This was one of those odd weekends when I found myself out and about all on my lil ol' lonesome; friends were out of town or otherwise occupied and the boyfriend was way too wrapped up working as a recording engineer for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to manage any energy for nightclub skulking. I hadn't much in the way of plans for Saturday night, but when the boyfriend decided to pile himself into bed at 10.30 I decided I would make my way down to The Cat Club and check out Glitterbox. Unfortunately, I should have just saved my own time, energy, and money and joined him in the sack.
I had pretty high hopes for the night, and have been meaning to check it out ever since I heard about it. My stylist, Scott, raves about the old Litterbox parties that were put together by the same crew, and with the Glittergoth theme for this installment I was looking forward to a chance to check out my old scene. I didn't feel like putting too much effort into really decking out, but I did spike up the mohawk and dig out some black psychedelic tribal gear. I briefly thought about putting together a whole outfit, but then decided that traipsing around SoMa by myself in platform boots and fishnets didn't sound like that much fun. As it was, I was still dressed up more than anybody else there, so I'm glad I didn't do anything to make me feel more conspicuous than I already was.
I showed up around 11.30 and was surprised at how empty the club was. I really like The Cat Club, it's a great space with a good layout, but they apparently weren't expecting much of turnout to begin with since the back room, with the main dance floor, was closed off. Not a good sign. I got a drink and perched against a wall where I could observe the roughly fifteen people in the club. There was one group of gay guys who, aside from wearing some black shirts, didn't seem particularly goth, or even glittery; another group of four who came in in front of me, and who apparently were friends with one of the DJs, and a random assortment of two and three person groups, all of whom seemed to know a DJ, go-go dancer, or bartender. Aside from one Asian guy in camouflage on the dancefloor, I was apparently the only other person there alone and not somehow associated with the night or the club.
As I sat there, feeling a little odd, a voluptous woman in a cowboy hat came over and introduced herself with the line "Hi, I'm obnoxious." We chatted for a few minutes about our ages and how we didn't show it, she complimented me on my t-shirt design and spectacles, and then tried to get me to come dance with her to "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses. "How can you not dance to this," she asked, and I replied "Like this." She went back out to shake it around for a while, and I wondered exactly what I had gotten myself into.
The music - well, let's just say that if I had put CDs from my old goth collection into a hundred disc changer, and then added some CDs from the boyfriends collection of recent electro, and then a couple 80s compilations, and hit shuffle, that's what the programming and DJing were like. I will say that after midnight, and a DJ change, the mixing was a lot smoother, and the music slightly more interesting, but after hearing LCD Soundsystem's "North American Scum" mixed into "Telegram Sam" by Bauhaus, I had pretty much already made up my mind about whether I would be staying or leaving.
My usual rule at club nights is to have three drinks; that's usually enough time to see if something is really going to get going, if the DJs will find a groove, and to get a sense of the overall vibe. In this case, I decided to cut my losses and just go with two drinks. I left around 12.30, and not only had the crowd not gotten any larger, many people, including the only discernable gay guys, had left. There was one fabulous couple, he in beige leisure suit with orange accessories, she in pink and black PVC corset, but they were the only people there who seemed to have gotten the message that this was supposed to be a theme party, not just a show up at the Cat Club like you do on every Saturday party.
When I got home I figured I'd blown about forty bucks on this night out; ten bucks for cabs each way, five bucks to get in, and about fourteen bucks for drinks and tips. Fortunately, they cut the cover in half starting with this night, or I'd have felt really ripped off at paying ten bucks for music I could have heard at home, drinks that I could have made from my own freezer, and the pleasure of my own company. I don't know what's happened here; I do know that they moved Glitterbox from Friday to Saturday, and that on this particular Saturday they were up against Kontrol at the End Up, and I'm sure many of the gothlings were checking out The Cure at Shoreline. Nonetheless, I couldn't believe that a major SoMa club, with a night that seems to have the benefit of previous associations going for it, could be so unbelieveably lame on a Saturday night. It makes me wonder, once again, if San Francisco really has the kind of population that can support multiple club nights. I like the idea behind an event like Glitterbox, which seems to be about bringing back the glam factor in clubbing, but it also seems to me that a club night has to offer something exciting and innovative, with a real effort to engage attendess, or at least make them feel part of something, to draw in the crowds. Unless Glitterbox can find a way to do this, and unless I was there on a very uncharacteristically off night, I can't imagine that it will survive beyond the first of the year.