New Year’s Eve can be like a soufflé: all that blissful
anticipation, so gorgeous to look at, and achingly delicious.
That said, it takes consummate professionals to keep a soufflé
afloat—and when we heard that promoters
Santis had hooked up with
to cook up a New Year’s Eve celebration in Miami Beach, we knew this
was one New Year’s Eve soufflé we could hardly wait to bite into.
We caught up with the three chefs to talk about how they work their
magic together in the
First of all, congratulations—and thanks—to all three of you for
stepping up to the plate and bringing back the celebration in New
Year’s Eve. It seems as if New Year’s in
is back with a vengeance. So how did you settle upon
Soho Studios?Had you been to events there that made you think, Whoa,
what an awesome place for a New Year’s Eve party?
Gary and I wanted to do something different from the "club nights"
that have been the only New Year’s Eve options for the past few
years. We'd heard about a huge warehouse in the design district—and
the minute we walked in, we knew it would be a great venue for the
party. [Plus], it’s already been used for several dance parties,
[such as] the Event Solutions Showcase,
Miami Fashion Week and
Soho Studios certainly sounds phenomenal, what with 33,000 square
feet and a Dynacord Turbo stadium sound system, as well as video
screens and LED walls, concert lighting and full-color lasers.
Beyond the décor by
RKM, how are you transforming the space for this
We’re also featuring an outdoor area with performances by a
cavalcade of South Florida divas throughout the evening. [And
meanwhile], inside, we’ll have a huge stage for the productions that
have been designed for the evening.
We also heard some rumors about some pretty fierce
Oh, yeah. There’ll be Super
suites with a very classic décor in black and white, complete with
crystal chandeliers and black orchid arrangements. And the VIP area
will feature glowing water-themed bars, along with tables and
seating in black, white, and silver-draped linens—and everything
adorned with freshly cut floral arrangements.
Wow. Sounds very nice.
All of this, of course, [on top of] the spectacular décor by
Let’s hear it for
RKM. According to your website,
NYE is going to be the largest New Year’s Eve celebration on the
planet—at least when combined with all the other
celebrations around the globe. What can we expect from the link-up
Masterbeat? Are we going to be able to tele-transport
and ring in the New Year all over again?
We’re planning on live telecasts from several other
events. The ten-minute video countdown to the New Year will be the
same at all the events. The people at
Masterbeat have been working
studios to ensure that this is a top-class production.
Hilton, you and
Abel share an illustrious history, in terms of gay
nightlife. When was the first time you two worked together? Was it
Salvation? Or Paragon? Two clubs, we might add, that more or less
South Beach’s reputation for legendary gay nightlife.
While I had heard
Abel at Paragon, he and I only started working
together when I invested in Salvation. A few years later, I joined
Space for the Orbit parties. We've done events at Crobar,
Score—and, of course, Twilo. For President's Day Sunday,
he’s [going to be] spinning our new party at Gerry Kelly's fabulous
The Fifth on South Beach.
Clearly, the two of you work well together.
I'm fortunate to consider [Abel] not only a business associate, but
also one of my closest friends. When I threatened to hang up my
dancing shoes a few years ago, it was
Abel who reminded me that
Celia Cruz had kept her cha-cha heels on until the day she died—and
consequently, I plan to do the same!
Azucar to you,
Hilton! And speaking of “Cha-Cha Heels”…
Jeanie Tracy obviously have something special percolating
between you two. What is it about her that sparks your creativity?
Jeanie Tracy is my big sister. [We’re talking about] a true legend!
Jeanie was one of
Sylvester’s back-up singers, along with
Wash, and the late [and great] Izora. These three ladies became
individual stars later. [First] “Three Tons of Fun,” then “Two Tons
of Fun,” and then “The Weather Girls.”
Me and Ralphi Rosario, my
remix partner, have been very close with
Jeanie for years. We have a
tight friendship, and we love to work with each other.
What history! What stories you two could tell. We have to lock the
two of you up in a room some day and let the stories get told.
We just remixed her latest single called "Everybody Up" which is
coming out first on my latest Alegria CD, "Alegria Universo." [And
it’s going to break] exclusively at our New Year’s Eve party! [And
also] we have a couple more singles in the works with her. What an
The both of you! Given the relatively high profile of certain
deejays—and by that, we mean deejays with websites and forums,
podcasts and fashion shoots—you seem somewhat more private, as if
you were saving your voice for your marathon sets and well-loved
parties. Would it be correct to say that your truest voice is
revealed in the booth?
Yes, I do keep very quiet! [Laughing loudly] But I do believe I
don't need all the commotion and spotlights, etcetera, etcetera.
People know that I am a down-to-earth type of guy—and [that] I will
make the scandal in the booth!
All eyes on the booth then—from now on!
That said, I believe [my privacy] is my way of being confident with
my work. I am very focused at work—especially my marathon sets that
I love so much. [Laughing again]
Sets that are loved as much in return by your faithful audience.
Lately, it seems as if your “star,” if you will, is in continual and
constant ascension. Or, in other words, each year seems to be even
better than the last—at least in terms of musical productions and
the sheer number of concert dates. To what do you attribute your
I am very picky [about] what events I play. I want to always make
sure I am doing the right thing. And I also don't like to burn any
bridges with anyone. And it's also the reason I manage myself.
Self-managed. Wow. Maybe therein lies a lesson for us all:
self-manage our own lives.
No, I don't have a manager [which] means, I do what I want, where,
and with whom, at my [own] pace. I love to deal with the owners and
promoters and producers myself because it makes [the event] more
professional [as well as] personal. [I like to] work closely
together [with the promoters] to possibly make the event stronger by
exchanging thoughts. In other words, you get more than a deejay from
You know, you hear people talk about “Circuit Abel” and “Alegria
Abel” and “Abel Classic”—each of which would appear to be monikers
for various manifestations of your musical talents. What might you
argue is the quality that is shared by all of your musical
I think the best word I can think of to describe all my titles would
be Professional. Each event has its own flair [so therefore]
Alegria Abel can not be the same as Palm Springs Abel or
Abel. The ingredients are way too different—so they won't taste the
You’re right; it’s all about the recipe. And given your penchant
for remixing, and persistent editing—so that even a song your
audience is familiar with becomes new all over again—can we assume
that you’re reworking something to ring in the New Year?
There is always something to break out on a night like this! This
is why we get so excited to work New Year’s Eve! I will have tons of
[new ingredients] but I will not forget my classics! They have to be
part of my memorable sets. Always! I guess I am from the old
school. Literally. [Laughing loudly]
And thanks heavens for it. You teach the right lessons in the
kitchen. And it sounds like it’s going to be a night full of
Hilton, can you give us any clue
about what else you’ve got up your sleeves?
We don’t want to say too much—other than the fact that
Fair enough. Far better to be happily surprised during the holidays
than to know everything Santa is bringing. And, speaking of, as if
the New Year’s Eve event weren’t enough, the two of you also have
parties planned for the Saturday and Sunday after Christmas, making
Miami every bit the New Year’s circuit destination that Los Angeles
has been for the past few years—except without the rain, of course…
You know, with [all] the changes in club land, there haven't been
many options for parties in Miami over the past few years. We’re
hoping that once people realize that we've put together an entire
weekend of events— coupled with the fact that the weather in Miami
is usually superb this time of year—that Miami will regain its
reputation as offering the best parties.
Let’s talk about Saturday night’s party in
It’s called BPM @ ParkWest with
Manny Lehman and
Tony Moran. What
do you mean when you say that this will be the inauguration of
Miami’s new monthly gay party?
Well, Louis Puig, the owner of
Space, recently bought the adjoining
club, which is where Twilo was located. He's remodeled it
completely [and] built-out previously unopened areas of the building
and added a second dance floor and bar area that can be combined or
operated separately from the main room. I'm going to be doing a
monthly gay night there, similar to how we did the Orbit parties at
Tony [will be back to] kick it off in December.
[And then] in January,
Tracy Young will be playing the
Cruise Welcome Back party—and at the beginning of March,
Peter Rauhofer spins the Monday daytime
Winter Party event.
Whoa, what a line-up for 2008. But first, on the final Sunday night
of 2007, there’s Last Dance with
David Knapp and
at Gerry Kelly’s latest club,
The Fifth. What a sense of
homecoming, given that it was
David who helmed so many celebrated
Amnesia/New Year’s Day parties for so many years. And, of course,
Kitty Meow is circuit royalty.
GARY: What we want to do that weekend is to take South Florida on a
journey. We wanted to tie in the amazing sounds of the superstar
deejays and entertainers that [helped make]
the legendary party place it’s become. So at
The Fifth we wanted to
go back to the Amnesia days with superstar
DJ David Knapp. [And by]
Kitty Meow into the mix, [that] would give us the great
combination of the Amnesia/Warsaw Sunday events.
The parties that made the Beach famous…
The design company Visual Xcess who did the amazing
Karu&Y event for
White Party Friday [this year] has designed an installation
especially for this event. This will be the first event at
Hilton’s and my direction. We are excited to be in such
a beautiful venue and [later this year] we’ll be returning there
DJ Abel on President’s Day Sunday.
We’ll be there—all weekend long, along with 80,000 others around the
globe. Thanks for taking time out to talk to us—and most of all for
Miami and the Beach the place to be this New Year’s week. Now get
back to work—New Year’s is right around the corner!