New Year's 2004 Guide

How to navigate your big night

Once again it's time to ask: Where did the last twelve months go? It's the kind of question that takes some serious thought to answer. You probably slept one-third of the last year away, and although you should have been working for another third, you didn't. Too bad most of the fun is hard to remember, and all the prior resolutions you made fell through in a matter of days. But there's no time for reflecting -- you have to begin planning your New Year's Eve.

All you need is our very own New Year's Guide. In order to save you some trouble, we here at New Times have devised a list of worthwhile New Year's celebrations, because we believe nothing wipes the slate clean for a brand-new start like loads of champagne and noisemakers. What did we come up with? More parties at more places for more money than last year. Hey, what do you want? The economy's improving, and if each passing year has anything to teach, it's that you can never win.

And since ringing in the New Year often results in a blackout, we included accounts of unforgettable New Year's nights from several local personalities who know a thing or two about partying. Take it from them, New Year's Eve is always the most unpredictable night of the year (don't even pretend many of you haven't woken up in high heels after leaving your house in wing-tip shoes). So without further ado, here's all the guidance you'll need to welcome 2004. -- Humberto Guida

RUDOLF PIPER

Rudolf Piper is a nightclub impresario, the director of Nerve, and a contributing columnist toNew Times.

Remember that famous Y2K year, when most parties bombed? Well, this one did not... sort of!

I was living in Paris at the time, and became part of a team of twelve major Frenchie promoters (I'll spare you the names) and we rented a huge grand ol' theater (Le Theatre de L'Empire) to host a party for 6000 people. It was supposed to last for three days straight, with major DJs, etc. (I'll spare you the names here too). Well, the party started and those 6000 of our closest friends showed up. And then some more, and more, as time went on.

Now, let me explain to you something about Frenchie workers: They are all socialists, they drink, they really hate to make an effort, they say "Fuck it" very easily ... and they tend to join the party they are working at! So several hours into the event, our entire staff got drunk, said "Fuck it," and joined the party. All bars and doors were left unattended and guests started to help themselves with drinks behind the counter. Then they invaded the liquor storage. The security team made another toast and said "Bravo!" The party became riotously euphoric (that is how a good party should be, mind you).

The cleaning crew was only drinking the best champagne. Mountains of garbage everywhere. Furniture breaking under the weight of fifteen people dancing on top. Décor being ripped off the walls. Couples having sex in all corners (another sign of a really good party). Vomits. Blow! Fights! I was expecting the police to arrive at any moment, but hey, they were Frenchies too, and they were probably having their own party somewhere else. I feared I'd have a huge financial loss here, so I slowly went to the abandoned cash registers and filled several garbage bags with money. Nobody cared. My partners were laughing out of control when they saw me. Vive la Fete! Near the exit, I saw a disheveled drag queen, in ripped fishnets, half buried under a mountain of cigarette butts. Then, leaving the building with the loot, I said to myself: "Man, what a great fuckin' party!"

TARA SOLOMON

Tara Solomon is aMiami Herald columnist, currently the Advice Diva, formerly Queen of the Night, and founder of Tara Ink public relations firm.

My most memorable New Year's Eve could be the time I partied at the Delano with my friend Tony Miros (a.k.a. "Mr. Nightlife") -- in our pajamas. I wore a leopard negligee, stilettos, and a boa; Tony wore a red-and-black smoking jacket, à la Hugh Hefner. Or the time I crashed the party of the former owners of the penthouse in the Helen Mar -- there were about eight of us, including friends from London and Zurich. David Shannon, who lived in the building at the time and now is a makeup artist in L.A., insisted we crash. So we brought plenty of bubbly and stayed until the wee hours, blowing off P. Diddy's party.

Of course an almost unforgettable New Year's unfolded while taking a much-needed nap (née disco coma) on a couch in the penthouse of the Delano on Millennium Eve. I was reporting on the festivities for the Herald and had to file during dinner (I was writing in between courses), leaving Nick (boyfriend) and friend Anthony at the table at Blue Door. I was so tired after the fireworks that I curled up and slept while everyone else went downstairs to Suzanne Bartsch's party. How very unglamorous of me, but a girl needs her beauty rest!

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