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"The United States is on a mission to locate the garments Madonna [wore] on the video 'The Beast Within.' Bring them to her." These are the instructions for competing in the Designer's Delight category of Florida's First Annual Statement, Stars, Legends, Icons Ball -- a fashion show/charades game/beauty pageant for the gender-bending set. Not familiar with that particular Madonna clip? Before you head to Macy's to pick up a little something to wear, let us just inform you that the song lyrics go, "And I saw a beast rising out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads."

The good news for those of you hoping to enter any of the ball's 17 categories is, you don't have to compete by yourself. To join Florida's gay ballroom scene, hook up with one of the 14 or so flourishing "houses." These are kind of like gangs populated by drag queens, drama queens, and homo thug princes who look like that Backstreet Boy with the goatee. Angel Camacho is a member of the House of Infiniti. "Every house has meetings and practices categories," he says. "Each house wants to represent something." Houses named after designers -- like VonDutch or Cavalli -- go for extravagance; the House of Latex promotes safe sex.

You can come to the ball just to watch -- but it's so much more fun to get on the catwalk. Start practicing your cartwheels to win that Olympic Gymnast category. Get a tux so you can strut as "James Bond sent by the Interpol to spy on a black tie event in Saudi Arabia." Start working on your Virgin Mary act -- so your "serene beauty releases peace on Earth and salvation to mankind." And for chrissake, child, follow directions and, the instructions suggest, "think about it twice before you half-step tastelessly." But most important: "Come in peace or don't come at all." -- Deirdra Funcheon


The Statement, Stars, Legends, Icons Ball

Thursday, September 23, at Club XIT, 219 N. 21st Ave., Hollywood.

Doors open at 10 p.m., and it costs $15 to $20. Call 786-487-0767 or visit www.floridaballroomscene.com

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.