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.