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By Laurie Charles
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Confetti and noisemakers. Tiaras and party hats. Dick Clark and Times Square on the tele. Waiting for the ball to drop. The madness that is New Year's Eve is here again. All things are equal for a few good hours of partying. When the ball drops the VIPs mingle with the regulars, if only for a nanosecond. C'mon. It's New Year's Eve, not the end of the world.
Still asking: "Where the party at?" Someone wasn't paying attention during "How To Be Hip 101." Don't worry; we understand.
With so much to choose from you need an assistant just to make sense of your New Year's Eve plans. Clubbed has taken the time to gather a few suggestions that may be worth looking into if the zeros and decimal points line up in your favor.
To start with the obvious, there is Level. Five rooms of progressive house, hip-hop, funk, R&B, breaks, and disco grooves featuring DJs Boris, Tom Laroc, Touchtone, FX, and Disco Fantastique spinning various versions of. If you believe the hype, there will be "nonstop stage shows by 100-plus performers." And pyrotechnics.
But one sound you will not hear at Level will be the thump, thump of superstar DJ/producer George Acosta. Nor will the trance man be at Club Space. Just in case you were losing any sleep trying to figure out if Acosta, like Dolly the sheep, had been cloned by Scottish scientists in an effort to piss off the Southern Baptist Convention, you can disregard what you may have read in recent advertising. Acosta's management informs Clubbed that "the one and only" will be spinning an extended set for his flock exclusively at Club Spin. (A collective sigh of relief is heard from ravers and the religious right.)
If you'd rather be out and about soaking up the Florida winter, this is the night to head over to the Penrod's Entertainment Complex, a.k.a. Pearl and Nikki Beach. The moon, the ocean air, the stars. And those other kinda stars too. Ever the pitchman, promoter Tommy Pooch promises to have "all kinds of celebrities showing up" throughout the night. Then there's fireworks round midnight to sound in 2003. The models-to-be (or that were) will be tripping over themselves in search of next year's padded wallets and Ferraris. Expect "European DJs spinning till dawn." Most impressive. We certainly wouldn't want to pay $125 (Nikki Beach) or $350 (Pearl) for some second-rate North American DJ. The horror!
But maybe in the morning light an American chick won't sound so bad. Try DJ Tracy Young, fresh from her stint at Britney Spears's 21st birthday bash in New York (from Madonna to Britney; well, not every year can be better than the last), who will be spinning for the 2003 sunrise breakfast from 2:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. Watch the sunrise and bring in the New Year's cheer with people who just don't know when to say the party is over. And rest assured, at those prices you'll get grub and "party favors."
But if you'd like to get off the beach, go to Oxygen Lounge for a breath of fresh air (hee hee) or maybe just a blast from the ghost of one of South Florida's live music venues past. What can people expect from Oxygen's New Year's Eve act, Hialeah's -- d'oh -- Miami Springs' own Jorge Moreno and his seven-piece band? "An artist who does not take himself too seriously. A band that rocks. A couple new tunes. And hopefully a bunch of fine, screaming ho-ho-hos!"
But shouldn't a Latin Grammy winner like Moreno take the big night off? "It's funny, a lot of people have told me, 'Wow, you're going to be working instead of with family!' But the reality is that I'm a singer, not a toll worker," says Moreno. "My job is actually fun on New Year's, plus I get paid double."
Expect to plunk down $125 for the VIP package at Oxygen, which includes Moreno's set, premium open bar until midnight, a sushi buffet (hmmm, not sure about that cultural fusion), a bottle of champagne, and again "party favors." Wait a minute. What in the hell are "party favors"?
Never mind that, you say. What can you do if you don't have $125? The possibilities are inebriating. The old "no cover" has an attractive ring to it. You see, before there were the mega clubs or laser lights and long before your big-name DJs scratched their way across the Atlantic, our forefathers got tanked to the time-tested sounds of that innovative record selector known as -- the jukebox! Scoop up your change and head on over to one of your friendly neighborhood bars to booze it up with the year-round locals and barflies. How about Ted's Hideaway!
Kiss Baby New Year in a dingy dive -- Clubbed means that in a good kinda way. As Ted's owner Bob (we know, it's confusing) Wilcox points out, here you're only at risk of seeing the fabulous if they stumble off course en route to Nikki Beach or Opium.
"I don't know if there are gonna be any celebrities in here, but we usually get the production teams and models stopping by on their way from the clubs and dinner," Bob says hopefully. "A lot of the service people come by after work to wish the girls a happy New Year and watch the sunrise."
In the four-and-a-half years that he and his brother Tim (where's Ted?) have owned the Hideaway, New Year's Eve has followed a predictable pattern: Well-wishers pour in right before the ball drops. A short lull follows, which gives the staff just enough time to clean up before the next wave. (Clean up what, you ask?) And before you know it, the party starts all over again around 3:00 a.m. as everyone files out of more opulent parties.
Why make all the extra stops? Pinch your nose and throw down some hair-raising whiskey, or whatever else is on special, and get to partying "like it's 1999." Oh, you already did that. Well, if you drink enough the year won't matter and you can make an ass of yourself until you vomit. How long does it take to clean up after New Year's?
"Well into February," says Bob.