"the" Mrs. Astor

Friday, June 29, 2007

Every year Twist re-invests a great deal of their profits into re-doing the club. One year it meant installing an outrageously expensive copper ceiling over the first, front bar and this year painting the upstairs dance bar. The paintings were copies found in a Tibetan cave not too long ago and lends quite an exotic taste to a room that is know for other things than that.

I particularly loved the uneven borders, probably just like the originals.

The lounge and VIP area had a more POP look.

And here was a party Carl Van Vechten would probably been at.
The new art, the fresh smell of paint, and the new carpeting signaled the start of a new year for Twist. And if June is Anniversary Party, Turnabout Party can only be a month or so away.
Off now to the surprise party for Dr. Brad's fiance, Dr. Bruce, where the ring and question will be popped. My date: Brad's son, who was supposed to be a surprise but spent all afternoon drinking with us.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"It was a great success we had here tonight," said one of Commissioner Bower's managers and why not? The anniversary of Twist brings out the entire gay community to both enjoy the pleasures of the evening and thank owners, Richard and Joel. Roaming constantly through the two stories and seven bars of Twist brought maximum exposure to that crowd. (We did have to sit her down with the owners of The Palace at one point to rest as her point man ran around to find Richard and Joel.) It was very crowded and very hot in may areas.

A good sport, she asked, "Oh, please take a photo of me with those servers". She also posed with strippers and even put a dollar bill down the shorts of one on stage, but those pictures stay in the vault.
Young and old seemed to be captivated by her charm, which was very simple: she is engaging, motherly, and likes to laugh. It is a distinct contrast to her haughty opponent.

Riley, a veteran of the Forbes presidential campaign, even seemed to enjoy her home-spun theories and jokes. When he got home, he emailed me, writing, "It was great........I was impressed". I wondered in reply if it was about the candidate, the handling, or the fact that I didn't have one drink all night. There are times when you have to put The Mission in front of The Lifestyle.

Twist owners Richard and Joel were finally found. Insiders there had already sent word to me that they had been surprised by the flowers Commissioner Bower had sent earlier in the day congratulating them; no political official (even one running for office had ever done that). This signaled the end of her evening. I had already expressed my concern that the crowd was getting too drunk and wild for her to be there. Unfortunately, her daughter was having too much fun and didn't want to go; in fact, she wouldn't answer her husband's phone calls.

We all return to our roots, though. After packing off the commissioner and her handlers, I ended up at a familiar spot: in front of Mario. Old habits don't die easily.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An hour and a half to go before arriving at Twist with Commissioner Bower; I doubt if she is ready for the madhouse it will be. Every party monster, promoter, social climber, and moocher will be at the club's seven open bars. Owners Richard and Joel spare no expense to celebrate the anniversary and show off the yearly redesign of the place. Although it may be a great place to see the gay world in full action, it may not be so suited for a political introduction; not when she might be standing between a crowd and an open bar. Oh, well; her handlers wanted it. I'm thinking more of bringing her to The Palace for our gay pride party. We've purchased 100 rainbow flags, and I imagine a fantastic shot of the crowd, flags raised, as she stands at the railing. Remember what I said at lunch: "Win the women and the gays and the election is yours". We did it six years ago for Mayor Dermer. Alas, he turned out to be the usual scumbag, looking like a bad Las Vegas act; that's politics (or show biz).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some more photos from the last Latino night in the back bar. We all said goodbye at the end of the night.

I came to love these guys for all the reasons already mentioned and more. When we needed to decorate, they arrived at noon. They bought strobe lights and other equipment with their own money. They maintained the website and sent out invitations. They were a marvel to work with--albeit in their own world.

Never far away from a bar or a camera, the ubiquitous Thomas Barker and Andy.

Some of the dancing was dirty....

...and some could only watch it from the door.

There is no relief in sight. Today turned into a constant maze of people talking at once; club gossip, politics, sexy things....all there. At one point I kept turning and wondering if I was actually replying to the right person with the right answer. I remember conversations about The Duchess of Alba, the current scum mayor, why Iowa doesn't donate money to presidential campaigns, Panzer tanks, and much more.

Tomorrow is the fourteenth anniversary of Twist, always a major celebration and was made even more so by an email I got from the powers behind Commissioner Bower, who asked if I would be willing to escort "her Highness" to the Twist party. "Absolutely" I replied, now condemning myself to the a "walker" to political socialites. She, of course, has to bond with the gay community and is undoubtedly the best candidate in the field since she is undoubtedly not corrupt.

Then I get an email from legal counsel, Riley; it reads only "S-C-A-N-D-E-L-O-U-S". Dr. Brad is "popping the question (and gorgeous, white gold and diamond ring) to Dr. Bruce of Maine. (I'm not losing a friend; I'm gaining another doctor.) We have planned a surprise party for this in Ditmar's new bar on Friday at 10 PM. The wrath of shame is that Brad's son, Gabriel (the one who "came out" at The Palace in my arms to much shock) called me to say he wanted to surprise his father, fly down from school in D.C., and "...can I stay with you?" What was I supposed to say, "No?". It wasn't my fault he went gay in front of his adoring dad; I was just the controversial catalyst.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ray’s Latino Night in the back bar ended last night. It was not “the burning of Atlanta” some thought; it was more like the scorching of Hialeah. And for all their tough looks and gang hand gestures, they were really the softess bunch of pansies around; I got to know almost every one and found them caring and wonderful.

What were they? Loyal for one; if we asked them to dress in white and come on a Wednesday they did in unison. Well educated for another; most held professional jobs. And crazily sexy and good-looking, too. They knew how to have fun and even taught me a few things about that.

At the end of the night, many of them were crying and that was very moving for me. I thought I would lose it when one of them came up to me and said, “I thought we were supposed to support The Palace; why don't they support us?”. I tried to explain that all things change and that evolution is natural; I told them we would always stick together and move on to better things.

It didn’t matter; they still cried.

The last back bar body shot was hosted by the crazy Thomas Barker, who hosted the first. The sexy German, Mentos, got to feed off of his favorite.

David will always be a favorite.

This is a new favorite in town. He fit in quite nicely.

Mystery "women" were everywhere. They are favorites at any party.

There are the old favorites, of course.

And the new.

Even nice, Jewish boys got down and dirty.

It was the "happy place" of Officer Brian's memoirs. It still is.

Thank you, Ray, for an amazing five months in that back bar. You taught me something about loyalty I didn't think existed in this brazenly shallow town. Sure, you are a "favorite", but show me someone who doesn't value hard work, honesty, and loyalty and I will show you a fool. We all worked very hard, but in a strange way, I'm happy to have my Sunday nights back. Try a Friday next time......

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wow. Yesterday started out early when Thomas Barker and my two military brats, Micky and Carlito, stopped by at 11 AM for drinks before going to the beach. I busted Micky when he ordered gin before noon. "Gin before Noon?!" I said. "It just isn't done." But we let it go because he and Carlos have devoted their lives to protecting us. Why, I don't know; but I love them and feel just a little bit safer knowing they are there.

Captain Marc of The Poles provided me protection from those "elements" of society that can be a threat. Calm down, Jeremy; the two of you will love each other.

Glamorous entertainers danced in and out of our lives all afternoon.

Club promoter, Dustin Reffca seemed truly moved by The Palace hosting his birthday, but we celebrate all our customers' birthdays. It wouldn't be The Palace if we didn't.

The cake was sooooo Dustin. My thanks to Sean from The Ritz for taking care of that.

My dear Connie Chung was a little out-of-hand yesterday, but we forgive that. If at least 70% of our ballroom is not out-of-hand we have a problem brewing. She had fixated herself on Victor from Los Angeles and began all the usual tricks of those inscrutable Chinese. I said, "Connie...you bad...you need calm down." She ignored me.

So I said, "Connie; if you are going to molest the poor guy, at least go all the way and pull it out". "Yes," a Greek chorus in back of me shouted. We want to see the head!" I thought that a bit vulgar, but in the absence of Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish, someone had to take a reigns of poor taste and gallop.

Typical South Beach afternoon. I don't kn0w why i put up with this nonsence, but I know I could never put up without it.

The entire Court has been summoned to attend the farewell festivities for Ray's final Latin night in the back bar. That space is being turned over to Ditmar and will become some sort of "Heidi's Hun Haven" or, actually "D Bar" next week.

Ray and his buddies turned it out every Sunday. For all their attempts to look tough, they were the most powder-puff pack of fem-bots ever assembled. They were called "gangsters", but if you looked closely, they all wore Guggi, Prada, and drove BMW's to have their eyebrows waxed. They were about as ''gangster" as my aunt Agatha.

What they were was fun, great fun and although Latino night can never end in this town, this is the time it will evolve. Whether it moves to the front room in some manner or morphs elsewhere, there was too much power behind that group to think it will just go away.

Like all finales, tonight's party will be remembered for the entertainment, surprises, and treats in store. There will strippers, of course, and if we need to lock the the doors we will. But for all the hope and excitement of Ditmar's new venture, there is a "sigh" about the ending of Latino night back there.

But this is South Beach, and you don't mourn long. All of Society will turn out tonight to bid farewell to a night and a room that began accidentally and became a legend in town that other clubs envied. Monday is officially cancelled.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

As it turned out, I was a slave to convention and did dress in white for The White Party. Has it really been three days already? On Thursday, Thomas Barker whisked me away and treated me to dinner on Lincoln Rd. Like all things here, it got out of hand and became a five hour bacchanal of club people. Yesterday was taken up by a sea of gossip mongers flowing in and out. If gossip was a commodity, The Palace would be the New York Stock Exchange.
As soon as I gracefully entered the front ballroom on Wednesday, there was Riley with that smirk on his face. "So, where is the red chiffon?" he asked. I wanted to slap that smirk off his face with my white-gloved hand, but you always need a good lawyer, so I replied, "Oh, I didn't want to be too controversial." Big mistake; for the rest of the night, indeed probably for the rest of my life, he kept answering anything I said with, "Well, you wouldn't want to be too controversial."

Some of the old guard showed up and when I looked around it reminded me that we are in the tropics and it is easy to over-dress. One moment you are looking so serene in your brocade gown and the next you can be passed out from heat exhaustion.

Still, some of us did do our best to keep up appearances.

Chanel and Edgar have been leaders in the Rear Guard for five months now.

As Ricky says, "They are a bunch of good kids", and they are; they have loyally stuck by Ray and The Palace day after day.

In the end, everyone did appear to be quite wasted, but that is the whole point of this island. Despite what the old hags in City Hall try to do, Carl Fisher invented this town to be a play pen and it goes down that path with an extraordinary flare. From the time the sun comes up to...well, the time the sun comes up, the partying in this city never stops. It will be the death of all of us, but it won't be a boring demise.

And may love forever flourish in this den of sin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I've been trying all day to come up with an excuse to not attend the White Party tonight. After a liquid lunch with Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish (who is in lock-down at 8 PM), I went to have my hair done and, particularly, my tips frosted. While sitting in the chair while the lovely Ana Sylvia fussed about my mane, the salon played a concert of Donna Summer's. It was an epiphany. I would wear red; in fact the same one in this picture of me taken just but a few years ago.

Liquid lunch with a woman of such social magnitude as Mamie, can give birth to great ideas. To Hell with ideals.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What began as an indulgent feast with Thomas on Friday slowed down to a crawl on Saturday as a Caribbean storm sent bands of severe rain over us for two days, hampering movement but not the drag show. I made a very brief appearance on Saturday for Thomas' sake and just who was at the top of the grand staircase with a margarita in hand? Yes, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish, with a grin that only a social matron who had just chewed through her leather bed restraints and escaped could have had.
I stayed away from everything except KiKi on Sunday and it was sublime as I received this beautiful photo of my beloved Jeremy on a mountain overlooking Bogota; it looks as striking as he says it is. He's fine and happy.

Then, I received an email from Neil Bull announcing that the BBC was sending him back to Miami Beach to run their Latin American operations for a few months and that, as "chief of staff of the 1st British Gay Huzzahs", he would take over the role of Mrs. Astor's captain during that stay. (Wise man; he copied Jeremy who immediately gave his consent to our friend.) I don't need another scandal like the one that raised its ugly head after I gushed about the ravishingly handsome Captain Marc of the Poles and had Jeremy rattle his sword so loudly the wild parrots took off to Boca.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

For the first time in months, I did what I wanted: I spent a Sunday afternoon with KiKi instead of a bunch of fools dancing and drinking.
I surprised him when I entered; he was dozing off while watching the cartoon channel. I showed the huge tin of rigatoni, beef, garlic, and red sauce, but-as always-he looked away. He still looks good for 17. We played around a bit and then I said, "Yummy, yummy?", our code for eating and he licked his lips. While I prepared his bowl, he dutifully stayed in the livingroom, watching; he never begs.
After lunch I picked him up to the couch and he just stared at me as I pet him, which if you knew KiKi is uncharacteristic. He was always aloof, never affectionate (he slept at the bottom of the bed unless there was a thunderstorm), and would go for the finger or toe of anyone he didn't know. So, it was nice, but disturbing.

Towards the end there were lots of kisses, but the sad part was when I picked up my cap to leave (THE sign that departure is close). He grabbed my cap with his teeth and kept tugging on it. I almost cried.