"the" Mrs. Astor

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Another night at The Palace, which brings my thoughts back to deviants. I was brought up in a very conservative household; my grandmother, Sarah Jane Gallagher, was the imposing matriach and President of the Rhode Island chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. My childhood was one of dress shoes and dancing school, but the moment I found the escape hatch I jumped. My grandmother was appalled by some of the new friends I found in the seedy bars of Providence, where I went to school. They were exciting to me; they wore eyeliner and dyed their hair. Once I dyed mine a color named Violent Violet and nearly got sent to military school in Newport. I never was allowed to wear sneakers as a child, but when I did learn how to make my own decisions they were platform sneakers. My mother, ever the rebel, introduced me to the first gay person in my life, Richard Chamberlain; she coyly said afterwards to her young, fascinated son, "You know his hands are smooth as silk. And he likes men." Perhaps it was from that point on that I surrounded myself with deviants. I was always fascinated by souls who did not care about convention; I followed the likes of Mona the Providence drag queen who embraced my innocent being and took me once on a spree that entailed her taking an axe out of her pocke book and chopping up someone's car in the lot of a a gay bar. I eventually bought a huge apartment on Benefit Street in Providence and maintained a sort of Salon of the Sordid. I was always laughing, as was everyone else. When I moved to New York, it all took the form of something much more focused, but still so fun. That's another story. All in all, my favorite people are those who don't fit in; they have always seemed to be the most real and understandable. My sister, du Barry (Peter lBarry of the Barrys of Newport) has always remained aghast of my tastes, but I love her anyway. There is nothing more plausible to me than a boy in a dress who is comfortable in it. One of my first infatuations was with a boy (now a famous jewery designer) who spent his entire first year at the Rhode Island School of Design in historical drag. Ricky, with whom I am STILL good friends after all these years, eventually had to be moved to the girls' dorm, although it wasn't a historical girls' dorm. I would walk around The East Side with him dressed in a perfect reproduction of Queen Victoria's 16th birthday gown; the pictures I took are still astounding. Now I'm here in Miami still embracing the unusual. I love deviants; they are not deviant to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I don't know why I was invtited to the Tenth Anual Fetish Ball in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday night. People like Rubberella and Chain Goddess Brandy are hosting such a thing. I'm reminded of the John Waters line, "I don't find the actions of deviates the least amusing." But, then, I do. From the moment I broke out of that Newport, seaside existance and escaped to New York I have surrounded myself with deviants. My first friend in the city was Arthur Terchi, a shaved-head drag queen who would in later years rescue me from certain doom at The Underground. That night I had too much of everything and decided to lock myself in a bathroom stall and pass out. Every one of my friends knew I would never leave without signing out and Arthur went looking. He spotted my signature, patented leather dancing pumps under a door and scaled the wall. He carried me out while he was wearing a blue chiffon ball-length dress out on to 17th Street. I now have new Deviants like Kevin in New York; what a breath of fresh, nasty air he is. I'm blessed with his buddy Adrian, too, although not a deviant--just fun. How lucky I am.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Art is everywhere here on South Beach; sometimes you just have to tale it out of the attic and uncover it.

Pre-Vacation Time

Well, I took a few days off to collect myslelf and try to maintain my sanity. Memorial Day Weekend is not exactly a holiday here. Three hundred thousand Hip-Hop fans descend upon Miami Beach this weekend, a number that represents three times the population of the city and many more than the size of the police department. We enter a siege mentality for three days and have all week been preparing for this. As for The Palace, we have to shut down as we are an openly gay restaurant and bar with little protection from an element distinctly against us. Every year we are the target of attacks.

All and all, it is good for me; I live in a small section of the city that does not allow parking or even walking through; God bless high taxes. I will hold a series of pool parties for those poor souls who find themselves trapped here, pool boys will find that their union dues pay off, and there will be noone turned away with a pool boy union card. It is the least I can do for the city's residents.

Hot dog, anyone?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Palace, early in the morning before the action begins; the infamous bar is on the other side of this view.
Could there be a more lovely setting for debauchery?

I have been very overcome by the workload of late and have suffered the penalty of admonishment. Posting old photos is fine and all, but there is something lacking in the freshness of the world in which I live. For that, I am sorry.

South Beach will always be filled with interesting people. I will always enyoy them.

In any event, let the debauchery begin!

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Trilogy of Terror (Nightlife-like).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Lahoma loved to do the Sacred Toilet Paper Dance every Saturday at the Roxy. It was so difficult to follow her around without getting a piece stuck to your shoe, but it was worth it. She would run through the masses tangling them up in TP and shout "Yeahhhhhhh". One night at the Roxy, at the right time and the right place (as so many things are decided) I caught this shot. It is heaven to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lady Duff Gordon

"I remember that last meal on Titanic very well. We had a big vase of beautiful daffodils on the table, which were as fresh as if they had just been picked."

Monday, May 16, 2005

My first photo of RuPaul. Not knowing her name at the time (I soon would!), I entitled the photo, "The South Shall Rise Again". In reality, this began the final descent into madness for all of us. It was a long descent to be sure; we all had another seven years of bath-tub-gin fun before the Michael Alig murder case bubbled to the surface and nightlife sank like The Titanic. I left New York just as everything was coming down (sort of like Lady Duff Gordon, getting into the first lifeboat) and moved to the island of Cozumel for six months to dry out and plot another strategy. It wasn't as if Cozumel was a dry island, but it afforded me the time and space to realize that Miami was the place to be, and here I am.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What attracts me to this party invitation; is it the the Bad Boys or the Booze? Neither have influenced my life very much down here, but I am very attracted to alliteration. I will have to draw every bit of my inner resolve not to attend this; I will fight the urge all day.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Proof that The Dollar has lost much of it's value. That IS a ten, I believe, and he is at his knees during in offering. The girl's name is Pusiclla; I think that was the name of one of Tiberius' daughters. (Well, not really, but should have been.)

These are not good girls; I feel a civic responsibility to photograph these types to warn others. They are not interested in the falling dollar unless it falls to them. Your husbands are not safe in their company. They are good babysitters for your neighbors, though. Don't let them clean your house, even if they are naked. That said, I'm calling them up to go out now.

How Do They Do It?

Last night I went bar-hopping with my Finnish friend, Ese. He noticed a rather pronounce yawn at one point early in the evening and giggled, saying that I was what in Finnish would translated to a pussy. My honor so challenged, I ordered shots of Zygo; he ordered shots of Jager. At this point he caught me pouring the Jager into a nearby, and soon to be dead, plant. "Pussy", again in Finnish. I admitted that I really had reached my limit, and he let out a cackle that did not suit his slight, blonde frame. "You should have been with me the last time I was with my parents in Kotka", he laughed. "The night before my leaving I drank three glasses of wine, 1/4 of a bottle of Mango Findlandia vodka, 1/4 of a bottle of regular Findlandia, 1/4 bottle of Chrystal vodka, had a late night meal of spiced meat balls, more Chystal, and 8 glasses of rum and coke. Then I went to sleep." All this from this cute, little rosy-cheeked cutie of no more that 140 pounds. I have always heard of the drinking ability of Scandinavians, but this shocked even me. I wonder how Ese ever got out of bed the next morning?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

We were really crazy again Sunday. I'm expecting that I will be the target for "intervention" soon. I have already planned to shout, " You won't take me alive." and growl at the villagers with pitchforks and torches. Who ever cared for those unwashed villagers, any way. I'm reminded of the Edina Monsoon line of, "Why, oh why, don't only the stupid people pay taxes?"

Hey, my computer is back and now knows who is boss. Yes, I am the boss Miss Computer and Miss Sony Camera is next.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sex With Kings

I love Lahoma van Zandt. I remember way, way back in the eighties when she first told me, "You're so sweet" and I thought I was the only one she said that to. She bewitched me with her fits of fashion, her long, blonde hair, and the vast amount of useless knowledge she managed to acquire. She lived with RuPaul, Lady Bunny, and Larry Tee in a crumbling townhouse at 5 Ninth Avenue; when it rained we had to get all the pots and pans to collect the water. The east wall of the building bulged out and we knew that at any time we could be under the rubble, but were having too much fun to care.

Lahoma is sober now and an editor of a national magazine; she's a boy, too, again. She just sent me a copy of "Sex With Kings" by Eleanor Herman. Ever the one to know what I'm about, Lahoma's book has a review from The Times that is the mirror of my life: "Five hundred years of adultery, power, rivalry, and revenge. Sexy, dishy, and funny." I love you, Lahoma, even if you told EVERYONE they were so sweet, while I thought it was only me.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Computer Rehab

I had to call for intervention. My new computer had gone wild, thinking it was going to tell me what to do while drinking my wine and having sexy nerds over while I worked. Now it is in rehab where it belongs. Posting pictures will be difficult during this time, but I want my new Sony camera to take note of what happened to the computer; it, too, has been giving me a hard time and complaining a lot. You'll go too, Miss Sony, if you don't shape up!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Retired Cats in Florida" by Herbert Hofer is going up for charity auction next week. I am good friends with his charming wife, Randy, with whom I share a cocktail almost every week day in order to keep up on local gossip. Hofer has a very unique style that is very popular here. By the way, I am the black cat left of center with the kitty on his lap. (Doesn't really surprise anyone, does it?) www.herberthofer.com

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I heartily apologize for being out of the loop for several weeks. Apart from my non-stop home computer problems (and it is a new computer), I have been overwhelmed at The Palace. You know how Palaces are: plots, counterplots, revolts, affairs with Palace guards; it never stops. Douglas and Henry are traveling to England, Bulgaria, South Africa, Nigeria, and God know where else, so this mild-mannered countess from Rhode Island is trying to keep it all together.

I though you might enjoy a very recent portrait of me. I was plotting something!

Bootyliscous; that's what she was as she talked on her cell outside The Palace.

Monday, May 02, 2005

God bless Henrietta; she has been a fixture on South Beach long before I moved here. She is so polite and demure that you would ASSUME she was a member of your family. The kindly aunt who lent you money in difficult times. She is an icon here.