Fight for Your White to Party Week 1999 – Miami New Times

One of the accomplishments in my life that I am the proudest of is my founding of White Party Week in Miami, first as a fundraiser for Health Crisis Network then for CareResource.

The first White Party took place at Frank Wager’s home in Coral Gables when people were dying around us and we had no idea of what was causing it. It then moved on to Viscaya one of the most beautiful places in Miami. By 1994 Keith Cromley the assistant director of development of htn came to me and said that there was no more room for growth in fundraising at one event in Viscaya. So we worked together to create White Party Week.

Along with 550 volunteers we created an event that was so spectacular that Sky one broadcasting from the UK did a three-hour documentary on how we accomplished it. In my last year as chairman we raised 1.2 million dollars after all expenses. In 1999 that was a lot of money. I resigned from my chairmanship in 2000 with a heavy heart but thought giving it to others to carry on would be the best after having been the chair for five years.

This was taken at the inception of White Party Week

We started off in 1995 with six events and grew to 23 events by the year 2000.

Lark Bennett and Keith Cromley we’re both instrumental has staff members in making sure that this huge event ran like a well-oiled machine. When Lark became the director of development for Care Resource she took it to the next level.


Lark Bennett, Director of development, CareResource, photo credit: fabulous! The Movie

Yours Truly, at the Press event

Lark Bennett and I after a triumphant White Party Week

Being on the board of directors of HCN or Health Crisis Network and being the founding chair a white party week are two of the things I am most proud of in my life and I am so grateful that I was able to do so.

AVB

click here for full Miami New Times article

Rembering one of the founders of South Beach on her birthday: SHEL KRAMER!

MIAMI BEACH/NEW YORK ARTIST, SHEL KRAMER’s birthday was May 31ST and her art and career speak for themselves. She and I were frequent if not daily, customers of the Strand Restaurant on Miami Beach. It was an early oasis of style, fashion in a otherwise blighted part of what was then called Miami Beach The Strand put Miami Beach back on the map. This area later got the moniker South Beach or simply SoBe and you all know the history after that. Unfortunately Shel died of cancer, way too soon and he is survived by her daughters Susan and Alison.

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The one and only Natalie Thomas creator of the Cosmopolitan

Natalie Thomas was the heart and soul of the Strand Restaurant. When you walked in she greeted you and made sure you were made to feel like a part of the family. One February night in 1989 Natalie Thomas was featured in an article in Cosmopolitan magazine. It was a memorable night one of those warm and sultry Miami Beach evenings. The who’s who of Miami Beach was there. At one point in the evening Natalie said that she wanted to commemorate this evening by creating a drink called The Cosmopolitan. As she was picking the ingredients for this new drink Shel Kramer insisted that Plain Absolut be used in Natalie Thomas’ Original Cosmopolitan Cocktail Invention on February 20, 1989, and so it was. I remember Natalie giving the bartender what he should be putting into this cocktail and at the very end she said to him “make it red, I’m wearing a red dress” and they added cranberry juice. Many people were there including iconic South Beach resident Louis Canales.
Others have tried to say that they invented this drink but they are merely usurpers to the throne. So in memory of Shel, I thought i set the record straight. Natalie Thomas is the true creator of the Cosmopolitan made famous on South Beach and then the big and small screen.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHEL!

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This article will bring back memories to many of us and clearly states who created the Cosmopolitan cocktail