Jet Set: Winter with Chi Chi LaRue

Winter Travel 2012-2013

MW: Do you go back to Hibbing?

LARUE: Not since my parents died. I go to Minneapolis.

MW: Congratulations on your recent one-year anniversary of being sober. I’m seeing more and more friends become sober.

LARUE: It’s the new black, darling.

MW: Is that difficult at New Year’s? The signature drink is Champagne.

LARUE: And Champagne was my poison. That was the demon I chose. It’s really funny, because now I don’t desire it whatsoever. DJ’ing last night at Rasputin, for example, there were so many people dropping drinks, girls getting carried out by their friends, people falling down — people looking tore up. And I’m having a blast. I’m playing fabulous music, I’m dancing, I’m drinking sugar-free Monster. And I can get in my car, drive home, and feel good at 7 a.m. even though I got to bed at 2:30 a.m.

MW: But do you have any advice for people who might be navigating their first New Year’s Eve sober?

LARUE: Last year, for my first New Year’s Eve sober, I brought my friend Bradley – 24 years sober – to Vegas with me. I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard, because I’d had less than three months sober at that point. But just having him there, it really helped.

I used to really hate Vegas, but now I really like it. I used to associate Vegas with booze. Now I associate Vegas with really nice people I’ve met there. Share Nightclub is really fun. It’s everything friendly, great clubbing, gorgeous go-go boys. I just saw Barbra Streisand there and that was amazing. I saw Celine Dion there – amazing. I didn’t want to go, but my friend Kevin Williamson brought me. And I was squealing like a little girl! It was just so over the top, so gay, so flamboyant. It was like a drag show. At the end, when she’s singing the Titanic song and the water comes shooting out, it’s just like, Oh! Vegas is really fun.

MW: Do they do it up for winter? All red and green and sparkly?

LARUE: Vegas is always over the top. I say Vegas is like a drag queen: really ugly during the day, and stunningly gorgeous at night.

MW: In that same corner of the country, you certainly know your way around Palm Springs. Any recommendations?

LARUE: If you can get past the bad drivers, it’s pretty beautiful. There are lots of gay people in Palm Springs. There’s a lot of great shopping, amazing consignment shops, retro furniture…. It’s just really nice. I highly recommend brunch at the Parker hotel.

MW: Do you decorate for the holidays?

LARUE: I don’t, because I’m never here. But being in London really put me in a Christmas mood. It’s so Christmas-y there. The lights in Covent Garden, Soho, the theaters and flower markets and street performers – and Vivienne Westwood! They really do it up nice in London.

MW: Well, I do hope you get that white Christmas in Minnesota. And travel safely.

LARUE: And I hope the world doesn’t end on the 21st, because I’ve got so much more to do. Let’s hope that Mayan calendar just means a new beginning for everybody, for America, for the world.

Follow Chi Chi Larue’s winter travels via Twitter @djchichilarue.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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