Looking for a different spin on the whole fetish party scene? Sure, it's fun to watch some dude in a codpiece being whipped by a leather-clad Betty Page look-alike, all the while knowing that the guy's probably a stockbroker or business executive. But if you're gonna shill out ten bucks at the door, it'd be nice to get a little more bang for your buck. That's the idea behind "Retro Cabaret," a new monthly fetish party/burlesque show held at Respectable Street (518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach). In addition to the sounds spun by resident DJ KloV and guest Sinsekt (playing anything from industrial and EBM to Brit pop), the cabaret features a live performance of '50s-style pinup models, nuns, and extremely naughty nurses.
The event is organized and run by Joseph Bonilla, founder of Abusement Park Entertainment, which specializes in alternative dance parties. "We've been doing parties for a while, but we knew there was something missing from the usual goth arena down here," Bonilla relates. "I saw that there was some interest in past burlesque parties and knew some girls who were into doing it. At the same time, Respectable Street wanted to do a party with us, but we didn't want to do a run-of-the-mill fetish party. So, we put our heads together and decided to do a cabaret."
But for the cabaret to be a monthly event, more women were needed. Bonilla held a contest at the cabaret's December debut for women who wanted to perform. With the troupe numbering eight women and counting, Bonilla can alternate performers each month.
"For every party I do, I try either to bring it up a notch or change it a little," Bonilla says. "The Retro Cabaret is a different slice of the scene that most have never experienced."
Like any fetish party, blue jeans and a T-shirt won't cut it; you can get in, but you gotta dish out a little more at the door. To get in for $10, try some rubber, latex, a school uniform (gender-bending welcome!), or anything gothic. Otherwise, it's $15. Call 561-832-9999. -- Jason Budjinski
Got your Shushan?
Sometimes referred to as the "Jewish Mardi Gras," the Feast of Purim is probably the most underrated holiday of all time. Adults are expected to drink until they can't tell the difference between the phrases "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai." For those of you unfamiliar with the legend, Haman was the anti-Semitic courtier who wanted to kill all the Jews in Persia, and Mordecai was the hero who helped drive Haman out, thereby saving all Jews. Purim won't happen officially until March 7, but the folks at Chabad of South Broward can't wait to celebrate. They host the 22nd-annual "Chassidic Pre-Purim Festival" tonight in Young Circle Park (at Federal Highway and Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood). Acrobats, fire jugglers, and unicyclists (all members of the Shushan Circus) do their thing, and Benny, the rising star of Jewish music, sings his brand of Hassidic pop. In celebration of friendship, Purim gift boxes containing candy, money, and delicious triangular cookies called hamantaschen will be given to all children, who are encouraged to come in costume. All that should be more than enough reason to drag yourself out of the house on hump day. The celebration begins at 7:30 p.m., and is free. Call 954-458-1877. -- Deirdra Funcheon
It's chili out here!
Skip the ball game. The hot action is at the GreenMarket in Delray Beach. The eighth-annual "Chili Cook-Off" is drawing some fierce competitors. Enthusiastic entrant Jim Nolan is tweaking his recipe to incorporate a certain sweetness. And if flavor alone doesn't woo the judges, he's adding some flourish to his presentation. He'll serve up samples in a tuxedo coat, shorts, and flip-flops. He might even offer wine and tostada chips along with the homemade batch.
He's going after frequent champ Delray Beach Fire Chief Kerry Koen, who's entering both a traditional chili and a vegetarian version that features, quite appropriately, an assortment of fresh fire-roasted vegetables. With three competition categories -- traditional, vegetarian, and everything else -- the cook-off features a variety of flavors both impressive and exotic. The public is invited to sample them and vote for their favorites. Admission and tastings are free from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in Worthing Park, 150 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-276-7511. -- Patti Roth
Dragon On and On
"Rowers use oars; therefore, they are rowers. Dragon boaters use paddles; therefore, they are paddlers. You do not row a dragon boat!" So say the hard-core enthusiasts at www.dragon-boat.net. Useful information, if you're going to the "2004 Dragon Boat Festival" at Mills Pond Park (2201 Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale). Dragon boat racing began in the Fourth Century B.C., when the beloved poet Qu Yuan protested the existing political regime by jumping into the Mei Lo River. Fishermen raced out in their boats in an attempt to save him, but alas, Qu Yuan drowned. To prevent his body from being eaten by fish, they beat the waters furiously with their paddles and threw rice dumplings into the water. These days, dragon boat races are more sporting event than cultural reenactment, but it's still cool to watch 20 paddlers and one drummer speed by in each of the beautifully crafted 44-foot canoes. The festival at Mills Pond Park is a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Gilda's Club. Competitors had to preregister and pay $850 per boat, but you can watch for $1. Races start at 9 a.m. Call 888-679-4222. -- Deirdra Funcheon