"the" Mrs. Astor

Monday, March 31, 2008

Perhaps it is time for Intervention. Thomas Barker is giving an Ab Fab party tonight and we have agreed to attend. I sent Mr. Astor off to buy the biggest bottle of Smiroff he can find. I worry about the poor. I'm not sure if I'm wearing the right gown. I know that crowd is going to be crazy.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

That Moon Is Bright

I did what I had to do--as always. We had been out way, way out too late at Twist with the cream of society and Leo nudged me at 10:30 AM exclaiming, "We have to take my parents out at 11:30!" "Noooooo," I moaned, but did what I had to do. We went on The Duck Tour, an amphibious vehicle that swings around the islands in Biscayne Bay while the announcer tries a a Don Rickles routine. I wasn't having it, but we got to see Elizabeth Taylor's Star Island home along with a lot of other homes like people own to escape reality.

If you look closely, you can see the same facial features in the father.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Baroness Seitzinger led the society pack this afternoon for the "early tea" at Twist with the exclamation, "I'm so glad I can finally drink for half the price!" I hadn't realized how much I had hindered popular sentiment; it's long been known you can do everything for half the price at Twist. But I had bullied people so long to linger at The Palace at full price that when I left and The Palace raised prices--yet again--another dollar a drink--and forbade any free drinks, orphans of the storm started showing up at the doorstep of Twist. The Palace is taking a cue from The City in how to strangle itself to death.

In about thirty minutes The Ultra Music Festival will begin, celebrating their tenth year anniversary. 70,000 dance and music-happy people with gyrate from noon to midnight. It is across the bay in Bicentennial Park because Miami Beach long ago decided the last thing it wanted was a large group of high-spirited (and just plain high) dancing machines. It not just made up of kids, either; the whole rainbow of Miami is represented and there has seldom been any problem. It simply becomes a huge pagan dance ritual with the Gods being DJ's and their music.
The City of Miami Beach has never recovered, mentally, from the riots during the hip-hop Memorial Weekend--the so-called Urban Festival--of six years ago. Since then The Commission shudders any time a request for a music festival is brought up and, if it has to do with youth or popular culture, you know what the answer will be. Little by little--by taking away the small, moderate-priced hotels and issuing permit after permit to turn them condo, by denying the right to hold a City-approved street festival, and even the pursuit to turn back the closing times of clubs--The City is strangling the Industry of Having Fun. And while city officials ponder every possible way to hassle businesses with draconian laws, most of them on on the take one way or another. Last week three more department heads were arrested for taking bribes; one even had the developer stuff money in a City Hall toilet paper dispenser from where he would soon retrieve it. Others took lavish gifts in exchange for the almighty approval every action needs. Nothing new here, but the saddest part is that most of the officials and police don't even live here. They travel in from their family lives in the suburbs and pass out judgements to a community they don't understand or like while milking it relentlessly.
I could get my soap box out and start ranting, but cocktail hour begins a 1 PM. The preferred place for The Court in Exile has become--for the time being--Twist with its 8 hour long happy hour seven days a week.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leopoldo with our Miami Beach Mom, Henrietta.

What a night. I forgot to mention that Leopoldo's parents were arriving tonight. They are not strangers to Miami, and I do believe they wanted to see their beloved son, but I can't help but feel that they were scoping me out. They looked me "...up and down like a searchlight", but I found them so comforting and engaging that all my worries were dashed aside quickly. We knew they would be hungry after the six hour flight and took them to The 11th Street Diner for some down-home cooking; this, amidst the flurry and the hub-bub of the Winter Music Conference. Consuela (Mom) unpacked an astounding array of gifts; crucifixes, toiletries, shirts, watches, home-make tamales, underwear... I felt as if I had stumbled across a Chinese variety store on Canal Street as operated by an ex-flower-child of the Sixties of San Francisco. Glorious! And--I wish I had carried my camera--they were so kind and gentle, much like their son; I know, now, what Leopoldo will look like thirty years from now after looking at his father.

I, of course, will never age; like Caroline Astor, I will just go on talking to imaginary guests and serving tea to the past. If Leopoldo looks as good as his dad, I won't need anything else.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Le Compte La Mot forwarded this photo tidbit of a weekend taken at Twist; it shows my ideal afternoon: With Friends. Terry, Jeremy, and to the delight of Tosca, Leopoldo, enjoy an afternoon in the tropics just before The Winter Music Conference takes over the town and turns out the crazy side of Miami Beach (again). Tens of thousands of music industry masters will cater to hundreds of thousands of girating music followers; in many ways it signals the end of Season here, although April and May have much, still, to offer.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The United States government announced--while many would think they might spend more time and money trying to end The U.S. Hundred Years War--that pilot less, spy drones would now be flying over Miami. Forget police on the street; how old-fashion is that, and how expensive!

Thank God, that we will finally know the tracking of Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish's whereabouts as she seeks to stomp out illiteracy with her reading room meetings. And--personally--I want to know where Baroness Seitzinger goes to buy those gaudy appendages she sports and what bank she goes to, first, to get the money; call me old fashion, but will new money like hers, she must be dealing with ooff-shore banks (and, I do mean "ooff"). I'll pass on the travels of Captain Jeremy from Latin to Latin; he's already given so much to this country in time and effort that he deserves some privacy.

Of course, no spy needs to peek in on Mr. Astor and myself; we lead a modest, withdrawn life more caring of the pool boys' need than our own. I guess the last thing you want when you are spying is that someone spy's on you. Perhaps there is a reason why the Bush administration allocated money for this in the first place. Let's not pull up the carpet and look at The War and its profiteers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Henrietta's Birthday

At first it seemed the event had The Sword of Damacles above it. Our Easter luncheon had gone off spectacularly, even if it was judged necessary to move it inside. The sumptuous feast went on as the rare March rains resumed with thunder and lightening, but we all looked at each other with every clap of thunder wondering what this would hold for the birthday party. Baroness Seitzinger rang me up with the not-so-cryptic message, "I know you have something to do with this." No doubt, this was the spawn of an off-handed remark I made on Friday night at a meeting of The Daughters of The American Revolution book swap. "I curse The Palace with a weekend of rain" I said in a haze of Stoli and literature. Well, it rained and rained and rained to the point that I got so wet carrying Henrietta's home-cooked trays of food to the car that Mr. Astor had to go out and buy me a new, dry outfit. (Note to self: Use Rain to Advantage.)
But--as always--we made it and Twist was ready to set up a grand setting for the diva, who wore a vintage, Mexican dress from the 70's.
Weather did not stop the high and mighty from getting in line for the first plates of food and the whimsical basket of "eggs" Leopoldo and I had put together, each containing candies, toys, and sex paraphernalia was a great hit.

Thomas Barker cut his honeymoon in Key West short to attend with hubby, Jonathan. They argued about who was to be the "housewife" until I mentioned to Jonathan that I live a scant half block away and that he could come over with The Enquirer, exchange recipes with me, and sip gin by the pool every day. Suddenly, "housewife" didn't sound all that bad after all.

The bungalow bar soon got packed with the best South Beach night life had to offer, which pleased us so much. Unless you live here, you can not imagine how hard it is to get people to out in the afternoon; you have to do a sort of Salome' dance OR have a big-name celebrity like Henrietta on the marquis. I did both and felt satisfied and relieved that I had, indeed, delivered in this time of confusion and change.

It was one of those happy afternoons I always tried to maintain.
Sadly, I heard over and over stories about the mis-steps and confused signals the new owners of The Palace were sending. Cancelled shows and DJ's with offers by customers to pay for the drag queens themselves, sent knives through my body. Those fools have no idea that South Beach is not Lansing, Michigan. This is a close community that is well-off, bitchy and not accepting of eradict behaviour on the part of those supposed to entertain them. As the previous owner remarked, "They are in way over their heads", but--as the previous owner learned--the place, by virtue of its location, can defy even the most stubborn owners and decisions. We will all see.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tomorrow at 5 PM, in the bungalow bar of Twist, we will be able to celebrate one of the most remarkable characters of South Beach, Henrietta, on the occasion of her 67 th birthday. No one will ever be able to match the stunning history she has of Miami gay life, the flamboyant style she lends to every room she enters, the engaging nature she has developed from years and years of the study of The Gay Man, or the total admiration a city like this can humbly hold for her. When I look back there is no doubt that I will sigh with great delight and devotion and whisper, "I knew Henrietta." Twist, 5 PM.

Welcome Home, Jeremy

A little weary and his eyesight affected by some tropical bug, a still-happy Jeremy returned to our arms at our gathering at Twist last night. He promised to be around until the end of August, a fine time actually to leave this hurricane-prone state.
Connie and Dr. Brad were well-behaved, but that George.... Just what is to be done with her?

Yes, like the cat caught with the feather in its mouth, someone who shouldn't be eating pizza (at least in public) was trying to smile his way out. He was punished when home, but that was what he was looking forward to.

There's always a shoe-off in this crowd. The Prada-clad foot attached to the pinstripe pants won, although my cap-toed oxfords were a close second.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The normally exuberant and lively Lummus Park hushed earlier this week with nearly four thousand head "stones" carrying the names, rank, and age of the dead in the American version of The Hundred Years War. Although it was spring break and the mood upbeat, not one passer-by could help but stop and look and read. Most of the ages they were reading were their own, and there were gasps amidst the unusual silence of Ocean Drive. I stopped here and thought, "What a fanciful name." You couldn't help thinking of what Tina was like or where she grew up and why war-mad politicians made sure she didn't make it to twenty-four. What a tragedy. After this I had to stop by Twist for a drink.

On a better note, our hero Jeremy came home this week and we are having a welcome home BBQ for him at 6:30 PM tonight at Twist. It has been a long time since we've had our captain back, and that calls for a drink, too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Birthday Change Amongst Others

A lot has changed in the last ten days. The parting of ways with The Palace became permanent and--after working seven days a week for three years--these ten days were a much-needed rest. Mr. Astor and I finally straightened out La Casa from his big move in January and we even were able to construct a new and fortified closet after the weight of his wardrobe caused a calamitous collapse of the entire structure two weeks ago. We did a lot of shopping, too.

It also took some time to recover from Thomas Barker's Bar Crawl; it was well-noted that the town suffered from a collective hangover from that night. Forget the "first annual bar crawl", Barker; the town wants one every month.

And, most of all, the birthday celebration of Henrietta's 67th birthday this Easter Sunday will be held in the bungalow bar at Twist at 5 PM. Final touches are being made today and the grand diva's famous cooking will be one of the highlights.

And, hopefully too, my tangled computer Internet mess will be straightened out by Connie Chung. I let it slide for the ten days to make the rest complete, but when you need to bring out the big gun for a computer meltdown, you go Asian. (She good when she wants to be.)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Doing The Bar Crawl

The image of crawling from bar to bar can't be far from most of our memories; mine is quite fresh, actually, as having occurred (again) just a few days ago. But, having it qualified and sanctified by The City and a state-wide political organization makes it an almost noble effort.
Thomas Barker, that indefatigable wag-about-town, has organized a drinkathon to raise $25,000 for Equality Florida, the group desperately trying to stop the far-right attempt to not only deny same-sex marriages in Florida, but to deny the rights of domestic partnerships, straight or gay. The Neanderthals behind this measure, guided as they are by their gods and religions, would over-ride municipalities like Miami Beach which have already given equal rights to domestic partnerships.

Barker has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars already for Equality; it is heartening to see a friend finally find a great role and use his power for such good. So, who better to organize The Bar Crawl than the greatest bar fly in town? Next Saturday at 8 PM the platinum members of this event, The Palace, Halo, Score, and Twist will host this fund-raiser in cooperation with Absolut. The Palace will fire off the starting shot (complete with all the media hype) at 8 PM when ticket holders can begin drinking all the Absolut they want until 9:30. At 10 PM Halo takes the stage and continues the Absolut binge until 11:30 at which time those still standing will stagger over to Score at midnight and continue drinking all the Absolut they can until 1:30. At 2:00 AM the happy crowd will crawl to Twist for the final leg of this noble event. Led by Barker on his hands and knees (a position most of us have practiced to perfection), Twist will take on the final salute to excessive charity.

Alcoholic noblesse oblige; it just comes naturally.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I promise to return to a serious existence now that the trouble makers from the North have returned to the snow-swept mountains of Transylchusetts and return to the low-key life we all lead here. There is a serious fund-raiser coming up next Saturday about which I will give the details over the weekend; Thomas Barker is organizing another fund-raiser for Equality Florida. But, it its important to announce well in advance that Twist will be throwing a huge party for Henrietta's 67th birthday on Easter Sunday, March 23 in the mid-afternoon. I don't want to give out any secrets, but we do plan to have a very special Easter Egg Hunt. (I'd like to have an egg roll like the one on the White House lawn, but I'm afraid of what might happen with so many of our customers on their hands and knees.) There is also a rumor--and I detest spreading such things--that Henrietta will, for the first time in 30 years, perform. The great lady is the most adored icon on South Beach, and it will be and honor for all of us to worship her.

Mr. Frog, by the way, is safe and back to ruling the garden. He winked at me when I left this morning.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I always take a peek into the pool upon arriving home to make sure no debris has been blown in or some pool boy hasn't been floating face down too long. Yesterday, just as a driving rain began I found Mr. Frog on the top step; he was croaking, "Help me; help me". Mr. Frog is the master of the garden; I once saw him wearing a T-shirt that read, No Fly Too Big. I phoned Mr. Astor to come out of the house quickly and grab a camera; "But, be careful", I warned. Leopoldo slowly came out the door, carefully looking back and forth. "Hurry!", I screamed. He handed me the camera and I got the shot of Mr. Frog. (Mr. Astor had thought there was some possum or alligator in the yard.) By now it was pouring and I instructed Leopoldo to take the camera and a bag of twelve picture hats du Barry had made for the pool party into safety while I scooped Mr. Frog out. The thought of losing Mr. Frog made me shudder; how life can so easily be lost. What if I had come home much later or gone through another entrance? Mr. Astor suggested he might have been a prince and was actually saying, "Kiss me; kiss me". That silly man; I already have one.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Brief Reign of Bedelia

Countess Bedelia continued to position herself for prominence and the lust for power and adoration was too much even for her partner in crime, my sister du Barry. Upon my return from a brief abdication, Bedelia was found sitting at the middle of the railing, backed-up by fawning lackeys (most of them mine). The crowd on the sidewalk kept yelling, "Countess, Countess"; some even scaled the railing to kiss her. It was positively revolting, and even du Barry was rolling her eyes and gagging. I bit my tongue; time was on my side.

And this...dancing on the street like a native. Most of us were left speechless.
Just look at her. So confidant, so bejeweled, so in charge--for a few days, that's all. She and du Barry left Tuesday for Jupiter. I wish I could say it was to the planet of the same name, but it was to the ritzy island next to Palm Beach. They left with the threat, "We'll be back".

Lots and lots of cuties were in attendance.

Late into the night, mayhem took over with straight boys stripping, socialites tripping, and even street thugs joining in. I could only sigh when I remembered the days of The 7th Gay Calvary led by the faithful Captain Jeremy; he would never have allowed such things to happen (without joining in, of course).

We took a brief exit of the social carnage Bedelia was causing and returned to civilization at the birthday dinner for Alan in the extremely posh dining room of The Tides, where he and Darren have a condo. It was splendid and soothing, and Mr. Astor and I thank them for inviting us. It was a distinct honor.

The stylish Diana (the "June Allison" of Alan and Darren's party some months back) was on hand, too. She's been a manager of The Tides for many years.

It was unanimously decided that Darren was a "chick magnet" and that this could be a useful tool in affairs of Court.

This one had to go; I had found the perfect victim for my poisoned hat pin. After her body was later found in the alley, I paid The Wire to headline the story: "Floozy Found Dead Of Apparent Overdose".

Best friends and co-workers and two hot Mexican movie-star types, Lloyd and Leopoldo. In the end--as always-a riotously fun weekend.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bedelia, of course, is a strict adherent to Marie Antoinette's feeling: "The people are best viewed from afar" and rented a huge tent above the poolside cabanas

Countess Bedelia continued to conquer the town at Saturday's pool party at the Surfcomber, a yearly event where thousands of nearly naked boys splash around.

Bedelia's tent gave us stunning views of stunning people.

At rest with her GlenLivet. When she arrive at her tent, she asked for a bottle of it. "Oh, we don't have that, Countess, but we do have Chivas." "I ONLY DRINK GLENLIVET", she demanded (and after paying something in the four figures for her tent party, the staff immediately ran to a liquor store and bought her a bottle. Now, that's power and style.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I Surrender

Yes, there is no use fighting them for position. The Countess du Barry and The Countess Bedelia have taken over the town. I tried to send The Great Southern Fleet out to intimidate them only to find that they had already bribed the crews to sail to Key West for the weekend; there is no limit to their treachery. The next thing they did was to win over the affection and confidence of the new owners and then set their inscrutable eyes on Mr. Astor. So, I made a deal: Leave Mr. Astor in my hands and you can plunder the town. This they regrettably did since they saw the Derringer in my Prada belt; I don't know which one would have gotten that bullet, but du Barry has been extra nasty and most likely would have gone down first. I would have then had to club to death Bedelia with my peach-colored, satin, squashed-heeled pumps.

Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish had left for San Francisco on a mission to meet Leopoldo's twin, gay brother, Freddie. Captain Jeremy, of course, is somewhere in South America kissing the ass of a general and The Baroness Seitzinger was no where to be found, either, as back-up; she was probably soothing her recent arm operation (from wearing too much jewelry) with a Cuban male nurse. So, I gave up. The Great Northern Court even sent Officer Brian to warn me that force was always an option against me.

So take the town, The Palace, the courtiers, but you will never get Mr. Astor.