A toe tappin’ weekend ahead

Geez that Jimmy Somerville looks as young as I was when I first took a twirl to this very version of this classic on the dance floor.

Well it’s because he was as young as I was the very first time I took a twirl to this one! Go ahead, click on the vid and enjoy this throwback to the 1980s. Go ahead and take a twirl around the room…ain’t no one watchin’ ….and so what if they is?

I most likely took my first twirl to this tune on the dance floor of The Copa Key West. I wrote about that dance floor HERE  and HERE and HERE. To say I loved The Copa would be making a statement of truth. However the first spin on the floor to this fabulous tune was several years before the trip that sealed my fate and moved me to the west coast. I guess you could say it was a warm up so I could impress him later when I met him.

The clip above I share simply to show Jimmy Somerville and the 1980s dance scene. That was the official video. However on the dance floor of The Copa of the mid 1980s you would have actually danced to this version:

Yeah, that’s the one! The remix that kept us on that floor ’till the sweat was dripping off the back of the shirts tucked in our waistbands. It’s a good thing that running the full length on each side of the massive dance floor that was The Copa, were long never ending cocktail bars. Therefore one never had far to go for a cold glass of refreshment. Damn that was a good club.

With this new found remix from my past it looks like all weekend this aging, but still young, ass will be busy twirlin’ around the house!

Remembering

Somehow anniversaries like the one I had this week take me on a walk down memory lane. It’s Friday so I’ve been thinking about the music and playing some of it to get me a movin’. It’s been a good day and one tune in particular from my past has been a keepin’ my toes a tappin’.

Earlier this week I mentioned my days frolicking about Key West and frequenting the dance floor of The Copa. This tune came out before I met the better half on an earlier trip. The first time I heard it was another one of those special nights when the DJ was premiering a new dance track. As usual the place had once again transformed into yet another decor. It seems The Copa was much like Auntie Mame’s beloved Beekman Place, ever changing to fit the latest mood.

This trip to Key West the interior of the old movie palace was stark. The walls down each side were stripped of anything at all and were white behind the long bars that lay between them and the huge dance floor. The stage was empty with just the white big screen. The music pumping and the colorful lighting system raising the energy of the dancers below the grand high ceiling. These were the days before laser technology and intelibeams so lighting systems were quite extensive if they were to have much effect at all.

I remember dancing and looking up into the lights and wondering what spectacle they had waiting for us. I could see lots of neon suspended above that had yet to even flicker and many large light boxes hanging above the bars that were still dark. Dance I did and getting a cocktail was easy as the bars were as long as the dance floor itself and lined each side of it.

Many cocktails later we were at that climax point sometime after midnight. The music was pulsing, shirts were off, dance floor packed and sweaty bodies filled the place. The usual lighting gave way to a full ceiling of neon sculpture coming to life above us as New Order’s Bizzare Love Triangle made its debut. I did not yet know the name of this tune so the series of neon circles, triangles and arrows didn’t yet make sense with meaning, just beauty.

The music was amazing as it pulsed and flourished. The neon sculpture now lit, filled the place and flowed with movement as it flashed and danced with us below. Then as the dance mix of this fabulous tune hit it’s bridge the suspended boxes flashed as if they were 1950’s flash pots flooding the stark walls with light. It all made sense. The neon sculpture had made its debut, the starkness of the interior was it’s art gallery and the sculpture danced with us.

That was The Copa, like Auntie Mame, spare no expense to make a night out an experience to last a lifetime. The rest of the trip that sculpture of neon that filled and entire ceiling of an old 1920’s movie palace danced with every song played as we danced below mesmerized by all it could do. A few months later when I made my trek back down south, the sculpture was gone and The Copa had yet another decor to fill it’s night with new surprises.

 

I was a single man

Twenty five years ago today I was on vacation in Key West. I was there with my roommate Scott and a good friend named Bobby. We were staying at Alexander’s Guest House on Fleming Street. I was in room number 2, a wonderful room on the front of the 1880s Victorian house that was Alexander’s.

That week we spent our days lounging in the sun, recovering from the night before,  roaming the quaint streets, eating and shopping. At night we were always out on the town in and out of the numerous bars of Duval street. Every night ending up at The Copa, a converted 1920’s Art Deco movie palace that was now (1990) one of the hottest discos in the states.

At that time in my life I frequented Key West. All through the late 1980’s I made the trek to Key West about 4 times per year. So much so the doorman at The Copa asked me if  I had a place there. The Copa was a special place for me. In my world I made it the disco that I had fantasized about in the late 1970’s that I was too young to experience. As the seasons changed The Copa did as well. There was always a new theme, new dance hit premiers, guest DJs, guest performers, as well as never ending loops of porn at the balcony bar. Yes the movie palace had a balcony which was now a place to catch a moment away and watch the dance floor below.

Yes I was Lola from Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. Twenty five years ago tonight I did not know that Rico was about to enter my life. The difference between Lola and I is that my Rico wasn’t killed, and I’m not still on that barstool with faded feathers in my hair and unfortunately The Copa burned to the ground a few years later.

On that Saturday Night 25 years ago, with my traveling companions Scott & Bobby in tow, we made our way into The Copa probably around our usual 11:30 pm as the crescendo was building. Somewhere after midnight with the energy building the whole place went black and silent. Unusual for this club. Suddenly, with the first thump of a song, cobalt blue pin spotlights hit dancers on the boxes, bars and old stage. This unfamiliar tune that was pumping through the speakers into our bones was entrancing. The dancers started to move, but they were posing not actually dancing. Then the video hit the big screen, yes it may have had a dance floor but it was a movie theatre before and the big screen was still there. It was the premier of Madonna’s Vogue. The freaking place exploded.

We danced the night away, drank more than our fair share and each found a gentleman to take back to our rooms to “keep us warm”. After all the next day was Sunday, we were in Key West on vacation, we were in our twenties, gay, single and we didn’t have to do anything until time for Tea Dance the next afternoon.

Sunday came. I can’t tell you much about the day other than I’m sure we shared our stories from the night before and raved about the experience of Madonna’s Vogue premier. Sunday afternoon we made our way to La Te Da ( La Terazza De Marti’) for afternoon Tea Dance, a Key West must. From there we would go to Tea By The Sea at Atlantic Shores and onto Duval Street and The Copa for yet another night of three single guys on vacation debauchery. Little did I know my world was about to change.

I drifted away from Scott and Bobby at Tea Dance. I wanted quiet to think. I made my way to the top of La Te Da. A widows walk about four stories up. A small observation deck where you could watch the dance floor below. I chose to look out the other side, over Key West Victorian rooftops to the Sea. I became calm. I made a decision. I decided that I didn’t need another man, a relationship to make me whole. I let go of the pain from the break up six months before. I made peace. I decided that my own happiness and security was up to me, not someone else. I felt calm.

At that very moment that I made peace within me I heard a voice from beside me say hello. I had no way of knowing that the face I was about to look into was my soul mates face. I had no way of knowing that when I turned to respond that I would soon be moving 3000 miles to live with that man. I had no way of knowing that I would fall in love with him, I just turned said hello and a conversation started.

Today that man is my better half, my legal husband. Legal husband? In 1990 that was not even a fantasy. We have a home, six dogs, a wonderful family on both sides that loves us and supports us. We have careers, retirement plans, investment properties and most of all we love each other, care for each other, support each other and we laugh… A lot.

Twenty Five years ago, two young men who met at Tea Dance.

Twenty Five years ago, two young men who met at Tea Dance.

Last week in front of The Supreme Court of The United States, two legally married men about to celebrate 25 years together.

Last week in front of The Supreme Court of The United States, two legally married men about to celebrate 25 years together.

Happy Anniversary babe! I’m so glad you said hello.

Being Boring

Back in 1990 I was a lad in my mid twenties. I used to frequent Key West back in those days, a lot. There was a favorite guesthouse and my favorite disco, The Copa. I so remember when this tune came out and made its debut at The Copa. I met my husband that year in Key West.

I loved The Pets Shop Boys then and I still do. This tune remains frozen in my memory. 1990 was a time when the majority of my friends were dead, dying or becoming ill. It was a time when we did not know who was next. We tried to be careful but a lot of us were still seroconverting and HIV was still a death sentence.

We were anything but boring. Thank God! We shared so much laughter, love, understanding and care. I still smile when I look back at what would seem to be such a dark time. It was anything but dark and it wasn’t boring. I do miss those I lost but I know that they weren’t bored with the lives they lived. Youth gives us so much as long as we enjoy it and live our youth.

Today I fill with joy for all those memories and the moments that made me the man I am today. I learned a lot. I somehow escaped HIV. I was one of the blessed ones. I learned about strength, hope, understanding, support, fear, discrimination, illness, life and death. I thank the power greater than myself that put me here for those I lost. A lot of what they taught me about being alive and living life still lives on through me. I try to share it with those I touch.

May this video offer a look into the joy of life. The blessing of living, sharing, loving, laughing, expressing, learning and never ever being bored. Be sure to catch the written words, especially at the beginning. Beautiful comes to mind when I watch this one!

Even though I’m now twice the age I was when I danced to this on the dance floor of the long gone Copa (it burned to the ground around 1995) I’m not bored because I’m never ever boring. Lifes a banquet, enjoy!