Swelter

Clubs everywhere, spreading like some kind of satanic slime across the landscape, feeding on mankind's unholy hunger for drink tickets and fabulousness. Openings, disasters, concepts, and a week that belonged to the new Third Rail Company on Lincoln Road. A couple of one-nighter debuts - Kitty Meow and Jon Jon Bubblegum's "976 Club" on Tuesday and Lisa Cox's "No Tea Served Here" anti-tea last Sunday - and the big Kahuna itself, the opening on May 16 with a little bit of everything. Hostess Chi Chi Valenti of New York's Jackie 60, sort of Mae West with an edge, promising to bring in something "disssgusting and sexxxual." As it turned out, the party didn't have enough of either aesthetic school, but then, there's never enough sex or disgustingness.

Interesting evening though, and a big leap from the Hipodrome era: the New York subway theme carried out with ornate graffiti, transit maps, and lots of black. A few of the ugly young on hand - a group normally mercy-killed on South Beach - just to complete the theme. No obvious psychotics, but plenty of fashionable commuters. Chi Chi bouncing around in one of her trademark police jackets, husband Johnny Dynell playing the new Live at Jackie 60 album, Kitty Boots Domination and her House of Domination dancers in retro-chic white lingerie. A few tableaus involving mock bondage and cunnilingus but nothing especially provocative. Anthony "Like the Director" DePalma, owner of the Meat Market district space both Jackie 60 and the Clit Club utilize, amiably chatting away about rougher nights: "We brought the tame version down for Miami. I just come to Florida for the sun and sea anyway. What else you going to do here, go to shoe stores?... Our best night in New York? Maybe the time Joey Arias gave a blow job on-stage. Or the brown room night, where we had all these nude lesbians wrestling in chocolate pudding."

No blow jobs or tainted pudding, but an interesting crowd throughout. Nicole Vorias of Channel 10, in tights and a black leather jacket, filming a pilot on the fashionable life in the Yabadabadoo room. A publicity-crazed nightlife chronicler, the Squeaky Fromme of club world, prancing about like a sort-of-young gay colt. Michael Jacobson of Apres Events, responsible for the donated Bacardi rum and the Debbie Harry concert at Paragon May 29, ruminating about the business: "Some of these club guys are amazing. They actually think they're not sleazy - everybody else is."

Sleazy or not, the local club scene rolling along obliviously. Apocalypse at the Cameo, hanging tear-shaped balloons with projected faces, oil drums as cocktail tables, and a new huge three-level stage. Great music, projections all over the walls, no attitude. Kaos, the new South Miami gay bar, opening last Thursday with a big splash. Rather tasty interiors by George Tamsitt and a cast that included everyone from Louis Canales to Benjamin Crosby of Rothman Associates. A Nicole Miller fashion show at Van Dome, the models wearing boxer shorts and ties. Upstairs, a slide show by Interview photographer Patrick McMullan. Vital and fun. Miss Miller, a certifiable big-deal designer, sporting an ankle tattoo acquired that same weekend at a local tattoo parlor - the rich and famous definitely have a tendency to run amok on the Beach.

Pasta Bongo becoming more Bongo-ish with an appearance by The Stray Cats, May 29. Joseph Nevel of the old Chandler's space, next to Wolfie's, reporting that the Susan Ainsworth/Tatou franchise deal seems to be in terminal turnaround. Nevel now negotiating with a "comedy club chain and an L.A.-based group of upscale dinner clubs." Leroy Griffith of the Gayety Burlesque Theatre, Roxy adult movie theater, and Paris Moderne space, looking to turn the Roxy into a restaurant/saloon. The newly renovated Gayety also set to debut in the next two weeks. Norman Bedford and his Sun King Productions company no longer with Egoiste on a full-time basis, the club reportedly tightening up in general. Bedford now working with Club One in Coral Gables, putting together Willy Chirino and Gipsy Kings concerts, among other projects.

Rumors of some Parisian Euro-slick club moving into the auditorium of the old Financial Federal Building at Eighth and Washington, owner Craig Robins of DACRA amused by the gossip: "We've had a lot of interest from various clubs, but until a deal is done, it's all just bullshit." (In other DACRA-related news, Chris Blackwell of Island Records making his life even more pleasant with the acquistion of Noel Coward's old house in Jamaica, taking the property over from the National Trust.) Boomerang set to become The Cave on June 6, new concept, new money partner, no more Paul "Mr. Popularity" Gabay. Bobby Davarmanesh, part of the team that originally opened the club two years ago, installed as general manager: "It's going to look like a cave, with sheets of wiring and molded arches. We've got monster sound, a new laser system, and we're going to be becoming more underground. The Kitchen Club gang is over here now."

The social gang on hand for the Miami City Ballet's "Jewels" benefit, a welcome relief after clubville. The better raffle prizes going to the richest people, but as someone pointed out, "money always goes to money." TV guy Rick "never-miss-an-opportunity-to-be-an-excruciating-embarrassment" Sanchez on-stage. Natasha Simrod Freidman, a woman of sense and sensibility, talking of "the goad, the itch, the ennui" of nightlife. Another social fun person speculating on the prevalence of the uncannily youthful, all of whom seem to have signed an unholy pact with either the devil or their surgeons. Chit-chat about a 95-year-old woman who goes out dancing every night, the amazing mix of vulgarity and culture in Miami, and Iran Issa Khan's sales efforts on behalf of Micky Wolfson's Halloween Ball. An encounter with two very old Beach women in gold lame, straight out of Diane Arbus, smoking and insanely focused on the parking problem: "Why didn't you tell us they had valet parking here? I'll bet it was the same price, right?.... Why didn't he tell us?.... How should I know?.... So what's next? Any parties?"

Lots of them lately in South Beach society, an eternal inevitability much marveled at by London Times correspondent Peter Millar, in town to do a profile of the ever-fabulous Deco district. Millar awash in culture shock, and over the course of an exceedingly pleasant dinner at I Tre Merli, entertaining about a long weekend of clubbing: "It's so strange here. You have this very small, self-appointed, select group, spending every night together, and most of them seem to have absolutely no depth at all. And they're always writing about each other in this ridiculously glowing way. In England no one expects to read nice things about prominent people - the idea is to uncover stuff that people don't want known. But the scene here is so...masturbatory. Really, South Beach is just one big wank.

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