Gay Play

The nightlife scene is alive and well in the Montrose. Meet some of its stars.

And he's as likely to be found at the Social, the Belvedere, Boaka Bar or Opus as at Meteor or Rich's. "Charles makes it a point to reach out to straight people," says friend Chris Williamson. "He can walk into straight venues and everybody knows him. And God bless Charles, they know he's a flaming queen."

The Spoiled Boyz soirees are held at different clubs, usually downtown, every month. They start at 3:30 a.m. and last until many a family is driving to church. Hundreds of people from around the city, gay and straight, converge to dance all night long. Charles, who has an MBA from the University of Oklahoma, has honed in on a formula that works: never the same venue, never the same DJ, never the same theme.

One Spoiled Boyz party held at Play (now the Vault) was "all about teenage hang-ups," he says. Its flyer looked like the cover of Seventeen magazine, with Britney Spears in Spoiled Boyz T-shirt. Guests got to play with makeup kits, mirrors, fingernail polish, bubbles. Another, "Back to Spoiled," was held at Europa. There was a principal, a nun, pens and paper. After the party, he found short stories and art he says he "could frame" lying around the club. For the first time, M2M also will be producing and promoting this year's Pride parties.

Chris O'Toole
Daniel Kramer
Chris O'Toole
Daddy Bob Houghton and Kim Zigler
Daniel Kramer
Daddy Bob Houghton and Kim Zigler
Charles Soloman
Daniel Kramer
Charles Soloman

Charles holds a monthly Spoiled Boyz meeting, where 15 gay and 15 straight volunteers get together and brainstorm. He finds them at the parties themselves. "I always work my own door for the first couple hours of the party," he says. "And at your own party you have to sit with people you don't know…You're able to see who these people are and who wants to be more involved."

Charles is held up as a kind of social expert by his friends. "I remember Charles teaching me how to make an entrance into a room, so that when I walked in people would know I was there," says Chris. It's true that the man is hard to ignore. There's something imposing in his large, muscular frame, tasteful clothes and flashy rings. The main reason he gets attention, though, is because he's extroverted. "When we go out," says old friend Trevan Ross, "I know I'm gonna meet someone. Charles is not afraid to say hello. He tends to pull people towards him."

But while he may always have been open socially, Charles hasn't always been the belle of the ball. "For most of my life," he says, "I was overweight. At age 30, I weighed 300 pounds…and I'd only come out as being gay three years before that." He disappeared from the nightlife scene and immersed himself in aerobics, getting down to a low of 181 pounds and eventually having surgery to tighten his skin. In the mid-'90s, he won a couple of national aerobics awards. "When you're very overweight," he says, "you don't get attention other than 'He's fat.' It makes it harder to establish relationships that could turn into love." That may be the reason Charles hasn't had a boyfriend for several years -- he still hasn't forgotten being dismissed. "I'm the same person," he says. "The package is all that's changed."

Well, maybe not all that's changed. After all, Charles has gone from professional financial manager to professional partyer. Tonight at Meteor, he keeps slipping away, wandering to the other side of the bar to chat with some DJs he knows or to tease the bartender, who's wearing an Afro wig. After a while, his circle breaks up. Several Spoiled Boyz are headed over to JR.'s, and Charles plans to meet up with them. Maybe when he gets there, he'll run into Kara having her Jäger. The two know each other, of course.

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