South Florida's gay nightclubs cash in on the Avatar craze

On a recent Friday night, Living Room, the cavernous Fort Lauderdale gay club, was bathed in black lights. There were the usual go-go dancers and drag queens. Men, and the occasional lady, danced in varying degrees of undress to stock tribal house. The place was a jungle. Seriously. This wasn't your typical circuit party; Living Room was in the middle of an Avatar-themed party. And it wasn't the only one. Discotekka, downtown Miami's twink mecca, was having one too.

The Fort Lauderdale club went for the full Cameron. Christian Leonard, the club's publicist, says it took ten people eight hours to transform the already Amazon-like space into something resembling Pandora. They painted walls in fluorescent colors and covered the ceiling with weedy nettings to resemble a canopy. The typically scantily clad bartenders were again scantily clad, only blue. Drag queens accessorized (Na'vi-ly?) with headdresses and Day-Glo makeup. The club even hired a face painter to bedazzle the gays, gratis.

Asked why, of all the movies on which to theme a party, the organizers chose Avatar, Leonard got reflective. "The drama of the movie parallels the drama in the nightlife world," he says. "Everyone's calling the police on each other, liquor license inspectors, booking celebrities against each other."

Besides, going to gay clubs in South Florida is already a CGI-like, out-of-body head trip. Down here, Avatar plays like a documentary.

There was also another reason for the event: sales. Between the two clubs, the party attracted 4,000 guests. Expecting Alice in Wonderland to do well at the box office, Leonard says both clubs will throw theme parties for that too. Gays like shiny things, you see.

So, will Avatar parties become as ubiquitous as those themed for Britney Spears's Circus tour? After all, the movie hasn't unleashed a torrent of rabid fans among gay sci-fi lovers, says Jason Tucker, one of the organizers of Gaylaxicon, the annual queer sci-fi convention. In fact, one fringe gay activist group launched stopavatarmovie.blogspot.com to protest the film's lack of gay characters. Clearly, they didn't recognize Avatar's ultimate leather daddy, Col. Miles Quaritch. Tucker says the reason for the party's appeal in South Florida was simpler: "We rarely seem to need an excuse to dress up."

 
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