Swelter 21

On to Rocket, Geo Darder hosting a three-day celebration for a scrap of accelerated real estate history: the space formerly a steak house, the gay Rocket Lounge, and now an expanded gays-straights-and-carnivores-welcome dance club, pretty in purple and industrial chic. The senses going numb during a series of house music joints, Maurice Bernstein happily dancing to pretty much anything: "After all these years, I still love clubs." And then the blissfully unusual Respectable Street, some psychobilly group from England thrashing away like the Stray Cats with an itch. Back on the mean streets, the downtown boys engaged in an impromptu what-Miami-needs panel discussion, marred by our finely honed coda of civic ambassadorship, something to the effect of who gives a fuck what you New York carpetbaggers think. Even in a city without standards, we're beyond the pale.

And then it's the weekend and more dramas of drink, somehow managing to avoid the rounds, Jimmy Sommerville and assorted dragsters glamming up Glam Slam. Two of our social betters, Gloria Estefan and Alexander Liberman, stayed in town as well, celebrating birthdays. A flight to certain moneyed watering holes -- St.-Tropez, Aspen -- and one glorious weekend in Cleveland might have taken the bite out of the prevailing ennui. In fact we could have traveled to all three places on a whirl of professional courtesy, but a snobbery of derangement intruded.

The south of France is French, among other downside equations, a kind of busman's holiday for those accustomed to sun and debauchery. Aspen, worse yet, is full of air-kissing Miamians in faux bucolic poses. Aside from being conducted in the grossly unappetizing heartland, the opening festivities for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had the allure of a 3-D golden-oldies station. On the other hand, the tabloid possibilities were endless. We might have grilled Jan Wenner on his ball-breaker-of-empires boyfriend, whimsically linked Little Richard and Snoop Doggy Dogg in blind items, and persuaded Yoko Ono to adopt us as the rightful ward of John Lennon's money.

And yet nothing could top our very own episode of rock glory at the long-departed Whiskey, right here in little old Miami. For some reason, the way stoned Jimmy Page showed up for a dream-come-true solo or two: In high school, the Led was the godhead itself among our Drugstore Cowboy cronies. Afterward, in the VIP room, we took an ugly satisfaction in Page's low-rent groupie, far less fetching than our own companion. Shortly thereafter Page sold his house here, reunited with Robert Plant, and got divorced for optimum love-sexy opportunities. Now he's big enough to have record company grunts test-drive his new shoes, break them in for the new king of commercial viability. And we're still a footman in the court of clubs, reduced to the consistency of a melted jelly sandwich, overstaying the great party of Miami.

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