"the" Mrs. Astor

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The White Party

James Deering built his Italianate mansion in 1916 and was perhaps the first rich, gay man to realize just what delights the tropics offered. John Singer Sargent was one of the first, famous visitors and was captivated by the formal gardens and little details like the indoor/outdoor pool, the solid gold bathtub, and an encounter with Lillian Gish at the pool. For over two decades his home, Vizcaya, has played host to The White Party.
There was a lot of discussion about how well-attended the twenty-fourth White Party would be; no one knew just how many people would still fork out $150 a ticket plus drinks in times like these; the estimated cost for a couple reaches nearly $1,000, if done right. Apparently, there are still many who will.

You could land a plane on Mario's nipples and still have space to spare.

And, one day, we had Enrique balance a martini glass on his bubble-butt; if that's not talent, I don't what is.

Deering constructed a Spanish galleon out of coral rock so that he could row out and picnic. At one time, he employed over 10% of the workforce of Miami.

When he built it, Deering's home was well in the wilderness outside of Miami; now it rests in the middle of it. It is so sprawling, though, that you still can't imagine that it is anything but the remote fantasy Deering planned. Its 180 acres contained multiple gardens and lagoons, cow pastures, citrus groves, tennis courts, yacht harbors, and a village to supply the main house with flowers. In the nineties, Madonna lived next door.
The guests and their outfits speak for themselves.

Miss Elaine Lancaster; a white goddess in her own right.
At the end of our extraordinary evening, The Admiral of The Atlantic saluted The Admiral of The Pacific with a kiss; it was smooth sailing.


At 4:34 AM, Blogger Jeremiah Andrews said...

I'm sorry but I am going to rain on your party...

I've always had a love hate relationship with the White Party. As a person living with Aids having spent the better part of my life in Miami, I've never gone.

Not that I wouldn't, but more to the point, could I afford to go? I never had enough money to go, having to choose between buying medication or paying rent... let's not talk about groceries or meals on wheels. Because I was there too.

A huge benefit for the pretty of the beach to drink, be merry and get drunk and high, and I always wondered - where does all the money go, because for the life of me I never saw a red cent of it in the form of aide from any organization who helped take care of me.

After you pay off all the liquor bills, the promoters and rent on Vizcaya and all the other assorted bills that accrue, I dare to speculate that not more than 20% of the collection goes to community.

And that's why I don't see the use of a pretty party that raises money for AIDS and so many people in Miami go without still, and I also feel that a party to raise money for AIDS should also include people with AIDS who could not afford such a night because of the sad state of social affairs that exist for so many who live with AIDS.

It's great to see how many rich beach people flock to this party and the circuit boys who fly in for the occasion. It puts AIDS into perspective doesn't it.

The have's get the party...
The have not's never get to party...

Where is the justice in that???

I hope at least for you and yours that some of the money you spent went to those who need it the most. Or else the night was a waste of time, talent and treasure.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger "the" Mrs. Astor said...

I don't usually atten Mega-Events for all the reasons you list, and I am all too familiar with the charges levied against Care Resourses. That said, I think I have spent so much time raising money for every cause from dogs to politicians (some one in the same) and donating time on the boards of charities and fund raisers, that I can attend a visual event like Vizcaya's White Party without guilt. We were asked to accompany Henrietta and--as we all know--you don't say "No" to royalty.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Jeremiah Andrews said...

I never meant to demean all your wonderful efforts. That was not my intent. Henrietta is a rock star and when royalty calls you always answer.

I know how hard you work for your community and that deserves congratulations.

I never meant to make you feel guilt for going to the party.


At 10:10 PM, Blogger "the" Mrs. Astor said...

Absolutely no harm felt; I know how complicated things are here. Sometimes I wonder why I just don't stay at home and other nights wonder why I don't go out with abandon. I can't judge correctly anymore.


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