Holiday Happenings. A Guide to the Best Parties!
Everyone loves the holidays. You get to feel wholesome for two entire months, all those weird holiday concoctions are once again available in the coffeehouse and you can break into the part of your wardrobe that’s designed to cover most of your body. But when family time and togetherness wear as thin as the fabric of most of your T-shirts, and dodging holiday carbs needs some kind of payoff, there’s only one solution: Get thee to a nightclub for some dancing.
This time of year offers a wide variety of parties designed to get you out of the ugly sweaters and the clutches of oddly handsy Aunt Ruth. Depending on your location and how willing you are to jump around, you may have some tough decisions to make -- or costume changes to figure out as you race between events.
Lest you thought that it was Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, there are plenty of events for those looking to keep their festivities kosher. The largest and most widespread event for the Chosen People and their admirers is the annual Matzo Ball, a social mixer for young Jewish singles organized by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals, held every year on Dec. 24 as an alternative to all the Christmas-themed goings-on.
The event is held in several major cities, which vary annually. This year, the schedule includes Boston, Delray Beach, Fla., Miami Beach, New York City and Washington, D.C.
While not specifically gay, the 10 percent rule applies to Matzo Ball patrons, and you can bet that at least a few guys are sick of being set up with "nice Jewish girls" by Mom and are but a glass or two of Manischewitz away from a little self-discovery.
If the hunt for an ajar closet door isn’t your scene and you’re looking for more of a sure thing and you happen to be in New York, keep checking the He’Bro website for information about the annual Jewbilee, an annual gay alternative held on Christmas Eve night. The event has been held at venues such as Slate, Hudson Terrace and Splash, but check the event page for the time and location this year. Similar Jewish events happen throughout the country, so search online for the Hebrew happenings in your area.
Holiday’s Are a Drag
Holiday nightlife needn’t involve a dance floor. This season is ripe for satire or just plain old mockery, and who better to do it than a drunk, 6-foot drag queen teetering in crystal heels wrapped in blinking lights and deep-throating a Yule log?
In San Francisco, "The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes" will be held at the Victoria Theater on Dec. 6. Starring Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin and Pollo Del Mar, the cast reenacts two classic Christmas Golden Girls episodes with their own delightfully irreverent twist.
Opening night benefits Camp Sunburst, the nation’s first therapeutically designed summer camp for children and families living with HIV/AIDS. If ever there was a drag Christmas miracle, this is it.
Check with your local drag shows to see if there are holiday performances in your area. Few queens can resist a chance to dismantle something so sacred.
New Year’s in Rio & Amsterdam
News Year’s Eve has always been centered on revelry, especially in New York’s Times Square, where the assembled throng drinks until they can’t feel their frozen body parts.
But why freeze your balls off when you could be grinding against some beautiful Brazilian ones -- nearly naked and in tropical temperatures, no less? For those with the frequent-flyer miles, skip on down to Rio de Janeiro for a three-day New Year’s marathon to beat all others. The fun begins Dec. 30 with "R:Evolution," a 10-hour dance extravaganza featuring DJs Michael Tank, Tannuri and Thierry. It concludes with "The Original Brazilian Pool Party," a 12-hour tea dance with DJs Eddie Martinez, Dri Toscano, Tannuri and Thierry, running from mid-afternoon on the 31st until well into the New Year.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the city of substance freedom, Amsterdam, head to the return of Club Rapido’s Funhouse. Beginning Dec. 15 at 11 p.m. (or 23:00 if you want to go native), "Funhouse XMas Nutcracker" (ouch!) will shake the walls of WesterLiefde until 5 a.m. with the sounds of Dani Toro, this time with two full dance floors and an amazing laser light show.
Then, for only 10 euros, stay for "Funhouse After," hosted by Akhnation, which will keep the party going until 10 a.m. with one of the resident Rapido DJs. Tickets are available at the preceding event and at the door.
On the Two Coasts
Stateside, the usual candidates for New Year’s mega-parties continue their reign into 2013.
Masterbeat’s "2013: New Years Eve" in Los Angeles and Alegria’s "New Year’s 2013: Timebomb" in New York are the two biggies. Masterbeat will be dominating Los Angeles with the 13th installment of the biggest New Year’s event on the West Coast and doubtlessly disproving that 13 is the forbidden number.
Once again taking place at downtown L.A.’s historic Mayan Theater (especially appropriate this year, when the Mayans predict the world will end...or something), the main floor provides ample room to experience the sea of sweaty man flesh bathed in laser light. If you happen to find something amidst it all that requires further inspection, the theater’s stadium seating and mezzanine are perfect for a little personal exploration.
Your captains for the evening, rocketing you headfirst into the New Year, include superstar DJs Ralphi Rosario, Alyson Calagna, Giangi Cappai, Brett Henrichsen and Paulo, highlighted by Masterbeat’s signature midnight countdown video with music and event highlights from 2012.
On the other side of the country, for those not interested in watching Ryan Seacrest or Anderson Cooper on the tube, Ric Sena’s Alegria will be ushering in the New Year with distinctive New York City style.
This year at the massive Webster Hall nestled in the East Village, the beats of Danny Verde and Abel will fill the venue’s four floors and five unique environments, dazzling partygoers well into 2013 and out of the now-defunct clutches of the Mayan’s predicted destruction.
Gus Presents in San Francisco will be hosting four events this holiday season. "Black XXXMas," in collaboration with Industry, will take place on Dec. 8 at Factory and feature Abel and Jamie J. Sanchez. Unless the venue has changed since last I was there, there’s plenty of opportunity to schmooze, cruise and get into some unholy naughtiness.
As for New Year’s itself, the weekend gets the marathon treatment with a three-day circuit of events that will ring in 2013 right and require a case of Red Bull and 5-HTP to survive. It begins Dec. 29 at 525 Harrison St. with the "Orgy Neon Glow Party," featuring Paulo.
After sleeping that one off, make your way to "Mass T-Dance" at 6 p.m. at 1015 Folsom and get ready to party ’til an ungodly hour with Phil B, plus an opening set by Lee Decker.
When you wake up in unfamiliar surroundings well after the sun has peaked over the Bay Bridge, you’ll still have a few hours to primp, powder and cement the wig for the highlight of the run: the appropriately named "Colossus" on New Year’s Eve. Running a full 12 hours, from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., the event will be held at 3140 Mission St. and feature DJs Theresa and Billy Lace.
Whatever you do and wherever you decide to do it, just do yourself a favor and make sure the ones you choose to spend this time of year with are the ones you consider your true family. Because the most important thing is to keep the words of St. Judy Garland always in mind and "keep the Yuletide gay."