Friday evening was looking grim for an opening night, what with the rain and the cold and the general pre-Halloween malaise. But the party gods decided to smile upon our fair city, so the skies cleared and Heat caught fire with a fun crowd that was there to show some style, dance, and even get a little flirty.
The night was built around the concept of re-inventing Warhol's factory and to that end most of the dance area walls and pillers were covered in aluminimum foil, with the go-go stands wrapped to resemble the famed Brillo pad boxes. There were reproduction screenprints of Liz and Marilyn, and original footage of the Bay Bridge in the style of "Empire," along with long, static shots of a couple languidly playing cards, reading, and making peanut butter sandwiches. The flyer promised free admission to anyone who came as Andy or in Factory superstar drag, and while I did see a couple platinum wigs, and Artemis Chase as Candy Darling, the crowd seemed to go for its own idiosyncratic SoMa style, though I've not seen so much leopard print in one place in ages. I especially appreciated the punk go-go boy (I think he might be the last queer punk in the Castro) with the aluminum foil briefs. While it might not have been all the glam of the Factory (we really needed Lou Reed shooting up in the corner for that), there was a special vibe that made me think this night could turn into an interesting cultural nexus.
It took until about 11.30 for the dance floor to take off, but DJ6 and Donimo laid down some groovy electro, and some interesting remixes (when was the last time you heard "Heart-Shaped Box" at 130 bpm) that kept the boyfriend and I going until last call. It's been a while since I have seen a dancefloor populated by more than one or two tweeky twirlers, and a while since I felt moved to really dance, but these guys know how to handle a groove and get the crowd moving. I even had one guy pull me out onto the dancefloor while I was being a wallflower off to the side. I can't remember the last time that happened!
On our walk home I thought about how interesting it was to build a party around the idea of The Factory; after all, when we think of that time and place, we think not only of a certain iconic glamour, but also of the creativity that came together there. Earlier in the week I had a conversation with my friend Kitten, the impressario behind the Comfort and Joy camp, about his interest in building out more of an alternative queer community, one that focuses on creativity as much as it does on sex and partying. Heat feels like its after that same thing, marking out a monthly space to experiment with the club experience, and giving those who come an opportunity to engage in creative expression of their own. I like Lucky Pierre, done by the same crew, because they are trying to create an atmosphere of fun sexyness, rather than the grimly determined sexual drive that seems to dominate almost every other gay club night; with Heat, I see a night that has the potential to become the San Francisco version of The Misshapes (though with considerably better music and DJs) because it's about fun, style, and glamour, something that has been sorely, sorely missing in the San Francisco gay club scene. So, get ready kids, hit the thrift stores, dig out your eyeliner, and come down to next month's installment of Heat; it's the place to create what you want to be.