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Regine's Last Stand


But by the end of the decade, the party began to wind down. A new generation of clubgoers deemed her club staid and stuffy, and even Regine's most faithful devotees found it hard to resist the sexy lure of Studio 54. "You didn't feel like you could start doing cocaine on the tables at Regine's, although it did happen once," says society chronicler Bob Colacello, who accompanied Warhol on a tour of her clubs around the world. "She wasn't giving out quaaludes to movie stars, she didn't have bartenders with their shirts off. She didn't have what people wanted when the times changed."

The club's business was further devastated by a yearlong picket line of union laborers. Regulars like Martha Graham, Anthony Quinn, and Joan Collins were pressured to cancel scheduled events, and celebrities like Ringo Starr refused to cross the line. Though the labor dispute was settled in mid-1987, there was no saving the club. The numbers of revelers plummeted, and in 1991, Regine's finally shut its doors. Her discos in Saint-Tropez, London, São Paulo, and Rio were also shuttered, and her partner in Chile set off a bomb at the Regine's in Santiago in an insurance scam. Regine took it all in stride. "He owes me money, that guy in Santiago," she sniffs. "But he's in jail now. I'll wait until he gets out. I'll get it back!"

Curfew may be midnight for the Broncos and Falcons, but at 3 a.m. on the Friday night of Super Bowl weekend, everyone else in Miami is drunk. Girls in string bikinis dangle cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon out of white convertible Mustangs on the limousine-choked streets of Ocean Drive, catcalling to tank-topped guys with shoulders so bulky that they're forced to walk single file on the narrow sidewalks; in any case, it's best to steer clear of the streets, since you never know when Sean "Puffy" Combs and friends are going to zip around the corner on their rented mopeds, their identical black jerseys making their possedom eminently clear.

Outside South Beach's hottest clubs -- Chaos, Liquid, Cameo, Shadow Lounge -- restless banjee boys slip $50s to surly doormen; inside, the crowds drain G&Ts and rub rumps with celebrities like Daisy Fuentes and Gene Simmons, and sing along to the lyrics of this winter's No. 1 rap song, Will Smith's "Miami." At Ingrid Casares's new Bar Room, Jennifer Lopez is dancing so energetically that her tube top falls down; fleeing the sweaty crowds, Cameron Diaz makes out with new beau Ed Norton on the balcony; entering with a six-ten, platinum-tressed drag queen named Elaine, Dennis Rodman pronounces the weekend "the chillingest thing I've seen in a while," rubbing his close-cropped skull. "I've never been to Carnaval or nothing like that, but what you got here is it, as far as America goes."

But across town in a far quieter strip of Miami Beach, there's one club where hardly anyone cares that the biggest sporting event in the country is only a day away. "We have our own version of football -- I guess it's what you call soccer," says a British-accented Iranian who claims the royal name of Pahlavi, reclining in a leather banquette under a chandelier the size of a wrecking ball. With more wood paneling than the Oak Room, stone statuettes of Venus guarding the foyer, and a gold-plated MEMBERS ONLY sign prominently placed over a bouquet of orchids, this lavishly over-the-top, many-roomed restaurant and disco, Jimmy'z, is Regine's Miami mainstay.

Tonight there are only a few goateed teenage boys hanging around the velvet rope, but Regine brushes by them. Outfitted in a tight leopard-print pantsuit with gold hoops hanging to her shoulders, she shuffles through Jimmy'z, past the mirrored aubergine lounge, past the life-size Harry Benson portrait of herself in the blood-red dining room, past an expansive VIP area lined with faux-stained-glass windows, all the while yelling at her husband in Paris on a tiny Nokia phone: "Two hundred people waiting to get in!" she yells. "This is crazy!"

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