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 (www.bootiesf.com), 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 (www.crashnightclub.com) 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 (www.1015.com), was making good on its intentions to remodel itself into a more intimate, lounge-type joint. Mezzanine (www.mezzaninesf.com) 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 (www.templesf.com) 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 (www.neonsf.com) and Brigitte Bardot (www.myspace.com/brigittesf) 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.