Party Like a Video Star

Your guide to the festivals, VIP-only events, and block parties of the VMAs

South Florida is officially in bed with MTV. All of the world's twinkling, teenybopper eyes are on us this weekend, so here's your chance to get out to the clubs and parties and act irresistibly cool as the crisp Benjamins and soaring Nielsen ratings roll in.

After bankrolling a few elusive festivities such as a free concert at Margaret Pace Park on August 21 and pre-parties at B.E.D. and Banana Joe's, Viacom's favorite daughter has wooed you for an extended urban tryst that begins Thursday, August 26, and quickly snowballs into Sunday, marking the 21st birthday of the MTV Video Music Awards. And she's bringing fledgling, tragically bronzed songstress Paris Hilton, a freewheeling and adamantly political P. Diddy, and a slew of righteous parties with her. It almost makes up for ruining modern music.


VMA Cocowalk Takeover

Just hours before students at the University of Miami return for their inaugural Thirsty Thursday binge session at the Grove, MTV is scheduled to commandeer a choice location for libations. Expect a live set by DJ trio the X-ecutioners for the main event, with local hip-hop tablists Rob Dinero, Irie, and De la Soul's Maseo.

"VMA Cocowalk Takeover" takes place from 5 till 9 p.m. Thursday, August 26, at Cocowalk, 3510 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com.

VMA Block Party One

This free and overly generous helping of Dirty South crunk is for the furious, sun-sick heads who didn't hit the VMA ticket lottery, and it promises to bring a ruckus. With performances by Lil' Scrappy, Trillville, Kevin Lyttle, a chart-clawing Ciara, and local homey Pitbull, bet it all on black that their mega-producer, Lil' Jon, will be leaning back as the consummate master of ceremonies. All that's missing is Mr. Don Cartagena himself.

"VMA Block Party One" takes place from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, August 27, at Club Row, NE 11th Street between NE Second Avenue and Miami Avenue, Miami. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com.

P. Diddy Presents Welcome to Miami

Mansion's sleek, red décor may receive an Art Deco makeover in preparation for one of the more lavish weekend soirees open to the public (for a steep price). The affable Clown Prince of boom bap, Biz Markie, is scheduled to work the ones-and-twos and possibly do a few truffle-shuffles. Of course Microsoft is cosponsoring the event 'cause they live dat shit too. Oh yeah, all of those spooky "Vote or Die" T-shirts you'll see are from P. Diddy's Citizen Change Initiative, his commendably nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses "Spider-Man marketing saturation" to urge the youth to vote or die. A moderate downer, if well intentioned. But nobody beats the Biz.

"P. Diddy Presents Welcome to Miami" takes place from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday, August 27, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.

VMA Block Party Two

This free VMA block party sequel brings a far less intense, more soulful roster of acts such as Anthony Hamilton, Carl Thomas, and -- hell yeah -- the Spam Allstars, not to mention a rumored cameo by New Edition (!). Meanwhile, the Cash Money Millionaires, De la Soul, and Mason Betha pave over the R&B smoothness. Curiously, punk band Yellowcard has been tacked on to this lineup, but hey, it's free.

"VMA Block Party Two" takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 28, at Club Row, NE 11th Street between NE Second Avenue and Miami Avenue, Miami. Visit www.vmainfo.mtv.com.

Paris Hilton, Screwed

If Ashl-eeeek Simpson can go platinum, who's to keep the vacant-eyed debutante known as Paris Hilton from controlling the mic? Then again, after leaking her single "Screwed" (smell the irony?), it's unlikely the evening's mixmaster, DJ A.M., can reverse such inevitable tragedy. Dave Chappelle is hosting this, so shit's got to be money.

"Paris Hilton's Screwed" album launch party takes place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday, August 28, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.

MTV2 Presents: A LIFEbeat Benefit

DJ Mark Ronson's kid sis Samantha Ronson is on deck to spin a tasteful carousel of punk, classic rawk, and a little Killa Cam at this shindig for LIFEbeat, a charitable AIDS organization. All proceeds go to the cause, and De la Soul (they're everywhere) and DJ A.M. are booked to get this humanitarian jump-off started properly.

"MTV2 Presents: A LIFEbeat Benefit" takes place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, August 28, at Crobar, 1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-531-5027.

R. Kelly's Party

Guess who's back? R. Kelly steps back into Vice City after cleaning up at the recent Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards. R. also dropped a double album last Tuesday with the instantly classic title, Happy People/U Saved Me.Resident DJ Khaled creates tonight's soundtrack.

"R. Kelly's Party" takes place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday, August 28, at Opium Garden, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-531-5535.

Outkast's Post-awards Bash

Dre and Big Boi, who are up for five moon man statues (including Video of the Year) for "Hey Ya!," are reportedly pulling out all the stops for this VIP-only event with a high-concept, debauched theme loosely based on the South African island of Madagascar. The evening's soundtrack is domestic, though, as Aussie supermodel Sky Nellor and bottom-of-the-map DJ Goldfinger pass around the wettest sticky-icky anthems fit for the VMA's biggest presumed winners.

"Outkast's Post-awards Bash" takes place at 11 p.m. Sunday, August 29, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-532-1525.

 
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