"the" Mrs. Astor

Monday, February 28, 2005

What is it about South Beach that makes everyone a little crazy? Yes, I know about the heat, the skimpy clothes, and the boys; but there is something else at work here. Case in point: my friend Tim owns a working ranch in New Mexico right next to Tom Ford's. Sure Tim is a fun guy, but what possessed him and his friend, Felix, to go out Saturday and buy four pairs of platform high heels?. They can't be THAT practical on the ranch. And, yet, it all seemed to make sense Saturday night as they pranced around the house doing the Sacred High Heel Dance. I love this town.

This is my Monday book purchase; it had come down to a close choice between Spectacles of Leisure in Edith Wharton's New York and the latest issue of House and Sling. Another bright spot was that I finally ordered Alexander Chee's "Edinburgh". Not being able to find that book in this cultural void had been nipping at me like a rat on my nylons. It will soon be here, thankfully.

This was my "Media" pass which only reminded me of that old Three Stooges episode where they try to get into an event using knobs that say, "Press", Press" , and "Pull". I was the "Pull".

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My date was the gorgeous Martin Haro, film reviewer. How lucky was I?

The approach to the Food and Wine Festival. Each tent held a sensual joy.

Lined up for goodies.

What an inviting table.

Martin accused me of trying to steal his potential, new boyfriend. I was just trying to get a snack (really! You can't possibly think I was up to something.)

The Grand Tasting

The day has come! The South Beach Wine & Food Festival has begun (take a look at the video clips) and a block-long tent has been erected on the beach between 11th and 12th streets (12th Street is Gay Beach; how considerate). One hundred restaurants from Palm Beach to Key West have set up their kitchens and sent their chefs to serve The Grand Tasting; oh, yes, we can't forget that over 150 distilleries and vineyards are also being represented and passing out their wares. Over the three day event a parade of chefs has been on hand for seminars and shows. Today I get to meet Iron Chef Masaharu Marimoto, the UK's Nigella Lawson, and our own Rachel Ray; they have their own tents for cooking demonstrations and book signing.

Once again, I'll be going with Carl of The Wire and his staff (I love press passes). Last year Carl and his boys entered the tent and proceeded to stampede like a herd of buffalo to the Dom Perignon table; I never saw them again. I will eat and drink my way through the whole afternoon and then try to remember where I live. I'll wear a wrist bracelet with my name and address just in case.

James St. James at Blood Feast. I regard James as the Edith Warton of his time. Like Edith, he was a member of the class he so well remembered and documented, and--I think--there was never an event, person, or incident he didn't scrutinize with his great intellect and sense of humor. James was another sweet, if crazy, character; he, too, got out before events overcame him.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

My, my; what you find when you are cleaning out files. Michael Alig, Amanda Lepore, and Chris at the imfamous Blood Feast night at the Limelight.

As Alberta Hunter sang so many years ago in "My Handyman Ain't Handy Anymore", we all need one. Sean, here, does it all; in fact, I love the note in the red star burst. It's so South Florida. "I install slings" God bless you, Sean.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Socialites Starving in Miami

du Barry is on another trip to a far flung resort. This is a vacation from entertaining here in Miami and effects are far-reaching. Formal dinners have ceased, well-bred ladies are eating off mis-matched china, and the sure signs of malnutrition are spreading across the town. The Upper Crust has been forced to finally eat the crust. Welcome back tonight, sister.

Every child's nightmare: "The Thing in the Closet That Wears Mommie's Clothes". From the 1965 movie starring Lady Bunny.

A stolen kiss at Mrs. Astor's Beechwood. du Barry organizes the yearly White Party, which is held at different mansions each year.

Cute couple, but what is the creature in the background? Mrs. Astor must have turned in her grave with that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I was looking through some boxes today and found these two, old prints that I bought in Westerly, Rhode Island. I have always called Westerly, "The Land That Time Forgot" since nothing much has seemed to change there in the last hundred years; it is a dream. These two prints obviously attracted me.

I think I'm the one passed out under the towel. I remember that hat.

Sometimes I'm in the right spot, at the right time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I've always thought this statue on the lawn of a local children's day school showed a young girl with a too-maniacal clasp of the boy's breasts. The boy, though , seemed to like it....

...but the strap-on dildo is a bit, too much.

One of the committees that du Barry sits on in Newport every summer is The Black Ships Festival. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Rhode Island native Commodore Matthew Perry's treaty opening up Japanese ports to trade was celebrated. Newport's sister city in Japan is Shimoda. "Black Ships" was the term the Japanese used for foreign vessels. During the 20th celebration of this festival the Japanese ambassador, Ryozo Kato and his family visited along with a fleet of Japanese warships. A reception was first held on a Japanese destroyer; there is nothing quite like be piped aboard a ship with the crew at attention. In her first meeting the The Abassador, my sister noted the very stiff, formal attitude of the family and made A Plan. At the Newport Officers' Club the next evening, after all the toasts and speeches, the obligatory photo session was held. Just before the shot, du Barry whipped out four Groucho maskes and broke the ice; for one moment the formalities were dropped and everyone was a clown. That always was the best example, to me, of a good host; you made your guests happy with, and perhaps laugh at, themselves. (And, you give them something to remember.)

I entered CVS yesterday morning at 8:30 AM and ran into Pink Lady. This is one of those characters of South Beach; he always dresses in pink and this is one of the more conservative outfits (pink, pleated miniskirts are the preferred mode). He walks around at high noon collecting gee-gaws used to make the stunning headdresses he hopes to some day sell to stage productions. Oh, yes, and he lives in a self-made treehouse off of Haulover Beach; neighbors delight in reporting his descent from the tree every morning in full, pink attire. It was telling that I ran into Pink Lady at the cosmetics counter; I'm sure he taught those girls a thing or two.

Our guests on Friday were greeted with a style so South Beach, Classical Circus.

A favorite: Andres'. Why the wary look, Andres'; I won't bite.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Welcome to Venusberg

Miami is so hot! I have always referred to it as my Venusberg, the erotic land in Tannhauser. Funny enough, that chronicler of all that was gilded, Edith Wharton, called my beloved Newport by the same name. She meant it in a more derisive way, writing, "I did not care for the watering-place mundanities". Well, thank you Edith, but we do; we care for them A LOT.

Last Friday at Twist. I don't know what that look was all about.

The body beautiful.

Yes, I will remember your name in the morning.

Perhaps there is nothing so lovely as Go-Go-Boy-on-Boy action

Great prop, gorgeous.

It's all about fashion.

Why have one, when you can have two? Twist, again.

Strike a pose.

Derek, I will adore you to my dying day; but, until then, keep coming around.

Dance the Disco Heat.

I almost got them off!

A beautiful chest, if I do say so, myself.

I'm glad you're 18. Twist last Friday; a night that will live in infamy.

John and his friend, last Friday at Twist.

A nice, Italian boy.

I asked this boy if I could pack him in a crate and send him to Mr.PageSixSixSix. He thought I was crazy.

The joy.

The love. Amor Ante Omnia

Boys, Boys, Boys

A great song by the Italian pop star Sabrina; how I ended up with a tape of her music is a mystery. But, as promised to Mr. PageSixSixSix, today will be devoted to boys only; no drag queens. If there is one thing you always want to keep on the front burner of the mind, it is to NEVER get on the wrong side of Mr. PageSixSixSix (she's viscous! and we LOVE her for it). So, as soon as I come to, walk the dogs, make breakfast for the dogs, and then take a swig of something that will clear my mind, I will post nothing but boy pictures (or is that, Butt boy pictures?). Although not given to public displays of affection, I can say--without doubt--"I fucking adore you, Perez Hilton".

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The old South had its Carpet Baggers, I have the Paper Baggers. Cheap things, really, but you have to love them for their tenacity, determination, and--well--their offer for a swig when you need it the most.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Big Party Tonight

And you know how I dread going out..... It's been one year since we opened this club and, my, how it feels like 20. We are throwing a huge bash tonight, and everyone in town has been invited. If it's anything like the other special events we've organized here, we'll all be swinging from the abundant chandeliers by about 1. Tomorrow will be a very rough day. All the ladies of society will be making their appearances, too, just to show their support (not so much for me, but for the open bar :-)

Ms. Bees Knees wanted to know if I ever "did" drag, since I enjoyed it so much. I replied that although I leave entertaining to professionals, we all have a past. It's important to laugh at yourself; guess which one is me. (That's right, the one in the poster.)

A sinister shot of me as I watched Martin Borman trying on a dress. This was part of a larger "Wanted" poster which began, "This international fugitive was last seen leaving Hitler's bunker with a zebra-striped hat box known to be filled with jewels and Swiss Francs...." We posted it all around South Beach last year; it was a peak of silliness. If I ever stop being silly, take me out behind the barn and shoot me.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Everything in Newport is a "_"

All through my experience in Newport, one thing has always stood out: the quotation marks. There are the "cottages" like Beechwood, "picnics" like the one I post a few days back, and even "tailgate parties". These stand out because the season in Newport is so short that everything has to be over the top; as one wag put it in 1904, "the only occupation in Newport is advancing one's social standing". Much has changed there, especially under the guidance of forward looking mayors like Richard Sardella. But it remains special. Case in point: my sister's "tailgate parties". During season these are not held at football games, but at the weekly polo matches in neighboring Portsmouth. As you can see by the following photo, it's not a keg of beer and hamburgers. That's the joy of Newport: it is like a match; its flame is brightest just before its season ends.

du Baryy's "tailgate" party at the Portsmouth Polo games.

The "picnic" in Newport. There was a question of just what was served at du Barry's "picnic" posted a few days ago. It was very simple: gazpacho soup (easy for a picnic), lobster salad Rhode Island style (extra mayo on a hot dog bun), and strawberry short cake, with champagne and sparkling water. The previous photo showed sailboats in the background; that's a must.

This brought a tear to my eye (or was it a splash of gin?). These are the girls from HollywoodFlashBash and they make a shot that's heard around the world by paying homage to Joan. Tami and her husband are visiting in March, the height of "season". We'll have fun.

Here is my youngest dog, Lucy; at nine months she is still in the Monster Stage. I have to muzzle her when I leave the house because she's got fine taste in leather and twenty dollar bills. Here Lucy is looking to see if I'm watching; she would like nothing better than to tear another plant out of the front yard.

.....adorable, but a monster.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

the Trock and Madame Sobechenskaya

We all went to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo last night; as usual it was a mix of great talent and greater camp. The Jackie Gleason Theater (only in Miami could you find a name like that), a rather large venue, was packed with an amusing cross section of what makes up this kooky city. As I walked home, I thought once again about the great Madame Sobechenskaya and all the fun times we had back in the 90's. I'll make this Madame Day; here a a few photos of the hundreds I took of this great lady.

I loved that butterfly head piece.