Decadence, debauchery, disgust, the three graces of the nether world. Maybe throw in a little boredom. A man's got to take hold, straighten up, and fly right, but once again it's Warsaw at 4:00 a.m. and time for one more nightcap. Somewhere along the line the evening has taken a wrong turn.
Things had started off pleasantly enough at the Marlin Hotel cocktail party for food-world expert Christopher Idone, in town for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference and promoting his new book, Cooking Caribe. Polite chatter about this and that, a rumor circulating about IACP honored guest Julia Child being brutally mugged right outside the Hotel Inter-Continental. (As it turned out, her purse was simply stolen at a gas station.)
On to a perfectly nice dinner at Cassis, with Thomas Harris of Silence of the Lambs fame as the token celeb, a portly Robert Bork look-alike with unlimited sequel possibilities. A stab at the Billy Mann/Nuclear Valdez concert at Washington Square. Paragon, Navy theme night with a birthday party for "Ken from Fabulous." The nation's toughest designer, George Tamsitt, chatting away at the bar about his work with the new South Miami club Kaos - two days after major surgery. On-stage two faux sailors with sodomy in mind, draping one of their hysterically willing colleagues over a garbage can. Madly frugging sailors all over the place, a Project X cover boy not thrilled with the celebration of homomania: "The dancing is not up to my caliber here."
Le Loft a bit busier lately with Van Dome overflow. Same old same old, except for the unusual accumulation of people in the club's Le Zen room. Warsaw, another homorama revue ("The House of Ironmen! Their rods of steel a walking nightmare of male anatomy....") based around the novel concept of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Fey boys, vaguely young, vaguely rough-hewn, enthusiastically lathering each other with oil, submitting to a four-foot-long play dildo. Whipped-cream fights and a big chorus-line finale.
More drinking, more dancing, more pointless agitation. A birthday boy having a great big juicy fight with his companion. Too many personal encounters with various walking nightmares, and then that boozy pivot slips and a thousand nights in the theater of pain come flooding back - the screaming druggies on Washington Avenue being hauled off to jail, the guy run over on Espanola Way by someone pissed off at not getting into The Spot, the loneliness and the quiet crying in dark corners.
That whole debauchery-and-disgust number also coming up a lot at the Kitchen, according to one of our more articulate correspondents, Gillian E. Cox: "This club is a descent into a de Chirico painting. Nobody seems quite real.... I go to the Kitchen to be disgusted and to watch aimless, spoiled eighteen-year-olds destroy themselves with booze, drugs, and promiscuity. They are clueless as to the music and worse when it comes to the scene. Each week I ask myself, `How can you do this to yourself every Saturday night?' However, by the time Saturday afternoon materializes, I will once again make plans to go to the Beach for yet another round of being disgusted and staying out until 5:00 a.m. It's absolutely horrendous, isn't it?"
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Absolutely. And so we make plans to stop by the Kitchen real soon, and in the meantime struggle back up to the light, where it's not always 5:00 a.m. and horrendously disgusting. The annual cocktail reception at Gusman, hosted by designer Ton Luyk and WPBT's Bette Martin for their friends. No pitches, no charitable appeals. A real party. Mary Luft's Passarela: Stories from Miami and South America at the Center of Contemporary Art in North Miami, interesting observations and plenty of jokes. Members of the Spanish royal family being used as celebrity bait at Van Dome. A Manhattan Model Search party at the Whiskey. Flowers & Flowers moving to the Sterling Building on Lincoln Road. The first annual Miami Science Fiction Film Festival at CocoWalk May 15 through 17, opening with a "SciFi Subterranean Soiree" at the Mayfair House hotel, hosted by World Gallery's Helen M.Z. Cevern and Tara Solomon. Miss Solomon also hosting a benefit for George Tamsitt at this week's Karaoke Royale. The Miami City Ballet benefit "Jewels in the Evening" on May 15, featuring an interesting mix of George Ballanchine's Jewels with feverish intermezzos of jewelry auctioning. Truly a Miami-style event, the high-concept culture approach.
Louis Canales working on an array of high-concept projects lately. The Celia Cruz concert at Warsaw. The opening of the new club Third Rail Company this Saturday, featuring Chi Chi Valenti and Johnny Dynell of Jackie 60. And a tour of our fair city sponsored by Club of Clubs & Junior International Club, two associations of Euros and bright young things who get together four times a year for arcadian adventures among the idle rich. Decadent, at least conceptually, but not all that debauched in practice - part of the program included a visit to the Venetian Pool. But for the 160 or so attendees the trip was just one long parade of pleasant possibilities: lounging around the Grand Bay hotel, barbecues at the rented party house in Bay Point, elaborate meals at places like Caffe Abbracci and the yacht Capella C., real estate tours and dancing at Van Dome and Disco Inferno. And endless parties, the men in blazers and loafers without socks, the women sleek as racehorses.
A whirlwind week of Euro-chic that reached a personal best during a chat with tour coordinator and real-life princess Andrea von Ratibor: "Yes, Brooke Shields is on the honorary committee, and of course Prince Albert. We go wherever it's warm - Acapulco, Monaco, Istanbul. One time we went to the Phoenician in Phoenix; you know it? Beautiful hotel, owned by Charles Keating. He's in jail now? Oh, but in this country everybody goes to jail.... Miami has been very nice; we've met many wealthy South Americans. Next time we go to Dubai - one of the sheiks is going to host our group. Everywhere we go we have tours, parties, do sport. Charity? No, it's just fun."
Somehow, Euro-fun blitzkriegs have a way of inspiring a thirst for all-American decadence and debauchery. Another long evening in some low dive, ending with the inevitable why-do-we-do-this-to-ourselves disgust. And then there's Jon Jon Bubblegum, gleaming like a happy otter, shattering the bleakness and putting it all into perspective: "Well, you're one of us now. It's really amazing how low you've sunk in such a short time. You willingly gave of your soul - you might as well just go ahead and make a bloodstone out of it - and the payback is decadence and debauchery. Sin must be created, and once it is, there's no going back.