Todd Fiscus and Ceron on the night of their Circus extravaganza.
The grand art deco exterior of the Faena Hotel. Site of Ceron's Nickel Nickel. (Photo Todd Eberle)
You know you are in for a great birthday party weekend when you receive oversized and customized raffia totes. And, there are customized plastic cups for your many poolside glasses of rose.
One of the murals created by artist Juan Gatti from the Faena's lobby. Look closely and you'll see a Leo - did they know Ceron was coming and add this in?
The airbrush t-shirts I commissioned for Ceron's Nickel Nickel birthday.
Shelby Hodge, Kelley Lloyd
Patricia Quirino, Billy Fong
Suzanne & David Droese of Dallas
Brooke Hortenstine of Dallas, Todd & Paige Johnson of Houston
Gillian Sarofim, Meredith Flores
Ceron, Meredith Flores
Meredith Harper New York
Luis Araujo, Patricia Quirino Dallas
Whenever one receives an invitation to one of Todd Fiscus’ fêted affairs, no need to think on it, just immediately respond with an affirmative RSVP. When I was sent the link for “Ceron’s Nickel Nickel” I knew that I was in for some unrivaled frivolity.
OK, I will fess up that I’m occasionally not good with subtle, innuendo titles. For years living in Atlanta, I had no idea why everyone laughed so much over the bar name — Swinging Richards (hint hint: it was a stripper bar). In the case of this invitation, I didn’t quite grasp “Nickel Nickel” until I went to the website to find that it was Ceron’s 55th birthday.
First off, I rarely believe in sharing my age, but when you look as flawless as our Ceron, I guess you can. He is like a fine wine that seems to only get better over time. On that theme of great wine, he pairs with almost anything or better yet, anyone.
Gracious and informative terms a sommelier might use to describe a glass could also be applied to Ceron. Crisp (or at least his nattily tailored Tom Ford dinner jacket is). Soft (he has an incredibly warm and generous side which seems to have only amplified to new levels with the birth of he and Todd’s daughter, Ana Emilia Ceron Fiscus). Dry (yes, he can shell out that type of humor in spades when the occasion calls for it). And finally — intensely flavorful (in every sense of the word).
His husband, Todd leaves nothing to chance. All details are shared upfront, some perhaps in a teasing manner, along with tips on attire. However, on the flip side, his multi-day events never seem overprogrammed or too stressful to keep up with. As with any proper invitation, there were some follow-up options that included: QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? EMAIL [email protected] CONCERNS? GET OVER IT
Guests were asked to come to Miami and stay at the famed (and slightly infamous) Faena Hotel. I love Miami since it’s always a blast to hook-up with some Brazilionnaires for a naughty evening. The big birthday weekend had a narrative and the invite even began with a “Plan of Attack.”
We were told that “Our beloved Leo has begun his hunt towards 55, and what better way to ring in this new year than with the ring leader himself. In classic Ceron fashion, we’re headed to Miami for yachts, booze, and beaches. Need I say more?”
One can never be prepared for the weather that might occur during Miami’s hurricane season months. Flash thunderstorms are sometimes a daily onslaught. The plan for Saturday was to “Yachty like there’s no tomorrow.” Alas, lightning waylaid those plans and boating was rescheduled for Sunday with the poolside cabana party moved to Saturday.
I should have apparently bought stock options on rosé since it was flowing in abundance. Was Ceron like Jesus with the fishes and loaves? There seemed to be no end to the pretty bottles being brought out nonstop from the Faena staff. In fact, a few days later as I write this my pores still seem to be sweating out the pink stuff.
On to the main event. The Sunday evening soiree could warrant a six-parter docuseries on Netflix. (I’d binge-watch it a few weekends most assuredly.) The teaser from the website had read: “Come one, come all to the Ceron Circus! We’ll begin in the sand and end with an indescribable night of wild whimsy. Release your inner Leo with the King of the Jungle.”
The fabulously appointed and decadent Faena Living Room was to be the start to our evening with a handsome and slightly intimidating suited man guarding the velvet ropes. Upon gaining access (if thoroughly adorned in glamorous gold attire and — perhaps some attitude), you made your way to the bar for drinking to begin (or resume, which was the case for many of the guests).
A station was set as an oversized Plat de Mer which was flanked by two daunting Leo ice sculptures. In various corners, Marlene Dietrich-like models in pre-World War II Berlin era tuxedos and top hats moved rhythmically to the sounds of the DJ and drummer. Lots of chit chat filled the room as everyone shared tales of their origin stories with the birthday boy (I personally met him at the Dallas Museum of Art’s 2010 Art Ball)
Then out paraded three geisha-like girls who were expertly whipping around fans almost as if they were deadly chic weapons in a kung fu movie as the Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams” began blasting. Then off came their kimonos to reveal beaded burlesque outfits as they were joined by shirtless male dancers with disco balls as heads. Call this portion, the Fall of Rome meets Dali. And this was all just the beginning.
As had been instructed in the invitation, we were escorted from the Living Room and brought to the Faena Theater. This gorgeous, intimate room that only seats 150 seemed even more special this evening since our group was a third of that capacity. This was the room where legends like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin performed during the heyday of the 1950s and ’60s.
On this evening, another legendary performance was occurring. Cue champagne flutes. Cue aerialists. Cue a 20-plus person performance group with singers and musicians. Cue more champagne flutes. Cue the ultimate drag superstar, Milk, who many know from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Cue passed decadent cake pops with more champagne. Finally, cue the assortment of burger sliders, French fries and fried jalapeno poppers that had been left for guests to bring back to their rooms in hopes that a little more food might help alleviate the inevitable hangover.
Upon my return to Dallas, I was hoping to find a chic emergency room where I might secure a slow-drip IV of Tom Ford’s “Fucking Fabulous” so I could rally for the week ahead. Todd Fiscus had done it again. He created a marathon, that wasn’t exhausting at the time — but did call for a few days of post-event rest.
Ceron’s Nickel Nickel celebration resembled a classical concerto that had crescendo like moments (maybe those Miami thunderstorms or Milk’s fabulous drag show) and reflective and gorgeous lulls (when we all got time with their beautiful daughter).
Todd Fiscus is the closest thing we have to the Wizard of Oz (perhaps there is really a green curtain at ToddEvents from behind which the magic is created). I know this event was especially poignant as he was celebrating his husband, the love of his life, our Leo — Ceron.
Thank you, boys.
For more on Ceron’s wild 55th birthday, read Shelby Hodge’s report.