Okay, let’s get this
off our chest right now. In the latest report from the Centers for
Disease Control, the highest rates of new AIDS diagnoses in the
United States were in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
CareResource is the
largest HIV/AIDS service organization serving the Miami-Dade-Broward
counties. And Sunday night’s Noche Blanca at
Cameo was the
penultimate event of a nearly weeklong series of parties to help
raise funds to serve the needs of our HIV-positive brothers and
sisters. It’s that simple.
Or maybe it’s as simple as one of the placards placed over the
urinals: CHEERS. HERE’S TO HIV AND A LIFETIME OF COCKTAILS.
Each of us in the community makes a choice—and fortunately, those
with the smarts were in evidence all over
Cameo. The newly
refurbished and locally loved uber-club was packed with industry
heavies, local legends, circuit stars, and hottie posses. With
Michael Stanley on
the door (resplendent in leopard, working it “For the children,” as
he said), we knew we were in the right place. We parked ourselves on
the mezzanine above the new hemispheric disco ball deejay booth—and
here’s who we saw at first glance:
Twisted Dee, Patti
Victor and Shane,
Billy and Luis of
Score, Karen and
Mel, Ross Berger on lights, and Kyle Garner on lasers, and in the
finishing his set while
Abel leaned against
the railing awaiting his moment. Hello? All aboard? It certainly
seemed that way. Anybody who was anybody…
The club looks great. Much to the relief of many, the railing around
the dance floor has been removed, broadening the space. No more
freefalls up the step, no more flat on the face.
Manny was throwing
down Ultra’s “Automatic,” somehow perfectly appropriate, given how
Cameo and its
smoothly professional staff enable you to sink right into the
groove, totally automatic.
All across the floor, boyz were galloping like ponies across the
plains. There was Gorm and Tod,
Doug and Josh, Alex
and Michael, Chad and Leo—and the black cowboy on the box whipping
High above the floor, thanks to
RKM, hung white
billowing satin scrims and a galaxy of white spangled atomic
orbitals—or as Manny plated it, “I’m Just Spinning Around.” He threw
down Thunderpuss’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”—and then eased off a
song halfway to lead the applause for the switchover to Abel who
joined him in the booth.
And right where
Manny left off, Abel
picked it up—and raced with it. He dropped “Let Me See You Shake”
Manny had left it—and
served the boyz his first challenge. Let me see you shake,
motherfuckers. Work it out on this new floor. With a seriously
chugging bassline and an echoing chamber of wailing vocals,
Abel sized up the
house and made
Cameo his latest
And with wunderkind Ross Berger on the lights, joined by Kyle Garner
on lasers, the house quickly became a shape-shifting, astral plane,
a veritable cosmos unto itself—and all designed to “Make You Feel
Real Good.” It don’t get better than that.
Or so we thought—until suddenly the lights rose on the upper
Power pressed against
the glass, a vision in white satin and brilliant bougainvillea
fuchsia. Joined by her boyz, Power worked it out to the song of the
weekend, Solange’s “Sandcastle Disco.” You know—the one about
blowing: “Ba-ba-ba-baby, I know. Don’t blow me away. Don’t blow me,
baby.” With its feel-good vibe and its ’70 soul hook, the song was
grace—and she and her back-up boyz descended the stairs,
disappearing into the wings—before materializing seconds later,
amidst the applause and cheers, atop a box in the center of the
dance floor. How’d they do that? From way up there—to all the way
down there? The three of them on a box like a chimerical
miracle—working the song all over as the nitrogen blasts blew over
the crowd—and they were gone again.
Now that’s a performance. Or as
Abel put it, “The
Drama Starts Here.”
It was that kind of night, where “Playing With My Mind” seemed
perfectly chosen—as did “Put Your Hands Up” and “I Just Want Him To
Know.” And when there was a pause, a dramatic segue from one piece
to the next, the crowd cheered. It was an
Abel family reunion.
And it was a brilliant party produced by
Hilton Wolman and
their work in serving the HIV-positive community of south Florida.
For as all of us know, where there’s family, there’s strength.