Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Your Party Guide for New Year's Eve

Every bar and club has something going on for New Year's, and I bet most of you know some friends who are having parties as well. There are great guides to all the big events in the SFWeekly, Bay Guardian, and The Onion, but here are my picks for best places to ring in the new year.

Comfort and Joy Afterglow
The Comfort and Joy crew present another great underground including a show and dancefloor by Honey Sound System.
$20 (Presales available at the website)
Underground Location

Drunk and Horny New Year's Party
A two room party in a classic warehouse space, with DJs Sparky and Big Red playing the good-time party music, and Lord Kook and DJ Pee Play laying down the four-on-the-floor starting around 2AM.
$20 (Presales at Distractions, Hot Cookie, and Saturday's Drunk and Horny at Underground SF)
Underground Location

Tantra at SoMarts
A breaks room with Freq Nasty headlining, a Return to Goa trance room, and chill area by the Ambient Mafia.
$30 (Presales at Ceiba, Distractions, and Skills in Berkeley)

Seismic at Mighty
Your best bet at an above-ground club, with Krafty Kuts, Murphstar of the Space Cowboys and many other local heroes.
$60 Presales at seismicsf.org

Breakfast of Champions at Club Whisper
If you're still up and ready to party at 6AM, this will be the place to be, with Space Cowboy DJs and special guests from 6AM "until you say uncle!"
$10 at the door

Your Friday Guide for December 28, 2007

Last Friday of the year kids, get out and make the most of it!

Cosmic Gypsy Happy Hour with DJ Mak at the W Hotel
Get your lounge groove on with DJ Mak in this swank downtown hotel bar.
6PM - 8PM
NO COVER
W Hotel, 181 3rd Street x Howard

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: 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 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.
9PM - close
NO COVER
The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street (between Clay and Washington)

Fag Fridays at Pink
With residents David Harness, Rolo, Neon Leon, and Manny Ward.
10PM - "late"
$10
Pink, 2526 16th Street x South Van Ness

GhettoDisco at The EndUp
With guest Joe Gauthreaux and residents Hawthorne and Cuervo.
11PM - 11AM
FREE before midnight, $20 until 2AM, $30 after 2AM
The EndUp, 6th x Harrison

Lights Down Low at Club 222
This installment features guests Sleazy V., Omar (Popscene), and Forever 21 with resident Richard OH?! (Big Stereo). Check out my previous reviews of Lights Down Low.
10PM - 2AM
$7
Club 222, 222 Hyde Street x Turk

Monthlies and One-Offs

Shark Attack!
Residents 0rko, Rubyacht, Starr (Bondage-a-Go-Go), Macro spinning "Electro/Progressive/Techno/Grime/Popdancecrap."
9.30PM - 2AM
FREE before 10, $5 after
Julie's Supper Club, 1123 Folsom x 7th

FilterSF at Club Anu
Deep minimal techno in a groovy bar right off Market Street. Residents Solekandi, Saya, and Kontakt, with the legendary Fanon Flowers spinning that special Detroit sound in the guest slot.

Mash-Ups and Electro at Deco Lounge
DJ Medic and DJ Boyshapedbox present a night of Mash Ups and Electro.
8PM - 3AM
$2
Deco Lounge
Larkin and Turk

Mix to Dowload: DJ Bearzbub

I had a great conversation on Christmas Eve at a party with DJ Bearzbub, who spins for Charlie Horse and has made appearances at Trans Am, Viva La Basket, Chrome, and Bearracuda. Bearzbub also spins on occasional Sunday afternoons at The Eagle, so you know he's got the punk/rock/metal genre down pat. It was first hearing this kind of music being played in San Francisco gay bars that convinced me I wanted to live here, so you should check out this great slice of the queer rock sound that he put together for the Viva La Basket crew.

Upcoming Event: Mash-Ups and Electro at Deco Lounge, Friday December 28

DJ Medic and DJ Boyshapedbox present a night of Mash Ups and Electro.
8PM - 3AM
$2
Deco Lounge
Larkin and Turk

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Your Saturday Guide for December 22, 2007

Drunk and Horny
Sorta like those high school parties you'd wished you'd had. Get drunk, flirt with boys, and dance to good-time party standards. Reliable, easy-going, and a short stumble home, but beware that it gets claustrophobically crowded. Check out my reviews of Drunk and Horny.
$5
9PMish - 2.00AM (with maybe an afterparty)
Underground SF, 424 Haight Street x Webster

Frisco Disco at The Transfer
Every Saturday night they're lined up on the street for this party; haven't made it past the sweating crowds myself yet, but this looks like one of the hottest things going right now. Check it out yourselve and let me know what you think.
No cover listed
9.00PM - 2.00AM
The Transfer, Church at Market

Hot Mess at The Stud
Gus Presents . . . . what appears to be a rip-off of Drunk and Horny, but with Castro bar music.
10PM - 3AM
$5
The Stud, 9th x Harrison.

Monthlies and One-Offs

Viva La Basket at Club Eight
Another of those bangin' bear-centric parties, this monthly installment features DJs Metric and Matt Consola. Now with video games!
9PM - 2AM
$6
Club Eight, 1151 Folsom x 8th

Upcoming Event: Gemini Disco at Beauty Bar Sunday, December 23

A special RSVP-only Christmas party from those disco devils Nicky B. and Derek Love of Gemini Disco at the Beauty Bar, 19th and Mission, this Sunday! Hit their website to RSVP, it should be an old-skool disco extravaganza!

NiteVibe "Top 10" San Francisco DJs List

Nitevibe has published their annual "Top10 DJ Dreamteam" list, and it's, um, pretty unremarkable. In fact, the whole list is pretty predictable. Here's the top 10:
  1. Miguel Migs
  2. Mark Farina
  3. David Harness
  4. Kaskade
  5. Bassnectar
  6. Taj
  7. Rooz
  8. Adam Ohana
  9. Icon
  10. Syd Gris
Of the top 10, note that almost all are either house or breakbeat DJs (I'm not familiar with Rooz, Syd Gris is, to his credit, difficult to nail down to one genre, and I'm heard Taj play trance on occasion). Note as well that all are associated with major clubs or regular events. Breaks and house DJs completely dominate the rest of the list, and while there are a fair number of DJs who might be considered as "underground" (I believe that all the Space Cowboys made the cut), most are pretty big names or associated with well-known collectives. And, with the exception of David Harness, all are associated with scenes and events that are predominantly straight.

So what might we gather from this list? This obvious inference is that, the more often you play out, and the bigger your nights, the more likely you are to show up here. I think it's more interesting, however, that the votes seem to have been for genres as much as for specific DJs. To be honest, I doubt that many people made their choices based on their perception of DJ skills, and more on whether a particular DJ plays music that they like - so, smooth deep house tops the list, followed by booty-shaking breaks. No trance, no techno, no ambient, no downtempo. I'd say that this indicates two major currents in San Francisco club music - on the one side, background music for mating rituals between the inhabitants of overpriced condos, and, on the other, get down and shake your ass music for those who make their way out to the playa every August. Everything else - well, that's the sound of the underground.

As for the fact that David Harness is the only DJ on the list associated with a gay night (Fag Fridays), this only confirms something that I've thought for a long time - gay men don't really care about the music they hear in a club, as that's secondary to whether or not there are guys with whom they want to get it on. Of course, there also aren't that many gay DJs who really make an effort to play anything that interesting or unexpected, and of the many gay nights I know of in the City, only Fag Fridays really puts any emphasis on the music as something important and special. Everywhere else it's mostly background music for a pick-up scene. I suspect, too, that David Harness made the cut because he's developed a super-loyal following over the twelve years he's been behind the decks at Fag Fridays - honestly, I voted for him not because I really like the music he plays, but just because I thought the man deserves some respect.

So there you have it, a little encapsulation of the San Francisco club scene brought to you by the Nitevibes "Top10" DJs. My thought is that you should get out and hear all these guys - really, they are all good at what they do - but don't be fooled into thinking that they represent the absolute best that San Francisco has to offer. To find that, you need to do a little more work than just showing up at 1015, Ruby Skye, or Mighty on a weekend night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Your Friday Night Guide for December 21, 2007

Ho-ho-ho kiddies, you gonna be naughty or nice this weekend?

Weeklies and Bar Nights

Cosmic Gypsy Happy Hour with DJ Mak at the W Hotel
Get your lounge groove on with DJ Mak in this swank hotel bar.
6PM - 8PM
NO COVER
W Hotel, 181 3rd Street x Howard

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: 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 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.
9PM - close
NO COVER
The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street (between Clay and Washington)

Fag Fridays at Pink
With residents David Harness, Leon Neon, Rolo, and Manny Ward, plus special guests.
10PM - "late"
$10
Pink, 2526 16th Street x South Van Ness

GhettoDisco at The EndUp
With Nikita, Hawthorne, Jim Hopkins, Adrian, and Lonnie Tuck.
11PM - 11AM (honey, don't forget the pills!)
FREE before midnight, $20 until 2AM, $30 after 2AM
The EndUp, 6th x Harrison

Monthlies and One-Offs

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Heat at The Stud
A special Solstice installment, the official afterparty for Comfort and Joy's Short Mountain Fundraising party. Check out my previous review of Heat.
10PM - 3AM
$5
The Stud, 9th x Harrison

Blow-Up at The Rickshaw Stop
With guests Gold Chains and MissingToof.com DJS, plus residents Jefrodesiac and Richie Panic of Frisco Disco fame.
10PM - 2AM
$10 for 21+, $12 for 18-21
The Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell x Van Ness


Dirty Bird at Shine
Local tech-house luminaries Claude vonStroke, Christian Martin, Justin Martin, and Worthy lay it down monthly in this SoMa hotspot (now with more mirror balls!)
10PM - 2AM
$5
Shine, 1337 Mission x 9th

Electric Boogie at Club 222
Derek Love and Nicky B,, two of the DJs behind the recent Paradise All-Night Disco Party at Mezzanine, mixes old-skool boogie/electrofunk/freestyle with the best of the nu-skool to a diverse, mixed crowd in this very cool Tenderloin bar.
10PM - 2AM
FREE!
Club 222, 222 Hyde Street x Turk

Upcoming Event: Comfort and Joy's Afterglow New Year's Eve

Comfort & Joy presents
*AFTERGLOW* NEW YEARS EVE + Day
Genderfuck Cabaret + Dancefloor + "Shortbus" Playspace
SWEET BEATS by HONEY SOUNDSYSTEM
SPECTACLE by ULTRA
...with HOUSE of SALAD, Miss Nix, Felicia Fellatio,Khadijah: Salad Gold Dancer, Veda de Voe, Hysterica, Dam Dyke, KimBurly, Miss Black Rock City + YOU....
visions by III & the House of Herrera

PRIVATE UNDERGROUND LOCATION

Complimentary water, juice, redbull, clothes check & breakfast at dawn.
Be creative; alcohol is not served at Afterglow.
(flasks are okay)
10pm doors | 11pm show | 6am breakfast | 2pm burning man 2007
documentary screening
(party tip: crash in a pile of boys & stay for new year's day)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PRE-SALE TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE!

A finite number of Afterglow tickets are available at http://www.playajoy.org & SEMI.

All proceeds benefit the Comfort & Joy burning man construction fund.

Volunteer for free admission * Viva Queer Community!

Listening to Bob Mould on City Arts and Lectures

This past Sunday I caught the Bob Mould interview on City Arts and Lectures on KQED, part of their Talking Music series. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a taped version of this on their website, but there were some cool stories about Bob's days with Husker Du and their crazy tours, including a long stopover here in SF while they crashed at Jello Biafra's place.

It was a thought-provoking experience to listen to this on an afternoon when I was intending to go to a disco night later in the evening, since, when Bob talked about wanting to get rid of "that music" on the radio, he was making an oblique reference to the disco and pop tunes of the late 70s and early 80s that dominated the charts. I really didn't get into punk music until about 1984, and discovered Husker Du following the release of Zen Arcade, but listening to Bob made me think about how we followed similar paths - angry small town boys who first found an outlet for our feelings in punk music, and who also came around to dealing with our sexuality through that same scene. I remember when Bob was outed by Spin, and then the sudden uptick in Queercore bands like Pansy Division and queer punk zines coming around at the same time.

It's interesting to think about the difference a few years would have made in the identifications I had with the gay world. I was still in high school in rural Virginia when AIDS was identified, and by the time I had gone through college and begun investigating the gay scene a whole generation of men who had experienced that first wave of gay liberation and danced in the discos had been wiped out. Those who survived and came after them brought with them a lot of anger, as I did, over everything from the political climate to the way AIDS patients were being treated. When I hung out with guys in ACT-UP in Baltimore, they didn't listen to disco, they listened to Fugazi and Husker Du and Minor Threat, Nirvana and Ministry. We had pretty typical second-generation attitudes toward the first generation of out gay men, in that we saw their culture as stifling and traditionalist, and wanted to make things for ourselves. When I wanted to scope boys I didn't go the gay bars, but to rock shows and goth/industrial clubs.

Bob Mould and I are pretty much products of the atmosphere in which we came out; while the mood of the 7os generation might be characterized as happy and liberated, our generation felt angry and oppressed. Then, by the mid-90s, all those queer punks found that the second movement we had mobilized had lost its teeth, settling now for issues like marriage and military service, things we vehemently opposed. I guess it makes sense that disco is now undergoing this tremendous revival both here in SF and, from what I've heard, in New York; it evokes happy memories for an older generation, and connects the most recent with a gay identity that seems to offer more radical opportunities for self-expression. It is somewhat galling to think that the gay culture that I and my friends rejected has now re-emerged as a dominant cultural force, while the main accomplishment of our anger and political motivation has been to create a class of gay bourgeoisie, and this, I must admit, accounts for at least some of my own attitude toward the disco aesthetic. And then there are the times when I look around at the current state of the gay scene and I just feel like a curmudgeon, much in the same way as that first generation of gay men must have felt when they encountered my generation and realized that there had been a tremendous shift in values and aesthetics that had taken place without their realizing it.

Bob Mould is still putting out albums, but it seems that he's changed a lot since I last saw him do a solo acoustic show at a small bar in Baltimore; he's now DJing are regular night in DC and New York called Blowoff, and I noticed that on his myspace page, one of his friends is the Service Members Legal Defense Fund. It also seems that Bob has traded in his punk identity for being a bear; I didn't even recognize his current physical incarnation from the husky, intense, geeky guy I watched with rapt attention. I'm glad that Bob has found a way to re-define himself as he starts creeping up on 50; it's pretty hard to maintain that angry energy your entire life without turning into a total crank. I'm a little disappointed in looking at their setlists; maybe I'd like it better if I was actually listening to it, but it seems a bit like a repudiation of the punk aesthetic for pretty mainstream stuff. But at least Bob has found a way to position himself in relation to contemporary gay culture, something that, for all of us, becomes much more difficult as the years pass.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mix to Download: Richie Panic Live at Frisco Disco

Missingtoof.com has a live mix of Richie Panic at Frisco Disco that's kinda neat - I wouldn't have thought of putting Chromeo, Samim, and Claude Von Stroke on the same mix (and I even own several of these tracks), but that's why I check out other people's stuff. This is a little more on the booty side of electro and indietronica, with nice techno edge that pops out every now and then, put together in a tight mix. I'm sure sets like this must drive them crazy every Saturday over at The Transfer. Shake it baby, shake it!

Tracklist
  1. Zongamin - Bongo Song
  2. Federico Franchi - Cream (Original)
  3. Acid Jacks - Awake Since 78 (Mstrkrft Remix)
  4. Acid Jacks - Mookie (Curses! Remix)
  5. Chromeo - Bonafide Lovin’ (LA Riots Remix)
  6. Samim - Heater (Vandalism Re-Rub)
  7. Claude VonStroke - The Whistler (The Ashton Shuffle Remix)
  8. The Rapture - W.A.Y.U.H (Claude VonStroke Pantydropper Vocal Mix)
  9. The Presets - I Go Hard, I Go Home (Club Mix)
  10. DJ Jeroenski - Back Once Again (Vandalism Remix)
  11. Koma & Bones - Multistorey (Original Mix)
  12. C.L.A.W.S. - C.L.A.W.S. Theme (Passions Remix)

Event Review: Honey Sound System's Mineshaft Disco at 1015 Folsom

OK kids, I gotta be up front here: when an event involves the words "disco," "Sunday night," and "1015," I'll usually take a pass. However, being that those words were also accompanied by "Honey Sound System," I was determined to check out this party. When I walked out the door on Sunday night, unaccompanied by friends or boyfriend, and felt the drizzle on my face, I almost turned back around, and when I arrived at 103 Harriet Street at about 9.15 and was unable to find any sign that a party was going on, I was ready to ditch it once again. But, I had already spent cab fare to get there, so I decided to take a walk around the block in the hope that the doors would be open when I returned. Even though it was 9.40 when I was finally let in, I was ultimately glad that I stuck it out to attend the best event of the weekend.

There were problems with the doorman (Ken Vulsion let me and a couple other guys in as he was going out to grab a bite to eat since no doorman had showed up) and a mixer transplant had to be performed about a half hour after I arrived, but the HSS team made the basement of 1015 feel like a special warm, cozy space that made enduring these issues worthwhile. After walking into the dark entrance I spotted curtains of red and silver mylar forming a hallway to a flight of stairs leading down, and from below I could hear the music - it was like walking into a small, secret, underground space, even though it was in the basement of the biggest club in SoMa. In the space itself (which has a very cool round dance floor surrounded by booths and pulsating lights in the ceiling) the kids had put up a central display of packing boxes and record sleeves, along with some informational posters about the old Mindshaft club, and 1015's former existence as the infamous Sutro bathhouse. In another corner there was a memorial to Sylvester, whose death date was Monday, and all the table tops were decorated with more record sleeves and big plastic happy face whistles. My god, I thought, these guys have put together an actual theme!

There were only a couple other people in the club for the first half hour I was there, but by 11, which I had originally estimated as my departure time, it had picked up so much that I reconsidered. I saw several people I knew, and the crowd was really quite diverse, friendly, and fun. There were straight kids and gay kids, young guys and older, trannies and maybe even a couple muscle queens (it was certainly warm enough for shirts to come off, but maybe a little early), all getting down and smiling at one another on the dancefloor. More than any other events I've been to lately, HSS events seem to bring together a community of people who are interested in new experiences, new music (even if it is vintage), and meeting new people. It's the kind of vibe that I associate much more with raves than I do clubs, and I think it's a sign that these kids have tapped into a desire that many of us have for a scene that is about something more than body types, designer clothes, and music for the lowest common denominator.

As for the music - I danced to disco. Did you ever think I would write those words? The difference was that, in this case, I wasn't having to deal with the cheezy or the overly-familiar. It was during Jason Kendig's set that I found myself really listening to the music, and in his selections I heard the early days of house and the foundations of electro. I was suprised by some of the synth lines I heard, and how infrequently the tracks relied on overused disco devices like strings, horn sections, and warbling diva vocals. It was a much different tour through disco than what I have heard in the past, and it was enough to make me think that I need to look into this further.

Over the course of the evening I kept texting the boyfriend that he should get off the couch and come down, that the party was shaping up to be quite awesome, but he was firmly rooted in place, and so, by the time midnight rolled around, I knew that I needed to take off. As soon as I got home, though, I sent Pee Play an email saying that I hoped they would consider making this a monthly or semi-regular event. We sure could use use a little happy disco action in the community right now, and next time, I'll be better prepared to stay until the last track plays.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Event Review: Saturday Night in the Loin: White Walls Gallery, Chrome, Joystick, Bearracuda

After being up until almost 4AM following Bender at The Transfer on Friday Night, and looking forward to a late night at Honey Sound System's Mineshaft party, the boyfriend and I decided we'd have an easy night of bar tours and flyer distribution for Fuck Shit, Let's Dance. Our agenda had been to head to Chrome at the Gangplank and then walk up to Joystick at The Cinch. However, things being what they are, I managed to have a buzz-killing mishap, and instead of hanging out in bars we wound up perusing art and going into the bear cave at Bearracuda.

First, my mishap; we were desperately trying to flag down a cab on Market Street at 9.30 when we thought we spotted one across the street by Cafe Flore - but just because cabs have their lights on doesn't mean they're available, as we found out several times during the evening. We were running across Market to try and flag this cab when I lost my balance and fell full force on my right shoulder in front of the Noe and Market F-car stop. It was so painful that I was unable to move my arm for several minutes, and most of my attention for the rest of the evening was diverted wondering whether I had broken something. At the very least, it had wounded my ego, and I spent a lot of time rubbing the warm knot in my trapezius and feeling like a doofus.

We arrived at The Gangplank around 9.40; a couple older, morose-looking guys were standing around outside smoking cigarettes, and when we peeked through the door there were only a couple local denizens at the bar, so we decided to check out the gallery show next door at The White Walls gallery.

Wow. I have not seen a show of new artists like this in along time, nor have I seen so many things that I would happily hang on my walls that are so reasonably priced (most pieces averaged around $500 - $1000, and the ones that were more were definitely worth it in terms of both materials and artistic vision). Though the show features at least a dozen artists, there was a very interesting cohesion of vision that I would describe as "dream-like" or psychedelic. Since this was the opening I assume that the show will be up on their site in the next few days, so you should hit the link or go by and have a look for yourself.

We looked back into the Gangplank a little after ten; same people. We went to the back and found the DJ set-up, and a B-52s track was spinning on the turntable, so presumably the party had started. However, we didn't feel like hanging out long enough to be sure. I double-checked the flyer just now, and it definitely says that the party starts at 9PM. Maybe that was a misprint, but if I show up at a bar at 9PM, when the flyer says things are supposed to start, and what I wind up hearing is The B-52s rather than the "hard rock" described on the flyer, my tendency is go elsewhere. So, in this case we didn't even stay long enough to have a drink, turned on our heels and headed to Joystick at The Cinch.

Joystick is a cute idea; console video games, anime, and 80s music. It's also a nice bar, and so we were pretty enthusiastic about it. But, after a couple rounds of Soul Caliber II and Pac-Man and two drinks, there didn't really seem to be that much going on to keep us there. I think the problem is that what makes this night distinctive, the video games, are also what suck the energy out of it; though I enjoy watching the boyfriend drive swords through his enemies as much as the next guy, it's not the kind of thing that I could spend a whole night at a bar doing. In fact, I associate video games in bars with being bored and feeling awkward, so it's hard to think about that as the whole focus of my night out.

We left around 11.00 and found ourselves wondering what to do with ourselves; I was in too much pain to contemplate really partying, nor did either of us feel like any major expenditure of energy or cash - for a moment we discussed going to The Show at The EndUp, but the boyfriend felt that it was a bit too "heftig" for his mood. Since we were already walking down Polk we decided to check in and see what was happening at Deco.

We hesitated for a moment when we saw the sign "Bearracuda $5" on the door. I've made fun of this event in the past based almost purely on that groan-inducing pun of a name, and I continue to have issues with the way that gay events segregate their audiences based on body types, as well as the somewhat reactionary nature of "bear culture," but we figured, what the hell, let's check it out.

Bearracuda is currently Deco's most successful night, and when we arrived there was a sizeable crowd in attendance and plenty of eats (pop tarts, jalapeno poppers, cheez doodles, corn dogs, etc.) laid out on the pool table. We immediately ran into our friend Matt and several of his friends, and wound up having a pretty pleasant couple drinks with them. It's funny, being in an environment where I expected absolutely nothing made for a very enjoyable experience. It was "hard rock night," and this time the DJs actually delivered; Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division was on the slate to spin, and had it not been for my increasing need put some ice on my shoulder, I think we would have stayed later just to hear what he played. Bearracuda is obviously much more of a socializing and pick-up scene than it is a dance night, and the crowd was pretty friendly to a couple of distinctive non-bears such as ourselves. It's not an event I would necessarily go out of my way to attend, as it's not really my scene, but if you're a bear, or into bears, this is obviously the place to be, and if your not either of those things, it's a decent place to hang out and have a couple drinks as long as you don't mind paying a $5 cover to do so.

By time we got home around midnight my shoulder was so messed up that I couldn't get the keys out of my pocket, much less turn them in the lock. It was a pretty abbreviated Saturday night, but even if I hadn't sustained a nearly crippling injury early in the evening I don't know that we would have had much better luck with our bar tour. For reasons I don't quite understand Saturday continues to be the weak night on the calendar for going out unless you're into the big club scene, or perhaps it's just that, after most of my Friday nights, I'm just not feeling it as much on Saturday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Upcoming Event: Sweet! New Year's Eve at Cellspace

Oh my, the legendary Sweet! crew is coming together to present a New Year's Eve party at Cellspace with some trance DJs - Spesh and Dragon'fly among them - who should make it quite sweet indeed. There are only 420 tickets for this party, so move your ass if you want in on the action! Full announcement below:

“There is never “forever” . . . only, the moment”  -  Marc Almond

This New Year’s Eve YOU are invited to:

Sweet ? Only the Moment . . .

Cellspace - 2050 Bryant Street
SAN FRANCISCO

9 pm to 6 am

Featuring the musical stylings of:

Tyler Reed - Dragn’fly - Scottino - Spesh -Jim Cyr
and, introducing Brian Hultin

Once upon a time, there were a very special series of ceremonial dance
events held at Cellspace in San Francisco - a singular combination of DJs,
space, lights, visuals, intention and PARTICIPANTS came together and
created many happy, memorable evenings we called, Sweet! The question is,
can we share THAT kind of moment, again ?

All of the qualities that made Cellspace so special are still there - the lofty
sense of space and safety, the cozy chill areas, the amazingly well-ventilated INDOOR
smoking area, and, for DANCERS - most importantly - the bouncy, wooden
dancefloor that allows you to dance and dance and dance and . . .
There are beautiful new bathrooms, and, for this occasion there will be both a
coat check and a well-stocked BAR. We have hired JK Sound to recreate the
4-corner sound system and lured Barry Reuter & Steve Freed into
providing us with a more dazzling level of visuals than ever before !!

What always made previous Sweet! events so singular were the people !Most (all ?)
resist easy categorization (how very San Francisco) so, please make this your New Year’s
Eve destination ONLY if you are prepared to be friendly, open, generous, fun, courteous and
welcoming .

Please feel encouraged to dress in such a way as to ENTERTAIN

Thanks to Amy Welker we have modernized our ticketing process - we are now using
Paypal. Tickets, available now, are $25. until December 21st - after which they will be
$40. If any tickets are available after December 29th - they will be $50 at the door.
Doors will open at 8:30 and close at 10:30 (unless prior arrangements are made).
As always, no one will be turned away due to lack of funds but you must request
a comp before the tickets are gone - there are only 420 tickets available for this
event.

This event is primarily a benefit for Cellspace - Paypal tix are available at:
Fireball@myway.com It would be helpful, if when ordering, you give us the names
of who the tickets are for. Please refer all questions, requests, concerns to Jim
- surfpunk@well.com

We are really hoping that this occasion will be a MOST EXCELLENT opportunity for
partying with ALL of your friends, reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in a while, and OF
COURSE meeting and connecting with a lot of amazing people you’ve never met before !!

In short, we sincerely hope, this event will be Sweet !

Namaste !! Matt & Jim

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Upcoming Event: Drunk and Horny New Year's Eve

The Drunk and Horny crew had a meeting last night to get ready for their New Year's Eve underground, and yours truly was there to pick up some scoop, to wit:

DJ Line-Up
Sparky and Big Red will be on from 10 - 2, at which point Lord Kook and Dee Jay Pee Play will take over. There, you get the best of both worlds, fun party standards for the "early" evening and bangin' four-on-the-floor for the hardcore party fun!

Location
I'm sworn to secrecy, but it will be in a very kickin' warehouse location in the city with a big main dancefloor, a bar area, and an upstairs lounge. I've partied in this space before, it will be roomy downstairs and cozy up.

Sound
Two super-professional sound guys (think Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and 70s rock star studio guys professional) are setting up an awesome sound system.

Booze
There will be a bar, serving beer, Redbull, water, and vodka punch, in exchange for drink tickets you can buy.

Tickets
$2o, available ONLY at Distractions in the Haight, Hot Cookie in the Castro, and direct from the guys at Drunk and Horny on Saturday night.

Your Saturday Guide for December 15, 2007

Weeklies and Bar Nights

Drunk and Horny
Sorta like those high school parties you'd wished you'd had. Get drunk, flirt with boys, and dance to good-time party standards. Reliable, easy-going, and a short stumble home, but beware that it gets claustrophobically crowded. Check out my reviews of Drunk and Horny.
$5
9PMish - 2.00AM (with maybe an afterparty)
Underground SF, 424 Haight Street x Webster

Frisco Disco at The Transfer
Every Saturday night they're lined up on the street for this party; haven't made it past the sweating crowds myself yet, but this looks like one of the hottest things going right now. A couple readers weren't so crazy about a recent party there, but you should check it out yourself and let me know what you think.
No cover listed
9.00PM - 2.00AM
The Transfer, Church at Market

Hot Mess at The Stud
Gus Presents . . . . what appears to be a rip-off of Drunk and Horny, but with Castro bar music.
10PM - 3AM
$5
The Stud, 9th x Harrison.

Monthlies and One-Offs

Chrome at The Gangway
A queer rock monthly from the same guys who bring you Trans Am.
9PM - 3AM
$3
Larkin x Geary

The Show at The EndUp
A new monthly that promises to span the genres of dance music. For this installment it's "all your favorite Burning Man DJs," and it promises to be quite the party.
10PM to 12 Noon Sunday (yes, 14 hours)
FREE before 11, no cover listed
The EndUp, 6th x Harrison

Joy Stick at The Cinch
80s Music and Video Games in a fun Tenderloin bar.
9PM - 3AM
No cover
The Cinch, Polk x Clay

Upcoming Event: Honey Sound System Presents The Mineshaft, Sunday December 1

A couple weeks ago Ken Vulsion of Honey Sound System was telling the boyfriend and I about meeting John Hedges, aka Johnny Disco, the founder of Megatone Records, which itself was home to artists like Sylvester and Patrick Cowley. Mr. Disco recently moved to Palm Springs and bequeathed over 2000 classic disco singles, along with three boxes of stuff that included unreleased tracks still on the original tapes, to the HSS crew.

This Sunday the HSS boys are setting the wayback machine for 1978 and hosting a party at the former home of the Sutro Baths, where they hope to revive some of the hedonistic glory of Hedges' days as resident DJ at the Mineshaft club. Of course disco drives me crazy, but if there's a crew that I trust to make it work for even a grump like me, it would be these guys.

103 Harriet Street (Folsom x 6th)
$5
9PM - 3AM

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Upcoming Event: Lord Kook at Bender, Friday December 14

This Friday Lord Kook will be the guest DJ at Bender at The Transfer (Church x Market), with residents DJ6 (Lucky Pierre, Heat) and Candy Girl (Lucky Pierre). NO COVER kids, so come down and hear the kookster spin out a whole lot of new music he's been saving up for this very event.

Your Friday Guide for December 14, 2007

Cosmic Gypsy Happy Hour with DJ Mak at the W Hotel
Get your lounge groove on with DJ Mak in this swank hotel bar.
6PM - 8PM
NO COVER
W Hotel, 181 3rd Street x Howard

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: 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 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.
9PM - close
NO COVER
The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street (between Clay and Washington)

Fag Fridays at Pink
Special Guest Quentin Harris and residents David Harness, Leon Neon, Rolo, and Manny Ward.
10PM - "late"
$10
Pink, 2526 16th Street x South Van Ness

GhettoDisco at The EndUp
With guest Mickey Friendman and residents Frank Wild and Vince.
11PM - 11AM (honey, don't forget the pills!)
FREE before midnight, $20until 2AM, $30 after 2AM
The EndUp, 6th x Harrison

Monthlies and One-Offs

Lights Down Low at Club 222
With resident DJs Sleazemore and Rchrd OH!? and special guests. Check out my previous reviews of Lights Down Low.
10PM - 2AM
$7
Club 222, 222 Hyde Street x Turk

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Bender at The Transfer
From the creators and DJs of Lucky Pierre and Heat it's Bender! With resident DJs Candy and DJ6, and special guest Lord Kook.
9PM - 2AM
NO COVER!
The Transfer, Church and Market

The Rod at Deco Lounge
I've warmed more to Bus Station John's retro disco since my initial review, but whether you'll be into it really depends on how you feel about pre-AIDS nostalgia. Check out my review of The Rod.
10PM - 4AM
FREE before 10PM, $5 After
Deco Lounge, 510 Larkin at Turk

Upcoming Event: Tribute to The Godfather of Disco, Wednesday December 12

Yes, that's tonight kids. Mel Cheren, known as The Godfather of Disco and founder of West End Records, as well as one of the men who brought the Paradise Garage into being, died this past week, and tonight Bus Station John will be holding a musical tribute to him during Tubesteak Connection at Aunt Charlie's Place, starting at 10PM.

How to NOT Impress Other DJs

The boyfriend got into a little exchange with a young whippersnapper on another music-related board in which said snot-nosed hooligan made the following statement:

"I own my own DJ company which caters to the new england states. When you get a little more experience and actually see how real world business works you will realize that PC DJing is cute but doesn't pay the bills. It is lackluster and brainless. Any moron can press the beatmix button on a pc and auto generate an entire play list (and a show) I would know - I'm also a programmer. I have worked with the industry's top rated software and have not been impressed. If you can't work the hardware you're not a DJ I'm sorry. I had the same argument with my partner who thinks digital DJing is the new thing. I let him run a show on a pc his way and wouldn't ya know - since it's not dedicated it failed on him and I had to take over with my cd deck.

In conclusion: If you can't operate a crossfader and beatmatch without a computer, you are not a DJ. K THX BYE.

You fail."
Now, honestly, I think there's nothing more boring and tedious than arguments over who is a real DJ and who isn't based on what format you use. I'm an almost exclusively vinyl DJ, but I recognize distinct advantages to both CD and laptop DJing, to the extent where I want to learn more about both. Thinking that working in one format or one set of techniques, whether it's hip-hop cut-ups or super-smooth cross-fades, is what makes one a "real DJ" is just plain out immature - art isn't about tools or techniques, but the ideas and emotions that come across to others.

And in rebuttal, I'd like to point out that I've seen laptops used by Squarepusher, Ritchie Hawtin, and lots and lots of other professional DJs who use them to put together things I could never think of doing with vinyl, and they certainly were not "brainless and lackluster" performances. Maybe when this poster grows up he'll realize that arguing about who is an who isn't a real DJ is cute, but doesn't cut it in the grown up world.

San Francisco's Crappiest Bars

Gridskipper has put together a great Google mashup showing the crappiest bars in San Francisco - terrible service, douchebag crowds, overpriced drinks, that kind of crappy. I can proudly say that I've only ever set foot in one of these bars, The Beauty Bar, and that was on an early weekday afternoon because a friend of mine was doing a sign job for them and got us free drinks. Otherwise, total crapola. Note too that most of these are bars with "upscale" pretensions, futher evidence that, just because you've got Prada on your back doesn't mean you've got cool in your pocket.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"bottle service helps you get laid"

One of my daily compulsions is checking the Google Analytics for this blog - it's interesting to see, for example, what keywords bring people to the site, and which articles are of most interest. Back in August I published a list of the top five search terms, as well as the top five most absurd terms that people used to reach my blog (which is rather interesting for how much it's changed in five months - Vintage 415? Bryan Hughes? But the Rhythm Society continues to rule, mainly because they have quarterly parties and everybody is looking for information about them). So today I'm poking through and what do I see in the keywords section but "bottle service helps you get laid." Now, since this was a search term, I take it that the person who entered it into Google actually intended it as a question, as I can't imagine why, if you were already sure of that fact, you would be searching for affirmation. Is this true? Does bottle service get you laid? Or does it just make you look like a schmuck with too much money who is willing to spend it to try and get some? What do you think, readers?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cafe Flore Lives!

On Saturday I ran into former Grand Duke Brian Busta at a friend's birthday BBQ, and he told me that he had been at the Planning Commission meeting for Cafe Flore, where they got everything they wanted and more.

Cafe Flore (located in the heart of the Castro at the intersection of Noe and Market) has been on a mission to expand into a 24-hour food service operation, with the ability to serve drinks and have DJ music until 2AM and to have outdoor seating all night. There were the usual neighbors (most of whom live over a block away), who complained that this would mean more noise, more crime, and more stuff they generally didn't want (just read the comments over on eater.sf to get a sense of the flavor). Meanwhile, JD Petras, the owner, waged a bit of a campaign of his own, raising fears that Cafe Flore would have to close if it wasn't able to expand in these ways.

I'm glad this one got through; as the boyfriend and I discussed last night, it means that now there's someplace other than Sparky's and Orphan Andy's to go for food after the bars close, or when we're feeling just generally a bit too stimulated to go home and lay around the apartment. I'm especially anxious to see what this scene will look like in the warm months; maybe it will give us back a littl of the old school Castro flavor, when you didn't go home to your computer afterhours to hook up.

Fun with Thugs and Guns

Friday night the boyfriend and I decided to take MUNI to Lucky Pierre - from the Civic Center stop it's only a few blocks down 9th, and since it was early and we wanted some air, we thought it would be pleasant and cost-effective too. What we hadn't expected was to almost wind up in the middle of a shooting.

As we were coming out of the MUNI turnstiles we saw three kids, no more than about 16 years old, in black hoodies coming toward us from the BART side of the station. They were sorta loping along, not in much of a real hurry, but you got the sense that something was up. Two of them got on the escalator in front of us, while the third trudged up the stairs alongside. As we got to the top we heard one of them say something about somebody they had left behind, and then they were skulking around the top of the escalators. Thinking not much of it, we turned left down 8th, and then, about a block and a half away, between Mission and Howard, we heard two shots. We turned and saw three figures in dark hoodies running across 8th toward a parking lot on Mission. Within minutes there were SFPD cruisers everywhere, lights flashing, racing around the blocks, and then, as we got to Harrison, we saw an ambulance headed down 9th toward SF General. Feeling a little shaken up, we went inside and had a couple drinks. The next morning we found this posting in sfcrime (note that not one word about it was in the Chronicle, that bastion of crime reporting).

All I can say is, I'm glad we didn't stand there at 8th and Market waiting for the cross-walk signal to change so we could walk down Market to 9th, or we surely would have been in the middle of this. Later we shook our heads about the whole thing; what the hell are teenagers doing with guns? Over the weekend the Chronicle began running a series of articles about the culture of crime in Oakland, making it easy to draw a relationship between what goes on in the East Bay (and, I presume, parts of San Francisco) and what we witnessed on Friday night, but it's still pretty scary to think that something like this could just randomly happen on Market Street on a Friday night.

Coming Soon to a Beatportal Near You

Some of you may be familiar with Beatport, the DJ-oriented music download site. A few of you might also be familiar with Beatportal, the sister site that focuses on scene news, info about new gear, and all the other kinds of content that might be of interest to the electronic music producer and afficiando. Well, guess who is the now the San Francisco correspondant for Beatportal? Yes, you guessed right, it's me! I'm working on my initial posts right now, focusing on giving some overviews of our little old scene, and those will be up as soon as the new Beatportal interface is ready, probably within the next two weeks or so. I'll post more info up here when my posts are published there, but you can expect to see some content that I'll be writing exclusively for that blog like scene guides and scenester profiles in addition to event reveiws and scene news. Of course, I'll still be writing here as well for all you local folks, and the Friday and Saturday Night Guides, as well as upcoming event info, will stay exclusive to SFScene. So, when you're bored at work, you'll now have two places to go check out for your daily dose of the Jaded Gay DJ!

Event Review: Lucky Pierre at The Stud

After two extremely busy weekends, the boyfriend and I decided to take it easy this past weekend and do something different, like go to a movie on Saturday night (The Golden Compass, mainly because the boyfriend wanted to see the talking polar bears). After the movie we did stop into Drunk and Horny for a sociable drink with Big Red, Sparky, and Gary, but our real going-out experience for the weekend was Lucky Pierre on Friday night where we found a very fun dancefloor and the boyfriend got a little adventurous playing strip poker.

It's always satisfying to see a club night that you like grow and develop; we first checked into the Lucky Pierre scene back in August on the occasion of their six month anniversary, and in the past four months it feels like the scene has definitely grown. DJ6 and Donimo continue to spin crowd-pleasing electro and indietronica (including original remixes, something you almost never hear at other clubs), and this seems to be bringing in not only a diverse and pretty cute crowd of alternaboys, but also a fair number of sexually diverse clubbers who simply seem to be looking for a good time on a Friday night.

In addition to a fun dancefloor, Lucky Pierre also offers some of the "playful" hanky-panky for which SoMa bars in general, and The Stud in particular, have been infamous for over the years. This time the boyfriend got in on a round of Artemis Chase's strip poker, and while I won't say just how far the boys stripped - I think there are some laws about that, or something - I certainly got to see a loin-stirring variety of physical proportions and attributes. It's even better when you realize that most of these guys have never played a hand of five card stud in their lives, leaving it up to Artemis to determine the winners and losers of each hand. The boyfriend didn't last very long through the poker playing, but he was extremely popular afterwards.

Lucky Pierre shows signs of only getting better with age, and it's certainly your best bet for a $5 cover on a first Friday. Keep in mind that these are also the same guys who bring you Heat on third Fridays at The Stud, and that DJ6 and friends are behind Bender on second Fridays at The Transfer. There, something to do every Friday of the month leading up to Fuck Shit, Let's Dance at Deco.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mix Downloads: New Mixes from 8ball of the Space Cowboys

A little electro, a little minimal. And look for the return of Breakfast of Champions at Shine at 6AM on New Year's Day!

Electro Con Carnage vol. 2
(Stuff I played on the playa; electro and breaks)
01. dizko shit / malente, manrox
02. trouble / soul of man / deepcut rmx
03. the bump and grind / andrew friendly
04. my bass / keith mackenzie
05. freakshow / krafty kutz / vip rmx
06. any way you choose to give it / the black ghosts / playgroup rmx
07. satisfaction / benny benassi / proxymusic odd school rmx
08. bring the noise / public enemy v benny benassi / pump-kin rmx
09. groove is in the heart / dee-lite / toscadisco rmx
10. harder stronger faster / daft punk / deadmau5 rmx
11. never say never / vandalism / hard rub rmx
12. through the door / krafty kutz & dj icey / dj icey╩╝s v12 rmx
13. on the ragga tip / dj fixx
14. flip dat / dj fixx
15. bad girl at night / dave spoon ft lisa maffia / beat vandals rmx
16. defected / robot needs oil / olivier giacomotto rmx
17. the bomb / luke francis / palmer v backside artist rmx
18. rise up / dj disciple / jesse garcia rmx
19. her / kissy sell out / metal on metal rmx
20. space / micha moor / klaas club rmx
21. disco wreck / punks jump up / confuzion rmx
http://spacecowboys.org/files/Electro_con_Carnage_vol._2.mp3

Deckless Modifying Mix Vol. 2
(Minimal - house, electro, breaks)
01. tosca / superrob / henrik schwarz mix
02. simon baker & infant / plastik
03. delon & dalcan / academy
04. balke / rock over you / paolo martini rmx
05. nick muir / i feel real / chopstick rmx
06. square one / vesuvius / justin martin rmx
07. dino da cassino / don't you (forget about me) / dino lenny original - loafer edit
08. julian poker & john-e & diego miranda / wahnzinn / phonique rmx
09. david k / incoming / motorcitysoul rmx
10. rocha & lewinger / miles davis
11. mihell / the grit / dos rmx
12. jjazzy & alex santos / the look into your eyes / phonique rmx
13. chaim / c factor / audio soul project rmx
14. deetron / life soundtrack ft dj bone / rejected interpretation
15. andy cato (groove armada) / uppers on the south downs / andy cato's hot head
16. trentemoller & buda / gamma / perc rmx
17. alterno79 / gti / groove rebels rmx
18. lusine / push
19. resin dogs / she's gone / kraak & smaak rmx
20. ben mono / beatbox ft capitol a / kalbata rmx
21. t.u.m.m. / fur immer / sweno n & pascal vert rmx
22. gui boratto / mr decay / robert babicz universum disco rmx
23. olivier gregoire / empechment
24. grand theft auto / keep moving
25. makossa & megablast / find it ft farda p
http://modyfier-modifying.blogspot.com/2007/12/blog-post.html

Karlheinz Stockhausen Has Died

One of the great pioneers of electronic music, Karlheinz Stockhausen, has died in his home at the age of 79. The only news piece I've seen about it so far is in German, but for those of you who can parse the language of Nietzsche, Goethe, and Stockhausen, here's a link.

NYE: Freq Nasty and Old-School Goa at SoMarts

This just in; John Wood wanted to put together an old-skool Goa trance party at SoMarts, and was contacted by Adam Ohana about doing a breaks room with Freq Nasty. Well, that should be quite a kicker of a dance night! The rooms look like this: Tantra "Return to Goa" room, an acid techno/drum and bass room, and the Ambient Mafia outdoor heated chill tent in addition to the breaks room with Freq Nasty. Here's a link to the full line-up for all rooms, and you can get pre-sales from the Tantra website. Now I wish I wasn't already committed for my NYE plans!

Mixes and Remixes from DJ6 and Donimo

Just found a link to Discoclique, the blog of DJ6 (Lucky Pierre, Bender, Heat) and Donimo (Lucky Pierre, Heat, Substance), where they're putting out monthly mixes and occasional remixes of their favorite electro/dance/indietronica tracks. This month's mix from Donimo is particularly pleasing for all us ex-goth types who loved us some synthy mixes back in the day, leavened with a little neu-rave and electro to keep us from feeling like fogies. Check it out, and don't forget that they'll both be spinning at Lucky Pierre at The Stud tonight.

Your Saturday Guide for December 8, 2007

Hmmm, seems a little quiet in the City this weekend, maybe this will finally be the Saturday that I brave Frisco Disco.

Drunk and Horny
Sorta like those high school parties you'd wished you'd had. Get drunk, flirt with boys, and dance to good-time party standards. Reliable, easy-going, and a short stumble home, but beware that it gets claustrophobically crowded. Check out my reviews of Drunk and Horny.
$5
9PMish - 2.00AM (with maybe an afterparty)
Underground SF, 424 Haight Street x Webster

Frisco Disco at The Transfer
Every Saturday night they're lined up on the street for this party; haven't made it past the sweating crowds myself yet, but this looks like one of the hottest things going right now. A couple readers weren't so crazy about a recent party there, but you should check it out yourself and let me know what you think.
No cover listed
9.00PM - 2.00AM
The Transfer, Church at Market

Hot Mess at The Stud
Gus Presents . . . . what appears to be a rip-off of Drunk and Horny, but with Castro bar music.
10PM - 3AM
$5
The Stud, 9th x Harrison.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Your Friday Guide for December 7, 2007

Bar Nights and Weeklies

Cosmic Gypsy Happy Hour with DJ Mak at the W Hotel
Get your lounge groove on with DJ Mak in this swank hotel bar.
6PM - 8PM
No cover
W Hotel, 181 3rd Street x Howard

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: 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 reviews of Charlie Horse at The Cinch.
9PM - close
NO COVER
The Cinch, 1723 Polk Street (between Clay and Washington)

Fag Fridays at Pink
With residents Leon Neon, Rolo, and Manny Ward.
10PM - "late"
$10
Pink, 2526 16th Street x South Van Ness

GhettoDisco at The EndUp
Hmmm, looks like they've giving up on the themes. With Sean Greene, Hawthorne, Adrian, Paris Harris, and Jim Hopkins.
11PM - 11AM (honey, don't forget the pills!)
FREE before midnight (the only way I'd go), $20 until 2AM, $30 after 2AM
The EndUp, 6th x Harrison

Monthlies and One-Offs

Garth and Jeno Back2Back at Club222
San Francisco house legends Garth and Jeno in one of the best intimate dance spaces in the city. Two year anniversary, amazing!
10PM - 2AM
$10
Club 222, 222 Hyde Street

Club Loaded at The Rickshaw Stop
This week with a live set from Mellowdrone and guest DJs Chan Chan (West Add Radio) and Commodore 69 (Computer Rock), along with resident DJ Audrock.
10PM - 2AM
$8 before 11, $10 after
The Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell x Van Ness

The Jaded Gay DJ Recommends: Lucky Pierre at The Stud
XXXmas Edition! Check out my review of Lucky Pierre!
10PM - 3AM
$5
The Stud, 9th x Harrison

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Record Review: Justus Koehncke's "Parage:" Did Somebody Say Neue Disco?

Wandering around Valencia Street this evening I poked my head into Aquarius Records and picked up a a couple new 12s", including Feuerland by Justus Koehncke. The title track is actually a re-working of a track by Michael Rother of the krautrock band Neu!, and it's a pretty moody bit of, well, krautrock, but thinned out and sharpened up a bit by modern production techniques, with a more distinct beat and a nice bit of high-hat shuffle toward the end. The B-side, though, is Parage (think "Paradise Garage") by Koehncke. If I could point out any one track that I've heard in recent months that epitomizes neue disco, it's this. It's got those latin beats and conga sounds, a classic walking bass line, it's even got strings, but there's a fair amount of synthesizer atmosphere laid in as well, so you could imagine this tucked up nicely against a classic disco b-side but definitely showing that it's of a newer vintage. It's also bright and clean, with a fresh burble to the keyboards and a shine on the highs that you could never capture with 70s recording technology and production. It's so good I'm wondering when I can play it out, so for all you old-school disco heads, this is definitely something you should check out.

Check out Koehncke's video for Feuerland on Youtube:

NYTimes Article on 1 Oak; Inventor of Bottle Service Tries to Make Amends

If you're a regular visitor you've probably read some of my rants about how I think bottle service is responsible for the overall decline of the club scene, because it's essentially made the whole point of the scene to be about who has the most money. Fork over $300 for a bottle of Stoli and you get to sit down and are treated like royalty; for the rest of us, tough luck. I don't think much of clubs that are about the cash shake-down, nor do I have any desire to rub elbows with people who think they're better than me because they make more money.

In today's NYTimes there's an article about a new lounge called 1 Oak that I know I'd never be able to get into, and the team behind it, which includes Jeffrey Jah, one of the guys responsible for instituting bottle service. Here is an interesting excerpt regarding what they think of this service now:

What they all agree on is a policy of velvet egalitarianism at the door. People will have to earn their way past the ropes with an appealing personal style or disposition, Mr. Jah said, not a promise to pay for bottle service, as is the norm in many places.

“A class system is being instituted, and I don’t like it,” he said one autumn afternoon wearing a yellow T-shirt with the slogan “I’ve Got a Black Belt ... in Keepin’ it Real” and sipping ice tea in his meatpacking district restaurant, the Inn LW12.

Mr. Jah helped popularize bottle service in the early 1990s, but he said the practice began as a way to keep people at tables from having to cross a packed dance floor on the way to the bar. It was not intended, he said, to be a golden ticket into a tony lounge.

Mr. Sartiano lamented that in the days of Spy Bar, for instance, if someone approached you, “you knew they were cool because they got in.” No more.

So while 1 Oak will offer bottle service, “first you need to get in,” Mr. Sartiano said. “Then you need to be cool enough to get a table. Then you can get bottles. Somewhere it got switched.”

Now, of course, this is their way of separating the "real" celebs from the new money hedge-fund managers, so it's just as elitist as bottle service in its own way. But it caught my eye because it seems that, in some small way, these guys are acknowledging how this practice has become detrimental to creating a good vibe in the club. I doubt that bottle service will go away, it makes way too much money for the clubs for that, but it would be nice to see some of our local dumps, like Le Duplex, realize that bottle service doesn't make for a better club experience, it just makes for a dumpy club full of louts with too much money.

The Identity Politics of Gay Club Flyers

For the past couple weeks the boyfriend and I have been working on a logo/flyer for Fuck Shit, Let's Dance! (a version of which can be seen here: myspace.com/clubfsld). One of the first things we decided was that, contrary to just about every other gay club night (Honey Sound System being the only exception that comes to mind), we weren't going to put a guy on the flyer. This may be promotional suicide, as it remains to be seen whether or not gay guys will go out to a party that doesn't overtly advertise sex, or the possibility of it, but choosing what kind of guy to put on the flyer is so stepping into the minefield of gay identity politics that we didn't want to deal with it, and we really wanted to communicate the idea that our night is about music and dancing more than picking up (though if you want to get into something in Deco's basement we'll be happy to provide the soundtrack).

Here's what I mean about "identity politics:" pick up any gay club flyer and check out the guy on it. Chances are he will be a) a bear b) a muscle boy c) a 70s mustache queen d) an "alternaboy". Each of these options is designed to communicate not just what kind of guy you might be able to pick up at this party, but also a whole set of associations that you can identify with yourself. In our own particular bubble each of these sets of associations is usually opposition to the others; if you're a bear you won't identify with, or necessarily want to associate with, shaved muscle boys, while if you're an "alternaboy" you won't want to hang out with muscle queens either. Meanwhile, mustache man tells us that this party wants to associate itself with some nostalgic gay identity from the 70s, which might be kind of a turn-off for the muscle boys. Etc., etc., etc.

When I look at gay club flyers in San Francisco I see a scene that has factionlized around body types and whatever identity associations come with them. This really bothers me, as I can remember a time when clubbing was about bringing the community together, without fetishizing body type or facial hair or anything else; we all just wanted to get together, dance, flirt, maybe pick up, and have a good time. I place the blame for the current situation on circuit promoters like Gus Bean, who played the biggest role in associating one body type with a particular party scene, but I also think some responsibility must be shared by those who have taken a reactionary stance against circuit parties and created their own factions.

When we started talking about doing Fuck Shit, Let's Dance!, this is exactly what we wanted to get away from; that's even what the name means. Fuck all this shit about what body type you are, whether you're hairy or smooth, whether you identify with this group or that one, whether you're queer, gay, post-gay, lesbian, baby dyke, bisexual, omnisexual, straight, het, alterna, mainstream, whatever - let's just get together and dance and have fun! One of our original ideas for the flyer was a set of infographics that would depict a bear, a guy, a girl, a heart, whatever else we could find to communicate the idea that this party was for everybody, but it got a little complicated and busy, so we decided instead to go with something that would communicate the idea that it was all about the music.

So that's our utopian idea; the boyfriend and I both really believe that dancing together brings people together, and that's what we hope we'll achieve with Fuck Shit, Let's Dance!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Event Review: Kontrol with Alex Smoke at The End Up

Correction: I've found out since I wrote this review that it was actually Craig Kuna, not Nikola Baytala, who was spinning earlier in the evening. Mea culpa.

As we were getting ready to head out to hear Alex Smoke at Kontrol this past Saturday I realized that it has been over six months since the last time we checked out what was once my absolute first choice for San Francisco clubbing. What I discovered on this past Saturday was that, while I am still quite happy that Kontrol has been successful in bringing minimal techno artists to San Francisco, their migration from a quasi-underground art gallery space in the Tenderloin to one of San Francisco's biggest clubs has brought with it some changes in vibe that, for me at least, outweigh some of the positive aspects of the move.

We arrived at 10.30 with our friend J to find a line at the door; apparently doors at 10 really means doors at 10.30. We got drinks and found seats on the patio by the pool table; inside the music was just too loud for us to enjoy hanging out or even dancing. Not that we felt particularly moved to dance, as the first DJ, who I think was Nikola Baytala, was largely playing deep house; every few songs he would slip in something more interesting and techno-oriented, like Ritchie Hawtin's "The Tunnel," but it seemed more like these were conciliatory gestures toward the night's fan base than explorations into a genre that was of interest to him. We would dance for a track or two, but then it would shift back over into house and we would go outside. Unfortunately, I remember this as being the case the last time we came to Kontrol as well, and at that time our friend Tari was very disappointed that a party that had made its reputation as a minimal techno night seemed to have morphed, under the influence of End Up tradition, into yet another survey of deep house.

We had been expecting Alex Smoke to come on at 2.00, and, as a result, missed the first part of his set when he took to the controls at 1.15. What we did get to hear, however, made up for the dullness we experienced earlier in the evening. He was playing "live," and though there were some disconnects between individual songs, and I could have done without the 92.7 voice-overs announcing "Alex Smoke Playing Live at Kontrol," it was among the most interesting, and dance-inspiring, music I have heard in a long time. His tracks have an abstract spacious quality, with dark textures, that remind me of minimal trance, and the grooves are deep and solid. We heard one track off Paradolia, but all the rest was new to us.

Following Alex Smoke was Samim, who gets the prize for most intense DJ face. I almost enjoyed his set more than Alex Smoke's, as it had a slinky, sexy aspect that minimal techno often lacks. By the time 3AM was rolling around so was the majority of crowd, and when the trio of Marina girls in black cocktail dresses began to huddle and massage each other on the dance floor in front of us, and the lines for the bathroom were reaching back to the front entrance, we decided it was time to head out.

It was great to go out an hear, and dance to, good techno that was professionally put together on one of the best sound systems in the city. But the whole time we were there, the vibe seemed off to us. First there was the long digression into house music early in the evening, then, after 2AM, there was the arrival of clubbers in cha-cha heels and button-up shirts who seeemed to be there only because it's one of the few places in town open at that time. As the boyfriend put it, it was like being magically transported into the middle of 1015. The first time I went to a Kontrol party was to hear ModeSelektor at Rx Gallery, an event that remains among the highlights of my San Francisco nightlife experiences. After that we were monthly attendees, and I still have the memory of standing on the Eddy Street sidewalk, looking across the street to a gay strip club, and thinking how much it all reminded me of Berlin squat clubs after the wall came down. It was a slightly sketchy space in a way sketchy part of town, and that was what made it seem like something special and outlaw. Of course, the sound system sucked, they were likely to blow a fuse if they turned on the video projector, and it got so hot that you could see water coming down the walls, so I was thrilled when I heard that Kontrol was moving to The End Up. The benefits of that move - a better sound system, more space - now have to be weighed against the changes that the night has undergone as a result of becoming more mainstream. It is, in many ways, a much "safer" night out than it used to be, in terms of the space and location, but also in terms of the music, at least during the first part of the evening. This increased safety has widened Kontrol's appeal beyond the heads who helped it take off from the RX, and I'm happy for their success, but I rather miss that sweaty, underground vibe it had in the old days; for me techno always sounds better when it takes a little more effort, both physically and intellectually, to go out and hear it.

Event Review: Paradise All-Night Disco Party at Mezzanine

After a quick couple drinks at The Cinch to celebrate Juanita Fajita's birthday, the boyfriend and I headed out to the Paradise All-Night Disco Party at Mezzanine to meet up with our friends Jovino and Mermaid, two dedicated disco junkie DJs. The party didn't convert me to actually liking disco, which I still consider to be, at best, nostalgia music, but it was a fun, light-hearted time that did showcase some of our local DJs like Robot Hustle and Bus Station John in their element and putting some forth of their best efforts that I have heard so far.

Judging from the line when we arrived, and the fact that the coat check "sold out," Paradise was obviously the party of choice for most of San Francisco's clubbers. It was definitely crowded at 12.30 when Escort came on to perform, but there was still plenty of room to dance, and the crowd was among the most easy-going I've run into in a while. They were also among the best-dressed; though there were some interpretations of classic disco with fros, shades, and leisure jackets that bordered on the tragic, there were plenty of other party-goers who decided that disco fashion could have its own contemporary interpretation, as long as it was bright and sparkely. I saw and talked to a fair number of gay scenesters, including Leo Herrera, Dee Jay Pee Play (who told me he had just been reading about the original New York disco scene that morning and was feeling completely high from this re-creation of it), and Marke B. of the Bay Guardian, but overall the crowd was pretty mixed; I would have liked to have seen a few more gay boys, but I enjoyed the diversity of the scene, consisting as it did of people who seemed much more focused on having a good time than about how they were going to pick up.

The music was better than I expected, but there were also moments when the campy kitsch aspect of tracks like "Funkytown" (as the boyfriend said later, "there's no excuse for Funkytown") had the effect of bringing me out of whatever un-selfconscious enjoyment I was having and making me think that I had wandered into Polly Esther's Culture Club. The DJs in the main room did a technically OK job of mixing it together; there were some glitches, but some consideration also needs to be made for the fact that these tracks weren't constructed for mixing, and there's often so much treble and just plain noise in their mastering that you practically need an audio engineering degree to figure out how to put them together. I realized that this is one of the things about classic disco that bothers me, and why I sometimes rather like the newer interpretations of it from artists like Lindstrom or Prinz Thomas - the old stuff just sounds sonically bad. I think this is also why I don't really like dancing to it; though you could argue that its "the original dance music," I have a lot harder time finding the beat that I like, since the bass component is often muddied up and buried under the high-end of horns and strings.

Escort, the 18-piece disco orchestra from Brooklyn, put on a great but seemingly short show - they started a half hour late, and I don't think they were on the stage for more than half an hour. All I can say is, any band that has both a string and horn section is worth checking out to see how they bring it all together, and Escort was super tight.

My big surprise for the evening was Bus Station John's set in the upper room. First, BSJ has really tightened up on his mixing since I heard him last; this time he was even wearing headphones. Rather than trying to deal with the multitude of issues around mixing disco, he took the simple approach of just making sure everything started and stopped on a beat at the beginning and end of it a measure, and it all went together very well with a sustained energy. His programming was also much better than in the main room; there's no question that the man really knows his stuff when it comes to the rare groove disco, and his selections on this night, in that space with that crowd, made it all sound very fresh. I realized that, taken out of the context of a gay club, where disco feels like regressive nostalgia for the pre-AIDS era, it was much easier for me to get into it, tired though I was, because I could just take it as fun dance music, rather than being thrown into critical reflections on what it means for that music to be played in that kind of scene. It's still not my first choice for dance music, and it will always rile up the punk in me, and the contarian Futurist who believes that the present should be about the future, not the past (wow, that's deep), but BSJ's set made me realize that there are ways in which I can enjoy this music as long as it's not coming with too much baggage or reactionary statements about contemporary dance culture attached to it. So, good job Bus Station John, you got this cranky critic to change his mind just a little bit on something.

We left around 2.30, having stayed rather longer than I thought we would. Though there were moments in which Paradise felt just a bit too campy for me to take it as anything more than a rather safe excuse for otherwise conservative San Franciscans to dress up and "party," there were also moments where I wished that the vibe engendered over the course of the night, one that was sexy, fun, and smiling, could be brought as easily to other parties that feature contemporary dance music.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stabbing at 1015 Folsom?

What should my tired eyes behold this morning but news of what seems like yet another "incident" at 1015. According to this article in SF Gate:

The stabbing occurred inside a nightclub in the 1000 block of Folsom Street, police said.

One male reportedly stabbed another male with a knife at around 1 a.m., police said.

I rode by there around 10.30 with J and the boyfriend on our way to Kontrol at The EndUp (about which more later), and there was already a line of B&T/Marina types halfway down the block. Last night was Sense, with two artists from Sense Recordings, and Taj, one of the residents, so I'm guessing it was probably a progessive night.

If you were there or have any info, please share!

Update: More details in this article from the Examiner; looks like a fist-fight got out of control. Fun. According to the Examiner, 1015's liquor license is up for renewal in less than a month; given the issues that the ABC board has had with 1015 in the past, you have to wonder how this incident will be regarded.