"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanksgiving Folklore 101

I have a "special Friend" whom most of you know the identity of already. As I've said many times, he has for so long been at my ear during every crisis, imagined or otherwise, and I so greatly lean upon his good advice and humor.

On the afternoon of Thanksgiving, I was home basting and turning the turkey and making soup when friend wrote, "I know Thanksgiving is a big holiday in America, so I'm sending you a present in a few minutes." Excitement surrounded me, and I danced back into the kitchen in anticipation. A few minutes later the "click" of his email came in and I bounced back to retrieve it.
To my amazement it read, " OMG, you don't know what just happened! I was taking a photo of my crotch for your present and I lost my balance and fell over the computer table, knocking the computer to the floor." Touched, by kindness unknown, I responded, "God forbid, I should ask now for an ass shot."

He sent the photo of the crotch shot and you can almost see his bare foot rising as he is about to go over. What are "special friends" for, but to be special? I loved that Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Boy Out of Uniform

I am still recovering from White Party weekend, just spent two hours on the phone with "special friend" laughing and laughing, and have still to sort through the photos from the weekend. So? Mr. Peabody says we go into The Wayback Machine.

David was one of those personalities at Mars when it first opened; he and his boyfriend always wore leather and denim and he scared me because he was a motorcycle cop. However, he was always gracious and, in an atmosphere as crazy and over-the-top as Mars, that was a distinct plus. Then, one Sunday, David and his boyfriend arrived in drag; I was head-over-heels in love with him now and my camera was a thirsty beast that night. Funny how a boy in a dress is so much more easy for me to approach, and I invited David and his boyfriend to my apartment that week for dinner. They were lovely, enchanting and nowhere near as menacing as they appeared in leather at night in the seedy meat-packing district. Most of all, he loved his photos. It takes a real man to adore a gorgeous photo of himself as a sexy lady.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank You, Jeremy

After four days of harrowing experiences with The Peasants, I can now sleep at night without jewels sown between my corsets. Captain Jeremy returned last night and put down the natural rebellion that erupts when there is no TOP in command in this town.

Jeremy, I award you this sword, and thank you for not making me feel so naked and vulnerable.

Your Countess

Sometimes I wish I could just throw back my head and laugh at all around me, but--as silly as I am--most times I find it rather difficult.

Lavinia, though, has no problem. Embroiled in a life of great style and nonsense, she seems to walk upon the waters of serious life. Every engagement with her is one of frivolous banter, high style, and silliness (my strength). She makes going to the local grocery market an event.

I think of the partyat which she showed up as Caligula being the moment of truth for me. How many people show up as Caligula for a Versace party? Answer, Not Enough.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

White Party Finale

What a beautiful day on the beach. When I left The Palace an hour ago to return home, it was 80 degrees, cloudless, and a soft wind blew in from The Bahamas. The Gay Vollyball tournament was just about to begin right across from The Palace and no one could take their eyes off the toned bodies ready to compete. The music was pumping up, but would no way compete with the beach dance that is to begin at 2 just over the dune. 3000 people are expected to dance under the dry, November sun. Madge, who was driving, didn't want to leave, and I got huffy fixing that towel and said, "Madge, I must get home for a dramatic costume change. You wouldn't want me to look like a peasant, would you? Anyway, Captain Jeremy will be back today and I'll let him have his way with you if you drive me home. Madge--ever the realist--pulled the car out, did a Cuban u-turn, and had me home in minutes. I'm positive all the traffic lights were appearing as the brilliant blue of Jeremy's eyes, because she didn't stop for one."

A Better Shot

Yes, a much better shot except that black, shear cape can't be seen You also can't see the camera bag that went everywhere with me. Back in the late eighties it was all not unusual to be dressed like this, tooling around NYC on your way to a special event. I was never stopped on the road as Spiderella, but--of course--it was not an outfit one could wear twice.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I thought a bruise on my left leg had been the result of a spider bite, as several people I know have been bitten by The Brown Recluse lately. The bruise, still to be verified, is the result of a severe cramp, the likes of which I get all the time.

However, in talking it over with friends, I realized that most detest spiders and told them of a character I had invented many years ago, Spiderella, Crime Instigator. Spiderella could appear at the most staid event, instigate mischief and as quickly leave. Too often, she was the life of the party and never left until she was carried out kicking and biting. This the first Spiderella photo ever taken in the 80's with my little bitch, David, as we were about to mount the motorcycle and drive off to who-knows-where?

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Thankfully, we got the fresh turkey out of Epicure Market in a lightning commando raid. My favorite gay Morman, Dave, rode shotgun against the J.A.P.s and G.A.P.s (much better than SF); everyone knows Mormons are reliable, hence the dependence upon them for The Secret Service. Mr. Turkey brined all night and is now in the oven, where--while making a spinach and tomato soup--I am basting and rotating every fifteen minutes. My skills at basting won me the title of Master Baster last year.

I am thankful for:

My very, special friend without whom I would be lost, who has always had an answer for when I had an anxiety attack, a broken heel, or a hurricane.

My many friends who are good-hearted and intelligent in a land lacking such qualities.

The place I work, despite the stress it can cause.

The place I live, because I seldom have to wear a jacket and get to look at so many cute boys.

Good health and good humor.

and, of course,

The special friend.

I hope happiness embraces all of you.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gunfight in The Epicure Corral

Hand-to-hand combat will commence tomorrow morning at The Epicure Market here on South Beach. The Epicure is one off those gourmet food markets whose quality makes it a necessity of life, but whose customers make a good excuse for death squads. With a customer base mostly made up of bitchy J.A.P.s and snooty fags, it is hard to imagine a shopping day there without confrontation. It already began on Sunday.

Chris was shopping for the lavish lunch. He had already secured the leg of lamb and all those lobsters needed for the feast, got a second cart, and started loading it with champagne (you can see why invitations to his Sunday lunches are so coveted). Suddenly, one of those S.F.’s came up to him and asked, “Would you please get me a bottle…” of such and such wine? Chris said he was genuinely startled and haughtily replied, “Do I LOOK like I work here?” The guy’s eyebrow went up and said, “Well, I thought since you were putting so much in the cart….” “Well, think again,” Chris sniffed, and the S.F. danced off.

Last year my housemate, Terry—always the planner—had ordered a huge, fresh turkey from Epicure’s superb butcher section weeks in advance. We picked it up on Thanksgiving morning, and while distracted of a selection of new olive oils, someone stole the turkey out of the cart. That’s right, the thief had waited for the window of opportunity and took the bird to the register (I could almost hear the screeching wheels of the Mercedes getaway car.) There were, naturally, no more fresh turkeys left with the sympathetic, but amused, butcher.

The fresh turkey is once again ordered but, we’ll be armed this year with squirt guns: a squirt of bleach for the J.A.P’s grocery couture or a squirt of Pierre Cardin cologne for the S.F.s. No prisoners will be taken.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The White Party Begins

Gerry Kelly's party at The Shelbourn Hotel on Saturday.

The White Party began many years ago as one event, a fund-raiser at the Deering mansion, Vizcaya. Eventually, it became a week-long series of parties attended by thousands of people, gay and straight, dressing in white and partying day and night. I really don’t know how people get through a week like this without collapsing; in addition to the nightly bacchanals, there are dances on the beach, gay volleyball tournaments, lavish pool parties, luscious lesbian shindigs, and the extravagant party at Vizcaya. It marks what is the beginning of Season and is the starting bell for a non-stop race to party that ends on Easter. I watch from my box seat, behind my fan, dropping a hanky every now and then for—what The Viceroy of the Southern Hemisphere calls—“Latino scum”.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Beach Thoughts

Between visits to The Palace I walked over to the beach yesterday. I really don't go there very much; my life is wrapped in formality that precludes messy things like sand and sea water. However, if you need to think there is nothing better than the beach.

I am terribly troubled by the impending deployment of my much-adored Jeremy to South America in what--to me--is yet another expansionist policy of the American government. I detest talking or even thinking about religion or politics, but you don't have to listen very hard to hear the drumbeat of Isolationism developing in this country. Also, Chris is leaving America for good with Credit Suisse dangling the carrot of Vice President before him; he readily admits, though, that he welcomes leaving a country governed by jack-asses. I even shunned the offered hand of one of The Beach's most beautiful and entertaining young men this week; solitude seems to be the preferred mode right now. Change is in the air and a move of some sort pending.

The only thing that I look forward to is the upcoming State Visit of the Viceroy of The Southern Hemisphere and the resulting "family union". It consumes my every hour and every thought, and the members of Society as I know it are frenzied about it.

Oh well, life goes on, parties resume. Chris is resuming his lavish lunches today. I picked out my teagown this morning, thrilled by the guest list. Having thrown them, I know how much work goes into a formal lunch for picky people; all I have to do today is breeze in looking stunning, being chatty, and consume an inordinant amount of food and wine to be a success.

Jeremy will be there; maybe this is all a bad dream and he's not going away after all.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Gammera is Coming!

Everyone was depressed last night about Gamma; the TV was blasting a projected path right toward us again and several regulars had just had their power back last week. My neighbor across the street still has a blue taupe on her damaged roof, my neighbor to the north just had his A/C replaced on the roof, my neighbor to the south's pool is still a wreck, and the wall between me and the neighbor to the west is still a pile of rubble.

That Pimpernel returned from Switzerland and spent a good eleven hours drinking with Ditmar; he brought me five Belgian and French cheese wedges that made my office smell like the privates of a French hustler. My office was the most popular spot to be yesterday.

Mattie made us wince when he described how he was teaching a group of high schoolers this weekend the lyrics and dance moves to "Mame".

And Jeremy made me sad when he told me he was being deployed to the American embassy of a South American country for four months. Who will protect The Countess? I hate to admit it; except for Andy (who suspiciously sang showtunes all the way up to Ft. Lauderdale when we went to see Evita), The 7th is not the band of "Ferocious Tops" as once described by a customer. Yes, the only thing separating me from The Mob in a legion of bottoms once Jeremy is gone. What did make me laugh was when I noted that Jeremy--at his tender age--had served in so many conflicts and campaigns. Kuwait, Iraq, Bosnia (as a special attache' to Nato General and European Duke Berulft), and Germany were all in his background, so I asked (after he had four or five cosmos), "Jeremy, do you get one of those chest badges for every action or campaign you are involved in?" He widened those outrageously beautiful, blue eyes and replied, "Yes, when I'm full uniform I look like a Panamanian general!"

I love my captain; I'm not even going to bother replacing him as I will just leave the position vacant until he returns. As everyone here will attest, there can be no replacement for a fine man like Jeremy. (I will, of course, be a sort of Catherine The Great and interview the talents of many noble wannabes. We must be realistic.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Monster In The Sky

Mattie’s party turned out real well with—what do you know—everyone managing to get totally smashed. Ditmar kept the entertainment level high, Boris kept the champagne flowing, I kept “pressing the flesh”, Matt kept running around like a little, giggling girl, and even The King and Queen made an appearance. I got my hottie friend, David, to punk himself out and give a lap dance or two.

But at 9Pm the skies opened up and a torrential rainstorm exploded; this is odd at this time of year and made me think about the seven hurricanes, numerous tropical storms and tornados that occurred in fifteen months. And then, of course, there is hurricane Gamma making news as we flow through the Greek alphabet now in search of names for these storms.

I therefore make the following suggestion to The National Hurricane Center: When we finish with the Greek alphabet (and there is no reason to doubt that we will), I propose naming the next set of storms after Japanese monsters.

The news headlines would be fabulous! “Mothra Due to Strike Florida Tomorrow”. “Godzilla Approaching; Mass Destruction Possible”. Even the newscasts would be fun:
“This evening Ghidra, a monster of fearsome strength, struck Miami. Residents were fleeing in vast numbers while others sort the safety of public shelters.” “Obviously caught off guard and ill-informed, a confused President Bush said ‘This Radan or Rodan thing is mighty awful to the folks down there, but I have to wait until I’m briefed to say anything more.’

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Our Evita Party

I'm still recovering from our Evita party on Tuesday night, but it pointed out a couple of misconceptions I harbor.

First, though, I have to thank Matt for obtaining 12 fabulous seats on a sold-out opening night for free. Now, that is power! (Matt is a Palace regular who has the gayest job in the world: he teaches Broadway musicals to high school students around the country.) Hal Prince was backstage, too, that night.

My greatest fear about seeing the traveling version of a play I saw open on Broadway is, of course, that certain disappointment will ensue. This was not the case at all; it was upstanding presentation of a piece that by now is probably timeless. My other fear--that of traveling to the mainland--has to go, too. Twice in one week over those bridges has proved that I can safely return AND have been truly entertained.

Tonight, it's our turn to honor Matt with a birthday party that the bitch, Wilma had postponed. Beginning at 7:30 at Ditmar's bar, we will do what we do best here: celebrate something!

"Keeping books on social aid is capitalistic nonsense. I just use the money for the poor. I can't stop to count it. " Eva Peron

God, she was fabulous!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Machete

I have been haunted since I posted that I was buying Jeremy and The 7th machetes to terrorize the peasants only to have Jeremy go down to Honduras on disaster relief for Hurricane Stan and his being robbed by two men with machetes (not to mention catching malaria). Last week Mark told me that his gardeners had left a rusty machete in his front yard and I seized on the idea of presenting it to Jeremy this past Sunday. I presented it on a green, velvet pillow with a throw over it embroided with the Romanov double eagle; it was a class event that demonstrated that The Countess adored her captain and the protection he has given over the year. I love you, Jeremy.

Of course, I had four of these ornate, velvet pillows
lying around the house. Don't ask why,
but they come in handily for special occasions like this.

I love my boys of The 7th; without them, I'd be
at the mercy of the revolting peasants.
(And don't cross them; they are ferocious tops.)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ernie Glam

I was thinking this weekend about Ernie. He was one of the most beautiful and gifted of The Club Kids; despite his association with Michael Alig, he always was able to see that there was something waiting for him beyond the coke, ecstasy, and crystal. One day, my boyfriend at the time and I took hold of him and nursed him out of a very, very bad drug scene; it took some time, but we knew he was different than the rest of the rabble. Ernie was stronger than most and came out of the madness to pursue a career in journalism; I'll never forget the day I traveled out to Hoboken to meet his All-American new boyfriend as he climbed out of the hole of Clubland. Not to long ago I spoke with him and he had moved on from a job editing for The Village Voice to a local newspaper in New Jersey; he is another who survived the holocaust that was New York club life in the 90's.

Still, at the hey-day of club kingdom, he was one of the best. I'll never forget the Outlaw Party at the MacDonalds' in Times Square when he showed up wearing a cloth face mask with four-inch nails protruding from it; it shocked the shit out of my friends visiting from Boston and, that night is immortalized in the movie, Party Monster.

Just for fun I googled him after writing this and came up with many articles he has written and others about Ernie and all the other Party Monsters I hung around with. Ah, the memories.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Jeremy, The 7th, and Magnum

Here's Captain Jeremy and his top Lt.'s, Will, Andy, and Bryan swearing allegiance to The Palace and each other. Poor Jeremy suffered a relapse with the malaria on Sunday and could not show for maneuvers. He's lost 13 lbs. during this ordeal and will bounce back all trim and luscious; and if you could see his nurse, Jose, you might want to get sick for a day or too, also.

Without Jeremy barking orders as only he can, the 7th started to run amok early in the evening. I had a sense that things were going to go the wrong way; grabass was turning in the other direction and I eagerly accepted the invitation to go for a ride in B&T Mark's flashy convertible. At his suggestion we headed over The Venetian Causeway which was the first bridge to connect the mainland with Miami Beach and travels over six islands that make up the very ritzy Venetian Islands. At 8PM is was 82 degrees, clear, and I even saw a shooting star as we drove toward the mainland.

This is a rare event for me. I HATE the mainland. I will make up almost any excuse not to go there. I hate the bad roads, the bad driving (the last thing most of the drivers in Miami drove before coming here was a donkey cart), the political corruption, the list is endless. But Mark had suggested stopping at the restaurant, Magnum. It's owner Jeffrey, had owned a beautiful French restaurant on The Beach years ago which I often went to, but high rents forced him and many other quality mom and pop (or pop and pop in this case) businesses out. I knew about Magnum, but it was--of course--on the mainland.

We walked toward the most banal-looking concrete building you could imagine (I felt like I was entering the back door of a bowling alley). We entered a foyer, though, that was lovely: low lighting, gilt mirrors, delicate French furniture, and beyond the heavy velvet curtains at the opposite door we could hear laughter and a piano playing. We raised the fringed velvet and found the room alive with activity. Jeffrey greeted Mark right away and even remembered my going to the original restaurant. Before we walked to the dining room I glanced at the door to the "bowling alley" and back to the room. It was decorated like a Second French Empire bordello. Dark red walls, mahogany wainscoting, leather and upholstered furniture, and dozens of old mirrors and prints in gold gilt frames. At any moment, I could have expected Violetta to rush in and collapse in the arms of a lover. We ordered dinner, but I was too excited to get beyond the soup; it was a great experience, although no sweet thing collapsed into my arms that night. There will be others nights spent there no doubt, and I obviously have to temper my dislike of the mainland. Jeffrey is there to greet you and his boyfriend is the chef.
Magnum is on 79th St. off of east of Biscayne Blvd.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Palace Rebounds

Pearl always adds a bit of exotic mystery to any night.

The Palace was bursting with activity today; the word was out that we had reopened, and many, many customers showed up in support. Jeremy--who is recovering from malaria--made a brave show of support, and I bow to him for dragging himself in to salute our return. Although tired from everything that happened, I managed a twelve hour day (with a contractual costume change allowed).

But. what do you know, on our first full day of business, who shows up, but he Bible People again. But, by the time I made it to the front, the police had already surrounded them; this time they used a little-known law that you need a permit to protest on City property (the beach). Although several customers had crossed the street for confrontation, the cops diffused the situation. I don't know; we don't picket their churches in protest of intolerance, mixing church and state, or even rampant pedophilia. Why do they want to disrupt a peaceful, fun Saturday afternoon of people not intent upon anything but having a good time? (Well, I guess I just answered my own question, didn't I.? Good times=sin)

It's good to be back, but the problems resultant of this storm are harsh in solution.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Road Back To Normalcy

KiKi has been very aloof during my most recent crisis: No Power at The Palace. He says (and he is almost sixteen) that he lived through Andrew when the roof of his apartment building rolled off, and I should take a Xanax. He almost gave me that "Newport Wave" of Peter Barry where you have had enough of the situation and you flick your hand at the wrist in a royal send-off.

Tomorrow I have summoned Jeremy and The 7th to report for full-dress inspection at 5PM. The Palace will hoist it's standard again, Miss Tiffany will entertain again, and the "happy place" of Officer Brian will be back. I am so exhausted.

We're Back!

At 5:06PM today, with sundown minutes away electricity was restored to The Palace and a cry of joy went up from the customers and staff members. We are open for business!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

When Good Astors Go Bad

Pleasant thoughts:

Officer Brian: ("I'd feel a little more free to enjoy my meal if I were not wearing handcuffs and leg chains.")

Mrs. Astor: (I love him just the way he is. I wouldn't change anything.)

OB: ("I'd love to dig into this meal before me, but I think I should ask permission, first.")

MA: (I bet he wants to eat something without asking permission.")

OB: (I don't want to upset the apple cart, so maybe I will ask if I can take a bite.")

MA: ("Go ahead, bitch, try it. Ask me for "permission".)

OB: ("I don't want to go too far.")

MA: (Come this way, baby.")

OB: (OK,') "May I have a bite of......)"


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Exiles

Short note before my morning visit to The Palace; more later.

After Brian left, I lingered at Twist for a while and watched what only could be expected to happen: one by one Palace People (my description for the regulars, some of whom come every day and others every weekend) walked in. They would enter the room slowly, almost meekly their eyes looking around a friendly face. There was first a wave and then a hug and after a while I grouped them all together in the middle of the room; it seemed better than scattered or huddling in some corner. It reminded me of the accounts of Paris in the 20's where a dazed number of exiles took refuge although they had no clue what to do with themselves or why this had happened to them. Anna had just returned from sawing trees at her mother's home in Miami, Keith was looking for a two bedroom rental as his condo was totally destroyed, Josh had escaped the night before Wilma and came back to reality, Erwin just sat there not speaking very much, Bill griped and drank about 10 rum and cokes, and on and on. It gets sadder every day.