This was one of those nights that, when described later, seemed unreal.
My friend Jo Hamilton lived in the West Village near Restaurant Florent in the Meatpacking District (think: drag shows, Bastille Day performances with Florent Morellet (the owner) as the gorgeous Marie Antoinette, Florent’s T-cell counts posted with provocative political statements on letter boards and the great French bistro food – oh, those moule-frites!).
Jo and Florent had worked together to get the area designated as the Gansevoort Market Historic District. They also helped establish the High Line. Each of my NYC visits included Florent’s and/or a visit with him at Jo’s home. When he decided to celebrate twenty years of the restaurant with a Ball at the Roxy (which hosted one of the city’s largest gay dance nights each week) with proceeds to benefit Friends of the High Line and the Meatpacking District Initiative, Jo invited me out to join her, her husband Bill and other friends at Florent’s table.
The entertainment was jaw-droppingly wild, campy and, as advertised, decadent (one ventriloquist projected her voice to her . . . ahem . . . nether lips). And then, Florent” secretly” told us that Madonna was going to show up later, after everyone left the Ball and the venue opened to the public. I recall that she had lost favor with some of her gay followers for some reason and this was to be the launch of a new album and an effort to charm this gay-centric crowd. Of course, that rumor spread like wildfire and there were soon thousands of folks lined up outside and most of those inside didn’t want to leave. Jo and I stayed, staking out a place along the railing. Folks were packed from the entrance, across the dance floor to the alcoves in the back, pressing up behind us. Guys chivalrously ventured to the bar and brought us drinks. After a lengthy teasing of her recorded songs and being diverted by quick evolutions of gay love and breakup and revenge flirtations around to us, Madonna showed up around 2 a.m., blasting out her new “Hung Up,” and bringing forth ecstatic screaming, dancing and removal of extraneous clothing. Her performance was brief and exhilarating and then Jo and I staggered back to Jane Street. I am not sure what my expectations had been for that evening, but they were far exceeded on all sensual fronts.
#memoriesat60 #PRIDE #TheRoxy #RestaurantFlorent #FlorentBiDecade(nt)Ball
A place to decant my brain, to capture inspiration and share fresh insights. [Posts from 2015 onward]