Friday, 12:10 AM
It's White Party Weekend, the day after Thanksgiving. A huge fundraiser for CareResource, a South Florida HIV/AIDS charity, The White Party is one of the biggest social events on the gay calendar. This event literally brings in thousands of people from around the world.
Tonight, every gay man I know is currently at Karu & Y for "White Dreams," the big gay boy party of the night, DJs Manny Lehman and Abel are spinning. But I don't care who is at Karu & Y, I don't care that there are Chihuly chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, I don't care how "fabulous" the place is. There is no way I'm driving to the breeding grounds of Miami's herds of crackheads, at 14th St. in Downtown Miami. I'll go when the neighborhood is better.
Instead, I'm here at Nikki Beach for "Cirque Blanc," a party for women who love women and who love to dance with women. Of course, first we all have to get in to the party, but the line is so long, so incredibly slow, I have been here inching forward for over an hour. Did I mention it's raining? Yes, here we are, me and a line of soggy lesbians stretching as far as the eye can see. But no matter, the rain isn't killing their spirits, everyone looks nice with their big smiles on their faces.
Fun fact about this party: you know how clubs park really fancy cars in VIP parking by the front door? Usually at Nikki Beach you'll see Ferraris, Lamborghinis, that kind of thing. Tonight, there is a Nissan Murano and some kind of minivan, right in front. Yes, the lesbians are here. I have never seen this many lesbians in one place.
Saturday, 4 PM
The White Party Weekend always features certain events: there is the White Party itself, at Vizcaya; there is the "Muscle Beach" party over at the gay beach near 12th St.; and then there is the "Heatwave Pool Party," which moves around the hotels on Ocean Drive. This year, Heatwave is at the Surfcomber Hotel, which actually has a lovely pool. And it's a Doubletree Hotel, who knew it was this nice?
This party is all men, and of course no one is wearing shirts; many, many variations of the Speedo are stretched across the groin areas of the attendees, leaving nothing to the imagination. And the guys are just strolling along, as if they dress like this every day. Actually, they probably do. There is a singer named "Shelina" bouncing across a portable stage by the pool, trying to sing some Latin-infused dance music, and she is awful. But no one is paying attention anyway, with all those almost-naked men to look at. The topic of conversation: how great the party at Karu & Y was the night before. No matter, I had fun dancing with the lesbians.
A handsome gentleman approaches me and introduces himself. He's a dentist from Boston, in town for the party weekend, and he's by himself. He's also wearing a very nice looking pair of Prada sunglasses. So he must be a rather successful dentist. That makes things interesting.
"Are you here by yourself?" he asks.
"I'm here on a press pass," I say, showing him my I.D. emblazoned with the words New Times.
"Oh." He smiles. "So are you going to write about me?"
I tell him I will if he does something interesting. Oh look at that, I'm writing about him. This is called "foreshadowing," kids.
Saturday, 9:30 PM
At the White Party, at Vizcaya. I have toured the gardens, I have toured the samplings of tasty desserts offered by participating restaurants that have set up booths along the paths, I have mingled with the lovely crowd. And I have also found the place where they sell the drink tickets. I have gone through many drink tickets. I am, shall we say, intoxicated.
Everyone is dressed in white, and people have gone all-out, arriving in gorgeous costumes of angels and fairies and drag queens, oh my! Miami Beach Commissioner Jerry Libbin is there with his wife, and they are dressed head-to-toe in 18th century Southern Plantation couture, complete with his top hat and her corseted gown. Seriously, they look absolutely amazing. And how cool that they rose to the occasion like that! I make a mental note to vote for Commissioner Libbin the next time there is an election. Wait, we just had an election last week? Dang.
"Stop stepping on my dress, bitch!" hollers Elaine Lancaster, as "she" pulls layers of ruffled fabric out from under my foot. It's hard not to step on her dress, it's the length of a wedding gown, and probably about as expensive. Elaine is drag royalty in Florida, and she is the hostess of this party; we are backstage before she introduces Cyndi Lauper as the evening's headline performance. Elaine is beautiful, you can't help but stare in awe, she's about 7 feet tall and truly a class act. Well, other than the cussing.
Cyndi arrives, Elaine hits the stage, and we all head out to the crowd to watch the show. Cyndi seems to be out of her mind, perhaps she found the bar as well. But who cares? Everyone is dancing and dancing, it's like a big gay mosh pit. But the gays are a docile bunch, they're just here to see the show. And I'm not worried, everything will be fine, I think as I look over. I'm with Elaine.
Sunday, 5 PM
Muscle Beach is on 13th St this year, since there is some odd construction over on the gay beach a block south. The topic of conversation is the frustration about "White Starz," the late-night party after the Vizcaya event. It was at the new downtown club Stereo, which used to be Twilo, and apparently they oversold the event, so people with advance-purchase tickets couldn't get in after hours of waiting in line. Will there be a refund? Probably not, since this is "for charity." So people are mad. Charity or not, I'd be mad too. But I didn't go. I was undergoing a procedure of sorts, with a certain dentist.
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Speaking of the dentist, he skipped Muscle Beach, so I'm there by myself. This place is packed, and the music is great; lots of shirtless men bouncing up and down to the beat. I strike up a conversation with a guy from San Francisco; he is also by himself, and he's a little shy. He is also the only other guy within viewing range, besides myself, who is still wearing a shirt. We discuss the rest of the day's events, including the "Noche Blanca" party at Cameo at the end of night. Although I am a fan of Tony Moran, the DJ for that party, neither of us are going. We are just too tired.
"I don't know how these guys do it," says my new friend, as he looks at the endless energy of the crowd before us. And I agree. Is it drugs? Perhaps. But then, that's obviously not fueling everybody. Gay men will travel thousands of miles, spend thousands of dollars, just to go to a party in the hopes of meeting someone new. And I think about that dentist from Boston, with his friendly smile ... I'll see him again at dinner, and hopefully we'll figure out a way to get together again in the future. Boston isn't too long of a flight away. A guy can hope, can't he?
"I guess everyone here is looking for the same thing," I say, as I watch two guys strike up a hopeful conversation.
"I guess," says my new friend. And we pause, as a buff blond walks in front of us. And my friend watches him pass. "Wow," he says. "That guy had really nice nipples." -- Dan Renzi