Happy Hour with Henrietta, Queen of South Beach
I had seen Henrietta at Twist many times, but never really had the opportunity to speak with her until one day last year when I sat down next to her for a quick happy hour drink. I ended up having a fascinating history lesson about South Beach and Henrietta’s life for several enthralling hours that could fill a must-read biography book. What a life Henrietta, the Queen of South Beach, has lived!
Henrietta’s mom was an Italian Catholic and her father was a German Jew in Boston, back in a time when many did not believe in mixed marriages. According to Henrietta, when her own grandmother found out he was a gay boy she said, “See what happens when you mix blood.” Henrietta wanted to be herself, so she ran away from home and came to South Beach, where her uncle Mario owned a very popular Italian restaurant with ties to the mob. There, she honed her abilities to cook delicious, mouth-watering Italian dishes. Mario took Henrietta under his wing, and she hasn’t been out of drag since 1958.
Those were the years when the mob ruled the beach and its influence reached all the way into the police department. Among the many stories Henrietta shared with me, she remembers fondly how when the cops ever raided an establishment where she was, they would take care of Henrietta and provide a police escort and ride home — in deference to her uncle Mario and his Italian friends. She also recalls with a smile going to Gianni Versace’s home for parties and making homemade lasagna.
This Sunday, March 24, Henrietta will be celebrating her 72nd birthday at Twist from 4-9 p.m. Stop by for a few drinks. Henrietta will also be cooking some of her delectable signature dishes!
Publisher & Editor in Chief
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Photos provided by Henrietta)
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #12, 2013
LADY B: SASSY QUEEN OF DRAG
(Photo credit: www.image1stmiami.com/)
By Rafa Carvajal
“I want to entertain, to make people feel good, and to make you forget your troubles and dance with me, honey.” - Lady B
“To all the newcomers out there, I say to trust your instincts and follow your dreams.” - Lady B
I met Benji Benavidez last summer and was intrigued when Benji told me that he had a very sassy side called Lady B After seeing some videos and photos of his alter ego, I pulled some strings to help Lady B hit the sidewalk at Palace on Ocean Drive — the rest is history! To celebrate this week’s cover story about Priscilla Queen of the Desert, I caught up to the queen of sassy, currently in Paris.
What aroused your interest in the art of drag?
When I was 16, I went to my first gay club where they had a pageant. When I saw the girls working it, I thought, “some day that will be me in the spotlight, lip-syncing for my life.”
How did you come up with the name Lady B?
I used to perform as Christina Kouture, however I wasn’t certain whether I loved it or not. One night during an out-of-town gig in 2009, the MC announced me as ‘Lady B,’ which I adored, and ever since then it has stuck.
Describe Lady B to our readers.
Lady B is fun; she is enthusiastic, outgoing, sexy, seductive and humorous. She’s a surprise; a tease. Something you wish you had on your Christmas list (winks). She is driven, focused and creative. Did I mention adorable?
How is Lady B different from Benji Benavidez?
Let’s start with the obvious, Lady B has tits. She is the product, the face. Benji is the body, the creator. They both share the same passion for this profession. When the wig goes on, and pins go in, magic happens.
What cities has Lady B performed in?
London, Ibiza, New York, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas, McAllen, Brownsville, South Padre Island, Laredo, Baybrook, Galveston, and more to come.
Why have you decided to start performing in Miami and Fort Lauderdale?
I have friends in Miami, which initially led me there, however, I enjoy a change of scenery, a new crowd. I had the opportunity to perform and bring Lady B to work!
Any plans to relocate to Miami? When?
I love Miami, the people, the weather and the boys. But for now, I’m busy touring and making new experiences around the world. However, Miami is certainly in the cards for regular visits.
How does performing in Miami compare to performing in other cities?
In Miami, I’m able to interact with the people more. I love the freedom, the space. One of my favorite places to perform on the Beach is Palace. It’s not everywhere you get to use a moving vehicle as a prop. Performing on the sidewalk offers further interaction with the general public and isn’t as routine as a club performance elsewhere would be.
Tell our readers about your first experience performing in drag.
I lost my virginity during the summer of 2009. I think it was also the first time I shat myself. I was a part of a duet performing “Trouble” (female version) by Elvis Presley for our local LGBT charity event. We even performed the same number a second time after we had left the crowd screaming for more. It left me with a high, which I think pushed me towards this profession.
Who are some of your drag inspirations?
The legendary Erica Andrews who we lost recently, my drag mothers Valerie Paris, Miss Gay Texus USofA at Large 2013 and Kathryn York. Further inspiration comes from artists such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Rihanna to art & fashion designers.
What inspires you to perform?
When I perform, it’s the music that inspires me. The beat moves my body.
How do you come up with your various looks for your performances?
I create my own styles and design my costumes. I get ideas from celebrities, magazines or current trends and mix it with my creativity to turn it out.
Tell us about a time when you were nervous to perform? Where and why?
I can easily say I’m always nervous before performing. It’s like you’re always doing it for the first time.
While performing, how do you keep the audience hyped and engaged?
It takes interaction. The music is important. It helps me create a positive vibe that captures the audience. In order to make your audience feel, you have to first feel it yourself.
What advice can you give to other new drag performers?
To all the newcomers out there, I say to trust your instincts and follow your dreams.
What are your aspirations as a performer?
I want to entertain, to make people feel good, and to make you forget your troubles and dance with me, honey.
Latrice Royale recently told Wire readers “Anyone can put on a wig and call it drag. If you have a purpose and a voice, it will always set you apart from the rest of the pack.” What is your purpose and voice?
My voice and purpose as a drag queen is to show, inspire and teach others who want to make this a career that it’s possible and that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it. Looking back when I first started drag, I see what I have accomplished and here I am now traveling the world and representing my talents and my passion — which not only raises my confidence but also provides my income. My purpose is to inspire the next generation and help those discover their own voice.
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #12, 2013
Pride And Progress
(Photo Credit: Dale Stine)
Can Miami Beach elect a gay mayor?
By Michael W. Sasser
When Michael Gongora first sought a Miami Beach City Commission seat in 2006, he made it clear that he was not running as a “gay candidate.”
“In that first campaign it wasn’t something I would bring up,” Gongora said. “I was actually ‘outed’ on the radio by an opponent. It was brought up in a negative context to try to use as a negative against me.”
Despite his desire to run and to serve as a candidate and official who happened to be gay – as opposed to a “gay candidate” – Gongora said that first campaign demonstrated some of the challenges that LGBT candidates continue to have in election campaigns. In Gongora’s case, he said that materialized in the shape of a whisper campaign.
“There were whispered rumors that I was a gay party boy,” he said. “They tried to link a D.U.I from law school to paint an image.”
However, the initial Gongora campaign also demonstrated limitations in the effectiveness of anti-gay gossip efforts. The brash – some might say cocky – young lawyer was elected to the city commission to become the first openly gay individual to win a Miami Beach city election, has been subsequently re-elected to the same body, and has tossed his hat into the ring to compete to supplant Matti Bower as the next mayor of Miami Beach later this year. There, at the very least, he will face fellow Commissioner Jerry Libbin, who demographically resembles the prototypical Miami Beach mayor.
While even those who remember the days when Miami Beach was less receptive to the LGBT community recognize the city has made considerable – and laudable – social progress, the question remains: just six years after the city’s electorate came out in support of its first openly gay commissioner, can Miami Beach elect a gay individual to the center seat in the body’s dais?
Gongora believes that things have changed in recent years and that it is entirely possible.
“I think that in 2006, people looked a little more at things like ethnicity and orientation and religion,” Gongora said. “Miami Beach is one of the most diverse, loving communities in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and I think that the mix of people we have here is one of the great reasons people live here.”
Gongora pointed to Miami Beach Pride as an example of the city’s progress. He added that just recently he was in Belgium, cementing Miami Beach as the first-ever U.S. host of the World Outgames in 2017. He also said that even older, long-time Miami Beach voters who might have previously been inclined to vote in demographic blocs might be more open to change today.
“I think older voter blocs have heard the message of diversity and inclusion and reacted to it,” Gongora said. “I hope I’ve helped people become more tolerant and loving of one another.”
Outgoing Mayor Matti Bower is a veteran of Miami Beach politics and points to her own election and successful re-election campaigns as signs of the city’s progress.
“A lot of people didn’t think I could get elected – a Hispanic, elderly woman,” said Bower. “I think it’s more about who can get the job now than what it used to be.”
Bower said she believes a gay man or woman could be elected in Miami Beach. “I think Miami Beach is a very forward city. I think when voters look at candidates, they don’t so much see Hispanic, female, gay, etc., but instead they see what is good for the city. Our voters are very intelligent. We’re a very diverse city now and have all kinds of people. Although I think there are still voting blocs, voters do look at the personalities and views of candidates.”
One longtime political observer who was previously involved in Miami Beach campaigns echoed the sentiment. However, “It depends on who the individual is,” said the political insider, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The city of Miami Beach would elect a giraffe if it was in its best interest. Race, gender, ethnicity, orientation don’t matter that much. Voters ask one question: what do I get out of it? Voters in general, and particularly those in Miami Beach, are sick of things as they are. But they also do some stupid things.”
Some have questioned Miami Beach’s vaunted gay-friendly reputation, and for sure, it has not always been an untarnished image. A police officer involved in what appeared to be a random act of violence against a gay man in 2009 was given a slap on the wrist, thanks to police union protection. Complaints of similar police harassment continue to circulate despite very visible steps by the Miami Beach Police Department to build bridges with the LGBT community. Friction between the MBPD and the gay community has a long history. It’s been just two decades since high-profile police raids on Miami Beach gay clubs observing New Year’s Eve prompted cries of prejudice and abuse heard around the international LGBT community.
“I remember that there were like no valid arrests,” said David Kelsey, president of the South Beach Hotel & Restaurant Association and longtime community activist. “They really didn’t get anything to speak of. It was an embarrassing thing for them to do at a time we were trying to attract gay business.”
Kelsey said the raids included one on a club by officers in ski masks and bulletproof vests and armed with automatic weapons. “It couldn’t have been worse as far as our image was concerned.”
Those and subsequent smaller-scale allegations tarnished the reputation of the city in the eyes of many gay men and women around the world. However, the MBPD has engaged in a considerable effort to build bridges with the local gay community with notable successes – and lapses.
Interestingly, Gongora’s relationship with the community evolved after his initial election. Going into the mayoral election, Gongora said his perception of his role in the LGBT community has changed. “Once I was elected, I heard the voice of the people and of the media, and have really felt an obligation to the community to do a good job, to be well-read and well-informed and to represent the community well. I’m proud of my supporters – gay and straight, Christian and Jewish. That’s what I think equality is all about. It’s not voting for someone because of identity, but rather because they’re the better candidate.”
Long-time North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin knows a little something about navigating Miami-Dade politics as a gay politician. He was elected in the sizable bedroom community in 1999, and re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011 – in the latter case, with 86 percent of the vote. In 2004, he came out publicly in the pages of the now-defunct LGBT newspaper The Weekly News (TWN), believed to be the first time in local history an official came out while in office, and has been a high-profile member of the community since, joining fewer than a half dozen openly gay elected officials in Miami-Dade County. Like Gongora, he has regularly faced whisper campaigns intended to stunt his career.
“There was some sign vandalism in my 2010 (unsuccessful) congressional race, but mostly it has been whispering and spreading rumors,” said Galvin. That included an ugly whisper campaign that emerged slightly in local media during his 2011 re-election campaign – the year, he pointed out, that he carried almost 90 percent of votes cast.
“Because North Miami doesn’t have a real whole gay community, those issues aren’t on the forefront. I imagine a lot of my constituents don’t even know I’m gay,” Galvin – who is actively involved in LGBT issues at the local and national level – said. “North Miami has no Pride event, for example. If there was a push for that, there might be some blowback. But things are changing fast, just as they are changing fast nationally, and two years ago, I could see some blowback if we tried something like that. Now, I don’t know.”
Galvin said that even though serving in a city generally considered less progressive than Miami Beach, his orientation and it being public have not been a detriment to his political career.
Gongora’s resume is impressive without even considering his groundbreaking political success in Miami Beach. Prior to his election, Gongora was a long-term community activist, having chaired the Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches (ECOMB), the Miami Beach Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Miami Beach Bar Association. In 2007, as the president of the Miami Beach Bar Association, he was able to successfully re-open the North Beach Pro Bono Law Clinic. Gongora is also on the board of directors for Council Towers – the first Beach commissioner to sit on that body. Council Towers consists of two affordable housing buildings for the elderly and are located in the heart of Miami Beach. Gongora is also a well-known advocate and speaker on environmental causes, having created and chaired the City of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Committee. He is currently the chair of the Miami Beach Land Use and Development committee, a member of the Miami Dade Film and Entertainment Advisory Board and the board of directors for the Miami-Dade League of Cities representing Miami Beach. He is also a current member of the Coastal Ocean Task Force representing Miami Beach. In 2003, SunPost newspaper named Gongora as one of the “Power 50 of Miami”; and in 2006, South Florida CEO Magazine selected him as a Next Gen Leader. In 2009, Gongora was selected as Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite. In 2011, Gongora was a recipient of the Emerald Green City Award from ECOMB.
Gongora’s decision to run for mayor was not based on his quest to continue making headlines in the press or to blaze new trails for LGBT politicians. “It’s about Miami Beach’s needs,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about what’s in the best interest of Miami Beach,” he said. “It’s been a difficult year or two and I think new blood is needed. I think the city needs cleaning up. We need to bring in people who can take us in the right direction. I was sitting back, watching things and I thought about the possibility. Then residents reached out to me, which was important, and I had to talk to my family. Campaigns are a lot of work.”
Gongora’s chief campaign issues address several of the city’s current challenges: restoring residents’ confidence in the public processes, and infrastructure improvements such as the convention center development and “rebuilding the city from the ground up,” he said, are two objectives. The third goal he cited might be the trickiest one of them all.
“I want to focus on our long-term fiscal health,” Gongora said. “We have an unsustainable pension plan and someone needs to straighten it out. And it might just take a gay mayor to do that!”
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #11, 2013
Living in a W Paradise
(Photos by Blue Ocean Photography, Luxury Real Estate & Architectural Photography)
By Rafa Carvajal
Miami Beach is a beautiful place to live. In our new Living in Paradise section of Wire Magazine we are going to showcase some spectacular homes. This week we focus on a one-of-a-kind $7.5 million, 3 bedroom / 3 bath oceanfront paradise in the uber trendy W Hotel South Beach. The unit was created by joining three gorgeous oceanfront condo hotel units (1227, 1229 and 1230) on the 12th floor, northeast corner of 2301 Collins Avenue and comes with access to private concierge, private beach club, gym and basketball courts. Each one of the home’s three bedrooms features its own private sitting area. You will also very much enjoy the in-suite baths, wet bars, full kitchen, and three individual private terraces.
This custom designed home with interiors by Yabu Pushelberg wraps the corner with two walls of glass and the oceanfront face of the building and incorporates ultra modern, state-of-the-art technologies, such as the remote controlled Lutron lighting system you can use to choose between six different light settings. With the touch of one bedside button all lighting can be extinguished when it’s time to sleep. The home also features an amazing Bang and Olufsen AV system including home theater surrounds in both the living room and master bedroom of 1229, as well as network integrated 3D Smart Blu-ray players and iPod docks in each room, a 2 terabyte music server integrated into the living room with 13,000 internet radio stations from all over the world, a state-of-the- art, rack mounted, integrated whole home AV system connected by high speed, high definition Cat 7 providing multi-zone distribution to any or all rooms, a wide selection of audio and video sources including Apple TV, Sonos, TVIX, 3D Smart Blu-ray, Mac Mini computer, and two independent Dish Satellite DVRs, plus a secure private high speed (50-75MPS) internet connection completely independent from that of the hotel.
The W Hotel South Beach (named by Travel & Leisure as “World’s Best Hotel 2011”) is a $400 million ultraluxe showplace designed by famed architect Costas Kondylis, with two world class restaurants onsite (Mr. Chow and The Dutch), world class artwork and sculpture from artists such as Damien Hirst, Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Kenny Scharf and Tomw Sachs on display in the public spaces, and world famous Bliss Spa.
This unique privately owned residence is available for showing by appointment and is eligible for the W Hotel rental program. Please contact Tom Belcher to schedule a private showing at 305-588-1441 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit Tom’s website www.tombelcher.com or like his Facebook page, Tom Belcher Miami Real Estate, for the latest in local real estate news and current events.
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #11, 2013
The Best Guide to Winter Party Festival 13’
(Photo Credit: Henry Perez)
The winter heat has arrived as Winter Party Festival is ready to celebrate its milestone of 20 years of partying with a purpose. Wire wants to ensure our readers are in the loop and don’t miss a beat at this year’s historic WPF 13’. Check out our offical guide here.
But before jumping feet first into the party, enjoy a bit of history about Winter Party Festival and when, where, and how it all started!
It would have been impossible for the founders of the first Winter Party to envision that this week we would be celebrating the 20th edition of the Winter Party Festival – one of the most successful LGBT fundraisers. The history of Winter Party dates back to 1992 (15 years after Anita Bryant’s efforts led to the repeal of Dade County’s first human rights ordinance) when Dade Action PAC, chaired by Clark Reynolds, fought for and won unanimous passage of a gay civil rights ordinance in the City of Miami Beach. The American Family Association (AFA) reacted by initiating a statewide referendum the year after to prevent any municipality or county in Florida from legislating equal protection based on sexual orientation. Ignacio Martinez-Ybor joined forces with Reynolds and other activists to defeat the AFA referendum campaign.
In August 1993, Reynolds and fellow Miami residents Stewart Stein and Dennis Leyva went to the Morning Party on Fire Island, a fundraiser for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, decided to create a similar event in sunny Miami Beach during the winter to attract tourists from the north, and partnered with Martinez-Ybor to raise funds and defeat the AFA-led referendum. The first Winter Party was born on February 13, 1994 and was funded through the support of their friends and four sponsors: H/X Magazine, Out Magazine, Coors Beer and the City of Miami Beach Visitors and Convention Authority. The music was provided by circuit legend Buc. Harry Bader designed an open-air dance club on the beautiful Miami Beach sand. More than 1,600 people came to party for a cause, raising a cool $45,000 and exceeding all expectations of the founders.
Soon after the first Winter Party, the Florida Supreme Court declared the language of the anti-gay referendum unconstitutional and the referendum was dismissed, so the Winter Party Committee gave the $45,000 to S.A.V.E. (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone), the non-profit organization created to fight the referendum and the progenitor of today’s SAVE Dade. S.A.V.E. used the money to work as a political action committee championing the rights of the LGBT community throughout Dade County. The following year, Winter Party’s committee formed a new foundation to distribute the proceeds of the event as grants to non-AIDS-related LGBT organizations throughout Dade County, and the Dade Human Rights Foundation (DHRF) was born and took over production of Winter Party.
In 1997, Winter Party became Winter Party Weekend, adding several new events to complement the very popular Beach Party, and successfully established itself as a major national event. The Miami Recognition Dinner was launched on March 7, 1997 – the Friday of Winter Party Weekend – to honor LGBT community leaders and activists, and in 1998, it was moved to the fall as a stand-alone fundraising event. Winter Party continued to expand, attendance increased substantially and in 1999 it doubled the previous year’s earnings.
By mid-2002, the founders of Winter Party had all retired from the Foundation. DHRF closed in 2004 and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force took over the production of Winter Party Festival and the Miami Recognition Dinner, and pledged that the majority of events’ proceeds would stay in South Florida as grants administered through the Dade Community Foundation, now known as The Miami Foundation. The remainder of the funds would go to support the Task Force’s national efforts to build the grassroots power of the LGBT community. The Task Force has donated close to $1.4 million to South Florida LGBT charities through grants administered by The Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund. This year the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will also celebrate its 40th anniversary!
Check out The Best Guide to WPF ‘13 here. See you on the dance floor and the sand!
Cheers,Publisher & Editor in Chief
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #10, 2013
20 Years? Really? She’s Still Alive?
(Photo Credit, Clockwise: © Dale Stine, © Desi, © Henry Perez)
By Rafa Carvajal
Some of you may find it hard to believe, but Shelley Novak is still alive and kicking, and she is about to celebrate 20 years of banter, craziness and over-the-top entertainment during the upcoming, much loved and celebrated Shelley Novak Awards. I could not pass on the chance to be entertained by asking Shelley how the hell did her award show get to be so old.
Why did you start the Shelley Novak Awards?
What young homosexual doesn’t love award shows? I’ve been practicing my Oscar acceptance speech in the mirror since I was 5 years old. When I got to Miami Beach in 1992 and I got into drag I thought, “How can I create an event that will honor every single queen on the beach and be a glamorous community get-together AND get my name in the press?” There were the Oscars, the Tonys and the Grammys… why not have the Shelleys? And the idea of a self-named award show came to fruition.
How does it feel to reach the 20-year milestone for the Shelley Novak Awards? What does it mean to you?
Well first off, when your show becomes older than your boyfriend, that’s an accomplishment. The last time that happened was with Richard Chamberlain and Dr. Kildare. But seriously, for all my laziness and self-doubt – I’m shocked, satisfied and thrilled it’s run 20 years. I think it may be the only evening that brings together every walk of life in South Beach – gay, straight, drag, butch, everybody.
How have the Shelley Novak awards evolved over the last 20 years?
Well the award statuette itself has remained true to its origins. I still go to the dollar store and buy out all their Barbie knock-offs and then strip them and spray paint them gold like Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger. The show itself has evolved from being held in the dark recesses of the now defunct club Hombre, to the glamour of the restaurant Starfish; it then had a long run at Crobar’s Back Door Bamby to finally settle in its POSH home at Score. Thanks to Score I have state-of-the-art audio and visuals this year manned by Alex Infiniti. Having the Pennyback Boyz producing the show is a dream for any performer, to just be able to show up and walk on stage and have everything perfect is so comforting; you can just concentrate on being funny and giving a great two hour show.
What is your greatest memory of the last 20 years of The Shelley Novak Awards?
Some of my fondest memories were when we would give away the Lifetime Achievement Award. When Mario Swan won it in 2006, he hadn’t been in the scene in years and he was so honored and so humble that it warmed my heart to see him cradle the award and look down at it with tears in his eyes and graciously thank everyone. One year I had Sexcillia lined up to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; I hadn’t seen Pagan in quite a while and he asked to lie down before taking the stage. I thought this was odd, not knowing the circumstances. When his name was called he took the stage with all the energy and grace of the star that he was; I never knew he was ill and he ended up passing away shortly after. I just hope he realized how loved he was by this town; I hope I was able to make him feel that love that night.
What is your funniest memory of the last 20 years of The Shelley Novak Awards?
The only one that comes right to mind is the year that I waited until the last minute to spray paint the dolls so they were still kind of wet and tacky during the show. The entire cast and audience, by the end of the night, had gold handprints on each other’s backs and hands. And some asses.
Which memory would you like to forget from the last 20 years of The Shelley Novak Awards?
One year I took a chance on a new promoter in town and the night before the show I dreamt very vividly that we lost the venue to do the show. I marched the queens to the beach wall on Ocean Drive and held the show al fresco. Here’s the funny thing, the day of the show the club did close! The promoter scrambled to find a new spot, a nightclub that was once a temple. When the film came back from the evening there were unexplainable light streaks everywhere, as if the place was haunted. That was a very interesting year; the spirits were definitely there with us.
How do you stay so young and beautiful?
The honest answer is to hydrate, get enough sleep and no matter how drunk you are, wash your makeup off before bed and use cold cream. Don’t strip your skin oh, and stem cells and Sculptra don’t hurt either.
As part of the drag community, do you feel a sense of accomplishment now that drag has gone mainstream? Why?
It’s thrilling to see Elaine Lancaster on the Real Housewives of Miami, the show is unwatchable; I just fast forward to Elaine’s scenes. Latrice Royale has become a national hero and he’s really represented South Beach and Miami in the best possible way, but I feel Rupaul’s show has completely dropped the ball when it comes to South Florida drag. Why Daisy Deadpetals and Leslie Quick aren’t on the show makes no sense what so ever.
Why do you feel it is important to carry on the tradition of your awards show?
There’s no other underground awards show like it and most of these queens work for peanuts or nothing at all, so it’s nice to be nominated and acknowledged once a year and to be celebrated in the press and on stage.
How did you select the talent for your nominations?
Thank god this year for Poizon Ivy, TP Lords, Athena Dion and the ever-classy Joanna James. They helped me select the nominees. I wanted this year to be full of new names and represent a nice cross section of talent. I try to nominate every queen in town and if they don’t get nominated I grab them to present an award.
Do you have favorites as far as new and upcoming talent go?
All roads lead directly to Athena Dion; she is a blazing comet of celebrity. I know that under all that glitter there’s a smoking hot little Greek twink hiding there. I’m going to try to get to the bottom of it.
How do you think the older generation of drag queen icons paved the way for the newer generation?
Being in drag in the ‘60s was illegal in Miami but people like Henrietta would walk proudly down the street, breaking down barriers and opening the door for icons like Adora and the super friends of drag (Marvella, Taffy, Bridgette Buttercup, Mother Kibble, Sexcillia, etc.) This new generation has all the freedom to really express themselves and they are not missing any opportunities. I remember sitting in front of the TV set as an 8-year-old watching SNL and David Bowie, Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias perform; I had no idea what I was watching but I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Where do you see drag in, say, 10 years?
In space, probably - who knows, right? In the last decade drag has gone through the roof. I don’t see any venue or media outlet that can’t be conquered. Why right now, Sharon Needles has a mainstream CD out that is at the top of the charts.
What’s next for Shelly Novak?
Traveling mostly and lots of napping.
Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers?
In the last 20 years I have been lucky and blessed to have met so many amazing people and have had so many awesome experiences as Shelley Novak.
I could never list all the names without missing someone, so collectively I say thank you and I love you all; I guess my path in life was to make people laugh. I hope I succeeded.
When I started doing drag 22 years ago I created Shelley Novak as a middle-aged matron. Who knew I’d grow into the character to become an elder stateswoman of drag? The Madeline Albright of transvestites, if you will.
And kids, don’t ever take this beach for granted; we live in a paradise. If you ever feel blue, my advice is to a grab towel, hit the beach, put on some Kate Bush and just breathe.
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #9, 2013
New Mobile Site: Wire Magazine’s Going Out Weekly Calendar of Events
Going Out? Check out Wire Magazine’s new mobile site www.wiremag.com/goingout on your smartphone for details on where to go and what to do every week! Our weekly calendar of events is at your fingertips on your smartphone, Wire Magazine & www.wiremag.com.
Palace Will Celebrate 25 Years of Divas and Dance
by Antwyone Ingram
Photo by Juan Saco Mironoff
There’s only one powerhouse capable of rattling the pavement of Ocean Drive with a legion of high-heeled divas, and for 25 years it has personified performance, glamour, and drag culture, while becoming an iconic staple of South Beach. Palace, summoning its tempestuous, fierce (and sometimes zany) drag legends of past and present is ready to turn heads, captivate audiences, and bring a little extra heat to South Beach once more as it approaches its 25-year milestone. Make way for the divas that “paved the way!” Wire Magazine caught up with Enrique Pena to get the scoop on the upcoming anniversary and what’s in store for what promises to be one hell of a “kiki.”
What can guests expect at this year’s 25th anniversary celebration?
Expect the unexpected. The Palace is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which means our Palace divas both present and past will bring over-the-top energy, glamour, and fierceness like you’ve never seen before! You only turn 25 once, right?
Who is scheduled to perform?
With 25 years of history, it is hard to track down and decide on just several performers for our anniversary celebration, as we have had some legendary queens and artists perform at the Palace. The one and only Missy Meyakie LePaige will be hosting our grand Thursday night soiree along with house divas Tiffany Fantasia and TP Lords. We are also very excited to have the sexy and sultry singer Chaise Candie performing live during our BIG Thursday night celebration! This young starlet is a rising star and has worked with some great EDM producers. All we have to say is – be ready to dance!
Which drag legends will be returning for the anniversary?
At the Palace we consider all of our girls legendary, but one diva who won the crowd season after season is coming back for our anniversary weekend and she is the one and only FernanD’Cute! Not only will she be bringing the drama on Thursday night as she performs for guests, but she will also be spinning at our Sunday T-Dance that weekend! But it doesn’t end there. We are also pleased to announce the return of Amy Rivers, Pussila, and Juicy Pussy as they join our Thursday night lineup! We may have a few more surprises up our sleeve.
How will this year’s celebration differ from last year’s?
Last year’s celebration was fantastic and we thought, “This year we are turning 25. We really need to make this a party that captures the magic of our long history in the community.” It will begin on Thursday night, February 28, as we set the night to the music with the best hits from 1988 to today performed by our Palace Divas and long list of special guest performers. You do not want to miss this party! That said, rather than just having our BIG Thursday night blowout, we will continue celebrating through Sunday night with themed nights that will capture the energy of what the Palace was and where the Palace is going. So get ready for the ’80s with big hair, leg warmers, and a little Flashdance on Friday. ’90s realness, supermodels, and big house anthems on Saturday, and Sunday we take it to the future as we culminate on what is sure to be a FABULOUS weekend with the hottest dance music of today.
How has Palace evolved in the last few years?
Like many business on Miami Beach, the Palace has been riding the wave and evolving with the community. What started as a beachside hideaway bar for the boys and girls of summer has become a mainstream “must do” for both gay and straight locals, and global travelers! Our days are longer, our divas are fiercer, and of course our drinks are stronger too! We now bring you over the top energy seven nights a week and our girls pour their hearts out night after night. The Palace is what it is today because of the community and we continue to support other local business such as MOVA and Discotekka with our ever popular bar crawls. We also play host to special events for the LGBT community by partnering up with Winter Party Festival, Miami Beach Gay Pride, Aqua Girl, AIDS Walk Miami, and of course White Party weekend just to name a few! We have had the amazing opportunity to work closely with a little show called RuPaul’s Drag Race, in not only playing host to their official viewing party but also in having our very own Latrice Royale on the show as a cast member!
What do you feel was Palace’s biggest moment in the last year? Why?
Hmm tough to pick just one moment, but we have to say we had an AMAZING end of the year celebration at the Palace. New Year’s Eve really was beyond our wildest dreams and the cast of girls that were performing were really the best of the best and took it to another level. The energy was captivating; the DJ had everyone moving all night long and the audience was living in the moment. It really set the tone as to where we want the Palace to go!
Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers?
As the Production Manager at the Palace I can tell you that our shows are the BEST and there is nothing like it in Miami, and dare I say, South Florida. Our cast of girls and special guest performers know how legendary of an institution the Palace is and when they hit that stage or pavement they perform for their lives. Simply put, we are the Palace! If you haven’t experienced it for yourself put on your fiercest heels and come kiki with us!
Submission: Miami Beach’s Erotic Dance Party Without Boundaries
By Rafa Carvajal & Antwyone Ingram
Photo by Cherry Daring Photography.
We all know Miami has a wild side. The question is, how wild can it get? If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, look no further than Submission’s 2nd Anniversary Party. I caught up with Robert Frost, founder of the Submission monthly fetish party, to learn how Wire’s readers can join the fun at this erotic dance party without boundaries. What are your Submission parties all about? Freedom of expression through music, dance and dress attire. The Submission parties are all about letting your hair down and having some fun. The one word to describe the Submission parties is fun, fun, fun; even though that’s three words (laughs). Even though the party takes place in the heart of South Beach, we don’t abide by South Beach nightclub policies, which tend to be pretentious, snooty and not to mention, way overpriced.
Tell our readers who are unfamiliar with the fetish scene what they can expect to see at Submission’s 2nd Anniversary Party?
One could expect to see the hottest alternative fetish and entertainment model in the country, known as Mosh. She is performing in South Beach for the very first time and our community is really excited about seeing her perform.
Our music at Submission can simply be explained as “erotic dance music without any boundaries,” as it is a mix of hard-driving beats chosen out of many genres ranging from techno, industrial, house, tribal, edm and anything odd we can throw in the mix. We feel that Submission is all about pushing the boundaries and the music speaks for itself. Our DJs incluce: DJ Danny Bled (Alter Ego, Groovejet, The Castle and Liquid (Tampa)), DJ Essential 6 (Vagabond, Kill Your Idol, Grand Central), DJ Dracula’s Daughter (Electric Pickle, Eve, & Mekka), DJ Zehno (Score, Miami Beach Gay Pride, and Mova Lounge), DJ Machinist (Fetish Factory, Rokbar, and Treehouse), and DJ Ninebreaker (Exit, Tantra, and Vagabond).
What are some of the most common fetishes you see at Submission?
Rope bondage and suspension, costumes and dressing up, flogging and spanking, master and slave, restraints, collars, candle wax, role-play, discipline, and cross-dressing.
Is an obvious fetish or dress code required to be permitted entry into Submission? Yes, we do have a dress code and it’s enforced for every party depending on the theme. Latex/leather, vinyl/PVC, cyberpunk, steampunk, fetish glam, kinky drag, gothic/punk, victorian, and fetish gear. Our theme parties consist of twisted circus, military, medical/insane asylum, doomsday, and seven deadly sins, among some new themed events for the upcoming year.
What influenced you to create this monthly party?
My influence came from growing up in New York City where I was part of a goth/punk scene in the East Village during the early ’90s. Back in those days it was about the music. Also, I would frequent other clubs such as Red Zone, The World, and Save The Robots, Tunnel and Club USA – which were more of the underground house music scene along with spectacular performances.
I’ve been living in Miami Beach for almost 20 years and seen it all, from the underground gay scene back in the late ’80s along with the height of the model era during the early ’90s. Back then Miami Beach was the hottest underground city in the country. The good old days of Warsaw, Paragon, Salvation and Groove Jet are apparently gone along with the loss of great parties such as Back Door Bamby and The Church to the Downtown scene.
The music, along with the local scene, has gotten redundant and stagnant. It seems like every major club plays that Top 40 stuff and there’s no more mixed crowds. So, as a result of Miami Beach going mainstream, I decided to create Submission, which in my opinion is as underground as it gets. Miami Beach needs an injection of creativity and Submission is that steroid.
Is Miami’s fetish scene for the most part underground or is the community very large?
For the most part it’s underground and the community is rather small. We don’t have that population factor that other major cities have. For example, New York City has about 8 million people that border 100 blocks and that’s one of the dozens of reasons why I left 20 years ago. But we do have tons of fetish related events within driving distance of Miami Beach. Fetish Factory is the biggest party in North America based in Broward, along with several other events such as Electrolust (Hollywood), Secretroom (Atlanta), Taboo (Tampa), The Church (Miami), The Kitchen (Miami), and Legion (Miami). One of the aspects that I love about all of these awesome parties is that we all respect each other’s events and believe in expanding this small community of ours to include many more friends.
How does it feel to reach your 2-year milestone?
It’s an amazing feat considering the party started during the height of the real estate downfall along with the stock market crash. Plus I never promoted before, so I feel that all of the blood, sweat and tears that went into Submission is finally paying off. Submission has a following of anywhere from 200 - 300 loyalist and that’s a humbling feeling. It seems like yesterday that I had an idea for one of my birthday parties that went AWOL. It’s an inspiring feeling that Submission at one point was just a birthday party and now has spiraled into what it is today. The fact that I’ve been living in South Beach for almost 20 years and experienced every type of scene makes me feel that creating something that’s never been done before is definitely an accomplishment.
Is Submission everything you envisioned it would be?
Yes and then some. Our next step is to get Submission on the road. We already did parties in Key West for Fantasy Fest and Fetcon In Tampa. Also, Submission for the past 2 years has been attached to Exxxotica here in Miami and was the most popular booth with a full on live dungeon along with demonstrations. Submission is looking to broaden its horizons and travel to other cities such as NYC, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta and Montreal.
How do you select your talent for Submission?
I don’t hire talent that just wants a paycheck. Most of my team has been with me since day one, and we all believe in making Submission the most outlandish party that South Beach has ever witnessed through the music, arts, performances and themed events. Most importantly, we really enjoy the energy and the fun we create for our guests, along with some fun for ourselves because we all need to let loose. In our case, we pretty much celebrate Halloween once a month. I’m a firm believer in the phrase, “there’s no I in TEAM.” I’m only as good as my team. When my team is on full throttle mode then I’m the happiest person in the world.
What advice can you give to those who may be too shy to openly attend Submission?
Try to go with a group of friends and be open-minded to the music, shows and dress attire. Don’t worry, we won’t bite unless you want us too. So stop by Dream Nightclub this weekend and have fun with us!
Submission 2nd Anniversary Fetish Ball. Sunday, February 17. Open bar 10 - 11p.m. Dream Nightclub. 1532 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
The 12th Annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival
By Rafa Carvajal
Bobby Flay & Lauren Baily (Photo Credit: Carly Otness/BFAnyc.com)
Chef Scott Conant (Photo Courtesy of Scarpetta)
Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli (Photo courtesy of Eating House)
The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, taking place February 21-24, 2013, will celebrate 12 years of existence and its recognition as America’s most prestigious gourmet gathering for foodies and top chefs alike. It will also continue fulfilling its mission of raising money – approximately $17 million to date – for the Florida International University (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. If you love food, wine and spirits like I do, this is your once a year opportunity to have a great time on the sand and say hello to your favorite famous top chefs – they all flock to our billion dollar sandbar for this event!
This year’s Festival will feature several new events to complement its impressive array of wine, spirits, famous chefs, and culinary talent. Some of the new 2013 events include:
- 1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi: Film Screening and Q&A hosted by Anthony Bourdain, followed by a Sushi & Sake Reception with Katsuya Uechi.
- 2. Garden to Glass hosted by Emeril Lagasse featuring BarLab Cocktails & My Ceviche.
- 3. Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament hosted by José Andrés at Turnberry Isle Miami.
- 4. Discover Ceviche and Pisco Sour hosted by Gastón Acurio and Laurent Tourondel.
- 5. Chicken Coupe hosted by Andrew Carmellini.
- 6. Taste & Toast with Target.
- 7. Trucks on Midtown’s Tracks hosted by Andrew Zimmern presented by Diet Pepsi – replacing last year’s Trucks on the Beach event.
If you are looking for one-of-a-kind dining opportunities with world-renowned culinary talent, the Festival offers several great choices:
- 1. Best of the Bay hosted by Michael Mina with Tyler Florence, Nancy Oakes, Richard Reddington & Thomas McNaughton sponsored by Far Niente Wine.
- 2. NIGELLISIMA Dinner hosted by Nigella Lawson with Andrew Carmellini.
- 3. Carnivorous Dinner hosted by Michael Symon.
- 4. Tribute Dinner honoring Nobu Matsuhisa and Moët Hennessy’s Christophe Navarre with Mistress of Ceremonies Martha Stewart.
- 5. Southern Kitchen Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood.
- 6. Plus several other events that round up the 2013 Festival program.
In addition, the 2013 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival also brings back some of its classics loved by foodies from around the world:
- 1. Moët Hennessy’s The Q hosted by Paula Deen and Sons presented by Omaha Steaks.
- 2. Amstel Light Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray presented by Pat La Frieda Meats and Diet Pepsi.
- 3. Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best presented by Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
- 4. Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen presented by Florida Blue.
- 5. Dolce Brunch hosted by Daniel Boulud.
- 6. Barilla Interactive Lunch hosted by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos.
- 7. Thrillist’s BBQ & The Blues hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian.
- 8. Swine & Wine hosted by Michelle Bernstein presented by Pat La Frieda Meats.
Like years past, the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village tents will be located on South Beach between 10th and 13th Streets and will showcase 40 different restaurants and over 80 wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage suppliers from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio that will delight both foodies and libations lovers.
The Festival also added a very special event this year to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy called Delta Diamond Dishes: A League of Their Own presented by Creekstone Farms. Some of the nation’s top female chefs will step up to the plate at Marlins Park to support the hurricane relief efforts of the Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Food Bank for New York City through a walk-around-the-bases dinner on the field. The evening will start in The Clevelander at Marlins Park with Julie Loria hosting a cocktail reception featuring bites from her debut cookbook. Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson will select the perfect wines from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio to accompany dishes from the following top female chefs:
• Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s (Miami, FL). James Beard Award Winner. • Stephanie Izard, Girl and the Goat (Chicago, IL). Food & Wine Best New Chef. • April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig (New York, NY). Food & Wine Best New Chef. • Naomi Pomeroy, BEAST (Portland, OR). Food & Wine Best New Chef.
Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be serving dessert in the dugout, and you will also get an opportunity to mingle at home plate with some of your favorite Marlins baseball players, and participate in a silent auction with exclusive travel packages from Delta to help raise additional funds to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Be sure to visit www.sobefest.com for all details about the 2013 Festival.
In preparation for this year’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival I interviewed two of Miami’s top chefs, Scott Conant, executive chef and founder of Scarpetta, and Giorgio Rapicavoli, executive chef and founder of Eating House. They are both very accomplished in their own right and have an interesting connection through the Food Network. Scott is a regular judge on the Food Network’s Chopped and Giorgio is the first chef from Miami to win Chopped.
Scott Conant opened Scarpetta in New York in 2008 to great accolades and best restaurant reviews from all the most respected publications in the United States. In November 2008, he also opened Scarpetta in Miami Beach at the Fontainebleau resort – one of my favorite restaurants. Scott has become one of the country’s leading Italian chefs and has an impressive track record on television. He has appeared on the Today Show, Food Network, Martha, Bravo’s Top Chef and Good Morning America. Scott was the host of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle on the Food Network and is a regular judge on Chopped, which is the highest rated show on the Food Network and one of the top shows in all cable television. He has published two cookbooks, New Italian Cooking (2005) and Bold Italian (2008). You can learn more about Scott’s career and his restaurants by visiting www.scottconant.com.
Q: What has been the key to your tremendous success with Scarpetta?
A: A lot of luck, I pray regularly (laughing). Ultimately, I feel Scarpetta is different in every city it’s in. Here in Miami, I definitely feel one of the keys to Scarpetta’s success has been the Fontainebleau. In general, the Fontainebleau is just an amazing environment and it has such a great cosmopolitan energy. I feel like Scarpetta has captured the lifestyle of South Beach – that very electric, fun atmosphere. The setting and the restaurant really transcend through the evening and change with the mood and the entire scope of the experience for the customer. I think that’s one of the keys to Scarpetta’s success. Also, having LIV inside of Fontainebleau has been one of those really amazing partnerships because we get a lot of clients that come to the restaurant and then go to LIV afterwards. I feel like that’s such a great part of what we do and what we provide. Besides having three great restaurants, Scarpetta, Hakkasan, and Gotham, the Fontainebleau also provides a coveted nightclub experience for people, so it’s really kind of a one-stop place for people to go out.
Q: Tell Wire’s readers about Scarpetta and why they should dine at your restaurant?
A: It really captures the South Beach lifestyle; the food is really good, the service is outstanding, and the mood and atmosphere of the room are really amazing. I think we deliver on those three experiences very well at Scarpetta. That’s one of the things we strive for and are constantly getting better at. Nina Compton, Chef de Cuisine, is really running a great kitchen with the front of the house staff, and most of them have been there since day one. It’s really a great environment and customers leave happier than when they walked in the front door.
Q: What did you enjoy the most about being the host of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle on the Food Network?
A: That was an amazing experience and I was really happy to do it. Television in general, not just limited to 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, is a real opportunity for me to meet and (I like to think) help young talent, and really get the point-of-view across in a more streamlined manner. I think assisting with that thought process has also helped me execute on the things in my vision and what I try to do for a living.
Q: Why do you like to be a regular judge on Chopped and what does the show mean to you?
A: What’s fun for me is really this idea that there’s young talent who has really interesting ingredients and they have to put something together. I learn something about those ingredients all the time. There’s a lot of things I haven’t worked with before, and it kind of changes my scope and culinary vocabulary. We have such a good time. All the judges and everyone else get along so well and there’s just a great energy on the show.
Q: How has the Food Network impacted your career?
A: It’s such an amazing advertising platform to be able to spend time on the network and with the personalities they have on. I tend to be somewhat opinionated on those shows and they sometimes portray me in not the most positive light (laughing). I’m really a nice guy, so it’s funny because a lot of people come into the restaurants and they have high expectations. We try to meet and exceed those expectations all the time, so it’s definitely been an opportunity for us to up our game and strive to make our customers happy.
Q: What does the South Beach Wine & Food Festival mean to you?
I consider Miami my second home, I love it down here. For me, it’s wonderful because everyone in the country, and in the food world, comes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It’s great, you get to see all the people you don’t get to spend time with during the rest of the year.
Q: What are your plans for this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival?
A: Best of the Best on Friday night at the Fontainebleau with so many great chefs and wine makers. The rest of the Festival I get to be a tourist and spend time at all the other events.
Q: What are your top 3 favorite South Beach Wine and Food Festival events? Past or upcoming.
A: Best of the Best is always one of my favorites because it’s just great. Last year, the first event at the Marlin Stadium – we were really the first people on the field. I’m a huge baseball fan and it was so amazing. I was so appreciative to be a part of that. The thing in general that I always love is to be on the beach and walk through the tents at the Grand Tasting Village. I think that’s one of my favorite parts of the Festival. Being around the people who watch the shows and other chefs, and seeing what they are doing and cooking, it’s always interesting.
Q: How has the South Beach Wine & Food Festival influenced your career?
A: The good news is I’ve been able to make such great friends. Lee Schrager, the Festival founder, has been a great inspiration and he has always been very supportive of Scarpetta since it first opened. I think Lee and what he has been able to accomplish, not only with South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but all of them that he has now done, has made him a great supporter and an amazing influence.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine’s readers?
A: All I can say is that despite how they make me look on Chopped, I’m really a nice guy. I want to let everybody know (laughing).
I first met Giorgio Rapicavoli when he was the Executive Chef of 660 at The Angler’s Resort in Miami Beach and have been a fan of his culinary skills ever since. Giorgio has gone on to accomplish a lot since we first met for a Wired Inside the Chef’s Kitchen editorial; including working with some of the world-famous chefs, becoming Miami’s first winner of the Food Network’s Chopped, owning and operating Miami’s favorite pop-up restaurant Eating House, and re-opening Eating House as a permanent addition to our city’s evolving culinary scene in Coral Gables.
Q: Tell Wire’s readers what you have accomplished since your days as the chef at 660 at The Angler’s?
A: A bunch! Not only am I the president of a company I started and own a restaurant (Eating House), I’ve been listed under Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” named one of Miami New Times’ People of 2012, and I’m filming an episode of Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats.
Q: How do you feel about being able to open your own restaurant, Eating House?
A: It feels great! It was always a dream of mine to have my own place. I love walking into the restaurant to finally see our vision has come to life.
Q: Tell Wire’s readers about your restaurant, Eating House?
A: It’s not your typical restaurant. It’s run by a bunch of friends and family with one purpose: to serve the best food in Miami. We play old school hip-hop, have a great time and make great food, which we believe in. The food is taken very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. The cuisine is whimsical and fun, but done extremely well.
Q: What does the South Beach Wine & Food Festival mean to you?
A: Competing for the first time in the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is great. It’s putting us against some of the best chefs in the country.
Q: What are your plans for this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival?
A: To WIN the Chicken Coupe competition!
Q: What are your top 3 favorite South Beach Wine and Food Festival events? Past or upcoming.
A: Grand Tasting Village, Burger Bash and Chicken Coupe.
Q: How has the South Beach Wine & Food Festival influenced your career?
A: After being on the beach for three years and seeing all the hype of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, it has always made me want to be a part of it. Now I finally get to be in there with the big shots.
Q: How is it to be a repeated guest at Slow Food’s Terra Madre in Italy? What does this mean to you given your heritage?
A: It’s HUGE! Slow Food is an enormous part of my life, so it’s always a great honor to be involved with the people who make it happen.
Q: What did you learn from your participation in the Food Network’s Chopped?
A: Keeping your cool is the most important aspect. That way you can think clearly, let your creative juices flow and work efficiently.
Q: What did it mean to you to win Chopped, and to be the first chef from Miami to do so?
A: It was awesome! I have always wanted to be instrumental in putting Miami on the culinary map with bigger food cities like LA and New York City. Hopefully that win got our name out there just a little more.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine’s readers?
A: Our motto at Eating House: “If cooking is an art…we’re making graffiti.”
WIRE’S GUIDE TO NEW YEAR’S
by Antwyone Ingram
Monday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
301 North Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Join Tony the Hitman at the largest FREE dance party in South Florida as you countdown with “La Gran Naranja” (formerly the Big Orange), as it ascends on the face of the Intercontinental Hotel leading up to midnight, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over Biscayne Bay.
The Betsy Hotel
Monday, Dec. 31, 8 – 11 p.m.
1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
If sumptuous dining and live entertainment in a chic atmosphere is how you wish to ring in the New Year, The Betsy Hotel is where you will find it. Enjoy a five course dinner with wine pairings ($415), or simply without the wine pairings for $250. Reservations are required in advance; formal attire is optional.
The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club
Monday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m.
1732 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Miami nightlife legend Gerry Kelly along with The Catalina Hotel present a Studio 54 New Year’s Eve Extravaganza. A Studio 54 re–creation will transform the 3 unique venues within The Catalina while bringing you live DJs and entertainment. Enjoy a decadent raw bar, lavish dinner buffet, gourmet sushi and passed appetizers. Bring in the New Year with a performance by local favorite, Spam Allstars and a midnight champagne toast.
Monday, Dec. 31, 10 p.m. – 4 a.m.
3251 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach
Make your way to Size Matters for the GRAND OPENING of the biggest New Year’s Eve party at a sprawling gay complex. featuring 3 rooms, 4 superstar DJs, megashow, free champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and no cover before 12:30 a.m. Let DJ Paul Coals (SALVATION London), DJ Maximus 3000, DJ Mark Demarko (Black & Blue Montreal), and DJ Bill James help you ring in the new year.
Monday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Bring in the New Year with singer, songwriter and producer Santigold with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. General Admission ($150).
Saturday, Dec. 29 & Dec. 31 11 p.m.
950 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Join downtown’s largest gay dance party on Saturday Dec. 29 for Blast Off 2013 as DJ Miik, DJ Jarrell, and DJ Carlos G help you dance into 2013. For a New Year’s celebration like no other, join DJ Renn on Dec. 31 for open format, a champagne toast, party favors, fireworks and a special show stopping production at 2 a.m. by Stephanie St. Lords and cast. Special Guest Ms. Coliseum Maite West. Open bar at 2:30 a.m. Doors open at 11 p.m., no cover all night. Afterhours follows at 4 a.m. with music by Carlos G.
Sunday, Dec. 30, 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
1532 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
SUPERMARTXE PORNO STAR: Madrid’s hottest party is ready to make its debut in South Beach. The event will feature USA male porn stars from RandyBlue.com, beautiful dancers from all across the globe, and specialty acts. International DJ/Producer Hector Fonseca will lead the night with his signature sound and infectious beats.
Monday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
8201 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Eros Lounge celebrates 2013 with a sense of excitement and renewal for the Phoenix Rising New Year’s Eve event. $10 cover (non-members) includes a complimentary glass of champagne at midnight. Eros Lounge is the perfect combination of a sexy lounge with a mix of fun and vibrancy. Bring in the new year with friends and avoid parking hassles and high prices. Special DJ to be announced. Free parking.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Monday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Canadian recording artist Drake, who has taken the world by storm for his collaborations with such artist as Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, will be hosting a NYE celebration poolside at the Fontainebleau alongside DJ Kayper. Premium open bar from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. Champagne toast.
Kill Your Idol
Monday, Dec. 31, 11 p.m.
222 Espanola Way, Miami Beach
Dustin Reffca presents New Year’s Eve at Glitter Box Mondays, South Beach’s hottest Monday night party with sparkling guest appearances, DJs Smeejay, FR8-O & Maximus 3000. $1 PBR Beer, $2 Jell-O shots & $4 vodka all night! No cover, party at 11 p.m. 222 Española Way.
Friday, Dec. 28 – Jan. 1, 2013
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
One of Miami’s most notorious hotspots where celebrities often dwell, LIV has yet again confirmed a stellar New Year’s Weekend line-up. Italian DJ and record producer Benny Benassi kicks off the weekend (Dec. 28), Swedish Duo, Dada Life follow (Dec. 29), Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris will rock the house on New Year’s Eve, and Afrojack will bring the weekend to a close on New Year’s Day.
Monday, Dec 31
2345 Wilton Drive, Ft. Lauderdale
Bring in the New Year in an exotic way as The Manor presents A Night In Bangkok, featuring DJ David Knapp. Enjoy a live Times Square remote telecast, balloon drop, champagne toast at midnight and so much more! Guests will be delighted by a NYE production by Erika Norell and company. Liquor will be served until 4 a.m. and dancing until 6 a.m. No cover!
Saturday, Dec. 29 – Jan. 1, 2013
1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Dutch progressive and electro house DJ Hardwell will heat things up in preparation for the acts to follow on Dec. 29, while British legend DJ Carl Cox will bring in the New Year at Mansion with a 3 hour premium open bar. For those looking to keep the party going into 2013, Tracy Young will host her annual marathon circuit event Genesis X from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 31
1625 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach
Toss back a few of MOVA’s delicious signature handcrafted cocktails as the New Year approaches. The lounge, a favorite among locals will ring in the New Year with a free champagne toast at midnight; $50 Smirnoff and $100 Stoli bottle specials.
Monday, Dec. 31, 11 p.m.
1921 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
The 2013 edition of New Year’s Eve at Mynt will host an exclusive Cristal champagne event with resident DJs Julian Ingrosso and Rascal, with special guest Mz. Poppinz. Enjoy a variety of Cristal packages to suit the needs of large parties or purchase general admission tickets for $200, which includes a premium open bar 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29, 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
For New Year’s Weekend, SALVATION is moving to Nikki Beach where thousands of guys (and a few girls) will dance in one of SoBe’s most iconic clubs, right on the beach at the start of Ocean Drive. DJ Abel will take you on an uninterrupted musical journey from start to finish in a bigger SALVATION venue on SoBe for the first time in nearly a decade! Escape the hot and steamy dance floor and walk upon the sand while enjoying the cool beach breeze and moonlight. Discount tickets available at www.miamibeach2013.com
Monday, Dec. 31 – January 1, 2013.
1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Bid adieu to 2012 at Palace Bar with their fabulous New Year’s Eve 2013 Extravaganza. Enjoy performances by Noel Leon, Tiffany Fantasia, Missy Meyakie LePaige, TP Lords, Poizon Ivy, Tlo Ivy, Melissa Hilton and Sasha Lords. DJ Cindel will be helping guests bring in the New Year with his signature beats. Palace will be offering 3 packages to accommodate guests: The Palace (one glass of Moet & Chandon champagne paired with three courses, $69), The Deluxe (one bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne per couple paired with three courses, $119), and The Imperial (one bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne per couple, paired with three courses, $169.) Seatings will begin at 9 p.m. Continue the celebration with a New Year’s Day Edition of both the popular Brunchic & T–Dance. One seating at 2 p.m., followed by T–Dance with DJ Pride.
Dec. 28 – January 1, 2013
21710 US Highway 98, Dade City
“America’s First Gay Community” will bring guests First Night: 2013 Celebration Weekend featuring a spectacular line-up. Expect performances by Frenchie Davis, star of American Idol, The Voice, Dreamgirls on Broadway, and RENT. Meanwhile, The Sawmill Divas will present La Cage Aux Folles “where it’s NYE in Paris and the girls are pulling out all the stops.” Enjoy music by celebrity guest DJs with nightly high-energy parties alongside nightly beer bust for $10. A NYE Gala Dinner will bring patrons a first class dinner for only $25 prior to the big NYE blowout featuring a complimentary champagne toast and party favors. Make your reservations today for a guaranteed sell out party of the year at www.flsawmill.com
Thursday, Dec 27 – Monday, Dec. 31.
727 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach
Score’s Deco New Year’s Eve 2013 will transport guests back to the stylish 1940’s era for an Art Deco-inspired celebration. Special guest DJ Nina Flowers, known for being a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, is also a talented DJ and accomplished visual artist. Score will provide guests with a open bar 10 p.m. – 11 p.m., complimentary champagne toast at midnight and a non-stop party that will go to the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday, Dec. 29 & 31
34 NE 11th St., Miami
Miami’s staple mega venue most notable for its roster of world renowned dance music acts will bring Nicky Romero to the Terrace on Dec. 29th, while Marco Carola & Friends will present Music On Miami on New Year’s Eve.
Wednesday, Dec. 26 – January 1, 2013
136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
STORY (formerly Amnesia) will unleash a bevy of the world’s best EDM DJs leading up to New Year’s. This will also mark the epic opening weekend of the new venue. The week begins with two members of Swedish House Mafia; Steve Angello on Dec. 26 and Axwell on Dec. 27. Swedish EDM sensation Avicii will follow on Dec. 28, and the third member of SHM, Sebastian Ingrosso on Dec. 29. The legendary dance force that is Tiesto will descend upon STORY on Dec. 30 leading up to the climax of NYE. Kaskade will host the official New Year’s Eve party pre an unprecedented finale featuring none other than deadmau5 on New Year’s Day.
Monday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. - 7 a.m.
1057 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
Start your NYE celebration early at TWIST. Enjoy 2-4-1 prices on everything all day from 1 - 9 p.m. in the Video Pub. The remainder of the club will open an hour earlier at 10 p.m. with two floors, seven different interconnecting bars, and 3 dance floors with VIP seating available. Bring in the New Year with a complimnetary champagne toast and video countdown with fireworks at midnight, viewable from TWIST’ garden or upper observation deck. The party will go on util dawn as TWIST will offer extended hours and will be open and serving until 7 a.m. Dozens of the hottest men in Florida will take it off on two Gaiety stages running simultaneously till dawn, DJ Mika’s infectious house beats, VJ Nathan’s Pop in the Video Bar, and Aquilles’ Latin Beats in Bar5 will keep you dancing into the New Year. Never a Cover - Always a Groove, even on New Years when neighboring venues charge well over $100. Avoid the line and get to TWIST early!
W South Beach
Saturday, Dec. 31 WET 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. | WALL 11 p.m. – 5 a.m.
2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
The W will host two of the biggest names in electronic dance music with a double NYE celebration. Up close and personal, WALL will host Swedish DJ and producer Otto Knows, while WET will host 21-yea-old Swedish EDM sensation Alesso, poolside. Open bar 9 p.m. – midnight.
660 at the Anglers
Monday, Dec. 31 Seatings: 6 & 9:30 p.m.
660 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Join guitarist Alex Escandon, The Medina Band and DJ Martino as The Anglers will host its 2013 New Year’s Eve Gala. Enjoy a decadent meal to ring in the New Year. Seatings at 6:00 p.m. (3 course, $100) and 9:30 p.m. (5 course, $150).
Monday, Dec. 30 Seatings: 6:30 p.m – 10 p.m.
2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
The Dutch will bring a truly extraordinary dining experience to guests on New Year’s Eve. Chef Andrew Carmellini will provide guests with his special oysters and caviar on-hand while offering a five-course menu featuring a creamy risotto with tallegia and white truffle, a Prime NY strip garnished with whipped bone marrow and parsnip puree. Dessert will feature a seasonal selection of pastries. Two seatings are available at 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. ($150), and 9:00, 9:30, and 10:00 p.m. ($200), all of which feature a champagne toast. Unlimited wine and champagne is available for an additional $70.
Monday, Dec. 31 Seatings: 6 – 8 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
432 Arthur Godfrey Road, Miami Beach
Enjoy selections prepared by Chef Dewey LoSasso for New Year’s Eve dinner at The Forge. Two seatings will offer guests a choice of a three or four–course meal. The first seating runs from 6 – 8 p.m., while the second will take place at 8:30 p.m. and include a bottle of Veuve Clicquot per couple with music and dancing. $95 – $350.
Monday, Dec. 31 Seatings: 6:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Indulge in the culinary artistry of Chef Alfred Portale at Fontainebleau’s AAA Four Diamond Award Winning Gotham Steakhouse while enjoying such dishes as applewood–smoked salmon rillettes with crème fraiche, pork belly with green apple, ivory lentils and foie gras, mesquite grilled filet mignon with lobster butter, truffle and white asparagus, and roasted banana and caramel ice cream. Seatings at 6:30 p.m. (four–course, $195), 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. (five–course, 295).
Seatings: 6:30 & 9:30 p.m.
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Bring in the New Year in a spectacular setting with an Italian meal at AAA Four Diamond Award Wining Scarpetta. Two seatings will allow guests to choose from four or five–course meals featuring the NYC bred cuisine of Chef Scott Conant. Seatings at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
For a truly elegant experience, join the Setai for a New Year’s Eve celebration like no other. Culinary artistry prepared by The Setai’s award–winning team of international culinarians and keepsake gifts designed by fragrance specialist Roja Dove will be provided for guests. The New Year’s Eve dinner will include a Welcome Reception with Taittinger and canapés alongside a contemporary six–course gourmet menu. Following dinner, Brazilian dancers will lead guests into The Courtyard for a champagne countdown into the new year and dancing with a live big band and DJ, from 12 – 2 a.m. $850 per adult and $425 per child. Black & White tie attire required.
Monday, Dec. 31
Seatings: 7 & 9 p.m.
100 Chopin Plaza, Miami
Enjoy a sensational blend of Pan Latin styles and flavors with a four–course plated dinner with family–style appetizers and desserts, as well as all you can eat rodizio service. Two seatings are available; the first from 7 – 9 p.m. (adults $95, children $47.50) while the other will take place at 9 p.m. (adults $125, children $62.50).
If Vas Bet’s TWIST Walls Could Talk
by Antwyone Ingram & Rafa Carvajal
Images by Rafa Carvajal
If you’ve ever spent an evening at TWIST, there is a chance the murals have caught your attention, or reminded you of traveling to a beautiful rainforest when spending time in Bar 5. Have you ever wondered who painted the vivid zebra print, leopard print, and “Latin Jungle” that surrounds you? Wire Magazine catches up with Vas, the artistic mastermind behind TWIST’s most picturesque artwork.
Q: Tell us about the murals you created within TWIST and what kind of feel you were trying to accomplish with each.
A: It all started over three years ago when I was introduced to Richard Trainor, one of the owners of TWIST. He told me that every year at least one of seven TWIST bars goes through a complete makeover. Fairly soon I was asked to paint a zebra-skin motif, I thought it was a great idea, very fitting for a nightclub. I took time to meditate, to internalize the rhythms - and painted it all in one long night. I like to paint fast, allowing images to flow through me, I enter into a kind of trance, I relax and try not to think too much - it feels like the best work results from attaining and holding a state of effortlessness. Naturally, it takes work and concentration to reach this state. The next was a leopard skin bar that ended up spilling all over the walls and ceilings, filling the space with loosely interpreted tiger stripes in different scales and colors. Finally, there was my dream project. Richard came up with the theme “Latin Jungle” and when I heard it, I was close to levitating.
It was a serious challenge: two and a half thousand square feet of walls and ceilings in a nightclub with an opening date set and fast approaching. Then, during preparation I also thought of designing light fixtures, and sconces in the shape of Monstera leaves. More excitement, more work. I chose dark grey as background and painted vegetation stepping out of the darkness as if around a campfire at night in the woods. Then I went totally over the top with highlights - it’s a nightclub and the Jungle is “Latin.”
Q: What is the meaning of the murals you painted?
A: Pantheism, Pagan sense of wonder, the dazzling sexiness of the tropics and the curiosity about what is hidden from view. For me, forests and jungles were the first cathedrals of humanity.
Q: What influence has living in London, Rio De Janeiro, and finally Miami made on your work?
A: Immense. My world opened up, I was immersed in diverse cultures and languages; for me it is impossible to overstate the benefits. Moscow was a great springboard, Rio was an effective cure for London’s winters - and Miami seems profoundly agreeable to me. Aren’t we quite lucky to have a mixture of everything here?
Q: To date, what is your favorite creation and why?
A: I love painting murals in private homes and I have done many that I will always remember with tenderness. There was a sliding door with a view painted on both sides, night view on one side - same view in daytime on the other side. That was fun, as was working with UV activated pigments and lighting effects that turned a mural into a 24-hour cycle. As to my favorite - at the moment it is TWIST’s “Latin Jungle.” It was unusual, challenging and tremendously enjoyable. I did not want it to stop, I went on adding to it for six weeks after the opening night, then I painted two tables at home in a similar manner - my wife was very pleased!
Q: Which mural took the longest to paint and where is it located?
A: I have done large-scale work in two shopping malls in Rio, two sports clubs and a number of casinos, but the TWIST jungle is probably the one that took the most time and effort to-date. My other murals can be found on-line at www.art2good.com
Q: How/Why did you end up painting the murals at TWIST?
A: It all happened because of wonderful ideas of Richard Trainer and the trust he had shown me.
Q: Did you have any interest in art prior to studying architecture at the Minsk Architectural College?
A: I consider myself lucky; I knew I was an artist very early. As a child, I often used to stop and draw with my finger in the air, just for a few seconds at a time. I remember well how it felt - a sudden intense desire to give form to a specific shape, a rhythm - seconds later I was free to resume playing.
Q: What made you choose art versus going into architecture?
A: Office politics. I enjoyed making paper architecture as a student, but the prospect of becoming an architect never really appealed to me. Before graduation I went through three months of practical training. I learned about the importance of office politics as well as my lack of enthusiasm for it. On another level, I always wanted to study painting, but in the Soviet Union it was one of the most sought after professions. This might sound strange to Americans. Studying art and then being an artist was seen as one of the few ways of escaping the drab reality of rigid state control in most aspects of life. I was urged by my family not to waste time - they were certain I stood no chance of getting in. But after graduating as an architect, I realized, I would never be happy unless I tried; It took me five years and it was worth it. I was ecstatic for months and years; finally I was studying art in a great university, it was exhilarating!
Q: What is your favorite work of art and why?
A: Quantum mechanics. It’s utterly fascinating.
Q: Was there ever a moment in your life that changed your perspective of art?
A: There were many. When I saw Chagall’s canvases, when I read 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and when I heard Penderecki’s “The Demons of Loudun.”
Q: Do you feel it is harder for an artist to survive solely on his/her art in this day in time?
A: I rather do. Though my point of reference is unusual. 25 years ago it was really easy to live as an artist in the old Soviet Union. I had a job painting propaganda posters; it took me on average two days to do all that was required of me in a month, and I was paid as if I worked every day. I had more free time than I knew what to do with. And in the ‘80s there was a lot of creative freedom. One could indulge, study obscure subjects, have endless conversations - I don’t think many Americans know the taste of freedom that comes from having lots of free time. Yet we thought of ourselves as somehow oppressed. Real freedom was to be found in the West.
Q: Do you have any upcoming major projects or murals that you are working on?
A: I am always looking for projects. When there is nothing concrete on the horizon, I invent my own projects, I paint some canvases, I potter around in the garden, I go fishing - but there are always visual ideas, turning around in the back of my mind.
Beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday October 25, Miami Beach Pride encourages you to throw on your best wig, dress in drag, or just come show your support for the first “Drag Bar Crawl” which is a fundraiser for the annual parade and festival.It will begin at 8 p.m. at Palace Bar, 1200 Ocean Drive, with drag superstar Tiffany Fantasia presenting the “Best Float” award from the 2012 parade to Borinquen Medical Center of Miami. At 9:30 p.m., the party moves to Mova Lounge, 1625 Michigan Avenue, for the Pride volunteer appreciation hour. After Mova, party crawlers will proceed to Score, 727 Lincoln Road, at 11 p.m. for a video showcase of party pics from last April’s parade and festival. The Drag Bar Crawl will then culminate at Twist, 1057 Washington Avenue, at 12:30 a.m. with DJ Adora spinning. Tickets are $20 and include one drink ticket for each bar and can be purchased at the Miami Beach LGBT Visitor Center or by emailing email@example.com
Score Productions is keeping Miami on the map as one of the top circuit party destinations in the country by producing hot URGE parties. A high-energy production fueled by phenomenal music and great energy, URGE returns to Miami for yet another round during Labor Day Weekend 2012. Can you resist the URGE to dance? Wire Magazine caught up with Score Production’s Luis Morera and DJ/Producer Peter Rauhofer to bring you the latest scoop on the next edition of the high-octane party. See you September 2nd at Cameo!
Can you tell Wire Magazine’s readers what they should expect at the upcoming Labor Day Weekend URGE party?
People can expect a fun party with a great crowd. We are focusing on the basics of the party scene, which are great music and great energy. URGE has always been a musically driven event.
How will this party be better than previous parties? Any new additions or surprises?
I think that the fact the party is going back to where it was held last Labor Day at Cameo is already a big plus, since our patrons have so many great memories from the venue and are familiar with the layout – which makes the party more FUN. We hired some of the hottest male dancers in the country to add a sexual element to the party.
How do you pick your roster of DJs for URGE?
We have two main DJs, Abel and Peter Rauhofer, but we do use other DJs to open for them. Every party, bar or club I visit, I try to pay attention to people’s reaction towards the DJ’s music, as well as how talented they are at mixing and song selection.
URGE is notorious for its beautiful dancers. How do you select the dancers and what are the criteria?
I just put myself in the position of the patrons and ask myself, “What kind of guy would be the one I would like to see on stage?” while making sure he has the necessary dancing skills. Nothing is worse than a hot looking dancer who has no rhythm!
Venues such as Dream, Cameo, and Ice Palace have previously hosted URGE, any plans to expand the party to another venue in the future?
Yes, for White Party we are excited to be taking URGE to Club Space in Downtown Miami. We are always looking at new venues and ways of improving what we offer the public.
Anything else you would like to tell Wire Magazine’s readers about this Labor Day Weekend’s URGE party?
Last year our Labor Day event exceeded our attendance expectations and sold out. Get your advance tickets at UrgeMiami.com and save money while being assured of entry.
How does the energy of the Miami scene compare to that of others you have spun at internationally?
Like every destination that has lots of sun, people are just happier and have more energy.
You dropped a couple of new circuit anthems this summer, such as “Where Ya’ Goin,” “Timebomb” remix and the “Let’s Have a Kiki” remix. Can fans anticipate you to drop any additional new material during your URGE set?
I always work on new stuff and of course I will premiere some exclusives for Miami.
Do you feed off the crowds energy when you spin at circuit events or do you just go “in the zone?”
It is important to read a crowd and feed off their energy. It’s a give & take effect.
What is the difference between spinning at a regular EDM venue vs. spinning at a circuit party?
I have been spinning for 27 years now, mainly in gay clubs. The new generation refers a “gay party” to a “circuit” party these days. Gay parties came from the underground back in the day, which almost doesn’t exist anymore.
Did you ever think that you would amount to the level of success and notoriety you have reached as one of the top circuit DJs in the world?
I always needed a challenge. I was the resident DJ at the infamous Roxy in New York for 8 years that was basically just like a circuit party these days, but back then that word didn’t even exist. So my roots are kind of in the “big room,” and I automatically moved on to be a big room DJ.
Why did you decide to spin at URGE for Labor Day this year?
Because the party last time went very well and I had this date available.