I lived in Ft. Lauderdale from August 1996 through October 1999 after moving from Atlanta following the Olympics. I became immersed in South Florida beaches and happening queer nightlife even beginning my brief stint into the leather contest scene while go-go dancing and stripping in almost every bar placed in Florida it seemed. Where? Hmm… The Saint, Mineshaft, 825, Copa, Ramrod, Chaps, Sea Monster, Splash in Miami, Numbers, Bourbon Street Pub and Saloon #1 in Key West. But yes, the book…
Every here and there I would catch wind of these infamous sex parties that were happening called South Beach HardBodies. It was where if you were invited by receiving a business card by one of the promoters then you would arrive at one place, remove your shirt and prove your physical worth being lucky enough to make it past the grueling audition process towards the actual location of Caligula. I never once was approached to go. I guess I didn’t make the cut. But trust I didn’t lose sleep over it. I got mine just fine. Though I heard stories of the pros and cons of being in there from different ones in attendance, in the end I decided that I was fine not being included.
FAST PACED – EXCITING READ!
But I was always interested in what went on at these parties. How hot were the guys? Even if I tried going with a friend would they actually turn me away? Who is up for the possible humiliation? Not me. I assume they hoped that would deter many who don’t belong. Luckily I never was put in the position to make the decision of going or not. Choosing working over partying in the club was always my play anyway. Especially during these years. I had bigger things in mind for myself and living in Lauderdale was helping me get there. The city was wonderful to me and I often miss my times there.
When I received my copy of The HardBody Chronicles I was so ready to find out the real story! Had I missed out on anything? I will be quick to admit that I write more than I read. A book has to really be an interest or I don’t migrate towards it. I read Jake Smyth and Luca Barbieri’s modern-day tale of excessive living and travels of the rich beautiful untouchables from cover to cover. Since photographer and friend Jeff Palmer, who did the cover to my book They Called Him Sterling, provided the fabulous art for their book it seemed like a must read for me. I was right! I really enjoyed the book.
The novel is a fast read for anyone wanting an insight to the lifestyles of a glorious group of gay-somethings living with wild abandonment during the 90s, for the most part. Much of the book felt familiar to me since I lived during these years and times of the circuit party wisdom of “more is more.” The roller coaster read became an interesting game of trying to figure out who the characters were in reality as I lived vicariously through the fictional players’ lives. Some I knew. Some I think I know. Some I thought I knew but didn’t. You see where the quandary lies?
STRONG BEAUTIFUL MEN!
The only thing I would have liked more of was learning about the actual South Beach HardBodies and the circuses of flesh they produced. Perhaps a second book could be the expose, so to speak, from a spectator’s view or fellow character in the novel. Since the strong presence of promotion for the novel on Facebook and the Internet seems to have no signs of slowing down maybe a series of books coming from the different views of the main characters could be exciting. Since readers’ perspectives about what they read varies between them, as well does the characters living the fictional tale they’re reading about. Just an idea… But then again, maybe the magic is not knowing while leaving the fantasy in place.
Need some exciting summer reading? Grab The HardBody Chronicles today and begin the days of living vicariously or enjoy a comfortable walk down memory lane. Visit their Facebook wall or website for the inside scoop about characters, locations, story lines and the soundtrack to the novel.