"the" Mrs. Astor

Friday, February 27, 2009

I put in a desperate call to Senorita Pita, The Countess of Provolone to her tasteful estate in Newport, RI; the request was simple: "Will you please come down here and take Bedelia off my hands?" "You can have her," she immediately replied. "She's out of control and no one can keep up with her. She's yours." So, that's that I guess. Countess Bedelia seems to have a full schedule ahead for us, one that entails cocktails, young boys, more cocktails, and more young boys. (It was reliably reported to me this morning that she spent a considerable fortune stuffing money down the underwear of the South American go-go boys at Twist last night.) She left me in dust, literally, the other night (well, it was really the beach sand). I couldn't have one more drink, but she wasn't ready to submit to nature and carried off Leopoldo to see Ditmar at Magnums. I just don't know where she gets this supernatural strength, but I suspect she bathes in the blood of virgins every morning. Well, actually she never really sees a morning; let's say "early afternoon".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I've got to go back to Pusilla's cake hat; I just love stuff like this. Countess Bedelia has officially given me the day off, which is good, because I just can't keep up with her. She has Officer Brian and Mark 1 with her today; presumably she will drink them under the table like she did to me, yesterday. All of this leads up to the grand pool party at The Surfcomber where she rents a pavilion and is treated like royalty. We went to a pre-party there last night and to say that the lackeys were groveling before her would be no exaggeration. I have preserved all of the hats from last year's party that the late Countess du Barry made. Much has been made of du Barry's death, but I'm not easily fooled. I know for a fact that she is in the witness protection program, having to actually endure a stay in Vermont working at a lesbian maple syrup farm. She's back in Newport, which is good for Newport; her polo parties were deeply missed and we can now depend on her abilities to entertain again.

Countess Bedelia just doesn't visit, she "arrives". I swear that I will go forward with my intent to retire from the blog world, but I have to keep up appearances during her state visit. Everywhere we went she was showered with praise and glory; this is a town of sychophants and Bedelia knows how to work it.
As usual, Countess Bedelia snatches up every cute boy; I'm glad I'm married because I would probably have to have her poisoned. Here she is with Score's engaging Rodrigo.

The Countess actually had local drag royalty, here being Pusilla, at her feet. Of course, it was the perfect way to show off that fabulous cake hat. As in past years, I will not try to compete with Bedelia; she has the entire town in her pocket. All I can do is keep an eye on her; she's a cagy one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I am overwhelmed...not only do I have The Countess Bedelia on my hands, but I was surprised by the visit of Count von Mirsky. We throw around a lot of titles, but Gregory von Mirsky is a real one. When I first met him during those crazy days when I organized parties for Mark Fleishman's new version of Studio 54, I was a little skeptical of his name and ran a check on it. To my astonishment--my astonishment to this very day--I found that his great grandfather, Count von Mirsky, had trudged through the winter snows in March 1917 from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo to assure the tragic empress, Alexandra who was nursing her four daughters suffering from measles, that there were still members of society who thought for her. Alexandra was a pure nut case and most of her world had distanced themselves from her; she was, though, a mother of five children who was left alone in a world quickly collapsing around her. Count von Mirsky did something that assured her that she was not forgotten. I told my friend Gregory, that there was no reason he and his boyfriend should not stay with us during his visit; there is no snow to trudge through, but to have a von Mirsky by our side in times like this is...well, is warming.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Everyone knows my addiction to drag queens. Even as a teenager in Rhode Island I always knew one; my favorite was Mona, a black drag queen who carried an axe in her handbag and once chopped up a Cadillac of a man who wronged her. So the annual Shelley Novak Awards is a type of Nirvana for me. And, Shelley...well, there is a piece of work.
Henrietta, flanked by "sisters" Billy and Sammy, was dressed in black leather and turquoise.

Johnna reached a certain drag perfection with this look. I followed her around all night, mesmerized.

Hot stockings were the rule, but they were only worn by the men.

Miss Tiffany Fantasia-Phillips with the handsome Tony Ferro.

Call me old fashioned, but simple home-spun entertainment like a drag queen strumming a guitar just warms my heart.

And, of course, no event would be complete without our favorite wag-about-town, and new owner of The Wire, Thomas Barker. One of the many things that made us fast friends was our mutual love of plaid pants.
I was intent upon retiring for a while; things are so bad and it is so easy to get depressed. But, Countess Bedelia arrives today and if there one thing I am certain of it is that The Great Southern Court is NOT going to let The Great Northern Court think that we are slacking off. The hats are coming out, the jewels polished and I guess those patent leather YSL will have to come out of the box.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes I think that it just never ends, whether it is world financial ruin or drag opera. Whatever it may be, we are once again obligated to attend tonight's drag awards show, The Shelley Novak Awards, and will be escorting Henrietta to an event that she basically invented here. Next month we will throw a party celebrating Henrietta's 68 th birthday, 54 of which have been spent in drag. It doesn't get better than the stories she can tell. Of course, Shelley Novak has a diary quite full of interesting stories of a life in a dress. It will be quite the night.

Rick Santelli...I used to admire you

I don't know what to say..."Thank You" is the obvious answer, but I'm torn between the human need for consumption and my very vocal belief that we are in such dire times that a gold ring with my initials in diamonds is so very wrong. I love these two beings; they can't even begin to digest what goes on in my mind about indulgence.

There is not a moment that the suffering I see around me every day, every day that I know I'm blessed with a lifestyle most people can't enjoy. I wring my hands every day watching CNBC. I used to be a great fan of Rick Santelli of the Chicago commodities exchange until he went on a tangent two days ago about the government's proposed help for people about to go into foreclosure. He grandiosely screamed to the floor, "...who wants to subsidize someone who has an extra bathroom...". The floor was silent, and I am, too. There are people who--with an extra bathroom--who work, have problems, and worry about what will happen. Rick Santelli--a man I used to admire--should count his bathrooms. I have been around a long time, and I have never seen worries arising like I do now. I, for instance, have never, ever seen a period where people can't afford to feed their pets and depend on new organizations formed to help them. Rick Santelli, I used to watched you every day and admire your insight...but, Rick Santelli, you have become a part of that which has devoured us as a nation. You are a schmuck without an ounce of honor.

I--who intensely believes that no one, not one entity, not one secret service can fool me--stepped into a gigantic ruse. I was asked over and over if I would meet up with Henreitta at a late afternoon time that made no sense. We meet, like vampires. Still,I dressed and composed myself as would be required when summoned by The Queen of South Beach; some things you don't question. To my surprise Leopoldo and Henreitta staged a birthday party long, long before the actual date and they presented me with a ring containing two karats of diamonds. Unlike The Baroness Seitzinger, I am not moved by diamonds, but the thought of what my dear friends think I would like,what I would wear, and what I would always remember them for their thought, means so much that I will never remove that ring until the Bolsheviks pry it from my dead finger.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This is my sweetie pie, Jacob; I hired him one day just on appearance--shallow, I know, but it was one of the better appointments I made in my life. New in town at the time, he was a hit of the highest order in a town that values blonds more than cocaine. We had a great time with my fondest memories of our nights out at my boss's Studio 54 parties at Level night club. One day he showed up on the doorstep of my townhouse; he had had enough abuse from some schmuck and we immediately put him up in a guestroom. Jacob was one of the few boys who understood KiKi, and Kiki loved him enough to dance the dog tango for him on our patio. Those were glorious day....not to say that glory doesn't nip at out heels regularly....but they were great.

Jacob lives in Germany now and sent this facebook message today: "Thanks for the blog. It keeps me very well informed, although I would like to know more drama."

The problem is that, although I am usually at the epicenter of drama, gossip, and any other scurrilous information, but I just can't write it out. I learned that a long time ago. Perhaps I can make a code that I pass out to the right people. I can report--since it is town gossip today--that Leopoldo and I were very, very, very bad last night, and in public. It involved a boy from Nicaragua who was vacationing on South Beach for the weekend. From that point, I can go no further. My repeated requests to The Pope for an indulgence have gone unanswered. No problem...we are going out with Henrietta tonight and she sells them from her purse.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our beloved mayor, Mattie, is today the center of the typical ethnic controversy that thrives here. The Cubans have a fit if you question the reason for sanctions against Cuba, the Jews swoon with rage if they are questioned about their monopoly on commercial ownership and the unbelievable rents that exist, the Haitians protest about the wholesale deportations they suffer, and on and on. There are even a few locally born Americans ever aware of their dwindling percentage of political power who loudly moan their fate. So, poor Mattie put her foot in her mouth and is now the target of calls for resignation.

There has been a long debate on the City's need and legal ability to limit the amount of time a homeowner can rent out their property. The Herald reported "The talk had taken a turn toward the outlandish -- with commissioners and residents cataloging the unsavory types presumably feared to be renting homes on the beach: from pedophiles to terrorists to drug peddlers." Then poor Mattie said during the contentious fight, ''The drug dealers have a lot of money, too,'' Bower said during the meeting. ``They're from Colombia, they're making all the money." Calls from Colombian drug dealers immediately demanded her resignation; and, driving the antique Cadillac makes her an obvious target.

Mattie, Mattie, Mattie; we love you and have a bit of advice: Never mention a nationality or religion is this over-sensitive city with out biting your tongue. Every group has suffered so very much in history (and their mind) and are generally so strung out that they don't understand you meant no harm. Of course, I'd like someone on the Commission to really think about the legality of stopping a property owner from renting a home--a home they pay very high taxes on--to anyone, even gypsies. As homes have become so difficult to sell, the only course for many is to rent, even for short periods--and who cares if they are drug dealers; that would cut out a lot of wait time.

A quiet week so far. The baroness is hiding in shame from that truck driver incident and Mamie is off to Las Vegas, a city she detests, for a meeting. I miss them both, but at least don't have to constantly be watching my back. And, the bad news of the week: On Sunday we attended a dinner of close friends at the wonderful Chinese restaurant, Miss Yip. One close friend at the table is the senior vice president of a huge, powerful, global company. At one point--during light conversation of what we all did that weekend--I overheard him quite calmly tell his boyfriend, "Well, if we go bankrupt, I will just have to retire long before I planned to." I nearly choked on my egg roll; maybe we really do have to start storing provisions in the fruit cellar.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's taken me two days to find the photos of Valentine's Night (Note to self: Do NOT download pictures, drunk at three in the morning.) Henrietta was striking as usual and sported a very, very large diamond. Although both Score and Twist were packed, I was a little surprised at the lack of celebration; both of us noted that the crowds looked forced and tense. God knows what's going on in everyone's head these days. The New York Times had an article of South Beach and how--although 30% off in business--still was attracting the high rollers to forget their worries. Saturday night's crowd looked worried.
When she isn't flaunting her fortune and that purchased title of hers, Baroness Seitzinger likes to be a prankster. On Saturday, she lured me to the gin hall with a promise of a present. This is what I got: Lavender Comet. This product must be produced solely for the Miami market as everything here seems to be scented; if you don't have at least six choices of scented Fabulouso available, you are shopping at the wrong place. Growing up in New England meant that the only scented cleaning product permissible was PineSol; good old Clorox was the reliable mainstay. Now it's Lavender Comet. A wag asked me the other day, "Do you know why I like living in Miami? Because it's so close to The United States." How true; you have to drive an hour north before you get to a city where English is the major language.

I'm so glad I gave up the scandalous lifestyle I once led to be respectable again, but others, alas, have not. At the very moment this is being written, the utility truck above is following the baroness home; it is too sordid a story to detail. With this following her, Baroness Seitzinger giddily called in the story and the cell phone picture, cackling like a hen at her prize of Sordid Story of the Week. I mentioned that it would be worth biking over just to see how this truck gets into her posh building, but she threatened to have the hot Latino driving it run me over. I don't doubt that for a second.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I keep telling anyone who will listen that this is not the time for frivolity; people are out of work, hungry, and not owning a decent hat. In response, I am told that I should mind my own business, have another eclair, and--that as long as The Treasury is printing money overtime-- now is the time to wear the most indecent hats. I just don't understand what's going on anymore.

Well, maybe I do. Perhaps I have witnessed the collapse of a society that never really got it right. First we were confused about slavery, then about industrial revolution versus human needs, then about isolationism about when we wanted to join the European jousting group. Just why did we feel the need to have seven aircraft carrier groups patrolling the world's oceans when 20 percent of our citizens were on food stamps? Some day the bill comes due and no one wants to open that envelope.

And, it wasn't just about "greed", it was about looting on a grand scale with the shining example being a weasel named Bernie Madoff. (Actually, he is a particularly special example of the reptilian kind which feeds on its own. Absolute poetry in a world of theft.)

A fancy hat... That is all we need now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cupid awaits. We are now off to our Valentine's night as escorts of Henrietta, Queen of South Beach. The world may be tumbling (and the Rockies crumbling) buy our queen is here to stay.

And, speaking of queens, there was a summoned Court this afternoon of myself, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish, The Baroness Seitzinger, and several other members of the Old Guard to reassure each other that we will go down fighting the Republicans with our last hat pin. Secretly, we all have an escape plan. The White Russians had Finland; we have Cuba, a country ripe with possibility. The thought, alone, of all those old buildings waiting to be renovated is a symphony to the ear.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Call me "old fashioned', but aren't we supposed to employ the Peter Barry's of our time to return us to that world we knew and loved? Am I crazy? None of us had a lot of money, but we had connections to things like respectability, knowledge, and a sense of history that provided fun while we were educating others. Knee breeches and powdered wigs were so common; you just had to look in a "drag box" for them. They got you into any Friday night party in Newport. Peter did the rest: a slight wave of the hand or the secret word got you up the driveways and steps to Paradise. Come back Little Sister.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everyone knows about my panic attacks when I have to go to the mainland and actually conduct some sort of business there, so when I actually travel all the way to Ft. Lauderdale I practically need an iron lung. But, duty called and we have a friend up there who has been having a hard time lately, so we went shopping and loaded up the jeep with all sorts of goodies and took off. I despise I-95; it is a third world demolition derby. You don't want me as a passenger with all the gasps and "Oh my Gods" coming out of me; we did, however, make it to our friend who was ecstatic with our visit.

Of course, you can't drink with that long drive home (and, it would be rude to the designated driver to do so, I think), so it was a dry night. Sunday, though wasn't very dry, which leads me to this:

Sent with this in a town-wide cable from Baroness Seitzinger was, "Soooo…. The Countess & Mr. Astor came over for this afternoon. I needed help with the Laundry and Alexis’s name came to mind…..she is so good with domestic help you know.
So….I think my vodka bottle has some sort of leak that has allowed the alcohol to evaporate.

When she arrived….it was full…..when she left…..almost gone. I am certain there is a defect in the bottle.

Notice my finger pointing….:)"

Her invitation that afternoon for cocktails was a trap, plain and simple. She had carefully been monitoring our bike ride from the roof of her building and, upon arriving, we were greeted with bottles of liquor brought by us on a previous occasion and plied with plenty. Before we knew it, she had corralled us into her laundry room and put us to work. I don't remember emptying that bottle, and it is just as likely that she dumped it out after I left to start that treacherous story. (She also displayed a new super-duty Rowenta iron, too, as if to threaten us.) All of this she did while serving rum-soaked prunes and talking about the high price of stone crab and young men (although I don't think she differentiates between her sweet meats). There is no limit to her gall.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Our new friend, Steven of the Belgians, contacted me yesterday to say how much he enjoyed his visit to South Beach and how everyone seemed to be having a great time. That is why, of course, Carl Fisher invented this island LaLaLand, but Steven also had the added joy of being out on a night with Henrietta.
Warmer weather returned after a chilling two days of below-40 degree temperatures; still, we are all mindful of the terrible weather up North and count our blessings. The tourists were out in force for their early morning power walks along the beach.

This is called Playing Your Cards Right At Happy Hour (or how you leave Twist with more drink tickets than what you had when you arrived). It is a skilled game of deft hand manouvers, careful thought, and the occasional, "Look at that big bird up there!".

Thursday, February 05, 2009

You have to wonder what goes on the mind of a person who puts his Blackberry on his glass at a bar and goes to the bathroom.

Although the chorus of pained cries rose as the temperatures dropped into the unheard of upper-thirties, it couldn't drown out, for me, the increasing, bad news. The day began with neither one of us willing to brave the weather for the gym, so the news became the exercise of the day and it started with a Reuters article about scavenging for food in Paris; it just wasn't one of the feel-good articles and you have to wonder if we will see food riots in the capitals of Europe before we see them here.

And, speaking of food, Mamie called me as her carriage approached The Beach from her stay up north. We talked about the hard times many are going through and the stress building up. Both of us sighed at the situation but were grateful that we both can maintain our statuesque lives based on the "3-2-1" formula: Three square meals, two snacks, and one happy hour a day.

The most upbeat part of today will be The Westminster Dog Show tonight; it will be pure escapism. Riley (who had his hair done next to me yesterday) asked if KiKi would be attending, and I had to tell him "no". I've been wondering lately if KiKi actually knows where he is, but we have a taped address that we will send by sattelite of his address to the show. Whatever the dog year of 18 translates to (we know there is a complicated sliding scale), I'm sure I won't know where I am at his age--I hardly do now.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We seldom get the opportunity to attend Score's Latino night...but, you know what they say: "When Opportunity Arises, Seize It"...and we did.
Once again, we say that if you could harness the energy of a Latin dancefloor, you wouldn't need Arab oil.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Every now an then you have to take in the local paper to gage what really matters around you. Today, one article told the story of a local homeless shelter which had run out of money to purchase soap for its visitors to shower with; the Holland American line stepped in to donate unused shampoo and soaps not used by its travelers.

The battle of the pythons has extended to The Keys. For some time, The Everglades has been fighting the growing presence of pythons in its realm; not indigenous to the area, the creatures are proliferating in an environment stocked with lots of meals and not naturally ready to fight off a new threat. The alligators, themselves, battle with them for dominance.

Authorities of The Keys--an area south of The Everglades--have summoned volunteers into a new, python attack group. This group has been educated to avoid a frontal attack, a death grip, and the vile, but harmless "poo squirt". Rangers first found the pythons by monitoring rare mammals equipped with monitors; when tracking those creatures, the most recent were found in the stomachs of sunning pythons. The rangers have been deputized to take no prisoners.

Washington should adopt the same rules for Wall Street.

But the most important story on the front page today was that the Miami mansion housing the video cam headquarters of CocoDorm, Miami would not be closed down. The city manager had sought to close it using old laws against business in a residential neighborhood; the federal judge ruled that since no customer actually visited the mansion, it did not violate any local laws.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fresh from their cruise on The Atlantis, Alan and Darren hosted a farewell party at their place in The Tides. Their stay this time seemed so brief and they return to Newport, RI tomorrow. Many of the attendees also had been on the cruise and it seemed like it had been the usual week-long party of excess.
We spent a couple of hours being silly and joking about things like the Pell's chintz decorating and the on-going search for their cat, Peebles, who seems to have made a break for freedom by swimming to the mainland. Everyone was pretty tired, which made being silly all that easier.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The last weekend of every month is devoted to Henrietta. Last night she treat us to dinner at World Resources; she had a craving for lobster and jewels. There are a number of special nights in between that last weekend, and Valentine's Day is one of them on the horizon; she told us that she went to the same store we buy our notions at downtown and purchased two hundred dollars worth of fabric roses for her outfit that day.
Henrietta wore a leather pants suit highlighted by fur and an emerald necklace.

Her leather pants had a fanciful flare and cut out pattern to them. The boots were super, too.

Tony Ferro is the most successful promoter in this town, now; he takes his events seriously and makes everyone feel that they are the center of attention. In addition to being totally hot, Tony sports the very of-the-fashion-moment skinny tie.

We met and hung out with these wonderful guys from Belgium; they were amused by my addiction to the most famous Belgian of all time, Hercule Poirot. Steven in yellow was mesmerizing.

What can I say? My baby, Mr. Astor to most of the town, "Bootsie" to me, is the most adorable man in my universe. Gentle, intelligent, sexy, elegant, and the final word on fashion; Leopoldo rocks this town and me.

Peter Morales and his boyfriend and Twist owner, Joel, put the most wonderfully orchestrated parties together. They obviously enjoy what they do, and each other.

Normally, I am only attracted to brown eyes, but this boy had the magic mix: blue eyes and brown skin. I was enchanted.

The new owner of The Wire, Thomas Barker, rounded out the night with his posse: Perry, Carlos, and the ever-enchanting Jonathan. By this time (3 AM), both of us knew it was time to leave; we are not late-night people, although no one believes that.