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ISSUE # 06 | 02.08.18

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER A DECADE AT MIAMI'S ARSHT CENTER & A DANCERS' LOVE STORY

OUT & ABOUT: PALACE BAR 30TH PEARL ANNIVERSARY TOP TRAX: ROBBIE ELIAS DEBUTS HIS NEW SINGLE


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8. TOP TRAX: SINGER-SONGWRITER ROBBIE ELIAS

Singer-songwriter Robbie Elias' latest single "The One Who Hurts Me," is a modern revival of the '60s soul sound once reigned by artists like Ronnie Spector and Marvin Gaye.

14. COVER STORY: ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER CELEBRATES A DECADE AT THE ARSHT CENTER

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is celebrating a decade of inspiring, influential and exciting performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and a dancers' love story.

20. OUT & ABOUT: PALACE BAR'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Wire Magazine sat down with Palace Bar owner Tom Donall for a chat about the upcoming Pearl Ball soirée to celebrate Palace's 30th anniversary and its new bigger and better location.

26. GOING OUT: PLAN YOUR OUTINGS

The week's rundown of nightlife, dining and cultural events.

AAADT'S JAMAR ROBERTS. PHOTO BY ANDREW ECCLES

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Publisher/Editor in Chief Rafa Carvajal Associate Publisher/Editor Michael Bustamante Design & Production True Ink Designs L.L.C. | trueinkdesigns.com Columnists Alfredo Barrios Alyn Darnay Anthony Reyes Michael W. Sasser Dr. Amy Wecker Official Photography Studio Photo Studio Miami Staff Photographer J.R. Davis Local Advertising advertising@wiremag.com National Advertising Rep. Rivendell Media | 212.242.6863

AB AT SCORE L E H T S T N E S E R P N IO D APHTOTHOSEBYNSRAL MEDIA, INC. WIREMAG.COM/PHOTOS

Contact Information Tel: 305.520.WIRE Email: info@wiremag.com 1541 Brickell Avenue, #2004, Miami, FL 33129 Wire Magazine is published, produced, and owned by Wire Media Group L.L.C. All Rights Reserved. Distributed in print in Miami, The Beaches, and Fort Lauderdale, and digitally worldwide through wiremag.com The views, opinions or positions expressed by contributors to and interview subjects of Wire Magazine are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Wire Magazine, its staff or publisher. Cover photo by Matt Karas. Courtesy of Samuel Lee Roberts


PUBLISHER'S CORNER HOOAH! Ours is a proud community that celebrates the diversity of all its LGBTQ people. As a proud sponsor of the 2018 Pride Fort Lauderdale, I want to invite you to join the celebration starting this Friday, February 9 with "The Love Pride" official kick-off party at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Then hit the beach at 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard for Pride Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, February 11, 12-8 p.m., and enjoy the renowned entertainers, local and national exhibitors, food court and VIP lounge. Visit pridefortlauderdale.org for details. Another great LGBTQ community festivity to attend will be the Pearl Ball, celebrating the Palace Bar's 30th Anniversary in South Beach. 30 years is a long time. For many, it is a lifetime. So I want to congratulate Tom Donall and his staff as they celebrate the Palace's 30th birthday at their new bigger and better 1052 Ocean Drive location, on Friday, February 16. According to Tom, "We have an exciting evening planned for our guests. The one and only Tiffany T. Fantasia will host the event with special appearances from all of our favorite cast members joining the runway. The show starts at 6 p.m. and will continue throughout the late evening with music by DJ Josh Riptide." There will also be an open bar 6-7 p.m. with complimentary appetizers. This week's issue of Wire Magazine is our annual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater special edition. We are particularly proud to showcase the beautiful and talented dancers of Alvin Ailey as they prepare to commemorate a decade of performing at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. But if that wasn't enough, we also celebrate the beautiful love story of Ailey dancers Samuel Lee Roberts and Michael Francis McBride. In Top Trax, music writer DJ FR8-O catches up to local Miami crooner Robbie Elias to preview his new song with an old fashioned twist as good as the stiff drink by the same appellation he can so masterfully pour when he bartenders at Hôtel Gaythering. Last but certainly not least, as a proud graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, I want to send a loud shout out to Illinois Senator, and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, Ladda Tammy Duckworth for speaking out against Donald Trump for yet another one of his vile statements. Senator Duckworth is a brave Army veteran who lost her legs in combat while serving in Iraq. So when "Cadet Bone Spurs" Trump, as she so appropriately monikered his deception not to serve, made his treason remark aimed at Democratic members of Congress who did not clap for him during the State of the Union Address, Lieutenant Colonel Duckworth saw fit to remind draft dodger Trump that "We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath – in the military and in the Senate – to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap." Hooah! Cheers,

Rafa Carvajal Publisher & Editor in Chief rafa@wiremag.com

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TOP TRAX By DJ FR8-O

ROBBIE ELIAS

A NEW SONG WITH AN OLD FASHIONED TWIST t's Friday night as I make my way to a local bar where the view is vintage, but the vibe is as fresh as the drinks they serve. I could've gone anywhere tonight, but I chose this place because the bartender makes the best Old Fashioned in Miami. However, cocktails aren't the only thing being thrown back tonight. Singer-songwriter and local celebrity Robbie Elias has met me here to share a sneak preview of his latest single "The One Who Hurts Me," a modern revival of the '60s soul sound once reigned by artists like Ronnie Spector and Marvin Gaye. The new track marks an exciting departure from the Latin-pop and top 40 covers that Robbie is famous for, and will be officially unleashed to the public during a live performance on February 8. As we approach the unveiling of his new song – and his new career trajectory – Robbie spilled more than just a few ounces of bourbon with me.

PHOTO BY JANEL KILNISAN. PROVIDED BY ROBBIE ELIAS

DJ FR8-O: So you've conquered Latin music, written and performed your own pop-rock material, and now your new single has a classic Motown vibe. What prompted this sudden detour? Robbie Elias: I think I've always been an R&B baby, so it seemed comfortable stepping in this new direction. My favorite singers are the ones that can sing anything. For the first time, I think I am making music that feels authentically me and I think my fans feel that. It's honest, it's soulful and it's inspired by a lot of the music that I loved growing up. Motown, '90s R&B and classic pop melodies. DF: What (or who) inspired the new song? RE: I never kiss and tell, but this song was inspired by some personal issues I had in my previous relationship. It's so easy to get wrapped

"MY FAVORITE SINGERS ARE THE ONES THAT CAN SING ANYTHING. FOR THE FIRST TIME, I THINK I AM MAKING MUSIC THAT FEELS AUTHENTICALLY ME AND I THINK MY FANS FEEL THAT." - ROBBIE ELIAS

8 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


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"SOUL MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY GREATEST INFLUENCE. I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SOMETHING TIMELESS AND CLASSIC." - ROBBIE ELIAS DF: What other changes do you see happening for you in the near future? RE: I think I am more focused now than ever and I would love to connect more with my LGBTQ fans and be more vocal about gay issues and perform at more gay events. The music got a little gayer and so did I. I'm very proud of that.

up in a shitty relationship that you know is bad for you. But somehow you keep going back for more. The song is about heartbreak and realization. The moment when everything becomes crystal clear and you know you're making a mistake, but somehow you keep diving right in. I think a lot of people can relate to that. DF: Were you ever worried that your sudden style switch-up might be too much of a departure from your previous catalog? RE: Not really. I felt like it was time for a fresh start. I was basically done with music unless I was going to do something true to myself. My fans who have been there since the beginning love me for who I am and that's one of the things that made it easy for me. They push me to want to be more of myself, even if that means evolving musically. I think they like to be a part of that journey with me. The last time I released new music I wasn't as comfortable with my sexuality. I wasn't as ready to fully be myself. This song is an introduction to the new, more honest and open version of me. Not to mention I feel like I've grown as a songwriter and singer. DF: Is this new style a one-time experiment for you or is it the beginning of a brand new Robbie Elias? RE: To be honest, it felt more natural and less like an experiment to me. Soul music has always been my greatest influence. I just wanted to make something timeless and classic. DF: Is there a new album in the works? RE: I think the goal is to release single after single until maybe an album develops, but for now I want to give the audience one song at a time and let them connect with each individual song. The next single is called "Ice Cream" and it's one of the sexiest songs I have ever written. I've been performing it at shows and the audience goes crazy for it! I've been working with incredible songwriters like Samantha Natalie and Raquel Sofia.

DF: Where/when can we see you perform the new songs? RE: I'll be doing a full set on February 8 at 10 p.m. at The Anderson in Miami. I'll perform the new single and have some special surprise performances! DF: Is there anything you'd like to say to your LGBTQ fans? RE: My truly loyal fans really do become like my family. If I have anything to say, it is "thank you!" Thank you for accepting me the way I am. Thank you for constantly giving me love and support even when I don't necessarily believe in myself. Thank you for coming out to shows! I also would love to add that it's amazing to see so many queer people in the audience when I perform now. It shows that it's not all circuit parties and dance music that gays want to see or hear. Gay people like live music too and they show up to shows. It's been incredible to watch my LGBTQ audience grow right before my eyes. Thank you for giving me the strength to sing when I may not have a voice. Most of all, thank you for inspiring me to push myself harder and give them my best every time I'm on stage or in the studio. It is the reason I do what I do. Robbie Elias' Single Release Party February 8, 2018 at 10 p.m. The Anderson. 709 NE 79th St, Miami No Cover

If you're a recording artist, producer or musician and would like your work featured in TOP TRAX, hit me up at abarrios@wiremag.com. 10 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


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R E T A E H T E C N A D N A IC R E M ALVIN AILEY A ARSHT CENTER 'S I M A I M T A E D A C E D A S E T A R B E L CE Y R O T S E V O L ' S R E C N A D AND A

tural Ameemed by the U.S. Congress as a "Cul rican Ame Ailey Alvin bassador to the World," de deca a g ratin celeb is DT) (AAA Dance Theater rmances perfo ing excit and ntial influe ring, of inspi Performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the anticipated ly high The ty. Arts of Miami-Dade Coun 's ArtisAiley and e nativ i Miam engagement, led by February 22-25, tic Director Robert Battle, will be held the company's on 2018, as the only South Florida stop 21-city North American tour. rmances, known The roster of AAADT electrifying perfo gh the univerthrou to unite people from all backgrounds as part of the ented pres be sal language of dance, will s, funded by Serie e Danc on Seas Knight Masterworks diverse programs the Knight Foundation. The five richly s by some of work include company premieres and new t the globe, ghou throu kers the most celebrated dancema – all enders danc wned reno 's Ailey of performed by 32 ns. latio Reve ing in Alvin Ailey's iconic masterpiece,

w Eccles . Photo by Andre and Yannick Lebrun l Francis McBride AAADT's Michae

Car vajal By Michael Bustamante & Rafa

will debut his first This year, Miami native Jamar Roberts DT, Members AAA for iere prem d choreographic worl to as "a response Don't Get Weary, a piece he refers rica‌ an abstract Ame to the current social landscape in s." In his belief blue the ing "hav look into the notion of one , Roberts also rated celeb ly wide more that Jazz should be jazz saxophonist included the works of the late American and composer John Coltrane. 14 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


AAADT. Photo by Andrew Eccles

To preview this year's anticipated 10 year celebration at the Arsht Center, we interviewed Alvin Ailey dancers Samuel Lee Roberts and Michael Francis McBride, who just a few months ago, in the spirit of sharing their journey of love and dance, got engaged in front of 50 of their closest friends and family during a surprise flash mob that included fellow Ailey dancers.

SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS

"THE SELF DISCIPLINE, ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND TENACIOUS SPIRIT THAT TRAINING TO BE A DANCER GIVES YOU, PREPARES YOU FOR ANYTHING YOU WOULD EVER WANT TO DO OR BE IN LIFE." - SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS

AAADT. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Michael Bustamante: How did the training at The Juilliard School under the direction of Kathleen Johnston prepare you to become a dancer? Samuel Lee Roberts: I trained in childhood and adolescence with Kathleen Johnston at Dance Works, the local studio in Quakertown, PA. After graduating high school, I attended The Juilliard School under the directorship of Benjamin Harkarvy. My training gave me the versatility to walk into any dance audition and be a top contender. Similarly, it gave me the ability to tackle the wide ranging repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. MB: What does dancing mean to you? SLR: Dance is my first language. I feel most confident, powerful as well as ultimate freedom when I am dancing. MB: What would surprise people to learn about professional dancing and professional dancers? SLR: I am not sure if this will surprise people, but I think it is something people should know. The self discipline, attention to detail and tenacious spirit that training to be a dancer gives you, prepares you for anything you would ever want to do or be in life. MB: Describe a typical rehearsal day you have with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Artistic Director Robert Battle. SLR: A typical rehearsal day starts with a class from 10:30-11:50 a.m. After class, we would then rehearse 12-7 p.m. Because we are a repertory company, our day is broken up into hour blocks for each piece of choreography in our current season. A typical hour with Mr. Battle would probably have him coming into the studio and asking a cast to run a ballet such as Mass. Upon completion of the run through, Mr. Battle would give corrections and/or changes that the dancers would apply for the remainder of the hour. #06 2018 WIREMAG.COM 15


MB: What is the most challenging part of being a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? SLR: In my opinion, the most challenging part of being an Ailey Dancer is doing approximately 200 performances a year. A lot of the time we are working through exhaustion. This requires tremendous stamina!

MB: Aside from the discipline you've gained from dancing, what other methods or training do you do to keep your body in such incredible shape? SLR: I love yoga, swimming, some weight training and meditation.

me many engagement flash mobs both hetero and homosexual, and I always end up crying. I think it's a beautiful and incredibly romantic gesture. So when I decided to propose, I knew it had to be a flash mob. Michael and I, being huge fans of Glee, I knew I had the song – MB: Describe your dance style in three "Teenage Dream," as sung by Darren Criss and The Warblers. The place – words. SLR: Earnest, character-driven (not sure LockSmith, our local Fort George, NYC MB: What is the most rewarding part of how to say that in one word) and ebul- hangout. The Choreographer – Andrew Turteltaub, one of my closest friends and being a dancer with Alvin Ailey Ameri- lient. the associate choreographer of Broadcan Dance Theater? SLR: In my opinion, the most rewarding MB: Tell us about your recent and beau- way's Escape to Margaritaville. The Warpart of being a dancer with the Alvin Ai- tiful choreographed surprise proposal to blers, both myself and Michael's closest ley American Dance Theater is the large fellow dancer Michael Francis McBride, friends from AAADT, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, various Broadway number of people we get to connect with how did you come up with the idea? SLR: Throughout our relationship (just shows and a few non-performers as well, around the globe. over 6 years now), Michael has shown including my brother and four nephews. Also, last but not least, the videographer – Daniel Robinson.

"DANCE TRANSCENDS LANGUAGE, IT BREAKS BARRIERS, AND HAS THE POTENTIAL TO REACH AUDIENCES IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAYS." - MICHAEL FRANCIS MCBRIDE

AAADT's Michael Francis McBride. Photo credit: Richard Calmes 2014

16 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


"NEVER GIVE UP. USE EVERY SEEMING FAILURE/DISAPPOINTMENT TO GROW AND IMPROVE. ONLY YOU CAN STOP YOU." - SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS

AAADT's Jamar Roberts & Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles

What I didn't realize is that it would take over a year to plan and coordinate. With the help of many friends, it went off without a hitch. Five months later, when the video was finally edited and I was able to watch it, I sobbed in disbelief that this was something I had accomplished for the love of my life. His true surprise and shock will keep my heart smiling for many years to come. I am not sure if I will ever be able to top that, but I plan on trying! MB: Tell us about your upcoming performance marking a decade for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center. What can we expect? SLR: This marks our 10th year at the Arsht Center, I am very excited about bringing Mr. Battle's Mass to our Miami audiences. Also, we will be pulling out all of the fan favorites. For those fans of Hometown Boys, Mr. Battle and Mr. Jamar Roberts, don't miss the Battle, Roberts and Ailey program. They're sure to stun every audience member! MB: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? SLR: Michael and I just bought a one bedroom apartment in The Bronx. We plan to get married in the fall of 2019, possibly in the Catskills, but as of yet have not decided on any details. Please follow me on Instagram @samuellee.me to see how things turn out!

MICHAEL FRANCIS MCBRIDE Michael Bustamante: Growing up, what inspired you to have such a strong interest in the performing arts? Michael Francis McBride: When I was 8-years-old, I started dancing at the local studio down the street from my house. My sisters both danced there and I wanted to be like them. Being a male dancer in a small town, I automatically got recruited into the music department, from musicals to all the choirs I was in. I was very fortunate to go to a school district that prided itself in arts education. I had many teachers throughout my time growing up that fostered my love for the performing arts, all the while being cheered on and supported by my parents. MB: Which dance performances have been your top 3 favorites to perform in and why? MFM: Three stand out roles in my dance career thus far would be David Parsons' Caught, Johan Inger's Walking Mad, and Alvin Ailey's "I Wanna Be Ready" in Revelations. Caught is a solo that I saw for the first time in the Lincoln Center Performing Arts library when I was in college and I dreamed of doing it ever since. In my seventh season with the company, I had the honor to perform the role for opening night of our

New York City Center season. In the work, a dancer moves through different pools of light until the entire stage goes dark, and for the next five minutes you don't see the dancer touch the floor... playing with light, it appears that the person is lying, caught in the air. The solo is magic and extremely difficult, requiring stamina, concentration, and precision. In Johan Inger's Walking Mad, I had the opportunity to perform the male lead. This role required me to enter a different kind of theatrical realm. Within the ballet, my character was asked to fall in love, reflect, act curious, dance with enthusiasm, recognize deep dark sadness, go 'mad' and ultimately take my own life. I think what stood out most about my experience with this piece was that the character work was more than I think I've ever done. It is so enjoyable to be asked to push yourself physically as a dancer, but when you can also be pushed emotionally and theatrically, the rewards are infinitely gratifying. Within Mr. Ailey's iconic masterpiece Revelations, the solo "I Wanna Be Ready" has always stood out to me as a portrait of strength, vulnerability, and release. In this solo, a man is preparing for his death, preparing to put on his long white robe and enter the beyond. Never expecting to have the opportunity to perform the solo, when I was asked in my third season I was overcome with emotion. Having experienced great loss in my family earlier that year, I drew all of my emo#06 2018 WIREMAG.COM 17


AAADT's Clifton Brown. Photo by Andrew Eccles

"THE MOST REWARDING PART OF BEING A DANCER WITH THE ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER IS THE LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WE GET TO CONNECT WITH AROUND THE GLOBE." - SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS

AAADT's Jacqueline Green and Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles

18 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


"BEING A PART OF AILEY MEANS BEING A PART OF GREATNESS, BEING A PART OF DIVERSITY, AND BEING A PART OF HOPE." - MICHAEL FRANCIS MCBRIDE AAADT's Michael Francis McBride and Jacqueline Green. Photo by Andrew Eccles

tion, passion, and sadness into my first performance, which was in Berlin, Germany. Every time I get the opportunity to perform "I Wanna Be Ready," I try to think back to that moment, that culmination of grief and understanding that I experienced that day. MB: What does it mean to you to be a part of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? MFM: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is an American icon. Touring great lengths to bring dance all over this great globe. The dancers are the best dancers in the world, in my opinion, being asked to do everything and anything to achieve Mr. Ailey's great mission of bringing dance back to the people. Being a part of Ailey means being a part of greatness, being a part of diversity, and being a part of hope. Dance transcends language, it breaks barriers, and has the potential to reach audiences in a very different ways. MB: Describe your style of dance in 3 words. MFM: Exuberant, determined, theatrical.

MB: Tell us about your recent engagement to Samuel Lee Roberts, did you have any suspicions at all when you went to the restaurant? MFM: I am an extremely nosy individual and getting any sort of secret passed me is quite difficult‌ so the fact that I had absolutely no idea walking into the restaurant that day is still unbelievable. I had been cleaning the house all day, I was wearing mom jeans and a sweatshirt, and I smelled like bleach. Samuel had orchestrated everything without flaw. We had talked about getting engaged and I had suspicions that it was coming in the near future, but would have bet money that it wasn't going to be that day. We walked in and were casually having fried pickles and french fries waiting for a friend of mine to meet us, and presto-change-o. Before I knew it, 50 of my closest friends and family were in this tiny little bar and Sam was on one knee after an incredible flash mob. I had to watch the video because I was crying so hard I missed some things. All night long I was in disbelief, I had to keep running to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. Tears of joy were constantly running down my cheeks. MB: What advice do you have for aspiring dancers? MFM: Work hard, stay passionate, and persevere even when you think you can't anymore. I believe that if you show up early, give every day your all and keep your eye on the prize, success will follow. Also take as many classes from as many different teachers as possible. Versatility is crucial! MB: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? MFM: One of the most exciting things for me has been the ability to share my love, my work, and travel with Samuel. We spend quite a lot of time together and with every day, I am more and more excited to spend the rest my life with him. Follow me on Instagram @mickey.mc.

MB: What does dancing mean to you? Alvin Ailey's 2018 Miami Engagement Programming: MFM: Dancing is a chance to be on stage performing. There is nothing like the rush of a perThursday, February 22 at 8 p.m. formance. Hours seem like minutes and minutes Opening Night - Mass, Ella / Members Don't Get Weary / Revelations seem like seconds when you're fully committed to a piece, a ballet or a production. Over the Friday, February 23 at 11 a.m. years, dancing has provided me an outlet for Student Performance - Night Creature (excerpt) / Revelations physicality, emotional release, and a community that knows diversity and understands being Friday, February 23 at 8 p.m. different. Stack-Up / Victoria / Revelations MB: What should audience members not familiar with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater expect to see at this year's performances? MFM: The beautiful thing about Ailey is that no matter who you are or what you enjoy you can't come to see a performance and not like it. There is something in every program for everyone. The versatility that is asked of the dancers is crucial in providing evenings of different styles, music, and feeling – always leaving the audience wanting more.

Saturday, February 24 at 2 p.m. Family Matinee - Mass, Ella / Members Don't Get Weary / Revelations Followed by Q&A with Robert Battle and Jamar Roberts Saturday, February 24 at 8 p.m. Stack-Up / Shelter, The Hunt / Revelations Sunday, February 25 at 2 p.m. Stack-Up / Shelter, The Hunt / Revelations Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling 305.949.6722 or visiting arshtcenter.org.

Visit wiremag.com to read the extended version of this cover story. #06 2018 WIREMAG.COM 19


OUT & ABOUT

By Rafa Carvajal | Photos by Dale Stine

Let's Celebrate At The Pearl Ball: PALACE'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY he history of Miami Beach is full of many great memories for the LGBTQ community, including the famous bars and clubs where gay residents and tourists partied together and celebrated life over the years. So when our community heard that the Palace was closing, many thought it would join the gay South Beach history remembered fondly by everyone who lived it. However, owner Tom Donall refused to let South Beach's famous Palace Bar become part of bygone days. Tom knew that "Every Queen Needs A Palace," so he searched for a new home on Ocean Drive for the Palace and its loyal patrons – an almost impossible task, given the small number of available locales and the prohibitively expensive lease rates on the Drive. Due to his perseverance, Tom found a new address for the Palace and took a big financial risk to reopen a new spot where the LGBTQ community and its allies could gather to have fun and live life to the fullest. Thanks to Tom and his team, the Palace is back bigger and better at 1052 Ocean Drive in South Beach. I sat down with Tom to preview the Palace's upcoming 30th anniversary soirée and discuss why he decided to reopen every queen's favorite Ocean Drive locale. Rafa Carvajal: Tell our readers about "The Pearl Ball," Palace's 30th anniversary soirée. What should they expect? Who is the DJ? Who is performing? Tom Donall: We have an exciting evening planned for our guests. The one and only Tiffany T. Fantasia will host the event with special appearances from all of our favorite cast members joining the runway. The show starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 16, and will continue throughout the late evening with music by DJ Josh Riptide. We also have an open bar, 6-7 p.m. with complimentary appetizers. RC: Why did you decide to reopen Palace at a new location? TD: The Palace has been an institution and part of the Miami Beach gay community for over three decades. Closing last July at 1200 Ocean Drive was bittersweet. It was important 20 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


to bring the Palace back to Miami Beach with a fresh new look at an amazing open air venue, with an exciting new menu and, of course, the extraordinary Girls of the Palace. But the most important reason was to make sure our community had a place to come together and celebrate, and enjoy any day of the week – a place they can call home. RC: To what do you attribute Palace's continued success? TD: The Palace has been an experience that our community has grown up with. The support of our patrons is a huge part of our continued success. From the original opening in 1988, there have been people from all walks of life, from all over the world, who know the Palace as the hub of Miami Beach gay culture, and a safe, fun place to gather and celebrate. We are blessed with a wonderful staff and it goes without saying that our cast members can't be beat. Our Saturday and Sunday brunches are infamous, and our guests can enjoy shows seven days a week!

"FROM THE ORIGINAL OPENING IN 1988, THERE HAVE BEEN PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHO KNOW THE PALACE AS THE HUB OF MIAMI BEACH GAY CULTURE, AND A SAFE, FUN PLACE TO GATHER AND CELEBRATE." - TOM DONALL

RC: What does Palace mean to you? TD: It's a home for the community, where friends, family and people from around the world can gather to enjoy and celebrate as one strong loving community. It is being a part of the history, the experience, and the sense of community that everyone shares as they meet at the Palace. RC: What makes Palace stand out from other LGBTQ venues in Miami Beach? TD: It is the only outdoor LGBTQ venue on Ocean Drive. Our Performers are legendary and known throughout the community. Regardless of the day of the week, or the weather, every performance guarantees a unique and unpredictable experience for our guests. RC: What do you think Palace means to our community? TD: Great shows, great fun and new friends! It is a meeting place where everyone is welcome and feels welcomed! It is a place the community can count on throughout the year to provide a safe and exciting experience for all. RC: What are you most proud of about Palace? TD: I am proud that I could keep the legend alive! It was a journey, but I promised the community that I would bring the Palace Bar back to Ocean Drive and we did it! RC: What are your top 3 favorite memories at Palace from the past 30 years? TD: I remember the first Miami Beach Gay Pride, I was on the Palace float and when we rolled up to the Palace I couldn't believe the crowd! Just when I thought it couldn't get better, Latrice Royale jumps up and down to the #06 2018 WIREMAG.COM 21


splits, the float shook and the crowd just went wild. The Girls of the Palace never disappoint me. The costumes, running down the sidewalk like a crazed church lady, tumbling on the sidewalk in the rain, doing splits on the guest tables, dropping off the tourist bus to the splits. All the memories that will last a lifetime. The infamous block parties, the music, the crowds, the performances, the energy and the excitement! RC: What do you like most about owning Palace? TD: Oh my god, where do I start? The support of the community is incredible, it reinforces that I did the right thing by going against all odds, finding a bigger and better venue for everyone to join together and celebrate. The friends that I have made through the years are the glue that keeps me excited and motivated to constantly be improving the experience that everyone takes away with them. It hasn't been an easy journey, I have had to work hard for everything that I've gotten in my life. What I like best about owning the Palace is that I can share this accomplishment with everyone and provide our community with a safe and exciting place to gather, and celebrate with their peers.

"WHAT I LIKE BEST ABOUT OWNING THE PALACE IS THAT I CAN SHARE THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT WITH EVERYONE AND PROVIDE OUR COMMUNITY WITH A SAFE AND EXCITING PLACE TO GATHER, AND CELEBRATE WITH THEIR PEERS." - TOM DONALL

RC: How is Palace and its loyal patrons adapting to its new location? TD: The comments have all been positive. The doors are open and the crowds keep coming. We have had a few kinks along the way, but we are getting better each and every day. We take pride and offering our patrons a good value for their dollar. The menu selection is far better than that of the other Ocean Drive restaurants; our chef has brought the Saturday and Sunday brunch experience to a new level with a delicious selection of palate pleasing dishes. RC: Describe the new Palace in 3 words. TD: Bigger, memorable and unique. RC: Where do you see the new Palace in the next 5 years? TD: The Palace is ever evolving. I am always looking to improve our guest experience. We still have some finishing touches to put on our currently planned renovation projects and I fully expect there are more to come. We have already had some exciting celebrity touchdowns, including Andy Cohen and the cast of Jersey Shore to name a few. We are working to expand our special events to touch different groups throughout our community. RC: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? TD: We invite everyone to come experience the new Palace for themselves. We promise a great time, a great show, and an endless celebration. "Every Queen Needs A Palace," and we are here to let everyone take part in and experience the throne!

22 WIREMAG.COM #06 2018


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Wire Magazine 06.2018 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater  

This week's issue of Wire Magazine is our annual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater special edition. We are particularly proud to showcase t...

Wire Magazine 06.2018 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater  

This week's issue of Wire Magazine is our annual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater special edition. We are particularly proud to showcase t...