What is The Spirit of the Circuit?
The roots of the gay Circuit can be traced back to the 1950’s (perhaps even further), to speakeasies, where non-partnered dancing was evolving. At the time, it was illegal for men to dance with men, and the same for women, with women. Eventually this led to people dancing on their own, out of fear of the establishment being raided by police.
By the late 1960’s, gay men had established the Fire Island Cherry Grove, where afternoon tea dances were arranged. It was illegal for bars to knowingly sell alcohol to homosexuals, so gay men privately promoted these functions, to take place in the afternoon; to avoid attracting attention, and to allow those who needed, to catch the last ferry back to the mainland.
In the 1970’s, after Stonewall; police abuse, and before the beginning of the AIDS crisis, these “disco parties”, resembled underground rave parties. They usually only lasted one evening, and were held in venues, in metropolitan areas, where there was a large gay population. The Flamingo, and 12 West nightclubs (NYC), were notable venues that held these parties. With its Black Party, The Saint is said to be the catalyst, for what would become the modern Circuit party.
What was to become another Circuit party, was founded during the same time period by Corbett Reynolds, an artist, philanthropist, and nightclub owner in Columbus, Ohio. Initially, Reynolds envisioned a one-night party, to end all parties, designed around the theme of the color red, which was held at Reynolds’ nightclub, Rudely Elegant. The Red Party was born.
The early 1980’s saw the start of the AIDS crisis, and entire communities were affected. Several benefit parties sprang up around the country, which were run by volunteer organizations that donated portions of their proceeds to HIV/AIDS-related charities. Each party had its own theme, and many were named after colors. White Party, Black & Blue Ball, and Southern Decadence are just a few examples.
Today, flipping through your latest copy of JustCircuit magazine, you will find well over a hundred Circuit parties and events in one year. Barcelona, Spain even hosts a “Circuit Festival”, which spans over two weeks, featuring multiple parties daily.
To us at LGP, LLC, The Spirit of the Circuit, is a celebration of the freedom to dance, with a history that goes as far back, to when it was illegal for men to dance together. We want to honor and respect the history of the Circuit party tradition. It is a staple of our gay culture.
Much like The Saint is revered for being the catalyst that launched the Circuit party, we would like do our part to preserve the great heritage, responsibility, and the joy that Circuit parties have brought to so many people throughout the years.
It is our goal to give back to the community, and we will always be looking for ways to do just that. To us, this is the quintessential essence, of The Spirit of the Circuit.