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.