True practitioners of 24-hour fast-lane ass-shaking know that all good reckless fun involves a healthy gorge of the quintessential ingredients of excess: music, alcohol, and the relentless pursuit of sex. Understanding this means never stopping or slowing while on the hunt; addicted to the night musk and the rush that it brings when scaling the social decline, we let all hopes of spiritual enlightenment wane for the entire seven days in a week.
South Beach with its high concentration of social depravity can offer an assortment of ways to defy the Ten Commandments within its confined boundaries. "All you guys do here is party!" is what a visitor to the sunny shores says. Damn right! What else is there to do -- that is, to the exclusion of all things meaningful and worthwhile? C'mon already and join in on the fun.
And so it goes ... another week, another prolonged and unavoidable journey into the streets of dejected dreams. The entourage saunters by some obviously disappointed soul out walking a none-too-vicious dog wearing a muzzle. A group laugh aimed at the ridiculousness of putting a muzzle on Snoopy is seemingly antagonizing enough to warrant the threat of unleashing the savage beast onto us, to perhaps lick us to death.
"Oh yeah? You won't think his muzzle is so funny when I take it off and let him bite you!"
Maybe someone should have this Met-RX-munching, Speedo-wearing gym rat muzzled and collared. Something about being lonely and short can bring out the classiest characteristics in the dateless in Miami. Buy that man a rum and Coke and shut him up.
Clubbed and counterparts proceed to the cheap thrills of 25-cent beers at the Monday-night institution and local music talent showcase, Brandt's Break Mondays at Señor Frog's Mexican Grill. "The Frog," as it is affectionately referred to by local music citizenry, is the celebrated taco stand turned CBGB's replica where you can bathe in Budweisers and Coronas while moshing to the sounds of grunge band Deezal and any number of other local talents from all musical walks. So who needs karaoke night?
Greeting patrons at the door is Jerry, the tattooed Beach staple who bears no resemblance to a door Nazi. Jerry's warm smile is all indigenous hang. Aside from the smorgasbord of South American women dancing to the thunderous and energy-packed music, there would be no indication that this is Miami Beach.
It is a den filled with would-be rock stars and their supporters -- or maybe just people here to chug the free beer served up till midnight. A quick set by Alana Chirino, daughter of salsa music star Willy Chirino, leads off the evening with a blend of alt-pop-rock. Alana is backed by an "all-star cast" of local musicians (paradox, anyone?): Lou Duvin (guitarist/songwriter), Tony Alarcon (lead singer of rock band Lo Fi/promoter of Señor Frog's Monday-night event), "Billy" (drummer of ska band Dubskatta), and Juan Diaz (bassist for Latin rock band Nuclear Valdez). Her polished set detonates the explosion of the next act, rap band the Linx. Right about now the free booze starts to take a firm hold.
Nickel 5, the vocalist and percussionist for the Linx, enthuses about performing like he's playing Madison Square Garden. "It's a great atmosphere and there is a nostalgia in the room that creates a sense of intimacy between the band and the crowd," says Nickel 5. Then he adds lightheartedly, "And with the free beer till midnight everyone is here to party down." The free beer of course had nothing to do with Clubbed's motive for attending this evening. Nothing at all. We promise. (Belch!)
Nickel 5 and the rest of the Linxes swarm the stage like it's the early days of the Fugees. Armed with guitars, percussion, turntables, and keyboards, their energy transfers through their songs and into the waiting crowd of boogie boys that have formed in front of the stage. Vocalist Angel Garcia belts out Clubbed's favorite anthem -- "The nightlife ain't no good life/But it's my life" -- while DJ SBTU cuts it up on the proverbial ones and twos for the dancing and breaking crowd. Rapcore outfit Aboriginal follows with lead singer Discreet in model Marshall Mathers style, spitting hot lyrics and climbing the speakers (the preferred stage move for the evening) to incite the crowd.
Discreet's white-hot lyrics pour out over the PA as soundman Seth Schere scrambles to tweak the system for maximum power. Oh, it's just so underground! Sends chills up the spine at the thought of maybe witnessing the next MTV sensation. It's no Fillmore and Tony may not be a Bill Graham just yet, but this is as close as Miami gets. Suddenly in all the 25-cent beer excitement, the Monday madness takes flight once again, this time landing at B.E.D. for Secret Society.
Judging by the throngs of people waiting to get in, this society isn't so "secret" anymore. The sidewalks are littered with Rocka Wear-clad men growling, impatiently demanding entry. Their tirades go unheard, as they are breaking the "laws of clubland" (see "The Rope is in Your Mind," Clubbed, January 23, 2003): Groups of men dressed in athletic wear don't stand a chance. Fortunately for us, our gender ratio and attire were suitable for admission -- four women and two men fashioned out with Mariah Carey and Ol' Dirty Bastard T-shirts (hey, it's who you know, remember?).
We party on past 3:30 a.m., past 4:00 a.m., ignoring the impending sunrise. None of the other rap video objets d'art seem to be concerned with the hour either. The standard Mo' drinking and booty shaking is in full fervor. Clubbed scrambles to remember the "liquor before beer" -- or is it "beer before liquor" -- rule from high school ... ah, whatever, better to opt out of gulping another rum and Coke. Not worth making a mistake and needing to take a trip to the local vomitory.
Slip-N-Slide diva Trina, Miami's Diamond Princess, has her full entourage in tow. B-boys, video queens, and roughnecks nestle on B.E.D.'s comfy cushions. DJ Radamas sends her a shout-out and an invite to his Saturday-night party in Club Space's hip-hop room.
This is an episode of Rap City or 106 and Park, and at 4:30 a.m. no one seems to be tiring of playing it out over and over. However, Clubbed senses that tendonitis and old age may be winning the battle this night. There is another bed that is calling, but Monday night calls louder -- like a bad habit, leading to a tromp down Washington Avenue to Carmel Ophir and Mykel Stevens's "anything goes" brouhaha at crobar: Back Door Bamby. Self-inflicted torture, the best kind!
Pounding rhythms engulf the room of dancing boys, beautiful women, and ... drag queens. What "fabulous" party would be complete without at least three or four sprinkled about? Apparently sharing this sentiment is a chaps-wearing, Village People look-alike who is trying his hand at bagging one of our beauty contestants con duct tape. He insists on a song or two until "she" is whisked away by her friends to another part of the bar. Sensing failure, our Village boy slinks off into a quiet corner.
Even at this late hour, whatever it may be, the urge to boogie still rules. Back Door Bamby may be the United Nations of Clubland and just "a swell time a-waiting to be had," but Clubbed has pushed himself to the limit this night and the time to turn the keys over to the diehard has arrived. You kids just be sure to lock up when you leave.
The sun streaks the sky above Pizza Rustica -- the omega-point where fun becomes a senseless trek to nowhere -- as we careen in the general direction of home. Need a little rest and relaxation from it all. Oh, that's right, we are in a constant state of relaxation. So we find bed, rest, and prepare to do it again Tuesday. And then Wednesday. And Thursday. And every night after that. One night at a time. One night down and an eternity to go.