the store.
And while we’re on the subject of neo-culinary nostalgia, an outpost of News Cafe has opened in the courtyard of the 55th Street Station off Biscayne Boulevard featuring indoor and outdoor seating, DJs, billiards and al fresco screenings. Best of all, it’s pet friendly, has WiFi and is a far cry from Ocean Drive, although when the original News opened there in 1988 it was somewhat reminiscent of today’s Biscayne, so, rhetorically speaking, who knows what the area will look like 20 years from now?