Swelter

It's real life, getting out of the house and confronting a rich bounty of irritation wherever you go. What with the press of events lately, following the plots of mini-series is becoming problematic. Brain damaged, shattered, but in the perfect state of mind for metropolitan life.

A blessedly nontaxing evening at La Cage Risquee, the R-rated version of the regular La Cage show at the Di Lido Hotel, featuring an appearance by Gypsy of the La Cage venue in Los Angeles. As with vaudeville, a little bit of everything thrown into the pot. Lots of boffo routines and lip-synching ("Come along and hear those dancing feet.... If you don't see what you want up here, buddy, you better keep your wife....") and a few stray insults: "Look at those things -- she could breast-feed Kendall." All the great ladies of the homosexual universe taking the stage -- Cher, Marilyn, Michael Jackson -- and doing a number or two. The very talented Gary Dee as Joan Rivers on the celeb-troduction beat: "From the street to the stage, no muff too tuff, dykes with dicks.... This isn't too vulgar, is it?"

Not at all, actually. The crowd laughing, drinking, finding its own level, as people will. A rousing finale ("Miami Beach audiences are the greatest audiences in the world!") and then it's off to other human levels. The Village People playing Warsaw and Egoiste last Saturday, the group that proves the unfortunate rule of human existence -- everyone is always better as a concept. A bunch of out-of-towners debuting a new monthly one-nighter, "Big Life," at Suzanne's in the Grove. The Butter Club, a place that once made such luminaries as Vanilla Ice and Stephan Saban wait, now working real tangential turf. An Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum party at the Marlin. "Summer of Love," the Wednesday night Sixties-theme party at 720 Ocean's Rose Bar. A fund raiser at the Cultural Arts Plaza for Genesis, a residential program for homeless AIDS patients. The 21-and-over movement in club world, inspired by a recent rash of teen-spirit-turned-violent encounters. Except for the obvious aesthetic problems, 31-and-over might be a better idea.

Lunch, always a great idea. A healthy, tasty, and not particularly filling meal at the very luxe Doral Spa, all peachy and pleasant, dining with the rich and smiling with the wise. Perfectly nice, save for a party of nouveaus at the next table. "I'm looking at all my wife's bills the other day, getting more and more pissed, and finally I ask her pointblank: Is anything ever enough for you? And you know what she tells me? You're lucky I need so much.... Tell me about it. We used to be flying high, couldn't stop making money. Bought a racehorse like an idiot, dropped a couple hundred grand -- but that was nothing then. What happened to those days?"

A slightly less exalted feast of fried conch and fixings at Lorene's Cafe, contained within the acutely atmospheric Satellite Lounge, at 62nd Street and NW Seventh Avenue. A guy selling imitation Louis Vuitton handbags. Cartoons on the wall with inscriptions such as, "There goes Willie Lump: he tried purse snatching, he tried crack, guess what?" No-nonsense proprietress Lorene Brown, looking after appetites and foul moods: "Honey, you eat this food, you don't need much else."

Sustained, but still looking to scratch that eternal itch for cultural/sort-of-social diversion. The Film Society of Miami hosting benefit cocktail parties at Brasserie Le Coze and Trattoria Pampered Chef throughout July, culminating in a party at Van Dome in August. An exhibit drawn from the Chase Manhattan art collection, headed by Manuel Gonzalez, to be displayed at the Center for the Fine Arts later this year. The prototype of the new South Beach magazine out and about -- very slick and fairly arts-oriented -- with the first issue set to hit newsstands August 28. A new director coming aboard at the South Florida Arts Center, New York arts administrator Pat Jones. The Jason Rubell Gallery of Palm Beach opening a branch on Lincoln Road this fall. The 23-year-old Mr. Rubell -- nephew of Steve Rubell of Studio 54 fame -- positively positive during a tour of the space: "We're going to open in November at 700 Lincoln Road. It's about 3000 square feet. Richard Gluckman, who's currently working on the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, is doing the design. It will be devoted to mainly large installations by contemporary European and American artists. In Palm Beach, we've been featuring established people like Peter Halley, Ross Bleckner, and Joe Andoe, but in Miami we might go a little younger and more cutting edge. Artists are excited about Lincoln Road, it's a great situation with all the hip restaurants and everything. There's kind of a SoHo feeling."

Kind of a Coconut Grove feeling during a recent Friday night stroll, past Grove funneries like Hungry Sailor, Taurus, Blackjack Tavern, the Tigertail Lounge. A crowd gathering around a top-end Porsche, with one gawker actually recording the spectacle on video. Healthy club animals at Baja Beach Club. A touch of glitz on hand in the form of a Judy Drucker sighting. Beyond the pale doormen, the sort of goons who couldn't pass remedial underwater basket-weaving, making attempts at being patronizing. All in all, a great opportunity for working off attitude and venom: "Welcome to Lame City.... I guess the old and fat and ugly need a place, too. I'm so disgusted I can't breathe."

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