By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Forget about it, Jake, it's Toon Town. Nothing makes sense. Hetero citadel goiste, oye-chica-shake-that-bumba-land, venturing into the gay marketplace with a new one-nighter called Le Trick. The classic Village Inn, the place where I first fell in love with my wife, for God's sake, now the homorama-esque 3131, a pink-accented showplace. Warsaw, conversely, moving into the straight sweepstakes, debuting a new, mixed one-nighter, Michael Capponi's "Pure." Club Nu, name changes, no more AM/PM, Power 96 parties, free drink nights, going back to being an exclusive private club after an extended insanely public period. The place is limping along like a rabid old dog that needs to be put out of its misery, but then, who isn't lately?
But as our new favorite well-dressed and ultra-fab club person would have it, people like us, the semi-pros, just can't help giving and giving and giving to this city. And what better place to give, to bathe in the conditional love of one big beautiful town, than Hombre. The Antenna fun brigade out in force, all those wicked jokesters, including columnist Danny Garcia, whose article on South Beach is out this month in Details. Mr. S. living out the Miami Beach version of Death in Venice, searching for his Tadzu. Varla, ever chic, in a black leather S/M outfit accented with earrings. Vaguely Blanche Dubois-ish, perpetually on the verge of yet another unseemly self-revelation, pitching the new Drag Monthly magazine and the upcoming Positively Gorgeous Ball, both of which benefit Body Positive Resource Center.
Bobby Guilmartin of Hombre positively beaming with the news of his new venture, the aforementioned Le Trick, which he will be doing with local club pro Barbie Kreitiniger. The debut is Tuesday, February 25, and at this point, everything is sheer possibility: "With all the people Barbie knows from Boomerang, her cult following, and my hard-core guys from here and the Beach, we should have a cornerstone. We want to do something different, like bring in porno stars and have them do shows, you know, strip and sign autographs. Howard Davis is going to do projections of men around the room. David Knapp is spinning the music. And the space is beautiful; it should be a sure bet."
Other voices, other rooms. A quick tour of Uncle Sam's Musicafe, the lack of affectation deeply unsettling, and a stop at Washington Square for a reggae concert - thick plastic flaps across the doorway, as if the place were one big meat locker. The Butter Club, attracting lots of slick youngsters lately, and doing a locals-only night on Mondays. An encounter with Jon Jon Bubblegum, somewhere or another: "The Beach is still raw, but it isn't as shocking as it used to be. You can't run around like a madman anymore. Like I'm finding out that all my friends are undercover drug agents....`Pure' had a great crowd, all the trendy straight people - models, eccentrics, druggies .... The big thing is the Style Summit, it's like a convention of club people from all over, getting together in New York the weekend of February 19. Richie Rich is coming in from San Francisco, people like that, and we're going to be doing all the clubs. Le Concierge Travel is putting together a tour package. I'm helping with the club visits; Louis and Tara are the official South Beach representatives. It should be fabulous."
A pit stop at the sleek-looking Solar Cafe, very tasty and attitudinal. Blue walls, red vinyl seat covers, Fifties funk chandeliers, and easy-on-the-nerves manager Joyce Warren. Owner Paul Gabay, who's also with Boomerang, talking about his reopening party later that night: "Two weeks is a long time to be closed in this business." Open or closed, South Beach restaurants are often more or less like clubs - trendy, optimum shelf life of two weeks, flattering lighting conditions - and they're spreading like some kind of disease. The former big deal Al Amir restaurant now a place called Bogart's, styled after Rick's Cafe and decorated with oil portraits of Humphrey. Not promising. WPA, loud and hot virtually overnight, lots of food, simple. Black Beans on the Beach and the Cafe SoBe Bourgeois on Collins. Cassis and Casbah and Passage to India on Washington Avenue. Gula Gula and South Beach Raw Bar on Ocean Drive.
The regular club beat also pretty busy. The Whiskey, absolutely jamming: the tired, the poor, the glamour-bedeviled masses yearning to disco the mad night away, crowded around the door, waiting to be chosen. Inside, late Seventies English art music. Models everywhere, walking in with bottles of Evian. South Beach as dating boot camp: only the fit need apply.
Le Loft, a line out front, the two new rooms inside weirdly uncrowded: Le Bar Harley, light and airy as a roller rink; Le Zen, 1970s carpeted platforms with lolling singles, as sinister and motionless as Galapagos lizards. Jackie Mason wandering around, just absolutely slaying the girls. A chat with an entertaining woman of our acquaintance, plugged into the gossip circuit: "Is it true you're having an affair with Varla? What are you going to do for Drag Monthly...? Look at this place. Dallas cheerleader hair. Retired coke whores. Guido time. This guy over here - the one with the ripped jeans, four years behind the times - tells me he's half-gay. What am I supposed to do, fuck the straight half?" Pretty good time, except for the unprovoked personal assault from a psycho princess in a push-up bra: "Him? Are you kidding? I got something much better right here - he's going to be Mr. M.D."
Shattered, on the verge of doing something tasteless and terminal, but plunging on like a pro to the Boomerang party. Packed, fun, and full of homeboys: Joe Delaney of Disco Inferno, Garrick Edwards of Beyond Therapy, dancer Steve Love. A party overstayed, the lights coming on at 4:00 a.m., all of us scattering like so many drunken cockroaches. Not a pretty sight. A brief regrouping, and then more parties. Wednesday's opening of 3131 on Commodore Plaza, marred somewhat by an early, 12:30 a.m. closing - liquor license technicalities. Now straightened out, according to owner Stephen Kneapler. Thursday's reopening of the beleaguered Uncle Charlie's, now open until three a.m. A party the same night at The World in South Miami for Interview photographer Patrick McMullan. Avenue A at Egoiste. (And upcoming in the next few weeks, another night of "Pure," coming soon to a club near you. Apparently, Warsaw didn't want to risk alienating their gay clientele so close to the opening of mega-gay disco Paragon.) Big finish, the Miami Film Festival opening festivities at Gusman, International Place, and Havana Club, movie-star time with The Mambo Kings. Lots of famous people making flying wedge of glamour entrances: Mambo stars Armand Assante and Celia Cruz; art dealer/director Arne Glimcher; Desi Arnaz, Jr.; Bruce Weber. The commencement of nine happy days filled with glitz, intelligence, and culture, with just a hint of Day of the Locust. But then, there's always something keeping the darkness alive.