Alegria Gets the Boys Dancing
Who says New York nightlife is dead? With events like Alegria, GLAAD’s Vasquez party and Broadway Bares, it’s as hot as ever!
by Matt Kalkhoff

Let’s face it, every party cannot be legendary. But there are those who — whether they are aware of it or not — refuse to accept this fact. These people are often quick to criticize any event that fails to live up to their unreasonably high expectations. I know, because I’ve been there.

For those of us who were fortunate enough to experience such phenomena as Studio 54, the Saint, Paradise Garage, or even more recent legendary clubs like Palladium and Twilo, it almost seems compulsory to bemoan what many of us believe to be an increasingly bleak nightlife scene. I know, because I’ve been there.

So in the spirit of trying to bring our struggling community together, I’ve spent some time contemplating the current state of nightlife in New York City. While doing so, I kept coming back to the same question: How is it possible that, if “there’s nothing fun to do anymore,” I often feel overwhelmed by the plethora of options on any given night, and even feel disappointed when I miss certain events?

Well, maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Club culture during the 1980s and ‘90s may have been better on some levels, but those memories should only enhance our party experience, not inhibit it. By focusing on the present and learning to appreciate each and every moment (not an easy task for most of us, but “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle is an excellent guidebook), I think you’ll find that there’s still plenty of fun to be had in this city.

Exhibit A: Alegria
The Alegria World party at Sound Factory on Sunday night of Memorial Day Weekend. Over the past few years, promoter Ric Sena has been invigorating holiday weekends with some of the best parties New York has seen in years. Mere words alone cannot fully convey the intensity of these remarkable events.

While the massive crowds and brutal temperatures on the dance floor might be a bit much for some people, every other aspect of these parties is topnotch. Specifically, the stunning men, the immaculate venue, the beautiful men, the exceptional production values, the hot men, and a rotating roster of the circuit’s most talented DJs. Did I mention the men?

Playing his first major gig in New York City, hometown DJ/producer Tony Moran kept the energy level at a fevered pitch with a spicy blend of new and classic vocal tracks, including a few of his own productions, like “Real Love” by Deborah Cooper and Donna Summer’s heavenly “You’re So Beautiful.” Los Angeles’ DJ Paulo took over at 6 a.m. with a much darker tribal set that kept the dance floor packed well after my mid-morning departure. Don’t miss your next opportunity to experience the rapture of Alegria during Gay Pride Weekend when Miami’s DJ Abel returns for “Spectacular Spectacular” on Sunday, June 29. Visit for more info.

Exhibit B: GLAAD benefit
The GLAAD Benefit Concert at Roxy on Thursday, May 8. I’d like to congratulate the Fly Life Music team — Carmen, Peter & Martha — for throwing together one hell of a great party in conjunction with KTU 103.5 FM. Kevin Aviance, Heather Headley and Lisa Stansfield each performed a medley of their hit songs while DJ Junior Vasquez spun some records to help promote awareness and raise money for our community.

Vasquez also debuted his radio mix show on KTU the following night. Now that his Earth after-hours party has been put on indefinite hold, Friday nights at midnight will be your only opportunity to hear Vasquez in New York for a while.

I rest my case: 1,000 Chers & Broadway Bares
Looking ahead, it doesn’t appear that I’m going to get much rest in June either. I’ll save my Pride preview for my next column, but here are two special events that definitely deserve your attention.

On Thursday, June 12, “Night of 1,000 Chers” (not to be confused with “Night of 1,000 Stevies”) celebrates the release of “The Very Best of Cher” while serving as Warner Brothers’ official after-party for the final concert of Cher’s extended Farewell Tour (until the inevitable comeback tour, anyway). The event will be held at Centro-Fly with Eddie Baez and Peter Rauhofer behind the turntables, and the Passengerz, Becky Baeling and Reina onstage. Project Publicity’s Len Evans is anxious to answer all your Cher Ball questions at 917-743-2310 or

During the two years I’ve lived in New York City, I’ve seen some amazing shows. But one truly stands out as my favorite: Broadway Bares. Now in its lucky 13th year, the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit returns to the Roseland Ballroom on Sunday, June 15, for “Back to Burlesque,” a striptease extravaganza featuring over 200 of Broadway’s hottest dancers. Directed and choreographed by the show’s founder, Jerry Mitchell, the MAC Viva Glam-presented event will be hosted by “Hairspray’s” Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur, with appearances by Eartha Kitt and Deborah Gibson.

Since its inception in 1988, BC/EFA has distributed more than $65 million to help provide services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses. You can help raise that total by treating yourself to the best (and sexiest) of Broadway all on one stage. VIP seating and standing (which includes an open bar cocktail reception before the show) are available for the 9:30 p.m. performance while the midnight show is general admission.

Randy Bettis is DJing, so you can add great music to the hot bodies. Tickets and memorabilia can be purchased at

Until next time — Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.

© 2003 Matt Kalkhoff

These articles appeared in NY Blade on May 30, 2003