For the 27th year in a row, I did not attend the Black Party.
Oh, I've attended parties of this sort years ago, at various locales around town, starting with Flamingo, in the mid-70's. I don't not go out of any kind of moral judgment. I guess I don't necessarily like to see my leathermen dancing. I much prefer them leaning against the wall, with one leg hitched up behind them, I suppose. My use of recreational drugs has pretty much petered out to nil over the past few years. My drug of choice these days is a Martini. Very dry, with an olive, please.
And I'm really, truly dumb when it comes to the sex aspect.
Back in 1979, Robert and I attended the first Sleaze Ball, a precursor of the current event, which was held at the old Diplomat Hotel, then located on West 43rd Street. The party itself was fun, the music great and the men smoking! The old hotel ballroom was large and quite ornate, with a huge balcony circling around the dance floor on three sides. At some point in the evening we climbed the stairs looking for a quiet place to take a break. As we passed a joint, I peered over the balcony to watch the action. It was fairly dark up there, which I liked. I leaned against the massive Baroque column and studied the dimly illuminated vaulted ceiling. I was in the process of making some comment regarding the architecture when Robert suggested we move. I thought we had assumed a perfect vantage point and ignored him, rambling on. Again, he broke in suggesting we relocate, this time grabbing my wrist and gesturing with his head. In my admiration of the decor, I hadn't realized I was standing among a grouping of four gentlemen, otherwise engaged. They're fucking and I'm pontificating about early 20th Century architecture.
Some years later, I'm taking my dear friend Arthur, here on a visit from San Francisco, to the Saint, our newest and definitely our most over-the-top club. Located in an old Loew's movie house, the balcony had been extended, and a huge dance floor was created beneath a dome, complete with planetarium-type projectors. Arthur was very excited about the back room. I'd been going to the Saint for a better part of a year, and assured him that the Saint most certainly did not have any such area. After dancing with me for a while he went off by himself to explore. I never saw him again that evening. The following morning he called to gloatingly let me know that the Saint did indeed have a back room, that it was, in fact, the entire balcony, and that the action had been sublime. I must have been the only man in New York unaware of it's existence.
We spent our Saturday night having a quiet drink at Ty's. We've discovered if we situate ourselves directly under that massive TV monitor, we don't get sucked into watching it. Unfortunately, this does allow me to see that every other set of eyes in the room are glued to the screen. We caught up with some old friends and talked a bit about our forthcoming trip to San Francisco.
At around midnight, we walked up the block to Bleecker Street and hailed a cab to head home. As we reached our cab, three young men darted out from a building. One raced around the cab we were about to get into, climbed in the opposite door, reached over and opened the door in my face to let his two companions in. I stood there, completely flabbergasted. Trying to cough up a suitably furious reaction, I was instead stung by a voice, fairly dripping with disdain, dismissing me with:
"Have fun at the Black Party."