Dancing Through the Sandstorm

by Robert Doyle

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday September 3, 2008

If you've ever wondered how it is that a town as flamboyant as Miami Beach has only this year established a date for its first Gay Pride celebration, then the explanation might have something to do with the fact that the boyz in this town make nearly every weekend on this flamingo pink sandbar a celebration of Pride. Take this past Labor Day weekend, for example-a weekend where south Florida found itself sandwiched between two hurricanes. Evacuations to the west and trepidation to the east-and meanwhile, on the Beach, surfers rode the waves while the boyz cruised the avenues, twirling from one party to the next.

Once again, rains threatened Edison Farrow's Amnesia T-Dance-and once again, Farrow put in a call to Zeus-and the skies cleared for Susan Morabito's return to the sandbar. It's been too long since the Beach has had the pleasure of Morabito's sexy soulful groove-and her sultry recipe was perfect for the day's hurricane sandwich. If you didn't make it to the Mediterranean (or Fire Island) this summer, this party was the next best thing. And furthermore, it was the closest thing that South Beach has seen in years to Manhattan's long-running and much-loved Sunday afternoon Body and Soul party.

It was hot; it was humid. The air was rainforest thick as strings of rainbow flag balloons and Chinese lanterns swayed above the dance floor. Morabito plated "Lady Marmalade"-and from atop the grand staircase descended Adora, Barbarella, Chyna and Fantasy: a perfect quartet of divas who werked the walk and sealed the deal. The party went off! Morabito threw down "Relight My Fire," as if to rewind time and send everyone back to the days when hurricanes were merely cocktails.

Morabito’s sexy soulful groove was perfect for the day’s hurricane sandwich.

As someone said, "Every Tom, Trick, and Harry is here." To look around was to see the entirety of Equinox membership, and the bulk of Halo staff, and to imagine the Winter Party memo that read, "Calling all Winter Party Committee members. Attendance at Amnesia T-Dance is mandatory." That’s how it was; there was Parzham, Henry Perez, Omar Gonzalez, Chad and Leo, John and Lloyd, Craig Stevens, Nestor Paz, Dale Stine, Doug and Josh, Jarrod and Eric, Santiago, JC Curry, Jason-and promenading through the crowd, Michael Galliano McQueen Dolce Gabbana Stanley, wearing what he termed "roadkill" on his head. "A little something for the kidz," he said, smiling. And there was Flavio Nisti, in a somewhat compromising position, but as always exhibiting la bella figura, and Michael Superman werqing Ed Hardy, and Alex Cohen channeling Steve McQueen. All in all, a pantheon of stylists strutting the staircases and runways that make Opium Garden such a fun place to play dress-up and get down.

Morabito made her return to the Beach a joyous celebration of her signature sounds, including "This Time, Baby/In and Out of Love," "Rise Up," "Find Someone New," "Give Peace a Chance," as well as crowd favorites such as "In The Name of Love" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." And as moonbeams struggled to break through the cloud cover and shine across the steamy floor, it was Barry White’s "My First, My Last, My Everything" that had the floor grooving as one, which, as Barry would say, was "my kind of wonderful."

The steamy sweatbox was filled to the gills with a "total pack crowd"-as in six-and-eight pack.

Once darkness took over the floor, there were glow sticks and nitrogen blasts, and those Chinese lanterns shimmering against the Miami sky. It was tropical and sultry; it was a party out of a Hollywood flick about the good life in Miami.

In many ways, with their easygoing vibe and their innate camaraderie, Farrow’s Amnesia T-Dances are like the best house parties of a summer resort such as P’town, or Fire Island-and in this case, given Miami Beach’s ongoing temperate climate, some of the joy is in the fact that this particular summer share doesn’t end in September. There are more Amnesia T’s scheduled, with the next one starring Brett Henrichsen on the 21st of September, the same date as the next Salvation Sunday starring Abel at Score. Because, as we all know, one party is never enough on this Beach.

And so on through the night we staggered-to CLICK. Because if Farrow’s Amnesia T’s are the house parties, then Omar and Dustin’s CLICK is the after-hours. It was Labor Day Madness at dek23, where CLICK was hosting one of its final parties at the Washington Avenue address before relocating in the coming weeks. The steamy sweatbox was filled to the gills with Omar’s hottie posse, or what someone referred to as a "total pack crowd"-as in six-and-eight pack. Naked torsos abounded as Dustin’s bf, Patrick, celebrated his b’day, complete with cake and arabesque lap dance by Ebonee Excell. With her 180-degree leg extensions, Ms. Excell had the crowd hollering and caterwauling-for more and more-and the girl delivered, making "Think It Over" a defiant paean of self-sufficiency.

Meanwhile, in the booth, it was DJ Roxx and JRNY tag-teaming throughout the night, and there was no doubt about the fact that both of these boyz know their crowd and how to make them werk. With an arsenal of hard beats, including "I Wanna Be," "Fascinated," "You Know (U Want It)," and "Bad Habit," Roxx and JRNY made this the after-hours where everyone turned it out. Or as that Alan T. track had it, "Hope you love the weekend as much as I do. Let’s ROLL."

There were b’day boyz on the banquettes sharing bottle service, while DJ Roxx rocked the box.

There was Dustin in head-to-toe sequins, a gender-bending combination of Judy Garland and Liberace, with Boy George’s charm and chutzpah, catering to his guests-and there was Adora channeling Miami Beach Auntie Mame in a black-and-white polka-dot cocktail ensemble, and there was Dale and Flavio sharing a go-go box with a perfect porno hottie. There were b’day boyz on the banquettes sharing bottle service, and boyz bouncing off every inch of space. "Let me take you to the underground," as Ceevox sang it, as DJ Roxx rocked the box.

That CLICK bunch is a parade of colorful people, the very buncha "Happy People" that Maya and Offer Nissim sing about. The kind of kidz who always threw the best parties when their parents were out of town. The back patio was open and kidz were strewn across the chaises and bouncing off the back walls. It was "Four Minutes (To Save the World)" and they were dancing it off.

And then there was Chyna- Gorgeous Chyna performing Maya’s "Misunderstood," looking every bit the sex kitten she is, mixed with the tigress within. And presiding over it all was Omar, happy to have this house for a couple more weeks-until the ’rents come home-and he moves the party to the next fabulous address.

With parties like these happening, there’s little question that Pride abounds on the Beach. It’s a lovely sandbox to play in and there’s room enough for us all-to kick up some sand as we dance our way through a storm.

Long-term New Yorkers, Mark and Robert have also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center, Mark is a PhD in American history and literature, as well as the author of the novels Wolfchild and My Hawaiian Penthouse. Robert is the producer of the documentary We Are All Children of God. Their work has appeared in numerous publications, as well as at : www.mrny.com.

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