Thursday, June 5, 2008

Event Review: Camp Zoom Fundraiser, Oasis in Oakland

Saturday was a solid Burning Man day for me, the boyfriend, and J, who, along with our friend Tari, will be on the playa as Pixel Zombies. We went over to the little park at Corona Heights to set up a tent on loan to us (and had a typical BM experience of trying to put up a giant sail in a high wind and having it almost take off on us, resulting in a bent support leg), then that night we went to Oasis in Oakland, where Lord Kook was on the DJ bill as party of a party to raise money for Camp Zoom. I was a little leery of the whole affair at first – it was, after all, in Oakland – but it came off as a wonderful affair that reminded all of us why we enjoy Burning Man culture so much in the first place.

Oasis put me in mind of the bars I used to frequent in the South, in that it is obviously geared toward outdoor entertaining. There was a small bar and dining room on the inside, but the main action was on the large concrete patio area, which had a fully-equipped DJ booth, another bar, a lounge area, and a BBQ grill. It was a pretty chilly night, but that just meant that everyone in Burning Man gear was already well prepared. The theme was Superheroes on Vacation, which is a pretty easy them to interpret, costume-wise. I wore a studded leather visor cap with stand-up doggie ears, a lot of chains, and some military-looking clothes, and was Junkyard Dog, proud defender of the gay community (my superpower was the ability to paralyze my enemies with noxious fumes, while my vulnerability was being easily distracted by big bones). Honestly, all anyone had to do was put on a mask and a cape, or some crazy outfit, and they looked like a superhero.

The odd wrinkle in all of this was the regulars who showed up and at first wandered around looking very bemused. I was a little concerned about how they would mix with the Burning Man freaks, but by the end of the evening everybody was smiling and dancing together, and the bar owner was talking to his staff about what a “beautiful party” it was.

The musical surprise of the evening came from DJ J.C., who played a truly amazing, flawless set (two sets, actually) of straight-up techno into some pretty funky hard trance. I never got his full story, but there was something about him knowing folks involved with creating the series Lucy, Daughter of the Devil (which is produced in San Francisco), and the character of Jesus the DJ being based on him – not only did he have the Jesus look down, and those stand-out intitials, but he also did have some of the “greasy charisma” of that character. We hope to bring him to FSLD real soon.

The party was supposed to end at 2, but at 3AM we still had a moving dancefloor. Things finally shut down around 3.30 because we were all just too exhausted to keep going, but it was probably the best small party I’ve been to in ages. Keep your eyes peeled for more small Burning Man camp fundraisers, as they are certain to present pleasant surprises and re-awaken your empathy for San Francisco freak culture.

No comments: