Another lost business is the former gay nightclub Warsaw Ballroom at the corner of 14th Street and Collins Avenue. Starting in 1991, the club featured decadent foam parties where naked men neck-deep in bubbles had anonymous sex. The club soon featured leather-clad go-go dancers, midget performers with pigs, and male strippers who pulled ribbons out of various orifices. There's no sign of it these days. The space is now Jerry's Famous Deli, an upscale all-night diner. Out-of-towners clutch shopping bags and nibble $14 salads where club lines once stretched around the block.

Tourism director Michael Aller — who is credited with attracting gay travelers — is reluctant to talk about how South Beach has changed. On three occasions, he set up interviews with New Times but canceled or was not available at each of the scheduled times. During a fourth call, he explained "I'm actually getting in the shower" before hanging up.

Tony Lopez, a gay makeup artist, suffered a concussion after an attack in South Beach.
Tony Lopez, a gay makeup artist, suffered a concussion after an attack in South Beach.

Desi, the stylist, sums it up this way: "It's like our private party got crashed."

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