Love a holiday. Those three-day weekends -- with an Alegria
sandwiched in the middle. The preparation, the anticipation, the
long nap -- and then stepping out of the apartment at three a.m. --
into fresh snow. Snow falling gently in the quiet night and our
footsteps are the first on the pavement as we walk to the avenue and
hail a cab.
There's so much to be said for professionalism. From the moment we
disembark from the cab and the security staff inquires, "Okay if I
touch your coat?" Fine, if it has to be done, at least they ask
And then we take a long wander through the club, delaying our
entrance into the Big Room, prolonging the Big Bang -- until we hear
the backbeat of Casa Bulga -- and in we go, into the shirtless
hordes of swirling eye candy. Smiling faces, dancing boys, people
moving to Abel's beat.
The club is minimally decorated. Four screens in each corner of the
big room and the Alegria mirror ball in the center. Alegria's name
on each screen. This Alegria was supposed to have been Tribal III
but according to Ric Sena his box of magic tricks got left behind in
Rio -- and so this party is called Light. Which means party on a
So it's not an Alegria with all the trappings. Not one of those
Alegrias with all the shows and all the props and in fact, the Prop
Room isn't even open. Instead, the Big Room floor is packed tight
enough for arm movements without elbows smashing into cheekbones.
For a while, we watch from our favorite SkyBox, waiting for a moment
when we can no longer resist. Holding on before breaking out.
Watching the crowd below. Paying attention to the lights because
this is supposed to be Ross Berger's night. There's lots of lavender
light and blue spots and maybe the lights are whipping about more
than usual. We see Ric with his RIC t-shirt and there's Tony Moran
dancing in the crowd below. And best of all, our favorite bartender
from White Party at Vizcaya, he's the VIP bartender tonight and he's
a playa who works his winks and body language at everyone who
wiggles a dollar his way. Oh, such a cutie and so professional.
That's what this party is about. It's about the professionals. The
floor below is packed with people who are here to dance to Abel's
music. They don't care that it's cold outside and that it's probably
easier to sleep in and they don't care that there aren't set
decorations and they're not bothered that the crowd is mostly New
Yorkers and New Jerseyites and a sprinkling of Philly boyz. The boys
below look like a cross section of model gay citizens. Professional
men who work on their bodies as hard as they work at their jobs. And
they know how to party, as professionals. There are no messes here.
These boys can party.
And then the music takes over and resistance is futile and the
entire VIP is rocking the SkyBoxes and Ric is dancing on the catwalk
and Tony's got his posse around him and isn't it nice to see a
circuit deejay having such a good time at the parties of other
circuit deejays -- and that's professional if you ask me.
And if this is second best, having Sunday nights and not Saturdays,
then I'll take it. I'll take a roomful of beautiful men who know how
to party with intent and keep it going. They know how to work it
out. They know what their bodies need after working and pumping.
They know that Abel delivers.
And he was on. He was on in a different way than he was two weeks
ago in Miami for New Year's Eve. This party was his first-year
anniversary spinning at Crobar -- and he's found a comfort level
there in that booth. He knows the room. And all of us there know the
club. And the club's security know us now. They're polite and
unobtrusive. They know what we need. They know that, basically,
And on the floor, there's Joey Cumley, with his posse, glow sticks
adorning his neck. Joey's clinging to a boy and smiling, and there's
Joe Caro, whom we haven't met before, not officially, so we
introduce ourselves, which seems superfluous, given all that we know
of Joe Caro already, thanks to his postings and his website -- and
that story of his wandering through the Meatrack at FIP, which still
makes us laugh, and also the night he baptized Junior's deejay booth
before Junior arrived....
And I'm watching Joey Cumley and thinking about our friends John and
Tim who are Joey's age and who moved to NYC from South Beach in
August and we brought them to Alegria Labor Day in September, which
they liked, but which, frankly, overwhelmed them. It was too much.
It was too intense. It was too crowded. It was way too professional
in that it takes a whole level of skills to navigate the night at an
Alegria NYC party that they did not yet possess. And I'm thinking
how the night that they most prefer in NYC is Sunday nights at HIRO
(about which Alan F. wrote a good review this morning). And in
watching Joey, I think about his journey from Kansas(?) and how it
is that he's found the right combination of something which enables
him to party at Alegria and still be so sweet and happy.
And there's Jerome and Jason and it's somehow reassuring to see them
here too -- and that's the thing, how Abel and Alegria draw this
crowd of familiar faces and bodies, which reminds me of the years
when each Sunday morning you could arrive at Junior's house and know
that you were going to see people that you didn't necessarily see
the rest of the week. We all worshipped at the House of Junior.
And this is the House of Abel. Alegria's House. And we love being a
part of it. We're looking out over the crowd of people as Abel is
ripping us apart again, sending our hips and arms flying, and
there's this song with some words about "Don't believe what you see.
It's all an illusion," or some such metaphysical blather which sends
me off into a vision of the floor below as the hold of a spaceship
and how I would be proud to be flying through the galaxies with
these people, my sisters and brothers, back to the Planet of Love
where we originated.
"THESE ARE OUR SISTERS," I shout to Robert, my arms encompassing the
crowd below -- and Robert gives me one of those bemused, tolerant
I can't help it. I'm a sucker for a beat -- and Abel's beats just
make me work. Sometimes you go out and you have a good time and
sometimes you go to a yoga class and it's okay -- and then sometimes
you get just what you need when you go out. This was one of those
nights. It was about dancing to the music without any other
interruptions. There was this crowd around us that we knew and loved
and Abel was playing this stuff which wasn't at all fluffy or
overly-vocal-circuity and Robert kept asking, "What's this? I like
this one." But damned if I could tell him -- and Joe Caro was on the
other side of the floor, and I didn't want to interrupt his
perfectly-choreographed movements. He knows Abel's material so much
that he never misses a beat.
Professional partying. It makes you feel good. A job well done. Six
hours of partying and you hit your marks. You really let it out.
Your body feels great. Your head is throbbing to the music. You
can't quit smiling. You keep hearing snippets of songs. You keep
seeing happy faces. The go-go boys in body paint. The girl in silver
paillettes. The fabulous and the festive, the beautiful chests, the
low-riding jeans, the treasure trails, the details, the chains and
the bangles, the spangles and the bracelets, leather and gold,
chains and lights flashing and all around you, Abel's music...
We leave the club at nine a.m. and walk out into the last bit of
snowfall. Enough flakes to dust us as we walk.
What a nice party to carry us through the winter week.