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Super Ego

Low camp



SUPER EGO Is there any phrase lamer than "the future of dance music"? Every time I hear it, I flash unflatteringly back to the tagline for some horrid 2k5 Dutch hardcore trance Internet station: "The future of dance music … pzew! pzew! … is now — on Osterpoopen Trance-Radiogeschmacken Internet Stream-Schmeirtz!" Apologies, poi-twirling Netherlanders, but I do.

Future bass, a.k.a. lazer bass, a.k.a. turbocrunk, has willingly been saddled with the "future" burden — but if you haven’t hitched your hover-wagon to its woofer-cracking, hip-hop-deconstructing bleeps from the Death Star, you may really need to. Laptop dubsteb, future bass’s quaalude cousin, turned its back on hip-hop when Burial drowned Todd Edwards’ clunky house beats and got moody with the two-step diva samples in 2k7. Future bass ups the tempo and reinjects blingy rhymes, but runs them through the Ableton Moebius strip — so much so that San Francisco’s own Lazer Sword can flip Lil’ Flip’s "I’m a Balla" chorus into an Obama chant.

Until last month, alas, there’d been no regular party here to rep the baby genre. And with the general disarray of hip-hop nightlife, you’d think any sound that twists together T-Pain and Flying Lotus would be bong hits to those exhausted by the hip-pop vs. indie rap divide. Tired. Welcome, then, Bass Camp, a third-Thursday monthly at 111 Minna, brought to us by ArtNowSF’s Joseph Gross, Mochipet from Daly City Records, Josh Pollack of Euphonic Conceptions, and indie promoter Aaron Ketry. Although future bass is the highlight, this cluster of ravenous-eared rumblers, along with residents like Quitter, Shane King, MC Buddy LeRoy, and the totally crushable Epcot and Salva, just want to slap up SF’s low-end. Because, as the old saw goes, "Where’s the fookin’ bass?!?" The next Bass Camp on Feb. 19 takes a metal-crunk-mashup turn with Ludachrist, Kill the Noise, and Hookerz and Blow.

Bass Camp every third Thursdays, 9 p.m., $10. 111 Minna, SF.




Proof of intelligent nightlife in the universe? The brand-spankin’ new Cal Academy of Sciences gets batty every Thursday evening with primo local DJs in a laid back atmosphere, paired with informal talks with the biggest scientifical brains out there. First up on Thurs/12: Darwin gets OMmed, with OM Records’ DJ Fluid and J-Boogie, plus renowned natural historian Keith Thompson. Smart! Thurs/12, 6–10 p.m., $10. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., SF.


If trance should come from anywhere, it should be Egypt — where they used to fatten you up with honey before they ate you. Cairo’s Aly and Fila, current princes of that most globalized, if not diversified, dance genre, will satisfy any cravings for the blam-blam, plink-plink-plink, blam-blam — and should be worth braving the usual weekend 1015 crowd for. SF’s Taj leads up. Fri/13, 10 p.m.–4 a.m., $20. 1015 Folsom, SF.,


OK, new nightlife rule: after this party, anything with the word "booty" in it gets gacked. But — and this is a big but — I’ll make this one exception, if only because Miami’s DJ Craze, despite his Kanye associations, kicks serious cheek with his three-time World DJ Championship skills. Vinyl’s got back. Sat/14, 10 p.m., $10–$15. 330 Ritch, SF.,


"This Valentine’s Day, use those tears for lube" reads the tagline to this Homochic and Herrera Brothers succor for lonely alternaqueer boys. How could I improve upon that, except to tell you that DJ Jason Kendig will unleash some erotic disco at new hotspot Triple Crown. Bring your own towel. Sat/14, 10 p.m., $5. Triple Crown, 1760 Market, SF.,


Is electro dead? Maybe, but let’s raid its grave. New local electro label Unicrons, of the energetic Work parties, still generates neon hearts from a spark. Its launch party includes superstar signatories Futuristic Prince, Media, and my current fave raves the Tenderlions, whose "In Addition" track makes me believe in life everlasting. Feb. 21, 9 p.m., $8. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


Wow, I’m totally not going to even touch on the similarities between the Balkans and New Orlean’s Ninth Ward — except to say they both sure know how to party, and there are usually a lot of tubas involved. The outrageous Kafana Balkan crew team up with puff-cheeked Brass Menazeri to celebrate Fat Tuesday with woozy Romani stomps and hyperkinetic reeling. Feb. 24, 8 p.m., $10. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.,

>>View more Super Ego columns here.

Punch drunkle



SUPER EGO Hola, age of change. My 2K9 nightlife motto: less musing, more cruising — just watch out for the bruising, child. A few blurry dawns ago, out of nowhere, I got bopped full-on in the kisser by some drunk fool outside the club. Tragedy struck.

Luckily, my impeccable cheekbones are fashioned from silky Teflon and my major Ukrainian modeling contract survived intact. But it was a good reminder, a "slap in the face," if you will — and you will: always be aware of your surroundings and don’t drink yourself too unfunctional. Hear me alike, dear macho bar queens, PBR fixie pixies, Bebe-clad bachelorettes, darling dragzillas, electro-spandex starlets, popped-collar wannabros, and pretend hip-hop producers. Let’s be careful out there. For more tips on surviving your midnights out, San Francisco’s guardian angels of the dark, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, are, as usual, eager to provide at their Web site under “features.” Now, let’s get it on.




This glorious cabaret monthly brings a touch of Weimar Berlin to San Francisco by way of NYC nightlife impresario Earl Dax. This time around, wacky Seattlean hostess Dina Martina wilkommens tunesmith Spencer Day, space-gother Kiddie, harpist Deirdre Egan, and more, ol’ chum. Wed/28, 9:30 p.m., $16. Café Du Nord, 2174 Market, SF.,


Part of LCD Soundsystem never dies? Not if the indie dance juggernaut’s members stay true to their retro-underground roots. LCD drummer Pat Mahoney keeps it fresh by pumping up the past as he DJs the West Coast debut of this roving club classic. Cheekbone bonus: a special Hercules and Love Affair DJ set. Thurs/29, 9 p.m., $10-$15. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.


Don’t let the serious name put you off — that UK queen of intel freak-uencies, BBC Radio’s Mary Ann Hobbs, is flying in to curate a dance explosion of razor-sharp local talent, including Ghosts on Tape, Lazer Sword, Kid Kameleon, Disco Shawn, Shane King, and more. Now, if only the BBC would archive her streaming weekly broadcasts for more than a month. Thurs/29, 9:30 p.m., $5. 103 Harriet, SF.


The electro-rap trio of trouble destroyed the Guardian‘s Best of the Bay 2008 party and sent Jello Biafra to the hospital. Now they’re inaugurating a new monthly by two solid party producers, Popscene vs. Loaded, at the Rickshaw — and celebrating their latest record release. Watch out for blood puddles. Fri/30, 10 p.m., $10. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.


Proto-dubstepper? Future-glitch engineer? Global grooves genius? Let’s just say all three, then drool all over this singular Brazilian legend’s laptop. Stunned noggin-nodders at last year Treasure Island fest know he’s made a seamless live transition from vinyl to electronics — and teases serious dance breaks from the wizardly ambience. Fri/30 and Sat/31, 9 p.m., $23. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.,


Burning Man meets alternaqueer for a multimedia pajama party, with trippy visuals and outré drag performances. Wait! Don’t stop reading! Video artist III is truly talented, and his projections, combined with edgy queen antics, add up to more than the sum of my whole first sentence. Honey Soundsystem brings the noise. And, yes, wear pajamas. Sat/31, 9 p.m., $12 in pajamas, $20 without. Supperclub, 657 Harrison, SF.


Too many puns to count in the name, too many too-hot queer rock bigwigs involved to miss this new live showcase and dragstravaganza monthly at DNA. Charlie Horse’s Anna Conda teams up with the Trans Am boys and Revolver’s Lucy Borden for alterna-excess, with the Ex-Boyfriends and Ethel Merman Experience all plugged in. Feb. 4, 10 p.m., $5. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF.


Swank Brazilian resto Bossa Nova, in the old CoCo Club space, just opened its lusciously remodeled basement up for late-night affairs — and is going big from the get-go with this kaleidoscopic affair. Detroit techno slayer Mike "Agent X" Clark headlines, with soulful spinner David Harness, funky househed Greg Eversoul, and live jazziness from Lovelight Liberation. Feb. 6, 9 p.m., $10. Bossa Nova, 139 Eighth St., SF. (415) 558-8004.


Those ambassadors of dread bass, Surya Dub, are bashing for their monthly club’s second anniversary, with Dutch dubstep (Dutchstep?) heavyweight 2562, who couches his rumble in deep techno soundscapes. Also reverbin’: Los Angeles low-low lover the Gaslamp Killer, who can rip a slice of perilous psy-hop quite rightly. Local boy Lud Dub leads the congratulatory proceedings. Feb. 7, 9 p.m., $15. Club Six, 60 Sixth St., SF.

Fair game



SUPER EGO Oodles of great blasts polished off 2008 — surely more heavenly reassurance that getting fucked up and fabulous is recession-proof, even if your outfit’s from Discount Fabrics and your liquor is too. But my favorite New Year’s Eve party wasn’t one that "everybody went to," or even one I went to all at once.

Hunky Beau and I had just scrammed from our midnight toasts at an as-yet-unnamed new bar on Market Street when the jagged chimes of an amped-up Guitar Hero rang out in the busy darkness. The Zep-like noodling tugged at our ears until we reached Church Street and joined two or three others gawking at the source, as fog-shrouded fireworks boomed in the distance. "This is what 2k9 nightlife is gonna be all about," I slurred in my own mind, because I was shit-faced. "Happy accidents." No strobe lights or Flash site, no four-color flyers or flown-in high-fivers, no electro-this and micro-that and all those totally denied friend requests. Just some cute dude in a light-gray hoodie who plugs his ax into the shut-down Safeway and makes a little dance floor in the parking lot.

It was a New Year’s miracle.

After that peak, I surfed a bipolar adrenaline rush and spent the whole night discoing out of control. At least I could still spend something, right? The After School Special point here is that nightlife is exactly what you make it. Never say a party was boring because that means you were at it. Don’t buy into trends: people who buy too much into trends are like walking planned obsolescences, dissolving in the storm of next new things. And if no one else is dancing, fuck ’em. Do the mashed potato, and get skronked. Everything is on the table.

PARTY MONSTERS So what the hell did happen in Clubland last year? A heckuva lot, Brownie, but damn if I can remember it all. Here are a few things that stood out.

Losses: the great Steve Lady passed away, an incredibly sad asterisk at the end of the Trannyshack, which shut its bloodied wings as hostess Heklina crawled forth to discover herself. Beloved anarcho-hipster hangout the Transfer got gutted so that the kind of OK gay Bar on Castro could move in — opening date: Jan. 20 — and become the, er, Bar on Church. And Pink, one of the few clubs left in the city devoted to house music — remember that? — closed Jan. 4. I disagreed with some of the fancy-schmancier aspects of Pink’s approach, but I still loved it in occasional doses. And I’m hearing rumors about the Stud, right when it’s riding a Milk-mention wave of fame, so please go there and buy cocktails.

Wins: New regular rip-roarers that freaked me included the cumbia-rific Tormenta Tropical, outrageously draggy Tiara Sensation, free-for-alls Honey Sundays (gayish, discoish), and Infatuation (straightish, electroish), roving furry dress-up party Beast, the Hole-y ’90s-worshipping Debaser, slinky Gemini Disco, crazy Look Out Weekend, and the hyperenergetic Work. Gone but not forgotten: Trans Am, Fag Fridays, Tits, Sucker Punch, Stiletto, Monster Show, Drift, and, finally, Finally. Another win: with the opening of Chaps II and the relocation of Hole in the Wall, there’s now a big gay leather SoMa "Miracle Mile" bar crawl again! Overall it was an awesome year, one in which a new generation rushed the club doors, so a big bold heart-heart to all the level-headed bar staff who scraped us off the sidewalk and helped find our flippin’ iPhones. Rawk.

Best: You really need to take the N-Judah night owl bus at 2:30 a.m. Way too cute …

Nite Trax: The Jeff Mills mix that made me live in 2008


I’m a-freezing my hanukkah latkes off in Detroit right now (-10 wind chill), so maybe it’s appropriate, among the blizzard of end-of-year lists, that I pop in my hot mix of the year. All 45 Ghostworld conga-line minutes of Detroit wizard Jeff Mills’ triple-table symphonic techno tour de force, “The Exhibitionist.”

Before the techno purists claw my ears out, yes this mix came out in late 2k7 — but I’m on drag time. (I also grew up listening to Jeff as the Wizard, with the Memorexes to prove it, so I can name him king of any damn year I want.)

What really got me about this mind-blowing performance (the sleeve clean at 17:20 made me burst into tears) was how Mills tweaked the massive global rhythms that have always existed subconsciously below fine techno’s surface to come up with the kind of polyrhythmy that dubstep can only achieve at its best. Kinda space samba-y.

Not that it’s a competition — and I was addicted to more dubstep mixes this year than I can count — but I’m a technoist at heart, and this mix really said something I’ve been trying to say for years: that machine music possesses a global soul. I will eternally worship the person who transcribes this for the New York Philharmonic. Or whips out the entire set at Carnaval.

BONUS: Some SF-made mixes I loved this past year:

Lazer Sword: Future Blaps

Kontrol: XLR8R techno tear-up

Richie Panic: An Amazing Lifelike Companion

Public: all mixes (esp. Metallica)




SUPER EGO Blue! Red! Yellow! Green! Indigo Girls! (Ew.) This column is on a serious ’90s flashback trip lately — as is the city’s nightlife: witness delightfully grungeful monthly Debaser’s climb to the top of the club charts ( — dipping its toes into the perilous VH-1 waves of Clintonia. But hardly that icky! My last installment caught up with primal ravers Tribal Funk, and this time around I’m jumping with joy in my silk-tasseled plaid bolero jacket for the 13th anniversary celebration of protean party promoters Blasthaus at Mighty, with techno heartthrob headliners Matthew Dear and Ryan Elliot, a supporting cast of stellar local talent including my DJ crush of the mo’ Nikola Baytala (call me!) a bouncy castle, a sushi bar, and a foot-washer.

Yep, foot-washer.

"His name’s Shrine, and he likes to wash feet. So why not?" breathy Blasthaus Supreme Commander — actual title — Monika Bernstein told me over the phone. That’s a little burner for Blasthaus, whose parties tend to focus more on a dedicated dance vibes than sideshow shenanigans, but no one said they ain’t got dirty sole.

When I think of Blasthaus, I feel the swirly suck of 1998 and its raucous PoP all-nighter at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, inaugurating the neon-sprawling Keith Haring retrospective there. I popped three shitty e’s too many and somehow got locked upstairs in the darkened galleries while thousands raged in the atrium below. I don’t remember much beyond that, but Keith says "hi." Also the Watchmen are real.

Blasthaus is anything but stuck in the era of dial-up modems, though, staying true to founder William Linn’s forward-thinking production intent when he named the nascent collective after Weimar-era German fine-art factory Bauhaus, with a hands-in-the-air wink. The company now employs 30 staffers — "We’re like a buzzing virtual hive of little party elves," Bernstein said, laughing — and not a week’s gone by this past year without a Blasthaus shindig bringing in big underground and not-so-underground names. Glitch Mob, Modeselektor, Ellen Allien, Sascha Funke, and Richie Hawtin have all brought sparkly star-fire to its gigs, as well as longtime party partners — break out the Internet boom bubbly — Thievery Corporation, who’ll be headlining the Haus’ New Year’s Eve blast at the Concourse.

"We bring in who we listen to," Bernstein said, "so we’re just as excited about our parties as the people attending them. And a big part of our aesthetic is the art aspect" — Blasthaus has run several galleries, from Joypad to Rx to BoCA, and there’s something arty on the horizon for 2k9 — "so we think of our parties as forms of expression, not just bottom lines. Otherwise, why bother?" They could just bring in DJ Tiësto and retire.


Fri/12, 9 p.m., $15 advance


119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151



Holy crap, dubstep’s still happening. In fact, it’s getting bigger, like a blimp on laughing gas, but with polka-dotted clown feet. Which is surely how anyone who’s heard Coki’s 2007 low-frequency smash "Spongebob" has felt, me included. Coki and Mala, a.k.a. Digital Mystikz, will be melting the woofers at Dubclash Volume II, the excellent all-star dubstep clusterfuck (in a very good way) with "US Ambassador of Dubstep" Joe Nice, Sgt. Pokes, and other up-to-the-nanosecond bass purveyors. This is a heart-pounding chance to get a West Coast taste of Brixton, UK’s much-buzzed positivity-centric DMZ party by way of our very own Surefire dubstep crew. Volume II at Mezzanine is an upgrade on this year’s capacity Dubclash parties at Jelly’s, with much more bounce to the ounce.

Sat/13, 9 p.m., $15–$25. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. (415) 625-8880,,



I write so much about gay stuff that you’d think my keyboard’s made of fuschia Spandex, and yet the big queer story of 2008 was all the vibrant lesbian nightlife. In particular, the Diamond Daggers, an all-queer-women troupe of vaudevillians, has been putting on spectacularly entertaining offbeat affairs. Grab your golden lasso and get ho-ho happy at their Holiday Roundup, which invites all "Calamity Janes, ranch hands, bronco busters, and rodeo queens" to a Wild West-themed hoedown, with DJ Fairy Butch, live ruckus from the Whoreshoes, and more kooky cowpoke drag and cabaret performers than you can spur on without messing your spangles.

Sat/20, 9 p.m., $12–$20 sliding scale. Fat City, 314 11th St., SF. (415) 525-4676,

Plucky 15



SUPER EGO When, oh, when, will someone acknowledge properly that Kinko’s was responsible for rave — at least the good rave? So many legendary early 1990s parties sprang from adorable Apple IIe addicts frantically photocopying the two-toned fruits of stoned flyer-making labors at 3 a.m. onto Lift-Off Lemon and good ol’ Lunar Blue. We grateful ex-ravers, despite ongoing nerve damage, should really erect a mimeo-monument to that generic copyhouse — a mass of leftover smiley-face baggies and filthy chill-out room inflatables, perhaps, fashioned in the shape of a poor, perplexed clerk?

I’m chortling over the phone about this with Flash, the guiding light and graphic design arm of the Tribal Funk party production crew, formed 15 years ago by South City teen Keith Neves with just such a rush-job handout. "Keith was really sick of the rave scene’s slickness and commercialism back then, so he passed out a handmade flyer saying, ‘Meet at my house and let’s see if we can do it right. Get it back on track. Do it for less,’" Flash explains. A couple dozen people showed up, and the Tribal Funk saga was launched.

It’s a wondrously wriggly epic, dotted with giggling daisy logos and projected grinning cows, that kicks off with a 1993 Thanksgiving Day rave called "The Beginning" at the National Guard Armory in Concord and winds its way through the College of San Mateo dining hall, the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, and across "some rickety pier in China Basin." It brushes up against other well-known party names like the Gathering, Stompy Stomp, Coolworld, Toon Town, and Funky Techno Tribe and survives huge rain-outs, threatened cop busts, wily rival crews, and several cringe-inducing encounters with the word "phat." It amasses a rippling pool of luscious West Coast DJ talent: Carlos, Tony, DJ Dan, Cut Chemist, Z-Trip, and Charlotte the Baroness. Also, Chi-town house god Mark Farina — virtually unknown in the Bay when he spun at a 1994 Tribal Funk joint — will be rocking the nostalgia train with the wiggy Bassbin Twins as part of the 15th anniversary celebration at Mezzanine.

From its original collective, T-Funk has been pared down to Flash and the now-Los Angeles-based Neves, and has gone through several retirements — yet it’s still delivered a massive massive many Thanksgiving weekends since its first Turkey Day bash. Vibe feathers! "I know it sounds clichéd," Flash reflects, "but we’ve always been about musical cross-pollination. It seems like the right time for us to be around again. We started when the scene was weak, and I feel it’s gotten weak again — the underground SF-sound scene, I mean.

"Plus," he adds, "it’s hard to kick the party-throwing bug. It’s a drug — not about money, you’ll never make money, and not about ‘scoring chicks.’ There’s no feeling in the world like standing behind the DJ as 2,000 people jump up and scream for joy. You just gotta do it, man." *


Sat/29, 9 p.m.–7 a.m., $25


444 Jessie, SF


Gobble all the stuffing you want, then dance as the rollicking, bear-and-other-friendly Blowoff party returns to Slim’s. I rarely recommend biggish parties like this — not because I don’t love me some bare-chested bear meat, but because I never trust the music at large gay-oriented affairs. But the last installment was a packed hairy hoot, and DJ duo Richard Morel and Bob Mould kept the beats interesting, rocky even. Claws out, kiddies.

Sat/29, 10 p.m., $15. Slims, 333 11th St., SF.




SUPER EGO Phew! I just adore being a second-class citizen again, now that Proposition 8 has passed. It makes me feel so edgy, so alt, so very underground. Thank you, Pope Pius the 5000th and the Angel Macaroni! I finally get to break back out my favorite little victim pumps — you know, the star-spangled ones with exquisite ruby handcuff heels — and shove my overwhelming gayness down those tender asshole bigot throats once again. Confrontational! It seems the 1990s really are back at last, and I’m ready for some massive kiss-in action, minus the scuffed oxblood Docs and sleeveless Mervyn’s flannels this time, please.

11/4: never FGGT.

At least I still have the love of my dance floor brothers, sisters, and others — gay or straight — to help me keep my head up under the tacky 99-cent-store weave of despair. If they love me so much, why don’t they marry me? Oh, right. So here, in honor of losing my civil rights at the precise moment of gaining a black president, is a thuper-gay Thuper Ego thpectacular for you.

HONEY SUNDAYS Those sticky-sweet DJ darlings of the altQ scene’s squirmy underside — Pee Play, Ken Vulsion, Kendig, Robot Hustle, and Josh Cheon, otherwise known as Honey Soundsystem — have launched a weekly for party peeps into killer tracks that raise the tired genre house roof into a glistening rainbow of wondrous WTF. Lemme tell ya, it’s been a long time coming. Expect everything from Kendig’s trademark minimal techno and classic house glides to Hustle’s rarest disco, Vulsion’s echoey rave-ups to Cheon’s proto-new wave hoof-twisters, topped off by Pee Play’s bottomless crate-digging mindfucks. All with an ahistorical, four-on-the-floor hard homo energy and some ostentatious faggotty flair, and all going down every Sunday at the gorgeously remodeled Paradise Lounge in SOMA. Sundays, 8 p.m.–2 a.m., free. Paradise Lounge, 1501 Folsom, SF. (415) 621-1911,

TIARA SENSATION There’s good drag, there’s bad drag, and then there’s drag so surreal it bends the arc of history into "holy shit!" The latter is surely the agenda at this paste-gem prom every Monday at the Stud, hosted by my all-time favorite gender clown DJ Down-E and House of Horseface’s Mica. Part DIY craft fair, part "oh no, she din’t" dance party, it’s all odd in a lovely way. With frequent appearances by the inimitable Glamamore, hands down the most creative queen in the city, and tunes from somewhere left of Pluto — still a planet in my heart — it’s a crackin’ good post-weekend jolt of incredulity. Too bad I missed the Obama, the Musical performance. Mondays, 10 p.m., free. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF. (415) 863-6623,

MARICON This one’s not for a leetle while yet, but it’s hot enough to stuff in your pink Blackberry before the deluge of other Thanksgiving Eve throwdowns hits. If you miss DJ Bus Station John’s sadly departed Double Dutch Disco monthly or, for those with any semblance of long-term memory left, DJ Derek B. and Lady Bass’s early-aughts Off the Hook bashes, get ready to relive the freakin’ freestyle and electric boogaloo days you never really lived through to begin with, maybe. Derek B. — my long-lost sister — and the usually punk rock Trans Am crew are bangin’ the boombox with this one-off, fronting effervescent electro tunes and lavender-bandannaed performances by drag cholitas Kiddie, Glamamore, Hoku Mama, and Holly Peno, plus free churros. Get your womp on and Robocop. Nov. 26, 10 p.m., $5. The Gangway, 849 Larkin, SF. (415) 776-6828,

The booness



SUPER EGO Happy Slutoween, librul terrorists. Now that the Castro Street celebration has been officially buried, there’ll be more terrific parties than tired Sarah Palin costumes haunting Halloween night. Below are 13 batshit surefires, all taking place Oct. 31, night of the living-undead pro-life governor of Alaska. Trick or trick!


Goth equals deathly perfect — insert exhausted "every day is Halloween" joke here — as 18-plus clubs Death Guild and Meat team up to paint it black with DJs Decay and Melting Girl and "techno opera singer" Diva Marisa.

9 p.m., $13. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF. (415) 626-1409,


A French bordello Halloween masquerade ball seems right up any horny black cat’s alley — especially with an acrobatic performance by the ever-sexy Vau de Vire Society and lofty tunes by DJ Ean Golden.

10 p.m., free with costume. Harlot, 46 Minna, SF. (415) 777-1077,


An 18-and-up, gayish underground "dark places" extravaganza with vampiric DJ vamps Honey Soundsystem, Rchrd Oh?!, and Lord Kook, and promoters Homochic and Tantra, plus a slashing guest spot by Los Angeles’ A Club Called Rhonda.

10 p.m., $15. SomArts, 934 Brannan, SF. (415) 552-2131,


Those gorgeous 18-plus electro hipsters will never settle for anything less than horrifyingly bangin’ style — with terrific, terrifying rap trio HOTTUB, and evil genius DJs Richie Panic and Jeffrey Paradise.

10 p.m., $15. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. (415) 861-2011,


Two whole hours of the trashiest drag performances the nether regions of Polk Street have to offer? Sounds heart-stopping, but hostess Anna Conda will pump you back up with the cheapest drinks — and "outfits" — in town.

10 p.m., free. The Cinch, 1723 Polk, SF. (415) 776-4162,


Ecstatically kooky drag princess Cookie Dough hosts a night of haunted whores, with ghoulish electro-goth duo Ejector live, DJ MC2, alarming numbers by Landa Lakes, Glitterella, and more.

8 p.m., $8. Octavia Lounge, 1772 Market, SF. (415) 863-3516,


This one’ll be pure crazyboots, as Heklina of Trannyshack literally rises from the dead to join Midnight Mass’ Peaches Christ in hosting a dark diva drag extravaganza, with bloody insanity from Kiddie, Fauxnique, Renttecca, Raya Light …

9 p.m., $20. Cat Club, 1190 Folsom, SF. (415) 703-8965,


Unholy deeds will abound in cavernous club Temple’s sacred spaces, with insane décor on two levels, howlin’ DJs Paul Hemming, IQ!, and Jaswho?, plus a $500 costume contest.

10 p.m., $20. 540 Howard, SF.


Ghoul’s night lip-sync battle-a-thon! DJ Scottish Andy and glamazon hostess Juanita More exhaust the hipsteratti queens and friends on the mic at the manly Truck bar for exotic "prizes" (i.e., drunk sex).

9 p.m., $5. Truck, 1900 Folsom, SF. (415) 252-0306,


Burner faves Opel get with Evil Breaks for an endless night of sheer funky drum ‘n’ bass madness, with a little techno freak-out on the side. With DJs Meat Katie, the Rogue Element, and Kid Blue.

10 p.m., $20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. (415) 626-7001,


A hip-hop, old-school electro, and freak beats spectacular, as ArtNowSF and Euphoric Conceptions present a platter’s worth of head trip performers like Mochipet, the New Deal, Pleasure Maker, and Sleepyhead. 9 p.m., $20. Club Six, 60 Sixth St., SF. (415) 531-6953,


No San Francisco club is sharper fashionista-wise than theme-driven Stiletto. Gasp as too-cool zombies arise from the depths of loveliness with DJs Mario Muse, Eric Sharp, and runway madness from Flock, plus photo booth!

10pm, $8, AsiaSF, 201 Ninth St., (415) 255-4752,


The inexhaustible mix-master must have some sort of magic potion in his vinyl cauldron, because the mash-up and intel hip-hop kids still flock to his politically oriented, mind-blowing shows after several centuries. Scary!

9 p.m., $22.50. Supperclub, 657 Harrison, SF. (415) 348-0900,




SUPER EGO "I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I like it!" some hot soul shrieked at me outside the club. That’s totally my new self-affirmation T-shirt because, like, what’s with all the negative exacerbations in the world — not just in the shivery politisphere, but in the Zany Land of Nightlifez, too?

Most of my friends got canned from the Transfer so it could redirect itself, and 222 Club got sold so its fabulous owners could move on to bigger things — both unfortunate events that effectively ended a few of my fave parties and a lot of my free drinks. The Attack of Gargantuan Overpriced Ultralounges from Planet Douchebag Airbrushed Clothing continues, with three slated to open downtown by the end of the year. The great Steve Lady, the first Miss Trannyshack, passed away. And who isn’t packing a teeny pink dildo-shaped spritzer of mace in their Chrome clutch these days, what with all the violence after dark?

Life can sometimes seem like it dropped your bag in the toilet or shot your wolf from a plane. But then it’s time to spin around, put one slender hand on your one slender hip, yell "FAIL, motherfucker," and just own that shit like a kicky hairstyle. Give me back my wolf! Get me a new bag! Then call me a cab! I’m going to these parties.


Now that Trannyshack has ended, the race to fill hostess Heklina’s humongous vacuum is on! (Ew.) In primed pole position is belovedly ditzy Cookie Dough, whose stubblebrity-studded drag implosion Monster Show ( now splats its gender-clown intestines against the walls of Underground SF every Monday night. On Sept. 29, Miz Dough will throw a costume party laced with wrong/wrong performances to celebrate four years of … well … something. Who the hell knows what’s gonna happen, but it’ll be wearing fabric that hurts glaciers when it’s burned.

Fri/29, 9 p.m., $5. Underground SF, 424 Haight, SF. (415) 864-7386,


Oh yes, LoveFest comes gloriously upon us Oct. 4 (, but there’ll be some real love going down at Supperclub the Thursday beforehand, when LoveFest pre-party Pendana — Swahili for "to love one another," duh — brings together a massive roster of well-known local DJs to benefit NextAid (, an LA joint that helps out African kids. Jenö from Back2Back, Kontrol’s Alland Byallo, Fil Latorre and Javaight from Staple, and a host of others will provide some juicy tech-house tunes. You bring the love and ducats.

Oct. 2, 9:30 p.m., $10 with RSVP to Supperclub, 657 Harrison, SF. (415) 348-0900,


Last week in this very publication I wrote a sorta know-it-all article about the underground musical movements that have taken over US dance floors — but I must still be rolling down from that magic cap I chewed in ’02 since I forgot to mention the whole baile funk/electro-cumbia/digi-samba thing. Which is sad, because I adore it. Now it’s time to add kuduro — a faster, blippier, more air-horny version of baile funk originating in Angola — to the go-go global genre stew, as nuevo Latino electro party Tormenta Tropical teams up with disco sweethearts Body Heat to host a live blast from floor-thumping Portuguese kuduro kings Buraka Som Sistema ( Also on tap: local fave-ravers Lemonade, who bring a brainy, rocky Brazilian twist to the bass bins. Muito louco!

Oct. 3, 10 p.m., $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. (415) 552-7788,

Jabbing at Justice?


>>Justice among us? Read rocker Kimberly Chun’s response to this essay here.


SUPER EGO Pack up your travel-size Palin Porker-Pink™ CoverGirl Lipslick, kids, ‘cuz we’re about to time-travel through the recent dance floor past, with a brief stop at Negative Nellyland. All aboard the Wayback: toot, toot.

In the past couple of years, five new genres have taken over US underground clubs — all with wriggly roots in Europe and Canada. (If you’re looking to read any entrails about America’s loss of influence in the world, check out our lube-slip grip on global dance floors.) These genres are the following: minimal techno, a brainy but often stunning strip-down of the much-maligned techno beast; dubstep, with its post-postcolonial fusion of reggae, two-step, bhangra, and more; retro disco, summoning the shimmering ghosts of gay bathhouse, italo disco, and other pre-digital ’70s and ’80s micro-movements; lazer bass — or “bastard bass,” or “psychedelic robo-crunk remix action” — the blippy, bowel-shaking deconstruction of chart-prevalent hip-hop.

And then, of course, there’s hardcore electro.

Honestly, hardcore electro — and the glam-slam banger scene that grew up around it — can sometimes bug the bejesus out of me. The genre has mind-blowing aspects: thumping energy, quick-witted mixing, exhilarating stuttered vocals, old-school breakdowns, and key-skipping basslines. I was raised rave, so its primo combo of mannered anarchy and DJ worship — along with its genre-bending conflagration of metal, crunk, acid, and techno — is right up my tender alley. Bring the noise.

Yet there’s something a little too “party like a rockstar” about it. With its accompanying over-the-top neon-hipster look (attack of the sunglass tees!), sex-obsessed provocations, and fist-pumping non-dance moves, hardcore electro is the new hair metal. The banger kids I’ve met are all lovely and motivated, and in the right DJ hands — Richie Panic, Vin Sol — the mix can achieve perfection, cheekily blasting stadium-size sounds to an up-to-the-minute crowd. But there’s sometimes a shallow, for-the-cameras sheen to the scene — mirroring the often robotic, often black-faced “let’s get fucked up and fuck” lyrics spat from the speakers. Sad face.

Plus, no one ever STFUs about goddamned Justice.

OK, look, I’m no hater — do you see any frown lines on this immaculate face? Thought not. If 10,000 people wanna throw on electric-blue shutter shades and American Apparel tube socks and lose their shit to two smirking French dudes, I’m all for it. I may even join ’em. But if I get one more MySpace friend request from a DJ tag team in Spiderman masks who fall on their knees before Justice, I’m gonna hurl coconuts. Can we get a little originality on the runway, s’il vous plaît?

Justice — superstars of the Ed Banger label, for which the banger scene’s named — are OK. Any politically savvy decks duo that flawlessly drops “Master of Puppets” and “Standing in the Way of Control” into ear-splitting, ADD sets gets my vote. They’re wicked smart, too: the hilariously grandiose symbol-title of their first album, is the ascii symbol for dagger — an Internet-based irony perfect for our religiously warring times, and one surely expected from the two sharp former graphic designers. They don’t wear masks, whew, and I can’t totally blame them for the look and feel of their scene.

So why do Justice make my snobby shit list? First, they overreach, in that tired rock-star DJ way: their stadium tour of this country was partly downscaled in the face of poor ticket sales. Plus, their poker-faced religious bombast act is too one-note to enjoy, and their first major US TV appearance, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, was a lip-synch of their welcome-worn-out-quickly hit “D.A.N.C.E.” performed by Michael Jackson and Prince look-alikes — a cynical joke that turned the song’s utopian lyrics (“Under the spotlight / Neither black nor white”) into a racial minefield and completely underestimated the audience. I realize Justice gets a wry giggle from such overblown deflation — that’s so French — but I can’t afford enough flip-flops to go with all their tacky punch lines. Mean ol’ rock stars.

Then, where is the love? Surely you’ve heard of “the love”? It’s enshrined in the House Nation constitution, the underlying sentiment of dance music from the dawns of disco and house through the second Summer of Love exactly 20 years ago — and still running under the floors of many clubs today. I’m not a metaphysical person. One body’s enough for me, thank you. Well, maybe three on the weekend. But even I can feel the spiritual dimension of dance, the slightly corn-tinted, otherworldly glow of souls united in motion. Love is the message.

Sure, Justice promised that “We are your friends / You’ll never be alone again” with their friends Simian in the undisputed juggernaut mix of ’06. But it came off as more snide than divine. Their shows get too hyper for full transcendence: more cool than heat, more status than soul. And Justice’s horrifying misstep of a video for “Stress,” which follows a group of youths as they rob and beat random Parisians (yes, I get that it boldly activated European fears of “the other,” but, bleh), sets the banger aesthetic up as the nihilistic opposite of love, while desperately lunging for punk-rock street cred. Boring!

But maybe unblinking devotion to “the love” is an outdated, pre-Internet means of global dance floor connection and validation — and something those of us glowsticking it with Big Bird in the pre-Dubya years had the fortunate leisure to indulge in and mystify. Maybe now thrashing out with like minds to an aggro blizzard of metal samples and jittery synths — and looking good doing it — is the perfect escape pod: dance-floor justice, for these apocalyptic times. Maybe.

Buddha system



SUPER EGO Gadzooks! I’m lunching with Sen-Sei at Prana, the nifty Thai resto attached to zentastic club Temple, Sen-Sei’s hazel eyes reflecting the brilliant curlicues of my ginger-garlic prawns. No, I’m not assuming the lotus position. Not in these heels, Dharma.

Scenesters know Sen-Sei as the classically trained pianist who’s been plugging his keys into mixers and tapping out sen-seitional "live house" since the early ’90s. But his day job is Marketing Genius for Temple — or, more accurately, for Zen Compound, the new downtown Buddha-themed complex with more business arms than a wriggly Vishnu — and he’s giving me the downward-dog scoop.

Besides luscious Prana, the compound houses a production studio for the Temple Music Group label, a soon-to-be-opened school for yoga, tai chi, and more (wait for it: "The Zenter"), and an Irrawaddy Delta’s worth of antique Buddhist artifacts — srsly, it’s like Raiders of the Lama Ark up in there. Plus, of course, the zenterpiece: Temple nightclub, a spiffy, vast space that includes the generous first-floor Shrine Room, and, beneath that, the blinding white Destiny Lounge and cozy Catacombs. The joint also admirably touts its commitment to sustainability — it’ll be rocking a gonzo solar-paneled float at LoveFest on Oct. 4 — but much of the green’s attached to grants and guidance from PG&E, so, environy.

Listen, huge clubs scare me. They do! You know that clubber nightmare where you’re busting fierce moves to some comfy old-school funk — when suddenly you look up to find yourself on the floor of the Republican National Convention, surrounded by rickety ‘nillas awkwardly "getting down"? Then you vomit fluorescent begonias? Gurl, I’ve been there — mostly at some megaclub megacatastrophe. When you have to fill a couple acre’s worth of dance floor every night to break even, drink and cover prices usually soar while crowd quality plummets. B&T + LCD = nightlife tragedy.

Temple isn’t that — Sen-Sei tags it as not a megaclub, but an, er, "ultraclub" — and although it can get crowded with far-Bay playa-wannabes puking on their knockoff Jimmy Choos, the stellar talent booked is often off-the-karma-chain, and there’s always a core of dedicated dance fans near the speakers. This can lead to some real Siddharthan surrealness — like the night me and 20 others were losing our mandalas over breakbeat gods LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad in the Shrine, while below us 200 cologniacs ground out tired threeways to Jeezy in the Catacombs.

"We’re trying to achieve a balance," Sen-Sei says, appropriately, "between staying afloat and still appealing to an open-minded crowd willing to be musically educated. But I swear to you, we’ll never be Ruby Skye."

And I believe him. For one thing, the whole ball of bodhi-wax is owned by DJ Paul Hemming, a bass-heavy synth-techno nut who takes to the decks most Saturdays. For another, almost everyone I met on the business end of the club had already made legendary names for themselves as DJs or promoters — it was like the ’90s all over again! The good part, not the black tar.

For a third, despite its slightly belabored Orientalism, Temple does follow an enlightened philosophy: "Fuck all that same-sounding superstar DJ Paul Van Dykenfold-Tiësto bullshit," Sen-Sei advised. "’Oh, look at me, I can beat-match in a stadium.’ Big deal. We just want to bring back the love, build a dance floor family, and take it into the future. Is that so impossible now?"


540 Howard, SF

Double draggin’



>>Drag king Fudgie Frottage spills his tea

>>Heklina waves goodbye to all that

>>Hazy, crazy Trannyshack memories


SUPER EGO "Last year one of my balls failed to inflate during my opening number ‘Big Balls’ — but the concept got across, so it wasn’t a total disaster," the spunky Fudgie Frottage, organizer and host of this year’s 13th San Francisco Drag King Contest, told me when I asked him about any unlucky past fake-mustachioed experiences at the event. The show must go on — even through a sheer testicle of will.

Beijing may be in full abs-a-poppin’ swing — boo on those new body-covering men’s swimming outfits! — but San Francisco’s hosting a cross-dressed Olympics of its own, as drag aficionados from around the glistening globe flood in for the always-balls-out Drag King Contest at the DNA Lounge Aug. 16, and then the sublebrity-studded Trannyshack Kiss-Off extravaganza at the Regency Center Aug. 23. No fried Tibetan monks on the menu, but dog will indeed be served. Take that, Lang Lang!

The year in drag is turning out to be very auspicious: the Kiss-Off marks the end of Trannyshack’s bloody 12-year weekly run at the Stud. Hostess Heklina ("Press is like crack to me, Marke B. Run my picture and feel my orgasm!") told me back in February that she’s hanging up her lamé panties to explore her inner self — and her club’s swan song showcases appearances by Lady Bunny, Lady Miss Kier, Ana Matronic, and Justin Bond, as well as a pageant to determine this year’s (final?) Miss Trannyshack. Heklina will be beheaded live onstage.

On the slightly hairier hand, the Drag King Contest will display a mucho macho gaggle of faux Ys competing to see who sends up stereotypical chauvinism the mostest, replete with jizz-juicing antics, ass-scratching hotties, and performances by Electro the Pop ‘n’ Lock King, Siemen Marcus, Fakin’ Aiken, the Pacmen from Sacramento, and a ton more, plus bonerific cohost the Indra. Think America’s Got Talent crossed with a monster truck show, add more pubic hair and aerialist burlesque, and you’re halfway there.

Fudgie’s and Heklina’s provenance sprang from SF’s early 1990s drag renaissance club Klubstitute. Fudgie, a.k.a. Lu Read, started his legendary DragStrip party, which ran from 1995 to 1996, when Klubstitute shuttered. (Fun fact: DragStrip’s VIP room was called "Dungeons and Drag Queens.") Heklina’s Trannyshack took the wigged-out craziness from there. Although drag queens get all the freakin’ press, and there’s still no sustained drag king visibility in the city — "We’re looking for our Bizarro RuPaul," says Fudgie of his scene’s need for mainstream promotion — I’m sure the drag queen spawn now shooting from Heklina’s sticky womb will keep Trannyshack’s trashy aesthetic alive and well. As for the kings? Those smokin’ papis can perform in my Dumpster bedroom anytime.

Now, who’ll kick start the drag bisexual scene? Oh, wait: Tila Tequila.


Sat/16, 8 p.m., $20–$25

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF

(415) 626-1409


Aug. 23, 9 p.m., $35–$45

Regency Center

1300 Sutter, SF

(415) 673-5716

E-Z Sleaze



SUPER EGO "You’ve gotta have the graphics," 26-year-old party promoter extraordinaire, Floridian transplant, smart-talkin’ electro DJ, and graphically explicit designer Sleazemore ( recently whispered into my tender, somewhat incredulous ear. "The scene’s gotten to a point where it’s not only about who you bring in, what you wear, and who’s there to document your clubs — it’s also about the look you project in your promotions. Everything ties into style."

I just knew graphic designers would someday rule the world. Too bad I’d never risk smudging my minty-fresh nail art on an Axiotron Modbook.

Still, I can’t deny Mr. S’s drag-and-drop skills when it comes to flyers: he’s got the Stanley Mouse-meets-bored-goth-girl’s-notebook thing down, though he often jumps visual genres, and his musical taste is top-notch: Lazaro Casanova’s bowel-shaking banger "Venganza," Nacho Lovers’ mix of Style of Eye’s minimal-bleepy, Dirty Birdish "The Big Kazoo," and classic Brit lush-raver duo Underworld’s "Ring Road (Fake Blood remix)" are Sleazemore platters du jour.

Plus, he seems to be everywhere at the moment: when not inflaming the woofers of gritty ground zero Club 222’s bimonthly Lights Down Low ( or lending a hand to occasionals like the Are Friends Electric? parties, he’s popping the spots for his mostly free and carefree weekly Infatuation shindig with his partner in grime Rchrd Oh?! — of whom you’ll hear a lot more from me later — at the incongruously fancy-shmancy Vessel. "I’m slowly convincing our electro crowd that it’s OK to be there, to mix with the fruity cocktail people," Big Sleazy said with a laugh.

Sleazemore acknowledges, too, that right now electro’s undergoing the same micro-niching that techno, house, and hip-hop did more than a decade ago. "Everybody’s making music right now. It’s great and almost too much, and not all of it’s good." That’s an opinion oodles of other electro DJs I’ve spoken with hold. "Everyone wants to hype their sound as unique, which is cool — if they can back it up," he added. "In fact, lately I’ve been getting into the Crookers, Boy 8-BIT, Drop the Lime, and Fake Blood sound — fidget house, kind of like the speed garage thing revisited."

Envision a chipmunk on steroids riding a ravey beat so skittish it can often cross over into traditional Latin American dance styles — ay, like the Crookers’ kick-ass crunk-samba remix of Bonde do Role’s "Marina Gasolina" — and that’s fidget house. Yes, I’m a trend whore. Italian duo Crookers themselves will steal fidgety thunder June 24 at Infatuation after DJ Assault assaults the crowd’s ass cracks June 18 and latest scene sweethearts Shit Disco fuzz up Vessel’s needles June 11. But is it art? Who cares, it’s infatuating.

Crooker, “Wassup” (Video by Pommes)


Wednesdays, 10 p.m.–2 a.m., free (Crookers, $10 — advance tix $5 at


85 Campton, SF

(415) 433-8585,




SUPER EGO Springtime in Clubland’s looking gorgeous so far: it could totally move covers and dominate the next cycle. A special double pinkies up to all the fab promoters throwing AIDS ride-run-walk-collapse fundraisers and shining limelight on the No on Prop. 98 campaign. I’d air-kiss you to death, but it would crust my Cover Girl Hipster Neutral No. 140 Lipslicks Lipgloss. Ack.

On to biz: yep, the hardcore electro banger sound — think ELO meets Spank Rock, filtered through acid house and bare-bones punk — has set my fuchsia radar to stunned, even though it’s already glitzed up most of the city’s edgier dance floors. It certainly makes me question the meaning of “underground” in the MySpace age. And despite the scene’s sometimes perilous “Girls Gone Wild” flirtations, it’s total ferosh to see so many banger women bringing real DJ and promoter power: Emily Betty, Queen Meleksah, Parker Day, Nastique, Kelly Kate …

Stuttery vocals, ripped-needle basslines, Justice influence, and hands-in-the-air breakdowns are the genre’s sonic commonalities, but the sound’s a mutt, streamlining electroclash and iDJ kitsch into a neon ball-slap to the brainiac minimal techno boyzone. That means it’s stylistically elastic, and two of my favorite San Francisco DJs — and people — from other scenes have vaulted to the banger forefront. Richie Panic ( got big spinning mod classics and electroclash before teaming up with DJ Jeffrey Paradise, the banger godfather, to rock the new sound. He fronts an all-out ultrabananas punk energy — Gorilla Biscuits trumps Hot Chip — and his unerring ear blows dragon smoke from my broken lightbulb. Check out Mr. Panic’s top bangers here.

Vin Sol (, on the smoother hand, is a hometown hip-hop hero who tells me he found rap crowds too resistant to experimentation; electro has freed him to splash freestyle classics like Debbie Deb’s "When I Hear Music" over the lowdown banger sheen, and startle laptop lovers with dazzling vinyl pyrotechnics.

Newbies? "Ableton’s my homeboy," 22-year-old PUBLIC (, a.k.a. Nick Marsh, recently said to me with a laugh. He’s been blowing banger minds with his live shows at parties like Blow Up ( and software edits of the Cardigans, ELO (yes!), even When in Rome’s melancholic 1988 dance jam "The Promise." And his hypnotic new tune "Colorful" is a hit. "I played in a hardcore band, then went through an acoustic Postal Service phase," said the longtime record collector and musician. "So harder but really melodic stuff is natural to me. I think one way to get everyone on the floor is to take softer songs and make them more aggressive, so there’s a broader energy." He’s sliced and diced Metallica too.

Also fresh is 23-year-old LXNDR (, who used to spin at raves and dreamt of being Armand Van Helden (!) before gravitating to Felix da Housecat and Richie Hawtin. He describes his sound as POPalicious — heavy beats over classic trax, but tasteful and widely appealing — and presides over the No More Conversations ( weekly and wild Youngbloodz monthly (First Fridays at Milk, "I like to turn heads with my mixes and really make people notice that I put a lot of thought into how I drop a track. That’s what I always liked about the older dudes when I was coming up," he told me. Aw, sweet. Look for his seven-song EP — on which he plays guitar, bass, and synths — to hit this summer and munch up the younger clubbables.

Yo, bangerz


Also in this issue:

Rave it tecktonik: Hard electro’s dance du jour

Bang! The clubs, the music, the mixes

Super Ego Must the French rule everything? Is Justice revenge for "freedom fries"?

Anyone who’s recently squeezed themselves into a sliced-up silver Lycra T-shirt, pushed down a pair of Day-Glo Cazals, baby-oiled their coke-spoon anklet charms, and hit the city’s glitzier underground dance floors in the past year knows that the hardcore electro sound of Paris’s laptops — lahptoops? — is everywhere they wanna be. So yeah, this shout-out to the trenchant trend is late, and the French are already being usurped by English, Aussie, and American glam-tech innovators. But I’ve got hungry drag queens at home to feed. Mama can’t afford no glittery off-the-shoulder neon silk-screen slip dry-cleaning bills.

Also, it’s taken a while for the scene to coalesce into something tangible, nightlifewise. "Electro" has always been a catch-all — as long as it emanates from adorably entangled circuitry, the genre’s sound swings wildly from lowdown industrial grind to straight-up booty smack, vocoded howl to shuddering fwump to skittery blizzard of blips. It took French duo Justice, along with a slew of other big-name like-mindeds like MSTRKRFT and Simian Mobile Disco, to crystallize some of electro’s recent, disparate past — amped-up electroclash guitars, nu-rave airhorn screech, Philly and Baltimore cybernetic cartoon sexuality, bubbly London champagne rave, and triple-filtered Daft Punk euro strip-down — into the rock-candy party sound still blowing out woofers all over town, launching a genuine style. At first dismissed as mere Daft Punk knockoffs, these earnest Ableton addicts have transformed electro into this house generation’s gleaming hair metal, complete with fussy headbands, flashing tits, and on occasion, what my bf Hunky Beau terms "the most well-scrubbed mosh pits ever."

The scene is called banger — as in Ed Banger, Justice’s Paris-based label. The sound? Warped arena rock grandeur ripped asunder by fuzzy needles, taut bass arpeggios, pounding 808s with cymbal-crash breakdowns (they’re back!), dirty childlike vocals, and anarchic Prodigy posing to — cover your ears, discriminating queens — pop-rave 2 Unlimited keyboards. Banger kids arrive stripped of quotation marks (excessive goofy accessorizing and ironic retro bombast are out), fronting the tight sheen of perfect online shopping technique, 24-inch waists, Rockstar and rye on tap, wanton pantomimed sex, and a tang of American Apparel ennui. ("I’m on the club soda diet," a model confided matter-of-factly outside one bangin’ banger club. "I need to go to the bathroom and meditate for a minute before I pass out.") If all this sounds more like "da club" then the club, well, that’s the delicious line of tension bangers like to play against.

Banger style has even given rise, in Paris at least, to a dance craze (also back!) called tecktonik. Have you seen this shit? It’s electroclash break dancing — a splash of rave liquid by way of circuit fan–twirling, coupled with random Adderall withdrawal jerks. "Tecktonik" is now a brand-name T-shirt and a haircut, of course.

The above may look iffy on paper, but it works — there’s a blinding energy to the scene, and I’m held positively rapt by some local bangers. My next column will feature a few, as well as some young upstarts taking the bang into fidgety new directions. Let’s riot.

Future blaps



>>Lazer Sword sizzles — read the interview

>>Lazer bass-ics: view the vids

SUPER EGO The Millennials have landed on the dance floors, and they come bearing lazers. Electro bangers are raving tecknotik. The blipswitch just got flicked. Hard is the new soft is the new pink is the new blog.

Stay with me, I got breakfast.

The past few years have seen the largest graduating classes in US history, and fresh, fizzy kids are flooding Clubland. They’re cranking full-tilt volume and lobe-throbbing loops, tinged with aggressive glamour. Good for them. A little hyperactive angst to soundtrack that stunned gazelle look so in vogue these days seems perfect for the new electorate. The next few Super Ego columns are gonna get wonky on the youthful nightlife sounds and styles already exploding for summer, so push up your super-flat Takahashi Murakami bifocals, slip on a virtual mindpod, and let’s get kinetic. I’m a hype machine!

First up: Canada. No shit. The Great no-longer-so-White North’s on fire right now, following its recent indie rock onslaught with a tide of dance music innovation. Somehow, dubstep’s abstract rhythmic dynamics, the paranoid wooze of crunk, and the ghosts of the unjustly smacked-down ’90s glitch and IDM scenes have outsourced to Montreal, spawning a kickass, woofer-blowing bbbrrraaa-aaappp!

That’s the sound of Turbo Crunk, the MTL’s superinfluential monthly party and underground movement, which filters hip-hop thumpers through a fuzzy pair of Korgs to spit out jittery ragga and zipper-ripping beats. Last month, New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones dubbed the cataclysmic sound "lazer bass," which fits, since the prolongated sizzle of the low-end slices through your innards like a subsonic chainsaw. Live performers and remixers Megasoid, Blingmod, and Mofomatronix are a few of the Turbo Crunk prime movers, but they took their cue from the genre-bending Bounce Le Gros party thrown by totally crushable speaker-wobbler Ghislain Poirier from 2005-07. Poirier, who blew through San Francisco on tour last September and scorched many a virgin ear, records for Ninja Tune and does to dancehall riddim what labelmate Amon Tobin did to Brazilian samba more than a decade ago — chomp and warp it inside out — and there’s your Turbo family tree.

Lazer bass has originators in the states, too, especially on the West Coast. L.A. is repped by protean producer Daddy Kev, cosmic dubster Flying Lotus, and poster-boy hip-choppers Glitch Mob, a quartet of DJs and knob-fiddlers — comprising Ooah, ediT, Boreta, and Kraddy — that’s managed to appeal to both the gangsta rap and Burning Man crowds. So yeah, the apocalypse is upon us. Grab a fruity cocktail.

The Bay seems exceptionally lazerable, even though there’s no regular party yet to slice up the glow. Glitch came of age here — howdy, Kid606 — and Club Six’s sprawling techno-ragga club Surya Dub has become the epicenter for the kind of dread bass antics that lazer bass takes to a gut level. Montreal is Canada’s Silicon Valley, so the demographics of pan-global, tech-savvy immigrants and natives matches up. And despite its mechanical logistics, the lazer bass sound has a certain grinning innocence to it. These are kids whose dads turned them on to Star Wars, probably. The low-tech skronks and squelches riding high atop that neato bass blare — and those pixellated CMYK Space Invaders graphics — aren’t ironic comments, they’re a great space coaster to the electronic womb. The recent bathhouse hi-NRG, Italo disco, and minimal techno revivals shared a similar ga-ga exploration of the synth-driven mysteries of the cosmic past.

Local duo Lazer Sword, a.k.a. LL and Lando Kal, are our gunners for the scene. (Ethereal wunderboy Ghosts on Tape and trancey duo Hours of Worship deserve mention as well). LL describes what he and Lando do when they’re bent backbreakingly low over their displays as "future-blaps." Yep. The two hit hard on the hip-hop side: their bastard detonation of 50 Cent’s "I Get Money" and live robo-raze of Lil Wayne and Birdman’s "Stuntin’ Like My Daddy" torch floors, while their own stuttery blowout "Gucci Sweatshirt" (from Oakland label Pish Posh’s 2007 comp Got Howls) is a c-c-cult classic. Lazer Sword’s got an EP dropping on the B.E.A.R. label this spring, they just headlined Turbo Crunk April 26, and you can catch them twice in May. Who’s up for sonic bikini waxes?


With XO Skeletons and VC4

Fri/2, 9 p.m., call for price

Balazo 18

2811 Mission, SF

(415) 255-7227


With Lazer Sword and Flying Lotus

May 9, 9 p.m.–3 a.m., $20


119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151




SUPER EGO Positivity — can we get some, please? Sure. Zing! Spring’s come bounding from its musty, dusty closet like a newly out Floridian, little rainbow fanny pack ablaze, itchy pink nipple rings jingling. Poor green thing! Isn’t it up to us to lead her, tripping and grinning, into the limelight fantastica? Aren’t we already there? Change, unlike Aqua Net and Paco Rabanne, is in the air. The clubs, they’ve gone azalea-crazy, bursting with neon irises and tuneful fuchsia streaks. Cocktails mysteriously grow stronger in our hands. And parties, parties everywhere — there’s far too much to do right now. Hell, my nightlife Blackberry just exploded all over my fresh electric Onitsuka Tiger shoes.

Anybody here got a Wet Ones?

"We’re spinning in the pyramid of life / As day turns to night," goes a latest wriggly dance-floor burner. "I wish the stars could shine now / For they are closer / They are near," goes another. "Let’s make out!" goes a third. Sex, stars, spinning, and you — sounds like a few times I’d love to have. How ’bout we do the bunny hop and rock our burgundy hair at the following affairs? Oh, and bring that spring girl, too. There’s always room for one more in the back.


What do you do when you get too famous? Besides wipe up dog shit with your borrowed Chanel? How ’bout change your name and make a record? I sincerely hope you’ve made it at least once to two of the most regularly orgiastic parties in the city: Frisco Disco and Blow Up. If you have, then you’re intimately familiar with the semi-nude gymnastics, lubed-up disco-house-electro jams, and jailbait fanbase of one DJ Jefrodesiac, our fair burg’s current reigning turntable sex god.

I may just win that tiara back, though, because Jefrodesiac is dead. Metaphorically. Witness the birth of Jeffrey Paradise, his latest incarnation, who’s about to release a new EP on PrinceHouse Records and make us all update our contacts. He’ll be debuting this next evolution at Blow Up on Friday, April 11, which is also, somewhat confusingly, his birthday bash. Because one personality is never enough!


I’m not sure how I feel about the space program, but hey, if the nearby NASA Ames Research Center and something rather ominously called the Space Generation Advisory Council want to cohost a big rave at Moffett Field, presenting forward-minded DJs like Amon Tobin, John Tejada, Dr. Toast, and Tycho, well, beam me up (snort). I’m talking about Yuri’s Night, an astro-fantastical, techno-futuristical anniversary celebration of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic first flight into space in 1961. Yuri’s Night, Saturday, April 12, is being feted this year with 153 parties in 46 countries on goddess-knows-how-many giant-screen satellite feeds, so make sure your outfit is tight. Also on the blast-off tap: a huge technology fair with zippy visual installations and electronic doodad demonstrations galore. Pack your sonic screwdriver.


Srsly, I wept when longtime San Francisco mainstay Fag Fridays ended in February — and not just because my Moisture Wear wasn’t quite so hypoallergenic after all. The gay and their ilk really lost something when the party shut down after 12 years, not least of all a soulful house crashpad in the weekend’s early afterhours.

No more tears, though. "Girl, we couldn’t wait to have a Friday off!" David Peterson, one half of Fag promoters Big Booty, exuberantly told me. Big Booty’s certainly taking advantage of its free time. Peterson’s Booty partner, Jose Mineros, just launched a bouncy house Saturday weekly, Collide, at the fab Club 222 ( Fag Fridays will make a special return at Mighty for Pride. And biggest of all, Big Booty just launched a new dance-music label, Thread Recordings. They’ll be toasting Thread’s first release, "The Rhythm" by DJ David Harness, with a deep and thrilling party at luminous megaclub Temple, featuring Harness and legendary NYC DJ Tedd Patterson. Boys keep swinging.


With Jeffrey Paradise

Fri/11, 10 p.m.–2 a.m., $10

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


Sat/12, 2 p.m.–2 a.m., $40–$50

NASA Ames Research Center

Moffett Field, Mountain View


With Tedd Patterson and David Harness

April 19, 10 p.m.–4 a.m., $20


540 Howard, SF

(415) 572-1466

Patty meltdown



SUPER EGO Clear the runway! Clear the runway! She’s got a Target elastic waistband and too many Walgreens L’Oreal home highlights in her shag — and she’s about to crash-land drunk off her Lucite Shoe Pavillion fuck-me pumps and into my $30 Blue Lotus powertini, with guarana extract, caffeine, taurine, and B vitamins 3, 5, 6, and 12. Somebody call Grey’s Anatomy on her jiggly, glitter-thonged ass, stat. Save me, Dr. McCreamy! Save my exorbitant cocktail!

Nightlife 911!!!

Hi. I’m writing to you from the bowels of underground club connoisseur hell, a.k.a. a gay bar in Las Vegas on St. Patrick’s Day during spring break. Try not to imagine it. On the giant video screen: a 2005 frat-boy rave remix of the Cranberries’ "Zombie." In the glass tanks lining the dance floor: live piranhas. Streaming through the door: distressed embroidered jeans and bleached-out cocka’dos. Kill me.

"What did you expect?" Hunky Beau reminds me not-so-gently. "This city has the freakin’ Liberace Museum. Drop the snob act." So I take some heart in the equality of it all. The Vegas homo-horror crowd out by the airport’s no different from the straight-when-sober one thronging the Strip, except the lesbians are real and the other women aren’t. Or rather, they’re 50 percent less real. Surgery is confusing! It’s like silicone algebra. And don’t let’s even glance at Vegas menswear, ‘k? When did Affliction team up with Hurley and Crocs to make Jams?

Other than the occasional squawk of stale reggaetón emanating from pastel Hummers on West Tropicana — not to mention a slew of rowdies screeching "The Star-Spangled Banner" throughout New York New York (never forget!) — the charge-card cocktails, Timba-hop tunes, and space-age bachelor ultralounge aesthetic of omnisexual fantasyland are bottle-serviced with a splash of Burner du Soleil myshtique. In Las Vegas, the apex of a corker evening is a Coyote Ugly boobarella with red contact lenses and vampire fangs writhing on a dry-iced bar to DJ Tiësto. The only thing missing, really, is a topless raver girl revue with dildo glowsticks and peekaboo JNCO jeans. I’m copyrighting this idea immediately.

Everything’s slathered in pimps-and-ho cheese and infernal strobing ultraviolet beams, grinding my delicate complexion into hamburger. Is this what you want, America? Awful-looking skin?

Like Manhattan and Miami — where three-quarters of San Francisco’s dance music movers-and-shakers are currently scratching their bikini waxes at the bubbly-drenched, forever-2001 Winter Music Conference — Vegas has now officially Disneyfied the salacious grit from my fond partial-memories of nightlife there, on and off the Strip. Bring on the recession, darlings! I’m all for having wild fun — this, after all, is how a majority of Midwesterners will be introduced to club culture — and I realize that a vibrant and shocking underground depends on a slick surface limelight to tunnel beneath. But please: what happens in Las Vegas, stay there.

Lady Go Boom Enough grumpy, let’s party! You may remember the excitably gorgeous Lady Tigra as one half of ’80s Miami Bass female electro-rap phenom L’Trimm, whose sub-woofin’ 1988 hymn to cracked windshields, "Cars That Go Boom" (Hot Productions), raised the fluorescent-suspendered rafters of club kids nationwide at the time. I was there, and Tigra was fierce. Now she’s back — grrrl! — with a slinky-nasty new album, Please Mr. Boombox (High Score), and a savvy plan to retake the alternative nightlife spotlight by teaming up with the cheekiest promoters on the West Coast. Fresh from her balls-out show at Los Angeles’s latest actually great party, Mustache Mondays, she’ll sink her claws into your dancey-pants with gender-bending vocalist and performance artiste extraordinaire Jer Ber Jones and the ever-beaky DJ Chicken at Cafe Du Nord on March 28. Her warped OMD-sampling jam "A Moon Song," especially, has been freaking the red zones in my headphones lately. And please note that I have not made a single tragic Tatiana the Tiger joke in this catty plug, mostly because I wish I’d mauled that hot dead Indian boy first and I’m still bitter. So there.


Fri/28, 8:30 p.m., $15

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016,

Accidental tranny



SUPER EGO Guilty! I’m totally real-time guilty. Yeps, frenz, I’m that spastic whore on the dance floor whooping like a neon cough, flinging my Mary Kate triceps up when a thump drops in the mix. If a club has one of those heinous black lights at the door, I sneak in the back so no one spots the glowing spunk on my skirt or my phosphorescent VCR. I always ask for extra antioxidant-rich lychees in my pomegranatini, to offset the American Spirits. OK, I’ve blown the DJ. And although I’ve never stuffed a tube sock down my sequined thong or Botoxed my rosy areolae, those are my fake digits you just beamed into your contacts, sweetness. Thanks for the pomegranatini. Call me!

Also, I take things for granted. Some parties in this town have been around since Y2K was ripped-knee-high to a troll doll (New Wave City, 1984, Popscene, Death Guild, Red Wine Social, Qoöl). I’ve surely enjoyed them all. But in my ravenous quest for novelty I’ve watched them gradually fade from my schedule, like tears of joy evaporating on a monitor. Thus I was shocked when word squirted down the pudding pipe that — after 12 years of lunatic antics at the Stud — weekly trash-drag frenzy Trannyshack was slamming its barn door shut in August. Just where the heck will club pervs get their weekly fix of "two trannies, one cup"?

"I never intended to become a professional drag queen, Marke B. It was almost an accident," Trannyshack hostess Heklina said, laughing groggily into the phone when I rang for dish. I’d woken her up: it was 2 p.m. "I was merely dabbling in drag when the Stud approached me a dozen years ago to fill the Tuesday night slot. It’s been wonderful, but I’m ready for a change — and I’m too much of a control freak to let Trannyshack go on without me."

The lady was feeling candid. "I’m done with punk-rock drag," she added. "I’m tired of feeling like I have to haul in my own amps, manage the entire bar, and clean up afterwards. At this point I simply want to walk onstage and have the light show ready and the sound board all cued up. And I want more challenges, to work more in theater, expand my horizons, travel, figure myself out. You get trapped in a persona. This great thing comes along, people love it, and then suddenly it’s your whole life. For 12 years. Time for a breather!"

Hold on to your panicked panties, though. "Trannyshack the brand isn’t going away," Heklina continued. "I’m working on making it a monthly party somewhere nice, and we’ll still do big events like the annual pageant, Trannyshack Reno, international gigs, and maybe bring back the cruise." The weekly Trannyshack’s planning to go out with a bang too: a countdown of greatest hits and command performances has begun, with Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters hosting Feb. 12 and an explosive 12th-birthday blowout Feb. 19.

Heklina is one of the OG rave-era club kids who made San Francisco fabulously unsafe at any speed, and Trannyshack freed drag from its Judy Garland fetters, flooding punk spirit — and oodles of bodily fluids — into the stalls of gay nightlife. The ‘Shack’s now venerable enough to be thought mainstream by some young turks, but it still feels like the scene’s bloody wig’s been yanked off.

TRANSPORTING How’s this for a leap of global proportions? The papacito of the nightlife’s global grooves movement, DJ Cheb i Sabbah — himself a proprietor of one of SF’s longest-running parties, 1002 Nights (now at Nickie’s in the Lower Haight on Tuesdays) — has just released another stunningly internationalist CD, Devotion (Six Degrees), and he’ll be throwing down, celebration-wise, at the huge returning one-off Worldly at Temple. Boosting Cheb’s subcontinental turntable wizardry live will be Pakistani vocalist Riffat Sultana and percussionists Salar Nadar and Mitch Hyare. Also trading on the tables: electrotabla etherealist Karsh Kale and bhangra breakster Janaka Selekta. Fold dem paper planes and twirl.


Tuesdays, 9 p.m., $8


399 Ninth St., SF

(415) 866-6623


Sat/9, 10 p.m., $8


540 Howard, SF

Video Mutants: Rave damage


>>Click here to read Marke B.’s interview with Ryan Trecartin


SUPER EGO "Hey Skippy, PattyMay is here. In. This. Room."

"Oh god, it’s true! PattyMay is in this room."

"Yes! Tell him I am here. I am PattyMay, and I am in. This. Room."

"Did you say PattyMay is in the room?"

This is the Guardian‘s video art issue, and anyone who’s recently hung out with a certain brand of cued-in, mid-20s clubber knows that the neon-splattered, inverted Internet psycho-vids of Ryan Trecartin are the new now. Those who’ve not hung out with such can plug directly into any enervated crackles and eyeball quivers lingering from their tab-heavy rave days — a tweekend back in K-land, courtesy of capital A — with a quick scan of the Philadelphia-based 26-year-old’s YouTube channel, WianTreetin.

There — and in several big-time art exhibitions throughout the world — you’ll find one of the most mind-bending glosses on getting ready for a night out, and actually going out, that’s ever been burnt to digi, A Family Finds Entertainment (2004). This half-hourish doozy begins with a gothic drag specter clutching a bottle of generic hair spritz and trying to pull a little girl into a bathroom closet. It ends with a boy who’s been run over by a ghost car rising from the dead, kind of, as a gender-clown version of himself gets reborn in a kiddie pool after a house is destroyed by an underground indie rock dance orgy. (Cue fireworks.)

In between is what one character calls "nonlinear trash, with color!" and the wickedest toss-off line in the universe, "To the dark side — I party alone." Also: a chipmunk remix of Sophie Ellis Baxter’s awful "Murder on the Dance Floor," a spastic impersonation of infernal fiber-optic networks, liberal quantities of ingested toner, confused plans shouted through butcher-paper walls, and the partially imaginary dream girl PattyMay, made somehow realer by several incantations of her name. All this and more, plus an overload of kitten star wipes.

What? That’s not your typical night out? Honey, call me.

Mapping the plots of Trecartin’s hyperactive, live-action phantasmagorias is so beside the point it’s next to it. Part of the posted synopsis of his 2006 short Tommy Chat Just E-Mailed Me: "Takes place inside and outside of an Internet e-mail…. Tammy prints stuff and confronts Beth. Beth does a Google search for ‘fun’ and finds ‘ugly,’ so she phone calls her dark dream girlfriend Pam who has communication problems, a dead computer painting, Apple OSX, and their lesbian communal baby prop."

And although the look and feel of his episodes — Microsoft-blue papier-mâché interiors, vine-sprouting ceilings, fluorescent-dipped skin tones, looped asexual voices, ominous snippets of warped bubblegum pop — are definitely wiggy, drug analogies come up obvious and short. Trecartin’s created a hilarious and horrifying — hilarifying — open-source code for the nightmare side of contemporary life, with its inflatable technological chaos, zombified discount shopping, and endless idiotic yakking. Wild club nights and the ancient rituals of rebirth they tap into yield a central theme — actual physical activity among streaming virtual selves.

In 2007’s I-BE AREA — basically what the invisible thing that sneaks up behind you when you’ve been online too long looks like — the main gist is the soul’s fate in a world of obnoxious social networking, one that reduces individuals to quasi-emotional ADD outbursts and illogical catchphrases. It’s life aboard the MySpace Death Star, and everyone had better fill up their blogs, crop their pics, broadcast in a perfect urban patois, and be their own friends. "Look, I think I just saw a highly advanced, 3-D text message of my future self giving me the middle finger," main character I-BE, a.k.a. Trecartin, says snootily.

I-BE AREA zings off on a million paths in its quest for authenticity — names become other names, twins melt into clones, characters switch places with their avatars and turn clairvoyant. There’s a jaw-dropping tap dance sequence featuring orphaned kids recorded on Adoption Audition Tapes. At one point a woman who looks like she wandered off the set of Dynasty identifies herself as the Head-PArent and drops a hypothetical blow-dryer into a hot tub full of hippie ghouls. Later a noodle-eyed tranny ectomorph called Pasta kidnaps a baby.

Near the center of it all is the Wood Shop — a real wood shop, with band saws revving and lumber strewn precariously. It’s also the perfect joke on a mainstream gay dance club (or online hookup site). "Exotic" black go-go boys writhe frantically on tables, fractured machinery noises sub in for lame-ass techno, and an obnoxious, pig-tailed faggy avatar screams "What?" into her brick cell phone. Then everyone prances around lewdly and breaks windows. Just like real life!

Say w00t



SUPER EGO So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye, Ms. 2007. Don’t let the 404 error smack your red-soled Christian Louboutin–clomping, MySpace bisexual ass on the way out. And take your tired $500 embroidered jeans, Belgian sunglasses, Hollister panties, Affliction Ts, and fake Bape reeking of your mama’s Target fabric softener with you — you know, the one with all the circa-2004 Louis Vuitton rainbow logos on it.

Screw you, Marc Jacobs. Bite me, DJ Tiësto. Can it, rosé-tipsy lady on the dance floor who keeps smacking me in the back of the head with her knock-off Fendi glitter-enameled suede baguette. Arrivederci, neon-streaked hair-don’ts, shuffling texters, drunken Googlers, Killers remixes, Rihanna drag, and Red Bull breath. Au revoir, veneer of social networking. Sayonara, bump watch. Fuck off, gay-lined tweeners.

Heyz, Marke B.! Can’t we get a little more <3???

Totez!!11!one. I know it’s halfway through January, but I had to let my bitter 2k7 hens out — and the above are just so country. I’m zipping them into my lead-lined Hannah Montana backpack and tossing them — gracefully yet firmly, in one sweeping motion, with my profile turned toward the camera, chin up — onto the raging pyre of fashion victimology. ‘K? The new year has me feeling positively jagged with sophistication, deliciously complex, and I need a squeaky-clean slate to cut my witty lines on. (Best overheard club phrases of 2008 so far: "Are those pants or a skirt?" and "This bathroom smells like Fritos and cum!" and "From the top you looked like someone else, but from the front you look like yourself.")

Also: fuzzy resolutions. It’s time to get more worldly, more intel, more funkily interconnected. Time to put the pow in MIA, the wise in dubwize, the balls in global. Everyone on the scene’s been snugging on their knit Sherpa thinking caps, braiding all of their international musical tastes together, and letting them hang down cutely over their ears. The fractured bass lines pumping through the multiculti underground are raising the roof of the world.

What the hell am I talking about? My secret favorite forward-thinking monthly of the past year: Surya Dub. I need to pack my glass bong up and hit there more on the regular.

Rocketing toward its first anniversary at Club Six, Surya Dub’s one of the few joints in San Francisco where the crowd is truly interdenominational, where representatives from all of the latest club contingents — Balkan lovers, Bollywood dreamers, rave revivalists, stoned dubsters, ancient househedz, indie cosmopolites, post-hyphy hoppers, grime gawkers, ragga ragers, and eager sublebrities — meet in a kind of United Nations of Nightlife, getting off to a tuneful mulligatawny of pan-planetary styles.

Resident and cofounder Maneesh the Twister describes Surya’s sound as "dread bass music." "There’s not really a genre that fully encompasses what we do," he told me over e-mail from Southeast Asia, where he was breaking for the hols. "Obviously there’s a heavy bass component which is the foundation, and a prominent dub influence, but one of our main goals is to bring seemingly disparate music styles and communities together. Hence our vision to bridge the gap between organic styles such as reggae, bhangra, and other global beats and more electronic styles such as dubstep, glitch, breakbeat, and drum ‘n’ bass."

Maneesh, who also resides at the fab Dub Mission weekly (, went on to name-check some of his favorite regular parties — Surefire Dubstep, Grime City, Nonstop Bhangra — and a few Surya-friendly up-and-coming music makers, like Roommate, Juju, Process Rebel, and Matty G. But his bass-loving heart really pumps for his own Surya Dub Crew, which includes DJs Kush Arora, Amar, Ripley, Kid Kameleon, Jimmy Love, Ross Hog, and Neta, along with MC Daddy Frank and VJ Ohashi.

"For our anniversary celebration we’re presenting a huge coalition of local artists called the Bay Area Dubwize Soundclash, featuring J-Boogie, the Antiserum, Sam Supa, and Emcee Child," Maneesh wrote. "We wanted to book some UK and European guests, too," he added sheepishly, "but they’d rather be earning euros. Can’t say I blame them, really. Underground music here is a far ways from being as economically viable as it is in Europe."

Maybe the International Monetary Fund oughta launch an underground-nightlife development program.

(Click here to read my full interview with Maneesh, plus Surya Dub’s Top 10!)


Jan. 26, 9 p.m.–4 a.m., $10

Club Six

60 Sixth St., SF

(415) 863-1221

Enjoy your corn bread



SUPER EGO "You know, I like to sit around in my hotel room after the show in my bra and panties and say to somebody, ‘Get me a Rémy Martin with a water back, goddamn it! Thank you.’ I know they like it, and I do too."

OK, I wish my life were like that — I’m allergic to cheap cognac — but holy crap. Has it really been two decades since intricately striking comedienneuse Sandra Bernhard, who snarkily uttered the words above, tickled homos pink and sent confounded heteros down the Stoney End with her "Without You I’m Nothing" tour? Lorf, my mints are dusty. Somebody hand me a tambourine! Come back, come back to the Five and Dime, Barbra Streisand, Barbra Streisand!

Wow. That was really gay, even for moi. Somebody hang me in Saudi Arabia.

Slutting it up with a crooked-toothed Madonna, slapping down Roseanne’s sloppy joes, grouching through Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird — this is all but winceworthy water under the bridge of the fierce-at-52 Ms. Sandra’s exquisite, seemingly unrestructured nose. And who could ever forget her immortal early ’90s safe-sex rap "Wanna touch my pussy, wanna taste my jam? / Gotta be usin’ a dental dam." Not me, that’s who.

Lucky for us all, Sandra’s planning a 20th anniversary tour of "Without You I’m Nothing" next year, but until then she’s wetting our whistles with a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Castro Theatre. She rang me up for a quick chat about the glory of her upcoming appearance.

SANDRA BERNHARD Darling! How are you?

SFBG Gurl, I’m hungover as usual — and George W. Bush is totally fucking up the global climate summit in Bali right now. I’m frantically fast-forwarding myself into 2009.

SB Don’t I know it, child. I watched the Democratic debate the other day, and I was weeping. I cannot wait for any one of them to win. Meanwhile I’m just keeping myself busy, spending time with my family [partner Sara and nine-year-old daughter Cicely], and basking in quiet limelight.

SFBG At the end of this month you’re doing two nights in Atlanta and then immediately flying to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. I noticed on your holiday gift wish list you’ve asked for a lot of protein bars, cinnamon gum, and organic cosmetics. Is that how you stay so fresh?

SB I’ve also got a world music album and new film, See You in September, coming out next year. You know, it looks like I’m doing a lot, but really I do a show or two, take a day off to center myself, and get back out there, ready for more. I can’t wait to be in San Francisco — such a fun city, full of amazing people.

SFBG You were here in November to judge the Miss Trannyshack Pageant. I bet you got a lot of wig in your teeth that night.

SB It was a wild ride that seemed like it would never end.

SFBG So what can we expect at your New Year’s show? "Everything Bad Is Beautiful" with a balloon drop?

SB Are you kidding? People these days can barely sit still for 20 minutes, let alone watch a whole show on New Year’s Eve. I’m planning a kind of variety spectacular. Video clips, some stand-up, a bunch of songs.

SFBG Your art has always been about tearing down the whole idea of celebrity. It’s like you were foretelling our current moment when you said, "To be superfamous you need to act like a total freak."

SB It’s so true! I think in this country we’ve just given up. We’re burying our heads in whatever fucked-up, methed-up, Britney–Paris–Paula Abdul disasters are spoon-fed to us. I mean, I tear those girls apart in my shows, but even doing that is giving them more dimensions than they actually deserve.

SFBG Most of my readers are total fashion whores. You always look so together. Who are you wearing lately?

SB Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and I love this Israeli designer named Nili Lotan. It’s a mix. But you’ve gotta watch out — there’s too much cheap knockoff shit out there.

SFBG You’ve been such an inspiration to most of the dykes I know.

SB I love young gay women — they’ve caused a revolution. They’re more free with their money. They’re jaunty. I have this story I tell where I went to lunch with this older friend. The waiter asked if she wanted more corn bread, and she was, like, "Sure!" Then she turned to me and whispered triumphantly, "It’s free." And I was, like, why don’t you just pay for the damn corn bread if you like it so much? Just pay for it and enjoy it. That’s my message to the world: enjoy your corn bread. *


Dec. 31, 11 p.m., $35–<\d>$100

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6120