Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Donovan Who?

This past Sunday I happened upon an SFGate Sunday Style piece that should go down as one of the worst pieces of nightlife-related journalism I've ever read: a profile of Donovan, "one of San Francisco's busiest nightclub DJs," who is trying to start an upscale clothing and jewelry line.

Now, apart from the fact that he has no background whatsoever in the fashion industry, jewelry, or design, the thing that came up in my mind as I read this article was: Who? Funny, if he was "one of San Francisco's busiest nightclub DJs," you'd think I'd have heard of him, seen his name on a flyer somewhere, maybe even danced to one of his sets? I had to go many, many (too many, in fact) column inches into this article to find out where he even played. Let's see, he once played the basement room at 1015 (after a friend lied to the promoter about who he was), and he's played parties at (can you believe it) The Fairmont Hotel, Top of the Mark at The Mark Hopkins, and Slide off Union Square. Oh, the fame!

Putting aside the fact that this guy comes off as someone who caters to overdressed douchebags, I have to ask this: aren't there plenty of other DJs in this city, real, major DJs, with interesting lives and aspirations and projects, who would be better served by being profiled than this guy? And what editor let this writer get away with breathless assertions in the lede like "one of San Francisco's busiest nightclub DJs" without actually backing it up with facts before you get twenty paragraphs into the article?

This is the kind of writing that drives me crazy, perpetrated as it is by someone who obviously has no knowledge of the scene they're writing about, and gives both DJs, and the nightclub scene, a bad rep by making it look like it's all about money. It's groups like the Space Cowboys, Comfort and Joy, Honey Sound System, and all the other crews in the city who give our scene vitality, out of love for the scene and music, and they're the ones who deserve to have their efforts rewarded with the attention of our local press, not this guy. Maybe some day the mainstream press will wake up to the real stuff that's going on around us, rather than pimping for a guy who's all about the bling.

DJ Donovan sporting his solid gold logo necklace and diamond-studded ring at his fourth-floor SoMa loft condo.


Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog, and have to say, if the entire SF scene sucks as bad as you say, except for a few select events thrown by your friends that your boyfriend dj's at, why bother writing about it at all?

The Jaded Gay DJ said...

Actually, there are quite a few things I think are really good, and I write about them - for example, the Stompy New Year's Day party, which no one I knew had anything to do with. I usually spend a lot of effort, in fact, to go to events that I have no association with, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be any better of a nightlife blogger than the scores of other people who write fluff pieces about their friends. There are things I don't like - bad music being one of them, and the way in which a really dynamic, interesting scene has deteriorated over the years. I also dislike the way the way underground is ignored by the mainstream press, and the way that the crassest, most commercial aspects of the scene get attention - when it's all about money, and bling, and which celebrity shows up, and what labels you're wearing, then that scene has lost sight of the things that I really care about, which is good music, a laidback vibe, and something that feels special even if you didn't pay more than $10 to get in. I write about the scene because I think it's time somebody did look at it with a critical voice, because no one else does, and the really great things get ovewhelmed by the lowest common denominator attempts to separate people from their money.

Anonymous said...

Mr Jaded,
Once again I give you big props. A lot of us still appreciate your perspective. How many years has anonymous been surveying nightlife here? Your perspective comes with history and experience.

As for Donavan, he may want to do his homework. Nice Collective has remained based in SF for over 10 years. Not Gucci but it definitely represents a specific slice of San Francisco's soul and culture.

The Jaded Gay DJ said...

Yeah, you know, after I thought about it, I realized there's a lot of fashion that has been generated out the San Francisco scene, from Nice Collective to Bunnywarez to the kids who do the independent designer trunk shows to the fashion you see at Prepare for the Playa every year. I have loads of gear I've bought from San Francisco designers, from "play clothes" to practical yet stylish campout clothes to my treasured Nice Collective jacket. The thing is, all these folks design clothes for real people, at affordable prices (even for the more upscale stuff), and are less intent on selling themselves as a brand as they are on making great clothes. And none of them, so far as I know, wear diamond-encrusted rings and gold necklaces of their logo.

Yeah, your jaded alright said...

pretty poor reporting on your part if you ask me. did you even try to google the guy and find out more about him? i've met donovan... i'm not into the club scene and have never been to his parties... but i can tell you he throws his own parties and he makes a pretty damn good living doing that. i really detest ignorant bloggers who can defame somone with no consequence. if you're going to "report" than do some really, really, really simple investigation. while i know nothing of your scene, or his scene, it seems pretty obvious they are two completely scenes.

i also think the article did donovan a diservice unless you think any PR is good PR. it made him sound like an idiot, so i don't get the point of piling on. to read the comments is to have it reinforced that we're a city full of two faced people... we're supposed to be one of the most open, accepting and liberal cities, but instead we crap on everyone who isn't exactly like us.

what i saw of donovan in person was a down to earth really nice guy. he definitely comes off badly in the article, and some of the stuff on his web site doesn't help, but you'd never put the guy you met in person with how he came off in the article.

lastly, since he does make pretty damn good money by promoting parties, i would not put it past him to make a living in jewlery and maybe fashion. his chances of reaching the "dream" are probably 1 in a billion, but i bet he has some success. the fact that he has dreams, and he strives for them, make him a significantly more interest person than someone who "banks on coasting" through their job until they quit. we need more donovans and fewer "jaded" anyones.