Thanksgiving with the family, our circuit-mad family, and what’s a
holiday without drama—especially in South Beach? Because what’s
South Beach without drama? Sarasota?
So we know what we’re
heading into as the plane bounces wildly through the sky, through
the Nor’easter that rains on New York’s turkey day parade. Because
you don’t get to fabulous being drama-free.
And that little
sandbar we love does look fab. No nasty hurricanes this season and
all the palms looking perky. We’re sharing dinner with a posse of
locals, South Americans and ex-New Yorkers, not all of whom are
partaking in the week’s festivities, and one of whom asks us, “Why
the hell would I want to be in a roomful of buff men wandering
endlessly in search of sex?”
Well, there you have
it: one person’s hell equals another’s heaven.
We know why we’re
here. We’re watching the planes buzz overhead, dropping Euroboyz and
South Americans onto the beach. One of them a nineteen-year-old
Brazilian hottie with whom we shared the floor in London—last week.
“Weren’t you just in London?” we ask, and he smiles, “Uh, huh.”
These boyz, they get around. Circuit boyz and their frequent flier
miles, upgrades and platinum status.
One time someone
asked us if it was true that boyz actually flew around the world for
circuit parties. They thought it was an urban myth, too far-fetched
to believe. Ha, if they only knew the half of it. They should meet
the two boyz that Adam from Boston met, the two who told him, “Hey,
we’ve got a suite at the
our own portable sling. Plus, we’re both bottoms.” Have sling, will
travel. Party on, boyz.
As for us, we’ve
got a black limo with an entourage of eight, including Josh of
and Luiz of
all of us in white (and drama-free, thanks very much), and it’s
Saturday evening and we’re off to
We’ve got three newbies in tow. In fact, the same three newbies from
Black and Blue
a month ago, and now they’re scaling
heights. We get out at the hammock, that lush forested drive of
indigenous flora, to walk amidst the white lanterns—and the spell
Not unlike the
long walk into Stade Olympique at
Black and Blue,
the walk to the main entrance of
enables the sort of magical transformation whereby you leave reality
behind and slip into fantasy: white lights, hushed voices, the half
moon dangling overhead—and everywhere you look, men in white. Silver
lights and white twinkling stars and rococo statuary as sentries,
and up ahead, parked in front of the main entrance is the Snow
Queen’s white carriage. You’re transported back to the Twenties,
when James Deering, the industrialist, entertained at his
Renaissance palazzo—and now you’re his invited guests. Partying for
a good cause. Helping to insure that
continues to offer care for those with HIV/AIDS. Their volunteers
are numerous and helpful. No drama here, just solicitous attention
as they ease your transition into the fantasy which is
Through the Entrance
Loggia thronged with revelers in white (though, of course, isn’t
there always one person who feels the need to defy the dress
code—wearing black tie and tails?), and into the Entrance Hall, and
through the East Loggia, and out onto the South Terrace where we’re
greeted by a sea of white: feathers and tulle, sailors and
courtiers, white leather and lace. And shades—it’s a sunglass
convention of white-framed shades. Last year, white belts, this year
white shades: l’accessory du jour.
Out on the East
at the boards, throwing down a blend that has the crowd weaving
happily around each other. Contrary to the oft-heard complaint
about this party being a pose-and-preen party, the
is actually extremely welcoming. For one thing, everyone looks good,
and everyone knows it, because everyone put effort into their looks,
so everyone’s feeling it. And because we’re all in white, we’re all
feeling connected to each other, and to be honest, the whole party
feels like it’s comprised of fallen angels. We’re too bad for heaven
and too pretty for hell. We’re angels on the loose for a night of
Up at the Mount,
there’s a casino, and a cabaret performer singing show tunes. And
there’s August and Parzham, of
one of the night’s sponsors. Sweethearts, both of them. We wander
through the gardens, past the tables laden with food from some of
South Beach’s best restaurants. Sipping cocktails and nodding to
each other, people we haven’t seen looking quite so good before. We
clean up so nice. And then someone asks, “What happens when it rains
at White Party?” Fool. We say, “It never rains at White Party”—and
then, of course, there’s a cloudburst, which sends a flurry of
angels scurrying for the grottos, where our voices echo off the lava
and shells. Everything’s romantic at
a rain shower. The shower passes and
again, and then there’s
wearing—BLACK? Two years ago,
red. What’s up with these colorblind gurls? It’s not enough they own
the stage; they’ve got to make a statement too? Well, never mind,
the boyz love Ms.
anyway. She’s singing about love. Looking for a New Love. Real
Love. Some Kind of Lover. With songs like that, she can’t go
wrong, not with this crowd.
We’re dancing on
the East Terrace, eating dark chocolate, the yacht harbor waters
rippling at our feet. Biscayne Bay reflects
lavender lights back to us, while in the distance, there’s the neon
skyline of South Beach. Hello? This is a movie set made real. This
is the movie you walked into, splitting apart the silver screen, and
claiming as your own. You want romance? All around us boyz in white
are kissing and hugging, posing for the camera. What’s not to love
about a party like this? The only thing better is if we were all
the entire weekend, so that the party might go on and on, through
the night and into the morning…
off in the black limo, our posse heading back to the sandbar for a
powder and a change of clothes, and then back out the door—to Twilo.
Miami’s latest Saturday night gay club. With
at the helm, he of Salvation fame,
has the kind of buzz and reputation, even after only three months,
associated with the best Saturday night gay clubs. The kind of club
that gay boyz flock to eagerly each Saturday night. A core family of
party boyz, the same kind of core family which made Salvation the
party worth flying across the country for. Miss this party tonight?
With Abel and
Victor on the
boards? Not a chance. We’re there—along with scores of boyz lining
up along that strip of clubs on Miami’s somewhat seedy 11th
Street. The doorman’s in a sick outfit, somewhere between Alice’s
Mad Hatter and the guardian of the Emerald City. “I’m feeling
crafty,” he says. Looking like that, he can feel any way he wants.
Outside, in the
vast smoking courtyard, there’s a bar and sofas. A lounge beneath
the stars. One of the perks of Miami nights: outdoor party life.
And inside? It’s nearly one a.m. and Abel’s got the floor moving. No
one’s in VIP because—they’re all on the floor where it’s speed
Ric Sena and
his bf, loving a party they don’t have to orchestrate. Boing, boing,
boing, enjoy the ride. I Want Your Love. What Can I See of Love?
Lost in a Sea of Love. It’s a crazy mad crowd. There’s chorus
boy Anthony from New York. And that Brazilian boy, again. Her?
She’s all the way from London, last week. And Nurse, she’s in
town too. We heard so from Adam, from Boston, and also from our New
York boyz Tim and John, whose boy Rich from Rhode Island, by way of
Montreal, is a friend of Andre from Ohio who’s staying at the same
South Beach apartment where
flung her bags of beads and baubles. Small world, this circuit world
of ours, all of us flying here and there, and camping for the night,
before following the circus on to the next town.
Abel’s in his
element, happy in his new home. No wonder we overhear someone say
“This party reminds me of back in the day when I didn’t miss a
single Saturday at Salvation for like two years.” Exactly. Those
Salvation parties on the Saturday of
week, when the club was a sauna, sweat peeling the walls. It’s the
same recipe here: boyz from all over, werking it out to Abel. Boyz
who can smell a camera half a room away. Flash, pop, you’re on the
web. “Oh no, please not me. I know too many people in this town.”
Grrrl, don’t we all?
Because aren’t we all
separated at birth, brothers from another mother? Boyz who look so
familiar, boyz we remember from— Where’d we see him before? Wasn’t
he the guy—? We’re all connected, all holding on. World, Hold On.
We make our way out to the courtyard, breathe in the balmy air.
Outside, it’s a cocktail party. Have you met, do you know—
Then back to the
music, back to the floor—where Abel is tearing it up. That last hour
with Abel, he sends us over the brink. There’s no holding back now;
he’s pounding us hard, making us werk. And we love it like this:
when it’s one thing after another, Abel tossing things from the
booth that we pick up and make ours. Everything’s good now;
everyone’s in the house. The Red Room is wall-to-wall and there’s a
new swelling of the crowd, as if maybe another party has given up
the fight and now everyone’s here. Here at
one of Abel’s two homes.
And when we look
up to the booth, there they are, all lined up, the circuit’s
equivalent of the UN Security Council: Abel,
Power. Which can only mean one thing: the changeover’s about to
happen—but not before Power’s show. It’s been so long, too long
since the nights when Power took the stage on a regular basis. The
drama of her performances, mixed seamlessly by Abel into the night’s
production. A shot of adrenaline as the night heads into morning.
Over the banister, she climbs, and stretches across: a cat in loss.
It’s Christina’s latest, Adam tells us. And I guarantee
you, he says, it’s going to be tomorrow’s fireworks song at
Muscle Beach. Leave it to Power to trump the fireworks. She
IS the fireworks. And we stand there gaping: mesmerized by her
ability to translate Xtina’s feelings into movement. “Hurt,” it is,
a brand-new remix by Chris Cox, and hurt she shows, and with Xtina’s
voice and Power’s drama—that outfit, that headdress, and puhleez,
the face, that incredibly, evocative face with those piercing
eyes—say what you will about performance in the middle of a circuit
party, but Power always werks. Who wouldn’t be haunted by what she
sends out to the crowd: love me again, let me back in, don’t walk
away, not now, not today, it’s not over yet, I can’t help wishing…
Drama, and more drama. Who doesn’t live for the drama when it’s sold
Party of the week?
Sure feels like it to us as we collapse into cabs for the ride back
to the beach.
Still, we’re an
open-minded bunch and so on Sunday afternoon, we walk along the
sand, heading for the music. Muscle Beach at 12th Street
Beach: you can see the aquarium from a distance. Bright splashy
color, starfish and sea mammals, jellyfish and perch. It’s Nemo’s
world come to life and washed ashore. It’s Nemo surrounded by muscle
boyz, argonauts, and nearly naked hotties. Good thing Nemo lost his
And up above us,
through the clouds, there’s a rainbow. Either
has gone all out and splashed the rainbow flag on the clouds—or else
it’s a ridiculously good omen for a good party.
For at least the
past few years, Muscle Beach at
has played second fiddle to the more over-the-top beach party that
in March—but clearly, moving Muscle Beach to Sunday afternoon has
resulted in making Muscle Beach more festive, a casual day party
after the night drama that is
Granted, there’s still no dance floor on the sand, and the set is
less extravagant (although last year’s
was closer in set design to one of the early Muscle Beach parties),
but one thing Muscle Beach has over
is the night—and lights for when the sun goes down. Fireworks and
lights—and if we’re in luck, a selection of music which captures the
romance of dancing on the beach with a bunch of other lost boyz.
A bunch of boyz
happily lost, and yes, a number of them Nemos, in search of their
daddies. No problem here. They know how to get their point across.
We overhear one saying, “Excuse me, but I’ve got to go buy socks.”
Now there’s a no-drama rejection line. “Okay then, happy shopping.”
It’s a crowd bubbling with personality. There’s BackFlip Boy who
clears a spot around him—and back flips in the air, to applause and
cheers. Silly happy boy. And Brett’s on the boards, playing SOS
and Jump and Rise Up. Songs you want to hear on the
beach while sipping cocktails and doing back flips (as well as
shopping for socks…) Or was it sex he said? I’ve got to go
buy sex. Could be, because there’s also a boy with a steel
hard-on in his shorts who’s werking a box—and getting more attention
than BackFlip Boy.
Stars, all stars,
stars in the making, and some stars already named. Some that make
you say “Honey, I’d dive into the pool for that one,” and others for
whom you know that Because of you, I never stray too far from the
sidewalk. It’s a crowd of tats and shades, in all sizes and
shapes, but particularly large insect shades, and hair dos and
don’ts, as a means of self-expression. And above us, again,
there it is: that rainbow. Stretching from the horizon, bisecting
the clouds, a rainbow arcing above the aquarium where we dance.
“Funk It to the Bassline,” a bit of New York, a little more New
York, on the beach—when we catch sight of him: our new It Boy. The
latest in a series. We love watching them bloom from season to
season—and this one is particularly radiant. Such a gentle boy,
polite and professional, but we’re not deceived, because we’ve seen
him in action, under cover of darkness, when he’s been bad. Very
bad. A bad boy. The best of both worlds: angel by day, and otherwise
And there’s this song
that sounds to us like its lyrics are South Beach, South Beach.
Like New York, New York—as if once is not enough. Not in South
Beach. Nothing is ever enough in South Beach. Our It Boy has two
shots in his hand, and our two New York boyz have a third boy, and
White Party week has had at least two competing parties a night, and
sometimes there’s been an abundance of drama, like the rough and
tumble over at the Palace Bar on 12th and Ocean, and even
when the sun has set and the rainbow disappeared, even the half moon
which hangs above us as we’re walking away, down the beach, seems to
hang lopsided in the sky. A moon off its tether, loopy above South
Beach, like it’s had more than enough.
Maybe on the circuit,
it’s not so much drug abuse—but drama abuse, that’s our problem.
And of course,
there’s still more: more parties, all through Monday, and into
Tuesday night. We hear
Nurse is good
to the last drop. But that’s it for us. We’re toast. We’re parking
it by the pool with a little
Joe Caro on
the Pod while we sort through our photos and live it all again.
South Beach, South
Beach. Who wouldn’t want to go home for the holidays with such a
crazy, mad circuit family? See you there next year.