Fairies, satyrs, Charlie Crist, Alvin Malnik at Make-A-Wish ball 08

Posted by Alvin Malnik on March 02, 2009

Written By Jose Lambiet from Page 2 Live

With all due respect to Palm Beach, the world’s capital of the black-tie gala, Ocean Ridge check-cashing store king Alvin Malnik’s yearly Make-a-Wish shindig in Miami is fast becoming the best and most imaginative in South Florida.

Bar none.

To raise in the middle of a recession $1.5 million or so – that’s more than twice the loot of the average Palm Beach fund-raiser! – organizers allowed West Palm Beach party designer Bruce Sutka to go wild.

Result: Cocktail time Saturday night in the lobby of the Intercontinental downtown Miami was in a built-from-scratch “enchanted forest” straight out of The Chronicles of Narnia, with actors dressed as fairies and satyrs and centaurs and werewolves and butterflies and rocks and an ice queen.

As the likes of Gov. Charlie Crist, HBO’s Entourage star Adrien Grenier, designer Richie Rich, reality TV’s Kim Kardashian and former Gov. Bob Graham strolled through, they found what appeared to be a fountain sculpture come alive. Or a bush with human eyes.

Long-haired Norm Gitzen, a Lake Worth artist who made news in 2005 when the Village of Wellington banned his sculpture of a well-endowed mermaid from a village building, actually played a half-man, half-horse. He designed it for Halloween years ago.

“Someone once tried to light my tail on fire,” he said, “but this is not the kind of party where that’d happen.”

The food wasn’t too shabby either. Nice touch: An array of ice creams with flavors most people wouldn’t want to touch but did after a taste: olive oil, pepperoni, and garlic.

The conversation, meanwhile, turned to politics. It was, after all, President-elect Barack Obama’s fourth day on the transition job.

“My guy didn’t win, but President-elect Obama is my guy, too,” said Crist, who was eyed by GOP presidential hopeful John McCain as a potential vice president. “We need to work together to go forward.”

(Photos by Alina Lambiet and Fred Montana)

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