SUPER EGO/SEX ISSUE “My dilemma is that I have to perform at Symphony Hall smack in the middle of Folsom Street Fair,” cosmically talented and fantastically flamboyant organist Cameron Carpenter told me over the phone from Berlin. “Now, I could show up drunk and a bit roughed up to perform, or I could sneak out right after my part is done. Neither seem quite optimal. Let’s just say I will make an appearance of some sort.”
The classical pipe sensation, who describes his sexuality as queer, has a huge fanbase here, not just for his rhinestone-studded pumps and techno-toreador ensembles — look up his YouTube vids and submit to the plucked-eyebrow glory — but for his dazzling showmanship and intimate connection to crowds, despite a few diva-genius trappings. Carenter’s musicianship is fearless: His latest project was the construction of the world’s first digital pipe organ, meant for traveling. “A violinist doesn’t have to play another violin when she travels, why should an organist?” Carpenter says of his huge instrument. (New album If You Could Read My Mind shows off the digi-organ’s chops.)
And in his four-day stint with the SF Symphony, he’ll be tackling local composer Henry Brandt’s incredible, Pulitzer-winning “spatial” work Ice Field, brimming with atmospheric effects and immersive textures — and played by dozens of musicians arranged around the concert hall. “I will happily admit that this work is intimidating. It’s an extremely deep-reaching piece, at times psychotically violent yet aching and beautiful. I need to figure out how to self-immolate in just the right way.”
“Look, when you knowingly adopt a life of classical music, you realize you haven’t exactly lashed yourself to a star in ascendency,” says the home-schooled Pennsylvanian, who claims his initial ignorance of all things pop culture allows him to experience every form of music equally, without prejudice. “But it allows you an incredible amount of freedom. On its face, the pipe organ is essentially a losing proposition — even the digital organ is merely a tool, not a savior. The ‘Brotherhood of Organists’ is usually the hardest-working, least paid faction in the symphony world, a churchy throwback or niche curiosity to many.
“But oh, what noise we can make. As controversial as it is, my intent is to wrest the organ from its sacred bondage and free it into the world of the profane. It’s hard to remember, but for a long time in human history, the apex of civilization was represented by the inventions of the clock, the loom, and the organ.”
CAMERON CARPENTER WITH THE SF SYMPHONY
Thu/18 and Sun/21, 2pm; Fri/19-Sat/20, 8pm, $36-$154
Davies Symphony Hall, 601 Van Ness, SF
FOLSOM WEEK PARTY PICKS
The original weekly underground old school gay disco tribute, going 10-years dirty and strong with DJ Bus Station John.
Thu/18, 10pm-2am, $5. Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF. www.auntcharlieslounge.com
SWAGGER LIKE US: FETISH
Awesome queer hip-hop party gets low with this sexy Folsom special. DJs Robin Malone Simmons, DavO, and boy_friend, live floggings, rope demo, more.
Thu/18, 9:30pm-2am, $6. Public Works Loft, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com
Big, hairy, sweaty men twirling with gruff abandon to DJs Luis Lennon, Paul Goodyear, Jackie House, and Trevor Sigler.
Fri/19, 9pm-4am, $20 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com
CLUB FIST: LUSTY LADY TRIBUTE
Fantastic, sexy Oakland party pays tribute to SF’s legendary, recently shuttered Lusty Lady strip club and coop — with original Lusty Lady peepshow dancers performing live, and a “Feisty Fistettes Fucked-Up Foreplay Booth.” Hottt.
Fri/19, 9pm-3am, $5-$7. One Fam Center, 1606 Seventh St, Oakl. www.tinyurl.com/fistlusty2014
Webelo, youbelo, everybodybelos for this too-cute, super-friendly Cub Scout-themed party from LA, up here for the first time. Earn your badges with DJs Conor, Chris Bowen, and Victor Rodriguez – plus inimitable den mother Lady Bear.
Fri/19, 9pm-2am, $6. Lookout, 3600 16th St, SF. www.tinyurl.com/cubscoutsf2014
SOME THING FOLSOM
Vivacious, befuddling, sometimes besmattering art drag at its finest at this weekly party, now with more bondage! Special Guest Marti Gould Cummings.
Fri/19, 10pm-4am, $10. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF. www.facebook.com/groups/clubsomething/
Nothing says leather better than a pork-themed party. (Well, maybe a beef-themed one). Drag goddess Juanita More and host Walter Gomez pour on the hot boys and crispy cracklins for all the little piggies. Benefits Transgender Law Center.
Sat/20, 9pm-2am, $5. Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom, SF. wwwpowerhousebar.com
The legendary big-room house DJ will wipe the floor with your happy, sweaty ass.
Sat/20, 9pm-5am, $20-$28. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com
FOLSOM UNIFORM PARTY
Infamous dyke bar the Lexington Club slays it every year with this fetish uniform shindig. DJs Jenna Riot and Andre pour on the jams.
Sat/20, 3464 19th St, SF. www.lexingtonclub.com
POUND PUPPY: DOGGYSTYLE
“We’re just some pups on the prowl for a Scooby Snack, and by Scooby Snack we mean a big fat bone to gnaw on.” Points for self-actualization! DJs Harry + Jpeg, Jeffrey Sfire, whip the large pack into a house and Italo disco frenzy.
Fri/19, 10pm-4am, $10. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF. www.tinyurl.com/folsomdoggystyle
DEVIANTS ADULT ARCADE
Crazy characters, insane decor, and wild post-Folsom dancing with original disco hunk Paul Parker, DJs Pareja from Argentina, The Black Madonna, Honey Soundsystem, more.
Sun/21, 6pm-2am, $30-$50. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.bit.ly/1ph5Smb
A claws-out Mission party for scrappy-cute queer kids. With DJs Brontez Purnell, Carrie On Disco, a gaggle of burlesque performers like Kitty Von Quim, and hosts Rotimi Agbabiaka, Cle Torres, and Caitlin Donohue.
Sun/21, 6pm-2am, $10. SubMission, 2183 Mission, SF. www.tinyurl.com/queermeowsf