NEW YORK Another Super Bowl, another onslaught of mega parties vying for media attention. Plenty of journos (many of whom were also covering the game) dipped into the festive fray and offered up their opinions on the spectacle of excess that descended on Miami last weekend. Some remain unimpressed.
“Here’s what makes Super Bowl week special: bouncers and party planners out of control,” offers Ethan J. Skolnick of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Otherwise, how to explain Bruce Smith and Lennox Lewis being denied access to the Maxim party at the Sagamore last night? Or Tim Hardaway waiting 20 minutes to get into Dwyane Wade’s party at Bongo’s the night before, when they share the same agent?”
Mark Purdy at sports blog Morning Buzz lays into the mythology of the Super Bowl party with his column “From the Super Bowl: The Brutal Truth About Carmen Electra, Terrell Owens and Those ‘Wild’ South Beach Parties,” which is worth reading in its entirety. A sample: “All of the parties have generally the same vibe: People looking around at other people to see if they are in the coolest spot. … But nobody seems to be really having as much fun as they will tell their friends they had later.” (Ouch!)
The folks at Deadspin managed to infiltrate the Maxim bash and sent back this dispatch: “The Hotel de Maxim, unfortunately, had two bathrooms that were supposed to satisfy about 4,000 Coors Light-filled bladders for the evening.” Even so, the blog’s verdict held that the Maxim crew was “who we thought they were—shockingly awesome.”
John McClain of The Houston Chronicle was also impressed: “I’ve been to a lot of parties, including the last few Maxim bashes, but none equaled this one. First of all, it was at the Sagamore Hotel on South Beach. The crowd outside the ropes on Collins Avenue was so large that it was almost impossible to walk on the sidewalk or to drive on the street. There was a red carpet for the hoard of celebrities that attended. Scantily clad babes were wall to wall inside and outside.”
Over at USA Today, Michael McCarthy sets the bar high, quoting an editor saying, “For young male jocks and celebs, Maxim’s annual Super Bowl party ‘is the Black and White ball of the 21st century, the social event of the year.’”
But The Miami Herald dubbed the Playboy bash “the hottest ticket of the weekend.” CBS had different intelligence (a ticket scalper) reporting: “Biggest party right now is the Ocean Drive party. … It’s a big concert on the beach with Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez and it’s also with Fergie.”
Chicago Tribune writer Luis Arroyave gives the Penthouse shindig some ink but also notes a glitch in the evening’s schedule, writing, “Snoop Dogg is supposed to perform around 12-12:30 AM. The D.O. double G doesn’t end up coming out until 2 in the morning (2 in the monin’). By then, the crowd is exhausted. Not even ‘Ain’t No Fun’ can wake them up.”
Andrea Adelson at The Orlando Sentinel gives high praise to LL Cool J’s performance at the ESPN Block Party but wasn’t so keen on its location “at an up-and-coming area in Downtown Miami known as the design district. Why it is up-and-coming is beyond me. The area is in a ratty part of Miami that is trying to be cool, but is not just yet and probably never will be (Not as long as South Beach exists).” All right, then.
Adelson’s annoyance continued: “The air conditioning in the building seemed to be on the fritz. UMM, No. 1 on the list of things to get right at a party in Miami: make sure the AC works. People were dripping inside. The first floor felt like a sauna.”
For the most comprehensive take (other than, say, ours), check out ESPN’s rundown of the competing parties all over Miami, complete with celeb spotting, takes on the food, and gossip tidbits.
To sum up: Maxim definitely created the buzz it was after, but Ocean Drive did have TomKat in the house. (Photos hitting your favorite celeb rag right about … now.) Which soiree came out on top? As often is the case, it probably depends on whom you talk to … and perhaps how much they paid to get in.