Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hotlanta Showgirls

Timeline: Circa 1991

Not Invited, and Underestimated.

So here is the scoop for gays under 30, straights almost entirely, or anyone who lived under a rock in the gay community. HOTLANTA was a really HUGE deal. It was pretty much the first Circuit Party and one of the biggest. It was basically a lot of hot gay men who would roll into Atlanta, stay at the Colony Hotel, drink 24/7 (because the bars never closed), go to the Circuit Parties, and then wake up and put on something silly like a Catholic School girl outfit with sequin swim cap, get on a raft and float down the river for hours to determine a winner. Or something like that, I'm no historian, but those are the basics. Most of my friends were always too hungover to even consider going down the cold dirty river on a raft.

Many of our friends had already decided on their roommates and it was clear that we were not invited. Furthermore we were never even considered during roommate plans that occurred at least a year in advance.

Enter Gary. Gary seemed to always be working an angle and this time was no exception. It turns out he had slept with a man who just happened to be in charge of costumes at the towns only real costume shop. He was told that he could put something together anytime if he ever needed to.

I should stop here and tell you that I have always thought that Gary might have been a crow in a previous life. He is always immediately drawn to anything that glitters, glows, or is bejeweled or bedazzled. He simply could not fathom letting a costume offer grow stale.

He called me from the costume shop and demanded I come down there after they were closed. He had suggested that we book flights ourselves and stay at a non-host hotel as the Colony had been sold out for a year (oh the shame!) We could go to Hotlanta on our own and rock out some fabulous costumes for the big major warehouse Circuit Party that Saturday night. We were too late to get a raft team together for the Sunday float, but we knew that we would be too exhausted to do that anyway. It wasn't the first time I'd ever crashed a party in full swing.

Gary and I were good friends, but not like we are now. Today we have lots of battle scars and many more stories to tell. But, a this point in our friendship, I can't say that I trusted his taste or ideas 100%. My reputation was on the line and one thing I have always been in charge of it ME. I didn't have the body that Gary did and I needed to make sure that I was not too exposed. I showed up at the costume store and immediately said no to the beaded skull caps that Gary wanted to wear on our heads. I can commit to my costume all night long, no matter how uncomfortable, but a skull cap would melt us in the Atlanta muggy heat of any Circuit Party, plus who would be able to see them from a distance, beaded or not? To top it off he had chosen the most risque outfits the shop had to offer. WRONG!

I shouldn't be so harsh, they were fabulous outfits, but they were going to need some modifications if I was going to rock it out with confidence. The shop was closed and now in my control. I did some quick looking around and found the perfect head pieces and they even matched the sequin beaded outfits he had chosen. I don't have the ass for a g-string look, but I solved that too in another little trick of the trade, feathers. I also found something else to provide me with a little more coverage and a little more glamour. We borrowed some combat boots to pull our look together. Now all we needed were the balls to pull this off in public. Have I mentioned that Gary and I have big balls? Gary and I have big balls. There now I've mentioned it.

We booked a cheap flight and headed to Atlanta. On that flight there was a small boy with dark features in short cut offs and combat boots. He was adorable and I knew that I had seen him out before. Poor little elf was just too short to stow that duffle in the overhead bin. Lucky for him I was available. That was the first real meeting of a future Glamour Boy. This meeting was important but no one knew it at the time, but more on him later.

Gary and I checked in to our to our B hotel and then went to the Colony Hotel to a frosty reception before the big warehouse party. Don't forget we weren't invited so all were surprised to see us. So far I am bored and hot.

We borrowed my good friend Joe's room at the Colony to get dressed. Here we go, no turning back now. We ended up coming down the Grand Staircase of the Colony Hotel side by side, and after we turned the corner on the staircase there was applause and a standing ovation from all the hot Atlanta boys and men still gathered at the overcrowded lobby bar. Vindication, table for 2?

We were a hit at the party and really the only ones in any kind of costume. Costumes and themes had not yet caught on at parties. We were always ahead of our time. We posed for 100s of photos with hot men. Many of the boys thought we were from NYC. Hmm, I hadn't even considered that when choosing our pieces, but a NYC reputation only put another plus mark in our column. I can't tell people what to think, but I can guide them...

After the party we hitched a ride back to the Colony on the back end of a friends VW Cabriolet. We sat on the back and waved to the crowds in the huge traffic jam. That was almost as much fun as the party.

I was not used to wearing heavy combat boots and my feet and legs were killing me. I was done. Boring I know, but I preferred to always leave them wanting more. Gary on the other hand was energized by our success and he preferred to rub some noses in his earlier rejection by partying all night long in his outfit. But, while I was sleeping I was also extending my own success and reputation through Gary, because he was still in costume. Important lesson; you can extend your reach through others when you dress in costume. Everyone simply assumed I was at the bar or grinding on the dance floor. This is especially successful when attending multiple parties on the same evening in costume. "Where's Thomas?" "Oh, he probably over there..."

I finally saw him again around 8AM when he straggled in the next morning. He was still in what was left of his outfit. He had chosen to go out wearing only the few scandalous items he had originally chosen. That meant no headpiece and no coat. We had had them sew some feathers onto our g-strings, well, that morning the only thing left of his feathers were a few filthy strings. Lucky for him the deposit he left at the costume store was not exactly in cash, if you know what I mean. He was not certainly not going to get that deposit back.

You know in the harsh light of day, you realize some things are really meant to be seen only at night and with kinder lighting. He was exhausted but had many fun stories to tell.

From this point on Gary will also be known as Crazy Gary, and if you are not yet convinced, well then stay tuned. I can prove it all many times over. Don't worry he knows he's crazy.

We proved HOTLANTA was not just for the hot bodies that year. All you need to do is make a splash and I don't mean in the river. If you can cover, or uncover most of your body then you can own that town. HOTLANTA is over now, sad, but what do I care? Our stock had risen.

We did have fun in Atlanta, but we never went back to HOTLANTA. A few years later we did send one of our own Glamour Boys to compete in the Mr. Hotlanta contest. We even took out a full page ad to promote and congratulate our contestant. The ad and the contestant proved the Glamour Boys were not to be taken for granted and we were here to stay.

What about the boy on the plane? Oh, that is another book or two books, but I assure you that you will hear more about that character as I have already obtained authorization to use him and his name on my blog or any other medium. "That's a Tony Ivory Story" they will be hilarious.

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