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Tom Wolfe On Art Basel: An Excerpt From Back To Blood

The November issue of Vanity Fair - not yet online, and not yet out on newsstands in Miami as far as we can tell, but magically somehow already out on the iPad edition - has an extended excerpt adapted from that upcoming Tom Wolfe novel that has Miami quivering with expectation: Back to Blood. The first two paragraphs from VF are below, after the jump.

The excerpt is quite lengthy, coming in at about 19 iPad pages (which are formatted differently than magazine pages) and it's about Art Basel, Russian oligarchs, and the hysteria of a multi-million dollar art buying spree. The book itself comes out on October 23rd, and the 'making of' movie Tom Wolfe Gets Back To Blood (only a book about Miami would have a 'making of' movie) hits O Cinema Tomorrow.

It was December, which in Miami Beach had only the most boring meteorological significance. Imagine a picture book with the same photograph on every page... every page... high noon beneath a flawless cloudless bright-blue sky... on every page... a tropical sun that turns those rare old birds, pedestrians, into stumpy abstract black shadows on the sidewalk... on every page... unending views of the Atlantic Ocean, "unending" meaning that every couple of blocks, if you squint at a certain angle between the gleaming pinkish butter-colored condominium towers that wall off the shining sea from clueless gawkers w ho come to Miami Beach thinking they can just drive down to the shore and see the beaches and the indolent recliner & umbrella people and the lapping waves and the ocean sparkling and glistening and stretching out to the horizon in a perfect 180-degree arc... if you squint just right, every couple of blocks you can get a skinny, thin-as-a-ballpoint-refill, vertical glimpse of the ocean-blip-and it's gone... on every page... on every page... However, at high noon, or 11:45 a.m., to be exact, on this particular December day Magdalena and Norman were indoors... in the distinguished company of Maurice Fleischmann, along with Marilyn Carr, his "A.A.," as he called her... short for art advisor. In fact, he had begun using that as her nickname... "Hey, A.A., come take a look at this" ... or whatever. With dignity, insofar as that was possible, the four of them sought to keep their place in line, more or less, less a line in fact, and more like a scrimmage at an Iranian airline counter. Two hundred or so restless souls, most of them middle-aged men, 11 of whom had been pointed out to Magdalena as billionaires—billionaires—12, if you counted Maurice himself, were squirming like maggots over the prospect of what lay on the other side of an inch-thick glass wall just inside a small portal, Entrance D of the Miami Beach Convention Center. The Convention Center took up an entire city block on Miami Beach. An ordinary person could walk past Entrance D every day for years and never be conscious of its existence. That was the whole point. Ordinary people didn't know and mustn't know that billionaires and countless nine-digit millionaires were in there squirming like maggots... 15 minutes before Miami Art Basel's moment of money and male combat. They all had an urge.

· Vanity Fair [Vanity Fair]
· Tom Wolfe Gets Back To Blood [O Cinema]