Partying Like It's 1979

Gay Revelers Herald the Return of Spring—and Sex

But this is a dance party, and the music defines the mood. Paulo, the first DJ, made his New York debut with hard, sexy sounds. Victor Calderone, a straight DJ who made his name at gay events, played hard-driving beats. At 10 a.m., Michael Fierman, the original Black Party DJ, turned out Saint classics such as "I Never Can Say Goodbye." Paulo and Calderone both played mixes of the 25-year-old Donna Summer standard "I Feel Love," older than many of the dancers.

The adherence to tradition may account for the Black Party's phenomenal staying power, but it's the unbridled celebration of gay male sexuality, in all its creativity and destructiveness, that ensures success. Weems cites Michael Warner, author of The Trouble With Normal: "When you strip away all sense of shame, you get the essence of human dignity."

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