Marke B.

Google bus breakdown: a metaphor for our times?


From Mikey B, owner of Vinyl Dreams in the Lower Haight, comes this epic pic of a sleek shuttle being towed through the rough-and-tumble streets.

Positive starts


GOOD TECH Like Tabasco sauce, Lady Gaga, and the color teal, technology in itself is neither good nor bad — it’s all in how you use it. (Indeed, you could argue that those first three examples are technological feats in their own right: Just don’t use too much, please!) And while battles rightly rage about how the Bay Area’s tech industry is reweaving our social fabric, creating and applying technology is an art in itself, albeit one that can have huge economic and political impact.

It can be difficult to see past the whizbang gizmos, marketing dazzle, and glowing dollar signs of how technology is normally presented to us. But in this issue we wanted to take a deeper look at some of the ways technology is impacting or enhancing Bay Area life, and highlight some of its possibilities in addressing some of the city’s real problems (no, not parking or hailing a cab). For all the talk about sharing economies and communal interaction, there’s still a huge gulf between what’s considered “innovation” and what actually offers a path toward civic solutions.

Important questions still hang in the air (beyond the environmental and labor impacts of manufacturing such technologies): How can innovation be better applied to help city infrastructure and social services? How can we integrate startup energy into city policy-making and government transparency? Can the effects of “disruption” be assessed using other indicators beyond market value? In what ways can we ameliorate the knee-jerk resistance to innovation from all sides when it comes to addressing the explosion of homelessness, hunger, and child poverty in the Bay Area? Can we develop new “inputs” or ways of including all Bay Area voices in the conversation about how technology is transforming the way we live?

And why can’t we Kickstart Muni, anyway?

Lately, there’s been some movement toward addressing some of these concerns, especially when it comes to art and culture. The huge, forthcoming 5M project on Mission plans to not only house Yahoo, but also Intersection for the Arts and SF Made, explicitly integrating local arts and businesses into the start-up incubator template. A recent forum hosted by music app WillCall on how tech can better support the local music and nightlife industry packed the Public Works nightclub. Proposals to help teach more coding in schools and make government more transparent are gaining steam.

Of course, it’s always wise to maintain a healthy skepticism about the latest shiny thing, and to realize the limits of technology — often it can’t even clean up its own mess — and especially the people behind it. But it’s also important to keep pushing the conversation about technology’s role in civic engagement forward in positive, thought-provoking, even spicy new directions.


RIP Gary Arlington, underground comix hero (UPDATED)


UPDATE: This just in from Ron Turner: “Hello Friends.  There will be a memorial for Gary this coming Tuesday at 11 AM at 225 Berry St. off 4th, very near the Giants ballpark and the Cal Train station.  Hope to see you there.  It is a modern Senior Center where Gary made his home. Bring stories and memories to share.”

Just got word from Last Gasp Press founder Ron Turner that comics legend Gary Edson Arlington has passed away at age 75. In 1968, he opened what is considered the first comic book store in the United States, San Francisco Comic Book Company, which galvanized the hotbed Bay Area underground comix scene (and helped house his enormous collection, too).

As Art Spiegelman told the Chronicle in 2012, on the occasion of the publication of “I Am Not of this Planet,” a book of Arlington’s colorful artwork published by Last Gasp:

“San Francisco was the capitol of comix culture in the ’60s and early ’70s; and Gary Arlington’s hole-in-the-wall shop was, for me, the capitol of San Francisco.”

He was truly a fascinating character who supported local comics and art until the end, and influenced pop culture exponentially. 

Turner wrote:

“Gary died last night in San Francisco.  He had been living on his own in a nice subsidized  apartment near the ball park.  He had a motorized wheel chair and was out and about in SF.  He had heart and circulatory problems that led to several hospital stays during the last decade.  The comic community will remember Gary as founding the first comic book store in America, on 23rd st. in the Mission. I bought my first underground comic there in 1968.  It was a hangout for all the early underground comic artists and fans.  Services have not been announced as yet.”

We’ll update this post when we find out about services. Meanwhile, go out to your nearest comics bookstore and buy a bunch of indies in his honor!

Photo by Gabriela Hasbun:


One of Gary’s celebrated comics anthologies from 1983:

Clippings and artwork sourced from Larry Rippee and Molly Rea Art.

Welcome to San Francisco, “Welcome to Night Vale”


Hello, listeners. Brilliant breakout podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” has gained a rabid (yet adorably introspective) fanbase since it launched in June 2012. The twice-monthly, 20-minute-long show, created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, takes the form of a surreal newscast, coming to us from “somewhere in the Southwestern United States” by way of Twin Peaks.

Describing a community of indelible characters, it’s a twisted take on Lake Wobegone that vacillates cunningly from whimsical to chilling, often veering into outright poetry. “Night Vale” also recalls the golden age of radio plays: even though it lacks sound effects and depends mostly on the deep, hypnotic voice of narrator Cecil, it summons the entrancing atmosphere of such classics as “The Shadow.”

And now it’s coming to the Victoria Theater for a big live show-reading on Tue/21. Expect seismic things, tiered heavens, off-limits dog parks, magic lightbulbs, hovering livestock, public service koans, and the heirarchy of angels.

Also expect: cosplay — something a radio-like show can carve out extra imaginative room for.

I asked Cecil about coming to San Francisco (he really does sound like that in real life!). He enthused about visiting us:

“San Francisco has been an amazing city for ‘Welcome to Night Vale.’ Last September, we did a live reading at The Booksmith in Haight-Ashbury and it was so much fun — the fans were super-excited, lots of really creative cosplay. One person walking by the bookstore asked, ‘are they giving out free weed in there?’

“This time we are performing at the Victoria Theatre in the Mission for a larger audience and I can’t wait to see who (or what) the fans come dressed as. I think there’s a special relationship between Night Vale and San Francisco. The people of the Bay Area are exceptionally smart, creative and techno-savy: it’s a great combination!”

And now we interrupt this broadcast for a special bulletin: Look to the north. Keep looking. There’s nothing coming from the south.





A first glance at ‘Looking’


Imagine a place where all the gay men are masculine, well-built, physically unselfconscious, and fashionably tousled; where young male artists and young male people of color mingle with young white male techies (yet are still happily banished to Oakland or work the door at Esta Noche); where having a “lazy eye” or being “slightly portly” renders you disqualified for relationships; where HIV, addiction, and politics barely exist; and where everyone is drenched in soft-spoken sophistication, vague existential ennui, and puppy-eyed cuteness.

This isn’t quite San Francisco (yet), but it is the San Francisco of gorgeously produced, play-it-safe-so-far gay-themed HBO series Looking (it begins airing Jan. 19) — at least the first two episodes, which previewed tonight at the Castro Theater. It’s too early of course to pass any kind of judgment on the entire series, which in many ways may be an accurate reflection of current gay culture, and I maintain very high hopes, especially with such good actors, writers, and attention to detail involved.

But let me tell you: I have never wished more for a stereotypically sassy drag queen to stomp onscreen and break some shit in my life.

The dramatic comedy series so far is so polite, well-crafted, and unassuming that even though you gotta applaud the desire to produce a mainstream gay program whose mission is to avoid gay stereotypes — no flaming creatures here — the end result seems to be a warm apple pie with no teen dick stuck in it, let alone a Cockette. And while Looking is more representative when it comes to ethnicity than initially feared (two Latinos!), it doesn’t seem too keen on taking any risks when it comes to social issues or body types. There is nothing remotely “queer” about Looking so far. Sad trombone!

Hopefully, Looking isn’t shooting itself in the expensive workboots with its own good intentions: to present gay men as basically “normal.” Trouble is, normal gay men at this point on our yellow brick road toward complete assimilation are basically just straight people with an extra hot dog between them. It’s simply not enough anymore to have gay men do normal things — like experience typical relationship problems or worry about getting older — and consider it interesting just because they’re gay. There have to actually be interesting things. And so far the most interesting thing here, besides the yummy SF-centric particulars, might be the characters’ varying degrees of facial hair. (Is contemporary gay exceptionalism hiding behind its own beard?)

Here are the dilemmas the three hunks we’re following on Looking face so far: the young, cute videogame designer keeps flubbing dates by saying the not-quite-right thing; the beautiful artist and his beautiful boyfriend just moved in together and one’s worried they’re not going out enough; and the smokin’ hot late-30ish career waiter is having mild symptoms of a midlife crisis and ambient ex-in-the-picture anxieties. Except for the primly presented three-way, a fumbling public hand job, and a brief Grindr hookup, we might as well be inside a Cathy cartoon. Seriously: one of the characters even ends up guiltily diving into a late-night bowl of naughty starch to eat his problems away. ACK.    

To be sure: this show is also in many ways a scruffy dream date, all scrubbed up for dinner at farmerbrown. Hot Chip and Hercules and Love Affair replace Britney and Rihanna at Castro bars. Characters who surely have never seen a real backroom before wave around coffee mugs from The Cock in NYC and other super-insidery gay culture totems. There has been no gym scene. And some of the lines are pretty funny, especially from the requisite saucy gal pal. San Francisco looks absolutely perfect, and well-wrought local details abound. The Brit director is Andrew Haigh, whose dreamy, oh-so-indie “gay boys on fixies” romance Weekend (2011) was like a cool, refreshing splash of the Smiths — or more like the Sundays, or, for the young’uns, James Blake — onto an overheated gay film scene that seemed skewed more towards Katy Perry.  

But transplanted to TV mode, the yearning hipster mumblecore aesthetic isn’t casting quite the same spell yet. 

Maybe I’m jaded/spoiled, but I remember the feeling of the top of my head being ripped off during the first episodes of the British Queer as Folk (still the high water mark of guilty-pleasure gay television) and parts of The L Word and Six Feet Under — that wondrous sense of audacity that fully dimensional queer people with epic faults, uncanny similarities, and infuriating differences were being flaunted in plain sight. Even the severely problematic American Queer As Folk and Will and Grace, with their flaming stereotypes and frustrating pop culture naivety, at least gave us some fascinating characters. I hated the fact that Middle America probably thought all gay men were like Jack, but I really couldn’t wait to hear what outrageous zinger would come flying out of his mouth next. 

There isn’t much of that so far on Looking, although it’s still holding my curiosity. (An after-screening Q&A with writer Michael Lannan indicated that there would be lesbian and trans characters as the series progressed, as well as some actual male nudity finally — come on, HBO). I realize that the show owes as much verisimilitude to the actual San Francisco gay scene as Queer as Folk USA owed to Pittsburgh. But for goddess’s sake, someone protest a condo eviction, somebody get blocked on Grindr for being too fem, someone eat a whole burrito drunk on a unicycle, somebody be nude or pagan or Asian, hopefully all three!

Again, this is just the start of a show whose initial demographic may quite possibly be a swath of gay men hoping for nothing more than to look hip and fit in. But if fitting in means blanding out, we might want to start Looking for something different.        



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.


Bits and bots


CAREERS AND ED “When it comes to robots, there’s usually a kneejerk reaction about job loss. But the robotics field is also creating jobs. We haven’t had stagecoach drivers for a hundred years, but still the world has moved forward.” That’s Tim Smith, a robotics public relations expert — talk about robots creating new jobs — speaking to me over the phone from his Element PR home office in Bernal Heights, where he’s busy representing some of the most innovative robotics projects coming out of the Bay Area.

Smith has a gentle way (he’s no robot?) of putting the recent quantum-like advances in the robotics field into perspective — while also noting the limitations of the field. “One of the biggest challenges I face is overcoming the ‘creep factor’ that most people have when it comes to robots. There are different kinds of robots, different niches: industrial, military, personal. Most people, however, jump to a kind of malevolent science fiction combination of all three. And that’s understandable, considering how robots have been presented in the past.

“But really, personal robots are all around us. Thermostats are robots. Smoke alarms are robots,” Smith continues. “And despite people’s misgivings, they really do want the future, they do want science fiction. They want Rosie the Robot to do their laundry, clean the house. But right now, most personal robots do one thing extremely well. It’s when they’re asked to do two things that chaos breaks out. They need controlled environments. For instance, we have robots to clean your floors, but not one to clean your floors and wash your windows. Even Google’s driverless car needs to be in a certain kind of environment to function.

“So that’s what’s really held the industry from advancing. Meanwhile, though, on this side of that wall, there are some spectacular things being done to fine-tune and develop not just robots but the robotics field, including efforts to integrate robotics into daily life. You can see how far intelligent technology has come just by looking in your pocket.”

Smith took me on a tour of some of the Bay Area-based organizations and companies pushing those advances, including direct descendents of Willow Garage, the legendary Menlo Park robotics incubator started by Google developer Scott Hassan in 2006.



Sure, math in high school was kind of a snoozefest. But what if your geometry class was taught by a box of robots? Yep, that might have you reaching for the protractor a bit more often.

RobotsLAB ( has created that box of robots, which is now in use in several schools. “The idea to create RobotsLAB BOX was born after spending hundreds of hours with educators, teachers, and administrators,” founder Elad Inbar told me by email. “The need for a population with basic STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is imperative, yet we’ve heard over and over again that students don’t understand why they need to learn math, or where math’s core concepts such as linear and quadratic equations are applicable to their lives.

“As a result, they underperform in evaluations and can give up on meaningful careers. But the RobotsLAB BOX robots are serving in the classroom as a bridge between the concrete world we live in and and abstract math concepts.

“There are four robots in the RobotsLAB BOX: a quadcopter, a robotic arm, a rover with a mustache, and a robotic ball. The students love them all. They help teach everything from the law of cosines to the sum of vectors.”

RobotsLAB BOX even offers a STEM kit that guides you through the basics of robotics. Wait, does that mean a robot will actually teach you to build itself?



The Bay Area-based ROS (Robotics Operating System, organization is a collection of programmers dedicated to advancing robotics development and application through collaborative coding and invention.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation ( is the nonprofit in charge of overseeing the development of ROS. Basically this means that it helps make robotics coding something shareable and open to all who are interested (and who can gain the technical chops). OSRF also does things like participate in last year’s headline making DARPA Challenge, the awesome-looking, government-sponsored festival and competition aiming to push robotics to the next level, where it completed a challenge to build an open-source robot simulation environment.

“If you want to enter the world of robotics software coding,” advises Brian Gerkey, OSRF CEO, “some familiarity with Linux is helpful. But the best advice is to just dive in. There are tons of resources at ROS for all levels of expertise and a vibrant community ready to help.

“One of the challenges facing robotics is the multi-disciplinary nature of the field — hardware, software, vision, navigation, manipulation — and lots of math. But there are lots of ways for a young person to get started — things like the FIRST Robotics competition and the growing Maker community come to mind.”

To advance the cause of personal robotics containing open-source software, Gerkey is participating in a panel at the Commonwealth Club on Feb. 26 called “Robots in Unconventional Workplaces” (

“Everyone has their own idea of what a robot looks like and what it does, but in many cases those expectations derive from movies, books, and television shows. One of my goals is to help people picture robots in scenarios they never dreamed possible.”



“The simplest way to describe our UBR-1 robot is that it’s akin to an iPhone without any third party apps,” says Unbounded Robotics ( CEO Melonee Wise of the one-year-old company’s latest protoype.

“The robot, like the phone, is incredibly capable and sophisticated, but the real value comes from what developers are able to add to the platform. For that reason, the practical applications are limited only by the imagination of the ROS developer community.”

Another way to describe the UBR-1 is: squeee.

The little shiny orange robot is so cute I want to have one just to look at when I get tired of Lil Bub pics. The introductory video, in which an “emergency stop” switch is activated to “prevent robot apocalypse” (“not guaranteed to prevent robot apocalypse”) is enough for me to welcome the coming robot apocalypse.

Now I just have to learn to program the darn thing.


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.



Amanda Lepore brings the body heat


“You know how I’m obsessed with coordinating my outfits,” NYC club legend and “most expensive body in the world” Amanda Lepore breathed into the phone, in advance of her Sat/14 appearance at Beaux in the Castro. “So I spend time getting ready for a night out. If I don’t have a coat that matches I just grab one of my stoles — and then run out real quick to get the cab!” 

I had asked her how she stays so put together, out at all hours in the winter cold. (Lord knows the plastic fantastic chanteuse and fashion muse shouldn’t stand too close to a heater.) But of course she’s a champion, having been at the club kid forefront for two decades. Her influence on nightlife glamour — and appetite for parties — has been enormous, despite her petite frame.

“Marke, you know I’ve been so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends in nightlife. It always seems I have some place to be.” That’s especially true right now. Godmother of the ’80s-’90s downtown NYC scene Susanne Batsch has come roaring back this year with several weekly parties, upping the profile of many established nightlife stars, including Amanda, who knows how to make a grand entrance and keep the party rollin’.  (Amanda is always at her Sunday party Vandam and new Tuesday party at the Soho Grand.)

The last time Ms. Lepore graced our fair shore, she was shooting this piece of gorgeous with her amigo Cazwell, directed by Leo Herrera:

What can we expect this time around?

“A little singing, some holiday songs, cabaret-style — I like to do ‘Santa, Baby,’ that kind of thing. My music is going to go more in a cabaret direction in the future, with dance remixes for the boys, of course.”

And what else can we expect in the future? A little chilly activism:

“I’m off to Russia. I’ve been there before, and at first I was scared. It was very scary, and I was in Moscow, and I wanted to stay in my room. But MTV wanted me to do an interview in a Russian club, and it was really OK. I didn’t feel afraid to be a transsexual on the streets of Russia. I think gay men may have it more difficult, and of course this was in the big city. But I feel it’s important to go and be an out transsexual, for visibility.”

Just don’t freeze, please!


with DJ Jodie Harsh

9pm, $5, $10 meet and greet


2344 Market, SF.





After two more hours of hiking, we stop in a dry creek. One of the younger men enlists help pulling large cactus spines from one of his legs. We sit in a circle sharing food. The tastes link us to loved ones and Oaxaca…

After we have hiked again through blisters for many miles and I have shared all my ibuprofren with the others, we stop to rest. We fall asleep, using torn-open plastic trash bags as blankets. Our coyote leaves to talk to his contact on a nearby Native American reservation about giving us a ride past the second boarder checkpoint to Phoenix….

Suddenly, our guide runs back, speaking quickly in Triqui. Two Border Patrol agents — one black and one white — appear running through the trees, jump down in our creek bed, and point guns at us.

— Seth M. Holmes, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

According to the US Public Health Service, there are, on average, an estimated 3.5 million migrant farmworkers in the United States, the majority of whom are undocumented immigrants. At harvest season, most of them perform the backbreaking work of picking our fruits and vegetables for an average $12,500 annually; at other times, they share slum-like apartments or live out of cars looking for odd jobs — 68 percent of them wondering if they should return home to Mexico and risk another border crossing to the US when picking time rolls around again. Only 5 percent of migrant workers have health insurance, and what happens to the rest if they get injured or fall ill doing the work the rest of us won’t is an eye-opening American tragedy.

To many Americans, this cheap, legally and socially vulnerable population is a faceless brown mass in the fields somewhere, maybe receiving a noble thought at Cesar Chavez Day or inducing the occasional twinge of guilt in the produce aisle, if thought of at all. But a provocative, important new book by UC Berkeley Assistant Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology Seth M. Holmes, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (University of California Press), which is picking up awards and has been featured on mainstream news outlets, is helping to re-personalize migrant farmworkers and move their health care situation into the media spotlight.

As the US finally addresses the facts that it spends the most money on health care for the worst outcomes, that a huge chunk of its population has no health care at all (and is severely underpaid for its work), and that we’re dependent on undocumented immigrants to harvest our produce and keep food costs down, we’re only just starting to realize the irony in giving the people who devastate their bodies to provide our healthiest foods perhaps the lousiest health care deal of all.



Part heart-pounding adventure tale, part deep ethnograhic study, part urgent plea for reform, Fresh Fruit starts off with Holmes embedded in an ill-fated group of border-crossers from the mountains of Oaxaca: he gets arrested, they get deported after a harrowing stay in a detention center. Holmes then writes about his 18 months spent picking fruit alongside hundreds of others at a large family-owned farm in Skagit Valley, Wash., living in a closet with a dozen farmworkers in a rundown apartment while they look for work on the off-season, returning to Mexico to spend time with workers and their families, and shadowing the medical professionals in the publicly and privately funded clinics that serve migrant populations. Throughout, Holmes saw people “give premature birth, develop injured knees and backs, suffer from extreme stress, experience symptoms of pesticide poisoning, and even have farm trucks run over and crush their legs,” as he told Farmworker Justice magazine.

Holmes, a medical doctor as well as a doctor of anthropology — the book resulted from his thesis work — brings an enlightening complexity to the issue of migrant workers. (Including the label “migrant worker” itself, which, he notes piercingly at the end of the book, has been ossified with classist and racial overtones. If this group of people were flying over every summer from Europe or Hong Kong to secure investments on Wall Street, they would be called “international businesspeople.”)

He’s especially concerned not just with the grueling minutae of trying to receive treatment for the aches and pains that come with stooping to pick strawberries 12 hours a day, struggling to meet ambitious quotas in order to get paid very little, but also the larger, physically devastating effects of the structural violence visited upon a whole population by neoliberal economic policies that continue to widen the global income gap and entrench the wealthy in power. His “participant observation” method of studying migrant farmworkers means he writes about his own experiences in the field, and he brings his sophisticated anthropological knowledge to bear on the way contemporary society ensures that migrant farmworkers stay on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, building on the work of Pierre Bordieu, Philippe Bourgois, and others who’ve studied power relationships and structural violence in terms of workers’ health.

But, although there are scholarly footnotes and personal interjections, Holmes avoids an icky “anthropological tourism” vibe by providing the workers themselves with room to tell their histories, talk about their bodies, and react to the way they’re treated. People like Abelino, who falls victim to a series of misunderstandings over his severely injured knee, or Crescencio, who suffers acute headaches whenever he’s called racist names or ordered around degradingly, but is labeled a potential domestic abuser by one caregiver and resorts to drinking up to 24 beers per night to soothe his pain. We also hear from Marcelina, who talks to a Skagit Valley community gathering about low wages and high quotas.

And Holmes lets the owners and operators on all levels of Skagit’s Tanaka Brothers Farm — a pseudonym to protect his sources — speak as well, about the need for cheap labor in an increasingly competitive global agribusiness environment, among other concerns. (One especially interesting tidbit: organic distributors pressured Tanaka Brothers Farms to sign a machine-pick contract, which relegates farmworkers to the pesticide-ridden fields, despite the growing market for organic produce.) The Japanese-descended Tanaka family is deeply embedded in the Skagit Valley community, with roots stretching back before the Japanese internment period. The farm has seen different waves of migrant workers from poor white to Asian to Mexican. The Valley community itself has a fascinating relationship with the migrant community, emerging from it while reacting to it, developing its own social hierarchy as each generation “graduates” from farmworker to resident.



A lot has changed from Chavez’s day. For one thing, the previous generation of field workers, mostly from Guadalajara and northern Mexico or from Central America, has gained a toehold on American society — like the Asian workers that preceded them, many Hispanic workers’ children, placed in American schools, have grown up, providing their parents with a path to citizenship or work visas that allow them access to better jobs.

Today, a lot of workers are not mestizo Mexican, but of indigenous Mixtec descent, from increasingly violent mountain villages of Oaxaca in southern Mexico like San Miguel and San Pedro. Bloody land disputes, ethnic tension, the collapse of the local agriculture market that was exacerbated by the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and continued through the recent global recession, and the rowdy and malevolent presence of US-funded anti-drug military forces (strange since no major drug cartels operate there) have isolated this area, forcing its men, women, and children to look for work in America.

Triqui, not Spanish, is their native language — just one of the major hurdles when it comes to delivering healthcare to this population. Another hurdle comes with the specific cultural record of Triqui and general Mexican healthcare. Many Triqui workers rely on native healers, even in American farmworker camps, whose methods of consulting cards and drawing evil spirits from bodies using oils surely provide some psychosomatic respite. But reliance on native healers — out of a combination of tradition, availability, and fear of discovery or of health institutions in general — often prevents workers with deeper problems from receiving a wider range of appropriate treatments. Self-medication through alcohol is common (Holmes observed no drug use), and in one case a man named Bernardo took to the habit mashing his abdomen with soda bottles to ease a chronic stomache ache.

The migratory nature of these workers — and their shifting relationship to the law — all but insures disruptions in preventative and prescriptive care, lack of access to medications, frustratingly spotty medical records, and the inability to form a valuable personal bond with a trusted physician. But the major hurdle is that the system put in place by the government to serve migrant populations hasn’t been revisited since 1962, when a wave of media concern spotlighted the plight of migrant workers — most of whom, at that time, were white Oakies descended from the great Dustbowl diaspora of the ’30s and ’40s. The system has been only slightly adapted and enlarged since then, with dozens of clinics and organizations competing for limited grants, and nonprofits charging as little as they can (often still a steep fee on a farmworkers’ wage).

The picture Holmes paints of the clinics he visits and the doctors, nurses, and caseworkers he encounters is a mostly warm one — most health workers are hard-working and well-intentioned, stymied by cultural and linguistic differences, lack of funds and proper medical records, and racist attitudes from the surrounding communities. Some are prone to misinterpretation, and there are a couple outbursts of frustration that borders on stereotyping.

Still, most migrant worker health care providers are dedicated to their patients’ welfare. As one doctor, a mountaineer who serves the Tanaka Brothers Farm workers, put it: “It’s a very difficult problem. We have a bad situation where citizens cannot really afford health care. And the migrant workers, I truly believe they should have at least the same access as the others. I mean, this work that they are doing is something that nobody else is willing to do. That’s the truth. That’s probably the only reason why we are able to go to the supermarket and buy fruit for a fair price. So this is a group of people that really deserves our attention.”

That group will most likely be left out of the Affordable Care Act’s initial implementation, with possible implications for other, growing fields of migrant work, like software coding or childcare. Holmes’ book will hopefully inspire other investigations into this critical area of the nation’s health care gap — and concerted action to bridge it.

Morphenomenal ‘Struggled Reagans’ will possibly give universe an STD


We’ve been fans of Gregg Golding, aka hyperreal rapper Odynophagia, for years. We’ve also been waiting for his epic movie Struggled Reagans to be released for years. And now it’s gonna be! “Taking inspiration from Power Rangers, decaying tokusatsu, & nightmares of ’90s children,” the film will debut at New People, Wed/11, 9pm as part of the Another Hole in the Head fest.

Golding told us:

“Ok: This film is off brand dollar store knockoff action figures from Asia, and the nightmares that followed. There is a tumor in the collective unconscious. In our myth of deluded comfort, we call upon the Reagans to pierce a laser beam through the core of Samsara. It’s a movement. #struggledreagans #VaginalCucumberReagan #TeamAntoine #StruggledReagansClitTattoo

Don’t just see the movie, live it. The chemical burns of your past fears are a mutagen; igniting the sacred trauma tumor. It’s morphin’ time! Bask as a cosplay spandex mmmmmm (The sound when spandex thighs rub. Helmet visor fogs, dodging a fireball.) When you come to the screening….in a giant robot. See you Wednesday. Meet the first 6 Struggled Reagans to become the next 6 billion.”


Get raucous with Los Rakas


One of our favorite local acts is Panamanian hip-hop duo Los Rakas, based in Oakland, who consistently tear it up. Bounce with them this Saturday at the New Parish — and try to get “Soy Raka” out of your head.

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.


High fidelity rockers


MUSIC Everyone knows the best way to music idolatry is a solid education in the school of rock (or pop, or hip-hop, or goth, Madchester, shoegaze, techno, et. al). And what better way to soak up the sexy, jagged history of music than to work at one of the few brick-and-mortar stores left that sells it exclusively.

Yes, we’re talking about the classic record shop clerk/artist dichotomy. It’s alive and well in San Francisco and the Bay Area beyond. We see it in Andee Connors of Aquarius Records and his bands like A Minor Forest [see full story]. And also bubbling over elsewhere in sound city thanks to still-vibrant music purveyors and lovers of all things sonic:

Perhaps the most well-documented record shop employee is SF’s darling garage rocker Kelley Stoltz, who works at Grooves on Market Street (he has done so for 12 years), and who released his latest full-length, Double Exposure, last month on Third Man Records.

There’s also Amoeba’s Upper Haight location, which is a hotbed of worker-musicians, including Fresh & Onlys bassist Shayde Sartin, whose formerly fuzzy band a few months back released latest EP Soothsaver on Mexican Summer, a shiny vintage pop gem. In that Golden Gate-adjacent mega-shop (which also has locations in Berkeley and LA) there’s also Andrew Kerwin of Trainwreck Riders, Luciano Talpini of Ceiling Eyes, Rory Smith of Death Pajamas, Steve Peacock of Pale Challis, and David James, who plays in many a band (Afrofunk Experience, Beth Custer Ensemble, Curtis Bumpy, David James’s GPS).

Brand-spanking-new record store RS94109 in the Tenderloin is brimming with vinyl dance music — and dance music talent. Twin owners Askander and Sohrab Harooni both make tracks upstairs, while close associate Oliver Vereker is rising through the dark techno ranks with eardrum-challenging DJ sets and hyped new L.I.E.S. label releases “Rosite” and “Fear Eats the Soul.”

The main man behind Explorist International, Chris Dixon, is currently in a few bands, including duo tujurikkuja, and a synthy electronic drone-psych project called Earth Jerks. He’s also finally remixed some Death Sentence: Panda! (remember them?) recordings from 2011 that will probably be released on cassette.

Punk-friendly Thrillhouse Records on the border of the Mission and Bernal hosts staffers who are also members of Apogee Sound Club, Dead Seeds, C’est Dommage, Dead Seeds, Pig DNA, Robocop 3, New Flesh, and Fantasy World.

Oakland’s newest record shop, Stranded, has Sam Lefebvre, a music writer himself who also plays in Pure Bliss and Cold Circuits.

And Rob Fletcher at 1-2-3-4 Go! is in Beasts of Bourbon-influenced rock band MUSK.

Some shops are breeding grounds for bands. Streetlight Records’ San Jose and Santa Cruz locations, for instance, harbor members of nearly a dozen different bands including death metal acts Abnutivum and Infernal Slave (both Matt DeLeon), Churches (Caleb Nichols), Cat & Shout (Cat Johnson), Folivore (Kyle Kessler), and Doctor Nurse (Jeff Brummett). There’s also Stiff Love, which includes four Street Light Santa Cruz co-workers: Raul Medrano, Rey Apodaca, Chelsea Cooper, Cherene Araujo.

Of course, there are plenty more budding musicians behind those shop counters. Do yourself a favor and talk to your local record store clerk. Get the dirt on his or her own musical project then dig deeper through the vinyl crates for the inspirations. And feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

Finally, lest we forget the archetypal, faintly satirical pop culture reference: there’s High Fidelity‘s band of jaded collectors who are also sort-of musicians and DJs on the side. “We’re no longer called Sonic Death Monkey. We’re on the verge of becoming Kathleen Turner Overdrive, but just for tonight, we are Barry Jive and his Uptown Five.”