Monday, December 22, 2008

Event Review: Comfort and Joy Solstice Celebration "Brighter Days Ahead"

I must admit that I approached the Comfort and Joy Solstice party at Workspace Limited with a small degree of trepidation; it was cold out, there had been drama in the preceding weeks around exactly what was going on when and who was doing it, and I was tired and not looking forward to a ten hour event. But with Kitty DJing the silent art auction in the afternoon, Lord Kook playing the dance portion of the evening, and having personally volunteered to work a door shift from 7-9, there was nothing to do but put on some warm clothes and soldier on. As it turned out, "Brighter Days Ahead" turned into one of the very best little dance parties I've attended in a long time.

The thing I was most uncertain about was how everything that was planned for this event - a silent art auction, the screening of a silent film, performances from drag and "other" artists (more on that in a second), a feast, and a dance party - were going to come together, and in the weeks leading up to the event I was privy to several folks' concerns about whether or not, for example, the dance party would wind up being all of two hours at the end of the evening when all the faeries had already left for the annual faerie Solstice sex party. However, thanks to the agency of Digger the stage manager, Ginga Snapp as hostess and MC (who is very cute in boy drag, btw), and Space the music/DJ coordinator, everything went off amazingly well. The dance music actually got started around 9PM with a set from Space, and the performances were broken up into fifteen or twenty minute interludes between other sets. The only time I was feeling a mite testy about the interplay between performances and the dance music was when a band took to the stage for three dirges. I think the idea was to channel something akin to Diamanda Galas, or, in a more generous mood, The Swans, but not only did they seem musically inappropriate for a party that was supposed to be about joy and celebration, their whole affect was much too reminiscent of art school kids trying way, way too hard to seem avant-garde for me to take them seriously. It's also generally rude to be tuning up and practicing, loudly, through your own PA, against the music that the DJ is playing. They did have a couple Mission hipster kid fans who gyrated around like Dervishes at the front of the stage during their mercifully short set, but I think the consensus was that everyone was much more inclined to dancing along with Lord Kook and KJ.

And dance they did, with a full and happy dancefloor of queer kids and their friends getting down all the way to closing time at 2AM. It was an event refreshingly free of scene baggage, and restored a bit of my faith that you can still bring all kinds of people together to have fun and enjoy one another's company without having to negotiate the endless, tedious politics of the gay club scene. More than just paying lip service to the idea of creating queer community, Comfort and Joy does manage, despite all the drama and complications that arise whenever you get a group of gay men together to do something, to actually pull it off.

Lord Kook playing to an admiring audience

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Afterglow this Year

Since I see folks coming in on search terms like "Afterglow New Year's Eve 2008," I should probably go ahead and let you all know that Comfort and Joy will NOT be having an Afterglow party for New Year's Eve this year (2008-2009). Yeah yeah, I know, what's a gay boy to do on New Year's Eve this year?

Upcoming Event: Afrotek Festival at Club 6, Saturday December 20

The boyfriend brought this to my attention, and it looks pretty interesting; at the very least, it should provide a perspective on San Francisco techno and electro that doesn't rely on the usual suspects and what we've come to expect from them.

In The Dark Room at Club 6
Voltage Music Presents:
The First Annual
Afrotek Festival
Celebrating The Bay's Best Live Soulful Electronic Music
Brokenbeat | Techno | Futurefunk | Electro | Drum & Bass

Performing Live:
Douglas Pagan

On The Decks:
Leathal DJs Paul And Christopher Leath

Price $5 before 11pm
Time 9pm-2am

Club 6, 60 6th Street

SF Scene New Year's Eve 2008-2009 Guide

Maybe it's just because I've been in a somewhat dismal mood lately, but this year's New Year's Eve offerings just don't seem that compelling. I'm also feeling a lot more parsimonious, and parties that cost anywhere from $40 to $125 a head aren't attractive. So far my plans for the amateur's party holiday are still up in the air, but I have a feeling that I'm more likely to wind up at a friend's house than I am at a really big shindig. However, if I change my mind, these are the things I would consider:

Subterra at SoMarts
A good space with four rooms of music, including a techno room with the likes of Worthy, Justin Martin, Christian Martin, and Forest Green. This is where you're likely to get more of an underground vibe, though events here recently have seemed on the underpopulated side. Also, good luck getting home if you're dependent on taxis or MUNI - one of the worst NYE experiences I've ever had was having to walk home from this place.
9PM - 8AM
SoMarts Cultura Center, 934 Brannan

Blasthaus and Anon Salon Present Sea of Dreams with Thievery Corporation
This is gonna be the big hoopla party for the Burner set, and it's a pretty impressive musical lineup, including Thievery Corporation, Bassnectar, and god knows who else. Of course, it comes with a hefty price tag, and you'll be partying with several thousand people.
9PM - 4AM
$79 online general admission, $129 VIP
The Concourse Exhibtion Center, 635 8th Street

Revolution at 1015 with Diplo
Dubstep headliners + 1015 = not my scene, but then there's also a pretty amazing who's who of local DJs, including several from Kontrol. Slightly cheaper than Sea of Dreams, and goes longer.
9PM - 9AM
$55 online general admission, $75 VIP
1015 Folsom

Love Unlimited All Night Disco Party at Paradise Lounge
It's inexpensive, it's pretty gay, it goes all night, but then - well, it's disco. And they really mean disco. This is a collaboration between Honey Sound System and other local retro afficiandos in a cool space, so you can expect hipster club kids, both gay and straight.
9PM - 6AM
$15 advance, $20 day of the event, $30 at the door
Paradise Lounge, 1501Folsom

And if you're still rarin' to party come New Year's Day, there's always:

Space Cowboys Present Breakfast of Champions at Whisper

As they say, only the strong survive, but some hot breaks and strong drinks will probably be just the thing to help you make it through until you just can't go any longer.
6AM - "until you cry uncle"
Club Whisper, 535 Florida between 17th and Mariposa

Upcoming Event: Comfort and Joy Solstice, "Brighter Days Ahead", Saturday December 20

Following last year's wildly successful event, Comfort and Joy presents another Solstice event to benefit Radical Faerie communities in Wolf Creek, Oregon and Raven's Crossing, California. Things kick off at 4PM with a silent art auction, bar, and downtempo music from Neco D, then a feast from 7-9, performances (including aerialists) from 9-11, and then dancing until 2AM with Space, Lord Kook, and Keshav.

Comfort and Joy Solstice, "Brighter Days Ahead"

Workspace Limited, 2150 Folsom (btwn 17th and 18th)
$10 - $20 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bar Review: The Attic

In these days of economic uncertainty and financial instability a shabby chic neighborhood bar is a solid alternative to other locales that charge you at the door and gouge you at the bar for the privilege of being part of their scene. This past Saturday the boyfriend and I were both feeling a tight pinch in the wallet area, and yet we still wanted something to do that made us feel part of the world without having to put up too much of a front. We set out after dinner and Scrabble to walk Kitty home through Noe Valley and wound up going down 24th Street to The Attic. It's not the most amazing bar in the world, but it is certainly a comforting hole in the wall.

Sitting in a back booth I said "you know, I'd hate to see what this place looks like in natural light." The interior is black walls and red lighting, with visual variety provided by years of silver marker graffiti and punk band stickers. The tables and chairs look like they were bought individually at garage sales, and I was loathe to examine the condition of the vinyl in our booth too closely. In one corner hangs a painting that appears to be a Venetian canal with the head of a Conquistador hovering over the horizon. Altogether the decor makes me think of a subterranean den of ill repute with a dash of art student whimsy.

I liked the music better the last time we were there - on this visit we we were, as now seems to be the fashion for bars and clubs across the San Francisco scene, transported back to the 70s, though this time it was more the realm of AC/DC than Sylvester, and I swear the DJ was Napolean Dynamite. I had a hard time figuring out if I was supposed to be enjoying this set of Monster Rock of the 70s un-ironically, or ironically, or un-ironically ironically, but after the second drink I gave up trying to decide and just sang along with the ones I knew as the mood struck me.

The absolute best thing about The Attic after walking past the douche bars of Noe Valley was not having to put up with drunk yuppies, who would have only made me feel even more destitute, in a bar so crowded I wouldn't even have been able to sit down, much less have a conversation. The Attic is definitely a mid-Mission hipster haunt of choice, and I saw a crowd composed of gay boys, unfortunate mustaches, girls in horn-rimmed glasses, and all the other sorts of people who, like us, were looking for a cheap sociability on a Saturday night. It wasn't the biggest scene, or the most cutting-edge, but I liked it well enough on a second trip to think it might become more of a destination in the future.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Upcoming Event: Prismatics presents Tonal: Grinch Green Underground, Saturday December 13

A breaks underground with a theme to fit the holiday season!

With: DJ Fluid, Anthony Mansfield, Mozaic, Laird, Homero Espinoso, The Fingermonsters, Bassic Instinct, Jimmy B, Bam, Izzy, Ivan Ruiz, Mario Dubbz, Fluke, Redstickman, Faye Valentine, Holt Sorenson

East Bay Location
TBA Day Of at or call 888-482-9281

10PM - Late
$10 before 11, $15 before 1, $20 after
21+, bring ID
No bottles, cans, markers
Visuals by Heroic Robot
Free mix CD for dressing up in Grinch Green
For special discount + info text "prismatic" to 67463

Friday, December 5, 2008

Upcoming Event: Donuts Presents LegoWelt, Saturday December 20

It's unfortunately up against the Comfort and Joy Solstice party (more details as soon as I get them), but passing the longest night of the year with LegoWelt should be fun.

with LEGOWELT live!

$10 after 11pm
1501 Folsom Street

Upcoming Event: Honey Sound System Hard Energy and New Year's Eve

The Honey Sound System boys are holding down Sunday nights at Paradise Lounge with some cool stuff lined up for the rest of this month, plus an All Night Disco Party for New Year's Eve!

dec 7 Honey Sundays w/ Residents FREE w/ Drink Special at Paradise Lounge (loft upstairs)
dec 14 Honey Sundays + Chilidog Present Horsemeat Disco at Paradise Lounge (loft upstairs)
dec 21 Honey Sundays w/ Jeffrey Sfire (Ghostly International)
dec 28 Honey Sundays w/ DJ SPUN (rong music)


DJ Spun (Rong Music/ NYC)
Cosmo Vitelli (I'm A Cliche/ Paris)

Conor (Ferrari)
The Honey Soundsystem DJs
Derek Love (Gemini Disco)
BT Magnum (Beat Electric)
Primo (Ferrari)
Pickpocket (Donuts Disco)
Bus Station John (Tubesteak Connection)
Jon Blunck + Guillermo (Sweater Funk)

Visuals by AC
Hosted by Christopher McVick

Paradise Lounge
1501 Folsom

9:00 PM - 9:00 AM

$15 Limited Advance Tickets
$20 Tickets after 12/15/08
$30 Day of Show

Complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight
Party Favors
4 AM Breakfast

Bottle Service Packages Available

Upcoming Event: Molekule at Julie's Supper Club, Friday December 5

It's back! And now there's a website for Molekule. Go check it out and support our grassroots techno scene!


ALIXR: FnF, Pulse[ SF ]
ROBOTHEAD: Faktion|Heroic Robot [ SF ]
KIRILL: Moleküle|Key9sound [ SF ]

MARCO: miss gawker [ SF ]
DJ HEROIC: Faktion|Heroic Robot [ SF ]

Julie’s Supperclub
1123 Folsom Street @ 7th, San Francisco, CA
9 PM to 2 AM 21+
Cost: $5 after 10pm

Introducing Untitled and After, a New San Francisco Techno Label

In an encouraging sign that the techno scene here is still on the rise, today marks the debut of two promo tracks from Untitled and After, a new San Francisco techno label. Label head Marc Kate sent me links to his promo tracks earlier this week (thanks Jacob!), and I really liked what I heard - moody but groovy tracks built on a minimal foundation with progressive propulsion and lots of atmospheric and melodic flourishes. You can check them out for yourself here:

Untitled and After promo tracks: La Villa Strangiato and Because You Weren't There from Land Sound (mastered by John Tejeda, no less!)

Here's what Marc, who performs as Silencefiction and is half of Land Sound, wrote about the label:
Untitled & After is a new digital music label run and curated by Marc Kate aka Silencefiction.

U & A is a Techno label that explores post-Minimal sounds.

U & A exists in this tension between the focused precision of minimalism and the grand gestures of dense and deep programming and performing.

U & A’s sound is defined, not so much in terms of genre, but in terms of mood. Though U & A's roots are in Techno, the music is made by artists with a mind for texture and atmosphere, moodiness and introspection.

U & A explores the difference between tracks for the dancefloor and those for headphones. Headphone music can be epic. Dancefloor tracks can be cerebral.

U & A considers its spiritual ancestors to be My Bloody Valentine for density (audacity?) and Joy Division for minimal sounds as maximum atmospheres.

When U & A grows up, it wants to be the 4AD of techno.
Marc says he's planning some Untitled and After events for 2009, so be on the lookout here and elsewhere for more great San Francisco techno sounds from this promising label.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Bar on Castro Closing

Picked this up from the Socketsite real estate blog this morning:
Speaking of high rents in Castro... a very reliable source told me that a very profitable and VERY well known bar on Castro will be closing shop come January '09 due to the lease coming up and the increase in rent being INSANE. You know things are bad when one of (if not the most patronized) bar(s) are closing up shop... Scary.
I replied that the only two bars I could think of were The Bar on Castro and Daddy's/440 Castro, and after initially being told "think BIGGER" by the original poster (I think in response to mentioning 440 Castro), he came back with "you're headed in the right direction." Could it be that The Bar is closing? Any scoops out there?

UPDATE: I did a little digging and came up with this nugget of a blog post that seems to confirm that it is, indeed The Bar on Castro.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Event Review: An Intimate Evening with Dame Edna

Sometimes being a blogger does have benefits, as was demonstrated last week when Kitty and I got free seats (and good ones too, right down in front) for a performance of Dame Edna's "Live and Intimate First Last Tour" at the Post Street Theater. At first I almost passed on the offer, since drag comediennes aren't really my thing, but then I figured, hey, it's free, and once Kitty signed on to accompany me, I actually looked forward to it.

Dame Edna's schtick is that she's really a horrible person, but one who knows how to be horrible in that polite, British way. So, she can affectionately refer to the audience members as "possums" at the same time that she can say "oh, what's the word I'd use to describe that dress? I know, home made!" She was like the genteel version of drag queen Charlie Brown, who used to headline the cabaret at Backstreets in Atlanta and would come onstage with the call "I smell straaaaaaaaaight pussy," then proceed to "read" everyone in the audience. Her humor is largely built on the tension of her mannered meanness, and when the evening is "intimate" and she's directly interacting with the audience, there's a kind of dread that accompanies everything. Having read a review of the show in the Chronicle I had an idea of what to expect (and which ruined a few of the jokes for me, so I won't give away any spoilers here) and really, really hoped that other people would fill in the seats next to me so as to help protect me from the roving eye of the Dame.

Kitty and I had a great time, though we left at the intermission - two hours, plus intermission, was a bit more of Dame Edna than either of us could take, and since the seats were free, it wasn't like we were losing anything. The thing I noticed, though, was that we were among the youngest people at the show - given that prices for seats ran $58, $68, and $100 a piece I think I understand why. If you are a fan of Dame Edna I'm sure that this is a reasonable price to see such a glamorous star, but it seemed a bit steep to me. Still, if you're looking for something special to do over the holidays, Dame Edna is sure to be an experience you'll never forget.

MTA to Regulate Taxi Industry

I've long complained about the sorry state of the taxi system here in San Francisco, having spent several Friday and Saturday nights having to walk to or from my destination because there were no cabs. According to this article in the examiner, the Board of Supervisors has voted to put the taxi industry under the supervision of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and I say it's about damned time. While the MTA doesn't have the best track record in general, it's at least a recognition that taxis are part of the public transportation infrastructure, and need to be regulated as such.

My main hope is that they will finally bring some quantitative data to the decision-making process for putting more cabs on the street. Medallion holders have long resisted this because medallions have become a commodity resource that they control, and can profit from, but they have always held that more cabs mean less money for working cabbies. However, no one really knows what the size of the market is for taxi services, and we've relied for far too long on anecdotal information from people who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. My guess is that a study of the market would show that it's much, much larger than previously described, and more cabs won't mean fewer fares for those driving them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mix Download: Alland Byallo on Process

It's been a while since I gave a shout out to the excellent Modyifier blog from local designer and techno aficionado Rayna Di Nord. More than just another music blogger, Rayna is interested in the creative process that people bring to producing music and DJing, and each Process mix is also a reflection by the artist on that process. Through personal solicitation and referrals from other artists Rayna has amassed 107 mixes from locals like yours truly, Lord Kook (as Glowfish), C.L.A.W.S,, and Mochipet, as well as international names like popnoname, Scratch Massive, Pharrel, and more. There's hours of music here, and lots to read and think about. A highly recommended way to spend some time at work.

The most recent Process mix: Alland Byallo of Kontrol.

Event Review: Daniel Bell Underground at The Compound

Friday night the boyfriend and I fired up the Element and went adventuring into the wastelands of Bayview in search of a dirt road with a gate at the end, and beyond that gate, the promise of a very groovy night with legend Daniel Bell providing an eight-hour soundtrack. What we eventually found was not only a great night of truly deep techno with a Detroit master, but one of those legendary underground spaces that are fast disappearing from the San Francisco scene.

The party, produced by Kontrol, was at The Compound, a space perhaps best known among techno scenesters for its 16-speaker surround system. When you read that you probably think, “oh, yeah, big deal, sounds like a gimmick,” but once you’ve heard what music sounds like on that system, it makes you realize just how shitty every other club in this city is. It’s a small space that felt crowded with a hundred black-clad techno kids bobbing around in it, but as it filled up, the sound never seemed to get louder, even though every element, from the lowest bass to the highest treble, sounded absolutely clear and distinct. After going to clubs like Mighty, where the sonic philosophy is founded on pure brute force that leaves you feeling dazed and deafened, it was a relief to hear techno on a system that was designed for sonic subtlety and nuance. Bell was set up in the middle of the geodesic dome-like space, and one thing that I noticed almost immediately was that he didn’t have any monitors. Looking up we saw two monitors that were flown from the ceiling, and that’s all he needed, even with a crowd around him. The sound was so perfectly tailored to the space, it didn’t matter where you stood, and I had a hallucinatory moment when I thought that the music and the space were simultaneously giving shape to each other.

The same care and subtlety that went into the sound design of The Compound could also be found in Bell’s set. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a party where the DJ had enough time in their set to develop a true progression of mood. When we first arrived around 11 there weren’t that many other people in the space, and Bell was playing some fairly easy-going deep techno that was flavored with a little house, just the thing to help you unwind a bit. By the time we left around 2.30 he was eliciting whoops, but it wasn’t like he’d switched over to bangers; instead he had lifted the energy of the room subtlely, still playing minimal and deep sounds, and still making smooth mixes with little in the way of knob-twisting theatrics. It was one of the most mature, confident sets of techno I’ve heard in a long time, where the most minimal DJ intervention could have maximal effect.

Of course, one of the best things about underground parties is the crowd; it takes real connection to the scene, and often some degree of effort, to find yourself at one of these events, so there’s a pretty strong process of selection at work before anybody even shows up. The only folks the boyfriend and I knew were Monica and Tom Kat, but that didn’t stop us from having conversations with the guy who helped us park (who thought the boyfriend looked like “a wise guy” in his black hat, black sport coat, and white hoodie), one of the sound guys, and even two guys who disagreed with us over whether or not playing a snippet of the Booka Shade remix of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” was trite (we didn’t think it was). It was kind of a strange moment, which, literally disagreeable as it was, still meant we were among people who took the music, the DJing, and the whole vibe seriously. Given that most of my party experience in the recent past has been more about the scene than the music, it was nice to be among fellow heads for a while. It was, in fact, enough to make me wish I’d had the stamina, or at least the stimulants, to get me through the entirety of the night.

The Compound’s days are numbered; it’s in Added Area B, Parcel 1 of the Bayview Re-development plan that was passed back in June, so its likely fate is at the hands of a bulldozer driver. Losing that space will be yet another significant set-back in the development of our nascent techno scene, so let’s enjoy it, and the ideas and connections it fosters, while we can.

Drag Queen Collapses at Charlie Horse

SFist reports that drag performer Anna Warhola collapsed on the stage at Charlie Horse this past Friday at the end of the performance, was taken to the hospital, and is now in a coma. Wow. Comments seem to indicate that, at first, no one realized that it wasn't part of the routine, and then the paramedics showed up and did intensive CPR, having to revive her several times. Cause of collapse is unknown, but SFist reports that the diagnosis was "cardiac and respiratory arrest." If anyone knows how to contact Anna/Paul Brinegar's family they should get in touch with Anna Conda (charliehorsecinch[at] or The Cinch (415-776-4162).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Download: Interview with Dustin Lance Black, Screenwriter of "Milk," on Fresh Air

Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter and executive producer of "Milk," photo by Kevin Winter

An interesting interview with Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter and executive producer of "Milk," on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I know that Harvey Milk and his story have recently served as an inspiration and a departure point for local San Francisco queer culture, particularly Leo Herrera of HomoChic, but I'm curious what effect the nationwide release of this film will have on our culture at large (I'm sure that's what Gus Van Sant had in mind in the first place). It seems that everyone is looking at the current financial melt-down, and the election of Barack Obama, as an opportunity for their own version of "the New Deal" to blossom, and I wonder what role the controversy over Prop 8, the screening of "Milk" across the country, and the the struggle within the Republican party to define itself, will play in shaping queer culture, identity, and rights over the course of the next administration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Upcoming Event: Roam Music Underground with Mathew Jonson, Saturday November 22

Roam Music presents the second installment in their underground series, Jade, featuring Vancouver's Mathew Jonson (Sub Static, Minus, Perlon, Kompakt, Itiswhatitis, Arbutus) live, with support from John Wander, Nikola Baytala, Droog, and Lee Foss on the Funktion-One sound system.

10PM - "after hours"
Location and ticket info at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Streetlight Records in Noe Valley and Open Mind in the Castro Shutting Their Doors

Walking past Open Mind Music on Market Street recently I noticed a "shop closing" notice in the window, and now, courtesy of the All Shook Down blog on SFWeekly, comes notice that Streetlight Records is closing its flagship store in Noe Valley.

I've been chronicling the demise of record shops in San Francisco ever since I started this blog, and it seems that the trend will only continue. Having shopped in both Streetlight and Open Mind, I get the sense that what did them in was having a breadth of stock that required a large space, but that didn't, in the end, generate enough throughput to keep up the rent. I think that, for record stores to survive, they're going to have become small, niche-focused businesses that don't keep a lot of outdated stock on hand (there were several dozen square feet of Open Mind dedicated to old dance vinyl that, even at 99 cents each, nobody would really find that interesting). There will always be audiophiles who want their favorite Pink Floyd albums on high-quality vinyl, but fewer and fewer people are going to want to pick up The Wall on vinyl that's over twenty years old when you can get the same album on CD for pretty cheap (or just download it from eMule). I think that we have also entered into an era in which consumers are less interested in albums and are more likely to just buy individual tracks that they like; buying a whole album of stuff when you only really want one or two tracks seems to make about as much sense to a modern consumer as buying 8-track tapes that you can't rewind.

Upcoming Event: Motherbird Monthly at Temple, November 19 2008

Claude von Stroke and Christian Martin are teaming up to present Motherbird, a new monthly combining the talents of the Mothership and Dirtybird labels, at Temple's catacombs. It's on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, with the next one coming up this Wednesday, which means it's going to be a scene of dedicated tech heads, but it's yet another techno night we should all be happy to see. Full details on the SFScene Events calendar.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Live Mixes from Javaight

DJ Javaight, one of the impressarios behind Staple and the Killswitch happy hour, just released two new live mixes, one from the aforementioned Killswitch, and another from a set at The EnUp. In his words
Although there are a few similar tracks in both mixes, the Killswitch mix is a bit dark, trippy and groovin, while the Endup mix is definitely more "peak hour" and jackin.
"Jackin'" indeed. Check 'em out for yourself:

1. Javaight Live @ Killswitch
2. Javaight Live @ The Endup

2008 Deep End Burning Man Sets Now Available Online

For all those who were there, and those who weren't but wish they could have been, all the Deep End sets from Burning Man 2008 are now online:

(well, not all, I notice that Worthy's set, which carried me through Friday morning from a looooong Thursday into Friday, isn't up, unfortunately).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Event Review: Honey Soundsystem Presents Hard Energy at Paradise Lounge

Honey Soundsystem has taken on the rather considerable challenge of presenting a new weekly, on a Sunday, in a new space, but from what I saw this past Sunday, they're as able to meet the challenge as anyone.

The boyfriend and I showed up with our friend Toka just as they opened the doors at 8PM and stayed for a three-drink conversation. Kendig was first up on the decks, and though his set was way too retro disco for my taste (especially after he teased us with some very cool contemporary tech at the beginning and middle of his set), he gave the space a comfortable Sunday evening t-dance vibe. I was more into the set PeePlay laid out after him, since he mixed in more contemporary sounds and made me feel like I was out for a night of grooving and dancing rather than an episode of the gay music history channel. He came on just as the crowd began to arrive around 10PM, and I saw several dancers enthusiastically take to the floor during his set, with the promise of more to come.

Paradise Lounge just recently re-opened, and PeePlay told me that they had originally planned on using the upstairs, rather than downstairs, space. I personally couldn't see anything at all wrong with what they had on the opening night since there was a good-sized dance floor, a cozy space off the dancefloor with banquette seating where you could chill and have a conversation, and lots of little tables and stools in the bar and dance areas where you could perch or have more intimate interactions. Nonetheless, PeePlay assured me that the upstairs space would be even cooler, and I know I'll go back again to check it out. There's not been much to do on Sunday evenings for a while, at least nothing that has the kind of cool alternative flair that Honey Soundsystem brings, so I hope the boys will be able to build Hard Energy into a Sunday evening destination.

Event Review: Molekule at Julie's Supper Club

The boyfriend and I made a quick stop into Molekule at Julie's Supper Club this past Friday and found a very cool space with even cooler techno. A collaboration between various grassroots technophiles like Faktion, Thirst, and Def, among others, this has real potential to blossom into another regularly occurring, local-talent-nurturing, head-centric techno party of the sort that this city needs.

Julie's, as we saw it set up, is a three-room space with a very comfortable bar area, a main dancefloor with classic black-and-white linoleum tile, and a smaller chill room (which could be made much better use of than as a place to store tables and chairs moved from the main room). Visuals were provided by Heroic Robot, who made great use of the big bare walls to present lessons in molekular and vektor geometry. We hung out and caught a bit of Tom Kat's very viberrific chill set, and then headed into the main room to hear some tracks from Amber (Thirsty | SisterSF),who gave us lots of fun snap-and-shuffle techno from the likes of Alex Under.

The hope seems to be that Molekule will mature into a monthly event, so let's keep our fingers crossed for more Molekule in the future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The X-Men Meet Gus Presents

Some of you may know that the X-Men have relocated to San Francisco, and, in the latest issue, they make their way around the City trying to find ways to cheer up their buddy Colossus, including, it seems, finding their way to a Gus Presents event that shares his name (thanks to Kitty for spotting this):

Saturday, November 8, 2008

On the Passing of Proposition 8

I promise that soon, soon, I'll get back to writing about music and parties and all that fun stuff, but my mind has been more occupied with the events of the past week, both uplifting and depressing, than it has been with thoughts of where I might be able to have a good time. While the election of Obama has certainly cheered me, the passing of Proposition 8 has really made me wonder about the way in which the mass can be moved by fear and thinly disguised hate to deprive other human beings of their essential humanity through legislative means.

Part of my personal reaction to this has been to think that I can never trust the African-American or Latino communities again, and to be just a tad disgusted that those communities, which should understand something about legislative discrimination, could be moved in such numbers to undertake that kind of discrimination against another group. I heard an African-American pastor who was a leader of the Yes on 8 Movement say that he thought it was absurd to compare gay civil rights wth the black civil rights movement, because "nobody was being chased down by dogs or beaten by police." And yet, it's only been recently that Mathew Shepard was left to die on a barbed wire fence, and every day gays and lesbians face harassment, both physical and mental, and some pay for their sexual orientation with their lives. The only difference was that, until now, there was no institutional, legalized discrimination against them; with the passing of Proposition 8, we now see how that process begins. This is how the Nazis also began their persecution of Jews through the Nuremberg laws that set prohibitions on their ability to marry non-Jews, and, as a Southerner, I also remember miscegenation laws that prohibited interracial marriage (and which legislators also tried to insert into the US Constitution). Slaves, of course, were not allowed to marry because that would have meant soiling a sacred sacrament. Funny, isn't it, how the once-oppressed so eagerly adopt the ideas and methods of their former oppressors.

What bothers me the most about this, however, is that people who have no relation to me, my life, or the lives of my friends, seem to feel that its their place to dictate how I should live, and what I should or should not be allowed to do, based on religious beliefs that I don't share. Do we really want to live in a world where religious belief and practice is dictated by majority rule?

As CW Nevius writes in today's Chronicle
, the supporters of Proposition 8 seem surprised by the anger directed toward them. As I commented on that article, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." If your actions are motivated by loathing of other people, don't be surprised if that loathing is returned. For now, I hope that the legal challenges to Proposition 8 will move forward, because it is a dangerous thing to enshrine in law the denial of rights to other human beings based on religious belief. That is the path that leads to the ovens.

From Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court Decision that overturned anti-miscegenation laws throughout the US:
Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Long Knives are Being Sharpened . . .

First on the butcher block, Sarah Palin. The coming weeks are going to be interesting, folks, better start keeping score now, even Fox News is in the process of re-aligning itself.

New Stuff on the SFScene Events Calendar!

A big update today kids, here are the highlights with all the details on the calendar itself:

Friday November 7, 2008:

Molekule at Julie's Supper Club - a new weekly techno party from several local underground collectives, hooray!

Donutheat Presents Daniel Wang at The Elbo Room - with Robot Hustle of Honey Soundsystem and more!

Sunday November 9, 2008:

Honey Soundsystem Premieres Hard Energy at Paradise Lounge - a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening, especially if you have Monday off!

Friday November 14, 2008:

Opulent Temple and The Deep End Present Music is Art at Kelly's Mission Rock - All night Burnerrific fun!

Saturday November 15, 2008:

Strictly for the Love Underground - strictly for the love of house music UG with David Harness headlining and an early BBQ (I bet I know where this is, and I bet it's across the bridge)!

Upcoming Event: Molekule at Julie's Supper Club

Another Friday night techno party kicks off this Friday at Julie's Supper Club!
With DJs:
Main Room:
FARZANA: Classy Concepts|3 Merry Men Be We
AMBER: Thirsty|SisterSF
KENNETH SCOTT: Auralism|Nightlight|Binary

Chill Area:
STML 10-11.30
TOMKAT (special dub techno and tracked out house set) 11.30-1

$5 after 10PM
9PM - 2AM
Julies's Supper Club,
1123 Folsom Street

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Best Part About President-Elect Obama . . .

is that his middle name is Hussein. Awesome.

Changes Afoot at The Transfer

All you scenesters have probably noticed that changes are afoot at The Transfer - Frisco Disco got booted, Sno-Drift has moved to UndergroundSF, and Joshua J ended Big Top there when he started M4M at UndergroundSF. In addition, I've heard that general manager Yasser was fired a few weeks ago. So, you might be wondering what's up over at that grubby little dive of a club?

According to a source within the industry familiar with The Transfer and owner Greg Bronstein, the closing of Jet to expand it into the next door space on Market has caused Bronstein to turn his attention to his other properties (he also owns The Bar on Castro and Lime), and he wasn't too happy with what he saw at The Transfer. Apparently his intention is to make it "more gay," and to try and bring its cash flow up to the same level as The Bar on Castro (which reportedly brings in multiple thousands of dollars a day gross). Given that The Transfer has a crappy sound system, and is a tiny, uncomfortable dive bar in a bad location, I wonder how it will ever meet the same standards as The Bar, but then it's not my business, either.

One of the more interesting manifestations of Bronstein's attempts to remake The Transfer can be seen in a recent ad for the bar in Gloss, which goes like this:

Being Laid Off Doesn't Mean You Can't Get Laid At The Transfer
"I didn't know you could check out cute bartenders, dance to hip hop, and drink $1 drinks all at the same bar," says Bon Qui Qui

So, in an attempt to revitalize The Transfer as a gay bar, Bronstein is reaching out to cheap, unemployed fags who are into hip-hop, and has chosen someone whose name translates to something like "good who who" as a spokesperson? Yep, works for me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Adventures in DJing: Bloodpact at SoMarts

Of the many things you think might go wrong with a gig - bad CDs, forgetting your headphones, generally stinking up the place - probably the last thing on the list, if it appeared at all, would be having your knee pop out in the middle of your set, having to put it back in place yourself, and then finishing your gig. And yet, as improbable as it may sound, that's exactly what happened to Lord Kook during his set at Bloodpact, winning him the SuperTrooper award for his ability to solider on under circumstances of extreme physical distress.

The first indication I had that something was wrong came when I heard that horrible whipwhipwhip sound of a CD being put on pause. I turned around and someone, who was definitely not Lord Kook, was up at the mixer, and I couldn't see him anywhere. I ran up to the DJ stand and saw LK on the floor, holding his knee and sorta rolling in pain. "What happened?" I asked, and he said "My knee popped out!" There were several frantic seconds of trying to figure out what to do, a medic arrived but said he couldn't put the knee back in place, that we'd have to call an ambulance, meanwhile the kid who had leaped into the lurch when LK went down was trying to figure out what was going on with the CD players. "It's back in, it's back in!" LK shouted at me, and a second later he was back on the decks, completely drenched with shock sweat, to one of the biggest rounds of applause I've heard for a DJ in a while. A chair was found for him, he finished out his set, the medic came back with an ice pack and some analgesics, and then it was all sitting on the patio, having a cigarette and a drink and looking very much like a dashing wounded war hero (it probably helped that he was wearing a pirate costume).

The worst part of the whole incident, aside from the pain of course, was that Lord Kook was right in the middle of one of his most amazing sets ever. He'd been working on a plan all week and went off to Bloodpact with a sheet of notes, and in the execution his mixing was absolutely flawless. The duo of Digital Paradigm whipped up the kids with some serious bloggo bangin' before LK went on, but he brought the funky groove, with lots of bodies writhing up against each other on the dance risers. I knew the second that he got his knee to track back into place that he would want to finish, because he had too much invested in putting this set together, and was getting too much out of playing it, to let something as trivial as a dislocated knee get in the way.

We didn't really get to experience much of the rest of the party; after the requisite post-set drink, smoke, and basking in the glory of having just scored serious cred, we headed back to the apartment where LK could put up his leg. It was early, only about 1.45, and the party looked like it was gaining some substantial momentum to carry though until 5 AM, but, what the hell, we'd already had our major experience to remember this Halloween, the one where Lord Kook went up a level.

Decemberween Electrohouse 2008 (01:31:24) <--------------- cliiiiiiiick

01. Headman - Moisture (Headman Club Mix)
02. Funky Transport and Jonee Q - Mixed Up (Style of Eye Remix)
03. Young Rebels and Francisco Diaz - Human Animal (John Dahlback Remix)
04. DJ Fist - Lemme See You Work (Milton Channels Remix)
05. Simon S. - Music Machine (Rhythm Code Remix)
06. Wolfgang Carter - Sour Candy (Original Mix)
07. Chocolate Puma and Bingo Players - Touch Me (Bart B More Remix)
08. Wax Poetic - Swing Swing (Tyrell Remix)
09. NuBreed - NuFunk (Deadmau5 Remix)
10. Office Gossip - Time Against Me (Original Mix)
11. Camille Jones - Difficult Guys (Extended)
12. Chris Lake - Shake (Original Mix)
13. Hatiras & MC Flipside - Autograph (Original Dirty Mix)
14. Switch - A Bit Patchy (Eric Prydz Remix)
15. Matthew Dear - Neighborhoods (Original Mix)
16. Mason - The Ride (Oliver Klein and Peter Juergen Mix)
17. Copyright - In Da Club (Shake Shit Up) (Original Mix)
18. Roby C - Disco Robot (Riva Starr Remix)
19. Prax Paris - Running Up That Hill (Maria Ochoa Remix)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Weekend Party Tips

I made the mistake of going shopping for Halloween gear in the Haight tonight; from now until next weekend I propose we ban the phrase "sexy (noun)," as I heard "sexy nurse," "sexy convict" and similar constructions falling from far too many lips. I managed to come away with gear for my friend Kitty, but my own costume will likely be brilliantly ad-hoc.

If you're smart, you're prepared to take off work, or work from home, or something, on Monday, cuz this is the kind of weekend that tests a (wo)man's mettle. Here's the jaded gay DJ's guide to the Halloween party gauntlet.

FRIDAY, October 31

For the gay boys
Blood Pact at SoMarts (8th and Brannan), 10PM - 5AM, $15
Okay, for starters, this is an 18+ event, and my boy Lord Kook is DJing on the main floor from 11.30 - 1.00. Then there's the Honey SoundSystem DJs v. A Club Called Rhonda (LA), Richard Oh?! tag-teaming with Sleazemore (3-5AM), Liam Shy and Digitial Paradigm kicking out some electro house, and performances by Ambrosia Salad, Chris McVick (my favorite straight disco boy), and Monistat. Oh, and there's an outdoor area too. Just go, okay?

For the crazy kids
Night of the Living Bass at Mighty (Utah x 15th), 10PM - 4AM, $15 presales at
You've got DJs from Opel, Space Cowboys, Evil Breaks, and The Deep End, all of which adds up to hot breaks and deep house, costumes fresh off the playa, and lots of that special Burning Man party madness.

Saturday, Day of the Dead, November 1st

Ghost Ship on Treasure Island (10PM - 4AM), $20 presales, $20 at the door in costume, $30 without
It's a 25,000 square foot airplane hanger with three bars, art cars and installations, and more fucking DJ's than I can count. And I have it on good authority that Comfort and Joy will be hosting a queer-friendly chill room too. Biodiesel shuttle from the corner of Larkin and Grove from 10.30PM - 4.30AM, or you can ferry/bus to the party. Whatever it takes, you should motivate yourself to go.
UPDATE: As of Thursday night my sources tell me that 600 of the 1000 tickets had gone out as pre-sales, so you maybe better not count on being able to get tix at the door. Hit the link to go to the Space Cowboys website and get 'em while you can.

Sunday, Day of the Deadly Hangover, November 2nd

Country Club Pool and Pavilion Party at the
Cathedral Hill Hotel (1101 Van Ness x Geary, 4th Floor), 12.30 PM - 8PM, $5 pre-sales, $8 before 2PM, $12 after
Maybe you need a little chill after all that partying; maybe you haven't even gone to bed yet. Whatever your particular physical or psychic state, imagine how much improved it will be after an afternoon pool party (with croquet, badminton, and bocce ball!) featuring a passel of blog house, electro, and techy DJs like Richie Panic, Jeffrey Paradise, Solar, Nikola, Anthony Mansfield, Sleazemore, and Richard Oh?!.

Friday, October 24, 2008

City Enacts New Noise Control Ordinance

According to this article in the SFGate, The City has enacted a new noise control ordinance for the first time since 1973. The interesting part is down toward the bottom of the article:

Noise violations would become infractions instead of misdemeanor offenses, which officials believe will make enforcement easier. The city's Entertainment Commission would for the first time have authority to regulate low-frequency bass and drum noise.

The EC has been complaining for a while now that they don't have any real enforcement tools, but I wonder exactly how this is going to play out. I think this does not bode well, for example, for Club 6, and gives any neighbor a way to harass other clubs out of existence.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Event Review: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Okay, I know, it's a little late but, hey, this is what happens when you're busy.

For the second year in a row the boyfriend was one of the onstage recording engineers for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and on Sunday he had the good luck to be working the stage with Ben Kweller, Elvis Costello, and Gogol Bordello, among others. I hauled myself down there in time to catch the end of Kweller's set, all of Costello's, and the very beginning of Gogol Bordello, and I have to say that, after some of the wretched excess of the LoveFest, it was a veritable balm for the soul.

Now, let's be straight and say that there were just as many people getting their party on at HSB as at Lovefest, but since they were dispersed over a very large section of Golden Gate Park, you didn't have the same sensation of being in the middle of a Bosch painting. Though no alcohol is sold at the event (certainly a good thing), plenty of people had bottles and cans in hand, and the fragrant scent of the chronic hung over the crowd. I saw several small groups of what I think of as hippie geek kids hanging out together, and I have no doubt that I had looked closely, I would have seen some mighty big eyeballs. What was different from LoveFest, though, was how quaint, almost traditional, this particular party scene was; after all, songs about drinking are a huge part of the blugrass/country repetoire, and we all know what jam band concerts are like. Perhaps it was because, at LoveFest, there is such a connection between sex and partying, and partying till you can't party no more, while Hardly Strictly Bluegrass seems to be more about the great enthusiasm one has for both the state of intoxication and the hangover that follows.

That enthusiastic embrace of even the most downbeat, bluesy aspect of life was what came across for me in Ben Kweller's performance. Wearing a red and black shirt lumberjack shirt with a denim vest and rockstar-tight jeans, with long curly hair, Kweller seemed like one of the many alterancountry hippy boys in the audience, the one who learned guitar and started writing songs and was as surprised as any of them would be to find himself up on the stage. He pretty much charmed the socks off me.

Elvis Costello, on the other hand, was the consummate, veteran performer who knew all the moves but came across as slightly empty. On one of the hottest days in San Francisco this year Costello came onstage wearing a hat, a scarf, a vest over a shirt, and a long coat. Though one person commented to me that he looked like The Penguin, I eventually came to think of his outfit as both costume and armor, something he put on to project a persona but was, in the end, something that kept you from seeing what was underneath. He opened up with "Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" to remind everybody who he was, went through the routine of getting people to clap and sing along with his songs, but then, as he was switching guitars halfway through, he popped off at one of the monitor engineers - it was really quick, only four words said off to the side of the stage, and had I not been standing where I was and able to see the expression on his face, I might not have even noticed it, but it was an instant when I could see past the showman who had named his kids Dexter and Frank so they could be a Vaudeville Act to a rather dyspeptic curmudgeon underneath all those layers.

I got tired of standing and walked behind the stage to sit in the meadow as the sun set. There was a completely naked and unselfconscious boy of about three running around and playing with another boy his age, dogs hunting gophers, groups of hippy kids sitting together and climbing trees, an older couple sharing a pipe sitting in front of me, all bathed in a faintly hazy, enchanting light. I sat there and just mediated on the things in front of me, one of the most relaxing, idyllic scenes I had seen in quite a while.

The boyfriend got his lunch break after Gogol Bordello came on, so we wandered off in search of food. On the way out I came across buskers playing "Dirty Old Town" by The Pogues, and a two-piece band on the Rooster Stage playing a particularly poignant version of The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait" on guitar and mandolin. Both were unexpected delights, which pretty accurately sums up my entire experience of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Bar Review: The Knockout and El Rio

Thanks to a bit of miscommunication this past Saturday the boyfriend and I, along with a couple other friends, wound up going to both The Knockout and El Rio waaaaay down on Mission Street. The occasion was another friend’s birthday, which was originally supposed to be at The Knockout, but an $8 cover for some benefit, along with a couple really loud bands, convinced them to move things to El Rio. Unfortunately, nobody sent us a text or called us before we wound up paying cover and witnessing a truly hideous fashion show.

The Knockout could most succinctly be described as a hipster dive bar, decorated with mug shots and a patina of grime. There is a long bar as you enter, and another bar-like area with a drinks shelf and a brass foot rail where you can stand and look into the adjoining room, which features a stage. Live shows are apparently one of the big attractions here, though we caught only the end of somebody doing some decent beat-boxing before we were treated to a “fashion show.” When Richard Hell and the Voidoids “Blank Generation” started up over the PA I really had to laugh – it’s hard to think of a single song that could be so self-congratulatory and so amazingly cliché at the same time. The fashion, for the women at least, consisted of variations of black-on-blue plaid, but one of my companions put it best: “all these outfits seem designed to make the women look terrific, and the guys look like assholes.” About that time we got a text that we should rendezvous with the rest of our pack up the street, just in time to save us from any more hipster silliness, but before I got to try out the signature root beer float cocktail.

El Rio had a pretty high hipster quotient as well, but was definitely higher up on the bar evolutionary ladder. It also has a stage area, but additionally boasts one of the nicest patios I’ve seen in San Francisco, and when a band did take the stage, you could still hang out in the bar and have a conversation. I liked the warm lighting and the overall vibe of the bar, but was disappointed that they didn’t seem to have any cocktail specials of the sort found at The Knockout.

Since El Rio is only a few blocks from Kitty’s place I think it may become a destination for when I’m down at that end of the Mission; any place where I can sit outside and have a drink and a smoke is a winner in my book.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last Minute Going-Away Party for Lemonade Tonight, Friday October 17

It's on the new SFScene calendar too, but here are the details of a going-away party for Tigerbeat recording artists Lemonade tonight:

Lemonade Going-Away Party
103 Harriet Street (1015 Folsom)
10PM to "late"
with music and DJ sets from
Lemonade, Lazer Sword, CLAWS, Ghosts on Tape, Safety Scissors , Saputotime and mor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Introducing the SFScene Events Calendar!

Okay kids, as you may have noticed, I've recently been having trouble keeping up with the Friday and Saturday Night Guide posts. Thing is, life's busy, and soemtimes it's been difficult for me to find the time to get those out in timely manner. Plus, I've not been as good at keeping up with the one-offs and such because I lost my great Outlook calendar system when I got my new job (Zimbra, btw, is teh suxxors as far as I'm concerned for ease-of-use).

The solution: the new SFScene Events Calendar on Google! It will live in it's own little bloggy post and get regular updates when I add to it in Google, and if you want to check out a full-size version you just need to click on the link over there in the little calendar box. This way I can also start putting up info about some of the mid-week and Sunday events that have otherwise escaped promotion while also saving myself some weekly effort. As always, I'll be sticking to listing events that I personally would recommend (for the most part, at least). Links to reviews, when I've written them, will be in the event descriptions, as will links to the event websites themselves. I'll be adding more events to the calendar over the next few days, and by the end of the next week you should be able to check it out for all kinds of fun things happening between now and the end of November. Enjoy!

The SFScene Events Calendar

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Upcoming Event: Bloodpact at SoMarts, Halloween Friday October 31

Just got this from Lord Kook for all you homos looking for something to do on Halloween . . . a superfun looking all-ages (18+) gay party at SoMarts!

super excited about this one, folks! it's gonna be pretty rad... the HSS kids are holding it down with their sister club from LA, along with some (the kind where the walls start to breathe after a while) with some crazy electro / tech-house / kitchen-sink-shit from me, Liam Shy, Digital Paradigm, and Richard Oh?!. this is a homo-friendly party (duh), it's 18+ (bring yer little brother!), there's a full bar for those of us old enough to swerve legally, and the whole thing goes till 5am! it's almost enough to make me forget about what a mess the city made of halloween!

no, wait, it totally is.

more info as it comes...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Event Review: LoveFest 2008

“Messy;” that’s the one-word answer I’ve been giving to the question “How was LoveFest?” Sure, it was a beautiful day, I had fun and even danced to some good techno, but my overall impression of the event was that it almost exceeded FurCon in terms of kids going well beyond what they could, or should, handle.

The first sign of messiness came as I was standing behind the Tantra float with Kitty shortly after arriving. We were chatting with Saturnia when a man came over and asked us if he knew where to find a medical team, as he had just found a group of really "messed up" kids in need of some assistance; a few minutes later I noticed a kid stumble headlong into a trashcan and then just stand there, leaning forward against it, his eyes rolling up into his head. We moved on before I could see the outcome of this particular bad trip, but shortly afterwards, standing against a barricade and watching the crowd in front of the Kontrol/Auralism Records float, I had a more personal encounter with wretched excess. A very suburban-looking blonde girl, wearing the faerie wings and tiara that seemed to be the LoveFest fashion statement for girls this year, stumbled over and began rubbing herself up against me. More amused than shocked I said “Hey, having fun?” “Yeah,” she slurred, and proceeded to ask about my favorite color before her friend pulled her, loose-limbed and barely standing, back into the crowd. Shortly thereafter, on my way to get a drink, I saw an otherwise very attractive blond boy puking right in the middle of Larkin street, and then, coming back from getting that drink, a girl who was being led through the crowd by two friends went rag-doll limp and collapsed right in front of me.

Kitty later commented that, when he first got down there around 2PM, he was surprised by just how fucked-up everybody already seemed to be. Now, far be it for me to cast aspersions on people for losing their faces in whatever manner they chose in public, but c’mon kids, you need to learn how to maintain. When I was dancing to Alland Byallo’s set at the Kontrol float later, I took a moment to really look at the crowd around me. In front of me were five gay guys dancing shirtless and passing around a bottle of jungle juice; to my right was a group of younger kids, probably in their early twenties, including a very pretty thin, smooth, boy with shaggy blonde and red-streaked hair wearing aviators and with one cuff of a pair of fur-lined handcuffs locked around his right wrist; while to my left was a gentleman wearing a straw homburg, a button-up shirt with a vest, and aviators looking quite dandy and handsome, and all around a crowd of generally attractive, young people sucking on lollipops. It was obvious to me, being well-versed in such things, that everybody was pretty high, but there were no signs of the simply gross behavior I had seen earlier. This, I thought, is part of what makes the techno scene attractive to me, that it’s a scene where people like to party, but are a little more mature in the way they go about it. Walking around later it seemed to me that there was a direct correlation between the level of sophistication in the music and the overall vibe of the crowd, where the dumber the music got, the sloppier the crowd.

Kitty and I left LoveFest around 5.00; with the size of the crowd increasing, along with the lines for the portapotties and beverages, we didn’t really see much promise of the party getting any less sloppy, and, beyond Kontrol, there wasn’t much musically that caught my interest (I do have to give the HomoChic kids a shout-out for their “Death of Shade” float, which I thought best captured the renegade spirit that should be a major part of the LoveFest experience, but they suffered from poor placement between Tantra and Tweekin’ Records, whose sound systems simply overpowered HomoChic’s to such a degree that I couldn’t even hear them when I moved back a few feet from the speakers). I’m glad that San Francisco does LoveFest, and I’m even kind of glad that these kids, sloppy as they may be, have a chance to experience it, but, as another veteran partier of my acquaintance recently put it, I don’t really want to hang out around them while they go through their learning experiences.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Adventures in DJing: Drop the Pressure at UndergroundSF

Last night I learned a very important lesson about DJing with burned CDs: don't burn your precious tracks to cheap CDs, because some CD players won't read them.

I was leading off for the premiere of Drop the Pressure at UndergroundSF last night, and I had it all figured out ahead of time; a little Heiko Voss to start off, then into some fun, loopy techno from the likes of DiFi and Thomas Brinkmann. The Voss track, "I Think About You," was on vinyl, so as the needle moved across the record I slotted my next track in to the CD player - and nothing came up on the display. I hit eject, blew on the recorded surface, and slotted it back in. This time it came up, but showed the track as being 1.59m long. I hit play, and there was nothing in the headphones. Uttering a long chain of expletives I tried another CD, same problem. Now the needle was fast approaching the dead zone just before it would start scraping against the label. I reached into my record bag, pulled out another vinyl, not even caring what it was at this point, got it cued and started it up just as the other track was ending but not, unfortunately, before everything went to dead air.

Now that's a way to start the first set of the first night of your weekly. I put the same CDs into the other CD player, and all was well. Suspecting that the first CD player, an older, probably first generation CDJ-800, didn't like MP3 CDs, I ran a test with another MP3 CD supplied by DJ Candy. All was fine. Conclusion: the CD player was being finicky about the cheap, generic brand CDs I was trying to feed it.

I made it through an hour since I had, fortunately, brought records with me, but I had planned on using those just here and there instead of as the backbone of my set. I went for the stuff that was pretty mellow and with long, easy intros, like Luciano and Melchior's "Father" and a Pig and Dan remix of Underworld's "Play Pig" (I love that spoken word opening), and in between I was able to use the one CDJ that would accept my CDs to play some of the stuff I had originally intended, but overall it was a pretty disconnected mess, made more so by my own anxiety-induced slop mixes.

Fortunately the rest of the night went really, really well, and everyone else turned in great sets - we even had a dancefloor going at the end of the night, something I wouldn't have believed possible on a Thursday night in the Lower Haight. And now, before next week, I guess I'll have to spend some time re-burning all those CDs.

Here's the Drop the Pressure myspace if you'd like to come by and be our friend, or have a drink with us one Thursday night.

Your LoveFest Saturday Guide for October 4, 2008

Well, if the past couple weeks have seen some pretty sucky Saturdays, this one should make up for it. Techno! Disco! Breaks! We got yer dance musics right here, baby! Plus I'm sure that there will be some underground party flyers to be had at the actual event, lots and lots to do!

Weeklies and Bar Nights

Bistrotheque with Ken Vulsion at Cafe Flore
I've been remiss in not previously mentioning Ken Vulsion of Honey Sound System's Bistrotheque at Cafe Flore on Satuday evenings. A great place to go have a bite, warm up with a couple drinks, and groove along with Ken.
8PM - 2AM
Cafe Flore, 2298 Market Street x Noe

Bearracuda at Deco Lounge
For bears and those who love them. With DJ Rotten Robbie. This week: "underbear" party.
9PM - 3AM
Deco Lounge, 510 Larkin x Turk

Monthlies and One Offs

Kontrol at the End Up
With special guests Josh Wink(!), Speedy J, and Drumcell, plus the Kontrol residents. Check out my recent review of Kontrol.
10PM - 6AM
FREE before 11, $20 after
The End Up, 6th x Harrison

Trans Am at Club Eight
Rock/punk/indie music from resident Dirty Knees, usually with a band performing as well. Check out my review of Trans Am.
10PM - 2AM
Club Eight, 1151 Folsom x Eighth.

Gemini Disco at UndergroundSF
As Cip, the owner of UndergroundSF said to me last night, "at last, a real disco music night!" DJs Derrick Love and Nicky B, visuals by That Mold Science,
10PM - 2AM
$3 (the best bargain of the night!)
UndergroundSF, 424 Haight x Webster

Seismic Presents After the Love at Mighty

The best in San Francisco breaks with DJs from Seismic, Space Cowboys, and more.
9PM - 5AM
$20 before midnight
MIghty, 119 Utah Street x 15th

Kontrol and Auralism Need Our Help!

Looks like the tough times are hitting everybody, and the kids who have been truly responsible for bringing techno to San Francisco need some help to keep on doing it, or, at least, to bring it to the LoveFest. I've chipped in because I think it's important to support the people who are really doing something to bring interesting, diverse, and fun music to the San Francisco cultural scene. If you can only help out with ten or twenty bucks, think of it as the cover not just for a night, but to keep a whole scene going.


Dear friends and supporters of techno in the SF Bay and around the world,

We've been incredibly busy in the last few weeks, and trust us, we know you're busy too. But if you would please just take one minute out of your day to read this, it would really mean the world to us.

Times are tough, and many of us working in the trenches of the music industry are scrapping by week to week, just like many of you are. It is for this reason that today we are humbly calling on you, and requesting your assistance so that we can collectively create an incredible experience that everyone can enjoy and remember forever. That experience is being able to put on a float representing the music we love in this year's LoveFest.

As most of you are surely aware, pulling this kind of thing off isn't cheap. Just registering to be included in the parade alone costs $1500. Then there are expenses like renting a semi truck and driver for two days, renting a high-end Meyer soundsystem (which we spent TWICE as much on this year) plus people to run it, equipment rentals, decorations, drinks, and a ton of other expenses. All together, creating this float will cost us in excess of $4000. It's a lot of money and a lot of work, but we do this, as they say, "for the love". We want to make Saturday another unforgettable day, and share that day with our friends, our supporters, and with the world.

But the unfortunate truth of the matter is, we can't do it alone.

Last year we were lucky enough to be able to throw an underground after party where nearly all the artists donated their time and talents, and were ultimately able to recoup most of the float expenses. This year, LoveFest lands on the same night as Kontrol. Thus, no opportunity to recoup anything, as any profits gained from this years afterhours are going to, well, The Endup. Thus far, we've thrown two fundraising parties, and with the help from friends and supporters were able to raise around $700. So, you do the math. Float costs = $4000. Funds raised so far = $700.

Unfortunately, none of us in Kontrol or Auralism are rich. No trust-fund babies here, although that would certainly make things simpler. So, bottom line, if we can't raise another $3300, the remainder is shouldered entirely by us. What that means is, in addition to putting in all the work and effort to bring this great music and amazing time to the people, we all end up shelling out literally hundreds of dollars each (that we really can't afford) out of pocket.

So, we humbly call upon you to help us make this happen. If you've enjoyed having great techno events to go to over the last few years, if you know you're going to have another blast at this incredible FREE event, if you want to see this kind of music continue to grow and prosper in Bay, my friends, it's time to pony up.

To add a bit of incentive, we're giving away a handful of prizes to the most generous donors, and here they are:


Space on the float is this year is really, really limited. Sadly, even most of our friends will not be able to fit on. If you're amongst the top 5 donors though, we'd love for you to join us on the float as our way of saying thanks. You don't have to "know anyone", don't have to do anything. Just take some pics, dance your ass off, and have the time of your life!

And the big daddy:


At $15/month that's worth almost $200 for the [KONTROL] Endup parties alone. But it's also all the one-offs, all the undergrounds, EVERYTHING. And of course, all the Auralism parties too.

We love throwing these events and wish to thank each and every one of you who have supported over the last 3 years and helped us to bring the music we live for to the city we so dearly love. We have no intention of slowing down, and promise to continue to give 100% to making sure that the SF scene can hang up there with the big boys. We would deeply appreciate any financial support you can spare. Even a few bucks helps.

Donations can be sent via PayPal ( to

You don't even need a PayPal account, a simple debit card will do.


We LOVE all of you, and we LOVE SF!

Before we sign off, check out this awesome video that Auralism resident Clint Stewart put together of last year's float.

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

Or, download the whole thing in full size here: (85MB)

This year's theme is BLACK & WHITE
plus the "special" color... RED!

Thanks again, and we hope to see you out Saturday!

~ Greg Bird (on behalf of the [KONTROL] and Auralism crews)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Support HomoChic for LoveFest!

HomoChic, the brainchild of those queer hipster boys DeeJay PeePlay and the brothers Herrera, is bringing the love that dare not speak its name to LoveFest in all its flaming glory. The crew is putting together a float, and they need some support to both get it ready and then to get down at the actual parade. Here's what they've sent out via email, if you wanna support the alternative queer scene you should give 'em a hand or at least go and throw your hands in the air with them.

The party flyer is here.

And here's how they need some help:

Calling all butch queens!!! We need girls with tools and skills to come help us get this thing rolling.

Here's a tenative schedule:

10 am – pick up our truck
11 am – arrive at GRAY AREA (1515 Folsom)
cover truck bed, install shade structure & sound system
1 pm – move truck to AT&T PARK parking lot for further décor

If you would like to help, please call one of us. Rides can be arranged and we'll be sure to make it a fun day.

8 am – meet at AT&T PARK for final prep
10:30 am – float in place (#5) in line at 2nd & Mission
11:30 am – MUSIC!! MIMOSAS!! MAYHEM!!
12 noon – parade begins moving up MARKET ST.
(please feel free to meet us and join in the procession at any point.)
1 pm (???) – arrive and park at CIVIC CENTER
8 pm – LoveFest ends, head to TRUCK for afterparty

We need LOTS of help this day including: general float finishing, brunch set-up, mimosa mixing,

4 SAFETY MONITORS (required by LoveFest), a crew willing to help us break down
and stow the equipment back at 1515 Folsom – very close to both Civic Center and
Truck (one of our sponsors!!) where we will continue the festivities.
It's most crucial that we get some added support during and after the parade.
SAFETY IS VERY IMPORTANT!! as is cleaning up after ourselves.
Screwing either of these things up could put an end to this event.

Numbers to call:

Texxx - Float Coordinator

Allan Herrera - Float Décor

Leo Herrera - Float Promotions + Shemale Princess (duh)

Jacob Sperber - Crazy Jew

Your Friday Guide for LoveFest Weekend, October 3 2008

It's that time of year again and everybody, yes everybody is gearing up for a big LoveFest party. Here's what I recommend for getting your pre-party groove on.

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
W Hotel, 181 3rd Street x Howard

KillSwitch Happy Hour at UndergroundSF
Techno happy hour, this week : Killswitch Cluster Fuck, 20 DJs playing two tracks each! Check out my review of Killswitch!
6PM - 10PM
UndergroundSF, 424 Haight x Webster

Charlie Horse at the Cinch
Best place to go out and have a cheap drink while being entertained by drag queen antics. This week is a special "No on 8!" fundraiser. Check out my latest review of Charlie Horse at The Cinch.
9PM - close

Sick! at The Matador
A nice dive bar with techno tunes, a perfect place to start your night or to spend it. Residents D Spurlock, Jeffrey Allen, Jonathon Neil, Kuze, and Meekrob. Check out my review of Sick!
9PM - 2AM
Matador, 10 6th Street x Market

Club Loaded at The Rickshaw Stop
With live music from Music for Animals, plus DJs Casionova, Omar, and Audrock.
10PM - 2AM
The Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell at Van Ness

Monthlies and One-Offs

Dirty Bird Records LoveFest Pre-Party at Mezzanine
With the whole Dirty Bird crew. Worthy played a super terrific set on Friday morning at The Deep End this year, and I hope to catch him again tonight.
10PM - 3AM
$10 pre-sales, $20 at the door
Mezzanine, 444 Jessie Street x Mint

Lee Burridge Presents Get Weird at Mighty
Crazy lookin' line-up for sure, but are "more speakers than usual" really necessary?
10PM - "late"
$20 pre-sales, more at the door
Mighty, 119 Utah Street x 15

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Event Review: Folsom Street Fair

I will admit up front that I had originally decided to give Folsom Street Fair a pass this year, mainly because, like so many others, I felt it had grown too big, crowded, and generally uninteresting. But then the boyfriend landed a gig helping stage manage the 12th Street stage, and I figured I might as well go down and hang out for a while.

Kitty agreed to go over with me, and as I walked through Noe Valley on my way to his place in my jeans and rubber shirt, my faux hawk nicely spiked up, I passed two older women, one of whom said, as I passed “oh, that’s right, it’s Folsom weekend.” I smiled over that, and thought that one of the nice things about Folsom is that it gives guys an excuse to be sexy, something that is sadly lacking in our culture. Women can be sexy, but I’ve always felt that it’s much more difficult for a guy to put himself forth as sexy without it raising questions about his masculinity. It’s something I’ve struggled with a lot personally, and walking through Noe I felt a little excited to be out and about in an outfit that was purposefully sexually evocative (it was even better under my jeans, but the day turned out to be a bit cool for really getting down to the basics).

Kitty, Scooter and I met up with some friends in the vicinity of the dance stage, and while we stood there chatting, a Mistress in a lovely Vampirella-esque vinyl outfit came over leading a superhot boy on a leash. I will now make what, for San Francisco, land of bear and muscle worship, is a very politically incorrect statement: I really like cute, smooth, skinny, younger guys who might even verge into being femme. There, I said it. I know it’s an unpopular thing to admit, but sometimes you have to come out about these things. In this case the boy was wearing tattered Tripp pants, a raggedy gray muscle shirt, fishnet gloves, and a collar. On each upper arm he had an armband-like tattoo of a signal spike, sort of like what you see on an EKG monitor, and some eyeshadow around his eye sockets. A dogbone gag was strapped in his mouth, and he was drooling just a little. He was so hot I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and I watched as he and his Mistress posed for several photos, keeping his arms submissively at his sides until she led him off into the crowd. As he turned I saw that he had an Invader Zim messenger bag strapped across his back.

I was a little too dumbfounded by seeing a boy that I actually wanted to molest at Folsom Street to do any of the things I should have done, like walking up and asking the Mistress if I could pet her puppy. But seeing him excited me in more ways than one; maybe, I thought, this will be the year that I run into other cute boys, oh my!

The goth puppy was on my mind as we walked up to the 12th Street stage to check in with the boyfriend, and then when we made our way back to the dance stage. Having now thought up all my good lines, I was hoping I might have a chance to use them. We stayed at the dance stage for a while and then decided to try and rendezvous with our friends at the Cat Club. As we inched our way through the mob I realized that, not only had I missed my opportunity but, judging from the crowd I now saw around me, I wasn’t going to have much opportunity for any similar encounters because the crowd had just gotten too big.

That’s my problem with Folsom; in theory, I love the idea of a fetish street fair, and I’ve had moments of enjoying it in practice. But it has gotten so big that the things I like about it – the opportunity to be exhibitionistic, to run into and possibly flirt with cute goth boys in bondage – are basically lost in the crowd. Whatever effort I might have made to express my own individual fetishistic tendencies simply becomes another person in shiny rubber walking around, while the things that are attractive to me become tiny motes borne away by the churning sea of identical, boring clones in their uniforms of chaps, biker caps, jeans and harnesses. Rather than being an event where I can go to explore my fetish side and connect with others with whom I might share some interests, Folsom has become a place where I just get lost in the crowd. It’s a little too much like real life in that respect, rather than the affirmation of whatever it is I’m trying to affirm, so I think this may be my last year at Folsom Street.

Upcoming Event: Drop the Pressure Happy Hour at UndergroundSF, Premieres Thursday October 2nd

Drop the Pressure! is a weekly Thursday happy hour with yours truly, Lord Kook, and the kids from Lucky Pierre/Bender/Get Lucky (Candy, Donimo, and Six) bringing you booze and beats to set you up for the weekend. We'll be rotating through the DJ slots every week and bringing in special guests, and the drinks are, of course, plenty strong and cheap.

Here's our myspace if you'd like to friend us:

And here's our website, just in case you're not into the whole myspace thing:

Drop the Pressure!
Every Thursday, 6PM - 10PM
Underground SF, 424 Haight x Webster
$4 well drinks, $2PBR

Monday, September 29, 2008

Event Review: Supermayer at Mighty

On Friday the boyfriend and I went with our friend J down to Mighty to check out Kompakt boy darlings and superhero dj team Michael Mayer and Superpitcher, who, with their powers combined, fight against the forces of boring dance music as SuperMayer. It was a fun night of watching the two of them bop around behind the decks, reminding us after the rather heavy set laid down by local boy Nikola Baytala that techno can have some funk and humor in it as well.

The thing about Mighty that continues to drive me crazy is that the sound system, which I’ve been told originally came from 177 Townsend, it just too big for that space. I like a system that’s crisp and lets me really feel the bass, but too often I leave Mighty feeling like I’ve lost yet more of my remaining hearing. When we arrived on the upside of 11 there weren’t yet enough bodies on the dancefloor to dampen the sound, and the tracks Nikola Baytala was playing seemed just too heavy and dark for me at that point, though this may have just been a side-effect of the system being so loud that I couldn’t stay out on the dancefloor. Gradually I was able to ease myself into closer proximity to the speakers, and by midnight Baytala had gotten into more of a progressive groove that had the dance floor nicely populated. At times I thought Baytala’s set was something of a riff on the techno version of an End Up deep house set, very smooth, with one foray off into vocal territory, but with a pretty consistent set of dynamics that focused mainly on a steady bass thump.

Supermayer came on at 12.30 with a track that completely changed the mood of the space, and for most of the first hour the heavy bass that I had gotten used to in Baytala’s set was replaced with more of the “schaffel” sound so closely associated with Kompakt. There was a lot more motion in the mid-range, and occasional forays into what felt like funk, though when they went for techno they had no qualms about bringing in sounds and structures that were buzzy, glitchy, and just plain weird. Mayer and Superpitcher alternated roughly every three tracks and were having an obvious good time behind the decks, though at times their set did feel a little disjointed. One time as Mayer was coming in after Superpitcher, for example, he completely mis-timed the very long intro on the track he was mixing in, so everything just slowed down to a halt for a minute or two. My only complaint about their set was that it was a bit breakdpwn heavy; at times this felt like they were going for a progressive feel, with big buildups, climaxes, and breakdowns, and sometimes it felt like they just didn’t match the measures of the tracks they were mixing. Around 2 they played their big recent release, “Two of Us,” which is all tension and lack of resolution, and at that point I was ready to check out for the night. The dancefloor was packed, though, and I’m sure the party kept going well into the wee hours.