Swelter

So there's Halloween, looming up on the horizon with all the sickening dear-God-please-fix-my-life-and-make-it-glamorous inevitability of New Year's Eve. And as usual the members of the fun brigade are honing the necessary social skills of envy and malice, desperately pining to be invited to something truly spectacular, the ultimate party that will make all their friends nauseous with longing.

In the meantime, the standard succession of tune-up events: the Miami Beach Nuisance Abatement Board hearing October 22, attended as usual by the hippest, most civically concerned, on-target people. (This time around, Warsaw was granted a continuance until November 13, which, as it happens, is well past the upcoming Miami Beach elections.) The October 24 opening of Don't Say Sandwich to Me, Part II, the new bar/live entertainment/gallery space at the world's most attitudinal sandwich shop. The opening of the new Espanola Way on October 25, featuring an eclectic assortment of sponsors, from Wings of Steel to the Miami Beach Senior Center. The debut of "Beach Talk" on the same day, the WMBM (1490 AM) talk show that features various personalities discussing life on this emerald isle, this South Beach.

Postmortem's Black Friday Masquerade Ball at Club Four-Five-Five(the Fridays-only theme night at Egoiste) October 25 had strange, possibly politically incorrect entertainment: Leo Casino as "Blackula" and performance art by dancer/performance artist "Black Jose." In-your-face talent, continually changing interiors and visuals by Damian Rojo, concept by Norman Bedford. How appropriate that Club Nu should be resurrected from the dead, on this, the most holy of nightclub holidays.

The Club Nu/Morocco thing puts us in mind of the celebrity season, also looming up with a sickening crunch. Eddie Murphy sightings at The Strand: One of the partners, Eric Milon, describes the appearance of the megalomaniacal star as "very simple, one limo, just a few friends." Downtown New York figures Hal Rubenstein and Interview photographer Patrick McMullan on the guest list at the October 26 grand opening of Tony Chan's Water Club in The Grand. Lissette, Willy Chirino, Diango, and of all people, Menudo, at Bolero. In the end, the celebrity beat makes chumps of us all: Bolero/Match co-owner Laura Bonet recently hung around waiting for Rod Stewart at Suzanne's in the Grove apres-concert party - on the same night he was supposed to be having a similar hypefest at Morocco: "The promoter kept telling me he's coming, he's coming - but by 3:00 a.m. I'd had enough."

Had enough. Totally over it. A concept any social addict can sympathize with. But sometimes you just have to brace yourself and slide back in.

The Playhouse Bar on Wednesday night, before the onslaught of the neo-glamour celebrity contingent at midnight, proved to be a perfect exercise for Halloween. The regulars were fervently debating one pressing issue or another ("What kind of shit's that?"), as a pantheon of greats - Miss Mary Lou Terry (The Rogue Girl), Jack Sharkey, Abbott and Costello - stared down from the walls. There was bottom-shelf whiskey, a black-and-white television on sale for $75, and the philosophical speculations of senior bartender Bruce Fabyan: "No, we don't do anything to get ready. Just kill all these lights and take the games off the TV. Paul Gabay brings in a nice crowd of photographers and models. They like to look at each other and watch tapes of last week's party."

The self-immersion level wasn't quite as pronounced during a recent cocktail reception at the home of Eduardo Gonzalez and Jerry Cody, although it was - despite the late appearance of a Channel 23 news crew - rather self-consciously elegant. A harpist plucked away in the foyer. A waiter distributed exquisite little savories. No one overate, or drank too much, or said anything unduly emphatic. Well, almost no one.

The hosts, both of whom are involved in the design trade and the November 16 AIDS fund raiser Another Night To Remember For AIDS, benefiting the University of Miami School of Medicine AIDS Clinical Research Unit, had an unusual collection of gala people in for the evening. Bonnie Anderson of Channel 4. The totally non-epicene Hugh Green, a linebacker with the Miami Dolphins. The Duchess of Seville, who looked like an ordinary walking-around woman, albeit a very thin walking-around woman. The personable AIDS researcher Dr. Margaret Fischl("I can't tell you how much your contributions have helped"), who will also be a prominent player in the Community Alliance Against AIDS's La Fete Francaise gala on November 3.

Afterward a group of pertinent people had dinner at Neroni's on Washington Avenue, where there was more idle chitchat and leering over a muscular young god, an Entertaining Mr. Sloane character who quite captured everyone's attention. Well, almost everyone.

Our social work-out week came to an end at Disco Inferno, where a gaggle of young things goofed on the Seventies (an era when our own fun level was still viable) and pretended to be John Travolta. The place was packed, the conversation unduly emphatic ("I'm too fucked up to care... No, just plain Jane, I'm a bar child... You don't call somebody a maricon and expect them to have respect for you..."), and the just-can't-boogie-no-more-music was pretty excruciating to someone who'd lived through the first incarnation of disco. A talk with the forever buoyant Inferno co-promoter Joe Delaney perked us up: "Disco is hot - we're going to open in Boston and Orlando next. And it's gay friendly - a lot of these guys wouldn't have survived Industry. That was hard-core time." And then, what with one thing or another, we wound up hanging on until 4:30 in the morning.

The prospect of even more Halloween weekend parties - Boomerang's Halloween-night bash and its Thunder on the Beach block party the following night, the WVUM benefit at Washington Square, the Halloween-night fund raiser for the magazine La Bete at 800 Lenox Avenue - was, at first, enticing but ultimately exhausting. Maybe Halloween is best left, as the hard-core used to say about New Year's, to the amateurs.

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