South Florida has become one of the world’s premier destinations to travel to for countless visitors. The LGBTQ+ community is no exception from Palm Beach to Pinecrest. Whether waltzing down Wilton Manors or playing on South Beach, you will feel the vibe and warmth of everything from Latin soul to artists thriving in warehouses. South Florida has the famous and the infamous. Here is a small sample of what it has to offer.
When people think of South Florida music, most of them begin to think about the Latin American music community. This is an integral part but there is even more to add to this tapestry. The music can relax you or it can vivaciously vibe you to the floor. Lighting a fire isn’t just for an evening in Coconut Grove. It’s also for this regions’ music in the soul.
Nicole Henry, an acclaimed jazz singer, does her regular concerts at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach. This diva won a 2013 Soul Train Jazz Award for her outstanding work. Her range and pizzaz will lighten the heart and leave you wanting more again and again. Frequenting the stages of downtown Miami is emerging legend Yoli Mayor. This R&B singer made it to the semifinals of America’s Got Talent and she hasn’t looked back sense. One of her hot spots to sing at is the Acoustic Coffee House at Capital One Café.
Lucy Grau lights up the stages of South Florida with her lovely salsa style voice. She also performs classics from the 1970’s to now. Her popular disco album known as “Alocada” is gaining notoriety throughout the entire region. You can frequently catch her performances at El Tucan in Miami and Ball & Chain Little Havana. Wilton Manors guitarist Albert Castiglia loves to headline at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton. He is known as one of the best Blues musicians in the local area. Castiglia makes frequent appearances also in Wilton Manors. His album “Masterpiece” recently won a Blues Music Award.
In addition to the Castiglia Band that includes namesake Albert, many other diverse music groups are found in the South Florida region. The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida takes the stage at holiday concerts, fundraisers, vigils and more. Their diversity is quite representative of their entire gay community. You will always be delighted to see them perform. Dan Bassett the Artistic Director of the South Florida Wind Ensemble will always be proud of his sixty top-notch performers. His instrumental troupe also supports the South Florida Pride Youth Band, Marching Band, and Jazz Ensemble. If you enjoy instrumental and classical, be sure not to miss this lovely group.
Sonlokos brings Latin meringue and salsa tropical life to the forefront at many venues in Little Havana. Performing at the Gay8 Festival and the Ball& Chain, this group of gentlemen will make you move your body like Nina Sky. Their fresh instrumentals bring many together in the region. Music duo Tony & Gloria perform jazz regularly at Alibi’s Monkey Bar in Wilton Manors. This duo lights up the stage with soft fresh vocals and warmth to make your soul sweat. Be sure to catch them each Wednesday.
Drag in South Florida always has bright lights, stages, and big names. However, there are times when they perform by the beach, in a casino, in a park—many alternatives to the standard LGBTQ bar scene. Regardless of venue, the heart and passion fueling their success is their unity and spirit to support each other and their community. Though many abound, a few will be mentioned here.
Wednesdays at Alibi in Wilton Manors don’t have to be just for drag. Many movers and shakers come to Trans Social Wednesdays. Headliners here include Champagne Bordeaux, Kylee Hunter, and Angelique Vanitas. Champagne dons classic gowns and performs staple numbers, Kylee Hunter loves to rock new world glamorous, and Angelique sashays in a unique lounge-cabaret style like no other.
“Don’t be a dry hoe; be a greasy bitch”, states Miami drag legend Tiffany Fantasia. The Palace Show Bar on Ocean Drive blends amateur and drag icons in one spectacular place. Fantasia electrifies the stage with her epic high energy performances. TP Lords sparkles the night away in her sequins and solidly poised matching outfits. Diva legend Mother LePaige will not let you forget her flowing garb and electrifying smile. Join the weekly brunch as not to miss many others who are welcomed such as Tiara Love Dupree, Fantasia Gaga Royale and Joanna James.
Sunsets and vistas of color fill the daytime as hot tunes abound well into the night. For the nightlife, South Florida abounds in excellence like no other place in the state. Sifting through all the options can be difficult but it is usually best to venture out and simply embrace the community. From Latin Dj’s to soul to funk and hip hop, this region has some of the best disc jockeys found worldwide.
DJ’s Mike James. Josh Riptide, and Cesar Hernandez blast the night away at the hotspots of South Beach. They know how to provide soothing sounds to transport the soul into a world of bliss. Come sway with them and move to the rhythm at the Palace Bar and other Ocean Drive spots. DJ Ed Talks rocks Hunters Night Club in Wilton Manors. He blends core hits with classic into mashups that are second to none.
For a unique “out of this world” experience, DJ Ron provides a stellar blast of mixed music and video madness. He frequents Hunters on Saturdays. DJ Styles and DJ AJ Reddy pack the dance floors of Alibi in Wilton Manors frequently. Reddy hosts many of the hit and top 40 nights as well as Styles throwing down the Latin beats.
South Florida isn’t short on laughs either. With a resilient spirit to hurricanes, this region often thrives with the simplicity of belly-rolling laughter. Be sure to explore all the area has to offer from theaters to restaurants and small lounges as well as big clubs. Here you will be able to take in humor ranging from the Latin quarters of SOBE and Little Havana to the gayest town on earth Wilton Manors.
Jabari Gayle, Nika Williams, and Joshua Snyder take the stage at Miami’s Flappers Comedy Club. Men and women equally are able to share the stage. Jabari spreads the love and bring his friends to the stage to share in the laughs. Ronnie Larsen has his own sexy naked male theater called Wilton Theater Factory. Larsen brings in the best acts from around the area. Larsen uses the theater stage to create risqué laughs. He covers topics from pornography to Grindr to coming out. Be sure to check out one of his shows.
Kayla Kisseado is one of the best young personalities in all of South Florida. She hosts “We Got Jokes” at Hunters alongside Brian Coronado, Eric Contreras, Shana Manuel and others. Giving back is also on the stage for this comedians, as they fundraise for the Florida Aids Walk and Poverello Hunger Fighters. Dominique Gelin has been a finalist for the Ultimate Miami comedian and was part of the Boca Raton Comedy Festival. She frequently returns to her home base of South Florida to headline numerous events.
Drag Burlesque explores “50 Shades of Drag” and it’s “strange what desire will make foolish lovers do”. Spotlight Burlesque and acrobatics brings so many wonderful acts together. These are just two samples of the creativity of South Florida. If cabaret and burlesque are your forte, then you will want to zoom your way to this area of the state. The variety is unsurpassed from Jupiter to Coconut Grove.
Zena Tarantino, Jadynn Starr, Molly Carter and Bill Nichols line the stage at “Spotlight” at Pub Wilton Manors, a unique acrobatic, drag, burlesque and live singing experience. Zena will dance her way into your heart with her creative makeup and costumes. Jadynn will grab your attention with his Burlesque and acrobatic movements on swing and in dance. For shades on the stage, Dee Dee Van Carter, Kyla Taylor, Willow Austin, and Iiyana Chanell flow through the room in a style most utterly fabulous. They love to create sensual themes that explore erotic portals unbeknownst to the common bystander. You can catch them at Monkey Business Bar in Wilton Manors.
Crimson Rose Burlesque performs from Palm Beach to the palms of South Beach. Dressed in vixen red and silver, her submission themed shows in South Beach blow the doors off Ocean Drive. Club Submission South Beach brings an industrial alternative vibe unlike any other. Crimson also dons more traditional wear in her apperances in Palm Beach for “Holy Sessions”. At the bar Respectable Street, she dazzles everyone. Creative director Nicole Halliwell is partnering with the Eagle Wilton Manors to create an all new Boylesque show. Her style of shape-shifting, insult-slinging is sure to make a splash when this show opens.
South Florida Rhythm
This is the rhythm of South Florida nights. They are like no other. They are vicious and unrelenting but unprecedented on the scale of irresistibility. Take your flight in Wilton Manors or shimmy down Ocean Drive. Party in Palm Beach or salsa in Little Havana. No matter what you do—appreciate this plethora of options.
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Written by Johnathan Soots
Hailing from North Carolina, Jonathan Soots relocated to Orlando in 2001. He began a seven year career with Universal Orlando. After completing high school, he attended college in Tennessee. He worked in the church world and then came out in 2010. Around this time, he completed a Masters in Teaching. Jonathan presently teaches for Tutor Doctor, Challenge Island and Qkids English Learning. Travel is his favorite activity, and he has worked briefly for an LGBT travel company. In addition to enjoying Atlantis gay cruises, he and his husband Stephen enjoy spending time with their silky terrier Dusty. They live in the South Pasadena area of St. Petersburg.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.