Trip the White Fantastic

Fabulously over the top and beyond chic, the White Party celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year with the theme "Universal Love: Heroes and Icons of the Revolution." You can "expect to see a lot of Liz Taylors and Marie Antoinettes," says Tony "Mr. Nightlife" Miros, public relations and marketing coordinator for Care Resource, Florida's largest HIV/AIDS organization.

For the first time, the "crown jewel" event, the White Party at Vizcaya, is on a Saturday night. Two DJs, Barry Harris and Chris Cox (formerly known as Thunderpuss), are back onstage for their first, and possibly last, reunion spin. Emmy nominated Sex and the City costume designer Patricia Field is the official host for the evening, while Chi Chi LaRue, "The Drag Diva of Porn," is the VIP hostess with the most ... something. Miros could hardly contain his enthusiasm when hinting about the "Special Guest Star": "Well, let's just say she's a big, tall, blonde diva who can work a room."

New this year is White Starz, featuring the legendary DJ Junior Vasquez, at the Coconut Grove Expo Center (2700 S. Bayshore Dr.), immediately following the White Party, from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (A shuttle service is available for an additional charge.) Miros revealed that another superstar will be performing at White Starz: Yoko Ono. Oh, yes! And in honor of the White Party's anniversary, the Marlin Hotel (1200 Collins Ave., South Beach) will mount an exhibition, "20 Years of the White Party, A Look Back," to showcase memorabilia, archival photographs, and a collection of elaborate costumes. The exhibit is free and runs through White Party Week November 24-29.

This fabulous party with fabulously beautiful people in fabulous costumes benefits Care Resource, which provides HIV/AIDS services to Miami-Dade and Broward residents, including volunteer services, the Youth Health Intervention program, HIV clinical trials and research, and the Women's Outreach program. White Party co-founder and "guiding light" Frank Wagner, who was the trendsetter behind the club look of the Nineties -- the cutoff jeans, the wife beater and Doc Martens boots with white socks -- was asked to spearhead fundraising efforts for the Health Crisis Network in 1985 and the White Party was the brilliant result. Wagner chose the white theme because "white stands for purity ... is elegant, nonpolitical, noncombative, and makes people look just plain beautiful." Twenty years later, the event has received worldwide attention and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Glamour, and Details magazines and in documentaries by Bravo, the Travel Channel, and the BBC. Last year's White Party Week raised $775,000, and 1700 merry men and women attended the Vizcaya party. While Miros is excited about the extravaganza he would rather it be frivolous fun than fundraising necessity. "We'd like to say we don't need the White Party anymore, but we're still a long way from seeing that our services aren't needed."

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Lyssa Oberkreser
Contact: Lyssa Oberkreser