I — 69? Repeat, I — 69?

Smoke-filled seniors centers. Q-tip-topped retirees. Crazy Cat Ladies schlepping around specialized blotters, and “lucky charms.” Take everything you associate with Bingo and vanquish it from your mental inner workings; since The Standard (40 Island Ave., Miami Beach) took over the sport it’s been repackaged, rejuvenated, and infused with booze and sex. Just like all of life’s best stuff.

“It’s just fun, sexual innuendo, dictator bingo,” Erica Fickling explains casually. Sure, today Erica is in her 9 to 5 role: Executive Assistant at the Standard Hotel in Miami Beach, but come Sundays at 8 p.m. she is transformed into Vanna Black, a chic presenter of numbered and lettered balls. Dressed in vintage cocktail attire, she and her co-emcee, Dianna, rule the Bingo hall (or in this case Bingo hotel) with an iron fist. “We give out shots to make sure everyone’s drunk and rowdy,” she says, “and if two people call Bingo at the same time, they have to settle it with a dance-off.” Yes, you read that properly: A dance-off. “It’s always the unexpected people who surprise you,” recalls Erica. “Once we had a guy with grey hair, glasses, a little bit nerdy — caught in a tie breaker. He threw down the worm.”

Do you think you have what it takes to stand up and declare Bingo? Are your fingers nimble enough to compete in the half-time air guitar competition? Do you like getting drunk and throwing down cardboard at hip, fancy joints? Join master ball handlers Vanna and Dianna, along with DJ Induce every Sunday starting at 8 p.m.; you could win anything from free cocktails to a night’s stay at the swanky Standard, Miami. Call 305-673-1717, or visit www.standardhotels.com/miami.
Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: Aug. 3. Continues through Jan. 4, 2008

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Jamie Laughlin