We were directed to wave for the cameras. So, naturally, we assumed that standing somewhere behind us would be a photographer or a step-and-repeat to stand against with our canned smiles. “Look up!” shouted Olivia Kim, who had invited 50 friends, including architect Rafael de Cardenas, Paper’s Mickey Boardman, and swimsuit designer Lisa Marie Fernandez to a bayside dinner at the Standard Spa for the holiday edition of her Pop-In curated collection for Nordstrom. There, above our heads, alien-green lights flashed and whizzed. Our paparazzo was a drone.
A flying machine, albeit a much larger one, say, a helicopter, was needed to transport us over to the next event of the evening. But with the infamous Miami traffic clogging Collins Avenue, we ran. Why? Because some 3,000 people had been invited to the Jeffrey Deitch x V magazine extravaganza, and the three gates that opened to the Raleigh Hotel’s backyard where Miley Cyrus was performing for the bash were thronged by VIPs of all levels clamoring to get in. Many were denied. “You need to move,” said security, trying to let in some VVIPs. “I can’t move,” said someone who must have just been a regular VIP woman. “I literally can’t move.”
But inside, the mood was calm — peaceful, even. Deitch seemed peeved that his grand fete wasn’t packed to the gills. “We had 400 people RSVP, but they won’t let people in,” he said, complaining about the security. “It’s only half-full in here.” Those who made it, however, were enjoying themselves. A street-style blogger took photos of guests in designer clothes; China Chow ran through the crowd in her Chanel Pantone dress; ex–Real Housewife Jill Zarin was wearing last spring’s brushstroked Céline dress. Two small booths of Miley Cyrus fan art had been erected near the VIP ropes. The crowd was chatty, sipping on Champagne and cocktails. “I thought I was skinny but I guess I’m not that skinny,” said a thin woman to another thin woman. “So what?” SEEN overheard another guest say, diminutive in stature. “Short people don’t like art?”
Miley was scheduled to come on at 11, and at exactly 11:01, the neon lights flared and Rick James’s “Super Freak” blared, and out stepped Miley in a tinsel wig, silver pasties, silver tights, and a very slender unitard. “This is fucking FUN,” she belted to the crowd, then proceeded to detail that 2014 “just felt like nothing meant anything and I wasn’t making music I wanted to anymore, so it took a really shitty thing to happen to me of losing my dog to get my perspective again. Once I did, I could make art again. A dog dying is a really shitty fucking thing. My friend, she lost her cat. I had these crazy dreams about her cat, who told me what I was supposed to say to her to get her through, so I wrote this song, called ‘The Twinkle Song.’” Miley looked out at the crowd. “Give me five seconds to mentally prepare for this,” she said. Then she sang: “I had a dream that you were dying / I had a dream I didn’t give a fuck / but I gave a fuck / I miss you so bad / I think I might die / I had a dream/ what did it mean / I just want to scream.”
People danced and took Instagrams. But Miley acknowledged that this was a bit of “a fucking downer.” So she covered her favorite tunes instead, including the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” Classic rock, however, didn’t seem to work its magic on the crowd. “You people don’t know Johnny Cash or the Beatles? Who are you?!” she teased. She brought onstage — in an inflatable rainbow — Wayne Coyne, the front man of the Flaming Lips. “We don’t like people who are mean,” Coyne shouted, “especially people who are mean to animals. I hate those motherfuckers who are mean to animals. We’ll get them with our music.” Got it. A woman came out onstage in a silver jumpsuit and shook her breasts. A man in an inflatable penis costume danced onstage underneath a silver tarp. At the concert’s close, confetti and currency printed with Miley’s face rained through the air. Baby dolls had been strung up in the palm trees — Miley had wanted 40,000 of them, but the budget was a little tight — and people were cutting them down and carried them out, cradled in their arms. All the while, Deitch stood near Miley’s art, guarding it. “We must be vigilant,” he said.
Last in the night was the basement dance-a-thon from Horse Meat Disco. George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, whose eponymous firm designed the Edition hotel, were throwing a celebration there for their architectural wonderland. Surprisingly, when asked if people were familiar with HMD, whose raging parties in London are heavily responsible for the disco revival of the last ten years, many said they weren’t. But Harry Brant, Jacolby Satterwhite, Lady Bunny, Frank Thiel, Leigh Lezark, Will Cotton, and more all were sweating and shaking and spreading the love — with no mean people (or animal cruelty) in sight. Who knew that Art Basel could be so free? Literally. The bar was open until 3 a.m.