My whirlwind winter. At the end of last summer, I resolved to get out of New York City a bit more and share my music and party skills with the world. And somehow, I did just that.
Near the end of November, I headed back to London to DJ a few parties and catch up with my crew of London boys who I adore. My bestest mate, Alex, has a ginormous bathroom that overlooks his English garden and some council flats in Hackney. It also started getting dark around 3pm and rained all day and night.
JR moved to London about a year ago and has been living it up with my crew and all the Spanish transplants in London he can find. He also reminded me about the wonders of the late night doner kebab.
I acquired a BMX bike this time around, which Matthieu helped lock to a pole in the fashion you see here.
Christmas time in London. To be honest, I didn't see more than one or two hours of daylight while I was here so I didn't have a chance to take many iPhone photos.
One of my favorite breakfast places in London where they serve yummy breakfast till real late and they also have wifi just in case you wanna Grind while you dine.
I DJed the Joiners Arms my last trip to London but this time I turned up as a patron on a Thursday (which was awesome) and a Friday (which wasn't so awesome). And now they charge some ridiculous cover starting at a ridiculously early hour. Boooooooo.
That Friday, I DJed at the George and Dragon and felt like I had really done a successful job solely because this dude broke out a glowstick (!) and waved it around for an hour or so.
Another late night, another doner kebab with Alex (left) and JR.
On Saturday, Alex and I DJed an earlyish set at one of my favorite London underground (literally!) clubs, Vogue Fabrics. Once we were done, A Man To Pet (pictured above) marched in to grand entrance music and proceeded to razzle and dazzle me with her music and presence.
LONDON TRANNIES! (Alex included, even though his alter ego Monica was nowhere to be seen this time around).
Resident witch and Vogue Fabrics owner Lyall (left) was as lovely as ever, as were his two tranny sidekicks / coatcheckers / door bitches. Can't wait to see you lovely ladies again this April!
Later that night, Alex and I checked out the Butt Magazine party which was THE talk of the town. My NYC DJ buddy Ryan Smith had flown in just to do this party and even though I missed his set, I hear he turned the British children out (or at least the ones who got in and could hear him. The music was kind of low volume).
Matching Bicep tshirts! As in Bicep, the blogger and house DJ / producer.
DJ Boris from Berlin played a major set and was looking pretty major as well.
Hugo (right) and Panos (peeing), holding it down in the men's room.
Sunday night (yes, the following night. I was zonked!), I made my DJ debut at the world famous Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle. Thank you Luke, Jim, James and Simon (counterclockwise, from top) for an awesome evening. Coincidentally, the missing horsey, Severino, was holding it down and DJing at my weekly Good Times party back in NYC.
My disco date for the evening and good friend Leon, who had Australian jetlag, meaning he could party till 3am and then devour more doner kebabs with me till late late at night.
The party, the legacy, the bright neon sign inside the Eagle.
Jeremy returned to England from a massive American Thanksgiving dinner in Boston just in time for my farewell London (for now) dinner and drinks. This should totally be a photoshop contest photo, if you care to submit any entries and/or repost yourself.
Next stop: Madrid, where I camped out in my good friend Kristin's (left) apartment for a few days and had the most fantastic daytime and night time tour of all things Madrid courtesy of Paco (right).
I threw this photo in to pretend like I did daytime activities in Madrid but who am I kidding. I saw like, three hours of sunlight in the week I was in Madrid as well. This is a Spanish Christmas "tree" I believe.
Paco loves getting drunk and lifting people up. Trust.
One -third of the handsomest thrupple (aka three-person couple) I've ever seen in my life.
Kristin and I went to junior high and high school together! Whodathunk we'd be dancing to dubstep in Madrid all these years later.
Random New York friend sighting in Madrid: Braden, who I think may have been in town for the Mad Bear festivities, a big (in every sense of the word) Spanish bear event, but also may or may not have moved to Madrid.
No filter necessary.
The clubs we went to were mostly mixed with gays, straights and lezzies like this posse here, who we partied with till 6am when the lights came on in the club.
Street performers and me pretending that I'm doing cultural things during the daytime when really I'm just walking home from da club and all this is happening.
This is a popular form of street performer in Madrid. It's a person streamers with a wooden mask that claps every time the animal "barks." Strange and enchanting.
Which one is Spanish and which one is Jewish? You be the judge.
The victim of a drunken pen tattoo attempt.
Paco called this the "American corner" of the 24 hours bodega, apparently because they sold Simpsons shaped graham crackers which they should really start selling in America as well.
You'd think this would be the American corner but no, this is just the weird reheat-a-hamburger corner.
Did you ever see that movie Bear Cub about the Madrid bear scene where like, everyone is a bear? Its kind of true, though there's enough nonfat hairy dudes to go around and then some. Not complaining.
That weekend, I was lucky enough to DJ two parties with the fabulous and awesome Juan Vulker (left), who played a mean tech house set and I really really look forward to the day he comes and DJs with me in New York City.
Kristin and an oversized sucker.
Paco bought a teddy bear from the bodega and named him Banana and vowed never to let him out of his sight again.
My good friend Mikey F. flew in from New York for the weekend to give runway shows on the streets of Madrid as seen here and also make sure my DJ gigs were wild, which they were.
"Christine, Mickey y Paco."
We ended up staying in a really swank apartment in Malasana which had a lofted room and a bedroom complete with an indoor hot tub-sized bath which made the room all moist and steamy. And Picasso paintings too! Real ones.
This club was actually a gay club yet this guy assured us he wasn't gay when I snapped his photo (how could I not. Look at him!). In fact, he grabbed the nearest girl to prove he had a "girlfriend." Just sayin'.
Mikey and Banana. Yup, Banana made it to the gay club (Banana is actually bisexual, much like my own stuffed animal named Loose) and mopped my hat while he was at it.
Maybe the most adorable photo of all time ever.
The most popular late night Madrid bathhouse, which I didn't get to check out but I heard it was kind of stank and seedy during the 7am - 10am weekend shift.
Farewell Madrid dinner with traditional Spanish tapas like these breaded cheese treats which were heavenly.
That traditional Spanish tomato soup, more heavenly than anything else I ate this entire trip (that I can remember. Which isn't much.)
And a yummy, yummy meat and cheese spread, which we made our taster and tour guide Paco try first before it was devoured in .2 minutes.
Mikey F. brought us to a pre-party for the monthly Madrid circuit event called WE. That's Kylie dancer turned Britney Spears dancer Marco Da Silva in the back corner, who dished on how Britney was all kinds of crazy during the tour.
I didn't actually make it inside the WE party given that I had been out and about for, ummmm, a week straight but Mikey told me it was pretty effing rad. Next time, Madrid. I promise.
Back in the U.S., I had a stopover in Dallas on my way to Palm Springs, California, where my good friend Andrew took me out to some real Texan BBQ at Smoke.
Besides Smoke (pictured here), he also took me to the spot where JFK was assassinated (riveting!) and the strip of Dallas gay bars, which are each larger than most K-Marts I've seen in the U.S. of A.
Andrew alleges that Texans love when products say Texas on them so companies like Budweiser make signs like this that cater specifically to the Texan demographic. Who knew??
I saw lots of this this winter and every time, I thought of that Chaka Khan song, CLOUDS!
I was flown to Palm Springs and put up at a hotel to DJ for two hours at a private event. Not complaining.
My good buddy Roberto from San Francisco flew down to "assist" me with my DJ duties, and by assist, I mean he made sure we had cocktails in our hotel room before going out.
Amazing Scruff photo that was sent to me in Palm Springs when I asked this dude if I could "see more photos."
Our first night out, we hit up Toucans, also affectionately known as Trashcans by the gay locals. I didn't take too many pics in Palm Springs but picture a tacky tiki-themed gay bar that plays lots of top 40 and you'll be magically transported to Toucan's.
They also had lots of inflatable holiday decorations which were fun to pose with or walk into depending on your level of sobriety.
Just your typical, run-of-the-mill Palm Springs apartment rental. A two-bedroom house with a pool doesn't cost all that much more than a Manhattan studio. Translation: I'm moving here.
Sunny, clear skies and views like this 365 days a year.
Famous breakfast pancakes at this quaint local diner that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me.
Roberto and I learned that another New York / San Franciscan friend of ours named Joey was in town so we all headed over to the Ace Hotel Palm Springs for drinks and this photo shoot in their lobby.
A scene from the fancy schmancy room where I DJed at the Parker, which I had the chance to explore after my DJ set and let me just say that I was thoroughly impressed.
I met this really sweet and really handsome man named Luis while I was in Palm Springs as well. He showed us around and was pretty much as kind and generous as anyone I ever met. After leaving, I learned that he passed away one week later from meningitis. I never even had a chance to take a photo of him or with him so this older photo of him will have to suffice. RIP Luis.
When I finally returned back to New York mid-December for a hot minute, me and DJ Lina went to see Lady Bunny's one-woman show at Esquelita, which was pretty much two hours of blowjob and poop jokes. And it was hilarious.
THE LINA AND BUN-BUN AFTERSHOW REUNION!
Me getting up close and personal with the world's fair sculptures out in Flushing, Queens on a random trip out to the Queens Arts Museum.
For New Years, I flew to Chicago for a week to DJ a New Years Eve party and acquaint myself with the windy city. That's me and my hostess with the mostess AK in the middle of Chicago's famed bean sculpture.
The bean from further away.
The night I arrived, we went to a hipster bear party called Big Chicks I believe. The crowd was cute and I was bowled over by how sweet every midwesterener was to me. I also didn't take many pictures.
The DJ setup on New Years Eve. No complaints here.
The hosts and promoters of the New Years event all got done up in "looks," which, for Ben, was a leather corset, a boogie woogie bugle boy army cap, red pants and boots.
Chip (left, with yours truly) actually lives in Indiana but drives into Chicago for some good ol' fashioned hootenanny. He also bakes delicious holiday treats for all his friends, lots of which I managed to devour during my time in Chicago.
The thank-you-for-an-awesome-DJ-set gift from the bartender, which was a glass o' whiskey which I was unable to finish.
The adorably handsome Brady, or Prince Brady as he is sometimes known.
Oh yeah, Ben (the one in the corset) also did a New Years outfit change after midnight! Actually, all the hosts and promoters did. They really give it their all out there in Chi town.
My handsome host AK, who encouraged everyone to get shirtless once the fog machine kicked in to full gear around 1 or 2 or 3am.
Downstairs, we mingled with Chicago drag royalty, including my one-time New York friend (who moved back to Chicago) Saya (left).
Come to think of it, these girls must have been downstairs the whole night because I never caught them on the dancefloor even once. And I think I was there from 9pm till like, 4 or 5am.
Window shopping and drooling (over soap, no less).
My tour guides AK and Brady.
AK's lobby was all decked out in holiday gear, and by holiday gear I mean Christmas ornaments because the Jew population in the midwest ain't as big as Jew York City.
On Monday night, I finally had a chance to check out the famous Berlin nightspot, but not before Brady took us to Chicken 'n' Porn (pictured here), where youngsters moshed to dubstep while straight porn played on flat screens.
Chicago sunrise. Or was it sunset? All a blur.
On my final night, AK (left) and Patrick took me to Sidetrack, a Chicago institution with like, 200 rooms for 2000 gays and all the alcoholic slushies you could drink. Fact: every gay bar in Chicago sells slushies year round!
A quick grooming lesson from Mr. AK on his world-famous beard.
An aerial view over Lake Michigan as I flew back to New York.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Linish guested with Rich King on a Sunday at the Monster and we even convinced the reclusive Mike Diamond to come out and stomp it out and break a hip, runway style ("I'm not talkin' Laguardia").
I can officially say that I've been around the world and there is no one that rivals Xander in any department whatsoever.
A Sunday evening at Eastern Bloc when Jeff was bartending and DJ Dandylion was hosting his awesome Marinate party.
Random gays, random kissing, random shirtlessness.
The Tubway reunion!
My union suit!
And we're off again to...
...Los Angeles, where oranges grow literally outside the window of the apartment I was staying at.
That apartment belonged to a gorgeous man and talented cook who goes by the name Aram. He's awesome and an amazing tour guide to boot.
The night I arrived in LA, I made a b line to Chateau Marmont for my first DJ set, where I met the lovely hostess of the evening Connie (pictured).
Darryl and I actually took turns DJing and boozing and kiki-ing about New York versus LA.
My favorite human on earth, Armando (see We Heart Armando Flores facebook fanpage, thanks!) and throw back some glasses of "greej" and party with us.
The following night, I headlines the release party for the latest issue of Starrfucker magazine at the Raunch party at Faultline, where I met and posed with Instagram celebrities Marcus (left) and Miles who are sweeter and more mammoth in real life than you could possibly imagine.
Starrfucker and Raunch co-collaborators Jeremy (left) and Gabe. Bring me back to LA again soon you guys!
At Rasputin, a Saturday night clubby club that I checked out, this dude was rolling this way and that on a fucking segway in da club. Total douche or totally cunt? I can't decide.
I even made my way up to the DJ booth to say hey gurl hey to former New York DJ turned LA superstar DJ Aaron Elvis. So proud of this chica.
Catching up with the talented Ab Soto as I encouraged him to show a lil' more skin in his upcoming music videos, to which he heavily objected. Love you Ab! (He did say that he was open to a duet with Cazwell though.)
Ah, lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a lovely little gay tourist village on the west coast of Mexico, where the drinks are cheap and the hustlers are plentiful (and maybe cheap too.)
We stayed at Blue Chairs resort, a gay resort located right next to the gay beach and decorated with tons and tons of tasteful gay art like this gem here.
On their rooftop, Roberto and I discovered their random homage to lady Liberty and New York City. Or something.
The beach vendors are pretty relentless with trying to see you Mexican wrestling masks and temporary tribal tattoos but we found all the locals to be quite sweet and genuine.
Finally time for some daytime relaxation (though we did hit up La Noche, Pacos Ranch and CC Dangerfield's by night. And let me tell you that I would have preferred Japanese pop to the horrid progressive house music played all over Puerto Vallarta.)
Local "dancer" Angel (left) and his buddy who was visiting for the weekend and swore he wasn't "on the clock," or at least he told me he wasn't working when he conversed with me.
I managed to find the few and far between who had tattoos and beards, though this was certainly not the norm.
Every evening at our hotel bar, we were offered happy hour cocktails and optional "lap dance" interactions from the local talent like this gentleman here.
My travel companion Roberto and I loved this restaurant so much (called No Way Jose) that we ate here twice.
Our vacation friends Craig and Mark, who are actually brothers from Boston who are both gay, both live in New York, both are actors and both have never been to the East Village in their 7 years in NYC.
More Latin "dancer" shows at our hotel bar. This one was one my favorites but I'm also pretty sure he was straight.
The "dancers" at work.
The night we went back to the massive suite Mark and Craig had at their hotel and proceeded to watch Roberto (left) and Mark attempt spontaneous choreography.
You can parasail all day, any day at the beach. There's also snorkeling and zip lining in other spots of Puetro Vallarta but we were too content with our views to try any of that.
Our hotel "dancers".
Our night time dinner excursions, complete with Roberto's love-making gaze to his SCHWEPPS soda bottle.
Another restaurant that we loved solely for his beehive-like lighting decor because yes, we are that gay.
Bears in the ocean.
Completely unsure if this guy was hired as a travel companion or if he was actually good buddies with older beach friend.
Everyone on the beach was pretty much American, including the hotness in the houndstooth swimsuit. In fact, I think he was from Seattle because oddly enough, I ran into a friend from Seattle while out and about in PV. Small world.
And yet another stunning sunset. The weather in January was perfect and we were in town after all the New Years tourist had left but right before a big bear gathering was about to take place called BEEF DIP.
Local drag performers that were part of the Dirty Bitches show that happened at our hotel bar three nights a week.
The acts ranged from really awful to really awesome (depending on how drunk you were. I tease - some were actually really fantastic).
A delicious Mexican delicacy called Chile en Nogada, or chiles in walnut sauce, stuffed with beef and topped with pomegranate seeds.
The nightlife scene improved by the weekend but only because there were drag shows (Whitney Houston, pictured here at Paco's Ranch) to distract you from the really awful music being played at every bar. And when I say awful, I don't just mean bad pop. I mean the bad circuit remix of bad pop songs followed by awful hard house techno trance crap.
CC Dangerfield's had a nice big outdoor courtyard where queens gave face on a podium while voguing to said awful trance music.
Requisite I'm-at-the-beach-and-you're-not! photo.
And one last sunset on our final evening in Puerto Vallarta.
When we arrived back at the room on our final evening in PV, we found that the crafty Mexican cleaning ladies had folded our towels quite suggestively, which was odd because a) we had separate beds and b) they only did this on our last night.
The heavenly Mexican coffees, coupled with a heavenly chocolate lava cake sent Roberto into instant mexi-heaven.
A heavenly boy named Adrian who traveled from Guadalajara to vacation with some friends in Puerto Vallarta that weekend as well.
And that's when we discovered the ONLY hotel to visit in Puerto Vallarta, Hotel Lina!
Yes, I'd go back to PV in a heartbeat.
And yes, this Mexican Amy Winehouse drag act was actually quite bueno.
I had a stopover in Atlanta on my way back home so I figured why not make the most of it, which included catching up with my old friend Biz (pictured) and discovering what fried okra and hushpuppies taste like.
My buddy Tony, who knew exactly where to eat, drink and see live lady strippers. And for the strippers, we headed to Ponce.
The Clermont Lounge may be the most incredible place I've ever been to. The strippers tended to be bigger ladies (read: Beth Ditto size) or older (read: 50 - 70) and even texted while on stage stripping.
Though I only got to attend on a Monday, Tony told me that on Tuesdays, they have karaoke night where you can sing on a side stage and the strippers will strip as you sing your karaoke song of choice. GAGGGGGGGGGG.
And finally, we did late night drive thru at the very first Krispy Kreme where I ate way too many doughnuts but didn't care all too much since it was my last night of traveling for two whole months. xo, Sparber