SUPER EGO Fur suit! Is there anything better? The darling buds of May are peeping through, the beautiful ladies of the Bay are showing out their zirconia belly-bling, and clubby bears are waking up from long, wet winter naps with raging hankerings for fun (as opposed to raging hankerings for little girls in Appalachia). "Lhudely sing goddam!" the poets shout, "it’s spring & all." And for once they’re right, you know? I feel downright exuberant. The city stretches out its arms, scratches its stubbly ass, and yawns. What’s for breakfast, Goldilocks? A party, dude. A freakin’ party.
So what could be more natural than to throw on a big, fuzzy purple costume and break-dance in public on a sunny afternoon?
At least that’s what I’m hoping. Do you know the guy I’m talking about? He’s at almost every street fair, hopping around like Jiffy Pop, cute as a Great Grape Ape. You know spring’s really arrived when you see him making the scene on the sidewalk, a violaceous blur, all velutinous and shit. I’ve had a super boy crush on him for years now. We once connected briefly at Queer Pride when I was Gaydor the Cockodile, but it would never work, I realized. A furry Grapeasaurus and a drunken, gay green reptile — the time had not yet come for our illicit kind of love. Sigh.
Still, my heart beats faster when I see his head spins zagging down the pavement, and I’m wishing that he’ll send me all atwitter at the upcoming How Weird Street Faire. Not that it’ll be easy to spot him, mind. The joint’s a jungle of fabulous freaks, and that’s just how we like it. In all its fur-suited, stilt-walking, fire-twirling, rave-a-licious glory, the How Weird’s in its seventh year as the kickoff of San Francisco’s outdoor festival season, but this year seems to be the first it has appeared on so many party folks’ radar screens. There are a couple good reasons for that.
The first is that How Weird was always a kind of stealth fair, dedicated to both the underground psy-trance scene and the techno-hippie notion of global peace through half-naked dancing. The joy of it was that one minute you’d be strolling through SoMa on the way to a beer bust, when — blam! — there’d be several blocks of booming Goa beats and shirtless gyrators waving glow sticks in the daytime. It was like you stepped through a quasi-magical doorway into the mid-’90s. The fair didn’t promote itself much, which made it seem spontaneous and comfy. This year it’s stepped up its outreach efforts and expanded its offerings, with seven stages of local floor-thumpers manning the tables and a Mermayd Parade up Market Street featuring art cars, wacky "mobile works of a naughtical nature" (i.e., pirate ship floats), and some sort of undelineated May Day celebration of the spring equinox. Don’t quote me, but I’m guessing it’ll somehow involve nude pixies.
The second reason is that many folks affect being allergic to such things. "What is it supposed to be, some sort of daffy collision of Burning Man and the Renaissance Faire?" they wonder, retching into their lattes. Well, kind of. The guy behind it all is indeed Brad Olsen, he of the legendary, way-back-when Consortium of Collective Consciousness parties and a prime Burning Man mover. His organization, Peace Tours, is dedicated to "achieving world peace through technology, community, and connectedness," which, as mentioned above, pretty much plays to woowoo shamanism type. (The fair even has booths selling "peace pizza." I shit you not.) And, of course, all medieval jouster wannabes are welcome — as are their jangly jester caps.
But the time for trendy uppitiness about such things has passed. There are no big clubs in the city left where you can get down with thousands of freaks anymore, and the millennial explosion of street protests has keyed more people in to the power, if not exactly the purpose, of vibing with crowds who share their general intentions. As the drag queen said, it’s all about expression. And these days (has it really come to this?) any expression of hope and peace — especially if there’s beer available — is very greatly appreciated.
So please, purple fuzzy boy, if you’re reading this — please come down to the How Weird Street Faire. After all, it’s spring. We need you. SFBG
How Weird Street Fair
May 7, noon–8 p.m.
12th Street and South Van Ness, SF
$10 donation, $5 with costume, free for kids