Art Basel is the only place in America where a guy with a net worth of roughly $45.13 can wind up staying at a mansion called Crazy Bitch, partying with Lindsay Lohan, and having a run-in with Conrad Hilton’s spoiled sperm experiment, otherwise known as Barron.
Over the past decade, the annual art fair, which used to be cool, has become a decadent and depraved spectacle in which celebrities jockey to mingle with artists they’d otherwise spit on, and everyone is a brand or branding something. I’ve been coming down for almost 10 years. Last year’s event was a marketing melee so overwrought with horrible corporate events that I vowed never to return. That is until I got a contract from Cy Waits, Paris Hilton’s ex-boyfriend, who helps run the popular XS nightclub in Las Vegas.
I’m a freelance writer, but I also co-own a bar in the East Village and dabble in event planning. My contract was to help Waits and make a little extra money. What I didn’t plan on: becoming an artist myself. My performance masterpiece, Lohan Thug, was conceived by accident. It was, however, the best piece at Basel, where most people were pawning off their soiled underwear as art. Lohan Thug focuses on what happens when the best media outlet (TMZ) accuses an accidental artist (me) of beating up a quasi-famous person (Barron Hilton) on orders from a real famous person (Lindsay Lohan)—and the artist is forced to run from the cops. It’s a major addition to the American canon and a comment on absolutely everything. Here’s how it came to be:
A week before the fair I learned that Waits’ new club in Miami wasn’t ready to open. So my business partners and I decided to quickly move our events—a party by A$AP Rocky with DIS Mag, another for Bullett Magazine with Tamaryn, etc.—to other venues. At the last minute we also had to book a place to stay. We were lucky. Some Palm Beach friends had other friends who wanted to stay in a mansion, so we linked up and rented a $20 million Star Island pad next-door to Puffy and Leo.
One of the people renting the house with us just so happened to be Lohan’s current boyfriend, whom I won’t name. So Lohan decided to stay with us and hang out. It made sense. Lohan is Andy Warhol’s wet dream—a child star gone rogue, who grows up to be an American badass. If she were in the fine arts, her rebellion would be celebrated à la Dash Snow. Were she a eurozone politician, she would be one “bunga bunga” away from reelection. But as a film actress, she is crucified by the puritanical press for the very things most people do in their 20s. And never mind that she’s hugely talented. But I digress.
I met Lohan the first day we arrived at the mansion. We were in the kitchen, and I told her she was on dish duty. She hardly flinched, until I said I was kidding, and then she laughed and said “Thank God!” She really is a good actor. We chatted for awhile about Bret Easton Ellis’ great script for The Canyons, a film Lohan starred in that I’ve bought on pay-per-view like nine times. All our friends agreed not to party-hop—we wanted to find one place and stay there. We talked about going to Kendrick Lamar’s performance, but then said nah, he’s a fake bitch who can’t rap, let’s go to LIV.
LIV is probably the best nightclub in the city. We left the house around 11 p.m. and hopped in someone’s cool SUV. We hung out backstage behind the DJ, and at about 2 a.m., Kanye West and Kim Kardashian showed up and sat next to us. Sandy Kim, the photographer, was taking photos of all of us, and LIV’s owner David Grutman tried to kill her and me for taking pictures of Kimye—even though we were working for him the next night! Gotta love Basel. Lindsay Lohan, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian. Now that is contemporary American art.
The next day I ran into Lohan a few times. Her brother Michael cooked us a feast of hamburgers and hot dogs, which were a real treat. But mostly, I worked. It was 5 a.m. by the time I got home to the rented mansion and discovered a huge party. I didn’t know anyone there, the crowd was lame, and I went to bed.
In the morning I woke up to discover that a bunch of people had been up all night doing Molly. My friend’s name was on the lease of this mansion, and we didn’t want anyone to trash it, so we started kicking people out. I walked out to the patio, and I saw this blond brosef in a top hat and John Lennon sunglasses. He seemed nice at first, but when I asked him to leave, he went bonkers.
“Don’t fuck with me. Do you know who my sisters are?”
“No, dude. I just woke up. Stop. Leave.”
“Paris and Nicky!”
As in Paris and Nicky Hilton. Barron got in my face and wouldn’t shut up about his stupid family. Eventually things got so heated that he pushed me. And that’s when the alleged assault, which, of course, I deny, took place. (I imagine he wouldn’t have even gotten cut if it wasn’t for those stupid sunglasses.)
A few minutes later I left to meet up with some friends in South Beach. But apparently Barron called his sister, and she convinced him to alert TMZ. “No one fucks with my family and gets away with it,” she told the Internet.
Funnily enough, a few hours later a woman tapped my shoulder and entered the nightclub booth where I was sitting. It was Nicky Hilton. Unknowingly, she attended my event at the Delano hotel. I asked how Barron was doing—she didn’t know who I was—and she said he was fine, just a few scratches. I ran into Paris that night too, but didn’t talk to her.
The next day a reporter friend called to say that Miami police had my name and were about to go public with it. Someone leaked my number to a bunch of media outlets. Suddenly Art Basel became Snitch Basel. All these people diming me out didn’t realize they were giving my name to some of the same reporters who drink at my bar—and who were hanging out with me in Miami.
It’s funny that here in Florida, where George Zimmerman got away with shooting and killing an unarmed teen on public property, police are hunting me for allegedly punching some dude who stepped to me and wouldn’t leave my rental.
So now I’m down in the Florida Keys, like some Jim Harrison character on the lam, waiting out this storm of stupidity. I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba by boat, and that’s how Lohan Thug ends. The Hiltons represent everything that sucks about America, and I’ll be happy to get away from them. The irony, of course, is that when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, he took over the Havana Hilton. Say what you want about the man, but he knew how to spot an asshole from 90 miles away. That’s why he’d never be caught dead at Art Basel.