Super Ego: clubs, nightlife, parties, bars | SF Bay Guardian

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Super Ego




SUPER EGO Gurl, my phones have been ringing themselves right out of my brand-new Safeway paper bag purse. The pink one, the silver one, the little lavender one I usually keep tucked in my Dita Von Teese fringed mesh teddy — they’re all off the hook, jingling like sequins in daylight. Bitches are chatty — scandal for the holidays, how novel — and you know I’d rather gag on Josh Groban or jack off to the L.L. Bean winter catalogue than keep the gossip from you.

Besides the dish that a certain local magazine is paying clubs to have its "personalities" staff the door at parties (drag queens as product placement — I love it) and the rumors flying around that many long-running weekly parties are shutting down (congratulations, Miss Trannyshack 2007 Pollo Del Mar!), there’s some serious nightlife shit going down. The "not in my backyard" whiners of our gloriously gentrifying city are squawking up a storm, and the San Francisco Police Department and the Board of Supes might actually be listening.

After-hours clubs and restaurants are feeling the heat (North Beach barhoppers may have to do without their postparty slices of pizza soon, and possibly any new bars as well), some up-and-coming neighborhoods may be zoned to exclude any nightlife or "adult" establishments, and I’m even hearing that new bars with liquor license transfers are being pressured to shout "Last call!" at midnight. Say quoi???

On top of all that, violence. Several bars have been brazenly robbed of late, and most clubs are rightly reminding their patrons to stay aware of their turbulent surroundings. Yet nothing can stop the dance floor love. Be careful out there, don’t mix up your mace and your mascara, and check out some great parties — before we’re all forced to boogie softly in our bedrooms.


Folks I know and trust have been living for Love It! Wednesdays at Icon Ultra Lounge lately. And given the DJ lineups that often include some of my new faves like No Battles, the dirtybird boys, and way-too-cute Tee Cardaci, I can hardly deny them their bliss. I’ll even be partaking gladly of it Dec. 5, when San Francisco’s very own tidal wave of techno, DJ Alland Byallo, washes over the dance floor to showcase his new label, Nightlight Music. Joining him will be Berlin-via-Detroit techno nomad (technomad?) Lee Curtis, whose live set of tweaky synths, sticky bass, and lo-fi disarray will surely rock the fuzzy Kangols off the crowd. Also glowing lively: a tag team live–versus-DJ set by Nightlight stablemates Jason Short and Clint Stewart. Brutal with the millimeter, kids.


Cumbia electro-hop? Ah si, it’s happening. And global-eared local DJs Disco Shawn and oro11, of the new label Bersa Discos, are bringing it straight up. "We both went down to Buenos Aires and discovered this crazy experimental cumbia scene," Disco Shawn recently MySpaced me. "Bedroom producers were mixing the classic Latin American sound with electro, hip-hop, dancehall…. We’re bringing this music to the other side of the equator, to unleash it on gringo nightlife." Feel the tap-tap-typhoon of the Bersa Discos boys’ awesome cumbiaton discoveries at their new monthly, Tormenta Tropical, Dec. 7 at Club Six, as well as other synced-up styles of electro Sudamericano, baile funk, and live spazzy hip-hop from the mind-blowing Official Tourist.


Surely one of the best video mashups in the cyberverse is "Tiefschwarz Is Burning" on YouTube, wherein some enterprising goofball laid UK electropop sweetness Chikinki’s "Assassinator 13 (Ruede Hegelstein Remix)" over scenes from Paris Is Burning. The hypnotic minimal techno tune, which turns out, oddly, to be the perfect soundtrack for voguing ’80s downtown queens — RIP Willie, Anji, Pepper, Venus — was taken from Teutonic duo Tiefschwarz’s Essential Mix for BBC’s Radio 1, and before this explanation gets any more complicated, just look it up and fall into a Yubehole about it, already. Better yet, check out Tiefschwarz live (they’re hot, they’re brothers — why not?), courtesy of Blasthaus at Mighty on Dec. 15. German techno soul isn’t, amazingly, oxymoronic.


Wed/5, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $5

Icon Ultra Lounge

1192 Folsom, SF

(415) 626-4800


Fri/7, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $5

Dark Room, Club Six

60 Sixth St., SF

(415) 861-1221


Dec. 15, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $20


119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151




SUPER EGO Books are cool, and they can make you taller. Often they even tell you things, things you never thought you’d want to know. They’re like platform heels that talk! But they speak in a flippant whisper, and what they say is delicious.

Sure, books may not be able to dish on how Tyra got rid of her "vag arms" this season (hello, Scotch tape in her hairy pits) or why that one annoying girl on the 22 Fillmore’s still pumping that goddamn "Hot Pocket, drop it" song on her tinny-ass cell phone over and over, a mound of discarded sunflower seed shells scattered around her pastel Superfecta IIs. (Please go download some Lupe Fiasco "Superstar" to your knockoff Chocolate already, sweetie. Seriously. It’s November.)

What books can tell you sometimes is that you’re right. I love that! Take The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City, by Elizabeth Currid, a new spine that fingerless-gloved intellectuals are cracking all over the Muni. It basically argues that — fuck Wall Street — the arts are the real forces that drive Manhattan’s hopping money market. (Too bad the best new artists can only afford to live in Queens now.) And guess where the linchpins are? Where art, fashion, and music intersect and all the brainy hotties trade lucrative ideas? That’s right: night clubs. All the fabbest deals are made on the dance floor, Ms. Elizabeth says, and nightlife, in which "creative minds set the future trends," should be boosted to top priority by any wannabe successful city, extralegal activities be damned. Of course she’s talking about New York, so her tome’s a tad inapt for our little blow jobs–for–tourists trade show here. But still, nightlife rules! One day it’ll make us all rich and famous! In your face, space coyote.

Speaking of books: I once dated a tech bear. It was the mid-’90s, the Interweb was still shiny, and bears hadn’t morphed into hedge-trimmed candy ravers yet. Don’t hate! Tech bears were hot — I’m still an all-day sucker for them — and this one, like so many others of his ilk, not only could build a Unix server out of two Cherry Coke cans and a pizza box but also spent his nights tripping on krunk and composing ambient electronic odes to his heroes Brian Eno and Arthur Russell. I couldn’t drag his ass onto a dance floor to save my life, but his windowless bedroom in the Tenderloin was a glittery cornucopia of strobe effects and rapid-fire bleeps. Go figure.

If only there had been some kind of school for him to attend, some place that would have guided him toward a career in digital-audio arts before he blew his mind on meth and moved back to the Midwest to become a gay trucker for Montgomery Ward!

Better late than never, maybe; now there is. Pyramind, a full-on media music and production school, is taking over SoMa and providing some of San Francisco’s brightest club-music makers with the skills to conquer the digital world. I recently found myself being chaperoned, somewhat bewildered, through Pyramind’s labyrinthine main campus by director and president Greg Gordon, in the company of old-school dance floor mover and shaker Paul dB. As they led me from one cavernous, soundproofed room to the next, each full of top-flight equipment, giant projection screens, a plethora of enormous monitors, and some mighty fine-looking students, I realized: maybe I should just give up writing and start composing the soundtrack for Halo 4. I could help launch a puke-colored Mountain Dew energy drink in 2009!

My temporary flight of fancy — how could I ever give up getting kind of paid to down well-vodka cosmos and introduce you to several psycho drag queens almost every week? — wasn’t such a pie in the sky. Pyramind’s hooked up with major prestidigitalators like Apple, Ableton, Digidesign, M-Audio, and Propellerhead. Students get possible career leads and exposure to some of the biggest biggies — Pyramind calls these companies "strategic partners," but to me a strategic partner is someone you sleep with to get back at your ex.

But the school is just part of a grand master plan. Pyramind is octopoid, with recording studios, a distribution service, international programs, a music label called Epiphyte headed by industry legend Steffan Franz, a well-established musical showcase–club night called TestPress that’s expanding to other cities (and has spawned an Epiphyte-released CD of bouncy tunes), and, with the recent acquisition of another huge campus a few doors down from the main one, an independent party venue. Pyramind’s stacked. And hey, in case any terrorists were thinking of hijacking any future Pixar productions (although wasn’t Cars terrifying enough?), Pyramind’s got the seal of approval, I shit you not, from Homeland Security. Calling all tech bears: drop that Cheeto and get in the digi-know now.

Crazy quilt



SUPER EGO I like weather. It’s everywhere this season. But it’s also all over the map: patches of drizzle here, swaths of squinty sunlight there, chilly threads of breeze, and a soft, wet batting of fog. Should someone call People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on dog days? Are Indian summers racist? What color Converse matches my knockoff Burberry umbrella? Weather’s so confusing!

Fortunately, the forecast in Clubland is much more predictable: crazy, as usual. Partly rowdy with a high chance of gusty accordion and slight pratfalls on the runways. Now’s the time when dance floors get "wild" and club folks scramble like chipmunks to store up glowing insanity for the long winter ahead. I’m reminded of boob-tube scream queen Elvira’s immortal "Monsta Rap": "Somethin’ put his nuts on tha side of his head / What in the world were they thinkin’?" Below are some upcoming offbeat joys to enjoy.

PS Every day is Halloween, duh. Check out the Noise blog at for my depraved fright-night party picks.

Face the fear and drink it anyway! That’s my motto. It’s tattooed on my inner thigh, right next to a butterfly on a Harley, a rainbow of dancing M&Ms, and Tweety Bird pulling dental floss out of his ass with a pair of scalpels. I live for scary cocktail confrontations. But I’ve never quite been able to overcome my fear of clowns. It’s not so much the clowns themselves that terrify but the flesh-eating bacteria that live in their eyes and squirt out when they blink. Honk, honk!

Still, the line between a good night out and a full-on circus grows ever thinner with each new Burning Man, and circus-themed parties are starting to develop subgenres. For instance: Big Top, which successfully mixes double entendre (it’s a queer thing: "big top" — get it?) and three-ring silliness into one whapping flapdoodle of a monthly Sunday shindig. Promoters–club whores Joshua J and Rayza Burn, who fervently insist to me that they’re in no way "hot for clown," lay on the DIY pancake pretty thick. No slick fire-twirler troupes here — just a tipsy bunch of drag queens in rainbow fright wigs, guest DJs devoid of shame, and cross-eyed kids sporting giant shoes. Somehow it works. This month: a homo fashion costume ball with designer Kim Jones in the DJ booth.

I can’t tell you how to make money, but I can tell you that every time I hear the word milonga I pitch a yard’s worth of tango tent. Let’s pitch together — to the lively plucks and wheezes of local sensations Tango No. 9, an all-star Bay Area quartet celebrating the release of their self-released CD Here Live No Fish with a big ole Piazzola party at Café Cocomo (lessons luckily offered for us absoluto beginners). This is one of those nightlife events I occasionally recommend not because it’s going to be a drunken orgy of unfortunate plumbing leaks but because there’ll be an element of seductive danger. As in, how many heels will I break trying to get to the center of one of my several hot Argentine dance partners? Three licks.

"If there’s anything close to the authentic madness that is true Balkan partying in the Bay Area, it is us," Boban, promoter of the raucous quarterly Kafana Balkan party, told me over the phone. "People come to let it loose in true Balkan-region style. They get up the next morning, maybe with a little hangover, ha, and then they are refreshed in their daily maintenance of the machine." I should add here that Boban has the kind of deep, heavily accented, tinged-with-grins voice that could probably lead anyone into mountainous, oud-and-cümbüs-driven bliss. Lately, indie rock has embraced the Balkan spirits, but Kafana’s no mere Gogol Bordello–Beirut–Balkan Beat Box hoedown: DJ Zeljko brings the Rom and rakiya-fueled real, with selections from the likes of Boban Markovic Orkestar and Fanfare Ciorcarlia. It all whirls round in a carnivalesque atmosphere that includes clowns from Bread and Cheese Circus and live Bay Area Balkan band Brass Menazerie. Plus, Kafana’s a benefit for Humanitarian Circus, which performs for Kosovar orphans. Grab your dumbek and get — sorry — Mace-down-ian.

Vegan donuts are on fire. Nondairy sprinkles litter the runways; free-trade glazing greases the underground wheels of Monday nights. WTF? I’m talking about the sweet monthly Club Donuts, a manic multimedia fiesta that’s celebrating its hole–in–one year anniversary next month. Fab fashion shows, live bands, dance troupes, kitsch movies, and a hot mess on the dance floor have been Donuts’ delicious MO for a fat and fluffy year now, and the anniversary party promises to hit new monthly-Monday-night heights, with a live performance by Hey Willpower and DJs Calvin Johnson and Ian Svenonius joining resident Pickpocket on the decks. (It’ll be "ambrosial, ecstatic," the club’s breathtakingly hottt promoters Kat and Alison promise me. "Total visual and aural immersement, with lots of free vegan donuts.") Plus, you know, cute young Mission party artists. I’ll take half a dozen to go. *


Fourth Sun., 7 p.m.–2 a.m., $3


198 Church, SF

(415) 861-7499


Nov. 12, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $8


3223 Mission, SF


Nov. 10, 8 p.m.–2 a.m., $10–$25, sliding scale

12 Galaxies

2565 Mission, SF


Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. tango lesson, 8:30 p.m. performance and party

$15, $20 with lesson

Café Cocomo

650 Indiana, SF

The Viz



I had a third eye once. It rolled off my forehead at a ’93 rave in an abandoned Detroit airplane hangar and across the huge cement dance floor, barely missing getting squashed by hyperkinetic Canadians and nitrous-giddy kiddies swarming after an airborne fleet of inflated latex bananas. People wore bigger shoes back then, so I panicked slightly and gave chase. A kaleidoscopic Marble of Ethos, my third eye led me huffing and puffing past the ecstatic hordes thronging DJ Tommy Tomato, along a vibrating line of indoor porta-potties, and straight to the back of the building, where an ancient water main had burst — right above the chugging generator that powered the big-screen visuals.

Uh-oh. I had seen the future, and it was either blown up or electrocuted. Eek!

Beyond any possible medical emergencies, the situation also posed a personal dilemma: I was the party’s host, and violent death was still, like, totally goth. If something awful happened to the partygoers, would I ever be worthy of my fuchsia JNCO jeans and "Snap, Crackle, and Rave" Freshjive T-shirt again? I launched into damage-control mode. Through the creative use of several rolls of duct tape, a swaying 50-foot ladder, and reams of shocking profanity, I managed to keep the eye candy flowing and my fragile rep intact. Thanks, bodhisattva or whoever! Every time I see a white lady with a rolled-up yoga mat sticking out of her purse, I think of you.

I never really dug rave visuals much. Too many mushrooming acid blobs, clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and primitive Max Headroom avatars flinging their awkward limbs across the blurry cosmos. But the whole rave thing was about much more than the music, thank goddess, and if I had to suffer through 15 hours of mighty morphin’ neon fractals for the cause of "community expression," so be it. Besides, the use of goofy visuals in Clubland has been around since its modern beginning, when Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic lava-lamp projections glanced off silver cloud balloons. It’s historical.

But now that wild optical shenanigans seem to have migrated from the dance floor to the screen saver, conceptual-art gallery, Burning Man shade structure, and stadium JumboTron, I mostly notice them by their absence. The current vogue for projecting pornos onto club walls doesn’t count — far too easy — and don’t get me started on horrendous video bars. Bleh. Even the freakin’ LoveFest skipped the visuals this year, though the music went far into twilight.

Still, there’s a devious little visual world opening up in the clubs these days, one that goes far beyond simple VJs, and, curiously, much of it’s coming from young kids who have no background in rave at all. The most ubiquitous of these new projectionists goes by the name of 3 and claims installation art, noisecore, and Pink Floyd as influences despite working his overlapping-image magic at many house and drag venues, such as the Endup, Underground SF, Trannyshack, Pink, and Supperclub.

"I escaped my extremely conservative family — I’m a recovering Pentecostal — and wound up at 5lowershop," a noisecore artists’ collective, the 27-year-old 3 told me over the phone. "I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I had no idea what kind. I started taking pictures of people’s artwork, overlaying the images two at a time and adding a found image of my own that I thought knocked everything to another level. Three images into one, thus the name. I got a handle on the technology and started projecting at friends’ parties a few years ago. People seemed hungry for club visuals. Even though I know almost nothing about electronic music, I love adding another dimension, to jump people’s minds off the musical track."

Although self-taught, 3 can get pretty deep with his visual knowledge. He particularly admires the psychosexual design philosophy of Dr. Jallen Rix and the software wizardry of Spot Draves, who created the Electric Sheep communal screen-saver program. Taken from a laptop-stored image bank of hundreds of thousands of manipulated photos and clips and mixed live with Resolume software, 3’s work can seem electrifying in a typical rave-visuals way at first glance (trippy flashback effects, flaming Maori poi twirlers, etc.), but subtexts peek out: a tart-eyed deconstruction of vintage gay photographs in his huge projections at the Castro’s Pink Saturday party, for example, or a tiny yet virulent stream of social commentary splashed across a performing drag queen’s splayed angel wings. And 3 has a knack for dropping startling film clips of Hitler Youth and Vietnam napalm-bombing campaigns into sets designed around softer themes.

"The visual medium is so incredibly powerful right now," he told me. "The world is basically videos. We can’t look away. I hope some of my stuff shakes people up, forms a bubble and then bursts it. That may be strange on a dance floor, and that’s why I do it.

"But in the end, I really just want to make everything pretty," he continued. "I want to take this thing as far as I can go, get incredibly famous, and make the whole world beautiful. How egotistical is that?"

Swede ‘n’ hoedown



SUPER EGO Bad gay hair is back! From Chris Crocker’s "Leave Britney Alone!" bilevel blond bob apocalypse to Perez Hilton’s ever-changing lamebow of neon locks (bitch looks as though the Planet Unicorn creatures from YouTube exploded on her giant head), the homo hair horrors of the past are rising like silk-shirted, Daisy Duked zombies, tearing through a screen near you. Pull up a Rent-a-Center white vinyl sectional and dig into a plate of fried wig. These are the Famous Gays of Our Moment. This is our culture. So fuck your stinkin’ herbal Fructis — plaster me with Queen Helene, suck me into Manic Panic, pump me up like L’Oreal. I wanna be fa-mousse.

Speaking of Planet Unicorn: I went to Oakland. This column’s become San Francisco–centric (not to mention gayer than a third grade playground), and I almost feel guilty. There’s a Bay full of hot boys out there! So, over Labor Day weekend, me and Hunky Beau saddled up the ol’ BART — which, in a windfall for stoned revelers, was running 24 hours a day — and high-tailed it to Bench and Bar, Oakland’s premier queer downtown dance palace for lusty Latinos.

There we found a proud brown Urban Cowboy wonderland. Saturdays play host to La Bota Loca, an overflowing evening for lithesome vaqueros in white Stetsons and kicky Tony Lamas hopping to regional Mexican hits and line-dancing to the Spanish version of "Achy Breaky Heart" ("Mi Pobre Corazón"). I recently bemoaned the lack of queer club nights where I could polka my pixie boots off to norteño and banda music. This is where I finally got a joyous earful of Sinaloense, Duranguense, and "Hey, what’d he say?" I’ve got to learn española.

The 3 a.m. BART ride home was a party. Hazy hyphy kids, tattooed punk nymphs, cowboy-hatted queens, and various future rehabbers piled on to cause unique havoc on the SF streets. Unfortunately, the car with the portable DJ setup was packed — we’d have to squeeze in next to the drunken Cal rugby team, stripping off their shirts and challenging one another to wrestling matches. Hurriedly we acquiesced.

MUCHO MACHO MALMÖ Much like the "Gabbo is coming!" ads on The Simpsons, a mysterious, gaudy poster has been plastered about the city, causing much flurry and flutter. On it, a slick-mulleted playboy with an Angelina-forearm-thin mustache is flanked by two busty blonds in spandex strips. Giant text screams "Günther — LIVE!!!" Who? What? Why?

"Is this some kind of joke?" Hunky Beau asked aloud when he first saw it. But really, isn’t that the cry of a dance floor generation?

In the tradition of, er, Fischer Spooner and Junior Senior, Günther traffics in the kind of poker-faced genius ambiguity that kicks your ass on the dance floor while shoving your tongue far enough into your cheek to block your bowels. (Although maybe that’s the coke.) Günther’s first huge release, "The Ding Dong Song," rides an infectious beat so stereotypically generic techno that it comes out the other side of awful, emerging into brilliance. It’s about his dick. He calls his dick his "tra la la." His press release describes it as a "gangling manhood." I e-mailed him immediately.

"My massage is love," he wrote back from Malmö, Sweden, where he resides. "I start my day off surrounded by Sunshine Girls" — his writhing lesbotronic backup vocalists — "have a champagne breakfast, and spread my massage of champagne, love, sex, glamour, and respect! I have always lived my own glamorous, sexy life of fun!!!" Who could argue? Other bouncy songs — and videos — of head-scratching wonder include "Teeny Weeny String Bikini," "Tutti Frutti Summerlove," and, yes, "Christmas Song." Sweeede

SEWN UP Fashion Week is more over than irony, but you still need a look. Hit up Thread, an underground fashion blast featuring a plethora of killer local togs, no-host bar grog, and something about lots of great DJs that ends in og. Best part: discounts! OK!*


Saturdays, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $20

Bench and Bar

2111 Franklin, Oakl.


Sat/22, 10 p.m., $30

Sound Factory

525 Harrison, SF


Sat/22, noon–6 p.m., $10

Festival Pavilion

Fort Mason Center

Marina at Laguna, SF




SUPER EGO OK, I figure I’ve got fewer than five readers this week because of, oh yeah, fucking Burning Man, so let’s drop all the usual hyperintellectual lip gloss and get intimate. It’s just you and me and the scent of a Mariah Carey M eau de parfum sample strip from a ripped-off copy of Glamour in the air between us. First, this just in: there’s actually a Cuban drag queen in Miami named Fidela Castrato. Topical! Second, screw the burners — for a couple of glorious weeks, the Bay is ours. Let’s get go-go-toasted. Let’s get ho-ho-noxious. Let’s get divatrocious. Below are some delish party picks for the fortnight ahead to keep us busy while others pluck playa dust from their sun-baked cracks. Take back the night! And check out the Noise Blog at, where I’ll be posting more Labor Day weekend and beyond kookiness. Just for us.


Years ago I got my first glimmer of the juggernaut that the whole blank-parody white-kid electro-hop scene would become when I scored a CD from the Guardian‘s Johnny Ray Huston sometime in the late ’90s, put out by an awesome kid named Ed DMX, who vocoder-rapped over analog beats about rainbows and Adidases and probably unicorns — but who the hell knows, I just needed the CD cover to cut up … er, my nails. Anyway, it was awesome, and DMX is still alive! He’ll be stepping lively with his Krew at one of the most raucous parties in sodomyville, Eggs, with PJ Pooterhoots and Safety Scissors.

Thu/30 10 p.m.–2 a.m., $8


119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151


The world’s most phenomenal piece of transgendered flesh-sculpture talks! Will we ever understand? Do we want to? The legendary inflatable club goddess is interviewed onstage by inflatable Asian tranny whore Monistat, at the hippest nightspot for underage East Bay queer kids of color into Bryan Adams techno remixes and Rihanna mash-ups (and who can cough up $15). Fearfully intriguing.

Thu/30, 9:30 p.m.–2 a.m., $15

715 Harrison, SF

18 and older


It’s on. DJs Jefrodesiac (Frisco Disco, Blow Up) and Funk (Dancemania) hit the decks with some fine, fine chaos, and Hot Tub, that crazy, bubbly girl electro-rappin’ trio from Oakland, perform live at this must-do event for non-naked-yoga-for-Gaia people.

Sun/2, 9 p.m.–2 a.m.

Free with RSVP at

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


What?! A Detroit-themed night at a queer club? Hells yeah. DJ Chicken hatches his latest feather-brained scheme at Truck, playing every genre of music that launched from tha D, which is, like, everything. (Hey, I’m from there — work it out.) Motown, techno, Iggy, Eminem, White Stripes, MC5 … need I go on? Also featuring — and if you’re not a Michigander, you won’t get it — Faygo cocktails! What, no Vernors? Chicken also tells me that Truck’s kitchen may also include a chili dog minus the dog (Coney Special), a burger smothered in ketchup (Murder Burger), or an onion ring on a hamburger bun (Spare Tire). Rawk.

Sept. 5, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., free

1900 Folsom, SF

(415) 252-0306


Gays in frilly panties! Strip poker! Mayhem! DJ Mickey Moniker from Vancouver (Uncanny, Pumpjack) joins DJ Donimo and DJ6 for a night of electro madness at Lucky Pierre — the steamy monthly at the Stud for three-way lovers and their lovers’ lovers. Plus, this month’s theme is "hair" (as in fluff it up, show it out, shave it off — not the musical, I dearly hope), so grab your giant novelty comb and hop to. Coco Canal hosts, Artemis Chase deals, and the toilets overflow. With love!

Sept. 7, 10 p.m.–3 a.m., $7

399 Ninth St., SF

(415) 252-STUD

Oh, honestly



SUPER EGO Sweetheart, the only reason I’d ever lie to you is to score free drinks or get down your $300 freaky-deaky, pizza-stained pipe pants. I’m not the Internet — I’m your friend. You’ll never have to add two years to my age or subtract two inches from my width. And as for my length — well, I do go on a bit. Everybody knows that. (Wait. Do people still lie on the Internet anymore? Lemme check…. OK, back. Yes. Yes, they do.)

This is how incredibly, embarrassingly forthcoming I am: I can’t stop singing the new Girls Aloud single, "Sexy! No No No …," in my head (thanks, Perez fucking Hilton). I conveniently can’t recall if I’ve ever partied in the private rooftop hot tub at the Porn Palace. I used a SpongeBob beach towel from Target this morning to dry my nether parts before I put them back on. And, to Hunky Beau’s eternal chagrin, I can name any designer collection from spring ’86 to fall ’94 in two accessories or less. I wasn’t even born then! Plus, I totally forgot about National Underwear Day last Thursday. Bad gay. Bad.

Also, you’re gorgeous. Here’s a million dollars. Taste the veracity, baby.

But I still have a few little secrets left, and here are two. First, yes, I’m hot-hot-hot for drag kings. Hot in a "nuzzle me nude until your Crayola-stache rubs off on my nipples" way. I know! Ew! But this girl can’t help it, and my cup’s about to overfloweth Aug. 18 at the 12th annual San Francisco Drag King Contest at SomArts, during which a bevy of horny-drippin’ butches will b-boy it up in a bout for the king crown. It’s just like the International Fight League, but with more Mötley Crüe mashups and medical adhesives.

I asked Lu Read, the organizer, how it felt to have reached a fake-dick dozen of these suckers, and he told me "definitely balls to the wall" and that the SFDKC is "like Tease-o-Rama on testosterone and the Miss Trannyshack Pageant on steroids." Lock up your wife and child. This year’s contest boasts two preparty pump-ups and a wild after-party, all featuring a veritable queue of tuneful supporters — from rockers the Momma’s Boyz to sexpot table jock Mauricio Aviles to legendary DJ Derek B (whom I’ll miss mightily when he hightails it to far-too-fashionable Berlin next month). It’s a cavalcade, it’s a carnival, it’s a drag kingdom. Crayola nipples.

Secret two: boat parties terrify me. For one, you can’t escape — if some E’d-out fairy unicorn rainbow twirlbot latches on to you, there’s nowhere to run but in circles. But I’ve spent whole weeks doing that in my room before, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, right? (You try finding the doorknob when you’re cross-eyed and your fingernails are moon lobsters.) For two, I prefer the bartender to mix my cocktails, not the motion of the ocean. I’ve got A legs, not sea legs. Groan.

But I do love me some PacificSound, the old-school kids who bring you the bright, techno, outdoor Sunset Parties all summer long — and Aug. 18 they’re taking it to the docks and all around the bay with their infamous Fully Loaded Boat Party. I’ve heard on good authority that magical things happen at these Pacific proceedings: helicopters fly under bridges, gays find true love, club columnists forego the ginger capsules and antinausea Bio Bands and get crazy to the boom-boom styles of Galen, J-Bird, Solar, Charlotte the Baroness, and so many more. Could it possibly be true? Oh, let’s find out for ourselves.

So. Saturday — techno boat party, drag king contest. What will I dress as? No lie: Moby Dick. *


Aboard the San Francisco Spirit

Sat/18, 5 p.m.–11 p.m., $35 presale

Tickets available at Tweekin’ Records

593 Haight, SF

(415) 820-1664


Sat/18, 8 p.m., $15–$35


934 Brannan, SF

(415) 282-2363

Award tour



SUPER EGO I’m not one to get jealous when people I know get famous. Never. As Shakespeare once wrote, "You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweat." Alas, I’m flat broke — and haven’t perspired a drop since I gave up Dexatrim in ’03. But my pores are flawless, like tiny alien baby mouths. So I can only grin demurely while my Page Six homeys flash their hairless beavers from rehab. Shakespeare again: "If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you."

Hooray, especially, for Kiki and Herb, the blowsy, boozy, tune-slinging duo who exploded into Broadway history last year with their Tony-nominated extravaganza Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway. (They narrowly lost in the Best Theatrical Event category to a multipuppet tearjerker about a ventriloquist.) Tipsy yet full-throated chanteuse Kiki (Justin Bond) and her nimble-fingered pianist Herb (Kenny Mellman) are local club kids made good, proving that a lot of talent and a steady Scotch diet can launch a drag queen and her "gay Jew ‘tard" accompanist into the big leagues. Lemme tell ya, you haven’t heard the Wu-Tang Clan or the Cure until you’ve heard these two dust ’em up onstage.

Now, as part of their Year of Magical Drinking Tour, Kiki and Herb are bringing their big show to the American Conservatory Theater. Posh! I leaped on the opportunity to dish with them long-distance from their New York City home base.

SFBG I can barely recall, back in the blurred mid-’90s, both of you appearing at the legendary Josie’s Juice Joint and Cabaret in the Castro. But I was on a lot of crystal then and probably shouldn’t have been in the light booth …

HERB We were recently watching old videos of us and stumbled upon one of a show we did at Josie’s called Not Without My Napalm. This was pre–Kiki and Herb — Justin led me in on a leash, and I was wearing lederhosen! Jesus, we were young. Gay Pride of that year, we were booked at Cafe du Nord and knew we were going to be exhausted. Justin had been doing Kiki at parties, so we decided we’d just perform our material as Kiki and Herb. We got a standing ovation. We began performing every weekend at Eichelberger’s, across from Theater Artaud, and it all developed there.

KIKI The funny thing about us performing at the gorgeous ACT is that when I lived in San Francisco I never got to go there. For one, I couldn’t afford it, and then the ’89 earthquake knocked the whole thing down! So our show will be the first one I’ve ever seen there.

SFBG And now you’re Broadway luminaries. What are some of the things you miss about San Francisco and the life you led before the slavering tumult of paparazzi overtook you?

HERB San Francisco burritos. And Cafe Flore. And the Hole in the Wall. I remember spending a Thanksgiving there, and they had a suckling pig on the pool table. At some point an older leather daddy ripped the ear off and just started gnawing on it. That’s what I miss.

KIKI I miss my friends there terribly — the creative excitement and community. I can’t wait to get back, and I hope all you queens can forgive a drunk who can’t remember anyone’s name.

SFBG I wept when the dummy won the Tony. Yet both of you seemed so gracious when the camera zoomed in on you immediately after the award was announced. What were your thoughts at that moment?

KIKI I told myself beforehand, "Whatever happens, just look happy to be there." So my thought right then was "Hold face." But being there was so amazing, I just left my body through the whole thing.

HERB My thoughts were that we really needed to get out of there and get a drink! Which we did!

SFBG What’s next?

KIKI After this tour, we’re off to perform at the Sydney Opera House for three weeks. Then a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall, and then we’ll be putting on a show in Shepherd’s Bush, London, called — this is so stupid, but it makes me hysterical — Kiki and Herb Put the Yule Log in Shepherd’s Bush. Next year I’m doing a Carpenters tribute — but without any anorexia jokes.

HERB My other show, At Least It’s Pink, which I wrote the music and lyrics to, will be getting an off-Broadway run this fall. Also, my friend Neal Medlyn and I are going to resurrect our show Kenny Mellman Plus Neal Medlyn Equals R. Kelly. Busy, busy …

BONUS KIKI Join immortal club kids Javier Natureboy and DJ Junkyard and the gang from ’90s rock ‘n’ roll queer club Litterbox for a special Kiki and Herb look-alike contest, judged by Justin Bond himself, at the fab new monthly Glitterbox on July 20. It’s a reunion, baby! Go to for the low lowdown. *


July 18–29 (previews Fri/13–Tues/17), $20–$60

See Web site for times

American Conservatory Theater

415 Geary, SF

(415) 749-2ACT

Windex music



SUPER EGO Swooning in the aural vortex of the last How Weird Street Faire, I lean against the central shade tower — heavens, it’s hot! — as four separate whiz-bang DJ arenas writhe at my compass points like electronic eels. Psytrance, tech house, tribal, and jeep beats overlap in a fun fuzz of dissonance: a Euterpean kaleidoscope, if you will.

A shirtless Pan in crooked BluBlockers emerges from the sonic haze and politely offers a welcome quench from his Camelback. Ah, agua … that’s better. Pan hightails it back into the neon-freaky crowds, his shadow a tongue of purple flame darting through the throng. Uh oh, the colors — they’re starting to come alive. I can see the music. I am the Lizard Queen. Goddammit, I’ve been dosed unbeknownst!

Does that mean I’m still cute enough to date-rape? Whew.

There’s no real need for chemical alteration at Burner-powered musical affairs like How Weird. The beats are gleefully conservative, locking hearts and minds into a virtual retro techno shroom step of the middle–late ’90s. You can just stop dropping and roll, Siddhartha. Close your eyes, and Smurf the vibe.

The ultimate expression of this baroque kind of bubble-icious bounce back is the continued global triumph of DJ Tiësto’s 2005 Eurotrance classical gasser Adagio for Strings (Universal France) — from Barber to Burner, via Coachella, with a $50,000 light show, a Lycra Tony Montana jersey, and a passé Jesus pose. Gord lord, lady. Tone it down a little. Tiësto’s not the lowest of the low — some trancers still work bastard Carl Orff tracks — and the high’s all the dedicated protofairies making laptop tribal in their parents’ incense-clouded basements. Whether they’ll trade in the oms for Armani once they graduate to clubland is anyone’s guess. It’s become such a thin, thin line. Still, you know if you threw on some neu-rave Klaxons at the pre-Compressions, the kids would have an air-horn breakdown and an alien breakthrough.

Yep, in these fractious times, the speakers overflow with comfort food. And there’s another retro techno movement snaking its way into the clubs, a splash of cool blue against the electroshocked Day-Glo patchwork of today’s dance music: neominimal. Incubating for the past few years in art galleries like Gray Area and Rx, underground parties like Gentlemen’s Techno and Moxie, unlikely bars like Detox, 222 Club, and the Transfer, and occasional Blasthaus and Daly City Records events, neominimal techno has lately come to the official fore, with major regular parties at the Endup and Fat City taking root and sold-out one-offs at Mezzanine fierce ruling.

The neominimal kids take their cues less from ’90s London big beat and depunked Prodigy than from ’80s acid house polychromatics and the Warp Records–Sheffield bleep scene, while paying heavy dues to laser-eared Detroit techno pioneers like Kenny Larkin and Richie Hawtin, whose classic 1999 full-length Decks Efx and 909 (Mute) kick-started the original minimal movement (he’ll be at the Mighty on June 1). Hawtin told me at the time of DE9‘s release that he wanted to "cut through the clouds of contemporary techno" to produce something more loop focused, software malleable, and dynamic in terms of live manipulation. Eight years later, neominimal’s tweeter-oriented arpeggios, atonal motifs, staticky sprezzatura, and clean, focused bass lines — plus a reliance on laptop programming and a healthy nullity of bombast and breaks — bear out his intentions to the nth. It’s unimposing, almost shy music that hooks you with its lack of superstar pretense and leads you gently by your ears to the dance floor. Not that it doesn’t have soul or humor, as anyone entranced by groundbreaking neominimal releases like "The Sad Piano," by Justin Martin (Buzzin’ Fly, 2003), and "Deep Throat," by Claude VonStroke (Dirtybird, 2005), can attest. It just doesn’t wear them on its digital sleeve.

Internationally renowned local boys Martin and VonStoke spend a lot of time touring the world these days, and both are stabled at well-respected San Francisco label Dirtybird (, but promoters here have only recently been able to convince club owners that neominimal’s a good regular bar draw. Now some much-loved AWOL promoters from the past are rising with the neominimal boat.

"I call it Windex music," promoter Greg Bird — no relation to Dirtybird, but there sure are a lot of birds in SF techno — told me over the phone. "It’s crisp and clear and a lot more funky in a kind of grown-up way." His bangin’ Saturday monthly, Kontrol — recently relocated from Rx Gallery to bigger, all-night quarters at the Endup — celebrates two years of being head above the rest June 2 by bringing in legendary tech heads Baby Ford and DJ Zip to supplement hot-topic Kontrol residents Alland Byalo, Nikola Baytala, Sammy D., and Craig Kuna.

Bird cut through the cork-popping, lounge-heavy blahs of the Internet boom club scene in 2000 with his fascinatingly minimal Clean Plate Club monthly ("clean plate" = minimal groove). "After 9/11 and the bust, I could tell the whole club scene was headed south, so I concentrated on my personal situation. But a couple years ago me, Sammy D., and the others felt the need to bring our sound back to the clubs," he says. Bird emphasizes that Kontrol is all about mixing and making music live, in both a digital and a performance context: "We like to sound immediate." He name-checks Perlon Records, Hawtin’s Minus label, and Los Angeles’s wacky Experimental Liquor Museum collective as current influences. "There’s a ton happening right now," he says. "This summer is going to blow up big for techno in SF."

Another blast from the boom — and a delight for old-school minimal and nonorchestral house fans — is the return of the Staple crew, in this iteration composed of Fil Latorre, a.k.a. Fil Noir from the early ’00s out-of-control Staple and Refuge monthlies, and Dave Javate, a.k.a. DJ Javaight, formerly of the giant Optimal techno parties. Over e-mail, both cite scene burnout and a lack of feeling from the dance floor as reasons they closed up shop, coyly proffer "ichibana, Muay Thai, and pharmacology studies" as the reasons for their absence, and say a recent sense of receptivity to techno, the trend toward live acts, and greater technological capabilities in the form of Ableton Live and Traktor software pulled them out of early retirement. Staple just launched two monthlies at Rx and Anu and brought in Kenny Larkin in May to wow sold-out crowds. "It’s like reloading on experience and refocusing creativity once again on new output," Latorre writes.

I detest it when writers hype new movements. Indeed, almost all the DJs and promoters involved in the latest scene balk at the neominimal — and even minimal — moniker, differentiating themselves from the juggernaut with alternate adjectives like "modular," "organic," and "digital live." But all agree that they’re trying to wipe the tired commercial techno slate clean — and with it, the bad taste of overworked electronica most clubbers still have in their mouths. Many admit that the minimal tag is what’s helping them most to get their music recognized on a grand scale. And there’s definitely a local groundswell of interest in techno. (We gays have forward-looking neominimal heroes too, in DJs Kendig, Nikita, Pee Play, and Robot.Hustle, who keep one ear trained on the alternaqueer retro disco scene.) So for now neominimal’s the name of the Bay techno game. And that may be one to grow on. *


First Sat., 9 a.m.–6 a.m., $15


401 Sixth St., SF

(415) 646-0999


With DJs Richie Hawtin and Magda

Fri/1, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $22


119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151


Second Fri., 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $10

Featuring DJ Mike Huckaby, June 8th

Rx Gallery

132 Eddy, SF

(415) 474-7973


Fourth Thu., 10 p.m.–2 a.m., Free


43 Sixth St., SF

(415) 543-3505

Fab gadgets



SUPER EGO "We’re trying to reverse the great Berlin brain drain," DJ Solekandi of the Bay Area Beatdrop crew told me, with great determination in her voice. She was preparing to launch Filter.SF, the latest and so far biggest monument to the return of peninsular techno, an "official" Saturday monthly at Fat City, that would later spill over — ecstatically — into 8 a.m. "Is that where my brain’s been draining?" I replied, emptying my scotch glass warily. "I honestly thought it was circling somewhere over the Hebrides."

But of course she was speaking of the years-long flight of local electro and techno talent to the undisputed club capital of the early Ohs. Reunification — and a city full of unguarded construction sites — definitely has its advantages. "Let’s face it: techno’s a dirty word here," Solekandi reminded me. "There’s still so much great electronic music evolving in the States, though, transcending itself, working the polyrhythmics. People are shocked that we’re fiddling with grooves at 120 bpm — we’re just as much in reaction to the whole ‘techno has to hit you over the head’ thing as everyone else. We don’t want to be pigeonholed. We’re into stripping all musical genres down, foregrounding different patterns and sequences, but not getting so heady or minimal that you want to stop and think — or jumping off the rails into breakbeat. We mainly started this party because we want to have someplace where people can dance all night. I mean, where did that go?"

Presumably through the Brandenburg Gate. In the "we" above, Solekandi’s including the other half of Beatdrop, her mate, DJ Kontakt. (She was a journalist in Budapest. He was a soulful loner in Toronto. When they met online, listening to Deep Mix Moscow Radio, it was love at first IM.) Solekandi then launches, as any fierce DJ would, into a rundown of her cutting-edge technical equipment: Tracktor software, Faderfox controllers from Robotspeak, Ecler Nuo4 MIDI mixer … Visuals by VJ Mike Creighton? Edirol V-4 Video Mixer, HP ZT-3010US laptop, custom VISP Flash-Flex-Apollo software, Wacom Intuos Graphire tablet …

Phew. When I hear tech heads, even hot ones, geek out over their digital apparatuses, I sink into languid bafflement. Suddenly, I’m a sultry ’60s housewife, lounging on my lime green sectional, slightly pinched by my girdle, nodding while Hubby blathers on about structural changes down at the aeronautics plant. Sounds complicated, darling. Shall I fix us another batch of martinis? May is officially techno month, however, with Movement, Detroit’s legendary electronic music festival (, drawing hundreds of thousands to the Motor City and Montreal’s gargantuan Mutek ( following hard on Movement’s gravel-pitted heels — so technology’s the ultra. Yet I’d naively thought that since techno and vinyl had been pushed from the clubs by laptops and mashups, iPods and electroclash, they would join forces in a retrofuture comeback assault. No can do, it seems. So rock on, techno mama!

"I hate the word Wii," my yummy pal Noel reflected at the recent LCD Soundsystem show when I told him about the latest DJ craze, WiiJing. "It’s just so … happy. Wii. Ugh."

WiiJing, you ask? Hell yes. You knew it was only a matter of time before some genius couch potato hacked their Wiimote to start mixing, as they say, Wiimotely. Well, that time is now, and DJ_! (pronounced "shift one") is that genius. He’ll be here May 12 at Bootie, debuting his skills to the mashup crowd. ("I’ll probably be mashing up my favorite video game themes — anything from Centipede to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six," he claimed.)

I asked Turlock’s Obi-Wii Kenobi over the phone how he did it. "I basically used GlovePie to patch the Wiimote through a Bluetooth dongle into my Ableton Live," he replied. Again the gizmo glaze descended. Still, that must be one heck of a dongle! What’s the range on that thing? "About 15 feet, I think." I riffed on the WiiJ potential, now that DJs won’t be tethered to the decks. Refresh your cocktail midset! Stage-dive without any skips! Embed your Wiimotes into lightsabers and duel other WiiJs!

"Maybe," DJ_! said. "I’m happy just to be able to take a bathroom break." Now that’s putting the wee in Wii, no pun Nintendoed. *


Last Sat., 10 p.m.–8 a.m., $20

Fat City

314 11th St., SF


With DJ_!

Sat/12, 9 p.m.–late, $12

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF

(415) 626-1409

Vino, verde, vici



SUPER EGO Fuck green — I want emerald, I want turquoise, I want veridian. I want shades of chartreuse cascading down the sides of my highball glass and mint cream swirling at the lip of my rim. Mmm. I was going to write this week about how much I’m head over loafers for Lil Mama’s clover new vid, "Lip Gloss," and what the deal is lately with so many trash-tragic newbie chicks wearing flip-flops and fleece to the clubs (did I miss a memo from Target?), but it’s the Green Issue — yay for Earth! — so I’m going in on the recent trend toward "green" cocktails.

Green cocktails? Easy! All you have to do is down eight or nine shots of Fernet, and — voila! — you’re green. And let’s not even get into how some drinks instantly recycle themselves. Yet in terms of mixology, green usually means organic — juices, vodka, ice cubes, fruit flies, what have you. Organic, however, doesn’t necessarily mean green: it probably took five tons of jet fuel to plop that native Guangdong lychee into your tropical Bellini. Conundrums! When it comes to partying green, it seems, the snifter of a conscious tipple is somewhat bruised with environmental irony. It’s environy.

But if you can snag some local fresh-squeezed mixer, shake it with small-batch liquor, and consume only what you need — not hard, since organic cocktails are kind of freakin’ pricey — you can still get three sheets to the wind and not feel like you’re littering. Usual suspects such as gourmet vegetarian legend Millennium ( — house-infused kumquat–star anise gin, anyone?) and the snuggly bar at Roots Restaurant ( in the grandly green-built Orchard Garden Hotel have been in on the organic, fresh-brewed tip for a while. And a few surprising spots have begun wearing their green hearts on their sleeves too. Vesuvio ( in North Beach is bursting with ecofriendly drinks such as the Pojito, a mojito with local-made 209 gin and organic Pama pomegranate liqueur. SoMa restaurant Coco500 ( features a nifty lemongrass Bloody Mary, with lemongrass-infused organic vodka, organic tomato juice, and sriracha (sun-dried chili paste).

As for less immediately intoxicating spirits, Yield Wine Bar ( offers a vast array of biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wines with some of the more harmful of the 250 chemicals involved in production filtered out — that’s almost as many chemicals involved as in the first 10 minutes of a drag queen’s night out. Harmful. Wine’s pretty easy, of course — we live in wine heaven, and the products of conscious vintners such as Beringer ( and Five Rivers Ranch (, as well as those from distributors such as the Organic Wine Co. (, can be found all over. Beer’s getting in on it too: local foam-meister Anderson Valley Brewing Co. ( pumps out the suds from a solar-powered brewery, even.

But the green drink ground zero in San Francisco has to be Elixir in the Mission. Not only does it foreground organic cocktails, but the whole Elixir enchilada is officially green certified by the city in terms of recycling, cleaning, and waste disposal — the first bar of its kind. H., Elixir’s wryly gregarious owner, mixes up fierce experimental environmental drinks at the bar’s monthly green drink happy hour, which brings in an enthusiastic crowd of ecoliquor seekers (who are also really into baseball, judging from the reactions to the big-screen TVs). At a recent green grog gathering, he whipped me up a luscious Eldersour, using organic Square One rosehip-infused vodka and elderflower syrup, and a kick-ass — I can’t believe I’m seriously about to type this word — GreenTeani, a Square One martini with organic green tea infusion and lime zest. It was gone in a minute — gulp.

"There’s the green side of our business — stuff like installing low-flow toilets and making sure we recycle as much as possible," H. says. "And then there’s the organic side, with the drinks, that people seem to be getting really into lately. The little things you can do every day to feel like you make a difference matter more and more, the principle of it — even if it’s related to being a bar or going out. Nobody can be perfect when it comes to environmental stuff. I mean, I drive an old BMW to work — and it doesn’t run on used fryer oil. But it’s paid for."

After a few more GreenTeanis and a quick trip to the low-flow, I had to admit that I certainly felt better about my environment. Global warming? Pshaw. Everything was just ducky. Now where can I get an organic date? *


Second Thursdays, 6 p.m.–late


3200 16th St., SF

(415) 552-1633


Hot Lex



SUPER EGO Lesbians: is there nothing they can’t do? They can run a contemporary art gallery in thigh-baring Versace, tossing back their Paul Labrecqued locks as they leap from their roofless 330Ci. They can go from homeless crack addict to nude Hugo Boss model without gaining a single ounce. They can be a smokin’-hot Latina named Papi, a sassy, brassy canoodler who just happens — surprise! — to be a whiz at hoops. Astonishing lesbians!

Oh, wait. That’s The L Word — about as far from the real world of gloriously rambunctious, wild San Francisco dykes as you can get without scarfing down a gift sack of MAC Pervette lip frost, doing Pilates to Ashlee Simpson ("I am me!"), and microwaving Cheeto, your stump-tailed calico cat. Yes, yes, I know the writhing isle of televised lesbos that L makes LA out to be is one big, fat, easy, anorexic target. Don’t get your Mary Green panties in a bunch, Caitlyn. Just lie back, relax, and think of Joan Jett and Carmen Electra. It’s OK. But just as Chuck D. once bemoaned the fact that most of his heroes don’t appear on no stamps, so my homo heroes don’t appear on no Showtime.

Case in point: Lila Thirkield, the superhumanly vivacious owner of SF sapphic outpost the Lexington Club. When I first moved here in the early ’90s, I almost turned straight or something. The San Francisco my naive dreams envisioned was full of hot, scruffy, tattooed boys into hip-hop and punk, all of them on goofy, gleaming bicycles, occasionally in drag. What I got were mostly overgymed proto–circuit queens in pink spandex thongs and cracked-out twinks you could practically see through. Great if I needed to floss, but … And while all the cute ex–ACT UPers were somewhere adrift — busy shearing sleeves off flannels, maybe — it was the rough-and-tumble sistas who really dotted the t’s on my fanboy résumé. Dykes ruled it.

That was back when wallet chains were radical and FTMs were the new It girls. I’m dating myself, but who wouldn’t, hello? Alas, despite all those Sister Sledge–soundtracked strides up the rainbow of equal signs, women could still get kicked out of bars for making out. Wha? It was a gay man, man, man’s world, and the few lesbian watering holes hewed strictly to the old-school standards: alternadykes, calm down.

Thirkield, a spiky-souled kid at the time, stepped up and opened the Lexington in 1997 to give dykes of a different stripe a dive of their own. Like all bars clever enough to fill a cultural gap, the Lex galvanized its community and reinforced the new, boisterous lesbo aesthetic that combined street activism, machismo appropriation, punk rock attitude, and a winking yen for girly pop culture. And hot sex, of course.

"It seemed so important to have a space where we could be creative, where artists, street kids, and young people could hook up and express themselves," Thirkield says. "It was my first time running a bar, but it was like the whole community was running it with me."

Over the past decade the Lex has persevered in the same spirit. "The economics of the city have really changed," Thirkield says. "Our crowd has a really hard time living here now — that’s why we never charge a cover and we always support other things going on. But really, we’re doing better than ever."

The young drinking dyke crowd has also expanded, finding homes over the years in such spaces as the Phone Booth and Pop’s, as well as legendary joints such as Sadie’s Flying Elephant and the Wild Side West. New bar Stray is catering to a mostly female clientele, and, although lesbian spaces Cherry and the old Transfer have succumbed, a slew of roving dyke dance parties have taken root.

"The dyke scene has changed in the past 10 years too," Thirkield says. "It’s more diverse. Certain aspects of it are more visible in the media — some people expect different things. We get a lot more complaints from people coming in for the first time, saying things like ‘It’s such a dive!’ Well, yes, that’s exactly what it is. I mean, it’s great that lipstick types exist. I hope they find a place that makes them happy. But if you want to flick your lighter and sing along to old Journey songs with a roomful of babes from around the world — like during Pride last year — this is the place."

And what about that pesky L Word? "We get a big crowd to watch it on Sunday nights — mostly because they can’t afford cable. Then they stay for an hour afterward, drinking and bitching about it. So it’s great for business!" *


Sat/14, 8 p.m.–2 a.m., free

3464 19th St., SF

(415) 863-2052

Super Modelo



SUPER EGO The sun-bleached suede pump lay abandoned in a tattered jumble of grasses, beneath a grove of swaying palms, next to a ruined hacienda. Vermillion nasturtiums burst through the hacienda’s broken crimson bricks. Embossed on the pump’s inner sole, one word: predictions. Suddenly, a pair of untethered horses flashed into view — one black, the other sweet caramel, weaving their way to a freshwater lagoon at the tip of the white sand beach just beyond us. The grove lit up like a David Lynch interior. Both horses froze to inspect me and Hunky Beau, their glittering eyes four obsidian orbs, the clang-clanging cowbells roped to their well-muscled necks all echoing ancient disco and shit.

Ah, Mexico. Pass the lip balm.

Fearful of my sustained pallor — nightclub, laptop, nightclub, laptop, head shave, rehab — Hunky Beau had whisked me away for a week on the beaches of sunny Baja, to the tiny Pacific outpost of Pescadero, brimming with surfers who’d congregated for wave season. (Two words: Mexican surfers. Delicioso.) "But you’ll miss the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model! Church of Tyra! Church of Tyra!" a tiny voice in the back of my head had protested, the one I call Tiki La Shot. "Big whup, lady," said another, the one I call Mann Coulter. "You’re also missing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Wanna cry about it?"

Turns out I had the dates wrong for both. Then Anna Nicole collapsed. Predictions!

Despite my extended geography of lovers, I still can’t speak a lick of española — which of course only adds to my mysterious attractiveness. The language of sexy is silence. So the only information I could glean from the gorgeous local populace for you is this: if you ever find yourself in an old-fashioned paleteria in the dusty, delightful village of Todos Santos, don’t ask them to scoop your purplicious uva ice cream into a sugar conio.

Also, horrid faggot fashions have truly gone global. While the nuevo dinero flowing in from all the unfortunate American second-home development has triggered a growth market in mid-’90s gangsta baggies among the more macho Baja-anians, abruptly blooming on the street corners are packs of mincing teen Mexican queens with tie-dyed mullets, pink cell phones, and embroidered denim flares. Flacas, please.

Toward the end of our sojourn, we avoided the awful, gringo-polluted Disneyland of Cabo San Lucas and took off to the raucous Carnaval parade and festival in the state capital, La Paz. (Will someone please, please solve the riddle of Middle American female hair? Why are white ladies in Cabo still working the frizzy bob thing, squished into yellow Dress Barn stretchiness, and screaming for "peena coladas"? Tufted bangs, even! I almost had to love it.)

There we swooned over the hundreds of handsome caballeros who’d descended from their mountainside ranchos in impeccably spotless Stetsons, Wranglers, and mustaches to hoof it to banda sinaloense, the breathtaking polka-style Mexican dance music. There were so many tuba, trombone, and accordion ensembles oompa-pahing away mere inches from one another I thought I was being squeezed through an awesome Lawrence Welk mashup tube.

As the gangs of muy guapo musicians waltzed the night away and the blanket sellers hawked their tiger-striped and Virgin of Guadalupe–decorated wares, the pink sliver of the moon dipped below La Paz Bay. I turned to Hunky Beau and sighed. Fuck the fruitless Carnaval cruising, I thought. I’m the real princess here.

Funny how sometimes the hardest nightlife things to find are the ones right under the mirror beneath your nose. So I get back and want to hear some banda on the home team dance floor, right? But … where? Seems any night of the week I can get freaky to Southeast Asian, Brazilian, Moroccan, and Afro-Caribbean beats, but, despite the recent explosion of norteño music (the "gangsta rap of banda"), an early ’00s club interest in electronic-tinged banda by groups such as Nortec Collective, and our own estimable population of Mexican folk, the only reliable finds on my banda radar are occasional events at clubs such as El Rincon, Cancun, the Make-Out Room, and, of course, that reina wonderland, Esta Noche.

In this way, banda is like hyphy: everywhere in the media and streets but rarely on the dance floor. I’m the first to admit that I’m a mite too white sometimes. Just because I don’t know about it doesn’t mean it’s not banging. Therefore, I vow to go immediately to the Discolandia and Ritmo Latino record stores in the Mission and follow the plethora of flyers for live banda to Latinate bliss. Meanwhile, hey, all you worldly and alternative DJs: how about slipping some slices from Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizarrága in your mix? Huh? *

The new woof



SUPER EGO "If you’re snorting coke out of the hollow end of a Parliament filter, you just don’t care anymore," quoth supervixen Beccalicious, standing outside Madrone Lounge, spattered by a light drizzle. But I did care — I do care. The night’s a mosaic of throbbing subbacultchas, and there’re far too many amateur jibber-jabberers hopped up on Bolivian marching powder out there already, waxing the floor with their tongues. Shut up and dance, say I. There’s spittle dripping from your numb mustache.

Thus concludes the soapbox moment portion of our broadcast. Anybody got a smoky bump?

I was heading to Basket, the monthly bear party at the Transfer. It was its last night there before moving to Eight in SoMa. The Transfer was suddenly sold three weeks ago under curious circumstances — its future is still in doubt — but Basket’s promoters, Kuma SF, had already planned a move because the place was too darn small and hot for them. (Old bear joke: "How was the bear bar?" "It was packed! There must have been 10 guys there!") My experience bore that out. There were a lot more than 10 hirsute revelers in attendance, and I couldn’t even squeeze in, let alone see in — the windows were steamier than Eros with a pipe leak. But from all the rumbling of the sidewalk to the boom of techno-lite beats, I knew it was a jammin’ jamboree.

What the heck happened to the bear community? Last time I looked — and, being the desirable cub that I am, I did a lot of looking — it was all flannel shirts, hairy backs, classic rock and country tunes, and an aversion to hip-hop and house that often bordered on racism. Bear with a capital "B" has been around for more than 15 years now — once an important corrective to mainstream images of gay men in the ’90s, it’s still going strong. (This weekend’s International Bear Rendezvous, hosted by Bears of SF, will flood the streets with yee-hawin’ roly-polies.) But any movement that fronted a chubby Marlboro Man masculinity — one composed, in reality, of screaming queens elated at the prospect of unselfconsciousness — was bound to warp into parody.

"It all started out with a philosophy of inclusion," says Orme Dominique of Kuma, which is hosting a giant glamourama IBR after-party, Kavity. "But there was all this rejection of youth culture that second-generation bears found too restrictive. We wanted to dance and be really creative outside the flannel-and-boots thing. A lot of the older bears became the pigs in Animal Farm."

There’s been some kicking against the C&W aesthetic for a while. Cute cub DJ Jew-C hosted a pumping bear-oriented house party at the Powerhouse in the early ’00s, and hairy dreamboat DJ Jonathan’s been swathing bars like 440 Castro (formerly Daddy’s) with hard techno for what seems like forever. The disco-tinged, mess o’ fun biweekly Planet Big at the Stud is almost two years old — and is throwing two big parties during the IBR. And then there’s Sweat, the giant bear monthly event from Gus Presents and Castro Bear (happening twice during the IBR), which many new bear promoters view as the standard their parties play against.

Kuma, which started out, according to Dominique, as the "Burning Man camp of Lazy Bear Weekend," now has several bear shindig-throwing chapters around the US. The success of its SF parties and the twice monthly, bass-heavy after-hours Bearracuda at Deco — thrown by notorious drag queen Rentecca and her luscious bf, Rob, and also hosting an IBR after-party — confirm the emergence of a new ursine outlook: bears don’t need to be line dancers to hit the floor. Just make sure there’re snacks.

Of course, with all the up-and-coming bear name DJs, shirtless stomping, and up-till-dawn antics, the new gen may be in danger of becoming the circuit queens their forebears railed against, but the promoters seem to be doing their best to prevent that by keeping in mind the prime reason for partying: wild fun. It’s Bear 2.0, and I think I’m absolutely intrigued. *




Fri/16, 9 p.m.–4 a.m., $18 presale, $35 door


1015 Folsom, SF

(415) 431-7444


Fri/16, 9 p.m.–2 a.m.; Sun/17, 6 p.m.–2 a.m.; $5


399 Ninth St., SF

(415) 863-6623



First and third Sat., 9 p.m.–3 a.m., $5


510 Larkin, SF

(415) 346-2025


Les goofballs



SUPER EGO How many calories in a Quaalude? Who’s the secretary of the interior? The sexy nurse’s tits pop out of her too-snug latex uniform, a lewd sneer twisting her face, and my mind begins to wander gloriously — up past the ass-licking performance artiste, his cheesy beret slipping sideways as he rapidly splashes acrylic down a huge vertical canvas; over the heads of the middle-aged guys dressed as pirates, ecstatically frugging to a bebop reverb saxophone solo; quick left at the grope-a-clown booth; and through the ceiling of DNA Lounge, into a nighttime of odd ruminations. This is probably dangerous. As leapfrogging fire twirlers quickly suck the oxygen from the club, I realize that I’d simply die if my last, strangulated thought was: wow, the more we upload exotic animals onto digital film, the more they seem to disappear from the earth.

Ladies and gentleman, a bohemian rhapsody.

Appropriate, since me and Hunky Beau are at Bohemian Carnival, the breathtaking, burner-inflected monthly hosted by Boenobo the Klown, ringmaster of local audio headtrippers Gooferman, and Mike Gaines, director of the erotically acrobatic Vau de Vire Society. You want trapezes? They’ll give you trapezes.

Through a series of regular off-the-wall club nights, DNA Lounge has transformed itself into a weekend costume party — goth kids in Doom-era gamer kilts one night, mashup sluts in Santa suits another — and Bohemian Carnival hews to that theme: it looks like Costumes on Haight exploded in here. I’ve never been a fan of store-bought transgression — I’m allergic to polymer pink bobs and rainbow boas, or rainboas. Still, hey, it’s probably really hard for straight people to get freaky and still look cool, so go for it! At least it’s not a bunch of prissy gays in $400 jeans or North Beach guys in swirly shirts with moulding mud-stained collars. Thank goddess for cheap dyna.

The whole vaudeville-circus club thing — a stunning contortionist here, a bearded lady go-go dancer there, bared cleavage everywhere — has blown up big-time. One might even posit that its moment has passed as an underground trend (the $15 cover charge at DNA could be evidence of this if the night weren’t such an expensive-looking spectacle), but since it all sprang from two of our native mainstays, Burning Man and burlesque, it’s not tanking any time soon in San Francisco — and I’m glad for that, ’cause it’s kind of freakin’ fascinating.

Sure, as the carefully staged bacchanal spins before me and the day-job techies get wild, there are the usual thoughts to fixate on: How Burning Man drops the spirituality and focuses on the crudely sexual when translated into a night club. How stereotypes of gender and race — if not necessarily class — collapse and re-form in a swirl of burlesquing desire. How people with amazing muscular tricks can finally find an appreciative audience. How flammable my dress was…. But there are some surprises here too. Imagine my shocked tingle when, on entering, I was greeted by an extended slam-poetic freestyle from MC Jamie De Wolf, hooted on from the sidelines by a crew of suburban-looking gangsters. Has hip-hop — albeit white hip-hop (an upcoming Bohemian Carnival features heartthrob beat-boxer Kid Beyond) — finally entered the Burning Man vocabulary? And a bubbly house set by DJ Smoove brought quite a bit more soul to the dance floor than I ever thought possible at such events. Nice.

Another surprise: more Las Vegas connections on the 11th Street corridor. While uppity clubs like Loft 11 unabashedly pimp Vegas show–style rock nights, Bohemian Carnival’s concept sprang from the legendary 2005 Vegoose Festival, where Boenobo and Gaines hosted VdV’s Twisted Cabaret for 80,000 people. Vegas, hip-hop, house — I guess I should have known. Burning Man’s prime notion is to filter the far-flung fabulosities of pop culture through X-ray goofy glasses; clubs like Bohemian Carnival reduce them to a steamy spot of light. Well, goof on, say I. *


Third Sat., 9 p.m.–4 a.m., $15

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF


Rutting madly



SUPER EGO Oh! Yes! It hurts! Oh yes! It hurts!

My virtual buttocks are on fire.

After my last little column about stuff I’d enjoyed in Clubland over the past year, I got spanked online for downplaying some of the Bay’s ongoing nightlife trends. Namely: breakbeats and house revivals, dubstep and kiddie rave, Burning Man, Burning Man, Burning Man. (Isn’t he burnt yet? Sheesh. It’s like a spiritual tire fire already.) That’s fine, baby: hit me one more time. Getting spanked online was my former profession. If my drag name weren’t already Pantaysia, I’d be known as Rudolpha the Red-Assed Tranny for sure. And luckily, it’s the new year — I can simply wad up my 2006 wall calendar and stuff it down my cut-off liquor store panty hose for some rough-year-behind-me relief. I’m just. That. Crafty. See?

My, but how the sting lingers, the echoing smack of keen reprimands. Whether or not the genres of clubalalia mentioned above — and I’m pretty sure one or more of my personalities has dished them all here in the past — are curvaceous and bearded enough to attract my one good eye is one thing. Whether or not my mouth is so big it can swallow all the wonders of what happens after dark and spit them whole back in your face is another. I’m just one slightly skinny leather hip-hop disco Muppet queer after all. My day job’s at a Wendy’s! I leave being everywhere to other gay peeps.

Yet the familiar finds its way into one’s regular carousing, no? What if I’m in a hot, wet rut? All those back room encounters, bathhouse sounds, bhangra parties, electro flashes, wet jockstraps, mad drag queens, hip-hop karaoke nights, bedroom DJs, shots of Cuervo … could they be of a party piece? Didn’t I once declare krumping the future? Where’s the damn risk?

Yes, I have my broad themes: 2005 was all about the democratization of Clubland via technology — and trying to get laid by a woman for the first time; 2006 was about how clubs reflected our culture’s apocalyptic visions and the return of the outlaw gay underground. Lord knows what the predawn rubble of 2007 will shape itself into. But here are some nifty things I’d like to stick my nosy pumps in.


DJ Jason Kendig, Claude VonStroke, and a giant swath of relocated Detroiters are injecting tiny bleeps and beats in the strangest of places: dive bars and back rooms. What’s the deal?


Bars like Gestalt in the Mission District are serving brewskis to Critical Massers. Clubs like LoGear at the Transfer are making frantic pedalers dance. Will the fixed-gear explosion spawn a raucous rocker renaissance?


Where are the ladies? The fierce rulers of the US club scene at the moment are women from New York City and Los Angeles. For years my money’s been on SF femmes like Jenny Fake, Forest Green, and Claire-Ahl to join them. Why are we still ruled by men?


Fine. For the 13th time I’m calling a house revival. House club mainstays like Fag and Taboo are still going strong. Legendary DJ Ruben Mancias is coming back from New York City for a while to restart his influential club Devotion, and DJ TeeJay Walton is launching a new club called Freak the Beat (, specifically aimed at attracting younger househeds. Fingers crossed.


Last year all the quotes were dropped from retro. People took the sounds and styles of the past seriously, no joke. It paid off in a lot of ways (notably, people stopped laughing and erroneously screaming, "Oh my god, I used to love this song!" when a record had claps or a guitar solo in it). But post-irony was, well, not much fun. Are people on the dance floor smiling yet? That’s better. *

It’s happening, and it’s happening now. Sign up at and you can flame my frickin’ column at will (I know you’ve got scandalous New Year’s Eve tales … better share ’em it before I do). Also: hit up the Pixel Vision blog ( for more club news, reviews, and how-do-you-dos. It’s all about raving in the cubicles, baby.

Ringing it backwards


SUPER EGO Hustlers are like trees — you can usually tell how long they’ve been around by the number of rings around their eyes. Or how many teeth they have left, if trees had teeth, which they don’t, but hey, I’m never one to not stretch a simile to Andromeda and back. They pay me to do it! It’s my elastic destiny.
I was counting the rings on a hot tattooed man-product at the bar closest to my heart, Mr. Lee-ona’s in the Tenderloin, when a thought attacked me: maybe, Miss Marke B., you should do one of those year-in-clubs retrospectives and try to relive, in a Swiss-cheese-brain way, 12 hard months’ worth of gadabouting. The highs, hangovers, hilarity, hurling, what have you.
Suddenly, I was attracted both ways. Retrospectives can be lame, but no one really does them about clubs here. So there’s originality. Plus: I had a coherent thought! I should run with it. Maybe I’ll even earn another ring.

There were oh-so-very many success stories in 2006, not all of them pretty. Here are some. Bootie (, the horrendously wonderful mashup monthly, moved to DNA Lounge and became a secret guilty favorite. Tipsy zombie Santas dancing to Kanye West and Beethoven — ’nuff said. Also: Hard Eight at Crash ( with DJ Tommy Lee blew the roof off retro and introduced a whole new generation of Marina chicks to porn and torn rock T’s. A sight to ponder heartily. The Transfer (415-861-7499) attempted to transform a beloved biker-dyke bar into the most forward-thinking semiunderground party stop on every cool clubber’s night train and ended up being a little of both, which — who knew? — proved to be an addictive combination.

Megaclubs, no doubt. San Francisco had already moved away from cavernous supastar showcase spots by the start of ’06. Even that infamous security-wracked techno black hole, 1015 (, was making good on its intentions to remodel itself into a more intimate, lounge-type joint. Mezzanine ( found it drew more crowds as an edgy concert space than as a circuit host. And while the ever-delayed opening of “super club” Temple ( teased me with inklings of controlled experiments (would the ability to plug your own headphones into a DJ booth be enough to tempt folks to pay $20 door fees and find their way through 10 rooms?), the nightspot’s had too many permit problems to get off the ground. We’re edging toward a time when a “DJ” walks into a bar and plugs a cell phone into the speakers — we’re obviously in need of some intimacy.

In a weird reversal of the ’70s, mushrooms have tied cocaine as the bad-girl head party, but neither of them can beat prescription drugs yet. The bathroom stalls are like freakin’ Canadian pharmacies. The whole ’70s rare-groove gay bathhouse trend is still our most exportable original trend — breakbeats, who? — thanks to Bus Station John and a host of new gay musicologists. Circuit is dead, house keeps taking a beating, and no one’s too snobby about music anymore (too much of a good thing? I’m so puke over the easy ’80s). Club Neon ( and Brigitte Bardot ( are doing wonders with bringing back the ’90s, with original remixes and a glam-grunge aesthetic. Trash drag and its backlash, trashier drag, are merging at an alarming pace. And seedy dives — complete with the occasional hustler — are back for their trademark naughty luxury. No more lava lamps and pod chairs, people! SFBG

301 Turk, SF
7 a.m.–2 a.m.
(415) 292-9803

Talk to the hand



SUPER EGO You may remember Madame, the giddy grande dame of this glorious puppet show we call life — or at least gay life in the ’70s. Chanteuse, raconteuse, free booze — the legendary Madame does it all. When I heard she was out of retirement and performing onstage again, I leaped at the chance to grill this delightful morsel about her recent whereabouts. How could I resist? We have so much in common. She’s a sasspot. I’m a sasspot. Her new show is “It’s Madame with an E!” I’m Marke with an “e.” She only comes alive when a man sticks his arm up her behind. I’m at the midpoint of my once ambitious writing career, interviewing a sexagenarian marionette. It’s kismet!

SUPER EGO: Madame, I love you. My memories and dreams have forever been haunted by your exquisite form, which first appeared to my young gay eyes as a frequent guest on TV’s Laugh In, then as a presenter on Solid Gold, and also as the center square on Hollywood Squares. How does it feel to be such a cultural icon?

MADAME: Me? A cultural icon? My word, darlin’ … all this cheap flattery will get you everywhere. I do adore anything cheap. Cheap flattery, cheap booze, you … I’ve spent so many years giving and giving, and now that I’m a few years wiser, I’m ready to receive. Honey, I’ll take it three times a night if I can get it.

SE: You’ve won two Emmys, untold accolades, and even — along with your former partner, Wayland Flowers — a Sebastian International Fabulous Imagery Award, presented by Bette Davis in 1982. The worth of your career merchandise on eBay is priceless. But you’re also a survivor. Since Wayland passed on many years ago, you’ve been pining away in self-imposed exile, only leaving your box for the occasional dry martini and foot massage. And here’s the big comeback, with you emerging from your emotional cocoon on the arm of a handsome new man. Why now? Is Madame out to change the world again?

MADAME: I am thrilled to death to be treading the boards once again, with my new right-hand man, Joe Kovacs. I could never give up entertaining. Even though I was out of the spotlight for far too many years, I did not completely stop, um, performing. Unfortunately, every time the cops would show up, I’d have to hide behind a bush until the coast was clear. But certainly, at my advanced age, I am not out to change the world … just my Depends.

SE: What can we expect to see in your new show — a personal journey? Songs of redemption? Alcoholics Anonymous testimonials?

MADAME: My new show has a little bit of something for everyone. Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something oh-so-very blue. Just like my new vibrator. So leave the little ones at home … or I guess you could crack the window and leave them in the car.

SE: As a woman of a certain age, how do you stay so well preserved? What’s your secret?

MADAME: Good, hard living. Plus the occasional application of Murphy’s Oil Soap and a light buffing.

SE: Any inspirational words of wisdom you’d like to share with the young people of today?

MADAME: Honey, when it all seems too dark and everything’s closing in on ya, get out of the back room and hit the dance floor! Just reach out and touch someone other than yourself for once. And for God’s sake, laugh, dammit, laugh!

IT’S MADAME WITH AN E! Thu/30–Sat/2, 8 p.m. York Hotel, Empire Plush Room 940 Sutter, SF $30 1-866-468-3399

HELP IS ON THE WAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS VIII With Madame and Nancy Sinatra Sun/3, 5:30 p.m. Herbst Theatre 401 Van Ness, SF $45–$150 (415) 273-1620



SUPER EGO The best thing about childhood obesity is I can fit in all the clothes now. Dora the Explorerwear, Juicy Couture for Kids, even Mary-Kate and Ashley Teen Look. No door, no path, no avenue is closed to my cheap and whimsical fashion tastes. No “Barfin’ BILF” tube top for toddlers can squeeze me out of my juvenile fancies. Thank you, overweight preteens of America! Viva los junk foods!
And so goes the mind. I was rifling through a rack of knockoff baby Baby Phat the other day when the fluorescents at Thrift Town grew one shade of puke green lighter, and I fell into a consumerist reverie — my thoughts rippling and stretching like the toxic, Korean-stitched Spandelux beneath my gas station press-on fingertips. Tell me, has Clubland become a tangle of infinite niches? Do the tight, glowing pockets of each individual scene form a Great Barrier Reef: part of a vibrant, neon nightlife tapestry, yet each a total entity unto itself? Do the hefty-boobed metal-chick wonders at Crash form a silicone wall, the sideways-haired Casanova scruffsters a moat of cold shoulders, the overexcitable twinks at Bar on Castro an army of flamboyant spastics, their tweezed brows raised like little red flags, two high-pitched shrieks of warning?
And while we’re at it, what’s up with Nancy Pelosi’s eyes? Girl looks spun as a dinner plate at a Chinese circus. Nancy, meet Tramadol. Tramadol, Nancy.
There, like, used to be this thing that happened. The “cool” kids would start a music and nightlife scene. They’d get a couple months to revel in cooler-than-thou, bonding with freaks of like mind. Eventually, the scene would get too big for its britches and start being overrun by “normals.” Everybody wanted in, diluting the scene’s insular charms and making the original fans bitter, smugly smoking their pastel Nat Shermans and sharpening their claws on the newcomers. But that hasn’t happened since house and techno were bastardized into horrid music for aerobics classes. It’s not the kind of music that matters anymore, it’s the attitude that defines. My dreamboat rock critic, Kalefa Sanneh, calls this phenomenon “mini-monoculture.” I call it kind of boring (although I’m lovin’ the lack of scene cattiness). Without overpopularity to push you on to the next scene, it’s all too easy to get stuck. That may be why we’re all still falling backward into the ’80s. Aa-aaahhh …
But sometimes something refreshing comes totally out of left field, something no one can claim to own or hole up in. I’m talking about clubs like the monthly NonStop Bhangra, one of my favorite places to watch people of all stripes let their J/A/S/O/N/-gelled hair down and get a little silly, which does an end run around the whole American underground malaise by packing a woven hemp record bag and flying us off to the world of Bollywood and Bangalore, fronting a cosmopolitan style that totally disarms.
Punjabi by way of London, bhangra music is the tabla-driven electroclash of now, mixing 15th-century Indian folk music with bass-heavy hip-hop (henna-tinted hyphy?) — without an inkling of disco drama. Other great joints such as Dhamaal at Club Six and Bollywood Nights in Santa Clara have pumped the bang-bang-bhangra for years, but NonStop, started a couple years ago by Vicki Virk and Suman Raj-Grewal of dholrhythms dance troupe and DJ Jimmy Love, delivers the whole Punjabi enchilada to the heart of mini-mono scensterdom, Rickshaw Stop. Professional dance performances, lessons for beginners, live painting and drumming, superduper psychedelic visuals, and the fabulous, mini-multicultural sight of people shaking their bangles in glee — what’s better? The upcoming NonStop, Nov. 18 with guest DJ Sep, is the last one of the year, and it’ll be a doozy of a Delhi, a much-needed tonic for anyone feeling trapped in their scene.
Whoa. Amazing the thoughts that pop into your head while you’re stuffing fat kids’ clothes into your Wonderbra, no?
THIS JUST IN: What do club goddesses Heklina, Lady Bunny, Lady Kier from Deee-Lite, and practically every cheap-ass, to’-up drag queen in this whole gloriously damned burg have in common? That’s right, tax problems. Oh, and they’ll also be at the fantasmic, sure-to-be-scandal-ridden Miss Trannyshack Pageant on Nov. 18. I’m not pumping this long-running institution just because Trannyshack head honchette Heklina has a nail gun to my ear hole. Really. I’m pumping it because it’s wild fun! SFBG
Every third Saturday, 8 p.m.–2 a.m. (no event in December)
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
$10 advance, $15 door
(415) 861-2011
Sat/18, 9 p.m.–4 a.m.
Regency Center
1300 Van Ness, SF
$25 advance, $35 door

Economy class


SUPER EGO “Please pass the grilled Moroccan spice-rubbed lamb loin,” I dewily asked the cute investment banker from Philadelphia on my left.
Me and Hunky Beau were seated under the Saturday stars at Escondida, a “hidden kitchen” — a.k.a. renegade restaurant in someone’s home or backyard — deep in the Outer Mission, at a table that also included four hip lady lawyers and a postgrad neurobiologist from UCSF who makes headphones for birds. (Don’t ask. Well, OK — first you implant screws in the skulls of small finches, and then you jury-rig a sort of “fly-pod” out of two Q-tips and an old transistor in order to test their hearing skills. Someday, I swear, those poor, deaf birds will have revenge on us all.)
Hidden kitchens are big these days, especially since the permit processes for restaurants and clubs seem to be getting more complex by the minute, and most of the time the underground menus are cheaper than the real thing: you get multicourse gourmet eats plus drinks in a lively underground setting for the price of appetizers at Andalu. And there’s a naughty inspectors-be-damned thrill to boot. (It’s all very hush-hush, but you can usually find hints about upcoming covert cucina events on or Craigslist — just don’t sue me if you get botulism. I got nothin’ for ya.)
The food and company were delish. But me? I was more interested in shoving as much entrée as I could into my faux-leopard baguette handbag — the Hunkster and I were due on a plane to Honolulu in a few hours to attend the biggest gay wedding of the year in Waikiki. And a girl can’t survive a five-hour ride on $4 minicans of Pringles alone. It was bad enough I had to pack my in-flight Stoli in three-ounce saline solution bottles just to get past the damn check-in.
Waikiki? Why not, I say. But first, a real drink to get the whole aloha ball rolling. So we hit up Jet, the new Greg Bronstein joint in the Castro where the Detour used to be, and ordered us up some primo alco-Dramamine. Although I partially miss the hurricane-fence decor and tragic queen atmosphere of the Detour, Jet’s awfully cute, with black padded leather walls, Broadway marquee lighting, and a fuzzy pink double bed in an alcove in the back. There’s also a small dance floor, rare these days in the Castro without a giant video screen playing Kylie Minogue. The club, in all its luxuriant gay sleaziness, is either a pint-size Studio 54 or Liza Minnelli’s future mausoleum. Probably both. Right now, the music is all hip-hop lite — pretensions to be the next Pendulum? — and there’s a velvet rope on weekends — as if! — but something could definitely be done with the place.
Lemme tell you though, Honolulu in October is fabu. The mangoes are huge, the agua is aqua, the gay scene is horrid — new club coming in November: Circuit Hawaii! — and the 14-year-old tranny hookers in six-inch clear plastic heels are gorgeous. Plus there’s, like, five military bases nearby, for those into raping drunk Marines. And who isn’t? Me and Hunky were hopping around like we had humuhumunukunukuapuaas in our Volcoms.
My dearest amigos from the old EndUp days, ChrisP and Armando, got betrothed right on the water in a tear-jerking all-hula celebration bursting with orchids and sunlight. There weren’t any conch shell blasts or caged white doves (or earthquakes), but the grooms were rowed into the friends-and-family ceremony on an outrigger by four hot muscle dykes in sports bras — an ancient tradition, I’m told. It was the second amazing gay wedding I’d been to this year, and although I used to rail against such things politically — why be normal? — I cried like Tonya Harding at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Love is real. And so was the open bar, which me and my sadly, gloriously bare ring finger quickly sidled up to for a post–gay marriage mai tai, studiously avoiding the moony-eyed intimations Hunky Beau was sending my way. I’m not quite done playing hard to get yet. Or am I? Aloha! SFBG
2348 Market, SF
8 p.m.–2 a.m.

Escape pods


SUPER EGO Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space. Moonlight kisses the city’s knockoff gold metallic Fendi slingbacks, the ones with the sparkly diamantine heels, and slides up the back of its dime-store disco-ball dress — a little slap here, a little tickle there — until it reaches the ragged sunburst of hair at the nape of its neck and launches into daylight, where the real party is these days. And here we all are in our hot-pink neon escape pods, canoodling with the oceanic music, zipping past the anguished twists and turns, the endless downs and downers of the real world, with all the trashy grace and alien style we can muster. Because really, what else can we do? The real world’s moving on without us, easing its oily fingers into annihilation’s tight black hole, ringing torture’s doorbell, its xanthochroous eyes frothing like a million zillion bubbles of electronic beer shampoo. Kure kure takora! Gimme, gimme octopus!
Whoa. What was in that magic truffle? Oh, that’s right. Drugs. Never trust a tranny dressed as Little Bo Creep bearing gifts at a street fair.
Thing is, I’m pretty sure I never ate it — too many empty calories. But in the past month I really wouldn’t have had to. With LoveFest, the Folsom Street Fair, the new Summer Music Conference, and umpteen outdoor parties, we’ve finally found a way to stretch the wondrous, hallucinatory panties of Burning Man across an entire month.
Suits me just fine. Hey, some of us ain’t rich enough to spend a whole week toodling around the high desert in a crotch-scented sarong. Better we get the Man delivered right to our back door. (Oh, and to all you fabulous burners: I’m still waiting for my thank-you gifts. While you were out spiritually saving the universe, I was covering for your sandy, goddess-loving cracks at work.)
So with all the amazing things going on — the herd of giraffes raving outside City Hall, the leather corsets winking in the sunshine like semaphore come-ons, the perverts and the children joining hands — it was easy to let one’s mind wander, to drift like a sea monkey up to the top of the tank and climb out for a better look.
Was there any meaning to it all? Thousands and thousands of shiny, happy lovers taking to the streets again and again, completely unencumbered, it seemed, by any overt political message. Totally stripped of any frustrated protest. After a while it got kinda weird. I admit, I’m a little old-school. When people used to tell me it was foolish to think parties could change the world in a practical way, I’d hand my two good earrings to the sister standing next to me and tear into their skinny, cynical asses like a wet gremlin. But the whole “change the world” pie in the sky no longer seems on the menu.
I raised a brow this year when one of the LoveFest organizers told me the party’s big ambition was to be a “shining star of love in the current night.” I howled with laughter at the folks who paid $90-plus to go to one of the giant Folsom-oriented leather parties. (Guess we’re not all in this together.) And hardly a single call to any real-world revolution did my Cuervo-crossed eyes see, not even an artistic one. (What a horrible drag all that political stuff is. Embarrassing.)
Was it too much to ask for even just one giant Bush puppet? There was a time not long ago when you couldn’t climb out of the Dumpster without the papier-mache fingers of one of those goddamn things getting caught in your brand-new used wig.
Of course things happened behind the scenes. Folsom donates thousands of dollars to organizations for people in need. Burning Man and LoveFest and all the rest “keep the creativity flowing.” And who would argue that no greater good can come from a monthlong blast of mind-blowing music or a tattooed musclebear from Paris trying to pick you up? (Too bad I’d seen his pornos. I just couldn’t deal with his “sex face.”)
But I had some classic grumpy-hippie flashbacks: Where was all the anger!? What the heck are we fighting for!? Fuck the man! Have we become so disillusioned with our own outspokenness after six long years of virtual political ineffectiveness that we now channel all our practical energy into the personal realm? Or did we just need, for once, to escape the endless fighting and get it on? Are parties now just cosmic battery rechargers? I wondered: what exactly is “the love”?
Then I threw on my banana yellow poncho and break-danced with a blue gorilla, sparkling like a Texan’s sequined chaps. Truffle, anyone? SFBG



SUPER EGO Does it count as gay if you’re in love with yourself? That was my philomasophical rumination as I obsessively re-YouTubed Kevin Federline’s icky, icky “rap” debut on last month’s Teen Choice Awards. Because if loving yourself counts, then I agree with most of the 200,000 teens who posted comments: K-Fed is gay, honey. Too gay to know she’s a train wreck.
Yet I simply couldn’t tear myself away. My chica Anna Conda had just got fagbashed in the Tenderloin. (She’s OK; the fucks got busted.) There’s a ginormous police state crackdown on New York clubs going down right now. And then, you know, the whole scary fuckin’ world and stuff. Oh lord, it’s a mess.
But here I was lost in the Yubehole, glued to Mr. Britney Spears’s Vanilla Ice-O-Matic Beastie Boys bar mitzvah act, complete with breakin’ goofballs in golf pants and choreography cribbed from Basic Instinct’s bisexual dance floor. Ignorance was bliss. Thank the ethernet someone just then uploaded hundreds of ’90s underground vogue ball clips, so I could toggle my ogle to some real synthetic talent — and erase the taste of rap tapioca from my slack-jawed mouth. Search string “femqueen” for days and days of two-snaps-up.
Talking point: if technology’s taught us anything, it’s how to use our screens to look away.
Talking point: I’d still do him. Ugh.
But wait. Hold up. Replay selection. Why the online mainline? If I really wanna see someone act a fool, I’d rather see it in person. I’d rather have some fun with it — and them have fun with it too. One of the finer club pleasures to arise since the death of the supastar DJ has been the explosion of live performance. People are gingerly stepping out of the virtual fishbowl and doin’ it live. Dirty drag, ragged karaoke, amateur strip contests, impromptu tambourine circles: it’s an interactive wonderland out there, I tells ya. A Xanadu on Xanax. And everyone’s a sparkly Newton-John.
So fuck K-Fed. I bust out to FAME!, the new hip-hop karaoke monthly at the Bar of Contemporary Art, hosted by DJ White Castle and MC Hector Preciados of the Sweatbox crew. It’s a smallish crush of good-looking folks there, but the joint is boisterous. The first thing I see is a guy in a Jesus getup flowing to some Notorious B.I.G. That put the kibosh on my plans to tackle “It Takes Two.” Can’t beat the Notorious JC, y’all. He’s followed up by a dude in a Hebrew Oakland A’s cap. Say what? I’m freakin’ out. The kid has mads, and the crowd’s tipped up on its South Side Zappos, spilling its cran-Absoluts. Polish up your Tupac and have at.
Four shots later, I head to Deco for nine-foot-tall dragsaster Renttecca’s new out-of-control monthly, Starfucker. Absurd Galz-Gone-Wild antics galore, a downstairs sex parlor, busty wonder Hoku Mama’s loungy sauna-swamp, and a “Hottest Ass in the Tenderloin” contest. (I brought a can of Raid for that last one. And maybe will for the second one as well.) I was approaching Deco’s magic portals when a large, muscular hand laid itself on my seductively bared shoulder. It was one of the hot denizens of FAME!
Dip it low, pick it up slow, roll it all around, punk it out like a backhoe: uh-oh. Looks like my trajectory’s changed. Sorry, Renttecca, but in the limpid, slightly crossed pools of his gangsta-dreamy eyes I forgot Deco, forgot Starfucker, even forgot FAME!
Hey, what’s my name? SFBG
Last Fridays, 10 p.m.–2 a.m.
414 Jessie, SF
(415) 756-8825
Fourth Fridays, 10 p.m.–4 a.m.
510 Larkin, SF
Call for price
(415) 346-2025

The transformer


SUPER EGO Every time I think of change, I think of robots cutting my hair. Possibly this is because I ate a lot of toothpaste as a kid. But even more possibly, it’s because each time I used to come to on the sidewalk outside the old Transformer hair salon at Page and Laguna, I’d think, “Listen, Wanda. You seriously gotta do something different with your eternal teenage life.” Then I’d cheerily swoosh the asphalt off my mismatched Keds and go again.
But all the signs were lately lining up for a cosmic automatonic buzz cut, at least in clubland. Yes, yes, I know we’re trapped in a the-more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same apocalyptic retro loop, but things were getting seriously weird on the spinning wheels tip. I dashed to the Hush Hush Lounge for a supposedly glam party a couple Saturdays ago, but when I got there it was closed, dark, shuttered, boarded up. Sold overnight (again) — everyone expelled. So I jetted to the Expansion to meet cute Israelis for Jager shots — same thing, dammit. What the hell was going on? Was I a bar curse?
Then three new hot spots were revealed in quick succession, all with highly confusable names: Shine (, Stray (, and Slide ( I’d like to think the sibilant lisp of their similarity is yet another Snakes on a Plane viral marketing strategy, but really, are we there yet? And to power-top it off, some new bling-bling break-dance bar called Double Dutch opened in the old Cama spot, biting both name and concept from Double Dutch Disco, the superstar alternaqueer party of the past eight months. Way to be tone deaf to the scene, brahs.
But the real hot hearsay on the transformation front was Bruno’s, reopened after months and months of remo, shedding its smoky mobster steak house past for a Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Mission via Marina makeover. Hell, I’ll bite — it sounded horrifying. Besides, I’d been needing to hit up more straight hangs, really. When even your boyfriend says you’re getting too gay, it’s time to toss out the fuchsia wrist limpers and purchase a nice George Foreman or something. Worse, in the blizzard of mind-blowing gay-las I’d been attending lately, I’m afraid I’d come to think of het bars in general like I think of Toronto, which, to quote my club chum Cyril, is a place where all the trannies are named Chris. I hate that.
So me and Hunky Beau hop on the sexy motorbike and head out, eager to sip Corzo Cadillac margaritas by a (hopefully fake) fireplace and pretend to pick up nubile blond sales executives with our extensive ironic vocabulary, Norelco-groomed stubble, and wacky printed shirts. At last, a change was a-gonna come!
But just look what I get for being prejudicial. We’re cruising up Mission Street, trying to remember exactly where Bruno’s is, admiring the dazzlingly slumped-over fauna of the local panorama, when — bam! We crash headlong into the trunk of a parked cop car. Whoops. I pull a total John Woo and flip over the wreck, landing fabulously spread-eagled on the uneven pavement. Dazed, I look up into a halo of stunned hunky cops and the curious gang members they’d been interrogating, flashing lights eerily glinting off jet-black visors and tarnished gold teeth. So this is heaven, I thought. Well, pass me a box of Trojans. Looks like I’ve got work to do.
We’re OK, the bike and the cop car are totaled, and the next night we hauled our bruised egos to Bruno’s for a chill-out dose of Peach Bellinis, leopard-skin carpeting, Lauryn Hill on the turntables, copious Kewpie doll paintings, and busty servers kneeling to take our order. Sure enough, BtVotD was looped on the giant plasma screens, but the fireplace was real, the gimlets were strong, the booths had been replaced by a long communal dining table, and the ahi burgers were under $20. And hey, guess what? Some guy even tried to pick me up in the men’s room. Miraculous! SFBG
2389 Mission, SF
Nightly, 5:30 p.m.–2 a.m.
(415) 550-7455