Out sends an editor on the 'circuit' Lifestyle: The marathon bacchanals known in the gay community as circuit parties are scrutinized.

Magazines

August 17, 1997|By Renee Graham | Renee Graham,BOSTON GLOBE

There's been much discussion in the gay community lately concerning the so-called "circuit parties," which have become annual high holy days for tens of thousands of gay men. For the uninitiated, circuit parties, in such gay meccas as Fire Island and Palm Springs, are marathon bacchanals where gay men ingest prodigious amounts of drugs, cruise incessantly, and bop and bounce their stunningly buff bods at 140 beats per minute.

They've been going on for years, but they've been under the microscope since last August, when a Fire Island partygoer overdosed and ended up comatose and on life support.

With activists like Larry Kramer and Michelangelo Signorile condemning circuit culture, Out sent its senior editor Peter McQuaid undercover (so to speak) to mingle among the bronzed and beautiful masses at Palm Springs' White Party last spring. Unfortunately, the piece meanders too much to say anything meaningful or revealing about this particular slice of gay life. As much as McQuaid tries to sniff at the proceedings, he never seems more than a budding Dionysus who chirps, "I am good enough!" whenever a pretty boy asks him to do something that, to paraphrase Morrissey, would have made Caligula blush.

For teens, with a difference

Seems the world just doesn't have enough magazines aimed for teen-age girls, so into the fray comes Jump. Its inaugural-issue mission statement says, in part, Jump is "about being real and staying real when life and everyone else around you says 'conform.' " Yes, there are stories about boys and makeup, and there's how-to-beat-the-blues advice from such stars as Cindy Crawford, Janeane Garofalo and Cuba Gooding Jr.

But there's also a piece on teens and HIV, with girls who became infected through various means. It doesn't mince words or shy from the harsh realities of HIV and AIDS.

Just as good is the piece "No Body's Perfect," which profiles six girls with different body types.

Electronia

The Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers, two British musical exports, were stamped as leaders of the Next Big Thing -- electronia -- even before their CDs appeared stateside. So, inevitably, there's Keith Flint, the Prodigy's shouter and self-proclaimed "fire-start-er" peering through heavily mascaraed eyes from the cover of the Rolling Stone's annual "hot" issue. The quartet's album, "Fat of the Land," entered the charts at No. 1 last month.

But even they aren't buying all the buzz. Leroy Thornhill, the group's dancer (yes, that's all he does), says: "We could be dead tomorrow. We're not the future of nothing -- take us for what we are now." To his credit, writer Neil Strauss, in a separate piece, makes it clear that electronia didn't just spring whole and complete from a London warehouse. He kicks a brief history of all that is musical and electronic, giving big props to such innovators as Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Sly and Robbie, Giorgio Moroder, New Order, and DJ legend Frankie Knuckles.

Also on the hot list, TV shows such as "When Animals Attack" and "World's Scariest Police Shootouts," dubbed "snuff TV"; teen-age thrill-killers; Comedy Central's new deliciously sick adult cartoon, "South Park."

Pub Date: 8/17/97

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