South Beach, as always, remains at the forefront the new American religion—the replacement of society’s true and meaningful values with a twisted form of tabloid celebrity worship. The Grande Dame of Deco never seems to miss an opportunity to drop to her knees and toot on the skin-flute of the rich and famous. The latest dose of eat-my-glamour frippery comes in the form of Julia Roberts’ attempt to sneak into town unannounced with her new boyfriend, leaving the pop-culture press all jumping through their own rectums to scrounge-up details of the brief interlude. Photographers and journalists frantically calling around, questions flying back and forth—where did they stay, was it the Delano—(it wasn’t)—was it the Cardozo—(it was), the whole town looking like the Kremlin preparing to nuke Bulgaria.
In the midst of all the glamour-driven fury, the only question our cheesy little publication could offer up was, who cares—since we assign about as much importance to Julia Robert’s sex life as we do her political views. Enough with the celeb stuff, already! We should learn to channel our creative energies into something really shallow and pointless—like nightclubs, for instance.
And in that regard, rest assured that the South Beach fun platoon forges dead ahead at warp speed, impervious to rebuke, undeterred by proletariat matters of war, famine, pestilence—balking only at that tacky cover-charge thing. The air full of hair spray, press releases and some nasty, yet quite riveting rumors on a subject taboo for even this low-class column. And through it all, South Beach’s strict no-conscience policy remains in full force.
The newsboy, of course, running right along with the herd, comforted by the knowledge that his impending fall from grace won’t be from any great moral height. Operating in a kind of detached, over-it-all mode. Even sex, only interesting when it involves an uneven number of participants—the number “1” coming up way too often, lately.
That sex thing, however, receiving top billing at Michael Capponi’s Wednesday night party at BED. Guardian of the glamour pit, Sergio all decked out in his signature 8-inch wide tie standing booty-duty at the front gates, allowing only the best of the breed to enter. A constant stream of voluptuous beauties entering the pleasure-dome and leaving all hope behind. Just inside, fun-director Capponi accompanied by his beautiful fiance, Aimee greeting a constant stream guests, the scene momentarily looking like the receiving line at Buckingham Palace—Capponi definitely having the Duke of Windsor beat in the main squeeze department.
Off to one secluded side of the room sexy social columnist Suzy Buckley lounging with her date. Miss Buckley, all blonde hair and gorgeous legs, wrapped up in a black and gold lame package, having just recently completed filming with a media group from Amsterdam doing a travel show on South Beach kiss-kiss hedonism.
Pushing our way to the bar and a brief conversation with three staggeringly sexy girls down from New York for a week-long romp in Fun City, deliciously decked out in their behold-our-heavenly-hooters evening dresses. Their classic beauty immediately filling the newsboy’s head with all the familiar visions of an incorrigible French Romantic…violins…flowers…handcuffs… One of the lasses apparently having gone somewhat overboard with her latest lip collagen injection, looking like she’d had a vagina stapled to her face. Nice girls though, in a deep West Chelsea sort of way.
Writer John Buchanan working on a major article for a national magazine titled “New York on $25,000 a Day,” actually faced with having to spend the whole chunk of money in a single 24 hour period. Johnny-boy agonizing over how to split-up the cash between private dinner parties with 5-star chefs and a live chamber-music quartet for entertainment; Central Park penthouses with helicopter transportation to and from private yacht cruises around Manhattan; private boxes at Broadway shows for twenty of his closest friends, all the usual stuff. Our guess is he’ll spend $59.95 at the Days Inn and blow the rest on hookers.
A quick stop into Rain Nightclub and Louis Canales’s Gossip party. Tara Solomon, Leslie Abravenal, and paparazzo Manny Hernandez—the man who once flung himself onto the hood of Madonna’s limo to get the shot—all socializing together and swapping items. Then, the big gun, Page Six’s Richard Johnson enters with Jason Binn shortly thereafter. Binn in the process of firing-up “LA Confidential,” a new tell-all glossy out in Fantasyland.
Adhering to our latest dictum of no more than six cocktails per night, we soon decide to expend our remaining allotment at the center of the South Beach gay universe—Twist on Washington Avenue—where the golden boys of the buff brigade are still whippin-it-hard at 3:00am.
The place coming up dark with deep film noir-style shadows, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see Robert Mitchum’s “Out of the Past” character emerge from behind the curtain any moment, albeit in skin-tight jeans and a fresh-waxed chest.
Pausing for a moment to watch the artsy videos playing above the bar—gay nude wrestling, our favorite subject. Muscular, golden-tanned gladiators straining cheek to cheek, locked in mortal combat. Lots of flexing muscle, flailing genitalia, hair pulling and screaming—not unlike the newsboy’s last sexual encounter, really. The videos very tastefully done though, especially the sphincter close-ups.
Up the stairs and into a conversation with Eric the bartender in the back room—a conversation that is briefly interrupted when a loud and plaintive wail emerges from within the nearby restroom, “Oh God, I’m starting to look just like my mother.”
Eric, though, appearing truly amazed at our ability to remember photographing him at one of last year’s Back Door Bamby parties at Crobar. When asked how we were able to recall him after all this time, we tactfully explained that the vision of a man wearing matching zebra-skin leotards, bra and cowboy hat tends to linger in the mind. His reply, “Honey, you should have seen me dressed-up this year in D.C.—a photographer from the Washington Post said I looked like Tipper Gore in a trash-bag.”
4:00am and the world begins to feel like a ride on the Scrambler as the Cuervo Gold hammers away—Tequila being a product whose future most certainly lies in the field of human genocide.
Chuckling to ourselves as we mentally revisit various absurd revelations of the week. Especially to one about the sexy nightclub dancer that isn’t such a struggling ingénue after all, but rather, a mid-Beach rich-bitch with a penchant for the wild side of life—a situation that might make daddy’s future in the spotlight somewhat complicated.
A brief melancholy moment recalling the demolition of the old Embers/Club Nu building up on 22nd Street last week, one of the original outposts of South Beach hipness.
Then the newsboy’s moment of solitude is soon interrupted by some pale and gaunt agent provocateur who looked like he’d savored one too many reckless nights at the YMCA, rambling on about the latest gay sexual fade of “tea-bagging,” where one gets repeatedly smacked in the face with his partner’s testicles—his vivid description of the act immediately reminding us of the 1955 movie, “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”
And then it’s a mass migration of the crowd into the next room where Adora’s DragBoy Show is just firing up. Adora working the crowd like an old-time, borscht-belt comedian: “Is it really your birthday, darling— Oh, come dear, don’t be shy…” A mass of people lining the tiny stage, sitting on the floor; on tables, a standing-room-only crowd.
Looking around the room at the jubilant faces intently watching the show, Twist at 4:30 am is a virtual Noah’s Ark of human sexuality—muscle-boys in skin-tight t-shirts, North Beach lesbians, goofy German tourists in white socks and sandals, teenage geechy-boys, the butt-plugs and ball-gags brigade down from Lauderdale, and, of course, one sociological misfit with a camera stupefied by the whole mess.
Back out into the badlands of Washington Avenue at 5:00am just in time to witness a group of ninja riders roaring by laughing and screaming, each rider with a bikini-clad girl on the back clinging tightly to their waist—all except the last lone rider who is wearing a t-shirt reading, “The Bitch Fell Off.” The perfect curtain-call for yet another night in life’s eternal game of trivial pursuit.
Walking home just before sun-up, ruefully contemplating the wages of sin, the cosmology of fun, and the inevitable corruption of sex and beauty where they both seem to lead. Questions without answers, filed away for another time, another place.
One thing, however, is without question. And that is, South Beach is a city suffocating in its own fabulousity—a town whose only allegiance is to orgasm and the next new thing. Simply put, South Beach is an alternative reality destination for those in the mood for some beautiful yet quite unwholesome pleasures. Ultimately, a place forever doomed to exist somewhere between the hip and the hideous.