Your funny Valentines

Pub date February 12, 2008
SectionMusicSectionSonic Reducer


SONIC REDUCER "It’s 60 percent embarrassing and 40 percent hot. And the hotness is derived from how embarrassing it is. Or maybe that’s just me."

Talkin’ ’bout Valentine’s Day, the big VD, that bad case of lovin’ you, with a digest-to-impress din-din and a small but meaningful token of my esteem. Specifically, Club Neon organizer Jamie Guzzi, a.k.a. DJ Jamie Jams, is speaking of Club Neon’s fourth annual Valentine’s Underwear Party.

Yep, I know you know good times sans culottes have been happening for aeons — years, even — on a, ahem, more informal basis, way before Fuse TV’s Pants-Off Dance-Off. But guarens, it’ll be way sweeter and sexier at Club Neon: the first year at the Hush Hush, in 2003, "people were pretty tentative, and there were still lurkers," Guzzi says. "When you hear about these sorts of events, it’s more of a creepier crowd. When people first hear about it, they think it’s a Power Exchange or more Burning Man kind of thing — a lot of people you don’t want to see in underwear leering at each other. But this is a more indie crowd, and the kids are all cute and twee, and everyone shows up in American Apparel underwear." At least the clothing company’s soft tease is good for something more than selling terry cloth hot pants: vive le thunderwear as social equalizer!

"When you’ve got a couple hundred people in underwear, it’s pretty hard to front," Guzzi says, explaining that the idea emerged after he got frustrated with kids dressed to the nines vibing one another. The bonus: once stripped down at Club Neon’s key soiree, Guzzi claims, "you end up realizing that a lot of your friends are way cute. It shuffles the deck in terms of who’s attractive!"

And thank St. Valentine for dynamos like Guzzi. Sour grapes, bitter pills, badasses, bummed punks, gloomy goths, and hardcore realists have long realized all holidays have become co-opted as multimillion-dollar promotional vehicles to buy more, by playing off residual guilt, goodwill, or simply that overarching existential emptiness concerning life’s perpetual gerbil wheel. But what if you decide to suspend disbelief and descend into the commercialized maelstrom, mindfully participating in the recommended shopping, wining, and dining rituals? You’re accustomed to rocking outside the system, so what to do with your bad self when you need back in? Still no reservations? I’ve got a few ideas for every subculty cutie.

Indie Rock Ian Grub: fixed with a laid-back bike ride to Bernal Heights’ MaggieMudd for Mallow Out! vegan cones. Gift: an all-show pass to the Noise Pop or Mission Creek music fest or a steamy copy of the baby-making Juno soundtrack.

Hyphy Heather Grub: grind down on maple syrup–braised short ribs at the bupscale 1300 on Fillmore. Or for old times’ sake, snatch Sunday brunch at the latest Powell’s Place in Bayview (2246 Jerrold) now that gospel star Emmitt Powell has been forced to relocate. Gift: she voted for Barack Obama, but today she’ll swoon for Mac Dre’s Pill Clinton (Thizz Ent., 2007).

Metal Sven Grub: pick up a nice red wine and some stinky cheese for a Mountain View Cemetery picnic in Oakland — pretend you’re downing the fresh blood and putrid flesh of virgins. Gift: Santa Cruz combo Decrepit Birth’s Diminishing Between Worlds (Unique Leader) inspires … birth control.

Techno Cal Grub: nibble sour plum, shiso, and flaxseed sushi and other vegan Japanese delights at Medicine New-Shojin Eatstation. Gift: avert your eyes from the Versace boutique on your way outta the Crocker Galleria minimall, and here you go, the Field’s From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt, 2007)

Country Kat Grub: fried rabbit — oh hell, we’re in former cow country, go for the porterhouse at the deliciously ’40s-western retro-authentic Hayward Ranch. Tip the blue-haired waitress well — she’s gotta have the patience of St. Val to deal with you two after your fourth Bloody Mary. Gift: seal the deal with Queen of the Coast (Bear Family, 2007), a four-CD box set of tunes by Bonnie Owens, who stole both Buck Owens’s and Merle Haggard’s hearts.

Jam Band Jessie Grub: grab your nut cream at Café Gratitude and chase each other around the table with wheatgrass shots. New game: if you don’t make me utter the goofy menu item names, I will be grateful. Gift: crash into the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City Music Hall Blu-ray DVD (Sony, 2007).

So hurry up and give your favorite pop tot some love — or you just might find yourself without on VD.


With DJs Jamie Jams, Emdee, Little Melanie, and Aiadan

Thurs/14, 9 p.m., $5

Make-Out Room

3225 22nd St., SF


J’adore Dengue Fever’s new Venus on Earth (M80), and the band provides the perfect post-love-in aperitif with Sleepwalking Through the Mekong. The John Pirozzi documentary on the Los Angeles combo’s trip to Cambodia ended up involving more than anyone anticipated. "Every contact was, like, ‘Don’t worry about anything! Just show up! Everything will be great!’<0x2009>" tour mastermind and bassist Senon Williams explains. "We’d be, like, ‘Where are we playing?’ ‘I don’t know. Just show up!’ So we were all nervous going over there. We had all our instruments, but we needed amplifiers and PAs and a crowd to play to." Fortunately, Dengue Fever were quickly booked to appear on Cambodian Television Network, and a two-song turn mushroomed into 10 numbers and a two-hour appearance. "Instantly, we became famous across the country," Williams tells me, "because everyone watches TV there."


Fri/15, 9:30 p.m.; Sat/16, 12:30 p.m.; $10.50

Victoria Theatre

2961 16th St., SF