Swelter

Summertime, and the living is hard. And in clubland, the range wars are terminally competitive and increasingly nasty. Messages sent between rival clubs through intermediaries. The insidious French/Eurofilth colonization of the Beach, the new Nice mafia, continuing apace. Warsaw and Paragon battling it out for the local gay market, all those disco boys in the unfortunate position of summering where they winter. Sound Factory of New York poised to enter the fray, putting together a weekly Saturday night party. Negotiations between Amsterdam of New York and South Beach Realty for their empty ground-floor space on Washington Avenue breaking down; reportedly another club, rumored to be a Tommy Pooch (of Danceteria) effort, stepping in to fill the void. A major overhaul set for the Hut space at the Leonard Beach Hotel (owned by Thomas Kramer of the Portofino Group), becoming the new Hell Club and taking over the entire ground floor of the hotel. Kramer, the ultimate man with everything: a couple of apartments, a high-WASP Indian Creek estate, and his very own stomping ground. Van Dome and Le Loft in a pitched struggle, certain ex-managers with mailing lists as portfolio experiencing some difficulties. La Passage on Espanola Way set to open in midsummer, owned by a French investor and managed by Joel Boulanger, formerly associated with the Playhouse and Butter Club.

Summertime blues at the Cameo, Joe Delaney of "Apocalypse" and "Disco Inferno" bearing more horror stories from the front lines: "Three days before our nights on June 20 and 21, Zori Hayon, who owns the Cameo, tells us that he could run both nights better himself. Now that we've got the ball rolling, he decides he doesn't want to pay us anymore. [Delaney operates "Disco Inferno" and "Apocalypse" with partners Gary James and Bobby Starke.] We own the names to both nights, and I really have a problem with him doing a disco format on Sunday nights. `Apocalypse' was doing about 500 a night, but `Inferno' brings in like 2000 to 3000 people every week. They're even using the name `Disco.' So we're suing Zori, and we're going to reopen `Disco Inferno' at Club Nu on June 28. It's not like the old days any more -- club owners need promoters to keep their clubs busy. They've got to stop dicking us around."

The big dicker, Mr. Hayon, remaining unperturbed by all the fuss. It's just business, after all: "We're no longer doing `Apocalypse' because they never brought any people in here. Also, Gary James was also promoting The Cave on Saturday nights -- I don't see how a promoter can work two clubs on the same night. We're switching over to a new format, a rock night on Saturdays called `The Rock 'n' Roll Dance Club.' With `Disco Inferno' there were some problems among the partners, and I didn't think they were running it right. I've renovated the space, put in more bars and a stage, and we're getting an older crowd now. I think the people are coming because it's the Cameo -- not for `Disco Inferno.'"

Another million-stories-in-the-naked-city talk with Lisa Cox of "Girls in the Night" fame, not happy with the way Third Rail Company handled her "No Tea Served Here" one-nighter. Third Rail still smarting from the Deborah Harry incident -- Harry actually having trouble getting into her own after-hours party, the ultimate symbol of club absurdity. Now this, irate sisters of Sappho: "It's been a real fiasco. Adverse relationships are the nature of the business, but that place is chaotic. Lesbians don't have the financial status to go out every night like the guys do at those sweat factories, but the business is there. It used to be that there was only Cherry Grove for women. Now there's Pink Tails in Fort Lauderdale, Jasmine on Biscayne Boulevard, Friday nights at The World, Saturdays and Sundays at Club 21 in Hallandale. Our mailing list has so many names on Euclid Avenue we call it Euclit Avenue. People have started to counterprogram against us.

"Anyway, we did three parties at Third Rail, going from 559 people the first night to something like 112. The owners were all freaking the last night. I went to them for my 70 percent of the door, and money for my dancers. They made the dancers wait and then shorted them $50 each. One of the partners kept a gun on his desk during our meeting, touching it occasionally as an intimidation tactic. They still owe me $270. That place has such bad karma -- the space must be haunted or something from the Hipodrome days."

Miss Cox moving "No Tea Served Here" to Semper's, commencing July 13. Third Rail, pressing on with "Sister Soul," Joe Delaney's "Detour," and other parties, taking the high road in general, according to club spokeswoman Monica Marin: "All those things are exaggerated. These problems are based on a lack of communication between Lisa and ourselves."

Just in time for all the gay pride celebrations, the gang of five from the Paragon incident -- arrested for cocaine possession on the night of the Deborah Harry concert -- firing off a communique to defend the glamour of the drag life and to "dispel the ugly rumors that have been running rampant since the occurrence... that only someone in the market for cheap gossip would believe." As it happens, cheap gossip is pretty much our market, especially when it's so fresh and juicy: "In truth, the arrests were due to possession of cocaine, of which the quantity was little more than residue, and whose proper owner was never held or questioned by the Miami Beach Police Department. This is not difficult to believe when one considers that these were the same officers who were too busy emulating homosexuals and gawking to remember to read the Miranda Rights.... Furthermore, we would like to add that the management of Paragon night club is especially guilty of treating drag queens as `a freak show' to be displayed as a curiosity, but undesirable as patrons."

Dennis Doheny of Paragon insisting on the club's democratic admission policies: "Our doors are open to everyone. We don't want to make anyone feel excluded." Paragon doorperson and drag legend Kitty Meow, bewitched, bewildered, and a little bored: "Anti-drag? Come on -- look at these eyebrows." The alleged better-blatant-than-latent set at the Miami Beach Police Department quite philosophical about the unseemly allegations, as evidenced by public information officer Al Boza: "If you're going to work drugs, you need to look, act, and behave like the people you're dealing with. I don't want to second guess the arresting officer, but you have to remember that the anger of the arrestees could influence their opinions and views. And every individual has their own perceptions and impressions anyway." South Beach, in the end, just one big misunderstanding.d

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