We went to Rio this weekend. Alegria's Rio. An end-of-summer bash,
one last hurrah before the return to responsibility (and a pause
from the circuit before Black and Blue). Just a quick jaunt to Rio,
only eight hours' total -- but what an excellent trip, the perfect
getaway, just what we needed to bang out the summer.
There's a difference between Pride and Labor Day, and it's not only
the two months' difference: it's a change of attitude. Pride rings
in the gay summer, and Labor Day kicks it out. Labor Day's the end
of camp, the heading home, the return to school and jobs. Who loves
Labor Day as much as Gay Pride? No one.
So maybe Alegria Rio wasn't quite as crowded as Pride; maybe there
was room enough on the floor, by the right of the stage, to raise
your arms as the confetti rained down. Maybe the energy wasn't so
hysterical that a layer of steam separated the mezzanine from the
dance floor -- or maybe it was only because outside, it was raining
and 60 degrees, and also, the a/c at Sound Factory was in perfect
As for Abel, was he as good as Pride? What difference does it make
if he was as good as another time? We were there to hear him play
Alegria Rio. It wasn't Pride we went there for. We went to Rio on
Sunday night, and left Pride back in June.
Abel works us. Abel works us more than anyone else we listen to
right now. We train for Abel. Psychologically. We know how
infectious he is and how much he demands of those on his floor.
You'd better be ready. He doesn't slough off; he expects you to
move, and keep moving until it's over.
We got in there around three-thirty, and it was packed. So packed
that it was disorienting to us and we had to sit a spell in the
smoking room to get our bearings. (Love that -- paying an extra
fifty to sit with the smokers). Then, fortified, we hit the floor. A
show started, something from Mardi Gras. One samba babe and two
dickdancers waving the Brazilian flag (and, of course, one of them
was the much-heralded dick dancer from Pride -- he too caught the
flight to Rio). Then there was a storm of confetti. It kept falling.
Confetti and confetti. Sticking to everyone's sweaty skin and hair.
Everyone dotted in color. Confetti so sticky, it stayed on the skin.
There were huge sequinned and glittered carnival masks and feathers
and boas and palm trees. Black and white beach columns. The lights
were lavender and blue, a tropical sunset heading into night. We
were in Rio dancing at a club along the beach -- and oh, the boyz.
Surely, the circuit has to have one of the highest standards of
beauty the world over. It's incredible how many beautiful people
come out and dance and play on the circuit. It's amazing the breadth
of imagination people utilize on the circuit -- in their outfits, in
their jewelry, in their grooming, in their body types, in their
physical gestures and speech. There's so much fun and freedom to do
as you want.
It's sometimes easy to forget what an amazing bunch of people the
circuit comprises. When I think about the spectrum of humanity at
Alegria on Sunday night, I think about the reaction some of our
straight friends would have, or some of our gay friends who don't do
the circuit -- and I'm all but certain they would be overwhelmed by
the beauty of it.
That said, there were so many beautiful men at Alegria. And, later
in the morning, there was that "male model/buxom woman" contingent
who spiced up the crowd with another level of beauty. And was that
Kitty Meow, incognito, purring her way through the crowd?
So much goes on at an Alegria party, you can't possibly catch it
all. We try and dance in different quadrants of the floor through
the night, just to see new faces, and cop new moves. At one point,
we were talking to two guys who were celebrating their first-year
anniversary -- having met a year ago at Alegria Labor Day.
The third floor was cooking; the aluminum chairs stacked in some
kind of haphazard public art installation climbing the column. The
third floor was for those who like to dance cool -- with air blowing
over their bodies. Downstairs, on the floor, it's more about the
Abel's music, it's so relentless. It's so hard. It would distress
Lady Bunny (who invariably makes rude remarks about tribal music at
Wigstock). One song seemed to have the lyrics, I want it now, I need
it now. The circuit mantra. Dancing to Abel's music is like the best
workout and best yoga class and best release and best orgasm, all
rolled into one. There were two distinct moments on the floor on
Sunday night when, for at least a minute, it seemed as if we were
one with the music. There was nothing but the music at these two
points. It was the purest essence of dance and music fused into one
energy field. It was not unlike the way I used to feel when I skiied
downhill and caught a run which merged adrenaline and skill and
nature and gravity all into one. It was exactly why we flew to Rio
for the weekend.
Abel: he's our man of the moment. And Alegria is the best-produced
holiday party. The Sound Factory staff could hardly be more
thoughtful and helpful: consider the number of boys working to clean
up the stairs and the tables and sweep the floors. Consider the
security guards, and how unobtrusive they were. (Late in the
morning, we were seated alongside a fall-out, which was disturbing,
as usual, but it was positive to see that the Sound Factory security
guards were decent and hands-off, while the fall-out's friends
dragged him through the crowd -- and hopefully to health).
Maybe the Native Americans had fall-outs from too much peace pipe or
too much rain dancing. Maybe the Incans ingested too much peyote.
But still, it would be nice it we didn't have to worry about our
brethren at these parties. Is it really so hard to know when you're
For us, it would be a damn shame to be carried out of an Alegria
party. For us, it's all about being able to dance to Abel's music
and appreciate Ric Sena's efforts.
Thanks to all concerned who made our trip to Rio such a fine end of