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Sex Museum Opens in South Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Florida – Fans of sex and comedy (and who isn’t?) rejoice. It’s not quite a Renaissance, but the cultural transition of South Beach continues.

First, the sexy. Just in time for the tourist onslaught, and winning rave reviews from just about everyone who has visited, comes the grand opening of the World Erotic Art Museum.

This is not a joke, nor is it a triple-X den masquerading as a nightclub. It’s the real thing — a legit museum with highly researched collections of artwork, sculptures, tapestries and the like, from throughout the world, and the ages.

The curator is the irrepressible Naomi Wilzig, an author and marvelous South Beach character who has delivered to this community a gathering place like no other. A collector of exotic, erotic art for more than 14 years, Wilzig simply decided it was time to share her bounty. “It’s such a unique collection, it was pointless to keep it confined in my home,” she said.

Yes, there’s a gift shop, “but we’re not gonna allow it to become an adult book store,” Wilzig said. “Only quality merchandise: reproductions of the art on display, posters, books I’ve written on the collection, souvenir items such as shirts and tote bags.”

The WEAM, as it is now known to the glittering crowds who can’t resist stopping in while they hop among the clubs, is also now home to “the sculpture,” made famous in Stanley Kubrick’s ’71 classic “A Clockwork Orange,” among some other sexy showbiz memorabilia. Open every day from 11 a.m.-midnight, admission is $15, with no one younger than 18 admitted.

Up the street a bit, the neighborhood will now also be home to the South Beach Comedy Festival, a partnership among cable’s Comedy Central, the William Morris Agency and West Palm Beach, Fla.-based promoter Fantasma Prods.

The inaugural fest, slated for January 18-21, will star Kathy Griffin, David Spade, Mario Cantone, D.L. Hughley and Dane Cook, among others. Venues are the Jackie Gleason Theater and the nearby Colony Theater. The fest will also provide an opportunity for rising stand-ups, who will be featured daily during free shows on an outdoor stage.

“Creating an entertainment vehicle — other than beaches, restaurants and clubs — that would draw people to South Beach has been a project for us,” says William Morris senior vp Raul Mateu. “If you’re a fan of comedy, where else would you rather be in January than South Beach?”

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