Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mix to Download: 8ball of the Space Cowboys

Space Cowboy extraordinaire 8ball whips up a new mix of minimal/electro for your listening pleasure:

Your Friday Guide for June 1, 2007

Ah, something for everybody this Friday, whether you're a breaks freak, techno monster, or loungey house head.

Bar Nights and Weeklies

Charlie Horse at the Cinch
Best place to go out and have a cheap drink while being entertained by drag queen antics. Recently voted Best Drag Show in San Francisco by the SF Weekly! Music by DJ Dirty Knees and Bearzbub is more rock and new-wave oriented, but at least it won't interfere with your conversation. Check out my latest review of Charlie Horse at The Cinch.

Fag Fridays at The EndUp
Reliable, if not all that exciting, but it goes all night, expect to pay around $20 to get in and to dance to pretty typical San Francisco deep house.

FUK Werk Fridays Happy Hour at 111 Minna
A new minimal techno happy hour in downtown, yee-haa! Check out my review of Fuk Werk Fridays.

One-Offs and Monthlies

Get Freaky!
Names, darling, names! Cut Chemist, Bassnectar, the Space Cowboys, the whole world of San Francisco breaks. . . if only it wasn't at 1015. $15 Pre-sales. Check out my reveiw of Club 1015.

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Ritchie Hawtin and Magda at Mighty
Okay, seriously, there's not much that can really compete with this event. I'll be there with my buds fer sure.
9PM - 4AM, $25 pre-sales.

Garth and Jeno Back2Back at Club 222
So maybe you're looking for something a bit more chill for your Friday evening - then go check out two of San Francisco's finest DJs spining "leftfield disco" in a very cool space.
10PM - 2AM, $10

Lucky Pierre at The Stud
I've been trying to make it out to this event for the past three months since it has great MySpace pics, and I'm down with any gay bar night that stretches out beyond the typical musical fare of disco and poptronica (looks like there's some overlap here with the kids from The Workout and Lights Down Low). Unfortunately, Hawtin trumps anything else for me this time out, but this is probably your best bet for a fun night of gay clubbing if that's what you're looking for.
10PM - 3AM

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Marke B. on San Francisco Techno

A couple weeks ago Marke B. told me via email that he had been planning a big feature story on San Francisco techno, but the newspaper biz being what it is, he had to chop up his feature into a couple different installments of his SuperEgo column. This week he gets down into the meat of it and talks to all the folks I've been writing about here, snapping up some nice quotes (Greg Bird of Kontrol referring to minimal techno as "Windex music") and giving a very concise lay of the land. Check it out and put it in your bookmarks, he's got all the parties listed in one nice neat lil' space.

Ask Dr. Rock: So This Is What It Takes to Be a DJ?

Over at the SFBG they've started a new feature called Ask Dr. Rock, which this week features advice on how to be a DJ. Lotsa name dropping of bands, with the advice being primarily about having a good record collection and schmoozing: "Do you really think that Michael Mayer or DJ Kaos just played sick tracks and all of a sudden people started flying them everywhere?" Hmmmm . . . .

Further Fun with the Grim Reaper

There's nothing like coming home from a chill campout to hear your mother's voice on your answering maching saying that your step-father "is still hanging in there." After some frantic phone calls home, to her cell phone, and then finally to my sister, I found out that, while I had been drinking beer and lounging in hot tubs, my step-father had had a "massive" heart attack. It was one of those mere minutes situations, where if he hadn't been working with someone who was also an EMT, if the rescue squad hadn't been virtually across the street, if it hadn't been early Saturday morning when there was low traffic, and if the cardiac catheterization unit hadn't been standing by to shove a stent up his femoral artery and open up a blood route to the lower chamber of his heart, he would have been dead. At age 52 . As it was, he just suffered more pain than three shots of morphine could mitigate.

When I was finally able to talk with my Mom on Sunday evening she said that my step-father had made his choices, and now was suffering the consequences. Those choices, specifically, were smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day for almost forty years, not quitting smoking two years ago when a doctor told him he had a leaky valve, and generally working himself to an early grave and not doing anything to improve his health. Like me, his diet was distinctly redneck, and I guess his fondness for bourbon and Coca-Cola probably didn't help much either. Fortunately, he's now been through the most effective aversion therapy ever for quitting smoking, to the point where even the thought of smoking a cigarette reminds him of the pain and makes him nauseated. Of course, now there's still the heart surgery to get through.

Of course this put me in mind of the many choices I've had to make, and the ones I've seen made by others. As my birthdays have progressed I've had more opportunity to see the consequences of some of those choices, and many have been as grim as those suffered by my stepfather. Funny thing is that a great majority of them seem to involve drugs, from nicotine to alcohol to speed. I've been contemplating many of my own choices lately, and trying to see them more as choices than as the playing out of fate. Too often in the club scene it seems that people are not being guided by the idea that they are making choices in what they do to themselves, how they spend their time, or even who they spend it with; rather, everything seems dictated by the flow of the currents around us. This weekend, in whatever you do, take a moment to think about your own choices, and whatever choice you make, please realize that it is a choice, and has the potential to impact not just yourself, but all your friends and those who love you as well.

Upcoming Event: Ritchie Hawtin at Mighty, Friday June 1

The master of minimal techno, the man with the rockinest' asymmetrical haircut since, well, ever, will be laying down the tracks with Magda of BPitch Control at Mighty, this Friday, June 1. Get your tickets now, because I can guarantee that everbody who didn't go to Michael Mayer last week will be going to hear Ritchie. $25 is steep, but you'll definitely get your money's worth from a man who usually plays venues twice the size in Europe.

Upcoming Event: Koinonea's 10th "2012" Party, Yellow Cosmic Sun, Saturday June 2

It doesn't get much more old-skool than this: Koinonea, a collective that was founded by Lorin Ashton (Bassnectar) and others, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their annual Koinonea party this Saturday, June 2. That's right, they've been at it since 1997. I've had some great times at this event in the past, and though psytrance is not my thing these days, I've got my two tickets already ordered because this is one of THOSE events. One room, starting off with some lush dowtempo and then accelerating into uplifting psytrance for your journey into the cosmic realms. The location is strictly underground (though I think I can guess where it will be) and will be emailed to ticket-holders in advance of the event. These folks know how to put on an excellent underground, so if you want something that will really have the flava of the old-skool, hit the link below and get your tickets now because they will sell out.

Update: Just got the word at 10.00AM Friday morning that tickets are SOLD OUT. Sorry if you didn't get yours, keep your eyes open same time next year for the 11th installment.

Event Review: Fools at C and S

Three hours north of the city there is a man-made paradise that has been planted on the side of mountain that, thirty-five years ago, was a clear-cut ecological disaster. Founded by a self-described “hippy draft dodger,” this off-the-grid, sustainable farm also includes a private campground that, from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, hosts events with names like Kamp Kink, Fortuna, Queen Acres, Friends and Family, and Sweet. This past weekend the boyfriend and I wrangled guest spots (and DJ slots) at an event called Fool’s. Though it was not the weekend we expected when we left the city, it was nonetheless an opportunity to clear the head of the constant city buzz, play some music, and take in some much needed chill time.

I’ve been to several events at this space over the past years, and any invitation is one that should certainly be accepted. This one came courtesy of our friends DJ Mermaid and Jovino, and arrived at a time when the boyfriend and I definitely needed time away from the city together. Traveling to this space, which I will refer to as C&S, is always an undertaking, and this particular trip was a veritable comedy of errors that included forgetting “something” I had been saving for an event like this for several months (as well as the usual Altoids tin that I take along for such occasions), getting onto 80 and going across the Bay Bridge instead of the Golden Gate, and neglecting to lay in any food for ourselves, since we were expecting more of a communal kitchen arrangement. That we had to scavange for a few basic necessities and accessories was not particularly onerous, however, since, like Burning Man, C&S usually provides. We arrived on Friday night in the kind of irritable mood that arises when you’ve had to endure single-lane highway traffic for a while, but C&S functions in many ways like a decompression chamber, so that after you’ve been there for a while, all those nasty bubbles begin to percolate out of your system.

Fool’s was different than other events that I’ve attended at C&S in that it was very family-oriented – I’m not used to seeing so many strollers, or breast-feedings, or naked children running around. Though we met other gay boys through the course of the weekend, the boyfriend and I felt a little odd in this environment, as though we were the couple exhibiting the most sexual novelty. In looking at the various photos that folks have posted of the event so far I’ve noticed a predominant number of “mother with child in nature” photos, and the veritable celebration of the fertile feminine is a bit challenging to those of us who think of children as things that should be neither seen nor heard. On Saturday afternoon a notebook was being passed in which you were asked to respond to questions like “What have you not done that you would like to try?” I responded, without much consideration, “Underage youth.” In retrospect perhaps this was not the best response for this group.

The boyfriend (in his guise as Lord Kook) and I each got prime DJ spots on Saturday night, though the timing worked out so that, at 8PM, I was playing techno to a line of people queued up for dinner. There was booty-shaking in the line, but I also knew there were people there who hate techno and would have preferred not to have been so much of a captive audience. It was a challenging situation, including having a woman with a crying child seated behind me at a table who then asked me to turn it down because my techno was what was making the child so unhappy. That’s right, kids, I play music that makes babies cry. Lord Kook’s set was much better, and better received, and then Jovino played out the night with a really great downtempo set. Lord Kook and I both came away wishing we had more of different kinds of music we could have played, and if we are able to swing the invites to Queen Acres in August (a queer event), I think we will have worked out some sets that are more attuned to playing an outdoor space than the clubs and warehouses (and their particular audiences) that we have grown used to.

This space has camping events all through the summer, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, know a couple Burners, or have found yourself at an underground party or two over the years, you probably know someone who could swing an invite to this special place for you. Start asking, because you’ll be very happy when you get to experience it for yourself. As for the boyfriend and I, this weekend was enough to convince us to skip Burning Man this year, and instead focus our time and energy on some nice long weekends at C&S events.

Monday, May 28, 2007

This Weekend I Learned . . . .

  • that I can play techno that makes babies cry
  • that sometimes forgetting what you meant to bring with you is the best thing that can happen
  • that you shouldn't do push-ups in poison oak (actually, the boyfriend learned that one). Sex isn't such a good idea either.
All this, plus lizards, lizards, lizards in the next installment of sfscene.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Upcoming Event: Opulent Temple Insta-Party, Sunday May 27

Okay kids, I'm literally out the door for a weekend of party camping (whoo-hoo!), but this popped into my inbox and I figured I would share. C'mon, how often do you get to party like a maniac on a Sunday? And since it's Opulent Temple you know it'll be Burner-rific.

Opulent Bonus Party :: Sunday - May 27th

Opulent Temple spontaneous combustion insta-party!
Sunday, May 27th

The stars have aligned with 2 international superstars in the breaks/ tech funk
world being around for some spontaneous fun for the Opulent Temple. So, to make
it a memorable Memorial Day weekend, we've convinced them to come throw down
for free to help out the Opulent Temple. Insta-epic party!!!

With very special guests ::

Meat Katie (Lot 49 /, UK) (!)

Dylan Rhymes (Lot 49, UK) (!)
Syd Gris (Opel / Opulent Temple)
Hoj (Opel /
Tamo (Angels of bAss)
Billy Casazza (Opulent Temple / Nutbass)
Raydeus (Pronoia)
Nathan Vain (Opulent Temple)
Cosmic Selector (Opulent Temple)
Dulce Vita (Opulent Temple)
Dex Stakker (Opulent Temple, Deck Ade)
Chad North (Garage Mahal, Deck Ade)
Drew (Opulent Temple)
Astro (Opulent Temple /

$10 dressed funky or simply tell the cashier you're a friend
$15 otherwise
3 dance areas, chill bus, BM visuals
Bring your Toys!

At Mighty
119 Utah St. @ 15th
10pm-late night

Posted by: Little B

Event Review: Workout at Le Duplex

It's always a good sign when you start off your evening thinking "Oh, hey, I'll go have a drink and check this out, and then get myself home for a decent bedtime since I have to work tomorrow" and then find yourself walking home very toasty after having closed out the party. Such was my experience of Workout at Le Duplex, hosted by the kids behind Luxxury, Johnatron and Baron von Luxxury, where the boyfriend and I kept thinking, hey, this is cool, let's have another drink and see what happens.

What happened was a fun set of dirty electro disco from the Baron hisself, some strange 80s mixes from Pozibelle (including one of ABCs "How to be a Millionaire" that inspired my first ever DJ anxiety dream, flipping through my records looking for this track as the previous DJ's record spun down to its final groove, the crowd all waiting for me to lay down the next one), and an awesome awesome set of knarzy electrotechno grooves from Brooklyn's Devin Dirt (including his great remix of Luxxury's "Rock and Roll is Evil"). Devin is at it again tonight at Lights Down Low, and the Luxxury boys will be playing a live set, so go go go check it out, I cannot possibly think of a better way to spend your Friday night. Workout is a monthly on the fourth Thursday, and though turnout was low last night (maybe twenty people on the dancefloor at the height of the night) owing, I think, to the holiday AND Michael Mayer at Mezzanine, this feels to me like the kind of scene where you're going to get to see people that you'll be hearing a lot about later. And did I mention that there are cupcakes?

As for Le Duplex, it was Le Suck. I remember when this space used to be a gay leather bar called The Loading Dock (I even spent some time suspended from the ceiling during one memorable evening), and aside from tarting the place up with a red and white color scheme, some cheap-ass lights for the dance area, and a stripper pole, not much has been done to improve the space. The sound system was truly terrible for this kind of music, two EAW speakers that handle only highs and mids up on the ceiling and a subwoofer that was CUT OFF. Really, no bass at all. Plus, $6 for well drinks and $7 for Stoli and tonic is outrageous. We had a drink earlier in the evening at Wish, the home of handbag house (and a crowd that creeps me out), and it was a buck cheaper than Le Duplex, which is much, much lower on the club evolutionary scale. And then, they flipped the lights up at 1.15, after Barbeau had been DJing for what seemed like twenty minutes. Indifferent and surly staff, expensive drinks, lousy sound, and they don't even have the decency to let the party run its course. Here's hoping Le Duplex gets rid of its lousy attitude and upscale pretensions ($170 dollar bottle service on other nights to sit in cheezy upholstered booths) and realizes that it's really just a hole-in-the-wall club in a desolate part of the Mission.

More on Club 6 and Mixed Use Issues

One of the constant problems plaguing the scene in San Francisco is clubs being located in "mixed use" areas that are both commercial and residential. In SoMa, for example, which used to be primarily industrial wasteland, you had a perfect location for clubs; they could pump the beats at night and no one cared because no one was there. But then, during the boom, there was a lot of residential development in SoMa (really the only part of SF left to develop) and there were inevitable conflicts between residents who wanted their quiet and night and the club goers who wanted to party. In recent years these problems have only gotten worse as limitations on available space force clubs and residential developments into ever closer proximity.

The case of Club 6 on 6th Street is shaping up to be a test case of how to deal with so-called "mixed-use" areas. As reported by Steven T. Jones in the San Francisco Bay Guardian (a report that has caused some friction to erupt between that paper and local politics blog, Club 6 is located in the basement of a building that also houses a residential hotel, and the sound from the club reverberates throughout the building. The club owner has allegedly taken steps to improve the soundproofing, but, having been in Club 6 on a couple of occasions, I can tell you that the bass will vibrate the fillings out of your teeth. Given that Club 6 tends to host mainly hip-hop and reggae events, where you're going to hear a lot of music with long, deep, bass sounds, I'm not particularly suprised to hear that this sound travels beyond the ceiling of the club (a little physics lesson here, at least as I've learned it: waves have actual length, and in the cases of long waves, which are at the bass end of the spectrum, you won't even hear the sound unless you're at the end of the end of the wave itself. This is why if you stand right on top of a sub woofer, you won't hear the bass nearly the way you will if you step back several feet. For a long 30hz wave, which is about as low as humans can hear, it takes about 20-30 feet to get the full impact of the wave. Also, bass is omnidirectiona and notorious for travelling through walls, while upper frequencies travel in straight lines and are reflected back). I'd be curious to see if Club 6 hosted rock bands, which tend to get more into the upper frequency ranges than lower, and kept the music to the same decibel level, if they'd have the same problems.

There's a hearing on June 5 that will determine what's going to happen in this situation. It seems pretty unlikely that Club 6 will be allowed to operate in the same way for much longer, esp. when it's being portrayed as a fight between irresponsible partiers and the disenfranchised (as evidenced by the comments to Steven's article). Eventually, however, some kind of city-wide compromise is going to have to be worked out or soon there won't be any place where a club can safely operate that is also not totally inaccessible.

Upcoming Event: Last Double Dutch Disco at The Transfer, Sunday May 27

You may remember that waaaaay back in February I reported on the sale of The Transfer and speculated about what would happen with some of the more established nights, like Double Dutch Disco, with the change in management. Well, last night I was talking with a friend of Bus Station John (and, for once, managed to keep my yap shut and not get into an argument about the meaning of disco in the gay scene) and found out that this Sunday, May 27, will be the last Double Dutch Disco at The Transfer (and even the Transfer's myspace page is gone - most mysterious). I never went to this party (if I didn't like The Rod I really doubted I would like DDD) but it has generally been well received by everybody else and I know of several people who say that it's their favorite night out in the city. So, if you've been interested but putting it off, now is the time, and with a holiday on Monday I'm sure this party will be cranked up to 11.

In other, better news, Bus Station John, who was burned out of his apartment by someone flipped out on shrooms, has enjoyed the benefits of two fundraising events and seems to have himself situated for the summer. I don't know of any fund currently being collected for him, but if anyone else does please let me know and I will be happy to both publicize it and contribute.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's Official: Zen City Records Closed

A couple months ago I speculated that Zen City Records on Valencia Street, one of the few remaining DJ vinyl shops in the city, was closing. Well, now it's official - I walked by earlier this week and they are gone, records, angry dog, and all.

I used to shop at Zen City, but then their stock seemed to become more and more of the back catalog variety, with nothing new at all in their trance or techno sections. They always seemed to have a good stock of new domestic and import house, but, as SF DJs have turned more and more toward techno, breaks, and electro, record stores have needed to change their focus to keep up, and with fewer and fewer DJs playing vinyl, keeping all your stock in one medium seems like a bad idea. The owner of another record store that has also been consigned to history once told me that he didn't know how Zen City stayed in business; well, I guess they didn't. Though I think they were the victims of a myopic view of where the club scene was headed, as well as the changing technologies of being a DJ, it's always a bad thing to see another store like this go under. As of this writing all I know of that's left are Tweakin' Records on Haight, and Soundworks, as reliable DJ vinyl shops where you can listen to music in advance, and then Amoeba, if you know exactly what you want and don't need to listen to it first.

Your Weekend Guide for Memorial Day Weekend

Okay kids, yours truly is heading out of town with the boyfriend this weekend, our destination being one of those fabled places known to small groups of Burners and other freaks, site of so many lovely times I cannot possibly enumerate them all here, but suffice to say there will much romping and fun amongst the tall trees. I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

Since I'm headed out tomorrow I'm making a nice, concise, all-in-one place weekend guide for you all this time. There aren't that many super-spectacular things happening because, I guess, most people are getting the hell out of town for a couple days, but there are definitely some things for you all having a staycation to enjoy. And here we go . . .


The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Lights Down Low at Club 222: Disco Prom
This installment features a live performance from local 'lectrodisco phenoms Luxxury. Five bucks, swell space, fun kids, what the hell more do you want on a Friday night? Check out my previous review of Lights Down Low.

Starfucker at Deco Lounge
If you really have to go to a gay night, then why not go to one in probably the best club in the 'Loin? $5 all night.

Charlie Horse at the Cinch
Best place to go out and have a cheap drink while being entertained by drag queen antics. Music by DJ Dirty Knees is more rock and new-wave oriented, but at least it won't interfere with your conversation. Check out my latest review of Charlie Horse at The Cinch. Free, with strong drinks!


No recommendation for Saturday since I've not checked out either of these events, but if I was in town I surely would go to one or the other, depending on whether I felt like hanging out with techno kids or sweaty gay guys.

The Grind at The Cat Club
Okay, it's the usual deal: booze sponsorships, Gloss magazine, Matt Consola. But it's at The Cat Club, a great space with a convenient location. And who knows, maybe it'll turn into something different than the standard line of Gus Presents-type events. $10 before 11, $15 after.

FilterSF at Fat City
Yeah, I know, I've not been too crazy about the stuff I've been hearing from/about the Bay Area Beat Drop crew, but here's an all-night techno party right in the heart of SoMa with [a]pendics.shuffle and Someone Else. $15 before 11 w/out RSVP, $20 after. Hit 'em up for an RSVP, get in early for free, and party your ass off until the golden light of Sunday morning.

That's it my lovelies, go forth and party, and if you have fun, or even a crappy time, at any of these events, drop me an email and tell me all about it!

CD Review: "Sweet and Vicious Remixes" by Luxxury

If, like me, you spent most of the late 90s hanging out in industrial clubs, going to Depeche Mode tribute parties, getting all swoony over Groovy Man of the The Thrill Kill Kult, and pondering the intersection of industrial and techno, there is much in the "Sweet and Vicious" remixes from local kids Luxxury (Baron von Luxxury and Johnatron) that you will find both familiar and appealing.

Though "Sweet and Vicious" is the main star of these remixes, the album also contains remixes of "Drunk," "Sex with Rich People," "Understood" and "Rock and Roll is Evil." The titles alone should tell you something; at the heart of all these tracks is the same dark, sexy synthpop sound that drove the glam side of goth into its eventual electro evolution. Of the "Sweet and Vicious" remixes my favorite has to be "All Night Dance Party's More Vicious Than Sweet" version. Big chunky bass thumps with classic acid house handclaps and highhats, crazy phased vocals, ah, I can see the lights sweeping the sweating masses now. Second place would have to go to the "Exxpensive Re-edit," a classic piece of synthpop that puts the vocals right up front and would go lovely with side of Depeche Mode or Wolfsheim. Of the other tracks I really dug the dirty electro sound of "Rock and Roll is Evil (Devin Dirt's Fat Elvis Remix)" and "Drunk (Lovesick Vocoders at Night Remix)," which sounds like something I would have encountered on the dance floor of Berlin's Duncker when the DJ was headed into his harder industrial moments. All in all a great set of tracks for those nights when you want to put on your eyeliner and go play with the disco vampires.

Since Luxxury is a local phenom you have plenty of chances to catch them in both live and DJ incarnations. This Friday at Lights Down Low they'll be having a CD release party, featuring DJ sets by some of their remixers and a live performance ("Two men, two synths, one bass guitar, one vocoder and one talkbox…come smell the magic!"), and every fourth Thursday (that's tonight, kids) Baron von Luxxury and guests set your heart pumping with Disco Workout at Le Duplex (and did I mention the free cupcakes?). And these kids just keep on giving - check out their blog, for daily MP3s of their favorite artists. And don't miss their YouTube video for "Sweet and Vicious," in which they save London from a LOLcat. Whew, so much productivity!

Now if I could just hook Baron von Luxxury up with Lord Kook . . . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Berghain: Philip Sherburne on Berlin Techno Hedonism

For a while now the boyfriend and I have been trying to engineer our way across the ocean to Berlin. I first went there in 1984 and had my day of adventure in the East, where kids admired my "Nike schuehe," I saw real East German borderguards with submachine guns and police dogs, and had the crap scared out of me when I heard what sounded like a loud explosion from the direction of the wall. I returned in 1995 to live there for a summer while I took classes at Humboldt University, and then again in 1996 just to be a bum. I got to see the last Love Parade on the Kudamm and manged to find my way into clubs like Tresor, E-Werk, and WMF. My last visit was in 2000, and my most moving memory is standing on the roof the restored Reichstag, looking down into the glass dome of the legislative chambers. The symbolism was some of the most powerful I have ever experienced in architecture.

One of the things that drew me to Berlin was its long and rich history of decadence, its stature as a birthplace of avant-gardes, and the amazing history that was embodied in everything around me. One of my friends was a Kreuzberg anarchist who owned a bicycle shop (now doesn't that sound strangely familiar?) who would ride me around the city and point out moments in fascist history. Over here is the wall where the communists executed members of the June 17 1953 uprising; and here's a building in the park where Hitler had participants in the assassanation plot executed; oh, and that old bunker over there? That's a dance club called Bunker.

Philip Sherburne's This Month in Techno column in Pitchfork describes Berghain
, the current version of a decadent dance club in a massive industrial setting. It reminds me of what I went to Berlin looking for, and being thrilled to find, but it also made me wonder about the way in which Berlin has become mythologized as this land of techno sybarites. It looks like we're working on another chapter in that mythology, and I hope I'll soon have a chance to learn its places and names.

Naked, Performing with Snakes: NYTimes on Dubai Nightlife

Dubai is starting to seem like the weirdest place in the world. To get a really good idea of just how weird, check out George Saunders' essay "The New Mecca" in the 2006 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading. And then there's this article on Dubai nightlife from a recent issue of the New York Times. I particularly enjoyed the final paragraph:

As 3 a.m. approaches, all the Grey Goose at Trilogy is polished off and the imported D.J.’s pack away their records. “The thing is,” says Jessica Glunz, “Dubai definitely has the potential to be a party capital of the world if the government wants it to be. It’s already the world’s most famous city, and that took them how long? Ten years?” From here the revelry moves behind closed doors: I tag along with a couple of wealthy party boys, who cruise around looking for pretty people to scoop up. We join the after-hours party at someone’s hotel room, where there are drinks and dancing and enough drugs to fill a pharmacy. Pretty soon, the live entertainment arrives: naked male and female dancers paid to perform with snakes, à la Britney Spears.

Wow, those kids know how to throw an afterparty.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another year older . . . .

Though my press release doesn't seem to have made it into the major papers (I *so* need to get a better publicist), this past weekend the jaded gay DJ added another notch to his string of years on this earthly plane. It wasn't the best, nor the worst, birthday I've had, though the older I get the more notable birthdays become simply through their continuing occurence.

Over this past year I've put two grandparents in the ground, had a friend kill himself, and another was 5150'd by the SFPD off to SF General after flipping out due to excess consumption of 'shrooms. A bit of a grim year in retrospect. This was also the first year in a very long time in which I had full-time employment, which is a mixed blessing of financial relief and existential dread. I still haven't worked out what I want to be when I grow up, though the world seems determined to make some of those decisions for me.

I started my birthday weekend by going up to The Cinch to see some of my friends who were at the Charlie Horse show. It was a fun time, but I was disappointed to find out that a substantial contingent of my former Burning Man camp mates have decided to head off to (literal) greener pastures and camp with the Alternatiave Energy Zone. As word of these defections makes its way through the rest of the camp I'm sure they will shake others loose from us, perhaps including myself, the boyfriend, and our friend Kitty.

Saturday the boyfriend, Kitty and myself went out to the Gray Area Gallery party, but when we arrived at 10 the only place the party was bumpin' was in the (single) bathroom and they were gouging us for beers at $5 each, so we got stamped and went off to The Eagle for real drinks at decent prices. When we returned at 11.30 things were more lively, but none of us were really able to get into the party - I kept flashing back to undergrad art school parties, there was no place to sit (you begin to notice these things when you get older), and the beers weren't getting any cheaper. We went back to my place, listened to Kompakt Total 7 and Pop Ambient 2007, and played Katamar Damacy until the small hours.

Sunday I had arranged a rendezvous at 7PM at The Pilsner for people to buy me drinks. It wasn't a massive turnout, but it's always interesting to take note of who shows up to share birthday drinks with you and who doesn't. We wound up as a slightly raucous table of 6 at Home around 9.00PM, where I got the requisite cake and "Happy Birthday" treatment. The mood was muted when the boyfriend and I returned home, the result of a weekend that didn't quite go as expected and his having to deal with the shroom-destablized roommate mentioned above, who, as of this writing, has been released from General and presents all manner of anxiety and stress-inducing possibilities. Wish us both luck, gentle readers, as we turn to face the things ahead of us.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Seen printed out and posted above a desk in the back room of a bar:
Do not serve alcohol to John; he showed up yesterday and had drinks here, then showed up today all beat up with a suitcase and no place to live. You'll be doing him a favor.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Upcoming Event: Michael Mayer at Mezzanine, May 24

It's been over two years since Kompakt impressario Michael Mayer came through town, and this time he's moved up from Mighty to Mezzanine. Gui Baratto is with him on the tour, and with the Kontrol boys and Dirtybird artist Worthy filling the space between, it should be a grand night of technotechno. Here's a link to the flyer, it's $15 in advance and I think you better scoop up the tix while you can.

Event Review: The Golden Girls - The Play

When my friend Kitty and I used to live together I would often return home in the late afternoon following grad school classes to find him sitting on the couch, bong close by, watching The Golden Girls and laughing himself silly. I never really got into The Golden Girls, though after seeing a performance last night of two classic episodes by Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin, and Pollo DelMar (with a special guest appearance by Mike Finn channeling Keanu Reeves portraying a lesbian) I suddenly understood what Kitty had realized long ago: that The Golden Girls really are a bunch of drag queens. Once you have that figured out, everything makes perfect sense.

The show could be described as "parlor theater" since it was performed in the parlor of a vintage Victorian on Grove Street right off Fillmore. This led to a bit of unintended comedy during the performance of the second episode, when, in the dark between scenes, Blanche sat down in a chair, the back legs slipped off the edge of the makeshift stage, and an elbow went through a window. It took three rounds of laughter and Blanche's comment of "I thought it was getting a little hot in here," before some semblance of order was restored, and the broken window opened up some opportunities for comedic improvisation through the rest of the of the performance.

The depictions of all the girls was spot on, but when Heklina came out as Dorothy everyone broke into laughter over how much she really looked like Bea Arthur, right down to the nose. Matthew Martin as Blanche was my favorite, however, capturing perfectly Rue McLanahan's southern tart. It's hard to go wrong when you're working from the original scripts, but the extra camp twist that everyone put into their performances kept the audience roaring through the full hour (the Sex on the Miami Beaches being sold out by the ticket booth certainly helped as well).

All the 8PM shows are sold out, but if you show up early (and I mean early - folks were lined up at 7 for the 8PM show) you can get on the standby list, and there's at least a chance you'll be able to get in. There are also 10PM shows, and after the success of this series I wouldn't be suprised if the girls make their way back to SF for encore performances.

Your Saturday Guide for May 19, 2007

Two fun, fun, fun one-offs for you this week, with each one being so potentially fun I had difficulty deciding which one to make my recommendation for this week. Eventually techno and art won out over psytrance, but I think you can't go wrong with either choice this week.

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: I'm Out at the Gray Area Gallery
The Gray Area Gallery is one of those little secrets I just found out about, and this blowout party to close their old space before moving to the 'Loin promises to be a gathering of some of the grooviest techno kids in San Francisco: Safety Scissors, C.L.A.W.S., and the kid Marke B. of the SFBG SuperEgo column tells me is the guy to watch, Jason Kendig, among others. New works by artists John Blanco, Alex Heilbron, Peter Petroschko, Anthony Desimone, and Sarah Wylie Ammerman will be on display as well.
9PM - 3AM
371 11th Street (2nd Floor) between Folsom and Harrison

Love and Devotion at The Gingerbread House
An ALL AGES, ALL NIGHT psytrance underground sponsored by and The Phoenix Family, featuring one room with full-on psy and also a chill room. Lotsa names here, check out the link for the full DJ line-up AND the address.
10.30PM - 7AM

Mix to Download: Kap'n Kirk of the Space Cowboys

The Space Cowboys are probably the favorite breaks crew of San Francisco Burners, and Kap'n Kirk has a new mix that attempts to demonstrate how they got that status.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Your Friday Guide for May 18, 2007

Whoo kids, well, I'm a little behind on my usual scouring of clubl and party listings since I've been out of town, but here are a couple to get you started for this Friday:

Bar Nights and Weeklies

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Performance at The Transfer
Featuring DJs Mo-Luxx and Natureboy with a special performance by Hey Willpower!
9PM - 2AM, $5. Check out my review of The Transfer. Check out my review of Hey Willpower at The Rickshaw Stop.

Charlie Horse at the Cinch
Best place to go out and have a cheap drink while being entertained by drag queen antics. Music by DJ Dirty Knees is more rock and new-wave oriented, but at least it won't interfere with your conversation. Check out my latest review of Charlie Horse at The Cinch.

Fag Fridays at The EndUp
Reliable, if not all that exciting, but it goes all night, expect to pay around $20 to get in and to dance to pretty typical San Francisco deep house.

Salvage at Deco
Trauma Flintstone of Bijou fame hosts a monthly gathering of crazy show gurls at one of my favorite San Francisco clubs. Check out my review of Bijou.

FUK Werk Fridays Happy Hour at 111 Minna
A new minimal techno happy hour in downtown, yee-haa! Check out my review of Fuk Werk Fridays.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Minneapolis Report

Hey kids, just back into town from the Mini-Apple (no, I didn't make that up), pretty pooped but wanted to give you the quick shot of my brief forays into Minneapolis gay nightlife.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are never good nights for going out anywhere, and Minneapolis is a small city (380,000 people or so), but I was fortunate that my hotel location made it easy for me to walk to The Eagle on Washington Avenue and The Saloon and The Gay 90s, both on Hennepin (the main drag for clubs, bars, and restaurants).

The Minneapolis Eagle, like its namesakes in Washington, San Francisco, and New York, has a back patio area that is the focus of the Sunday afternoon scene. It was a warm, beautiful day and, when I arrived around 7PM, there was a good crowd of 50-75 guys who seemed to have been boozing away for a while before I got there. The crowd here, as at all the bars, was much less studied than a San Francisco crowd, with many of the guys looking like, well, just guys rather than gym bunnies or crazy pierced freaks or the other usual categories in the taxonomy of San Francisco gay culture. The other major difference was - no pot smoke! I stayed for two drinks, about an hour, but had absolutely no cruising luck, or even that much interest in crusing. It was one of those moments when I wondered if I was invisible. But, with the crowd thinning, I decided it was time to go get some food and then check out the Sunday DJ night at The Saloon.

The Saloon on Hennepin bills itself as the major gay dance club, and that night their resident (Kiko, something like that) was coming on at 10. I got there around nine, enjoyed a drink al fresco, and then cruised in to check out the scene. Again, though there was nothing particularly attitudinal about the guys, I must have been wearing my invisibility cloak. The music was a lot like being at The Cafe, and by midnight, after they couldn't find anyone to participate in their "sexy shower" contest (there was a working shower with plexiglass walls right off the main dance floor), it seemed like it was time to head back to the hotel.

Monday I was fortunate to find the Vital Vinyl record store right behind my hotel, and then had a great time at the Walker Art Center (one of the most appealing aspects of Minneapolis is its strong art community and some of the most amazing contemporary architecture I've seen anywhere), but it wasn't unitl Tuesday that I went out again, this time with some other queers from my conference. We met up at The Gay 90s, a HUGE club that could easily hold over a thousand people. It was supposed to be a drag performance night, but I've never seen so many guys lip synching at a drag show (and I'm pretty sure they weren't drag kings). The women were of the female impersonator variety, and the guys were, well, pimps. The music was all hip hop, the audience was a bit on the thuggy side, and the area was, well, really sketchy - I saw the cops busting a guy, and got hit up by a hustler offering me "massage," within a block of the club while walking there (never, ever respond to someone asking "Excuse me, excuse me, do you happen to be . . . gay?") The drinks were strong, though, and by midnight, with a flight to catch in the morning, I caught a lift back to the hotel cuz I sure didn't feel like walking.

This was my second visit to Minneapolis, and it seems like it might be a fun city to explore on a purely recreational basis. The third week in May is Art-Whirl, a massive open studios/arts festival, and the guys at Vital Vinyl let me know that there's some great nightlife on the weekends. Had I been there from Wednesday through Saturday or Sunday I'm sure the gay clubs would have been more fun as well. So, if you're looking for a less expensive, less intense vacation destination, you might want to think about a trip to America's Mini-Apple.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Event Review: "Doin' It in the Park" at Golden Gate Park

There are few things as delightful as an invite to a Saturday afternoon techno picnic appearing in your inbox on a Friday. Imagine, then, how much more delightful it was when I discovered that there were two parties in the park that day a mere few hundred feet from one another. The first and original invitation was from the kids in People Muver and Bassaholics Anonymous, whom I know through the Kontrol parties. The second I found out from a very exuberant gay boy in bug-eyed sunglasses named Mike who led me over to Speedway Meadows where a good hundred or more people were getting down to breaks provided by the Brass Tax crew.

Parties in the park are one of the true joys of living in San Francisco; some of the best times I have ever had were at the bandshell dancing to DJs from Skills, the Phoenix Family, F8 and a whole host of other local collecives. What makes these events so special is, first, they are totally free and open to anyone, and nothing makes my day more than seeing someone randomly happen upon one of these parties and spontaneously get down. At the bandshell I once saw a trio of elderly, white-haired women walk by, watch for a moment, then start dancing. At the Doin' It in the Park party, I saw a crusty homeless guy begin to clap and jerk himself around (rather well, actually) to minimal techno. If you have any doubts that all people can respond to well-made, beaty music, a park party is sure to dispel that. Second, these parties are really presented as a gift by those who create them to those who participate; the organizers ask nothing more of you then to come and enjoy the music, the space, and the companionship that they, in turn, enjoy providing.

Though I showed up without the boyfriend this time (he being busy at work creating mixes for a CD release of last year's bluegrass festival), I had no lack of company. Monica Kat, who sent me the original invite, and I had some lovely conversation, and all of the kids at this smallish (maybe 50 people) party were friendly, outgoing, and more than willing to hang out with anyone who shared their interest in electrotechnobooty fun. I heard Tom Kat, Farzana, and several other DJs spin and enjoyed all their sets, but Farzana wins the award for most harcore techno chick I've heard in quite a while.

At 6PM, as the sun gave way to clouds, I had to make the trek back my abode, and I was sorry that this afternoon that was so momentarily utopic had to come to an end. And so, loyal readers, I leave you with this; whether you have the chance to go to a party in the park, or you are thinking about doing it (all it takes is picnic and sound permit), you should absolutely do it.

Postscript: If you needed any further reason to oppose Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier's attempt to ban alcohol in public parks, the fact that it would prevent all of us from having a glass of wine, or beer, or champagne at events like this should be all the reason you need.

Event Review: Charlie Horse "Carnival of Freaks" at The Cinch

In my experience of drag shows, you generally get one of two things: the hardcore "illusion" drag where the girls really, really pass as women, and usually reference classic female vocalists in their performances; or "chaos" drag, where the girls and their peformances have more in common with the Grand Guignol tradition. In San Francisco you have Marlena's as the epitome of the first sort, with Charlie Horse at The Cinch on Friday nights delivering horror, chaos, blood, indeterminate gender assignment, jokes about drug abuse, and performances that would be way too weird, gross, or just plain out bizarre for Trannyshack. Overall, I much prefer Charlie Horse to just about any other drag show I have ever seen.

The "Carnival of Freaks" show this past Friday was typical Charlie Horse: Anna Conda as a Marlene Dietriech-eque ring master, Frieda Laye and Juanita Fajita as conjoined twins singing a duet, a boy who really wanted to be Bjork performing a track from her new album, and another performer who wound up covered in (hopefully fake) blood that s/he continued to wear for the rest of the night. Tod Browning's Freaks was playing on the bar TVs, and the relation between those sexual outsiders and the ones in the bar was obvious; everyone performing and watching, was, in relation to the world outside that bar, a freak, so why not have some fun with it?

The performances and costumes at Charlie Horse are not as polished as what you'll find at Tranny Shack, which has become a veritable institution on the level of Beach Blanket Babylon, but there is a punk rock aesthetic (underscored by the indie rock spins of DJ Dirty Knees) that makes the Charlie Horse shows more immediate and thought-provoking. The girls at Trannyshack are certainly Queens, having risen up through the ranks of drag society and now reached the highest possible levels of hairstyle engineering, but the performers at Charlie Horse seem much more willing to take risks in their performance of drag, and the personas that they create are not as much about a representation of the feminine, or even the creation of a definitive personality, as they are vehicles around which they can build a performance. In this way (and I mean this in the best possible way, lest I get a stiletto heel through the eye) they are more like clowns than queens; not the watered-down children's TV version of clowns, but more like the jesters who can amuse and disquiet us at the same time.

Charlie Horse is a fun time; I enjoy going there on a Friday night when I want to have an easygoing drink, sit on the back deck and smoke, see a few friends or maybe chat up somebody new. But Charlie Horse is also where I can go to see peformances that make me laugh, and sometimes even make me think.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Jaded Gay DJ on the Road!

Hey kids, the jaded gay dj is on the road this week, working on the skills that pay the bills (really, I don't make a living at this, ya know?) So while I'm in the midwest capital of fun (until Wednesday), Minneapolis, expect the updates to be a little less frequent. But here's a sneak preview of what I'll be putting up for you in the next few days:

Charlie Horse's "Carnival Freaks" at The Cinch: Anna Conda as Marlene Dietrich, Frieda Laye and Juanitia Fajita as conjoined twins - think about that for a while!

Techno Parties in the Park: to paraphrase an associate, I love it when the biggest problem of my day is figuring out which techno party in the park is the one I meant to attend!

Minneapolis Scene Report: hey, gay bars here are just as boring as they are in San Francisco!

Watch this space for more soon!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Your Saturday Guide for May 12, 2007

Oh, the jaded gay DJ will be taking flight early on Sunday morning for a thrilling (thrilling, I tell you) professional conference next week, so it's probably going to be a quiet night of doing laundry and packing. But for you, oh my readers, there are other options:

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Doin' It in the Park: Techno Picnic in Golden Gate Park
From noon until sunset in Golden Gate Park's George Washington Grove, 25th at MLK
There will be a grill, a George W. pinata to beat the stuffing out of, and beats provided by IXD (,Farzana, J Moody (Chicago), TomKat (Subversive Soundz), DJ Razvan (Bassaholics Anonymous), KAWA (People Muver), James Bass (Bassaholics Anonymous), dcoy (Bassaholics Anonymous). I will definitely be there to check it out, and I bet there will be afterparty action as well.

Bay Area Beatdrop presents Low End Saturday at the Retox Lounge
You read about them in this week's SuperEgo column in the SFBG, now go check them in out in a cozy Potrero bar. But be careful about opening their myspace link if you're at work.

Space Elevator: Psytrance Underground Burning Man Fundraiser
A little all-night psytrance warehouse action with veterans of the CCC, Kode IV, and my buddy Sentient. You wanna know more, you gotta go to Ceiba Records (1364 Haight) and buy a ticket.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Marke B. Interviews Bay Area Beat Drop

Over at the SFBG site SuperEgo columnist Marke B. gives the Bay Area Beat Drop crew (filterSF, FUK Werk Fridays, Low End Saturday, Tabu Sky Bar) a couple column inches. Funny, to read this you'd think nobody else in this city was doing techno, or all night parties (hello, Kontrol, I'm here!), at least according to DJ Solekandi. I guess I'll have to check a party by these kids out soon, but all those sultry women on their flyers are kind of a turn-off for boys like me. See, for example, my comments in last week's Your Saturday Guide about the Tabu Sky Bar flyer and information (and their crappy Flash-driven website).

Your Friday Guide for May 11, 2007

So what do you wanna do this Friday? Party with playa freaks, get down in a cozy DJ den, wallow in pre-AIDS nostalgia? Hey, we got a little something for everybody. As always, if you check out one of these events, hit me back with a report.

Bar Nights and Weeklies

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Lights Down Low at Club 222
Not the biggest or wildest party of the night, but the boyfriend and I dug this old-school bar that reminded us of something from the East Village, and we had more fun dancing to the DJs here than we did at The Rod down the street. Omar of Popscene will be taking a turn on the decks this time around. Check out my review of Lights Down Low.

The Rod at Deco Lounge
For all the gay boys who want to pretend that it's 1979. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. Check out my review of The Rod.

Charlie Horse at the Cinch
Best place to go out and have a cheap drink while being entertained by drag queen antics. Music by DJ Dirty Knees is more rock and new-wave oriented, but at least it won't interfere with your conversation. Check out my previous posts on The Cinch. Update: A little faerie tells me that those two crazy girls Frieda Laye and Juanita Fajita will be performing in tonight's "Freaks of the Circus" show. The mind reels, the stomach heaves at the thought of what these two might get up to. Show starts at the witching hour.

Fag Fridays at The EndUp
Reliable, if not all that exciting, but it goes all night, expect to pay around $20 to get in and to dance to pretty typical San Francisco deep house.

One Offs

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Staple Music and Blasthaus present Kenny Larkin at the Rx Gallery
The Rx is an odd party space with a questionable sound system, but this promises to be a very groovy night of "future house and deep techno" with a well-established techno producer. I enjoyed the tunes that DJ Javaight and Fil Latorre spun at their last event and I think you will as well. Check out my review of Refuge, the last Staple Music party I attended.

Stimulus: Excursions Into ElectroTech at Le Duplex
This will be my party destination for Friday, as it's only a few blocks from my pad, a very reasonable $5 before 11, and I'm curious to hear how others will interpret the "ElectroTech" genre.

Freqo de Mayo with Bassnectar (DJ Lorin Ashton) at Mighty
Last but not least, this will certainly be the monster party of the night. Twenty bucks to get you through the door and check out our rising hometown hero and other artists in the "future world breaks, latin, house and hip hop" genres. Honestly probably not the kind of stuff I'd go out to hear, but you want a big party full of Burner types, this is it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Upcoming Event: Staple Presents Kenny Larkin at Rx Gallery, Friday May 11

The Staple Music crew is bringing Detroit/Los Angeles techno producer Kenny Larkin to the Rx Gallery this Friday. Here are the deets:

Kenny Larkin (Art of Dance)
with Staple DJs
DJ Javaight
Fil Latorre

Friday, May 11
9PM - 2AM
Rx Gallery
132 Eddy at Mason
$10 in advance, $12 at the door
Get yer tickets here

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Upcoming Event: Bassnectar at Mighty, Friday May 11

Hometown hero Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, shakes his dreads and moves the crowd of babes and boys. After reading the recent profile of him in the East Bay Express I wonder if he'll be dropping a more hip-hop inflected set or sticking with his tried-and-true breakbeat. Either way I'm sure it will be very playalicious.

Freqo de Mayo
Friday, May 11, 2007, 10pm doors
Mighty | 119 Utah St, San Francisco CA | 415.626.7001
Bassnectar (AKA DJ Lorin –
Soulsalaam (
El Papachango (el Circo)
Motion Potion (
Vanka (Misturada)
Jayo & Kevin (Seismic)
Evinrude (Space Cowboys)
Mycho Cocoa, Victor Vega, Tim Dietz (the Fringe)
VIDEO: Kaia Jacobi
LIVE PAINTING: Fringe Arts Collective: Nicole Andris, Micah Circe, Trav Kohler
FIRE PERFORMANCE: Krissi, Noelski and Aileen
TICKETS: $20 advance available at or 415-256-8499
PRESS INFO: Scott Simoneaux | | 323.969.04041

Upcoming Event: Stimulus, Friday May 11

Spring seems to be bringing up interesting new club nights like little mushrooms. Here's a Friday night party conveniently located on Mission Street just a few blocks from my pad that holds the promise of some interesting musical diversion with some DJs from Space Cowboys and Get Freaky, among others:

STIMULUS: Excursions into Electrotech
Our first time out was more fun than a ball of hamsters. So much fun, in fact, that, going against the advice of our therapists, priests, rabbis, and caddies, we're once again gathering a select assortment of DJs to present their personal flavor of electrotech. The second Friday of May, Stimulus-Response Productions presents:

Featuring (in alphabetical order):
Erik Hz (FreeDumb Force Recordings / BABB - SF)
Evinrude (Stimulus / Space Cowboys / NetAmp - SF)
Jocelyn (Get Freaky - SF)
Kinesis (Stimulus - Santa Cruz)
Raydeus (Pronoia - SF)
- and coming to us from Seattle:
Swank (United House Front / C89.5FM - Seattle)

10pm - 4am
Le Duplex, 1525 Mission St., SF
$5 before 11pm, $10 after; 21+
Call 1-888-650-6660 for more info.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Awesome Article on Toon Town, Circa 1992

From comes this reprint of an article that appeared in The Examiner (back when it was a real paper) from 1992. Written by Cynthia Roberts in a slightly sensationalistic style, it describes a legendary Toon Town party and the state of the rave in San Fracisco during the rising tide of ecstasy and PLUR coming from Europe. Ah, remember how it felt when the Berlin Wall came down and we all thought that it would be tea and crumpets, kitties and puppies, from there on out? Back then rave was an expression of the euphoria that spread across Europe with the collapse of the Soviet Union and a belief that war was over, now was the dawning of a new golden age of virtual reality and the borderless world of cyberspace. Perhaps the demise of the current regime will be greeted with the same enthusiasm and we can all remember how good it felt to be on the dancefloor together. Here's my favorite bit, from the very end. It would be nice to feel this optimistic, hopeful, and naive again, wouldn't it?

For Mapes, Hughes and his fellow ravers represent more than just another new underground scene; they represent hope. "These are evolved kids, it's real important to tune into that. This is where art and technology and evolution are all linked. We evolve through our art and technology."

That evolution, Mapes believes, will lead to a more enlightened future. "We're laying the foundation of a 21st-century society and things like the rave are an expression of it. Think about New Year's Eve - 7,200 people and no fights. That's incredible. That's a lot of people who were harmonious with each other. And for them, it's an experience in living in the world they want to live in -- a microcosm of a possible future world. For a moment in time, hang out with a large number of like-minded people and you're grooving with them. That's very evolutionary. That's very healing."

Event Review: SoMa Bare Chest Calendar Finals at the DNA Lounge

Like the Mr. Royal Bunny contest I wrote about back in April, the SoMa Bare Chest Calendar events are intended to raise funds for gay community organizations, in this case the AIDS Emergency Fund and Positive Resource. And, as with Mr. Bunny, I went out to the Bare Chest Calendar events because I wanted to support a friend, Jim, a big blond bear of a guy who presents a different image than the rest of the gym queens who make up the usual calendar guys. Not that Jim doesn’t hit the Golds as much as the rest of those guys, but, since I know him from the dance floor and as a flagger, I don’t think of him in the context of the boring butchness that the rest of the would-be pin-ups present.

I should probably say that, if it wasn’t for Jim, I’d have nothing whatsoever to do with this event. I find the guys in the calendar to be clones of hyper-masculinity who would never get my attention (or pay any attention to me), and they have an extremely annoying auction every year during a beer bust at the Eagle, an event that has ruined a couple otherwise nice Sundays for me. I like that the gay community gets together to raise money for these organizations, but I dislike the way theses contests wind up reinforcing all the worst things about our community, like the emphasis on a very narrowly defined set of physical features, and whether or not you have enough friends with money to buy raffle tickets from you and thus make your fundraising quota.

The event was held at the DNA on a late Sunday afternoon, presumably so it wouldn’t conflict with the beer bust, but no one thought about the fact that the How Weird Street Faire was going on a block away. The boyfriend and I showed up around 5.45 and quickly found Jim so we could get some raffle tickets from him. We bought ourselves a couple Miller Lights (after all, Miller Brewing is a proud sponsor of whatever it takes to get gay men to drink their swill), and passed some time watching the DJ mix or, at least, match beats using Torq and slide a virtual cross-fader (NOTE: Bryan Hughes was listed as the DJ on the flyer, but I don't think the DJ we watched was him, as he seemed much younger than the photos I've seen of Bryan Hughes - though club lighting mercifully takes a few years off us all). Perhaps he wasn’t putting much effort into it because it wasn’t really a dance party, and maybe he got better as the night went on, but for the time we watched over his shoulder he was barely phoning it in. The tracks were all standard issue diva house (the tracks we watched him mix were off two versions of the same DJ compilation), and he did nothing to actually mix them; when we watched him bring in one track the EQs were at 12 o'clock on both channels, all he did was start one track (and not even on a good phrase) by matching the waveforms, slide over the crossfader about 80%, wait for the other track to come to an end, and slide the crossfader over the rest of the way. As we listened to his subsequent mixes from down on the dancefloor every one was a case of mashing the bass of the incoming track against the bass of the outgoing, and then cutting in with the fader to bring in the next track. The flow was terrible, with the groove being dropped in every transition. Not something I wanted to spend my Sunday evening listening to, at the very least.

We didn’t stay long at the event; after a night of crazy techno (see my review of the Gentleman’s Techno party) we had neither the endurance for hours of standing around with gay men who wanted to drool over pumped pecs, nor the patience to put up with bad music and an annoying series of performance, raffles, and contestant interviews. I haven’t found out yet how Jim did; I hope he made the final cut, because I sure would like to see someone who embodies a different set of values and ideas about what a hunky gay man is, and does, than the audience and participants for this event.

Update: I found out that Jim didn't make the calendar, but he was the top raffle ticket seller for the evening, and of the $39K that was raised overall, he brought in about 10% of that. Good job, Jim, let's hope that the work done by you and everyone else who didn't make it into the calendar is still acknowledged and appreciated.

Update Number Two: So I have confirmation that the DJ was indeed Bryan Hughes, which comes as something of a suprise since Bryan has been DJing, and even producing music, for a long time. He's one of the main guys behind Dirty and often spins for the Bearracuda parties. Perhaps he turned in such a lackluster performance because it was early in the evening and he was just warming up, knowing he would be interrupted soon, and because it wasn't as much of a high-profile dance event. Still, after hearing that little sample I have no real interest in checking him out at other events.

Upcoming Event: Staple Presents Sabotage at Anu, Thursday May 10

The Staple crew of DJ Javaight and Fil Latorre will be spinning more of their "future house and deep techno" this Thursday at Anu, on 6th Street between Market and Mission. It should be well worth it to brave the sketchiness of 6th to check out these guys, especially since there's no cover.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Event Review: Gentleman's Techno

Gentleman's Techno was the most bangin', full-on, hardcore, punk rock techno party I have attended in a long, long, loooooong time. You know it's a great party when you can look out the window onto the street below and see a half dozen kids getting down to the music. I'm sure the cars cruising by must have wondered what was going on; if they'd come inside they would have seen a mad dancefloor with a good hundred or more techno fiends and heard some of the most knarzy, hard-ass techno this side of Berlin.

I showed up a little after midnight with the boyfriend, my friend J and his boyfriend. The first DJ was not that great, really mashing the tracks together and not keeping a consistent flow. There was a clot of Marina girls in black cocktail dresses and red pumps wiggling around on the dancefloor (at one point I thought I was watching a Robert Palmer video), but they were offset by more boys wearing eyeliner than I have seen in any club, gay or straight, since I stopped going a-gothing.

By 1AM we had a change of DJs and the Marina girls were completely out numbered on the dancefloor. The crowd was a little bit of everything, from one crazy guy in a dress to a couple packs of gay boys to semi-industrial types, though all of those typical considerations of gender and sexuality were dissolved as everyone was united through the techno beats. The music went very hard, and aside from a ghetto tech interlude, I had nothing to complain about from C.L.A.W.S., OonceOonce, The Jealous Lovers DJ Team, or Benz. In fact, when J and his boyfriend wanted to split at 2, we decided to stick it out and take our chances with getting a taxi because we really wanted to hear and see what would happen next. We danced until 3.30, when our legs felt ready to buckle beneath us and the swigs of Jack finally made me feel a little woozy, and left with the party still raging in full-on mode.

If you ever get the chance to hit one of these parties, by all means, do so. As promised, it was the closest I've come to the vibe of a Berlin squat club techno party since leaving that city, complete with people smoking cigarettes on the dancefloor. Bring some earplugs with you, as our ears were still ringing on Sunday, and be prepared for a joyous night of being a techno outlaw.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

NY Times Article on "The Male Gaze" Show: Nostalgia in Oppositional Gay Culture

My friend J sent me a link this morning to a New York Times article about "The Male Gaze," a "just-opened group show at the powerHouse Arena in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn, that makes clear how a new generation of artists is addressing itself frankly to the varied and mutating shapes of sexuality." These attempts are being formulated in zines like Butt and the output of artists like Christian Holstad and Scott Hug, and those formulations, according to the shows's curator, Nicholas Weist, “argues for a new kind of alternativism that reacts against the mainstream of the culture.” It's easy to see this argument being enacted in our little bubble of a gay scene in San Francisco, where you have an oppositional "queer" culture that gathers around Trannyshack and The Rod and enacts nostalgic longings for pre-AIDS sexuality. As the article's author, Guy Trebay, puts it:
. . . nostalgia remains a powerful current running through the new gay male art scene, manifest as a longing for what, from a distance, looks like the utopian days of radical and pre-AIDS politics and unfettered sex.

That many gay people now find themselves squarely in the mainstream is a source of useful friction for artists like Dean Sameshima, whose Web site explains that his randy autobiographical work was inspired by “the will to assert and examine the continued existence” of underground gay cultures. A similar thought turned up a while back in a Butt interview with the gay German playwright Patrick Schuckmann.

“Gay culture is coming to an end,” said Mr. Schuckmann, head writer for a hugely popular German soap opera whose title, translated, is “Good Times, Bad Times.” “In a way I regret that, because this gay identification was so important for me, and I liked the revolutionary aspects of this idea of having a different sexuality. Now it’s all about marriage and being like everybody else.”

The article goes on to point out that, for some artists in the show, like James Morrison, we are entering into a kind of post-gay era in which being gay is secondary to anything else. It's easy to see how this could be interpreted as a betrayal of the queer oppositional position that so many of us championed through the late 80s and early 90s, where the very fact of our gayness set us apart from the rest of the world, and, theoretically at least, enabled us to take a critical stance toward mainstream culture that promised to usher in a new era of progressive politics. Ironically AIDS was the shock to the system that catalyzed the second major wave of gay liberation and civil rights. Now the oppositionl culture, in its longing to return to the pre-AIDS era, also seems to want to return to an apolitical vision of gay identity, one that focuses purely on sexuality, and a very randy version of sexuality at that.

The problem with this, or at least what I struggle with, is that the attempt to re-invigorate gay identity by re-invigorating an underground gay sexuality is that it leads, both politically and culturally, to a dead end. If we want to focus on a "purely" gay culture than what we have is 70s disco, and the incorporation of any contemporary aesthetic component is a vaguely assimilationist threat. We thus get caught up in an endless repeating cycle that, in another ten years, will make us look as anachronistic as swing kids today. At the same time this oppositional sexuality traps us in an eternally horny yet unfulfilled adolescence - what happens to my oppositional identity when I get a boyfriend and decide that he's all I really want? This is the decision that expels us from the gay garden of earthly delights, or at least, so it has seemed in my own experience - when you're no longer looking for that fucked-up hook-up, what's the point of most gay party nights?

For me the solution is to realize that my queerness sets me apart in almost any situation, gay or straight, and that it still enables me to look at the world in a uniquely critical way. I think it's more important to go forth into the larger cultural world and drag my queer sensibility along with me than to settle down into narcissistic nostalgia. Besides, it's far more oppositional to be the two boys kissing in the corner at a "straight" techno party than on the back porch of Deco. And if I can get those kids to let me or the boyfriend up on the decks and bring our queer interpretation to their world, I think this creates more real change than any solipsitic, studied attempts to re-create the Paradise Garage. This is perhaps a "post-gay" attitude, if being gay is defined solely in terms of a specific set of sexual attitudes and practices, but I was always much more interested in being queer than gay anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Event Review: Cloud Cult at The Bottom of the Hill

There are few live shows I've looked forward to as much as Cloud Cult at the Bottom of the Hill, and while the evening provided a few genuinely transcendent moments of musical communion between band and audience (and a surprisingly great set from opener Music for Animals, who reminded both the boyfriend and I of an 80s rock band in their bouncy sound and onstage presence), it also showed how difficult it can be to take tracks that are infused with the lushness of studio production on the road and into a live setting. A bit of ugliness at the end, involving greed and money flaunting during the auction for the two paintings that were produced on stage during the set, wound up spoiling what would otherwise have been a great evening of live music.

In my original review of Cloud Cult's new album, The Meaning of 8, I commented on the complex arrangements in the band's tracks, their ability to mix electronic and acoustic sounds, and the way they could create huge anthemic builds that then broke out into cleanly delivered musical moments. These qualities are a combination of the band member's inherent musical talents and some very advanced production techniques, and while the former is something that you can take out into the clubs, it's very difficult to recover studio magic in a live mix. In Cloud Cult's performance of tracks like "Pretty Voice," "The Meaning of 8," and, what in my opinion is destined to be a classic indie rock anthem, "Take Your Medicine," the band clearly put across all the emotional power that I expected, thanks both to their ability to master the dynamics between themselves and the power of Craig Minowa's vocals (and Craig is even cuter in person than he is in the band photos), but all those clean moments, the fine separation of the instruments that gave them each their own voice, were drowned in a muddy mix. The Bottom of the Hill is a wonderfully classic Hessian rock club, and while I don't know if the woman doing the mixes was travelling with the band or was the resident sound person, it seemed as if her technique was better suited for bands with a more traditional, straight-ahead rock sound. Music for Animals, for example, which relied on classic bass, drum, two guitars and a synth, and a basic fusion between them all, had a much more solid sound. Another contrast between the two groups was that while Music for Animals clearly enjoyed being on the stage together and working off one another to create a performance of their songs, the members of Cloud Cult seemed more introspective and centered on their own parts. The performance of their tracks didn't stray beyond what you would hear on the album, which meant that just as a track like "Take Your Medicine" built up and engaged the audience, it would be over.

I'm glad that I got to hear Cloud Cult in a small venue like Bottom of the Hill that fosters a sense of intimicy with bands on the stage, because if they can put out another album like The Meaning of 8, I'm sure that they will be able to fill much larger venues. At that point they may also have worked out the kinks in how they adapt their songs for live performance, and I would certainly love to hear them on a cleaner sound system. I thought I heard that they will be coming back through San Francisco in August, and I will definitely go check them out again to see how their live sound has matured after a couple months of being on the road.

And now for the ugly part. As part of Cloud Cult's shows Connie Minowa and Scott West each create a painting on stage during the set, and then the paintings are auctioned off after the show. I thought it would be cool to take home something more than a t-shirt that would remind me of the evening on an emotional level, and so I put in a bid on Connie's piece. At the time I didn't take much notice of it, but the starting bids for both pieces were from the same peson, at the same price. I thought that this meant this was the acceptable starting bid level, and while it was a little high, it wasn't outside the realm of what I would consider to be a good price for original art. A little later I checked and noticed that I had been outbid, so I let it go and bid on Scott West's piece, which the boyfriend said he preferred anyway. After the show I went to check on the bidding and found I had been outbid again, this time by the same person, Charlise (unsure of the spelling there, since my bifocals don't work so well in dim light when reading handwriting), who had won the Connie Minowa painting. I bid again, and Charise then put up a sum that was way more than I could afford. So I asked her, was she really willing to pay over a thousand dollars for both paintings, and wouldn't it be fair to let one of them go to someone else? She responded that she had gotten both paintings that had been created during the Sacramento show the night before, and she was going to get both of these as well, whatever it took. Since I was obviously up against someone who was motivated by greed and had the money (or the credit card) to back it up, I backed off, but it really pissed me off as an example of the kind of attitude that leads people to buy Escalades and drive out street fairs - I've got money, I don't care about you, I'm going to get what I want and my money is what makes it possible for me to be both arrogant and selfish. It was something of a bummer to go from reaching up to this peak of existential intensity only to be pulled back down into the muck of money. Since this seems antithetical to what I perceive as Cloud Cult's ethos, I hope they will find a way to balance between the financial benefit to Connie and Scott from such behavior, and the rather ugly drives behind it. When I got home I sent them an email that was perhaps more splenetic than I would have liked (it was late, I'd had more than enough shots of Jaeger with Stella chasers, and I was kinda upset that I'd lost out on something I'd really liked because I don't have bucks to just throw at things) and I hope that I didn't come across as just a sore loser, but I hope that they will take up my suggestion of allowing one person to only buy one painting. After all, I'm sure they would prefer to share themselves with, and give pleasure to, as many folks as they can who are receptive to what they have to say.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Upcoming Event: Benefit for Bus Station John at The Transfer, Saturday May 5

I caught a small item in Larry-Bob's Queer Things to do in San Francisco that said Bus Station John had recently been burned out of his apartment. And so this Saturday there is a benefit for BSJ at The Transfer, starting at 9PM, with the DJs from Starbooty. It's $5. BSJ's parties aren't my cup of tea, but he has done his part for San Francisco gay club culture, and, from all reports, is a very nice guy, so if you're in the Castro Saturday night, stop by the Transfer, have a drink, and help a guy out.

C.L.A.W.S and Gentleman's Techno Parties

In further evidence that techno is now blowing up as San Francisco's dominant cool kid music, the SFWeekly has an article in this week's issue about techno producer Brian Hock, aka C.L.A.W.S, and his Gentleman's Techno parties, described by devotee Kid606 as the closest thing to the way they party in Berlin and a tonic to the "handbag house" (love that term) that otherwise rules at clubs like Pink. As someone who has partied in Berlin I'd love to check one of these events out, so if anyone can give me the hook-up I'd be most appreciative.

MIT Study: How to Describe Timbre

One of the biggest challenges I face when writing about music is how to describe it. Recently the boyfriend and I were having a discussion about what it meant when music, particularly electronic music, was described as "dark." Well, it turns out that some folks at MIT are interested in this problem of describing timbre as well, and have put together a really neat survey to see find out how people translate what they hear into descriptive terms. Check it out and see how you would describe the sounds you hear.

Your Saturday Guide for May 5, 2007

It’s Cinco de Mayo, which means lots of gringos drinking too much tequila and Corona and acting like Mexico’s independence from Spain is just another excuse for them to behave like imperialist caricatures of people from a developing nation. Oh well, that’s just us crazy Americans.

Kind of a slow Saturday, as I assume everyone is saving their energy for How Weird Street Faire afterparties on Sunday.

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: HOUSE OF LOTUS Cinco de Mayo Burning Man Fundraiser
Yes, they encourage you to dress up like a cowboy and behave in deplorable ways, but there’s a great DJ line-up and an underground location (I’m not even supposed to be posting this for public consumption, but what the hell, it’s not like that many people will see it here anyway).
10PM to 6AM
$15 pre-sales from, $20 at the door
Secret Underground Location available at on Friday

Kontrol at the End-Up featuring live sets from Stephen Beaupre and Ambivalent
Your monthly offering of “minimal techno and avant house” with the boys from Kontrol at one of the best clubs in town (though watch out for that security pat-down)
10PM to 6AM
$15 at the door
The EndUp, 6th and Harrison

Tabu at the Sky Bar
Okay, I put this up for completeness only, because every bit of communication I see coming from these kids is managing to piss me off. This is the same crew, Bay Area Beat Drop (BABD), that does Fuk Werk Fridays happy hour (check out my review) at 111 Minna and filterSF at Fat City, so ostensibly they're a minimal techno collective. So far every one of their flyers has featured a NSFW image of a mostly naked woman (seriously, I’m afraid to look at their Myspace page at work), they describe their music as “sultry and teasing,” they have an annoying Flash site, this event says “No old jeans or t-shirts,” and they want you to pay $15 before midnight, $20 after, and apparently this isn’t even the main room for this club, but you can see through the floor to the main room, where they play hip-hop. So, if anybody has been or plans on going to this party, please hit me back and let me know what it was like so I can decide if I should keep listing it. Somehow I think this is techno for the bottle service crowd, which is a big turn-off for this jaded gay DJ and, I hope, you all as well. It’s also pretty bad when you can’t even list the address for the club where you’re having your party on your own damn website (and if you want your browser window to open at a normal size, be sure to clear your cache after looking at this Flash monstrosity).
10PM to 2AM(?)
Free before 11 with RSVP to, $15 before 11, $20 after midnight
520 4th Street

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Your Friday Guide for May 4, 2007

Whoo, another crazy Friday in clubland. It looks like everyone is throwing their big deal parties on Friday in anticipation of How Weird Street Faire and its attendant afterparties on Sunday, with Saturday offering the chance to replenish your serotonin and other vital neurotransmitters.

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Underground United at a Special Underground Location!
This is certain to be a big hoopla party with a who’s who of DJs from Seismic, Opel, and Big Smile – guaranteed bangin’ breaks, progressive house, and other fun dance treats in three rooms.
All Night Long
$5 before Midnight, $10 afterwards
Call 415-762-0155 for location

Lucky Pierre, a HomoElectroDisco at The Stud
Come as a Super Friend and get a free beer while the keg lasts! Free queen-sized birthday shot at midnight! Been meaning to check out this party for a while now, so this is probably where I’ll wind up for the evening.
10PM – 3AM
No cover charge listed

Garth and Jeno Back2Back at Club 222
Ah, that old-skool vibe is guaranteed to come into play here, but after hearing Jeno at Refuge last weekend I bet there will be some new-skool tech house as well. Great little space, just be careful wandering the ‘loin getting there. These guys team up every 1st Friday.
10PM – 2AM

Where Da Partyz At: A Birthday Celebration for Morris Mizrahi
With DJs Tall Sasha, Brad Robinson, Laird, and Dirtyhertz
Duplex Nightclub
1525 Mission
9PM to 2AM

Ursula 1000 at the Porn Palace
942 Mission Street
A Mexploitation Fiesta with burlesque dancers and all the attendant tequila messiness, costumes strongly encouraged
10PM to 4AM
$15 Presale / $20 Door
Get your tickets at:

More NIMBYism in the Panhandle

Today's San Francisco Examiner has an article on the latest struggle between those who want to create public arts and civic events, and those who are worried, worried, worried about "crowds," "noise," and "trash." In this case members of the Black Rock Arts Foundation's ScrapEden project want to create a temporary (important word, that) 30 foot wide, 18 foot tall bandshell made out of "used car hoods, computer circuit panels and plastic water bottles." The bandshell will be in place from June 1 until September 15, and will be used on a daily basis, from noon until dusk, for events like puppet shows and acoustic performances that are expected to draw "crowds" of about 25 people. The project has the support of the Recreation and Park Department, as well as Supervisor Ross Mirakami, whose district includes the Panhandle. So what are the objections from the neighbors?
“The noise factor is definitely a deterrent for anyone in the neighborhood,” said Maureen Murphy, who lives on Oak Street. “Although they said there would be no amplification, any time you construct any sort of a band shell … Things start out with the best intentions, but things get out of hand.
Wow, that's really a reasoned response - "but things get out of hand." I'm terrified of what might happen after a group of toddlers gets all riled up by a puppet show in the middle of the day. Ms. Murphy is also concerned about "safety," since the Panhandle is in a strip between two major streets, but if that's the case, maybe we should also ban dog walking, frisbee playing, and jogging, since you never know when any of those activities might take someone out in the street in a non-crosswalk area. She's also worried about trash - man, those crowds of kids and folkies really know how to mess up a place. Another neighbor feels that the Panhandle is too small an area for an 18 by 25 foot band shell, so she suggests putting it in Sharon Meadows, a space in the middle of Golden Gate Park that would completely dwarf the structure and take it away from serving those people who live in the Panhandle area.

In short, it looks like these people decided to just be reactionary against anything that might possibly, in some small way, for some short period of time, impinge on their concept of their neighborhood (and, no doubt, their property values). So instead of coming up with real reasons for why this should not be allowed, they're grasping at straws and trying to concoct worst-case scenarios. Let's hope that the Board of Supervisors is a little bit more rationale in making decisions about this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cochella in the New York Times

The New York Times today has an article on the Cochella festival down in Indio, from which we've been enjoying the run-off these past few weeks. A couple article highlights:

The big scary War of the Worlds tripod in the background of the article photo was at Burning Man this past year and won my award for most dread-inspiring art on the playa

The electronic music dance tent made it seem as if "This year . . . dance music were having a resurgence instead of a decline," though the artist described is Tiesto *sigh*

The Jesus and Mary Chain are back: "The big thing was the band’s singer, Jim Reid, and the rigor of his acid blankness; the corners of his mouth almost never turned above a flat line. 'Are you having fun?' he asked the crowd, after singing “Sidewalking.” The crowd said yes. 'Well, we’ll see what we can do about that,' he said."