Swelter

"Dressing up was illegal back then. If you so much as wore eye make-up or even a woman's scarf in a club it was right to jail. Then in '67 they legalized it, and things got a little better. This town used to be good and fast, and now it's good again. The Beach is coming back better than ever."

The Gay South Beach tour draws to a close at Hombre, the small cruise bar on Washington Avenue owned by Bobby Guilmartin and Diane Iannucci. Open since July 12th, it is a slick, intimate, and oddly confrontational kind of place: well lighted, lots of whorehouse-red accents, endless hard-core sex videos. Guilmartin is alternately political ("Seven out of ten men moving to South Beach are gay and there's nothing - nothing - here. There's no sense of community, just political infighting among the bars. I'm putting together a rollerblade club just to get people to work together.") and a relentless promoter of his operation. He describes Hombre as a "nice clean atmosphere, where men meet men and are forced to talk. It's real big, bold, masculine, very 1979 East Side New York. I give them all this, and then we hit 'em with the sex stuff. It's what the business calls D&D, dicks and drinks."

Walking past the old men lurking outside ("maricones...take them out, blow them away.") and thinking about all those dicks, all those drinks, Miss Henrietta's summation of the New Beach suddenly comes rushing back:

"Honey, let me tell you something: This town is swinging again.

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