By Chaz Kangas
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By Peter Gerstenzang
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The pressure is on Sharp to use his signature recipe for fun—the go-go boys, the anti-pop remix music, the committed drag queens and baseball-hat-wearing club boys—to pack the cavernous space. As the night gets late, the room fills with young people who look as if they thought very hard about their outfits. The vibe at Santos is younger than at WestGay. It's more like a sandbox of a club, where people come to test out their nightlife personas and get their club legs. Here, too, Sharp never stops moving, except for the occasional photo op that will appear in Next magazine, on papermag.com, or on his own well-curated Facebook page.
"When I heard he was doing Wednesday and Friday I thought, Uh-oh, too much too soon," says Linda Simpson. "But then again, he should strike while the iron's hot." Other industry insiders think he may be flapping his new wings a little too early. "Any joker can call himself a promoter now," says Daniel Nardicio, who has been one for 14 years, and who has also been credited with keeping a sense of debauchery alive in the city. Nardicio will be presenting Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli at Town Hall next week, and he just celebrated his 1,000th "underwear party" at the club Rebel near Madison Square Garden, where, to the surprise of hundreds of near-naked men, he had a marching band show up and weave through the crowd. "The proof with promoters is they can do more than one thing," Nardicio says pointedly. As for Sharp's prospects, he says, "Let's talk in three years."
After the last Friday-night party in February at Santos, Sharp comes down with the flu, and even spends a couple of nights in the hospital. He can't make it to WestGay or to the Cock. He responds via e-mail a couple days later. "The ONLY night at WestGay I [ever] missed," he writes. "Amy Cakes my INCREDIBLE full time assistant ran the show. She's simply invaluable. . . . I literally gave her a rundown of the showtimes, comps, guestlist with highlighted VIPs all instructions operational which I'm sure she just crumpled up and threw away. She doesn't need that."
Sharp is back on his feet and back out all night by the end of the week. And he's already brainstorming his next move. His night at Santos may be WestGay "times a million," but it is also a test for Sharp's greater ambitions. "I feel like I want to use this simple formula for bolder-faced names," he says. "I want to have a party that turns into a show that turns back into a party. Like, what if I did a party that had Björk, and then RuPaul, and after that a marching band," he says excitedly. "I mean—why does the night have to end?"