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Alegria in Wonderland
M2, New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 28, 2009 Bookmark and Share

So what are you going to do when that old gal Pride hits the big four-oh?  Forty years of Pride, think about it: 1969-2009.  Forty years: that’s a ruby anniversary.  A big red…ruby—as in ruby slippers.  So you know you’d better celebrate—and if you’re producer Ric Sena, you know that 40 years of Pride merits a massive tea party.  Something called ALEGRIA IN WONDERLAND, for example, held at M2 (the former Crobar) on 28th Street in the heart of New York City.  A Mad Hatter’s Ball, as it were, held on Pride Sunday, commencing right after the fireworks on the Pier—and continuing all through the night and into Pride Monday (universally regarded as a gay holiday, after all…).

This year’s edition of Alegria Pride, the ninth incarnation in a series of parties that have become the stuff of legend, promises to be a return to those Alegria Prides that linger long in the memory banks (and on YouTube and countless websites). You know the ones.  Remember the year the USS Alegria Enterprise hovered over the floor—before disgorging a crew of buff spacemen and aliens?  And how about Spectacular Spectacular, the year that the entire club became Moulin Rouge, sheathed in enough red velvet and gold brocade to out-Christo Christo and swaddle all of Manhattan? Or the year that “Cha-Cha Heels” was that year’s anthem and the go-go boys wore black-light outfits that revealed themselves as skeletons when the club went completely dark?  Then there was The Greatest Pride on Earth, Sena’s big top circus, complete with harlequins, acrobats, as well as a myriad strongmen.  And, perhaps most jaw-dropping of all, The Pride of Alegria, when Crobar became the hold of the Black Pearl, and every Alegria boy and girl was a crew member of Cap’n Ric Sena as the party sailed in pursuit of Pirates of the Caribbean. 

These events are not your average weekend dark basement kegger.  Instead, with a background in theatrical production, Sena creates parties that evoke the technical prowess of Cirque de Soleil while perpetuating the best celebratory traditions of the circuit.  And with this year’s suggestive theme, Alegria in Wonderland, Sena implicitly offers all of the Alegria family an opportunity to follow him into the rabbit hole—and see what phantasmagorical delights await. 

For starters, there’ll be Abel at the helm—and what would Alegria Pride be without the maestro? Answer: unthinkable—joined by the remarkable Tony Moran, as well as the bodacious Mickey Friedmann, a relentless triumvirate of beatmasters, complemented by lighting wizard, Ross Berger’s stunningly hallucinogenic light work.  To witness Sena and his crackerjack crew of professionals working together is to understand teamwork in the name of a marathon good time.

For after all, in the end, that’s what Alegria Pride means most: the joy of Pride.  The joy of being able to celebrate together on a dance floor in a massive club redesigned for one night.  And that’s why Alegria Pride parties are among the most well-loved of them all: for these are the parties where the joy of Pride swells the hearts and souls of everyone in the club—and magic happens.  Boys fall in love at Alegria—and that’s just the beginning.  In short, Alegria Pride is the definitive Pride affair—and NYC Pride ain’t over until Alegria says so—and that’s usually some time late on Monday afternoon. 

So there it is, Pride’s ruby red anniversary ball.  Fall into the rabbit hole, follow the Mad Hatter, search for the Red Queen—and celebrate the joy at Alegria in Wonderland. 

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