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Wasteland in the Sun

All the artsy-fartsies in Palm Beach County like to portray their home as the place where "culture has found its place in the sun." But public support for the prestigious Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth has been so feeble in recent years that, barring a financial miracle, the place will shut down after the close of its current show at the end of March, Tailpipe has learned. Operating out of a former movie theater on Lake Avenue, the museum has gamely provided a venue for adventurous group shows, like the current "I Feel Mysterious Today," and brash multimedia experimenters. There's nothing like the place in Palm Beach County.

But boldness of vision and $1 will buy you a cheap cigar. You gotta put Guccis on the museum floor.

With as few as five people showing up at the museum on some weekends, PBICA's days were numbered, says multimillionaire and philanthropist Robert Montgomery, who, along with his wife, Mary, is the museum's principal benefactor. For the "Mysterious" show, which features a collection of 70 supernatural-themed works from artists representing a dozen countries, the museum printed 2,000 bound catalogs -- and has so far sold four of them.

"I'm just not getting any traffic down there," Montgomery says. "We just can't get any interest in the place after five and a half years and a hell of a lot of money."

Montgomery, the folksy Palm Beach lawyer who's famous for fighting big tobacco and winning, bought the museum in 1999 from the Palm Beach Community College Foundation for $500,000. Since then, Montgomery says, he and Mary have sunk about $8.5 million into the museum. The place made a name for itself internationally, but the attractive art deco building never seemed to catch the eye of patrons, who were asked to shell out a modest three-buck entrance fee.

Montgomery says he has put the staff on notice that the museum will close with the scheduled ending of the "Mysterious" show on March 27 unless something incredible happens. "I hate like heck to do it," Montgomery says. "But when it costs you a couple of thousand dollars for everybody who walks through the doors, it's just not worth it."

Even if your notion of great art is a painting of Shania Twain on black velvet, this is huge. The 'Pipe's aesthetic side -- you know, the part that's not belching black smoke everywhere -- hasn't been in such a murky funk since they shut down the Florida Philharmonic last year.

Lemme In, Mr. Bouncer

Ever wonder how Florida Atlantic University police were able to crack a fake I.D. operation earlier this month? Well, Tailpipe has acquired an image of one of the confiscated licenses to show you how. The name has been blurred to protect the innocent-until-proven-guilty, but other clues on the license betray its phoniness. Can you find all seven? Answers below!

1) "Mike Hunt" is not actually New York's Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. As of 2002, Yorick Hunt is.

2) Pretty good prize, for a box of Cracker Jacks. Still, illegal.

3) Nice try on the birth date, but there was no leap year in 1953. Thus, this teen is not actually 51.

4) While it advertises on everything else in sight, Nike has yet to endorse a driver's license.

5) Sex: YES? Come on, now. This isn't a job application.

6) "Sorry, the photo looks nothing like you. And I'm pretty sure this guy used to drink a lot, before the red states elected him."

7) Last we checked, "001-03-09" was not a real expiration date. And we didn't even screw with this one. Some counterfeiter needs a proofreader.

Godfather of Gore

You can catch Fort Lauderdale condo dweller and millionaire Herschell Gordon Lewis' pithy observations in Right at Home, a throwaway real estate rag that's distributed on Fort Lauderdale's east side. Lewis' "humor" column is stuck in there with cheerful articles about Poinsettia Heights being a cat-friendly place and how Victoria Park interior decorators are choosing spare Zen styles. In the most recent issue, Gordon weighs in on the ever-fascinating subject of canine "poopery" on city sidewalks.

But wait. That name. The ever-vigilant Tailpipe plucked it out of the 1960s, connecting it to the director of a series of low-budget slasher flicks, such as Blood Feast, The Gruesome Twosome, and 2000 Maniacs. Who could forget the limbs hacked off, the eyeballs gouged out, the blood splashed around by the bucket? For his cinematic efforts, Herschell Gordon Lewis was nominated for the Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time by film chroniclers Harry and Michael Medved.

Who knew that it would all come to this for the Godfather of Gore? "I'm a dog lover, and our granddog, a Great Pyrenees, weighs in at 150 pounds. So when he has to go, it's an event."

Potty Patch

When a 9-year-old Georgia girl received a Cabbage Patch doll for Christmas, she found a curiously suggestive message within the toy's serial number: FUCKME.

Her parents were aghast, but officials at Play Along Inc. , the Deerfield Beach-based company that makes the dolls, explained it as purely an accident of computer-generated numbering. Maybe, but a New Times investigation of the serial numbers on other popular Christmas gifts for the kiddies turned up a virtual Caligulan toyland.

Here is a list of just a few of the numbers that we turned up on those little sewn-on tags:

On My Little Pony --


On GI Joe --


On Barbie --


And on Ken --


Speaking of Rags...

A Fort Lauderdale attorney, Richard Celler, on January 7 sued the Tribune Co., which owns the Sun-Sentinel. He alleged the Chicago-based firm had violated federal wage and hour law by underpaying Gail Bobb, who left Tribune last year to become a classified advertising salesperson at Miami New Times. No response so far from Tribune, which has sued New Times and Bobb for violating a noncompete agreement.

-- As told to Edmund Newton

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