It’s six am on Pride Monday—and we’re late. We’re thinking that
maybe the Pride of Alegria has recaptured the Black Pearl by now—and
furthermore, there’s door drama at Studio—and so it’s a relief when
finally we’re inside the hold of the Pride of Alegria and up a
flight of stairs and then down another—and right then, right there,
in what used to be the Reed Room, the heat hits us. The heat of men,
packed like sardines and rats, in the hold of a ship—and this is
only the ancillary dance floor. It’s “Rise Up”—and the undead have
risen. The white tunnel is barely navigable—its tiles slick with
condensation. From the back bar, we take it all in—and it’s
immediately apparent: we’re actually in the hold of the Black Pearl.
There’s the figurehead: the Alegria skull with bandanna, as well as
a lifeboat suspended above the floor with pirates heaving themselves
up and over, and on the room’s other side, a small treasure island,
with a chest of gold beneath a palm tree, and up on the stage, an
Alegria mast and a two-story crow’s nest—and gangplanks and rigging.
There are swashbuckling bartenders (with more eye makeup than Amanda
Lepore). Seriously smoky buccaneer eyes—you might easily follow them
down deeper into the hold. “Savvy, matey?”
And it’s packed to the gills. Sticky slick skin and boyz hanging
from every corner of the ship. Scattered across the stage and over
every railing and Abel’s giving us “Come Together” and from the
staircase overlooking the floor, it’s magnificent mayhem. Say what
you will, but Cap’n Ric Sena ain’t giving up the NY Pride pearl.
“Bring me that horizon,” that’s about all he has left to conquer.
It’s “So Good,” this intensity of energy. And daunting too—such an
overload of stimulation. So many porn stars—for how else to explain
such swashbuckling beauty? Treasure hunters come from all corners of
the world—a United Nations of Piracy, and the world’s most beautiful
skin. And Abel’s slamming things down, mixing things up, like
“Free/Wild Thing.” “I think I love you, but I wanna know for sure.”
And then there are these orchestral moments, when the waves seem to
hold for a moment—and pause, just long enough for the rapscallions
to catch their breath, before again, becoming “slaves to the
And overhead, there’s a lightning storm in the sky—and striped
red-and-white laser-like lights. Jack Sparrow’s bandanna—washing
over the crowd. And we get a text from Joe Caro: “Do u know if Duane
Reade sells eye masks?” So maybe Joe’s gone treasure hunting in a
dinghy, but there’s his bf Brian, a young sailor, enchained to
“Intoxication.” And meanwhile, banners with the Alegria skull and
crossed blades rise and fall above the floor with the motion of the
We’re sitting down, to delete some photos. We’re already at 600.
Next to us, there’s a drowning pirate. A swashbuckler with no more
bravado. His friends are pouring water over his head. He’s been gone
a while—for as long as we’ve been here. We’re watching his circuit
family care for him: a woman of a certain age in black halter and
leather, acting as mother, and her twin sons in matching skintight
leggings. It’s all a little too close to the line, “You’d best start
believing in ghost stories. You’re in one.”
But then, whoa, just like that, the dead pirate snaps back to the
living. Back into consciousness—and his friends lean into him.
“Welcome back,” one says, and the buccaneer smiles. And right
then—it’s uncanny—but Abel brings in Kevin’s “So Alive.” “So alive,
so alive.” You can’t make this shit up.
On the floor, there’s a pirate who keeps giving us the eye. The one
that we can see, anyway—but it’s not until he takes off his hat,
that we realize: JOE CARO! It’s not Jack Sparrow, it’s that other
rogue, Caro. He’s got his eye mask—and his pillowcase on his head.
Pillowcase as bandanna—and the tricorn pirate hat, and pirate
bracelets as well. STOP! It’s too credible.
And Abel’s giving us “I’m Not Picturing You,” which also sounds, at
times, like “I got a pitcher of you.” A pitcher of rum or a pitcher
on the wall, not that anyone cares which, not in this crowd of
Apparently, everyone’s here, even if we haven’t found them yet.
Rumors of fellow New York pirates, but the crowd’s so dense, we
don’t find them—until the next day, looking at the photos. Ah, so
Michael and Olivier were there, way up on the gangplank up behind
the crow’s nest.
And speaking of crow’s nest, it’s about eight or nine in the
morning, and suddenly the spotlight swerves up and over, high above
the floor to the peak of the crow’s nest—and it’s none other than
Cap’n Ric Sparrow Sena. Buckled and belted, he’s “Yo, ho, ho’ing”
high above the crowd, werking it out, fixing that horizon in his
gaze—next world to conquer. “Bring me that horizon!”
We hang on until eleven—and even then, we have to step carefully,
through the mass of drunken sailors and beautiful pirates. Abel
plays “It’s Gonna Be All Right,” which seems fitting somehow.
Another Pride, another Alegria—and with almost certainty, a sequel
to follow. As Cap’n Ric would have it, “The moonlight shows us for
what we are.”