With drag queens a dime a dozen these days, it's increasingly difficult for cross-dressers to stay fabulous and original at the same time. How many more impersonations of Madonna and Cher can we take? Well, kids, if you're looking for originality, check out Daisy DeadPetals, née Ken Calabria. Daisy is the proud holder of state and national titles in gender-bending pageants, and she's also a fixture on the South Florida drag circuit. Many female impersonators strive to create the illusion of real womanhood, and some can do it with jaw-dropping realism. But it's also important to win over your audience, and this is where Daisy shines. On any given Sunday, you can find her in the "Life's a Drag" show at the Voodoo Lounge in downtown Fort Lauderdale (formerly Independence Brewery). Not only does she strut her petite frame across the stage in impossibly short skirts and hot pants, she's quite the entertainer, too. She performs energetic and comedic "mixes," which are sound bites painstakingly spliced together from movies and/or songs to create a mini-musical. Not surprisingly, these mixes are on the bawdy side, but they're definitely funny. And while Daisy does her share of lip-synching, it's not to the typical drag-show standards, which in recent years have come to be anything by Celine Dion.

With drag queens a dime a dozen these days, it's increasingly difficult for cross-dressers to stay fabulous and original at the same time. How many more impersonations of Madonna and Cher can we take? Well, kids, if you're looking for originality, check out Daisy DeadPetals, née Ken Calabria. Daisy is the proud holder of state and national titles in gender-bending pageants, and she's also a fixture on the South Florida drag circuit. Many female impersonators strive to create the illusion of real womanhood, and some can do it with jaw-dropping realism. But it's also important to win over your audience, and this is where Daisy shines. On any given Sunday, you can find her in the "Life's a Drag" show at the Voodoo Lounge in downtown Fort Lauderdale (formerly Independence Brewery). Not only does she strut her petite frame across the stage in impossibly short skirts and hot pants, she's quite the entertainer, too. She performs energetic and comedic "mixes," which are sound bites painstakingly spliced together from movies and/or songs to create a mini-musical. Not surprisingly, these mixes are on the bawdy side, but they're definitely funny. And while Daisy does her share of lip-synching, it's not to the typical drag-show standards, which in recent years have come to be anything by Celine Dion.

"Do I make you horny, baby? Do I?" Austin Powers may claim to be the man who put the "grrr" in swinger, but he has nothing on the guys who own the Trapeze Club, which sends whatever image you may have of a swingers' club out the window. Behind its bland storefront are plush surroundings that make the Trapeze the Ritz-Carlton of "alternative-lifestyle" clubs: a stylishly lit triangular dance floor backed by a mirrored wall; an L-shape mahogany bar and lounge area; a lavish buffet of cheeses, fruits, and other hors d'oeuvres in a corner where couples engage in conversation and occasionally glance at the video screens above. On the way to the fun spots down the hallway, you'll pass a room with a pool table, couches, and adult video games, and male and female locker rooms are located across from the main social room, where there's a comfy sectional that can accommodate up to 10 or 15 people, always conducive to a "friendly" atmosphere. For people looking to get wet, there are three hot tubs side by side in another room, and the biggest room has four adjacent king-size beds. There's even a modified swing (read: sling) where a reclining body can sway freely back and forth. But it's the elegance and the cleanliness that make this hot spot an easy place to let yourself go -- little details like the tasseled throw pillows, the soft-colored walls, the intimate lighting. Of course an adult playground wouldn't be complete without fun themes like Disco Thursdays, Schoolgirl Nights, and Pumps-Only Nights, and monthly contests and events such as an erotic food-eating contest make for great interaction. Open to all willing and free-spirited adults, including singles (except for Saturdays and Sundays, which are reserved for couples), Trapeze is one club where you won't need a safety net for a high-flying act.
"Do I make you horny, baby? Do I?" Austin Powers may claim to be the man who put the "grrr" in swinger, but he has nothing on the guys who own the Trapeze Club, which sends whatever image you may have of a swingers' club out the window. Behind its bland storefront are plush surroundings that make the Trapeze the Ritz-Carlton of "alternative-lifestyle" clubs: a stylishly lit triangular dance floor backed by a mirrored wall; an L-shape mahogany bar and lounge area; a lavish buffet of cheeses, fruits, and other hors d'oeuvres in a corner where couples engage in conversation and occasionally glance at the video screens above. On the way to the fun spots down the hallway, you'll pass a room with a pool table, couches, and adult video games, and male and female locker rooms are located across from the main social room, where there's a comfy sectional that can accommodate up to 10 or 15 people, always conducive to a "friendly" atmosphere. For people looking to get wet, there are three hot tubs side by side in another room, and the biggest room has four adjacent king-size beds. There's even a modified swing (read: sling) where a reclining body can sway freely back and forth. But it's the elegance and the cleanliness that make this hot spot an easy place to let yourself go -- little details like the tasseled throw pillows, the soft-colored walls, the intimate lighting. Of course an adult playground wouldn't be complete without fun themes like Disco Thursdays, Schoolgirl Nights, and Pumps-Only Nights, and monthly contests and events such as an erotic food-eating contest make for great interaction. Open to all willing and free-spirited adults, including singles (except for Saturdays and Sundays, which are reserved for couples), Trapeze is one club where you won't need a safety net for a high-flying act.
Respectable Street feels like three clubs in one: One moment it's a cozy theater for live music -- local, national, and beyond. Walk in on a different night, and it's a sweaty dance club throbbing with hotties and boisterous beats. During the day it'll change stripes again, becoming a comfy lounge with overstuffed couches, chaises, and a small but sweet patio out back. The staffers understand they're in a pocket of the country where alternative-college music doesn't have a large following, but that hasn't hindered the gang's efforts to bring some challenging acts to the venue. If some cool and obscure act is planning a South Florida trip, you can almost count on it ending up at Respectable's. Among the recent high points from the club's 12-year quest for something different: the raunch-rock of Nashville Pussy, the ska-punk of Johnny Socko, arty Irish cabaret crooner Gavin Friday, the Young Gods and their industrial mayhem, Mojo Nixon's political comedy-commentary, the quirky good fun of They Might Be Giants, the Japanese cutesy-kitsch of Pizzicato Five, the Dutch electronic weirdness of Legendary Pink Dots, and altcountry superstars Son Volt. The room also hosts some great dance action, such as its '80s goth/new-wave nights, Wednesday's after-dark electronica evening, and Sonic Saturday's drum 'n' bass extravaganza.
Respectable Street
Respectable Street feels like three clubs in one: One moment it's a cozy theater for live music -- local, national, and beyond. Walk in on a different night, and it's a sweaty dance club throbbing with hotties and boisterous beats. During the day it'll change stripes again, becoming a comfy lounge with overstuffed couches, chaises, and a small but sweet patio out back. The staffers understand they're in a pocket of the country where alternative-college music doesn't have a large following, but that hasn't hindered the gang's efforts to bring some challenging acts to the venue. If some cool and obscure act is planning a South Florida trip, you can almost count on it ending up at Respectable's. Among the recent high points from the club's 12-year quest for something different: the raunch-rock of Nashville Pussy, the ska-punk of Johnny Socko, arty Irish cabaret crooner Gavin Friday, the Young Gods and their industrial mayhem, Mojo Nixon's political comedy-commentary, the quirky good fun of They Might Be Giants, the Japanese cutesy-kitsch of Pizzicato Five, the Dutch electronic weirdness of Legendary Pink Dots, and altcountry superstars Son Volt. The room also hosts some great dance action, such as its '80s goth/new-wave nights, Wednesday's after-dark electronica evening, and Sonic Saturday's drum 'n' bass extravaganza.
The Dillengers have long displayed the integrity to be standard-bearers of the South Florida roots-music scene, although they have wisely opted instead for an enclosed universe: their house gig at Elwood's Dixie Bar-B-Que in Delray Beach (301 E. Atlantic Ave., 561-272-7427). There the guitar-centric trio holds court every weekend with what the members affectionately term "a bare-fisted amalgam of blues, punk, rockabilly, pop, surf, and country." As visitors soon discover, that can include anything from George Jones to the Ramones, punctuated by goofy original tunes and stoked with hipster attitude. In the Dillengers and Elwood's, we find the perfect set and setting for all that a bar band can be, and their recent CD, Live at Elwood's, actually comes close to capturing the experience. Upon hearing it -- and guitarist Rick Rossano's superlative picking, especially his muscular yet delicate slide guitar -- the national music magazine GuitarOne named him one of America's ten best guitarists. Not bad for a lowly bar band.
The Dillengers have long displayed the integrity to be standard-bearers of the South Florida roots-music scene, although they have wisely opted instead for an enclosed universe: their house gig at Elwood's Dixie Bar-B-Que in Delray Beach (301 E. Atlantic Ave., 561-272-7427). There the guitar-centric trio holds court every weekend with what the members affectionately term "a bare-fisted amalgam of blues, punk, rockabilly, pop, surf, and country." As visitors soon discover, that can include anything from George Jones to the Ramones, punctuated by goofy original tunes and stoked with hipster attitude. In the Dillengers and Elwood's, we find the perfect set and setting for all that a bar band can be, and their recent CD, Live at Elwood's, actually comes close to capturing the experience. Upon hearing it -- and guitarist Rick Rossano's superlative picking, especially his muscular yet delicate slide guitar -- the national music magazine GuitarOne named him one of America's ten best guitarists. Not bad for a lowly bar band.
We said E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons knew how to pick 'em, and here's proof: Randi Fishenfeld, the 37-year-old criminal lawyer turned electric-violin player Clemons chose for his other group, Band of Faith. When Fishenfeld goes into her patented gypsy number on stage, she becomes possessed by the music. She goes crazy, and the club crowds go crazy with her. Besides fiddling with Band of Faith, she also plays with her own band, Blue Fire, which puts in appearances at O'Hara's in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood and at the A Train in Delray Beach. It's a busy schedule, but that's exactly what she wants. "When I get all that energy back," she says, "it makes me want to go out and kiss everyone." Oh, if only she would.

We said E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons knew how to pick 'em, and here's proof: Randi Fishenfeld, the 37-year-old criminal lawyer turned electric-violin player Clemons chose for his other group, Band of Faith. When Fishenfeld goes into her patented gypsy number on stage, she becomes possessed by the music. She goes crazy, and the club crowds go crazy with her. Besides fiddling with Band of Faith, she also plays with her own band, Blue Fire, which puts in appearances at O'Hara's in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood and at the A Train in Delray Beach. It's a busy schedule, but that's exactly what she wants. "When I get all that energy back," she says, "it makes me want to go out and kiss everyone." Oh, if only she would.

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