Swelter

Nightlife, over time, renders everyone walking obsessive-compulsive voids, feckless and hopeless, lab rats in a B.F. Skinner universe of degradation. One long wasting in appetite, rats and humanoids doomed to press eager little noses against a pleasure bar, searching for sensation, sustenance, cocaine, and endorphin rushes, accepting rude shocks and untimely death as part of the bargain with the devil of delights. We're all victims of cheap thrills and cardboard glory, and no one A from the powerful dream weavers to the heedless minions with no more sense than lemmings jumping off a cliff A ever beats the system. And, unfortunately, the glittering prizes are wrested from a steady diet of social exposure, requiring a supernatural tolerance for the rank, a vast, steaming pile of useless and thoroughly debasing shit. But then there's always hope that tonight, of all the nights that have gone before, something big will break loose.

And so there we are, taking the limited warfare approach at World Resources as the fever mounts once again, a conceptual noose drawing us along to S.O.B.'s for a Two Much wrap party. The club working the teletype of hype earlier that day, sending out the smoke signals and seismographic rumblings that course the wilderness of Miami Beach: Celebrities come tonight A Daryl Hannah, Antonio Banderas, maybe Elton John A and the powwow will be good. Even after many years in this rotten business, still a stone-cold chump prone to pushing our luck, promptly ignoring all the telltale social instincts. In the past few months, fortune shining in a series of unilaterally pleasant brushes with Banderas, Hannah, Melanie Griffith, and Danny Aiello. The odds grossly stacked against one more sunny encounter, and all nightclubs are, by nature, mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But being a firm believer in professionalism among pimps, the vagaries of the job dictating that we seize the moment, take a stand in the shooting gallery of opportunity.

Ever the idiot, showing up on time and lingering for hours, destiny meting out a pageant of escalating horror, an unamusing comedy of manners: No one's fault really, it's just the system. For the first act, taking in a tasty Latin combo and terminally domestic champagne, the regulars gradually filtering into Lourdes-for-the-night, healing themselves in the tainted crocodile-infested waters of the new Ganges. An oddly lovable catamite bearing tales of something-beautiful-this-way-comes, the cult fame of a new Calvin Klein underwear model. The invincible structure of club farce dictating that the madness build and catch the audience unawares, act two revolving around an absurd argument over VIP room access, little red lights from complimentary Bacardi keepsake pins blinking away like fireflies. All the district trash already on hand, of course, greedy children touched by witches' brew, highlighted by neopersonality Pepsi. Way out there, the Pepsian world-view incorporating an uncredited writing stint for the Moody Blues, solo projects-in-development, and provocative sound bites: "I'm not like these fucking South Beach wanna-be's. I've got purple hair, I suck cock, I stick a needle in my arm, and I'm still a real rock and roller."

From there the mood rocking and roiling, turning ever uglier: Tensions erupting between film and club publicists, the press and public going into a feeding frenzy with the arrival of Banderas and Hannah. Both stars immediately isolated in an inner sanctum, romance apparently festering between the temptress and the family man. Over it all unto death, scholar-moral force Audrey Horton showing great potential as a fellow martyr to glamour, going ballistic about the Fourth Estate's right to stalk celebrities: "What do you mean they can only have eight minutes with the stars? These people aren't animals, they're human beings." You meet the darnedest kindly souls out on the town.

Limping home to bed, spewing apocalyptic visions, sort of like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on his Russian talk show. Considering the idea that the S.O.B.'s space may be an emblem of bad-vibe real estate, encapsulating the city of darkness. Long ago a synagogue full of simple, God-fearing souls, praying against the graven idolatry of encroaching hedonism. Developer Abe Resnick, so instrumental in the local Holocaust Memorial, originally acquiring the property and selling it to Michael Krieger, who went on to stage Skin-on-Skin lesbian acts, among other things, for divertissements at the original Van Dome. Resnick eventually obtaining another temple-cum-nightclub on Collins Avenue, now a clothing store; a third synagogue on lower Washington Avenue A turned into the Sanford Ziff Jewish Museum A eluding his grasp, irate Hassidim thwarting Citizen Abe's schemes at a city commission meeting. The S.O.B.'s team leasing from a Russian financier-party boy, the mystery man spontaneously buying the place over dinner at the club, paying a reported $1.6 million to Krieger and then abandoning ship several months later. Miami, a town so rough it even defies Russian tough guys. One day, perhaps, the sea will swallow the causeways, and a pillar of salt will stand over this evil land.

Saturday night and it's more social-suicide contemplations. A "Dykes & Drags" AIDS benefit at 821 with Bridget, Joey Arias, Raven-O, and Jamie Robinson photos, dedicated to the fallen Varla. Gianni Versace, the Godfather of Couture, having a few friends in for dinner: Madonna, Ingrid Casares, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Herb Ritts, house guest Elton John. The mighty hand of fashion also luring Cindy Crawford and Billy Baldwin from a casual wrap party for Fair Game, the crew, Cindy's sister, and various cast members frolicking at Cafe Mulberry and Bar None. And then the phone rings, G. Jack Donahue of Irene Marie and P.R. Inc. A God help us, but we love him A living large for the weekend with entertainment mogul Ted Field of Interscope Records. Donahue, a former Catholic youth minister, spending Good Friday on a lavish speedboat ("To die for, if you like that kind of thing") and forever straddling Heaven and Hell. Field working on scripts amid sunbathing beauties, the topless lotus-eaters oblivious to the epiphany on a nearby causeway: Twelve holy men, good and true, trudging along the bridge, dragging enormous crosses.

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