“Miami, you are cuter than/An intra-uterine,” as the legendary lyric from The Golden Girls goes. And indeed, South Beach is so winsomely adorable I’d gladly stick the whole thing way up my insides. Now that a little of the frenzy around the place has died down and it’s just medium frenetic, it’s an even more appealing mix of stunning architecture, hormone-inducing weather, and gamboling people. (Just don’t go there looking for any lofty pursuits—everyone’s way too high for high culture.)
Saucy SoBe seems completely different, if basically the same, about every six months. (Wolfie’s deli is suddenly gone, “Pickle Promenade” and all!) But it’s reassuring that new options always pop up, lots of old New Yorkers dredge up (“Remember me from Limelight?” is a familiar cry), and the transients keep pouring in, a good thing considering there are about 17 hotels per block. Cultures mix and scenes evolve under the sun, so an ex-ice-skater named Barton G. Weiss (a/k/a Miami Weiss) turns into “an event guru to the stars” and opens a restaurant called Barton G. the Restaurant, on the site of the old Starfish (the hangout). Barton G. the Person just sent us down to the opening, with the lure of PR tidbits like, “Although our guest list is extremely discriminating, we’re anticipating approximately 800 guests.” That appealed to my intimacy phobia, as did the live animals at the entrance and the flesh-exposing male dancers and feather-boa-laden showgirls traipsing around inside, prompting The Sopranos‘ Joe Pantoliano to gush, “They’re like pink angels with tits!”
There were also top-drawer disco performers, like Thelma Houston and Evelyn “Champagne” King, but it’s a “Shame” that King later told me, “I’m looking for a record deal. If you find one, let me know!” Honey, I’d do anything to help the diva avoid returning to her original job of scrubbing toilets. As we left, our heads were in the toilet when gay porn star Jeff Palmer noticed the giant genitals on a giraffe and said, “A human wouldn’t even have to bend down [to suck it].” Unfortunately, I’m already engaged to a very cute llama—and he’s a doctor!
To stay within the species, we drove to Coliseum, the gay cha-cha palace in Fort Lauderdale, but an animalistic bouncer decided I should go elsewhere because I was clearly there to hand out flyers! I forced myself in anyway, determined to restrict all future partying to South Beach, where the fun is governed by less paranoia-causing pharmaceuticals. Or maybe not. The next day on Ocean Drive, the big, tragic sight-seeing attraction was still the Versace mansion—not to mention the homeless man across from it who said, by way of intro, “I once asked a girl to donate her body to ‘science.’ She falsely accused me of rape.” Nice to meet you, too! My tummy settled at the indoor-outdoor Sushi Samba, and then, too sushied to samba, we unfabulously schlepped to Monkey Jungle, an out-of-the-way simian sanctuary where, genital-wise, they even put those giraffes to shame. Alas, there was no live sex show and not even false rape accusations—just the sight of monkeys hovering on gratings, through which they lower tin cups on chains, hoping you’ll put a piece of food in. For a change of pace, I gave them some flyers.
The jests kept coming at Ocean Drive magazine’s book party for Pantoliano at the Mercury Hotel, where I asked the actor about his character’s très jaunty dildo-fucking by Aida Turturro—a real pickle promenade. “Pants” said he thinks the guy’s kinkiness “is going to evolve and explain some reason for his psychopathic tendencies.” In the meantime, I hope he doesn’t kill any pink angels with tits.
A marvel of blue and white—keep moving, kid—the Beach House is a nautical-themed Bal Harbour luxury lodge run by Jennifer Rubell (who’s not to be confused with fellow club-owner relations Jennifer Gatien and Jennifer Goode). At the hotel’s Atlantic restaurant, chef Michael Schwartz does fascinating things with foodstuffs, and the waiters serve them wearing laminates bearing their names and astrological signs—probably a better touch than “Hi. Remember me from Limelight?”
We ended up at Crobar, mainly to suck up to door god Fabrizio Brienza, who’ll man the ropes of the even bigger New York branch of the club, opening in April. Fabrizio—a hunk of Italian bread who wears rosary beads under his Dolce suit—spotted a half-naked go-go boy prancing by in the VIP room and generously said, “I could throw him on a plate for you with a lemon wedge in his mouth and get you a knife and fork.” Fabulous—but I was too smitten with that giraffe at this point (fuck the llama) to even think of cheating. I love you, Miami! You’re much sweeter than/The guys I put my peter in!
Back in Gotham, there was high culture, but it had a sort of low tinge to it. I don’t want clever conversation, but I do want some conversation, which is why Movin’ Out is so extraordinarily bizarre. Except for a drill sergeant’s rants, the show has no talk at all, clever or otherwise. Instead, a Billy Joel soundalike slavishly belts B.J.’s hits on a riser, while on the main stage, virtuoso dancers act out a boy-meets-girl plot via Twyla Tharp jerks and jetés. It’s movement karaoke and the straightest dance piece ever—the drag queen and leather top are there only to represent sordid decadence—but the most disturbing thing about Movin’ Out is how much of it really works! In fact, for dancing like this, it’s well worth going uptown, girl.
The completely dialogue-free floperetta Amour has a nice design (except for the cheesy walking-through-walls effect) and spurts of charm, but it’s loaded down with les moon/June lyrics and besides, the same theme—a nerd with a crush on a blank-slate lady becomes indomitable—is handled much more enchantingly in Punch-Drunk Love, which costs less.
I experienced a real love (of life) at the reopening of the Copacabana, a glitzy dance palace that was filled with shimmying culos and even a few of the original Copa girls, who’ve held up quite well. Hola, people! I’m Michael and I’m a Sagittarius!
Down under by way of the Upper West Side, there was a Nick & Toni’s Café after-party for the creepily effective The Ring. (Mamma like, mamma like. Then again, mamma liked Swept Away.) I told star Naomi Watts that the movie got my goat, if not my llama. “You’re still scared?” she asked. Yes, I told her, “and I saw it a week ago!” “I was shocked by how scared I was when I saw it,” said Watts (who’s Nicole Kidman‘s best girlfriend, but Heath Ledger‘s amour). “I was shifting in my seat a lot, then I got the giggles!” She was less horrified as a presenter at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards. “As soon as LL Cool J and I walked onstage,” Watts admitted, “it was clear they wanted him, not me, so it made me relaxed.” Honey, that would only make me more agitated!
Watts’s humility was especially refreshing coming after DJ Junior Vasquez‘s new Tommy Boy Records bio, which states that Junior has “a following that rivals that of Jesus Christ.” Please—Jesus Christ takes requests!
Finally, those D.C.-area cops deserve to be boastful these days, though for a while they were turning the sniper situation into an unfunny version of (Chief) Moose and Squirrel. Remember, these are the same freaks who couldn’t find Chandra Levy! But I bet they could spot an invisible flyer in my handbag.
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Meanwhile, the silent prayer of everyone I know when it comes to the alleged Beltway sniper and his young charge is “Dear Lord, don’t let them be gay!” . . . On a much lighter note, don’t shoot me for reporting that the gayest movie ever—Valley of the Dolls—is being remade, and guess who director Betty Thomas wants to play over-the-hill star Helen Lawson? Julia Roberts! More on this shocking development next week.