Life, liberty and the pursuit of homo happiness
With sodomy legal, can we please get rid of outdated cabaret laws? Go to Cielo for music from the heart. Amanda Lepore opens up.
by Matt Kalkhoff

With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on June 26 striking down state sodomy laws, the gay community truly has cause to celebrate this year. The Lawrence v. Texas decision is also a major victory for privacy rights advocates, but it was members of the gay community who were out in full force the following weekend celebrating at Pride festivals here in New York City and across the country.

Hey, it’s one less archaic, unreasonable law for us to break. But more importantly, it further legitimizes our existence and is a monumental step forward in our fight for equality. Thank you Lambda Legal for all your hard work in making this a reality!

In lighter legal news, the pressure is on the Bloomberg administration to finally abolish (or at the very least modify) the controversial 77-year-old cabaret laws that effectively regulate when and where revelers can dance in the city. A public hearing was held on June 24 before a panel of city officials that included Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the agency responsible for issuing cabaret licenses, and Anthony Borrelli, District Manager of Manhattan’s Community Board 4.

After several hours of testimony, City Council Members Alan Gerson and Leroy Comrie offered encouraging words of support before turning the floor over for public comment. In her July 2 Village Voice Fly Life column, Tricia Romano summed up the proceeding as, “Everyone (and that includes the DCA) seemed to agree on one thing: Dancing itself is not the problem and shouldn’t be regulated. Hopefully new legislation will address the real culprits, namely noise, loitering and unsafe clubs.”

You can track this issue’s progress at

Exercise your party rights
In anticipation of this most valiant effort’s success, why not get out there and cut a rug yourself to show your support? In addition to the many options we regularly enjoy, there are a few upcoming special events that warrant your attention.

On Sunday, July 13, Heartbeat Records’ Louis Morhaim returns to Cielo to spin his next tea dance at the cozy Meatpacking District glamour vacuum. If his last event is any indication, expect an evening of fiercely mixed grooves punctuated by random dance floor flirtations and friendly conversation.

Beware: The party begins at 6 p.m. and peaks early. Call 212-645-5700 for information.

Two weeks later Don Turner presents his annual pier/tugboat party on Pier 63, Soakin’ Wet 3. The July 27 afternoon soirée starts at 2 p.m. and provides the perfect summertime diversion.

You can dance to the musical styling of DJ Tony Moran without sacrificing a gorgeous day in the sun. Tickets are available at

If you haven’t checked out the little gay resort that could yet, then head down to Asbury Park in New Jersey the weekend of July 18-20 for “Road Trip 2.” The Asbury Park Marketing Fund, a non-profit group created by local gay and lesbian homeowners, is staging its second weekend retreat just 90 minutes south of Manhattan.

As you’ve probably heard, gay folks have been snatching up homes and revitalizing the area over the past few years. Spearheading this massive undertaking has been renowned DJ/producer (and original Madonna remixer) Shep Pettibone who owns the famed Empress Hotel and Paradise nightclub, both situated directly on Asbury Park’s beach.

Pettibone is refurbishing the Empress and anticipates a grand opening sometime in 2004. The property’s nightclub, however, which includes a massive sound system, two dance floors, six bars and a pool, has been open for several years.

The venue has attracted some of the best DJs in the business as well as artists like Cyndi Lauper, Taylor Dayne and Lonnie Gordon. And Road Trip 2 promises a blowout of epic proportions.

On Friday night, Pettibone’s one-time protégé and world-famous DJ Junior Vasquez will kick off the weekend in grand style when he takes the Paradise decks at 11 p.m. Joining Vasquez fresh from her dazzling performance at the HX Awards just a few weeks ago is Ultra Naté who will perform her new single “Brass In Pocket.” Naté is one of the most amazing live performers you’ll ever see, and she never fails to energize an audience while belting out such classic anthems as “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Free.”

The weekend really sounds like a lot of fun with a wide variety of activities planned, including a block party, lesbian bowling, and a beach-umbrella-decorating contest. Check out and for more info.

Larger-than life chanteuse
Speaking of ultra unique performers, don’t miss larger-than-life tranny Amanda Lepore’s debut dance record, “Deeper.” A sexy collaboration with DJ/producer Gomi and the legendary Lady Bunny, the breathy single is reminiscent of Madonna’s “Justify My Love” and “Erotica.”

I wish I had enough room to share the story of David LaChapelle’s muse because it’s truly remarkable. Thank you, Amanda, for my new motto:
“ Posing’s my drug.”

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

© 2003 Matt Kalkhoff

These articles appeared in NY Blade on July 11, 2003