Connie Francis, the songstress who legendarily caught Bobby Darrin’s eye before Miss Sandra Dee’s will be appearing in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow.  Ms. Francis is meeting with the city of Fort Lauderdale to discuss the scheduled Memorial Day Weekend events surrounding the 50th Anniversary of her classic beach flick, “Where the Boys Are.”

Ms. Francis – an American and malt shop icon – loves her gay fans and admirers.  She has even been quoted as saying that the main theme of the movie is, “The gay national anthem.”

If you have ever been consoled by Ms. Francis’ soulful, bittersweet voice during a break-up, you will be delighted to know she will be in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow.  If you do not know her work it’s a good time to become acquainted.  Her youthful, yet mature, recordings are a time capsule of bittersweet teenage romances.  Yet songs such as, “Where the Boys Are,” “He’s My Dreamboat,” and “Who’s Sorry Now,” are as relevant today as they were when they premiered.

Listen To Where The Boys Are:




I had a chance to speak to Mr. John McClaughlin, who is producing the event for Connie.   “We have known each other 20 years.  She contacted me a few weeks ago and since then I have spent more time since Jan 4th in Florida, where Connie lives, than NJ,” where Mr. McLaughlin makes his home and where Ms. Francis was raised.  “I have met with the mayor [of Fort Lauderdale] and we are all gung ho to do the anniversary of the movie.”

Some of the forthcoming events will be a Connie Francis look alike contest, which the performer has done in the past to support GLBT issues.

While we are all anxious to see Ms. Francis return to Fort Lauderdale in a hot pink Cadillac, surrounded by even hotter male models, in vintage beach attire, sponsored by Hot Spots magazine we are also excited about what this will mean for gay tourism here during these rough economic times.  I also spoke to Joseph A. Van Eron, who among other things is owner of the Liberty Suites, and developer of the first GLBT Task Force for Florida Tourism.

As he is also the president of the Dania Beach Tourism Council he wears many hats.  He spoke to me about what Connie’s 2010 appearance here will mean for the gay community in the Fort Lauderdale area, as it relates to tourism.  He has always believed that “to attract a gay market you need to understand the culture and history of the gay community.”

Mr. Von Eron should know, as he has long been involved with tourism and has previously met Ms. Francis through his time in New Jersey, where he also became acquainted with Mr. McLaughlin.  “I served on the New Jersey Tourism Commission from 92-95, and had the opportunity to meet Connie there. She was a friend of Governor Florio and the Sec of State.”

The main event, sponsored by Fort Lauderdale over the Memorial Day Saturday, will be Connie Francis’ Great American Beach Party.  This event, according to Mr. Von Eron, will be “more nostalgic.”

Fort Lauderdale, long trying to distance itself from its Spring Break past, is celebrating its former glory as a mid-century destination with this event.  However, more gay specific events will be designed in conjunction with the beach party.  These events, he promises will bring, “Gay heads to gay beds, and gay dollars into our gay businesses, while reinforcing that Fort Lauderdale is the premiere gay destination in the United States, truly,” he must have smiled as he said, “where the boys are!”

If you go to the Press Conference…

Friday, January 29, 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and A1A directly across from the world famous Elbo Room, one of the main filming locations for the 1960 classic movie, Where The Boys Are.

Some YouTube Videos for your enjoyment:

Chilane Turner -- Where The Boys Are Michael Callen sings "Where the Boys Are"