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

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Super Ego

Queen freak


SUPER EGO Who celebrates her 50th birthday by wallowing in a 40-gallon kiddie pool of chocolate pudding at the city’s oldest gay bar? Who grew so enthusiastic during a drag number at Trannyshack in 2003 that she bent all the way backward and broke her spine? Who flits so deliciously through the spectrum of sexuality and gender that I last heard her identify herself as an MTFTM Nearsighted Bi-Polar Bear With Vampiric Tendencies?

Who is one of our last remaining links to SF’s gloriously weird club past? Phatima Rude, that’s who. The perennial ghoulish go-go and beautiful creature is living history. After moving here in the late ’80s and flirting with the Imperial Court drag dynasty, she dived into the underground — looking, at 300-plus pounds in a blond wig, “like Divine by way of Barbra Streisand” — starting at the legendary Club Uranus among such luminaries as Jerome Caja, Michael Blue, DJ Lewis, and Michael Angelo.

“I walked into that place and knew I had found my family, I had finally found my freaks,” she told me about Uranus. “The wonderful thing about drag is you can be someone else. I never was in the closet — I never knew what that was. But in drag, I no longer had to be Kevin from Minnesota.” Her first drag number, at one of the first Trannyshacks, involved dressing in clothing from dead or dying friends, and stripping each piece off one by one.

Phatima’s also a prime example of what it takes to hold on as an artist in this town. Ladies and Gentlemen: Phatima Rude, a short film by ethnographer Paul King premiering at Peaches Christ’s essential Underground Film Festival, documents the months last year that she spent living in a van on disability insurance, after she had to leave her shared artists’ co-op.

“It was actually a good experience,” Phatima, who’s now happy to have a place in a downtown SRO, said. “It humbled and stabilized me. You become very aware of where you are in the universe when you live on the street. When my mother and I first moved here and were staying in a shelter, I remember the pastor in charge saying, ‘The hardest step is from the gutter to the curb.’ And I never forgot that.”

Now Phatima has hit another creative peak, appearing in challenging Leigh-Bowery-in-a-blender outfits at parties like future-gothy monthly Dark Room at the Stud, and making music with her band The Unicorns R Dying, or T.U.R.D. What has she learned from her journey so far? “Life is tenuous, we’re all so blessed to be here, and drag is the gateway to the world!”

LADIES AND GENTLEMAN: PHATIMA RUDE featuring an all-star drag performance tribute to Phatima, Sat/12, 9:30pm, $15 ($20 for Underground Film Festival pass). Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, SF.




Sometimes you just want some engaging, melodic nu-disco house that will make you sweat without tearing out your brain. Like fellow earworm heartthrob the Magician, Italian-Belgian cutie Vito de Luca delivers in spades.

Thu/10, 9pm-late, $10–$15. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Smart, fantastical bass-laden soundscapes from this French producer with an excellent ear. (Check new EP Apache and his ace Electronic Beats on Air mix.) With Branchez.

Thu/10, 9pm, free with RSVP at 1015 Folsom, SF.



When this Chicago afro-centric house master was booted off the decks by idiots in Miami a couple years ago, it pointed up the strange polarity of dance music today. Luckily Ferrer’s deep beat goes on.

Fri/11, 9:30pm-late, $15–$20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.



The celebrated Bulgarian sage of handmade acid grooves returns — towing crazy new machines, sing-along drum patterns, and balls-out beats, we’re sure. With Matrixxman and Jason Kendig at the fast-growing Isis party.

Fri/11, 9:30-3:30pm, $10–$15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Last weekend was alive with music, celebrating the life of Frankie Knuckles. Beloved Chicago boogie-house wiz Derrick, one of Frankie’s direct heirs, will bring even more of Frankie’s spirit down. With UK ’90s fetishist duo Bicep.

Sat/12, 9pm-5am, $15–$20. Mighty, 119 Utah,




Look, we know how it is. Sometimes you just need to get out there — at whatever time it is — and grab a dang drink. Fret no more: Here’s our handy guide to getting a little tipsy on, round-the-clock.

View the Clocktails chart it in full and print it out (PDF) here.

NOON: The Ramp Huge, killer Bloody Marys and a heaping plate of fried calamari on the waterfront — that’s how to welcome in the afternoon, especially if you’re on your way to a ballgame. 855 Terry Francois Blvd, SF.

1PM: La Mar perfectly made Peruvian Pisco sours, sipped by the seaside — well, bayside — please. If you’re feeling especially adult, dive into a tangy, whiskey-like capitan cocktail. Pier 1.5, Embarcadero, SF.

2PM: Wild Side West The sun goddesses are usually on your side, whisking away the Bernal Heights clouds and allowing you an afternoon basking on the patio here with a tall glass of cider. 424 Cortland, SF.

3PM: Biergarten: Wednesday-Sunday, grab a glass of Hacker-Pschorr, Schneider Weisse, or Almdudler and enjoy a (hopefully) sunny Hayes Valley late afternoon. Sometimes, there’s even oompa-pah. 424 Octavia,

4PM: Yield Nothing better in the late afternoon than a great glass of sustainable vino — say, an Urban Legend pinot — and a little downtime with charm at this Dogpatch wine bar. 2490 Third St, SF.

5PM: Hopwater Dash to this too-cool spot right after work to beat the crush: 31 taps of delicious California brews — try Altamont’s Scarcity IIIPA for a quick buzz — and a singles scene that will keep you busy into the night. 850 Bush, SF.

6PM: Hi Tops This surprisingly diverse gay sports bar in the Castro boasts the city’s yummiest Michelada, the “Big Unit” tequila cocktail, awesome vintage décor, and 25-cent buffalo wings on Mondays. 2247 Market, SF.

7PM: Top of the Mark Perch atop the Mark Hopkins hotel for a perfectly made Cosmopolitan — sip it slow (it’s $14) and enjoy a near-panoramic view of San Francisco as the sun sets. 999 California, SF.

8PM: Tosca Cocktail time with classic, date-friendly flair: The recently rejuvenated North Beach fave can still make a fat lady sing with a sharp Casino Bar Negroni 1919 or fruity Zamboanga. 242 Columbus Ave, SF.

9PM: Virgil’s Sea Room Get naughtical at the hippest recent addition to the bar scene, with a cute patio, Mission-scruffy crowd, and drinks named after beloved locals like the slinky, vodka-licious Vicki Marlene. 3152 Mission, SF.

10PM: Martuni’s Show tunes + martinis = Martuni’s, and you’ll be singing your heart out at the piano with a jovial crowd of musical-lovers after a couple dirty ones, guaranteed. 4 Valencia, SF.

11PM: Li Po If you would like your mind erased with a raucous, fun-loving Chinatown crowd, order the magical Chinese Mai Tai here and hold on for dear life. 916 Grant, SF.

MIDNIGHT Nihon Whiskey Bar Slip out of the club and into something silky and sophisticated at this beautiful Japanese hot spot. Great for conversation, especially when sipping a smoky Bunnahabbain Toiteach. 1779 Folsom, SF.

1AM: 500 Club Drink in some true old school Mission atmosphere — we’re gonna recommend sticking with Fernet shots and Trumer back here, since by this point your taste buds are shot. 500 Guerrero, SF.

2AM: Sidewalk sale: Our fascistic 2am closing time? It’s 3am, really, if you count the socializing crowds cast out on the sidewalk, flasks flashing. Locally bottled Cyrus Noble bourbon is really good from a flask.

3AM: The after party: “Back to mine” shouts the lucky lady with accommodating neighbors, and off you go. Don’t settle for Smirnoff-chugging: our own Hangar One vodka, made from grapes, will win the night.

4AM: The after-after party: Nothing is better (or more romantic) than a bottle of Roederer Estate brut downed between swingset rides at Alamo Square Park — watch you don’t get a ticket, though.

5AM: The morning cap: Slip on those shades as the sun slips up — it’s time for a fizzy pick-me-up. Some Alameda-made St. George gin with a splash of sparkling grapefruit will get you up and at ’em.

6AM: Gino and Carlo: Morning shots! This North Beach classic — since 1942 — sports good old-fashioned Italian moxie, a ton of tipsy Beat history, and strong enough pours to wake you right up. 548 Green, SF.

7AM: Ace’s Budweiser for breakfast? Hey, you’ve come this far. Sink deep into the couches of this proud, dimly lit Nob Hill dive, and clink cans with your fellow “morning people.” 998 Sutter, SF.

8AM: Bechelli’s Flower Market Café A well-kept secret: the Flower Market Fizz, with orange juice, gin, and egg whites, is one of the best wake up calls around. Nice breakfast too, if you’re into that. 698 Brannan, SF.

9AM: Beach Chalet Nothing beats a refreshing peach Bellini after your morning run along Ocean Beach (or to steel you for a day of sightseeing with guests). You can get these by the pitcher here! 1000 Great Highway, SF.

10AM: Buena Vista Café Was the contemporary Irish Coffee really invented here in 1952? Who cares, this is the perfect time to down a couple delicious ones — before the Fisherman’s Wharf tourists rush in. 2765 Hyde, SF.

11AM: Cafe Flore Mornings on Flore’s spacious patio are a quiet, sunny Castro treatany kind of margarita you want in a European atmosphere, brimming with gorgeous people, of course. 2298 Market, SF.


True House: Where to celebrate Frankie Knuckles’ legacy this weekend


I have so much to say about how much influence house originator Frankie Knuckles had on the SF scene (and basically the entirety of my life) — but I’m still so much affected and in shock at his passing, that I think the best way to work it all out is, as usual, hitting the dancefloor. Let’s come together this weekend and celebrate the Godfather’s warm and joyous gift of music.

I’m figuring the spirits will be coming down at every party happening this week, but these are my personal recommendations:


Tubesteak Connection: Disco purist DJ Bus Station John is expert at revealing house’s underground gay roots at his weekly party in the glorious depths of the Tenderloin.



Taboo: Frankie’s #1 SF connection is our own incredible David Harness, the one person here who most embodies Frankie’s sound and spirit. He and Frankie played together innumerable times. This Oakland party, which Harness has put on for more than a 15 years now, will be a reunion and a true tribute.

House Dance Conference: Three days of insanely talented house dancers hosting open sessions, lessons, and positive interaction — all culminating in a huge party, of course. Bring your sneakers.

Throwback: This huge and perfect monthly tribute to ’90s house music at Mighty is coming at the right time to indulge in Frankie’s signature sounds. With DJs Galen, Jacob Sperber, Renoir, Jayvi Velasco, and Miguel Solari.


Blessed 5-Year Anniversary: One of the best soulful house parties on the planet, this incredibly diverse and moving Oakland jam rings in a fiver with David Harness, Discaya, and Rafi Acevedo.

GO BANG!: Our own legendary Steve Fabus was spinning at the Trocadero Transfer as Frankie was coming up in Chicago and New York. This is the monthly, fabulous disco explosion he puts on with DJ Sergio, this time featuring the really, really good Apt One and Emily Coalson.    



Sunset season opener: This enormous old school house family reunion picnic in Stafford Lake Park from the Sunset crew will overflow with hugs, tears, smiles.


Peep peep


SUPER EGO Three signs that our nightlife spring has sprung, sure as the annual return of the swallows to Blow Buddies: the Sunset season opener party, Hard French’s outdoor re-emergence, and the star-studly LGBT Center gala Soiree.

Our queer old-school soul treasure Hard French (Sat/5, 2pm-8pm, $8. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. will pack El Rio’s patio every first Saturday here on out with the joyous sounds of frugging and jiving. Later, all the drag, queer, and club luminaries will brighten up Soiree (Sat/5, 6:30pm-midnight, $95. City View, 135 Fourth St, SF. — the proceeds go for job and economic skills training for LGBT youth, many of them homeless. This year’s theme is “A jazz tribute to the Beat generation,” so don’t forget your beret and bongos. Performances galore.

Sunset (Sun/6, 11am-7pm, $5–$120. Stafford Lake Park, Novato, is one of our most storied party crews — this is its 20th anniversary. And the huge, yearly season opener blast is like one big, very big, family picnic. There are rave babies, and their own rave babies! And thousands of smiles. And of course special surprise guests and a raging afterparty back in the city. Bring your picnic basket.

PS My column went to press just as I was hearing the sad news of DJ Frankie Knuckles’ passing. Here’s a list of parties this weekend that will be truly great tributes to his spirit and legacy.



Good ol’ four-on-the-floor house, with a bit of ethereal heft behind it, from this prominent, hunky New York DJ. With the UK’s Leon Vynehall, whose glorious “Step or Stone (Breath or Bone)” was one of the best tracks of last year.

Fri/4, 10pm-3am, $10–$15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



High and dirty times at the Eagle whenever this fantastic party from Seattle comes to town courtesy of force of nature DJ Nark. Get into it with DJs Chip Mint and Guy Ruben, towering drag hosteses Jem Jehova and VivvyAnne ForeverMore, “camera in her wig” videographer Drewnicorn, and a dance floor packed with hot scruffs.

Sat/5, 9pm, $7. The Eagle,  398 12th St, SF.



One of our own, coming up fast with his Sooo Wavey label and housey Sade edits. He’s at one of our sweetest (and least expensive!) parties, Push the Feeling, with local player Cherushii, whose excellent recent Queen of Cups EP can get anyone moving.

Sat/5, 9pm, free before 10pm with RSVP online, $6. Underground SF, 424 Haight, SF.



Caught this hugely popular German (now based in LA) cat a couple times in the past few years, and he really delivers on that deliciously deep, if now a bit retro, post-minimal Berlin-Ibiza sound. It’s all in his perfect control. With beloved Doc Martin and Francesa Lombardo.

Sat/5, 10pm-4am, $17–$25. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



One of SF’s foundational house DJs, Josh Ezelle, passed away last month suddenly in Thailand, leaving behind a newborn son and oceans of friends. This tribute fundraiser brings together many of our best players to celebrate his life in music and dance: Jeno, Garth, Markie, Charlotte the Baroness, Toph One, M3, and others.

Sat/5, 9pm-4am, $15–$20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.



Oui, oui, the fab enfants terribles of Bardot A Go Go are back — with a shagadelic shindig featuring the naughty, existentialist, oh-so-cool tunes of Serge and other mod icons of his ilk. Zip up your thigh high boots and get le groovy.

Sat/5, 9pm, $10, all ages. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.



The Worldly parties have brought a, well, worldly electronic music flavor to the SF scene for more than a decade — this live extravaganza and CD release party will electrify anyone into cutting edge global grooves. With Dub Kirtan Allstars, Janaka Selekta, DJ Dragonfly, and tons more.

Sat/5, 9pm-3am, $15. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



Moody Danish techno: it’s catchier than you think. Andres Trentemoller crossed over from the dance floor long ago, pairing with an array of vocalists to create a lilting indie atmosphere with electronic movement around the edges. And he actually makes it work.

Sun/6, 8:30pm, $25. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


Hills are alive


SUPER EGO I am absolutely terrified — terrified — to tell you that one of the most insanely fun (and also insanely packed, watch your dress) nondance parties of the week is Musical Mondays at the Edge in the Castro (7pm, free. 4149 18th St, SF. Well, technically nondance: with huge screens playing nothing but show tune videos surrounding you, feel free to break out your inner Belle and sweep that Beast around your imaginary ballroom-of-the-mind, sweets.

I’m terrified because, like this sudden onset of late-period Cher worship, my love for anything musical-related is a complete and scary surprise. As a gay, I’m far more Sonic Youth than Sondheim. “Gleek” was the Wonder Twins’ monkey on Super Friends, right? Yet sling me a couple-four two-for-one drinks, and I’m Mizzing up “All That Jazz” for five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. At the top of my lungs, no less. Hey, maybe it is genetic. Hasa diga eebowai!


Looking for the latest in post-wub-wub dub? Can’t misstep with this monthly electro-bass and heavy beats blast. UK’s Sukh Knight and Squarewave headline, with our own Nebakaneza and Lud Dub .

Thu/27, 10pm, $10. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.


“Pussy Ate” was one of last year’s ultimate jams, but this B-more rapper’s got more than wiggy cunilingus anthems up her sleeve. A fierce take on gender politics, for one. Outrageous duo Double Duchess open up with a release celebration for new EP Nocturnal.

Fri/28, 10pm, $15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.


Everybody’s funny uncle: The wild UK-LA man of disco-house is a zany global inspiration and a full-fledged genius on the decks. If you’re looking for someone to lead you into another dimension via the longest, most cosmic remix of “I Feel Love” imaginable, come find him.

Sat/29, 9:30-3:30, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.


Harvey’s gonna be up against another grand name in the annals of bonkers daddies: Parisian Quentin Dupieux, aka Mr. Oizo. Oizo’s more on the electro tip though, so you’ll be bouncing like a fuzzy-haired puppet into the morn.

Sat/29, 9pm-late, $15–$20. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


Scott Hardkiss’s sudden passing last year robbed SF of one of its legends. But his two Hardkiss brothers in music, Scott and Robbie, still light up the scene with joy. New album 1991 — a title playing off the Hardkiss family’s roots — promises to deliver more of their trademark intelligently funky SF house sound.

Sat/29, 9pm, $12–$15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.


Awww, Sweater Funk: the cutest little weekly Chinatown basement funk ‘n’ soul throwdown that ever was? Yes! The whole crew will be in town to soak your cashmere, guesting at Elbo Room’s weekly Saturday Night Soul Party.

Sat/29, 10pm, $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.


Fantastic dyke bar the Lexington Club — one of the few queer spaces left in the city outside the Castro and SoMa, and our only dedicated lesbian bar — is celebrating its 17-year anniversary in typical gritty-fabulous style: An “edge of seventeen” party, duh. DJs Rapid Fire and Jenna Riot take control, hotness abounds. Sat/29, 9pm, free. Lexington Club, 3464 19th St., SF.


Hot dog


SUPER EGO The daytime drinking season has kicked off in full force — it’s also kicked off my face, judging from this hangover. (El Rio patio, I’m blurrily looking at you.) Kidding, I haven’t had a hangover since 1976, and that was a love hangover. Also shitty coke.

Especially hot right now that we’re apparently skipping spring and going straight into summer: cramming like a desperate half-naked penguin community on the grassy strip of land left while they’re rejiggering Dolores Park. The fruit shelf overfloweth with closer encounters. Seriously, it looks like a refugee camp for huddled hipster masses up there. Hang on to your dreams, beautiful people! And also, where’d you get that cute tank top?



Nice one: a high-energy electro benefit for childhood cancer research, with a huge lineup that features two classic Bay Area DJs, Denise and Forest Green, going back to back. Wear gold!

Thu/20, 8pm-3am, $15–$20, 18+. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF.



The Neapolitan titan of techno still reps a tasty, stripped-down underground Ibiza sound — which is a great way to slide into sunny times.

Thu/20, 9pm-3am, $15 advance, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



One of my favorite DJs and remixers ever, with a sound so buoyant, with a touch of the surreal, that he’ll make you dance to anything — including Lana del Ray.

Thu/20, 9pm, $10. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Love this classic Boston duo, which was essential in bringing slow ‘n sexy (not to mention a flood of ’90s R&B memories) back to dance floors in the late-2000s.

Thu/20, 9:30pm, $15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.



The German recombinant house wiz is back, now in a poppier mode with the big-label release of his Glow album. He’ll still take you to strangely nostalgic places that never really existed.

Fri/21, 9pm-late, $22. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



George Evelyn has swung from classic UK techno innovator to funky chill out cool cat in the 25 years he’s been making records. It’s all perfect for dancing.

Sat/22, 9pm-late, $15 advance. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



This Parisian house purist hits the sweet spot — you can tell he just loves the sounds that make a record jump on the floor. He’s opening for energetic Spanish newcomer Uner.

Fri/21, 10pm, $10–$20. Audio, 316 11th St, SF.



The Honey Soundsystem and Icee Hot crews team up to showcase this seminal Chicago down-and-dirty house label, with Paul Johnson, Jammin’ Gerald, and Parris Mitchell showing us how it’s done.

Sat/22, 9pm-4am, $15 advance, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.


All disquiet


SUPER EGO “There is no previous book to this book. There is no Selected Ambient Works Volume I book, just as there is no record by the musician Aphex Twin bearing the title Selected Ambient Works Volume I. There is, however, a Selected Ambient Works Volume II album, released by the British record label Warp in 1994, and this is a book about that album.”

So begins the latest entry in the great, ongoing 33 1/3 book series from Bloomsbury Press, which unleashes one notable writer on one seminal album and prints the often-poetic results. In this case, the “extravagantly opaque, willfully vaporous” chillout room masterpieces of electronic composer Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin — basically what everyone in the 1990s listened to as they swept up/came down after the rave — get the business from incisive SF writer and archivist Marc Weidenbaum. And really, the pairing couldn’t be any more delicious.

Since 1996, Weidenbaum’s been quietly documenting from the Richmond District all manner of experimental and electronic sounds on his incredible site. (Some have referenced the site as one of the earliest blogs.) It’s one of our great sonic secrets: Pretty much once a day for the past 18 years he’s been opening ears to everything from random satellite-based sound sculptures and square wave coding antics to looped Sumerian myths and compressed Fugazi-discography experiments.

ego1Named after mysterious early 20th century Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s “factless autobiography” The Book of Disquiet, itself had a disquieting beginning. “When I founded Disquiet, I had quit a job I’d had for seven years,” Weidenbaum told me by email. He’d started at Tower Record’s Pulse! Magazine as an editor, then went on to launch its classical magazine and found its first digital publication. “I’d joined Tower because I wanted to work for a magazine that covered all music, which back then was quite an unusual thing. But in time I realized that my seemingly disparate listening had a core thread: that which I first thought of as electronically mediated sound, but eventually I recognized as ‘technologically’ mediated sound.

“Aphex Twin was part of a new generation of musicians who helped focus my ears. Wagon Christ. Shinjuku Thief. DJ Krush. Skylab. Oval. Spring Heel Jack. DJ Olive. Grassy Knoll. They were layered on top of the earlier generations of electronic experimenters, who I was already fond of: Brian Eno, Gavin Bryars, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Anderson, Robert Fripp, Nicolas Collins, Ikue Mori…. Recognizing that technological focus gave me the comfort to move on.”

And now he’s written a book channeling his feelings for the technological mediation that Aphex Twin brought to the fore. The tricky thing, of course, is that Aphex Twin — who’s recently reemerged to perform with and produce insane South African zef-rave act Die Antwoord — is known not just for ethereal, era-framing atmospheric ambience, but satanic electronic audiovisual combustions like “Windowlicker” and “Come to Daddy” as well.

“It’s difficult to name direct descendents of Aphex Twins’ work, because his is a difficult template to fill: that mix of conflicting sounds, both unnerving and soothing; a steady retreat from the public eye, despite obvious extrovert tendencies; moving from a hidden subculture to broad awareness. It’s hard to figure out what past figure he was himself a contemporary version of. But so many musicians bridge the worlds of club and art music these days” — Weidenbaum mentions SF-founded duo Matmos and local composer Mason Bates — “and part of the reason is because of the ground that Aphex Twin broke.”

Fitting therefore, that the release party at City Lights bookstore on March 20 will also be a showcase of contemporary electronic music. “I’ve run an online music-making group since the start of 2012, called the Disquiet Junto, and that’s put me in touch with a lot of musicians,” Weidenbaum said. “So I’ve been inviting musicians, many though not all from that association, to perform new, original works informed by the Aphex Twin record, and by my book’s take on the record. Specifically, they’ll be doing electronic work derived from the wind chime, which I single out as an early ‘generative’ instrument. I’ll read from my book, and they’ll play live. At City Lights it will be the incredibly talented Marielle Jakobsons, Jared Smith, and subnaught, all of whom live in the Bay Area.”


Thursday, March 20, 7pm, free

City Lights

261 Columbus, SF.



Some smooth house from this UK rising star — his cute remix of AlunaGeorge’s “Best Be Believing” got him places — and a nice Thursday knees up with the Lights Down Low crew.

Thu/13, 10pm, free with some YPlan app download business. Mezzanine, 444 jessie, SF.



Revered Sao Paulo techno playboy is back to support protégé act Wish, shooting some sunny vibes all over our last winter weekend.

Fri/14, 9pm, $20. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Ethereal UK bass master Martyn joins house hottie Midland and an insane home team lineup including Ghosts on Tape, Bells & Whistles, Kenneth Scott, and the whole As You Like It crew for a top-notch overload.

Fri/14, 9pm-4:30am, $20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



One of my favorite not-so-secret pleasures, Yoruban mystic DJ Osunlade takes listeners on a journey deeper than deep. Straight-up spiritual vibes — and he’s playing with deep LA genius Marques Wyatt, too.

Fri/14, 9:30-3:30am, $15–$20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



The seriously good Modular deep house crew has been throwing its ace parties for a year now, filling some conspicuous holes in the scene — bu mostly making us dance the right way. This party showcases theGerman Stil Vor Talent label, with founder Oliver Koletzki, Sascha Braemer, and Nicone.

Sat/15, 10pm, $10-$20. Harlot, 46 Minna, SF.



Fantastic, complex-yet-totally-jackable electronic music a la mode from this UK underground favorite, who’ll be bringing his live show to the latest Honey Soundsystem shebang.

Sat/15, 9pm-4am, $10–$20. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



The first gay-themed movie I saw was 1976’s infamous The Ritz starring the unconquerable Rita Moreno as “Googie” — I grew up thinking all gay men hung out in kooky bathhouses making hilarious jokes and having hilarious sex. Thank goddess! Moreno’s in town for a special Castro showing of the camp milestone with towel-clad go-go dancers and a tap-dance tribute.

Sat/15, doors 7:15, show at 8pm, $38. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF.



The fantastic deep house monthly showcases essential Bay Area label Moulton Music, with classic NYC DJ Mr. V and our own gorgeous David Harness moving the crowd into the light.

Sat/15, 10pm-late, $10–$20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.


Bar none


SUPER EGO So a toothy blonde pretend social media exec, a blindingly sequined Latina drag queen, a huge rack of elk antlers with hot-pink panties on them, and a pair of Google Glasses walk into a “punk bar” …

What the holy highballs is happening on our bar scene lately? Rowdy Mission hangout Pop’s Bar closed over the weekend. (Who got all those panties, I wonder?) Last week, 40-year-old Mission gay hangout Esta Noche announced it was shutting down (new owners and a hetero-craft cocktail concept). And then there was that oddball Google Glass kerfuffle at Molotov’s, wherein a social media starlet claims she was the victim of a tech hate crime when the patrons allegedly got in her privacy-violating face.

The Esta Noche situation hits close to my floppy liver’s home most, though. With the recent closures of Marlena’s, Deco, and Ginger’s Trois (and the Transfer, Mister Leeona’s, and practically every gay watering hole on Polk Street shuttering in the past decade), there are hardly any queer bars outside the Castro and SoMa left. Lady, can you pour a fierce cosmo out those Google Glasses of yours? Until then, I won’t have what she’s having. I need my queer space to get sozzled!



There are DJs to love, and then there are DJs to love. Fiercely intelligent yet laidback, shaggy in that classic rave-dude way, Vancouverite Jay Tripwire has been honing his deep, deep techno sound for more than two decades and 200 releases. Like every great DJ wizard, he transforms the records on his tables into other beasts entirely. You just hear differently after his masterly sets. At the Housepitality weekly, he’ll get a warm reception.

Wed/5, 9pm, free before 11 with RSVP at, $10 after. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



The splendid Direct to Earth and Public Works crews bring in Buenos Aires- and Berlin-based Mauricio Barembuem, aka Barem of Minus Records, for some good old fashioned Germano-Latin post-minimal techno swing. Bring a couple pairs of (cute) shoes, because he’ll wear your kitten heels right out.

Fri/7, 9pm-4am, $13–$20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



It’s a great weekend for hard-driving and esoteric techno in the Bay. It’s even getting into our more melodic parties, like the monthly Play It Cool, which is showcasing wiggy Brooklyn-based, SF-native “junta rave” purveyor Hound Scales of the Fifth Wall label. The speaker bins, they will explode I think. Jolly good show.

Fri/7, 10pm-3am, $10. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Hey, $35 all you can drink from dozens of local spirits concocters, brew houses, and wineries? Plus: cosmic tunes from Cosmic Amanda (she’s cosmic), tarot readings by the zebra-leotarded Dr. Zebrowski, and one last time to party in the glorious Old Mint building before it gets renovated into the SF History Museum? Why am I still asking questions? Our sister-paper SF Weekly’s Drink event is sloshy, superb.

Sat/8, 2pm-5pm, $35 advance. Old Mint, 88 Fifth St, SF.



Please immediately check out the fantastic new Neneh Cherry album, produced by this wide-eared, super-innovative UK genius, who can jet from bright, ecstatic jazziness to haunting bass apocalypse in the blink of a strobe. A trippy treat in store, indeed.

Sat/8, 9pm, $30. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Go-go boys are probably my least favorite things at clubs. (We were mercifully mostly free of them until a few years ago: They were “an LA thing” then. Sock’s on the other cock now!). But apparently, once a month, if they are dressed up like leather-fetish puppies, dancing to cutting-edge tunes in cages at the gay biker bar, and being petted by the sexiest characters of the SF queer underground, I’m totally down. I still refuse to say “woof,” though. With DJs Taco Tuesday and Chip Mint, hosted by Blake and Jorge.

Sat/8, 9pm, $7. SF Eagle, 398 12th St, SF.



Hyper-atmospheric ambient techno delight from this duo, composed of acclaimed Italian players Donato Dozzy and Neel. Don’t worry, you’ll still end up dancing. With Jason Kendig, Christina Chartfield, Carlos Souffront, and MossMoss at the As You Like It party.

Sat/8, 9pm-4am, $20–$25. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.


Doin’ it in the dark


SUPER EGO “If people want to accuse me of being a heteronormative queer assimilationist, they can come to my traveling amateur porn film festival and say it to my face!”

That’s Dan Savage — spunky sex columnist, “It Gets Better” maestro, and editor of Seattle’s the Stranger — calling me on the way to the airport. He’s flying the friendly skies for the nationwide Hump Tour (coming Fri/28 and Sat/1 to the Roxie Theater in SF,, which is giving the Stranger’s notorious — and notoriously successful — annual homemade skin flick competition more, er, exposure.

In fact, the Hump Tour reminds me a little of the hilarious Sodomy Bus from Michael Moore’s 1990s TV show, filling the hills and crevices of America with resounding squeals and joyful bangs. Of course, the Sodomy Bus deliberately targeted anti-gay areas to make a political point — back when sodomy was still illegal, remember then? Whereas the Hump Tour projects handcrafted erotica with titles like Rumpy Pumpy (“an animated starter with funny, floppy dicks”), D&D Orgy (“roll for experience as the dungeon master’s fantasy game gets extremely real”) and Go Fuck Yourself (“one man time travels to save the world and fuck himself. Then things get complicated”) onto big screens in major cities with a side of popcorn. You can’t get more cuddly-quaint than that, no?

“I’m actually kind of worried about coming to San Francisco, though,” Savage said with an emphatic laugh. “Here I am, with my monogamish husband, editing this severely liberal paper and writing a sex column, my schedule full of porn, and I always feel like I’m going to be attacked for not being radical enough for SF, because I spoke out for same-sex marriage and other things.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him how much things have changed here — our overheated scandal du jour is over a queer club in Oakland politely asking straight people not to come because it’s too crowded, sigh.

So, what are the benefits of touring the country with a suitcase full of funny, irreverent, poignant, crude, and sweet stag films? “I’m at the point now where I’ve been writing about sex for so long that people mob me after each screening to say how they grew up reading me, how they would sneak my column into their bedroom, how I convinced them to try some things. And now I’ve enticed them to come see some porn with their friends and family. That’s kind of funny.”

Meanwhile, his stacked hubby has become a fixture on Seattle’s underground queer dance scene — does Dan ever hit the dance floor with him? “I usually hide in my room and write. It would never work if we were into the same things. You need some difference for that spark that makes you want to screw each other rather than just be each other.”

We’ll forgive you, Dan. Just keep the smut coming.



Techno heartthrob Matthew Dear’s dirtier, funkier alter ego Audion steps back into the limelight with what’s said to be an insane visual experience for this tour. (The team behind Amon Tobin’s mindblowing ISAM tour designed it.)

Wed/26, doors at 7pm, show at 8pm, $20, all ages. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



Dark south London dubstep visionaries Mala and Coki drop in for Noisepop to school the kids on beautiful angst and swooping boom. With Chicago juke kingpin DJ Rashad.

Thu/27, 10pm, $17.50–$20. 1015 Folsom, SF.



Danny’s been spinning for 30 years and has become the elder statesperson when it comes to dance music in America. But the mixes! Oh, the mixes. He’s a master of creating a roiling, huge-room groove, bending the sound of each track toward a glimmering whole. Most DJs give you crap about how they “take you on a journey” — Danny actually delivers. A four-hour set with Nikita and John Kaberna supporting.

Fri/28, 9pm-4am, $25–$30. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Wickedly good NYC house player headlines a Rong label showcase with local heads Corey Black of 40 Thieves, Jeffrey Sfire of Ghostly International, and — woot! — DJ Ken Vulsion, finally out of retirement and ready to enchant.

Fri/28, 9pm-3am, $10. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



This is a monthly Riot Grrrl tribute night at the bear bar. So perfect. February’s installment celebrates Carrie Brownstein, right after the new “Portlandia” season debuts, and we think how happy we are for her success, but please get on that Sleater-Kinney reunion already. With DJs Crowderism and Jimmy Swear.

Fri/28, 8pm, free. Lone Star Saloon, 1354 Harrison, SF.



The magic techno man from LA is a smooth, smart beast on decks, laying on the pulsing rhythms and subterranean energy. He’s at the Night Moves party with Shiny Objects and Brother in Arms, the nifty new “slo-mo deep house” collab from hometown heroes Deejay Theory and J-Boogie.

Fri/28, 9pm-4am, $20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.



Killer broken bass sounds at this regular party, bringing Low End Theory’s DJ Nobody and IZWID Records’ Esgar to the tables, along with the heady Slayers Club crew supporting. It’s a release party for one of my favorite local basshead Joe Mousepad’s new EP, too.

Fri/28, 9pm-3am, $5–$10. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



You could do way worse than to jam out to “World Destruction,” this hip-hop god’s legendary 1984 collaboration with the Sex Pistols’ John Lydon, while you’re applying your mascara in the evening. Or do the dip to “Planet Rock” when you take it off the next morning. Zulu Nation has you covered round the clock.

Sat/1, 10:30pm, $26, 18+. Yoshi’s SF,1330 Fillmore, SF.


The layout


SUPER EGO “A man, a plan, a gram: anal canal!” Why some queen just shrieked this quasi-palindrome in my earhole at 5am outside the 7-Eleven — not the Castro one, I have my pride — absolutely no idea. But the poor, bedraggled dear has a point: BE PREPARED.

Next week is the Guardian’s fab annual Goldies issue, a wall-to-wall celebration of up-and-coming artists. And there’s no room in it for your beloved Super Ego (old). So here’s looking ahead to the next hot fortnight’s-worth of shindigs. Of course, the biggest hoot of all will be the Guardian 25th Annual Goldies party (Fri/21, 8-11pm, $10. Folsom Street Foundry, 1425 Folsom, SF.) DJs Primo and Wam Bam Ashleyanne will do a special soul-groove “golden oldies” set — and it’s $10 for all the beer you can drink. Plus, duh, the coolest people. Stick it in your calendar, already.



Last week’s SFBG cover star, scratch legend Qbert, joins with Dan The Automator, Del The Funky Homosapien, and more local hip-hop/turntable heroes for a wild time, in support of his crowdsource campaign for his new album, Extraterrestria/Galaxxxian (

Thu/13, 9pm, $10 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Talk about heartthrobs, yum. This cutie brought major sexy back to dance floors when he slowed tempos down to a crawl and let everyone stretch out. Now he’s all about crooning live and steaming things up with Tom Croose as the Worst Friends duo — also appearing at this As You Like It lovefest.

Fri/14, 10pm-4am, $10–$20. Beatbox, 314 11th St, SF.



That thing where a DJ is also a magician, creating a whole new psychedelic-ecstatic universe out of common sounds, rearranging how you hear music forever. He’s also Spanish and wears a lot of tinfoil over his face for photos. At the Icee Hot party.

Sat/15, 10pm-4am, $10 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



There is a thing called Bear Weekend with a long and dramatic history (let’s not get into it) — and here’s this year’s fun-furry climax: DJ Bus Station John turns the Eagle leather biker bar into a glorious old school gay disco evening t-dance. Bring your own chic towel, but no Schick razors, please. “Endorsed by the Tamale Lady,” fyi.

Sun/16, 7pm-midnight, $5. SF Eagle, 398 12th St, SF.



Celebrate the presidents with Honey’s lovely residents: P-Play, Kendig, Josh Cheon, and Robot Hustle give the cute queer boys, girls, and others steamy techno all night long. (Hot straight people also eligible.)

Sun/23,10pm-4am, $10 advance. Beatbox, 314 11th St, SF.



“Rare groove” would be nothing without this absolutely incredible, omnivorous DJ. And neither would Diplo. Experience a Whole Earth Catalog of sounds in his mindblowing sets. I love him.

Fri/21, 10pm-3am, $20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



If you know anything about dance music, you have probably just wet yourself. If not, let’s be clear: One of Detroit techno’s most poetic innovators and one of the best disco, house, and dub producers of all time will be on the decks, as part of Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp 2014.

Sat/22, 9:30pm-3:30am, $15–$20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Happy eighth birthday to the Lights Down Low party. And happier birthday to us dancers! LDL’s bringing in this true legend, basically one of three guys who invented techno — from Detroit, duh — and changed the world forever.

Sat/22, 9pm-3am, $15–$20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.



I’ve been wondering when this would happen. A breakbeat revival has been hitting the underground rave and techno connoisseur scene for a couple years. Now there’s an official dedicated party. Noice. With Kapt N Kirk, Tamo, Nerd Nate, and more.

Sat/22, 10pm-3am, free before midnight (RSVP at Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



Beloved and classic DJ Nikita is headed off to London. But first he’s counting down eight monthly London Calling parties with incredible special guests, like NYC banging house royalty Honey Dijon and Tedd Patterson.

Sun/23, 2pm-2am, $10 advance. Audio, 316 11th St, SF.


Strings of life


SUPER EGO Every year or so the plucky Kronos Quartet — our audacious yet user-friendly 40-year-old vanguard of the musical avant-garde — pops back on the scene to wow us. Last time I saw them, they opened for electronic pioneer Amon Tobin’s spectacular 3-D projection ISAM tour at the Greek Theatre, and if you don’t think a string quartet can garner deafening cheers at a giant rave, you need to hear Kronos. Before that, the foursome was at YBCA, bowing electrified fences and simulating multiple water wheels. This week the string quartet will be launching the fifth installment of its composers-under-30 showcase with an intense work by Bay Area native Mary Kouyoumdjian called Bombs of Beirut (Feb 6-9, 8pm, $20–$25. Z Space, 450 Florida, SF.

“I want to create a feeling of chaos and nostalgia,” Armenian American wiz Kouyoumdjian says of her piece, which attempts to reflect the day-to-day situation of life during the 1980s Lebanese Civil War, and which includes haunting ambient recordings taken from a balcony during the conflict. (Kouyoumdjian’s family lived through it.) She also wants to put a complex human face on ongoing Middle East conflicts — and hey, possibly remind us of that whole endless war thing still perpetuating. Maybe we want to try to stop that soon?



Stop everything; look up this ambitious, electro-drone-based Brooklynite’s video for “Boring Angel.” Then watch cerebral local opener Holly Herndon’s astounding vid for her new “Chorus” track. Yeah, that kind of incredible “life on a parallel Internet planet” stuff.

Thu/6, 10pm-3am, $17.50–$20. 1015 Folsom, SF.



Brilliant producer Scuba swings from drowned-flute downtempo to punishing dub techno (although his often-confusing sexual politics turn some people off). The real news for me, though, at this Lights Down Low party is DJ Hell, who’s been slaying dance floors for three decades with his edgy, driving beats — and always has interesting hair.

Thu/6, 9pm, $18. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Detroit’s phenomenal Michael Buchanan, a.k.a. House Shoes, heads up a big tribute to J. Dilla — the quintessential hypnotic-soulful beats producer whose influence can be heard in pretty much every dope hip-hop track to drop in the past decade. (Dilla died in 2006 at 32.) Also on tap: Shortkut, Mr. E and Haylow, Fran Boogie.

Fri/7, 9pm, free before midnight with RSVP at Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



I love the off-kilter sense of humor this Pachanga Boy from Mexico gives off — he’ll take us on a trip to the outer reaches with a wink and smile. With catchy NYC duo Blondes and cute “screw house” dude Axel Borman at the As You Like It party.

Fri/7, 9pm-4am, $15 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



The incredible chnagra club celebrates 100 colorful salutes to banging underground Indian dance music with a special appearance by London’s revered Punjabi MC — oh, and the dholrhythms dance troupe, live drumming and painting, the Curry Up Now truck, and DJ Jimmy Love on decks.

Sat/8, 9pm, $15 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



An amazing-sounding new monthly from Oakland heroes Candi and DJ Cecil featuring music and rhythms of the Latin and African diasporas, kicking off with live drumming from the awesome Sistahs of the Drum, Cuban salsa lessons, and one of my absolute favorite deep house DJs Carlos Mena.

Sat/8, 8pm, $5–$10. Venue Oakland, 420 14th St, Oakl.



Hometown lowdown hero Ana Sia returns to shake the walls, in her initimable minimal-meets-hardcore style, with the Angels of Bass crew Jess, Tamo, Viajay, and LMCG.

Sat/8, 9pm, $15–$20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.



The indie god Bloc Party frontman has been heavily invested in electronic sounds for ages. Now you can hear his selections on deck at the Isis party, one of the true success stories of the past year in terms of wicked good times and a too-cute crowd.

Sat/8, 9:30pm-3:30am, $12–$15 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



So happy for this SF-LA duo’s continued success bringing gorgeous, sun-drenched house tunes to the masses. Jeffrey Paradise and Filip Nikolic hit town again in big style, all night at Mezzanine. Bring your inflatables.

Sat/8, 9pm, $18.50. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.




SUPER EGO A couple of years ago, Muni put out a public safety campaign that showed this gorgeous woman in giant silver headphones texting ferociously right before she stepped into the path of an oncoming train. Tagline: “Do you want Beethoven to be the last thing you hear?

Which was a bit unintentionally hilarious because, yes, I do want Beethoven to be the last thing I hear, specifically the insanely great, otherworldly “late string quartets,” which would be a fine soundtrack with which to finally divest myself from this gorgeous, all-natural, all-me, not-silicone-at-all, nope-definitely-not, personal body.

But I’ll take any Beethoven at all, really — and local contemporary “laptop classical” composer Mason Bates is teaming up with the SF Symphony for a special treat: two nights of great Beethoven works paired with Bates’ electronica-obsessed orchestral pieces (Symphony No. 7 and The B-Sides Jan. 8-11, and Mass in C Major and Liquid Interface Jan. 15-18,

If you’re unfamiliar with Bates, he uses digital and electronic instruments to bring lush, eerie dancefloor atmospherics and a leftfield backbeat to a full symphony and chorus setting. Adding Beethoven’s existential and ecstatic works to the mix might start some kind of weird fire.



The Berlin-via-NYC favorite, a.k.a. Kevin McHugh, takes a heady, design-oriented approach to techno, reaching back into minimal to tease skeins of pulsing sonic ideas into a more visceral present. And you can dance to it. With Mossmoss, Brian Knarfield, Bob Five, and more.

Fri/10, 9pm-4am, $15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.



And he is hot! Out of the current crop of tech house pretty boys, Daley Padley of Leeds is also one of the sharpest, with a thoughtful sound that isn’t afraid to recall your champagne hangovers and long-lost puppy love dreams.

Fri/10, 9:30pm, $15-20. Audio Discotech, 316 11th St., SF.



Have you heard this Berlin bearded queer techno wonder’s killer, slow-burn three-hour Boiler Room DJ set? Kind of all you need to hear. He’s coming in from his beloved Homopatik club to play Honey Soundsystem’s “Midi Slave” party, and it will get steamy.

Fri/10, 9pm-4am, $10–$15. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



Experimental psychedelic electronic music brings all the kids to the yard for a mini-festival of sorts. Headliners Circuit Slave slice punk angst through the wiring; duo Cry gets emotive with some 4AD-influenced eeriness, Bezier’s loops and arpeggios drive us back to analog days. With Redredred, PSSNGRS, and PowWow.

Sat/11, 9pm, $5, The Holdout, 2313 San Pablo Ave., Oakl.



“Let me bang!” The legend of booty bass comes to the jackin’ Two Men Will Move You party for a night of low-low-low.

Sat/11, 9pm, $8. Amnesia, 853 Valencia, SF.



The NYC superfox of house grooves somes to the monthly Isis party, bringing with her a dose of classics with a devilishly danceable helping of transcendent 1980s and early ’90s sound-a-likes. Nice and funky, with a slow-motion vogue-ready twist. With Avalon Emerson, Hi Today, and Brittany B.

Sat/11, 9:30pm-3:30am, $10 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Rickshaw Stop celebrates 10 years of rolling us out — wow, remember the insanely fun hipster-glitzy hardcore electro scene there? — with this appearance by the Iowan queen of hyper-ironic dance rap (she made it into art). Grab your gem sweater and let’s reach for the gold!

Sun/12, 8pm, $16, all ages. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.


2014 dreams


SUPER EGO Hey, hey, hey — it’s that time again — New Year’s Eve comes hard upon us. Avoid the amateur hour on the streets and duck (sauce) into these warm ragers. All parties below take place Tue/31. Find more rockin’ NYE shindigs here and general fun events here. Clink!




Damn, I love this performer, who makes live hip-hop and ’90s big-room beats at lightning speed — and knows how to get a crowd up. He’s with DJ Apollo and St. John at Temple’s grand three-room NYE.

9pm-4am, $50–$60. Temple, 540 Howard, SF.




Hundreds of hot fat, furry, friendly gay guys dancing 2013 right out the door — how ’bout it? With DJs Paul Goodyear and Matt Stands.

9pm-late, $20 advance. Beatbox, 314 11th St, SF.




“Pop the Pork” with drag goddess Juanita More and Sidekick on the decks, plus hostess with the mostest chicharrones Walter, at fashionable gay sex dungeon the Powerhouse. Lots of flesh and pretty mess.

9pm-2am, $5–$10. Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom, SF.




The gorgeous House of Babes presents this pink hip-hop blowout, hosted by Kelly Lovemonster and Krylon Superstar, with tunes by DJs Pink Lightning, Rapidfire, Boyfriend, Jenna Riot, davO, and more. Get on it!

9pm-late, $10 advance. f8, 1192 Folsom, SF.




Let’s mash all that 2013 ish up and fire only positive vibes — and kooky costumes! — into next year. DJ Adrian and Mysterious D’s inimitable mashup party pulls out all the stops. The theme of this four-room banger? Sh!t show, of course.

9pm-late, $30–$40. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF.




Lezzies! Queers! Friends! Lend me your New Years: This party at too-cute dyke bar the Lexington will cause you enough fun trouble for the rest of 2014. With DJs Footy and Janine Da Feen.

9pm-2am, free. Lexington Club, 3464 19th St, SF.




My favorite rapper of the moment brings his goofball cheer and anarchic antics to Mezzanine — who knows what’s gonna happen? With Traxamillion and Flatbush Zombies.

9pm-late, $45–$85. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


’80S NYE


The name of this party is far less creative than the wonderful music that will be playing — and that everyone will sing along to. Special guest: Kurt Harland from Information Society! Any guesses as to what they’ll play at midnight? (My money’s on the Human League’s “Fascination” — but you know Kurt will probably have to play “Pure Energy.”)

9pm-4am, $20. Cat Club, 1190 Folsom, SF.




Aw, who can resist the sweet, disco-haunted catchiness of this live NYC duo, who met cute in seventh grade. Fun, dancey times.

9pm, $30. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.




Burner royalty the Pink Mammoth crew takes over Mighty, with energetic UK duo Blond:ish headlining a “night of sexiness” (LOL why is it never a “night of sexiness” when there’s a good-looking male headliner?). It’ll be a rampager.

9pm-late, $40. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.




The classic soulful ladies’ party is back, as El Rio celebrates a queer New Year. “Hot hip-hop and spicy Latin beats” from Olga T, Marcella, and more (plus yummy gumbo and burgers!) and an even hotter and spicier crowd.

8pm-2am, $15. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF.




The leather-jacketed, pompadoured pretty boy’s own music has an exquisite dark techno sound descended from Depeche Mode — when he DJs, as he will here, he expands that with an incredibly deep knowledge of house and techno (he’s from Detroit, duh). This Honey Soundsystem + Sunset + Public Works collaboration will bring out an amazing crowd of party freaks.

9pm-4am, $20–$40. Public Works, 131 Erie, SF.




The annual Streets of SF party is visually stunning and draws great headliners (although the crowd is a little broad). This year, everyone’s favorite vegan techno-punk Moby graces us with his exacting presence on the turntables.

9pm-2am, $160. Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd, SF.




Motown on Mondays, one of SF’s best things, is teaming up with supercute global-funk trumpeter Will Magid and his crew (including vocalist Aima the Dreamer) for a very night of worldly sounds and classy cheer.

8pm-2am, $40. Local Edition, 691 Market, SF.




If you add classic ’90s electronic act Crystal Method to the Kink Armory (transformed from giant porn studio into a “kaleidoscopic wonderland” for the occasion), and pour on the high-flyin’ Vau de Vire Society troupe and Opel rave crew — you will definitely get a party, a new Bohemia, even.

9pm-4am, $50 and up. Kink Armory, 1800 Mission, SF.




Don your gay fetish apparel — oh wait, that was the last holiday. OK, hit the reset and don your gay fetish apparel again, as Casey Spooner and Ministat host (and DJ DAMnation DJs) this kinky-boots ring-in, the Eagle’s first.

9pm-2am, $15 in gear, $20 without. SF Eagle, 398 12th St, SF.


“Let love bloom” is the theme of this massive EDM-fest at Oracle Arena. Headiners include Nero, New World Punx, and Bingo Players.

6pm-2am, $100–$140, 18+. Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl.




Yes! One of my favorite ever DJ duos — their specialty is rare disco and funk edits mixed with sunny, psychedelic house vibes — comes to Monarch for what it’s calling the Extravaganza Ball (no vogueing, confusingly, but OK). Sleight of Hand, Greer, Shiny Objects, and more round off this deliciously breezy outtake on the past year.

9pm-late, $40–$100. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.




Start off the new year on a good foot, as the People crew spreads war soulful house vibes and celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela with a fabulously colorful crowd — a rainbow nation, indeed. With Jayvi Velasco, Patrick Wilson, Cecil, and many more.

9pm-3am, $10–$20. New Parish, 579 18th St, SF.




The annual sight-and-sound explosion moves to the cavernous Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with a huge lineup to match: Thievery Corporation, Little Dragon, A-Trak, Dillon Francis, Emancipator, LowRIDERz, Minnesota, the dirtybird crew, and many, many more.

8pm-3am, $90 and up, 18+. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, SF.




The Elbo Room brings its tremendously successful soul Saturdays to NYE. Do the mashed potato with Phengren Oswald, Paul Paul, and more.

9pm-2am, $20–$25. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.




Style, people, style! This Symphony tradition may be one you need to save up for, but it’s dapper, dazzling, and just plain dandy. Everything from classic Viennese songbook tunes (with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke) to swing jams with the Peter Mintun Orchestra will be on offer (plus lots of free bubbly, duh.)

8pm-2am, $85-$195. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF.




Next year will be pure fiyah if these dub and bass masters from favorite crews like Surya Dub, Dutty Artz, Que Bajo, and Tormenta Tropical have any say in the matter (they do). Cumbia, dancehall, tropical, and afro sounds — plus techno in the yard! — with Chief Boima, Kush Arora, Geko Jones, Mano, Uproot Andy, Ushka, Oro11, and many more. Hotness.

9pm-2am, $10-$20. Riddim, 581 Fifth St, Oakl. *

Candy crush


YEAR IN NIGHTLIFE The drink of the year was the Chinese Mai Tai at Lipo Lounge. It’s $9, but it’s huge and you only need one. Or maybe a half, if you want to remember your pants. Oh, just drink the whole thing.

It was another supersweet, neon-bright yet sonically sophisticated year of clubbing and dance music, full of ups, downs, and twirl-arounds. Celebrated rave cave 222 Hyde and Hayes Valley drag outpost Marlena’s closed (boooo). But Mighty and 1015 got mindblowing new sound systems, Monarch and DNA Lounge expanded, Project One inherited 222’s speakers, Public Works and F8 doubled-down on adventurous bookings, and ambitious venues Audio Discotech and Beaux opened (and are still finding their footing). And we got a new dance music record store, RS94109, and rising dark techno star, Vereker.

As far as music goes: we’ve managed to fend off the worst of pop-EDM, while welcoming the drum ‘n bass and big-room ’90s sound comeback with open underground arms. (Also, there is an actual underground!) San Francisco’s still a major destination for techno up-and-comers — and even though you may stumble across some clueless tech-bros sporting 2k7-wear or novelty rasta wigs on our finer dance floors, give them a hug and hope they improve! It’s all good.

>>Read Emily Savage’s take on the YEAR IN MUSIC 2013 

Before I get into some of my favorite 2013 things, let’s tip a hat to two legends we lost this year: Scott Hardkiss and Cheb i Sabbah. Between them, they brought a whole world’s worth of music to our dance floors and spanned generations. Dancing forever in their honor.


Hip-hop got so good in 2013, the Year that Twerking Ate the Internet. Trap sounds and molly pops seemed to invigorate the East Bay scene: E-40 dropped a zillion slaps, while Iamsu! and Sage the Gemini (who can totally get it, hellieu) swerved onto the national scene. Buffed-up SF legends Latyrx dropped a nifty disc after two decades. In the bigtime, Kanye bought up every edgy electronic producer he could to impress Pitchfork, while Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar recontextualized essential ’90s rap tropes — gangsta and concept albums, respectively, but in a party way.

Unfortunately, another ’90s rap trope, tired homophobia, was also revived, with Eminem and Tyler, the Creator fumbling bigtime. This time, however, there was such a huge and thriving queer hip-hop party scene that we could look right past all that lazy ish. Queer rap broke big in 2012 when eye-catching artists blended witch-dark sounds, quantum vogue moves, and afro-surreal poetry with R&B licks, broken bass boost, and neon-bright performance art.

That scene deepened and brightened this year — here, at super parties like Swagger Like Us, 120 Minutes, Fix Yr Hair, and House of Babes and unstoppable homegrown talent like Micahtron, Double Duchess, and even cameo appearances by classic homohop babes Deep Dickollective — proving that spitting flames can still burn down the disco. And queer-rap resistance even grabbed the national spotlight when Daddie$ Pla$tic‘s electro-anarchic “Google Google Apps Apps” went viral.



The Honey Soundsystem crew ended its Sunday night parties at the top of its game with a huge blowout — surprise marriage proposal, performance by fabled ’80s singer Jorge Socarras, and slew of unannounced guest DJs included. Honey was an ostensibly gay club, but that might have just been a feint to pack the floor with hairdressers. While it never ceased brazenly shoving its raw homosexuality in the oft-frigid techno scene’s face, its influence went way beyond the queer sphere. For five years, it was our best weekly in terms of musical guests (Wednesdays’ fantastic Housepitality almost ties it on that score), bringing in a mind-blowing roster of international underground players.

But Honey Sundays were more. Will there ever be a party ballsy enough to take as a month-long theme the skyrocketing real estate market, condo-mapping its venue and printing “luxury house” brochures? Or base the décor of one of its biggest parties around a collection of putrid haters’ comments? What promoters, nowadays, even bother to actually design and print challenging works of art as posters and flyers, or truly transform their venues? (DJ Bus Station John, still our gold standard, is the only one I can think of.)

Fortunately, Honey parties will continue, just not weekly. But SF is full of such amazingly talented crews, both well-established (As You Like It, No Way Back, Sunset, Lights Down Low, Icee Hot, Opel, Pink Mammoth) and burgeoning (Isis, Face, Modular, Mighty Real, Trap City, Odyssey). My wish for 2014 is that many of these really invest themselves in building a whole vibe for their parties, top to bottom, instead of just relying on groovy headliners, online promotions, and audience goodwill. As the changing city chases out its artists and loses its edge, we need entire worlds of freakiness to escape into and call our own.



>> Nebakaneza, “Expansion Project, Vols. 1-11

What does our most forward-thinking dubstep DJ do when dubstep’s no longer an option? He deepens his crates, cycling through 12 months-worth of excellent mixes, themed by genres like yacht rock and classic soul, to rediscover his bass roots while transforming his sound into something even more thrilling.

>> Swedish House Mafia, Bill Graham Center, Feb. 16

I finally get it! All you need is a $1 million light rig, 40,000 glowsticks, an indoor fireworks show, and an arena full of half-naked teens. This EDM stuff is actually kind of fun.

>> The Disclosure Effect

Disclosure’s Grammy-nominated debut Settle (Cherrytree) will nest atop most critic’s dance picks this year, and rightly so: the young Lawrence Brothers brought lovely, 2-step-fueled house back into headphones and charts worldwide. But if it also brings more attention to breezy sonic relatives like Bondax, AlunaGeorge, Joe Hertz, the Majestic Casual roster, and the hundreds of bedroom producers who suddenly switched from making EDM and dubstep to deeper house sounds, then so much the better.

>> Deafheaven, Sunbather (Deathwish, Inc.)

Shoegaze plus death metal equals an arctic beauty and burning mystery that transcends even My Bloody Valentine’s wonderful, self-released mbv and, when listened to alongside this year’s icy electronic-ish masterworks like Tim Hecker’s Virgins (Paper Bag Records) and the Haxan Cloak’s Excavations (Tri Angle) — or more emotive ones like Chance of Rain (Hyperdub) by Laurel Halo, Psychic (Matador) by Darkside, or Engravings (Tri Angle) by Forest Swords — makes strange sense of a near future.

Steve Reich, “Music for 18 Musicians,” SF Contemporary Music Players, Jan. 28

The fact that there was a near-riot to get into a performance this hypnotic, hyper-complex 50-minute 1974 piece by minimalist icon Reich attests to SF’s ravenous appetite for “contemporary classical.” That the audience sat in stunned silence a full two minutes after the piece concluded before exploding with applause attests to the excellence of our local players. (And while we’re on “classical,” kudos, too, to the SF Opera’s summer production of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” — three fantastic hours of the most ravishing singing I’ve ever heard.

>> Patrick Cowley, School Daze 2 x LP (Dark Entries)

The instant Internet popularity of Montag’s trippy “Porn Archives Lo-Fi Mix” earlier this year should have tipped off the coming re-evaluation of porn soundtracks as electronic artworks. But when members of Honey Soundsystem released this two-disc compilation of fascinating, atmospheric early tracks by local electronic wizard Patrick Cowley (1950-1982) used in ’80s gay porn flicks, it became a critical sensation.

>> Regis, As You Like It and Public Works, July 26

Here’s a question: Do you need to actually be at a party to enjoy it? I was out of town when this joint went down. But after witnessing my feeds blow up and listening obsessively to the Soundcloud set, later posted to Youtube, it feels like I was there when the young Brit freaked everyone out with a hard, deep techno set. No FOMO, baby.

>> Throwback monthly, Mighty

I may be fascinatingly elderly, but all the young kids flocked to the ’90s big-room house sound revival this year. This party, a SF reunion brimming with new faces, classic tracks, and legends at the decks, is like Universe plus cool straight people, or maybe the End Up in the East Bay.

>> Jay Tripwire

I fell deep(er) in love with so many DJs this year: Guy Gerber, Kyle Hall, Osunlade, J.Phlip, Greg Wilson, Catz ‘n Dogz, South London Ordnance, Finnebassen, 0Phase, MK, Vakula, Robert Hood, Huerco S., Kastle, Psychemagik, Jeff Mills, Keep Schtum, Stretford Dogs Club — but this revered Canadian DJ’s DJ always sets my (vinyl!) standard, especially with this year’s banging techno DJ Mag and expansive Electronic Groove (best deep house buildup of the year on that one, imho) mixes.

>> Divoli S’vere, Ckuntinomksz Vols. 1-3

Vogue beats continued to come into, er, vogue harder than ever this year, their flashy attitude and underground authenticity influencing musicmakers, like our own up-and-coming Soo Wavey label. Young NYCer Divoli, however, gives you real quantum fishiness to gag on all day — and goes waaay above your wig, hunty. These three volumes of lightning-made bedroom beats might be overload, but take us into some incredible sonic landscapes, beyond the balls.

>> Mexico

Forget Miami, Playa del Carmen is the new Ibiza of North America — with all the tech house festivals, bare white flesh, and urbanizing displacement (and opportunity) that entails. And Mexico’s tech scene, like its economy recently, is coming on strong with players like Rebolledo and White Visitation. But the best nightlife sound in the world still comes from Plaza Garibaldi at 3am in Mexico City, when dozens of spangled mariachi bands play all at once for your attention. Pure musical bliss.



Liquid spine


Here’s an insane and insanely wonderful San Francisco nightlife life — perhaps the kind of life we’re in danger of seeing no more. Run away from home in the 1950s and join the circus as a male hoochie-coochie dancer in the sideshow. Make your fame in the Midwest as glamorous and naughty drag performer back when men could be jailed for wearing a dress (priests excepted). Move to San Francisco and become a glorious institution, enshrined every weekend at Aunt Charlie’s in the TL, where you perform right up until you pass away at 76 in 2011 — “The Girl with the Liquid Spine,” looking and living fabulous as ever without losing your feisty, gritty edge. Then the accolades, the grand service, the big-screen documentary Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight.

And now, the museum exhibition. Vicki Marlane: I’m Your Lady (opening reception Fri/15, 7-9pm, $5 GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., SF. displays “video, artifacts and photographs from the performer’s estate that tell a remarkable life story.” But maybe it does more than just celebrate the kind of unique personality San Francisco used to make room for. Maybe Vicki’s life can inspire us to take heart that this city, too, has a liquid spine, and can bend itself around (and over) any obstacle that threatens to block us with blandness and smother us in meh. Forever really is gonna start tonight!

Fancy an Oddjob? There are an estimated 15,000 people moving in along Market Street in the next five years. Where will they all eat and drink? That’s the first thing that pops right into my mind. And then: Woah, I need to open a bar or a pop-up exotic flan truck or something and cash in. And then, also: Does this asymmetrical haircut make my butt look flat?

Well, someone has done something at least about the bar part — and I’ll soon be parking my well-rounded (thank you) cheeks at Oddjob (1337 Mission, SF., a cute new joint in the old Shine spot from two of my longtime secret boyfriends Jeff Whitmore (Public Works) and Peter Glikshtern of practically every club in town, plus Jordan Langer of my former secret favorite bar, Big, now sadly closed.

Oddjob looks amazing — it has the deconstructed, construction site-like ambiance of Public Works in the front (including a conveyor belt bar top, drafting chair bar stools, and a neato Rube Goldberg-like “Corpse Reviver” automated cocktail maker) and the playfully swanky-swaggy atmosphere of Big at the back (along with Big’s incredible cocktail sensibility). Oddly, the press materials say Oddjob is located in, ugh, “Mid-Market Gulch,” which surely equals “SoMissPo” in catastrophic neighborhood nomenclature. A good stiff drink might erase that.



The ever-traveling Alphahouse label head, coming at us via St. Louis, blew me away with a roiling, bass-heavy techno set the old Kontrol party in 2008. But come for the whole evening, which also features phenomenal up-and-comers Stephanie from Brooklyn and Marija Dunn and Amber Reyn from the Bay.

Thu/14, 9pm-3am, $15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



As luck would have it, one of Butane’s partners in tech-crime, Swedish-Chilean Alexi Delano (they release the booming EP “What You See Is What There Is” on Nov. 18) is in town at the very same time. Oooh, techno fight! Alexi experiments with dubby, acid effects but still keeping things pounding.

Thu/14, 9:30pm, $10. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF.



Before the excruciatingly boring hyper-machismo (and hyper-whiny) phase of industrial music kicked in, there was the dark, delicious dance floor stomp of bands like Nitzer Ebb, early Ministry, and this aggressive batch of Germans, KMFDM, who are back and louder than ever.

Thu/14, 7:30 doors, 8pm show. $30. The Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.



The old underground space that housed this incredible house and disco party is now a super-fancy restaurant. But you can’t stop the music. Seriously, one of the cutest affairs going in the city, with a lovely, freaky crowd. Happy birthday DJ Robin Simmons!

Fri/15, 9pm-3:30pm, $10. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Oh, honey. If you don’t know, you just don’t know. True masters Kenny Dope and Lil Louie Vega, who brought out one of the most diverse crowds I’d ever seen when they were at 1015 last time, are back to school us on classic house jams, soulful grooves, Latin rhythms, and vinyl wizardry — on the outstanding Mighty sound system. I can’t get no sleep.

Fri/15, 9pm-3am, $30. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



Old-school Chicago-style house mixing and some good ol’ dancefloor fun from Windy City denizen Boogie Nite will light up the funky new Play It Cool party. With Parisian Guillame Galuz, Matthew Favorites, Derek Opperman, and Avalon Emerson.

Sat/16, 9pm, $5. Balancoire, 2565 Mission, SF.



Hot-hot quarterly mag for transmen and admirers throws a party to celebrate the release of its latest issue — the Party Issue, duh. Hosted by Amos Mac and Rocco Katastrophe, with DJs Rapid Fire and Jenna Riot. Transmazing!

Sat/16, 10pm, $7. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF.


Hi, Guy


Guy Gerber is blowing his nose. A lot. He’s also trying to talk to me, through a massive hangover, over the phone from NYC. His chopped-up vocal snippets, mashed into long expulsions of compressed air, spiked with a woman’s giggle, rustling sheets, and clanking bottles somewhere in the background of his room, could almost be one of his driving, hypnotic, yet always surprisingly human, techno tracks. Good lord, even this protean dance music creator’s phlegmatic exudations are musical.

Honk. “We played somewhere in Brooklyn for Halloween last night, you know, in these ridiculous outfits. And then there were mischiefs,” he says. Brooklyn is a temporary homebase for the constantly on-the-go Supplement Fact label honcho — he’s opening a warehouse club in Williamsburg called Verboten soon — but the hyperactive Israeli underground star, ever restless in style and spirit, can’t stay in one place for long. He’ll be performing a hybrid live-DJ set this weekend at Public Works (Fri/8, 9:30-3:30, $16 advance, 161 Erie, SF.

Appropriately for someone who came to techno via Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine, Gerber’s sonic imprint is as peripatetic as his ever-touring lifestyle: from moody, psychedelic electronic grooves and introspective Visionquest-style tech-house to the large-screen, crisply atmospheric “emotive” techno slices like “Stoppage Time” and “Timing” that made his name in the late 2000s. This year has been banner: Gerber was one of the major forces in Ibiza pushing back against EDM commercialization with his deep and surreal Wisdom of the Glove parties; his captivatingly intelligent September BBC Radio1 Essential Mix (my favorite mix of the year so far) refines and expands his dreamy post-minimal sound; and new releases with Clarian (“Claire”) and Dixon (“No Distance”) are gorgeous.

And then there’s that fabled collaboration with P. Diddy(!), 11:11, that may finally see the light of day. “I think Puff Daddy’s at the point where he’s finally ready to release something this deep to the world, and I just keep taking us deeper and weirder. But he completely trusts me,” the hyperproductive Gerber, who can toss off enough quality tunes to fill a stream in a blink, says about the long-delayed album. (The 2011 Jamie Jones remix of 11:11 leak “Tourist Trap” is what I wish pop music sounded like.)

On top of that, there’s the burden/privilege of being the only major Israeli DJ on the underground techno circuit. “It gets lonely. Techno’s supposed to be this global thing and I’m all over the world, even back in Tel Aviv a lot, which is great, but it feels like I’m the only one,” he says. “I’m proud to represent Israel, though of course I don’t agree with everything. I feel I want to represent less the country than the region, which shares these values of love and family while always being honest with their emotions. Sometimes too honest,” he laughs.

And what about the future? Has he composed three tracks and planned another tour while we’re talking on the phone? “Marke, right now my only concern is to get past this hangover.” Honk.



Karl O’Connor aka Regis and Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant dive into synthy darkness with this stunning live collaborative project, with roots in the 1990s. In Aeternum Vale and Veronica Vasicka round out this Minimal Wave label showcase at the new Surface Tension party.

Fri/8, 10pm, $15. Project One Gallery, 251 Rhode Island, SF.



There is a thing called Bear Pride Week going on right now; in typical fashion this Honey Soundsystem party both lauds and gooses the concept, with striking Berlin techno-soul DJ/singer Virginia and randy Roman DJ Hugo Sanchez of Alien Alien.

Fri/8, 10pm-4am, $15 advance. Beatbox, 314 11th St, SF.



Time once again for this insanely fun Balkan-themed stomp and whirl, where you’ll hear more time-signatures in one night (mostly all at once) than you’ll hear all year. DJ Zeljko leads the mad charge, with the Inspector Gadje brass band and Jill Parker’s bellydancers in tow. Arrive early.

Sat/9, 9pm, $15. Balancoire, 2565 Mission, SF.



No words to describe my love for the genius Guyanese godfather of dub. The prof’s about to school us, too — his “Roots of Dubstep” tour digs deep, deep into his 30-year DJ and recording career to show what’s what. At the excellent Dub Mission weekly.

Sun/10, 9pm, $15–$20. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.



Every two months a wonderfully inventive, theatrical troupe of drag queens performs an entire album you’d never think would benefit from drag treatment (OK Computer, Parade) — but it works! Next up: Roxy Music by Roxy Music.

Sun/10, doors at 8pm, $15. The Chapel, 777 Valencia, SF.