The First Train to Clark-ville

Lauderdale hosts a candidacy in its infancy

Cunningham, age 35, a rental-car agent who's a native of Jamaica, had his pearly whites decorated in his home country 18 years ago. He was going for the ever-popular gold look, he says, but the good doctor said he was bo-o-ored with doing caps. Try a semiprecious stone, only $400 to $500, the dentist said. A light bulb flashed above Cunningham's head. How about a whole row of them? Make it a family thing. "I have 18 brothers and sisters," Cunningham said. "I couldn't put in 18 gems, so I thought eight was close enough."

The dentist drilled small holes in Cunningham's teeth and bonded the jewels with a special glue. Cunningham had a slight headache when it was done, but damn, there was that blinding smile. He says the jewels haven't complicated his daily rituals -- they've never caught on his wife's lips, for instance (though the first time he met his wife's parents, they said, "What's with the teeth?"). The only problem, Cunningham says, is that everyone always wants to study them. "They'll tell me to open my mouth wider [so they can see them better], but I can't get my mouth to open any wider," he says.

This could be the next big thing in dentistry, contends Steve Hesse, president of the Minnesota-based ToothJewelry Co., who wants to bring stone-filled dentistry into this country in a big way. "This could be bigger even than tooth whitening," Hesse says.

Tailpipe asked his own dentist (yes, this smoke-spewing cylinder has teeth) if he could get some jewels implanted. She made a face. "Not in this practice," said Dr. Natalia Alvarado.


Copasetic week for Tailpipe. The message light on his phone glowed with special energy the other day. Powering it was an eloquent personal appeal from Anthony Spota, owner of Synn City, a Pompano Beach strip club mentioned in Tailpipe's September 4 column: "Tell that stupid fuck [Tailpipe] that the recent DEA raid that he said hit nine clubs never hit Synn City. Tell that stupid fuck his information was not correct. I'm fuckin' furious. I got money to burn, and I will sue the fuckin' balls off of New Times." Then this: "I just found out that your editor called back my manager and started yelling at her. I spoke with DEA about this, and the only reason they might not get sued for millions or maybe a couple of hundred thousand is that they said the arrests were made in the vicinity of the club. Tell that cocky-ass editor that the vicinity of my club is the ghetto."

Tailpipe isn't exactly sure about all the implications from the word raid, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said that two frequenters of Synn City who "pretty much had the run of the place, including behind the bar" were arrested August 15 and 17 after they sold a combined 800 Ecstasy tabs to undercover agents. The transactions were made inside the club, DEA spokesman Joe Kilmer said. While the two were eventually arrested elsewhere, they were swept up in a dragnet that covered eight Broward County clubs. Spota apparently runs a clean operation; the Synn City management was not implicated. But the alleged offenders were "clearly something more than casual customers," Kilmer said.

Even more edifying, after enjoying Spota's Henry Milleresque encomium, the cylinder was dressed down by one of the strippers he ran across at another club. Tailpipe's description of the gals at Davie's Fantasy Lounge (which had been shut down for 30 days following a raid by state agents) was insulting, and the lascivious illustration accompanying the column didn't look at all like them, she said. The stripper didn't like the 'Pipe's characterization of Laurie, the bartender, either. Tailpipe could hear a voice from behind the bar shouting in the background: "Ask him what the hell pugnacious means!"

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