Well, hello. Looks
like there’s a new circuit tradition in town. If last night was any
indication, Alegria Halloween, now in its third incarnation, has
become one of those must-do, gotta-get-there, gay holiday travel
events. Mark your calendars.
With an earlier start than the usual Alegria—eight p.m. instead of
eleven—the floor at Crobar is packed by midnight, with more ghouls
and vampires pouring in by the minute. Cameras in hand, we park
ourselves along the entrance hall (rechristening it Paparazzi Row)
and catch the parade: drag queens and divas, the Grim Reaper and
football players, courtiers and gladiators, bunny rabbits galore.
What is it our costumes say about us, about our alter egos? There’s
something endearing about watching boyz in costume primp for their
close-ups. It’s a visual world, Madge—and everyone’s got an image to
sell. They check their mugs on our cameras—and then ask for another
shot, a second chance. More glory. Everyone’s famous on Halloween.
And this club, Crobar New York, is such the perfect vamp showcase
with its endless runways and grand entrance staircases. Furthermore,
Crobar New York is a space so well-maintained and well-staffed that
it’s a paragon (Hey, Abel!) of professionalism. A club that gives
nightcrawlers the respect we deserve. Hey, we’re nocturnal, so what
of it? Give us some place pretty to play.
And Alegria does exactly that. In a world where it sometimes seems
that standards erode daily, there’s something gratifying about a
party which takes pride in its position at the top of the party
heap. As soon as you walk in to Crobar on an Alegria night, you know
you’re in good hands. Ric Sena is punctilious, not a detail
overlooked. Set design, for example. Last night, there’s a huge wire
metal skull in phosphorescent green hanging over the dance floor,
surrounded by four phosphorescent green wire skeletons swinging on
swings hung from the ceiling. A skeletons’ playground. And at room’s
far end, the Alegria Halloween cemetery with its two stone columns
flanking an iron gate guarding four coffins with hinged doors. Stone
crosses on the graves and the smell of incense burning. The
bartenders are scarred, wrapped in bloody gauze, their faces oozing.
And Abel’s on it, all over it, already. Eerie and haunting, he’s got
the wailing women and the clomping of men, marching. And there goes
Ric, who looks like he’s just narrowly survived a night with
Wolverine (and now that we think about it: match made in heaven).
Ghoulish scars rip across his face and chest—and yet he looks
remarkably sated, ready for round two.
If you think of the circuit as an Olympic sport—and why not—then
perhaps it’s not so different from the luge—the stamina, the holding
on, the speed, and the thrill, the rush of the crowd, the endurance
required. And this is a lollapalooza of a run. The floor crowded
with cowboys and ballerinas and a surfeit of Tiggerbear ears. All of
us dancing to “Relight My Fire,” a song which just happens to be
more than 25 years old, and yet given what Abel’s doing to it right
now, it’s fresher than that tall cool Asian hottie in the glasses
over there. Come over here. Now. Want your picture taken? Because we
can’t “Be Without You.” You got to “put your hands up,” boy. “Don’t
You (Want My Love)?” Oh, yes. Yes, we do. And here it is, that song
which five years ago blew Abel up: out of Miami and onto the world
stage. And the boyz are still having it. Loving it, lapping it up.
Staring at this guy who looks like a Brokeback cowboy by way of
Manchuria, and we’re wondering why the hell he’s shining his light
right in our faces—and why he keeps on saying, “It’s me. It’s me.”
Until— Of course: that flashlight. That blue beam of light: it’s Joe
Caro as the Asian Brokeback, and virtually unrecognizable--at least
to us, at least at first.
Joe Caro has arrived; he’s really here. Fresh off the six-day
Atlantis Mexican cruise, followed by a cross-country flight, and a
landing at JFK at eleven p.m., and into a waiting car, straight over
the bridge, and onto the dance floor. How’s that for dedication? And
this little hayseed cowboy ensemble is but the first of his costume
changes for the night (gurl travels with steamer trunk).
It’s all good now. We be dancing. It’s all in the hips. Circuit boyz
work those hips. Can we say “tight little transvers abdominis”? No
wonder. We’re looking around at the crowd, which is a testament to
how Alegria has evolved. Way more diverse, way more colorful, way
better than it once was—and it was always good. So much more than
just muscle, now the crowd has youthful attitude and downtown
energy. And the boyz have flown in for this party: there’s Rusty
from D.C. and two boys we meet from Los Angeles, and of course the
Atlantis Mexican cruise contingent.
And Abel’s exhorting us to “Forget the past. Go outside—and have a
blast.” Okay. Not a problem. “Intoxication.” And in front of the
Alegria cemetery, we’ve got gladiators and bunny rabbits, all
sharing the same stage. A metaphor for something: our ability to get
along. We could teach the world something.
And especially given how dire the world situation seems to have
become recently. Radiate good, radiate love. Do what we can. And
that’s when Abel mixes in World, Hold On, maybe the anthem of the
moment, which sounds particularly good right now, and maybe because
Abel’s left out the whistling part and heightened the yearning, the
haunting hopefulness of the Bob Sinclar track. And then the nitrogen
blasts and blankets us all in a white cloud and we hold on tight,
hold on together.
Sated for the moment, we slip upstairs where Ric’s fielding calls on
his walkie-talkie. He says he’s looking forward to five a.m., when
he gets a chance to play amidst the set. “I always like to play with
my toys,” he says. Something resonates there: we be boyz with our
toys. And there’s another boy from the Alegria stable: Eddie Elias,
on his customary perch in VIP, diligently studying the crowd, the
music, focusing, learning, becoming. There’s so much we can give
each other. Need Your Love (Baby Love). And it’s striking how gentle
we are. Really. The way we move through the crowd with each other,
lightly touching, smiling. Bouncing happy boyz with their toys.
And now it’s bone-shaking music as the stage is cleared and slowly
the doors of the coffins rise up and open—revealing skeletons.
Skeletons with big dicks. Dicks encased in straps which light up
with a life of their own. Ah, so here at last is the literal meaning
of circuit dick. It’s a “Love Sensation.” It’s a freak show, a
sexfest, and we are ready to rock.
Because this is the kind of party where five hours pass like thirty
minutes. Hard to believe any of us are going to the office any time
soon. The crowd stays thick through five a.m. Because this is the
kind of party where five hours pass like thirty minutes and though
you know you should think about leaving, at some point, you can’t,
just can’t—because right now, it’s just too good. So a little less
sleep, just this once, because after all, it’s a holiday. A gay
holiday. A New York tradition. Mark your calendars. You won’t want
to miss it next year: Alegria Halloween, Part 4.