A week ago at this hour our plane was being de-iced and the snow was
falling heavy and it looked like we were never going to leave New
York for Miami.
Now we're back again. WinterParty 2003 -- already a memory. What is
it with gay time? What's up with that? On the planet from which we
originated, does time really fly -- while here on earth it meanders.
Save when we're all together?
One of the best things about reading reviews on CPI is the way that
it jogs your own memory. All the postings about WinterParty have
given me back details that I thought I had forgotten. So maybe what
I write here can do the same for some others.
WinterParty, for us, was about being with our Bal'meer friends, Will
and Bill (aka Wilma and Banghim). They'd first experienced South
Beach last year with us at WinterParty, which was also their first
circuit event ever -- and so they made reservations back in April to
do it all again. And this time, they knew better. This time they
brought more than one pair of shades. And they ordered vitamins in
advance and they knew to eat at the Front Porch for b'fast and where
to shop for jewels.
So Thursday eve, all together again, we did the hotel cocktail
pre-crack party in Wilma's ill-obtained oceanfront suite, and then
cabbed down to SoFi for another pre-crack, and then back to
Billboard by one a.m. for Warren Gluck, who sounded, to me, as good
as all those delirious postings about his White Party NY appearance.
It's true, as Josh said, that there was something in his beats which
heralded a whole week of happiness.
Then Friday at the beach. The best beach day because everything was
still in front of us, and the water so warm, and the beach so
crowded with beauty.
We got to the Ice Palace around one-thirty a.m., just as our
favorite It Boy of the Year was entering ahead of us -- so that
boded well for the night. It's not our favorite venue, and this,
primarily, because there is no second floor or mezzanine from which
to look upon the throbbing mass of energy. But there was that
delicious lawn upon which to sprawl, and the midway games, which we
played for about an hour, and the half-sunk inflatable Titanic
(which seered the asses of those we saw sliding). Tony Moran played
just what I wanted to hear at this place, so that it seemed kind of
like a depraved Island of Lost Boys -- or when Pinocchio gets lost
on the midway. And Power's number, in that oversize 'fro, with that
little scene-stealer alongside her, was so perfect for the night:
werked and warped and love her, love her.
We were having so much fun -- and then all of a sudden, it seemed
like the floor was only half-full, but there was Nurse, her arms
thrown around the neck of some happy captive, and her tongue lolling
and her smile wide, and we just stood there, watching her have such
Back to the sandbar on the bus, where everyone was chattering, so it
must've been a good party, because people were still happy.
Then Saturday's pool party around two p.m. where the sun was shining
and the ocean so blue and the sky also, and all the boys in the pool
and the palms and Phil B. on the decks and the palm trees wrapped in
orange and red mylar (Who gets this job? Dressing the palms? I want
it next year.) and it was way more crowded than last year or the
year before and only once, in San Francisco, had we heard Phil
B.,when he was spinning at Mass, I think, and he did exactly the
right thing by this party giving us sunny music with a groove, sexy
and South Beach with the best of San Francisco mornings thrown in.
The Perrier cowboys were there again, just as the night before. Two
lime green costumed cowboys, with spangled chaps, handing out
Perrier to whomever wanted. Now how nice is that? Sign these
sponsors again, and get another ten cowboys to make it an even
Wilma said, "This is the best party." Wilma and Banghim don't dance,
so it's easy to see why that might be their take. But it just goes
to show you: you don't need to dance to love a circuit party. (We'll
break them next year -- they'll be on the boxes, God help us all.)
The cocktail party at Tony Moran and Beau Clarke's house was akin to
going to a Petit Vizcaya. What a spread. What lovely gardens. What a
pool (think the Raleigh). What views. It was all very too-too, de
trop -- and easy to fall into. As if we should all live like this,
all the time. Lovely to gaze into the rooms and imagine your own
life there, and how you'd redecorate. Delicious food, served by even
more delicious waiters -- who resurfaced at the parties thereafter.
"Hey, weren't you at...." A jazz band on a terrace, cool lounge
music oozing into your pores. Then I ate this hideous liqueured
truffle which tasted like a bad jello shot -- so we tossed it into a
planter and booked.
Sunday's beach party with Roland at the helm. We fell in love with
Roland at a beach party, his grin so infectious, his leg working
double-time. His music was a perfect complement to the fruit slices
waving overhead, a tropical punch exploding mid-air, a bit of Rio
and the Caribbean, and all the places where you've had fun in your
life while dancing outside.
There was that odd incident where a fellow broke through the VIP
barrier and was handcuffed (lime green handcuffs -- now that was a
first for me), face in the sand, while his girlfriend begged for him
to be let go -- which the police did, once they arrived, before
escorting him out.
This, to me, was almost a kind of odd counterpoint to what is, for
me, the worst part of South Beach, and that's the verbal harrassment
one sometimes receives when walking, usually on Washington, but
elsewhere as well. At least twice, homophobes yelled their slurs at
us -- and while we tried to make light of it, or ignore it, it's a
sad fact of American life. Never in Paris, Rome, Montreal, or
Barcelona have we been the recipients of such vitriol. America --
get it together.
But let's not go there. Let's go on with the parties.
Return to Paragon at Level -- now that was a party. Abel -- we bow
to you. He knew exactly what he was doing in this space. All the
good karma from the years of Paragon, he summoned it all, and with
Kitty and Power alongside him, this holy trinity made this the party
of the week, and maybe the year, for me. It wasn't so much the
music, or at least not only, and in fact, there was one time when I
said, "We have to get off the floor. I'm not dancing to Donna
Summer," but it was the way that everyone involved with this party
brought such love and joy to the table and let us all feast on it.
Think of Kitty's number, for example, and how she served it up, and
what she was really singing about, and how all of us responded to
that. And how the whole night, we did not witness any fall-outs, and
instead, it was about having such fun with so many happy people.
And get this, Banghim danced. He danced in the VIP area, his arms in
the air. And Robert nudged me, and we smiled: all resistance
breaking down. The whole point getting through.
We could easily have stayed at Level right to the end, but there was
also Victor, and the idea that we could do Abel and Victor, back to
back, was too delicious to resist. So we left Level around two-
thirty and headed up Washington (where no one slurred us because we
were too many on that street at that hour) and into Crobar which was
as packed as the party we'd left. Victor in control. The floor
mobbed. The balconies lined. A deep and dark sexiness pervading the
whole place. Wilma and Banghim looked a little shell-shocked. From
Tropical Fiesta to Dante's Inferno. It required another vitamin, a
little more estrogen.
But Victor's about the dance, the beat. And being on the floor is
about giving in to what's going on around you. It's useless to try
and dance as you would in the privacy of your apartment. You have to
catch what's coming off the others. Circuit boy rock. Sweat and
grind. Bye bye, Wilma and Banghim. Home to their own locomotive.
We stayed until nearly the end -- and then caught Victor out on 14th
Street and gave him our blessings. He does know how to turn it out
for us, without fail.
And that was all she wrote, for us. We saw no point in going beyond
this moment. Last year, we did the DJ showcase, and had a good time,
but this year, we liked going out at the peak of our orgasm.
South Beach is our second home, but there's nothing like South Beach
when it's filled with so many sweet boys and loving men and happy
people. Maybe we wouldn't want it to be WinterParty every day, but
we love it when it's happening.
Many thanks to all the people who also love South Beach so much, and
to all the volunteers who make WinterParty such a well-run exercise,
and also to all the organizations who received monies from
WinterParty and do the good work which will, over time, enable all
of us, wherever we live, to walk proud and without fear.