White Party Preview
Miami 2001
by Matt Kalkhoff

There are three sacred annual events in South Florida that every self-respecting dance music enthusiast should experience at least once. Two are customarily celebrated in March – Winter Party and the Winter Music Conference. The third, White Party, commemorates its 17th anniversary this year in grand style from November 17-26 culminating at the end of the long weekend formerly known as Thanksgiving.

The crown jewel of the gay party circuit and one of the largest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in the world, White Party has grown steadily in recent years and now encompasses more than a week’s worth of high-profile parties. Benefiting Miami-based Care Resource, White Party Week is expected to draw more than 15,000 revelers from the U.S. and around the world to South Beach’s sunny shores for an extraordinary array of events headlined by some of the circuit’s most popular DJs.

Although one could literally party almost around the clock from Thursday through Monday at a multitude of officially sponsored White Party events, the following is only a small sample of what this incredible week holds in store. Watch this site for a more detailed and extensive review of White Party festivities in early December.

Friday night’s White Dreams at Miami’s Sequarium is one of White Party’s newest and most anticipated events of the week. Produced by three of the circuit’s top promoters, Mark Baker, Johnny Chisholm and Jeffrey Sanker, this elaborate soiree features the consistently stellar sounds of DJ Manny Lehman, a 10,000 square foot outdoor dance floor, a magical fireworks display, and even a special dolphin show all set against Miami’s spectacular downtown skyline.

One of the most glamorous and legendary parties in the world, the week’s highlight and namesake event takes place on Sunday evening at the magnificent Vizcaya mansion and gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay. From 6:30pm until 11:00pm, more than 3,000 guests adorned in dramatic white attire will dance under the stars to the musical stylings of DJ David Knapp on the main floor and DJ Dale Rozman in the Casino. But you won’t want to spend all of your time under the disco ball as White Party is a truly unique social affair. Multiple generations of friends from destinations around the world gather each year at the John Deering’s former estate to celebrate life and raising much-needed money to help the South Florida community battle the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS.

It’s the Noche Blanca after-parties on Sunday night, though, that will separate the men from the boys. Two of the biggest names in dance music will play at two of the hottest venues in South Florida in support of this most worthy cause. Riding high on the success of his current #1 Billboard single with the Pet Shop Boys, Break 4 Love, Grammy-award winning DJ Peter Rauhofer mans the turntables at Level while the incomparable Victor Calderone takes the helm at the ultra-hip Crobar. Pass holders must make the difficult decision of which party to attend, but past years have certainly proven that there are more than enough eager nocturnal revelers to fill both spaces beyond capacity.

Complimenting the many late-night, high-energy extravaganzas are several outdoor daytime events. The new Heat Wave pool party on Friday at the Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel showcases the remarkable turntables talents of local drag diva DJ Connie Casserole while circuit sensation DJ Roland Belmares kicks up some sand on 12th Street Beach during the perennial favorite Muscle Beach party on Saturday afternoon.

And let’s not forget the morning parties, a now-essential ingredient in the famous White Party mix. Following performances earlier in the weekend by Robert Rodriguez and Lars-Peter Anderson at Salvation (Saturday and Sunday) and Susan Morabito at Crobar (Sunday), Miami’s own powerhouse DJ/producer Abel (one half of the Rosabel production team along with Ralphi Rosario) keeps the party going on Monday morning at Salvation’s Play where he’ll spin his signature blend of heavy tribal beats and diva house anthems.

As any White Party veteran will tell you, the magic of this incredible week extends far beyond the dance floor. So while you’re enjoying the warm tropical breezes, beautiful sandy beaches and spectacular South Florida nightlife later this month, feel proud that you are also helping Care Resource improve the lives of many who suffer from HIV and AIDS.

For more information, please visit www.whiteparty.net.

© 2001 Matt Kalkhoff