Monday, October 29, 2007

Event Review: Halloween Saturday from the Marina to the Mission

This weekend started out as a quiet one for the boyfriend and I, with our major Friday night activities including him remixing tracks in Ableton while I attempted to clear Nazi gun emplacements from a small Italian town. This was all calm before the storm, however, as Saturday took us from a wedding at the Presidio to a serious rave-up of a party in the Mission, with a death-march from the Marina to the Castro, explorations into the world of alpha-numerics, and a visit to the vomitorium all in between.

The wedding was for our friends Matt and Lisa, who I have known since I first moved to The City in 1999. They were part of my original crew of party peeps, all of us recent transplants to the city who were drawn here by the .com boom and managed to hang on through the subsequent bust. They first met at a Thump radio party (I believe it was X-Dream), and have moved on since then to buying a house and having dogs, so it was about time they actually got married. The reception turned into a reunion of sorts, since our table was all old friends who I haven’t seen for quite a while, and one of them just happened to have several pills of 2-CB he wanted to share with us. After sitting through the requisite drunken speeches, terrible slow jams from the DJ, and the cutting of the cake the boyfriend, Kitty and I finally took off from the Presidio officer’s club around 9.30. Thus begins the death march.

Woe to the person who needs a taxi at 9.30 on a Saturday night; we called both DeSoto and Yellow, and were told “we’ll try to get a car out there.” Well, trying just isn’t enough; after twenty minutes of waiting we knew we’d be stranded there unless we could find a taxi ourselves, so we hoofed it off toward Lombard Street. When I saw the first sexy convict trying to hail a cab, I knew we were doomed; every corner was filled with sexy nurses, sexy tennis players, sexy convicts, sexy vampires, and all the guys in bad wigs and cow costumes who accompany them, trying to get a cab. We walked up Fillmore and finally were able to get a bus to Church and Market, and after a few more blocks of walking were able to find a conveyance up the hill to home. Total travel time from the Presidio to Castro: one hour and thirty minutes.

We went through a rapid costume change, took the blue pill, and headed out to a costume party at Liberty and Valencia, fortunately within walking distance of the apartment. We passed plenty of costumed folks on our way, but arrived just in time to see most of the people we knew headed out the door; we had mis-timed our arrival by about an hour, so that much of the party was moving on the next destination. We came in, had a drink, and I collapsed on the couch for about twenty minutes; even if everybody else was going to another party, I had to stop moving for a little while.

There’s nothing like the hassles of dealing with transportation on a big party night, and the general guido atmosphere of the Marina on a Saturday night, to put me in a bad mood; combine that with drinking a couple Jack and Cokes, and then ingesting a quantity of substance with which I heretofore had no experience, and you have all the ingredients necessary for whipping up an nasty case of indigestion. Sure, things were looking kinda sparkly, and I could see the wallpaper starting to swirl around, but it was difficult for me to make the mental move from “jeezus, what a fucking pain in the ass this is,” to “oooh, cool, I think I’ll stare at the wall for a while.” After all, I had just dealt with the squealing sounds of the Marina, been crushed on a slow moving bus, and was pretty fucking tired after miles of walking, only to arrive at the party and find that it was starting to wind down.

My evening’s salvation came with the arrival of Sister Viva L’Amour who whisked us off to a “dance party” over on Oakwood. Along the way I worked on getting my tripping walk down, a formidable feat since the sidewalk seemed to now curve out along the edges, and everything had a fuzzy shimmer around it. While I made it to the party okay, and was even starting to feel a bit giddy, my stomach had other, increasingly insistent, ideas about what it wanted to do.

The party was off the hook, with dancing, DJs, a courtyard with faerie lights and “In the Mouth of Madness” projected on a wall. Thinking that my problem might be a need to move past a certain boundary state, I decided to augment my alpha-numeric with a vowel, but ten minutes later I was involved with an intimate examination of the groundcover in the courtyard garden. Yep, squirming, writhing biomass, check, here, have some freshly digested nutrients. Having purged my system (and, unfortunately, all the effects of the second pill), and been handed the requisite napkin, beer, and stick of chewing gum, I was now ready to party.

We stayed and danced until almost 2.30; the crowd was absolutely fabulous, the small dance floor packed with costumed revelers, the tracks were total monsters (though the second DJ’s mixing left something to be desired), and I can honestly say I have not enjoyed any dance event in months as much as I enjoyed the few hours we spent at that party. I had a moment of thinking back to the underground raves of a few years ago, when it was all about getting together with friends for a big party and dancing, and I realized: fuck the big clubs, fuck the name-brand DJs, fuck the scenesters and their ambitions, fuck bottle service, all of it was but an attempt to simulate the energy and straight out fun of this scene, where gay boys and straight girls danced together, where you could puke in a corner and no one bats an eye, where your friend can come and move a dancefloor with the records he’s been spinning in his bedroom, and where everybody leaves thinking “man, what a great party” and spent n’ary a dime to be there.

The Mission and Castro were still bustling with activity when we left, and though our night was far from over, I had no desire, and no need, to go in search of any more partying. Halloween is the holiday of mischief, of random encounters with the strange and bizarre. We had embraced it from the moment we left the Presidio, both treats and tricks were handed out to us, and the veil between the worlds had been raised.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

really enjoyed your recent post. this weekend certainly was weird, strange, and unusual. and i don't think it's related solely to the upcoming costumed holiday.

i'm writing largely to convey two ideas:

firstly, a big thank you for telling it like it is. the club scene is dead. not undead, not morbid, not even mortifying. the djs play the same songs i could hear on the radio (which I don't own), but despite my technological deprivation i still seem to know all the top 40 songs of madonna, britney, hilary, et al. they are taking up valuable space in my brain cells and i wish they would go away. The word vapid comes to mind, a word i have heard three times in the past 24 hours (and not just in my own head). but rather than being simply lifeless, i would say that the parties lack any reason for why one should attend. this was violently proven to me just the other night when i visited the thick party. luke johnstone played at the very first thick, and played an amazing set of atmospherically textured and acid-jazz-inspired electronic music. the feelings it evoked were similar to shrooms, except i was very much sober that night. so i had high expectations going to this past sunday's party, only to find the same music as is played everywhere else. there was one illuminating moment when he transitioned with an inspired sound loop from some sort of industrial artist, but that sort of talented referencing and broadening of our musical ears quickly faded into stuffing my ears with yet another mindless top forty song.

i think the party-going public deserves something better, something more creative. or how about just something ELSE. i dont care if its industrial, or country, or rap, or jazz, or classical. i really dont care. it just has to connect my ears with my head. and there's a lot of music available today that does just that. i seriously hope someone with talent, verve, and vision can host a real party with real music. yeah.

secondly, thanks for sharing your adventure with an alphanumeric. i have been trying to get my hands on that, and other similarly named substances, for awhile. so i know it's hard to come by. too bad the circumstances were not optimal, but your trip report matches what i've heard and read from others. i dunno about you, but I and my friends have decided to cut back only to the stuff that looks like the color it was intended to be. (um, in other words powders and wafers and veggies and herbs.) but if i ever get a chance, i'll definitely make room for the family of 2s.