Swelter 20

The dysfunctional family of South Beach taking the low road Saturday night for the debut of Jimmy Franzo's "Felony" at Warsaw, masters of hype falling prey to the rumored possibility of live sex shows, the chump crowd featuring our own lathering personage, high-society veterans ("Darling, I love all these bodies, this sweat and madness"), and just about everybody else. Franzo giving us a hearty welcoming kiss, every girl's dream come true, then doing a surprisingly tame Matt Helm-meets-Caligula number on stage: a boxing routine with four girls followed by a tribute to ancient Rome.

The night wearing on, world without end, an isolating orbit of rampant narcissism. An ultrahip post-Lytton Strachey type, a poet of the visual, turning out to be a housewares salesman at Macy's. Our club-kitten companion, a burn-out case at nineteen, over the entire nexus of decadence: errant fifteen-year-olds losing their virginity in back alleys, screwing bouncers to crash the old Boomerang, plague-theme parties with hanging rats and lechers in the bathroom bars of The Tunnel, drugs and bad behavior. A rhapsody of her former appetites ("Ecstasy is so orgasmic; it really led me into loving clubs") interrupted by a tripping girl at the bar, up to the usual X-head tricks -- sipping orange juice, massaging Vick's Vaporub into her neck. The girl beaming beatifically, right in step with the chaos: "Hey, Ecstasy is what got me into clubs, too. But what's going to get me out of them?

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