Kiss Kruise: Let the Face-Painting Begin!

Our complete Kiss Kruise coverage is here.

On Wednesday evening, the Kiss Kruise preparty signaled the beginning of a tidal wave of activity associated with the storied New York band known for a propensity for rocking during the hours of darkness and partying for the period of daylight to follow.

Things were already getting awfully friendly and artistic at Miami's Transit Lounge when we arrived. Groupings from all over the globe packed the indoor portion of the club, and while the Big Rock Show was playing classic rock covers -- a burning-hot cover of Ratt's "Round and Round" among them -- the Kiss Army was getting even more gleefully rowdy in the outdoor space behind the venue while a DJ spun Kiss and other dramatic '70s rock. More than anything else, the area was becoming quite popular because a face-painting tent was a hub of fans getting into their most comfortable appearance.

Being a Demon, Spaceman, Catman, or Starchild is as easy as sitting in a chair and letting a beautiful woman apply a few brushstrokes to your face.

None of the four face-paint styles were neglected by this crowd. Although the designs are fairly intricate, our artists got through each application with speed and grace -- especially with the flashbulbs going off all around.

Wouldn't it be easier just to sleep with Kiss makeup on than to remove it every night?

Meet Todd Hollis from Charleston, South Carolina. Although it's hard to see the full power of his outfit, the imposing fella is the spitting image of Gene Simmons' Demon persona. His long hair, spiked bracelets, and metallic shin guards make him look like he could gouge your eyes out, but he's very friendly. In fact, the crowd in general is overwhelmingly genial. He can't wait for the acoustic sail-away show later today, which will feature Kiss unmasked.

Herb Mueller, a product of Detroit, is on the Kiss Kruise with his wife, and when we meet, he's already engrossed in conversation with some new friends from Toledo, Ohio. A fan since 1973, Mueller admits he has lost count of the number of times he's seen the band perform. "I might be on the back of the Alive album," he says with a smile.

The place is packed with at least a couple of hundred Kiss devotees -- and no identical T-shirts. Not pictured: a lovely silver Kiss purse. Much more to come when we board.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer