[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’ve spent any time in the gay bars of West Hollywood or Silver Lake, you’ve probably seen Mario Diaz. He has the body and mustache of a 70’s porn star. And with a wry smile and a glint in his eye, he promises more trouble than you can probably handle. For those involved in the gay nightlife anywhere in America, Mario Diaz is legendary.
But Diaz was not always one of the kings of LA’s gay nightlife. It was in Seattle, as a high-schooler, where he realized he could throw a party better than the rest. It was in New York where he became famous. And it was in Los Angeles where he found freedom and happiness.
“I’ve always had an intense drive and ambition, and right now my ambition is to appreciate what’s in front of me,” Diaz said “My life is so blessed”
Today, Diaz is an actor, dancer, model and musician, and above all the architect of the sexiest and most scandalous events on either side of the Silver Lake/WeHo divide. His events are well attended by both camps.
To walk into a Mario Diaz party is to step into another time and place. Diaz controls every detail: From the high 70’s celebration of dance culture of Full Frontal Disco at Akbar; to the nautical-themed naughtiness of Brutus, his monthly party at the Faultline, where fur-chested men wear sailor hats, and chomp on corn cob pipes; to BFD (Big Fat Dick) at FUBAR in West Hollywood, the longest running gay nightlife event in LA, where dead-sexy Go-Go boys and slightly vintage porn create an atmosphere of 90’s-casual sleaze.
At a Diaz party, you’ll probably see over-the-top decorations. You’ll see unique drag and dance performances, to go along with meticulously chosen and styled go-go boys. And, Mario’s hope is, you’ll be transported to another world.
“I just like to create the kind of party that I’d like to be at. Dark, sexy and with some style. The kind of place you want to cause some trouble,” Diaz said.
Diaz first started throwing parties in Seattle while in high school.
“I remember getting my fake ID, and being so excited to get out into the bars,” Diaz said. “But once I had it I realized there was nothing I wanted to do. Every time I went out I’d think to myself ‘I can do better than this.’”
So Mario used that fake ID and his silver tongue to convince the owners of one of the local gay bars to let him throw a party.
“It was called Mario’s Beer Bath,” Diaz said. “I did all the flyers myself. Convinced a bunch of my friends to do these unannounced pop-up lip-sync performances. I had candy striper shot girls and ‘fashion police’ in cop uniforms handing out citations for awesome and awful outfits. It was chaos.”
It was also very lucrative.
“I’d never made as much money as I did that night. And people had an amazing time. I realized I had found my calling.”
By the mid 90’s that calling led Mario to New York’s East Village, where he opened The Cock, a den of vice that became infamous for its cheap drinks, deviant dark room and “no rules” atmosphere.
“New York in the mid 90’s was the wildest and most exciting time in my life,” he said.
Diaz talked openly about the all-night benders, and more illicit substances, consumed at the parties — painting a picture of decadence bordering on the limits of human tolerance.
“It was a place where anything could happen, and did all the time,” he said. “Nothing can compare to my time there, and nothing should. I’m not that man anymore.”
Those also were the Rudy Giuliani years, with crack-downs on petty crime, drug use and indecency. Some felt those crack downs to be draconian. Nevertheless, gradually New York began to change.
“It stopped being fun, and I knew it was time to go,” Diaz said. “Besides, I never loved the weather in New York.”
At the urging of drag star Jackie Beat (Mario’s self-described “Tran-ma,” who first introduced him to the New York nightlife), Mario moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
“LA gets a bad rap, but this is where the creativity is,” Diaz said. “And as an actor, you can toil away forever in New York doing off-off-Broadway, or you can move to Hollywood and do TV, commercials and film. I was able to buy my home by doing a commercial.”
Since moving to LA, Mario has done more than just commercial work. He has been cast in several feature films, including Hollywood Sex Wars, in which he stars as a Machiavellian Don Juan named “Johnny Eyelash,” and the new hit gay web series Where The Bears Are.
And, currently, he is the subject of an indie art documentary.
“It’s called Mario Impresario,” Diaz said. “And it’s about the things that I do, and the parties I throw — My world and all the amazing, creative people in my life.”
And who wouldn’t want a closer look at that world?