Marke B.

Crash and burn


To read Stephen Beachy’s take on Anselm Kiefer, “All That Heaven and Earth Allow,” click here.)

REVIEW You could go into “Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth” looking for a rush of monumental drama and cosmic philosophizing, for German guilt writ large, and for abnormal feats of technical skill. Or you could go in looking, as I did, for laughs.
Well, not laughs exactly, but at least a little humor. Would it be too much to ask, amid all the clumps of blond hay representing Jewish hair, split-open staircases leading into Rosicrucian limbo, and stick-thin pogrom graves shaped like ancient runes on Kiefer’s canvases — not to mention the literal deadweight of his giant lead sculptures — for an occasional wry smile to shine through? The artist’s work as presented here is the endgame embodiment of Sturm und Drang — thunderous metaphors crashing into lightning-streaked enormity — but once the viewer’s sheer awe wears off and there’s only beauty to contend with, Kiefer begins to look like a bit of a one-trick pony. (How to make a Kiefer: Stick an M-80 up Joseph Beuys’s ass. Explode onto nearest 15-foot canvas. Add a pair of antlers, scratch “Holy Ghost” and some numerals onto a clump of painted birch bark, and voilà — instant mysticism.)
So besides the blockbuster romanticism and genius overlay of German postwar themes onto the work of that other wizard of industrial spirituality, Antoni Tàpies, what else is there? Certainly not subtlety — for a small dose of that in the same key, rent Wim Wenders’s film Wings of Desire. But lack of subtlety may be a symptom of the grand themes Kiefer saddles himself with. It must be tough to be a German artist. Props to Kiefer for confronting the nightmares of his country’s past and throwing them in our faces. And props again for exerting superhuman artistic strength to create vibrant icons of arcane spirituality.
But those two impulses aren’t always compatible. In fact, they’re pretty antagonistic (wasn’t it the whole superhuman ideology thing that led to the Holocaust?), and what we’re left with is an innate contradiction that tears Kiefer’s grandiose postures apart without the humane buzz of resonance that such contradictions launch in other artists’ works. In attempting to synthesize the entire world into an “as above, so below” set of equations (every point in heaven has a monument on earth) while trying to reconcile with his country’s ghosts, Kiefer paints himself into a melodramatic corner. The empty gothic building with flames running along its wooden floor in his painting Quaternity (1973) could be the brick-making factory of his youth, could be the Jew-burning furnaces of the Bible, could be Bergen-Belsen, could be Valhalla, could be hell, could be heaven. Guess what? It’s all of those. But not much more.
To avoid such results, other German artists have opened up their metaphoric palette to include either humor (Sigmar Polke’s daffy takes on Germany’s garish postwar commercial culture) or sly abstraction (Gerhard Richter’s Lesende manages to trump all of Kiefer’s stabs at spirituality by painstakingly rendering a shaft of light falling on a reading girl’s neck). Current wunderkind Neo Rauch does both in his ’50s sci fi–<\d>meets–<\d>Diego Velázquez canvases. Comparing artists by nationality is lame — and maybe one of Kiefer’s points is that art offers no way out — but c’mon, man, could he be more stereotypically heavy German?
Here and there, Kiefer does deliver some insightful chuckles. Those dried sunflower seeds raining down on a gouache vortex could be a play on Vincent van Gogh. The lethal-looking sculptures of enormous books fanned out and standing on their spines might be a nod to Richard Serra (sure enough, Serra’s Gutter Corner Splash: Night Shift [1969, 1995], which looks like what would happen if one of those books fell down, is at the end of the exhibition). That broken motherboard at the top of a ziggurat is kind of funny. So is the smashed toilet bowl signifying the biblical breaking of the vessels.
All mildly amusing, but nothing compared to the moment when, while taking notes near a ginormous lead-plated canvas, I was told by a security guard that I couldn’t use a pen in the galleries. Too risky near the art, he said, and handed me a pencil. Sure, pencils are made of graphite now, but I still fell out over the irony. Which spurred me to consider that maybe Kiefer’s having the last laugh after all — the crowds thronging his show had been breathing in lead dust the whole time. The afterlife may be nearer than we think.

Talk to the hand



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Our controversial bike-fiend Duncan Davidson on VeloSwap (this Saturday 11/18 at the Concourse)

The VeloSwap PR folks chase the opening zinger “the largest consumer cycling show in the world,” with this dubious enticement: “It is the place to feel the pulse of the cycling community and rub elbows with like minded cyclists.” No doubt said elbows are clad in those weird spandex arm-socks that turn a short sleeve jersey into a long-sleeve. I’m dubious, or maybe just disinterested, because I don’t consider myself a “cyclist.” Don’t get me wrong–I’ve got nine bicycles–everything from BMX race bikes to downhill mountain bikes. I race in four disciplines and ride skateparks and street, plus collect vintage BMX bikes.


But I’m not a cyclist: I’m a biker.



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

SPECIAL: Ghosts of Homoween



When I was a little gurl growing up in Detroit, my ma used to spin an enchanting yarn about her downtown All Hallow’s Eves as a child in the ’50s. “We’d go out trick-or-treating in the early evening, me and your aunts, in our gypsy dresses pieced together from faded handkerchiefs,” she’d intone every year about this time.

“But we’d have to be home by the stroke of dark. That was when the men dressed as women would come out. There would be men dancing with men, women wearing cotton pants and button-down shirts. There would be a lot of screaming and carrying on. We used to watch them through the lacy window coverings in our bedroom, scared into laughing.”

You can imagine what such a tale of gaily marching ghouls and goblins did to an impressionable homosexual like myself. My mind swam with visions of drag queen sugar plums and wild-dyke Roy Rogerses, bell-bottomed sailor suits and sequins dripping from well-groomed mustaches. “Would there be men dressed as the Supremes?” I’d excitedly beg Ma to tell. “Would they do the mashed potato?” Oh, how I would have loved to slip the latch on those lace-veiled portals and join in their spirited parade!

For many a gay back in the day, Halloween was Pride before Pride existed, the one time they had implicit permission to show out in all their invert finery and let loose. Under the code of mid-20th-century gay oppression, the holiday was a fine time for gays to publicly congregate and whoop it up, embodying civilization’s nightmare and driving the children inside. It worked both ways: the gays at least had one high holy day for themselves, which happened to belong to the devil. And the hushed tales of it served to arouse the soon-to-be-overly-curious like me.


Halloween in the Castro began unofficially in the ’80s, when crowds attracted by the exotic window displays at Cliff’s Variety hardware store grew large enough to warrant a street closing. Grandpa Ernie DeBaca, the legendary owner of Cliff’s, drove a flatbed truck and started an annual Halloween kids’ party in the newly emerging gay neighborhood.

Soon, in a symbolic reenactment of Stonewall or the Harvey Milk riots, the gays “took the street” on an annual basis, forcing the cops to give up trying to regulate the party, and the event mushroomed into the wild, potentially dangerous — and gay-diluted — bacchanal of today.

But before the Castro exploded, back in the ’70s, the gays of San Francisco would throw on their best Barbara Stanwyck and hit up Polk Street to let it all hang out, gayngsta-style. Those were the glory days of the bathhouse generation, and whenever I want to project myself back into them, I visit amateur historian Uncle Donald’s Web site, Therein lies an archive of Uncle Donald’s photos of the 1976 Polk Halloween scene, as well as a spotty but fascinating diary of gay Halloween celebrations from the disco era to 2003. It’s a treasure trove of artifacts and impressions — and perhaps an elegy to the seemingly endangered high holy day.

“Back then there were two outfits: drag queen and drag queen’s escort. You either wore a ball gown or black tie,” the husky-voiced 65-year-old says over the phone. “It was such a magical time. I don’t think of Halloween as a gay-only tradition, but there was a glorious, creative spirit, a feeling of freedom and community. It was something special.”


Does that spirit still exist? For years Halloween was the one night us gays didn’t have to be afraid. And now the gays of the Castro want to do away with Halloween because it scares them. Weird. “It’s become a zoo, but it’s great to see the young people still partying,” says Donald when I ask him about Halloween in the Castro today.

But none of my young gay friends like to party in the Castro, and not just because they fear getting bashed by out-of-towners. “There’s no inspiration to be found there. Everyone just wants to dress up as celebrities and stand around. Or else it’s for more uptight gay men to do drag and feel ‘wild,’” says fashion designer Allán Herrera, 23. “Private parties are more fun, but everyone just ends up in the Castro because the alternatives cost $50.”

Hunter Hargraves, 23, a drag performer, agrees. “You can dress up anytime you want in San Francisco, so I think the feeling of Halloween as a gay freedom day no longer applies,” he explains. “I have a lot of respect for what it was, but now it’s just one day among many.” Another friend, Brion, 17, says, “Halloween is for getting fucked up and checking out other high schools.”

So maybe the venerated spirit of Homoween has moved on from the Castro, just like it took flight from Polk Street two decades ago. The question, of course, is “to where”? In an age of gay mainstreaming, when the notion of community has been rapidly decentralized, diffused across a spectrum of tastes and miniagendas, maybe the purpose of a gay high holy day has evaporated into the ethosphere, like real-time cruising or leather bars.

Or maybe it’s just been mischievously internalized. As my 25-year-old roommate said the other day, trying on plaid hot pants and naughty-schoolboy accessories, “For Halloween, I just want to dress like a slut and get laid.”

That sounds plenty gay to me.

Economy class


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

CLUBS: Hot gay Chilidog


New fabulous intern Chris Cooney hit up DJ Bearded Lady’s new Tuesday night shindig, Chilidog (named after the Guardian’s second favorite sex act) at the Transfer in the Castro, and came back covered in buns. Check it out. All pics of cute gay boys by my favorite local artist “the legendary Darwin Bell” a.k.a “grandma with a camera” a.k.a “the Polaroid hemorrhoid” (just kidding, lover!) — Marke B.

Who could have predicted that by fall ‘06, the Transfer Bar would own the freshest lineup of dj nights in the Castro?

Bearded Lady puts on the dog

Most nightspot makeovers in the neighborhood end up a little like bad collagen shots, all shiny and soulless and musically cloned. There are plenty of new choices if you’re looking for a place to throw down cosmo’s and lipsync to the Black Eyed Peas on a video loop, because everyone loves a good pop remix, especially when the lyrics are easy to remember for drunk people. But too many bars packed with tv screens and boys singing about lovely lady lumps can be discouraging.

CLUBS: “I’m famous, bitches — at BOOTIE!”


Club BOOTIE is a San Francisco club treasure — as our fabulous young intern Justin Juul was to find out last weekend. Read below of his wondrous adventures with the queens of monthly mash-up nightlife — even if he didn’t cross-dress like I told him to. Hmph. — Marke B.

What Justin didn’t wear

I have danced exactly five times in my life. Once, at a rave in Los Angeles, the designer drugs took control of my body and simply refused to let go. I cut a goddamn rug that night, dancing for hours, oblivious to dirty glances from the jungle-kid/breakers on a mission to ridicule those with comparatively bad moves. The other time was at a rave in the Inland Empire when my illegal substance cocktail made it impossible for me to sit still. I climbed up on a speaker and shook myself rotten for six hours straight. It was glorious. Then there was that other time at an outdoor rave in the high desert when… you get the picture.

Weekend clupdate: Sorry Mona!


I’m a bad clubkid — I was supposed to pump my girl Monastat’s Tuesday Trannyshack island birthday extravaganza, but with all the horridly yummy Mark Foley scandal unfolding, I plum forgot. Sorry Mona — don’t scratch my eyes out! Luckily, I heard it was packed and peeps loved it. Mona rules (she’s everywhere these days) — and you better watch out for her …


Happy birthday lady!!!

And there’s lots coming up this weekend you all should be aware of …

Sorry I stole your peanut butter, Grandma …


but I’m a gay alcoholic pedophile who was molested by a priest when I was 12. On the moon. In pink knickers. With bunnies on them. If I donate $100,000 to your reelection cookie jar, can I have my AIM back? Oh Granny, your firewall’s enormous — but why such big glasses? … –Marke B.

Oooh .. Granny’s mad!!!

Escape pods


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

Ku Klux Kuties


Ok, this may have nothing especially to do with San Francisco particularly — but what a Halloween treat, courtesy of Martha Stewart herself. My new email buddy DJ Bus Station John has dived into Martha Stewart Living magazine and come up with some fabulously entertaining entertaining tips from the Big Blonde Jailbait. These, I suspect, are meant to be ghosts.


But come on!

27 cocks, 4 circle jerks, and a Human Urinal: The Almost Fabulous Intern goes to Folsom


Because I simply can’t stand virgins (something about their Winnie the Pooh pyjamas), I sent my leather virgin intern, the one and only Justin Juul, to the Folsom Street Fair to record his experiences. This is what I had to do to make Folsom shocking again — at least to someone. He returned with a message of love. And maybe the clap. Read on … –Marke B.

wieners copy.jpg

Sorry Marke, I know I promised, but I just couldn’t do it. No matter how many beers I drank, I could not get comfortable with the idea of going out in public clad in my hastily thrown together leather costume. What would my poor mother think for God’s sake? And what would my marine-corps father do if he knew? Would he stop giving me money to finish school? Would he shun me for the rest of his days? With all these thoughts swirling in my paranoid little mind I came up with a logical alternative -a leather barbecue! I would still attend the day’s festivities, of course; I just wouldn’t be showing off all my skinny white boy stuff. What follows is an account of The Almost Fabulous Intern’s first leather festival.

Oral histories


By Marke B.
Thousands of fantastically perverse revelers (most of them gay) will flood San Francisco for the Folsom Street Leather Fair on Sept. 23, ensuring that every cranny of the city brims with wanton copulation — which really is the way it should always be in our famously lewd burg, no? Too bad that for the other 364 days of the year, good ol’ slutty San Francisco is considered by erotic tourists to be one of the most prudish cities in the world.
Unlike other civic dens of iniquity, San Francisco has no gay bathhouses, no sleazy back rooms in bars (well, none that the cops have sniffed out yet), and a dwindling amount of mischief in the bushes. This sorry state of affairs is due partly to the advent of Internet hookup sites in 1996 (thanks, AOL) and partly to the break in gay traditions caused by the loss of a generation to AIDS. But mostly it’s due to the “sex panic” of 1984, when well-meaning gay activists looking to protect gay men from their supposedly unsafe urges convinced the city to ban all bathhouses and enforce rules that separated public sex from any sort of alcohol consumption and unmonitorable activity. Gay folks would just have to go to Berkeley to get wet and have sex. That may have made BART more fun, but for many it seemed like a forced expulsion from SF’s sexual garden by Big Brother.
In 1996, gay city supervisor Tom Ammiano tried to get the baths reopened by proposing a set of HIV-risk-reducing regulations that included no private rooms, no alcohol consumption, safer-sex education materials and condoms on-site, brighter lighting levels, and the presence of staff monitors to ensure against unsafe activity. Pretty oddly, the city adopted most of his proposed regulations — leading to the rise of today’s slick, commercially licensed sex clubs — but kept the bathhouse ban. This means that it’s now OK to pay to have sex with strangers in a public setting, but if there’s any kind of water running other than from a broken toilet, you’re in trouble.
Whether or not gay men in San Francisco should be left to their own sexual devices is still a matter of polemical debate. Or is it? Not many people seem to talk about it anymore. But you can’t stop the party. From 1989, when the last bathhouse was closed by a city lawsuit, to 1997, when San Francisco began using commercial licenses to approve sex clubs, a vibrant sexual underground ruled. Often subject to raids by police, the underground included anonymous-encounter mainstays like Blow Buddies and Eros, both of which opened on a members-only basis in hopes of circumventing any legal trouble. It also included less formal play spaces like the Church of Phallic Worship and Orgasm, naughty nooks that live on only in legend.
This dark period — or golden age — of underground sex clubs (and with the lights off, it was probably both) has largely been forgotten. But exciting tales of the past still issue forth from it, and with the current revival of ’70s bathhouse nostalgia, it’s interesting to note that bathhouse culture extended well into the ’80s — yep, folks were dropping towel to Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted Snake” — and poured out into the underground sex clubs of the early ’90s before being sucked toward the Ethernet of now. We asked a few of the scene’s regular, anonymous players for their memories of some clubs of the time.
“You’d ring a little bell at this house a few doors down from the Powerhouse — tingaling-aling — and they’d open the door, and at the top of this long flight of thickly carpeted stairs, there’d be this guy sitting in a chair who would say in this flat, uncommitted voice, ‘Welcome to my party. Friends tend to chip in $5 to help cover costs. My roommate’s in the kitchen if you want to check your stuff.’ That was Mike, and it was funny he said roommate, because you know no one really lived there.
“At the top of the stairs was this long hallway full of amateur erotic art — not like Tom of Finland, more like a horny Grandma Moses. I stole a drawing that I think was supposed to be of an S-M twink but more resembled a Christmas pixie in irons. I don’t remember much about the sex rooms, except there was a shoddy maze in the back and a sign that said ‘No talking in the fun zone.’
“In the kitchen there was a beer keg and a big aluminum bowl of shiny-looking Cheez-Its that I could just never bring myself to snack on. I knew where those Cheez-Its had been. There was also this kind of ‘Your Own Carnival Hot Dog’ maker that was more like a filthy aquarium with gray franks in tepid hot dog water that no queen would touch — despite the metal tongs provided ‘for your protection.’”
“Conga-line dance-floor fucking was what I remember most about this place. Which is pretty darn difficult if you take varying heights into consideration. Trouble was a totally anything goes kind of club — after-hours alcohol served, a big dance floor with professional-looking lighting, out-in-the-open nasty sex. Like Studio 54 if Liza was a go-go whore and, you know, a sexy guy. It was in SoMa around Folsom and, I think, First.
“There were dark rooms and a maze upstairs — it was in a big warehouse space with a high ceiling. It got raided three or four times before they finally shut it down. It only lasted like eight months. During the raids the cops weren’t all, like, ‘Let’s get the faggots,’ they were more, like, bored, flashing their lights around and saying in a polite voice, ‘Please leave — you have to go now,’ like they were ushers and we had overstayed our welcome at the opera.”
“The Black House was freakin’ scary. It was this old Victorian off Castro painted completely black. I had just moved here — in 1994. I was 23 and thought the Black House was where Anton LaVey used to live and they had Satanic rituals there, but really it was just a bunch of naked guys fooling around in the basement. I don’t remember exactly where it was, but somehow my drunk feet took me there after the bars closed.
“Mostly the guys were cute in a hustler sort of way — this was when tweakers left the house to get laid. But there would be some letches. One guy followed me around telling everyone I looked like an Etruscan statue. I got really embarrassed and had to leave and go look up Etruscan. One time the hot young guy doing coat check took out his teeth to blow some other guy. I wonder whatever happened to him.”
“Orgasm was across the street from Endup on Sixth, so you could just stumble there and have sex at any time of the day or night, it seemed. There was this huge stage, 10 feet deep, where they had live sex shows and some really crusty Goodwill couches. One time I tricked with a guy who asked me to drop him off at Orgasm, and the minute he got there, he shed his clothes and got up onstage for a show. Where did he get the energy?
“Like most other clubs, it was in a warehouselike space, very minimal. There was a door guy and another guy inside with a clipboard, but that was just to look official — there was never anything on the clipboard. The space was divided by curtains for ‘privacy’ and had a long overhead shelf with candles on it, which added atmosphere to the ‘lovemaking.’ There were turntables, and I remember it was around the time that Boy George came out with ‘Generations of Love,’ which was a surprisingly good record.”
“I think the Church in SoMa used to have ads in the back of the Bay Area Reporter, but everyone just seemed to know about it. It had a real rough, underground feel. I don’t know if it was officially religiously affiliated, but maybe they got free parking out of it. They served beer after hours — it was like a one-stop shopping hub of gay socializing: backyard barbecue, glory holes, music, the works.
“It was run by a Santa Claus–type character called Father Frank, and every time you called the info line, he’d answer the phone by reciting a homoerotic limerick in this hilariously effeminate voice, like Rona Barrett on 33 1/3. It was a cross between a house and a warehouse — pretty big, but it could get way too overcrowded. What was so great was that it went all night, yet no one seemed like they were on speed. Everyone was just drunk and having a great time.”
1808 CLUB
“This was a big house down by Guerrero and Market near where the LGBT Center is now. I remember this huge door with a tiny window you had to knock on, like it was a speakeasy in Communist Czechoslovakia. This totally hot bald guy would answer, and I’d kind of be intimidated because he was so muscular. Years later he became my personal trainer at Gold’s Gym.
“The place was painted all black on the inside and was on two levels, one overlooking the other. Balconesque, as the French would put it. There were these little cubbyholes all over the place that two people could fit in, and maybe you could squeeze in three on occasion. On weekends it was packed. It was cheap too: $5 for the whole night, and they’d stamp your hand so you could get in and out. I didn’t go too much, because it was in my neighborhood and I like being a little incognito. That’s a little more classy.” SFBG

Let the craziness begin!


Oye — this weekend — Lovefest, Folsom Street Fair and Rosh Hashanah! Can I use my yarmulke as as a jockstrap? Can I twirl my flaming leather poi? I think I’m just gonna go all weekend dressed as a mime in lederhosen: the Silent Yodel, they’ll call me. Funtime! Climbing the escalator of pants. Sliding down the invisible rope of chaps. I’m going nuts already. Too bad I’m sober.

Also this weekend: the return of one of my favorite clubs WORK MEGODDAMMIT, crazy underground gay/straight vibe in a forgotten laetherish haunt with Brontez and Frankie Sharp: this time around featuring “the boy with the New York face and the Oakland body” CAZWELL. I know nothing about him, really, except I’m going to sleep with him, Check it:


More party previews as inane and incredibly informative as this one coming soon. Hey, with the big Folsom party, the onerous Magnitude, costing $90 at the door — I’m all you have … LOVE.

PRICE CHECK: $40? Oh the Humanity!


Is it really $40 to go see the Human League at Red Devil Lounge? Retro hipsters start saving up now! Here’s new intern Chris Cooney’s brief, decidedly non-retro hipster take on the event.

I invented a new stupid-pet trick: ask 10 of your friends to tell you something about the Human League, and nine of them will start singing, “Don’t you want me Baby? Don’t you want me ohhhhh!” It’s adorable.

Gourmet GPS


The first thing they should hand you when you land in the Bay Area is a fork. (Well, that and maybe a condom.) The Bay is brimming with deliciousness, and one of the best things about living in such a genteel environment is the copious amount of wanton gourmandizing to be had. International specialty stores, world-famous organic eateries, precious little bistros, tasty pastries, cuisines you’ve never heard of … it’s a taste bud amusement park, a roller coaster of mmm.
In fact, maybe along with that fork they should also give you a culinary compass, some kind of flavor navigator to guide you through the thicket of edible options. I’ve certainly always wanted one: sometimes I’m faced with so many choices I find myself holing up in my breakfast nook with Charlie the Tuna and Chef Boyardee. That’s no way to live. So this year for our annual food and drink issue, we at the Guardian decided to give the guide thing a real go: rounding up some of our favorite places to eat and putting them in a handy digest to reference all year long. Feast 2006 is our bellwether to noshing and helps answer some very important questions — questions like “Where can I eat at 3 a.m.?” and “What restaurant serves fresh yamakakke?” and “Where can I brunch with a drag queen?” (as well as several more everyday queries).
This guide is by no means encyclopedic. There’s a whole host of other choices available in each of the categories within. For even more recommended comestibles, check out our Best of the Bay (, our blogs at, and the paper every week. But for now, dive into Feast 2006 — and don’t forget your napkin. You got a little somethin’ on your chin, sweetie.
Marke B.
Feast 2006 editor

8 juicy steak houses
6 fabulous Sunday brunches
8 cheap dates
8 great cups of coffee
16 freaky cuisines
5 sinful desserts
6 reasons to eat in Berkeley
9 hipster breakfasts
7 funky infusion bars
9 late-night restaurants
10 organic eateries
9 picks for picky eaters
6 top floor cocktails
8 spots to sip rose
27 delectable specialty stores
Paul Reidinger’s top 20

Gala Symphonix


The noses were small, the dresses were expensive, the Mayor was in attendance, and the music was sublime. Yep, I crashed the annual SF Symphony Opening Gala, chockful o’ Zellerbachs, Wilseys, DuPonts and whomever else rich-like, and lived to blog all about it (despite being almost kicked out for yodeling during the singing of the National Anthem, ahem.)

“Pose for the Guardian? I’ve been in National Geographic, and I thought that was weird …” (actual quote)

WTF of the week


So I was stumbling to work today when a horrible sight stopped me dead in my tracks, made me drop my purse, and burst me into tears. SOMEONE had painted over the Positive Visibility/Women Fight HIV and Invisibility mural at Haight and Scott.


Mother Ninja, RIP


wow — a lot of death on the blog this week. On Saturday, one of my favorite people in the world passed on from AIDS complications (yep, it still happens — drugs aren’t magic, people). Willi Ninja, voguer extraodinaire, mother of the House of Ninja, superfamous spokesperson for utterly fabulous butch queen love, was FIERCENESS itself. We’ll miss you Willie.


Check out this awesome YouTube tribute.

I met Willi when I was but a wee thing in NYC in the late 80s. I was at the height of my first club kid phase, doing the door with the IT TWINS at the World and Save the Robots, a mere teen hanger-on to all my glittery heroes, when he crossed my path — and crossed and crossed it! Girl, he was a human pretzel, a cyclonic blackalicious blur. All those flailing limbs! This was before Paris is Burning or Vogue came out (it was right around the time of Malcome McLaren’s awesome “Deep in Vogue” dancefloor shaker), and he wasn’t all internationally famous yet — but he was ROYALTY, you could smell it. He briefly commented nicely on my gold sequined short-shorts and blue afro (he thankfully said nothing about my giant Burger King crown) and moved through the party like a Swiss Army Knife thru butter. She moved thru the FAIR. I was star strucked.

He was only 45, but what a world of inspiration he leaves behind. The kids never die. FIERCE N HEVEN.



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



It’s another brief club weekend update, courtesy of your eternal Guardian club whore Marke B. I don’t know if you’re saving your wad for the long weekend Sunday night (I’ll be outta town, alas!) — but don’t. Go to my friends Ryan R$obles and Juantita More’s fab new club Playboy at the MANsion, er, The Stud — check it out.

gogo boy xtravaganza! lewd and lascivious fashions! lots of kooky musiks! and look — sexy jesse who just turned 30 is on the flyer wearing acid wash! you have to go now, don’t ya …

Playboy-Next Party1.jpg

Saturday, Sept 2
at the Stud.
it’s scary fun! it’s wild! I think …

Fallin’ out


Club me. Club me hard. And party me even harder, Miss Autumn — you with the burgundy hair, the tiger-striped jumpsuit, and the White Russian teeth. This is a great time to fall out in the Bay: the weather gets warmer, the nights get longer, and there’s a new crop of fresh-faced, low-tolerance Berkeley students and their future careers to fiddle with. How naughty. Do let’s dive into some fall party highlights, shall we?
Big club news first. Crusty favorite 1015 Folsom ( just underwent a massive remodel and is looking to rebrand itself as a more welcoming, less tired niche spot. So far the calendar looks full of the usual Paul Oakenfold–wacky techno stuff of yesteryear, but there’s an outreach going on to draw in more, er, post-1998-type fare, and the remo looks fabu, so here’s hoping.
1015 is spacious, but the brand-new Temple ( in the old DNA space is holy fucking cosmic. With five dance areas, underground “catacombs,” and various VIP rooms (including one you get to through a secret door in the women’s john), there’s gonna be a lot of sublebrity scandal reeking from this joint when it opens in September. I’m still all about small, but I’m mysteriously drawn to this place already. Something spiritual? Nah, I just wanna egg all the Hummers.
Also on its way is Slide (, an upscale underground speakeasy-style lounge soon to be launched by some of clubland’s wealthiest players. It really is underground — you get to it by going down a slide. Lord knows how you get out. But it’ll be fun watching people try. Look out for beaver cams, skirt wearers.
If you’re gay or a fan of the gay or a pervert nun — and who isn’t on a Thursday — you’ll squeal like a stuck pig that one of San Francisco’s literally balls-out faves, Revival Bingo (, the raucous fundraiser hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, will rise from the dead on Sept. 7 and will continue to rise on the first Friday of every month at 7 p.m. at Ellard Hall in the Castro.
But Sept. 7? You may be just too hungover from the SF Symphony Opening Gala ( Sept. 6 to wet your bingo tip. OK, OK, I admit this isn’t exactly a clubby event, and maybe I’m pumping it because I want free press tickets. (Oh yes, I’ll be blogging it on But I’m tired of standing behind the velvet ropes year after year watching San Francisco’s impeccably accoutred master class promenade down the red carpet to enjoy the Michael Tilson Thomas–led aural fireworks inside. I’m a faggot, dammit. I wanna be in the sparkly parade!
Which brings us to the biggest party weekend of the year: Sept. 23 and 24. That’s when, for the third year in a row, the technolicious LoveFest (formerly the Love Parade; and the leatherific Folsom Street Fair ( share a weekend of mayhem — LoveFest all day Saturday and Folsom all day Sunday. These are both ginormous institutions that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each. And oh lord, you should see the outfits. LoveFest boasts hundreds of top-notch live acts, including Massive Attack, Grandmaster Flash, and DJ Shadow, plus a really rickety parade of hilariously homemade floats up Market. Folsom boasts hundreds of top-notch bare buttocks and several hundred lower-notch other parts as well, plus this year it’s woken up to the whole alternaqueer thing, programming a ton of trash-drag live acts and even SF’s favorite musical curmudgeon, DJ Bus Station John, to get your chaps sweaty. Throw on a beer-stained bunny suit and hit up both events.
Finally: “Mass Culture has forced the majority’s subconscious into accepting a monotonous mindset pervaded by ignorance and inaction,” quoth the press release for Be the Riottt (, the eclectic Vice-meets-Misshapes electro-fash throwdown Nov. 11 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Riott’s answer? Have an enormous concert featuring some of the biggest international draws in postironic attitudinizing. The Rapture, Metric, Clipse, Diplo, and about 20 other acts (plus, I suppose, thousands of neon Vans and white-framed sunglasses) will stoke the frozen grins of the sans blague generation. I’ll be there with a Cher tambourine. Go team! SFBG

Fashion Week for the fierce, pt. II: Being Marke B.


Fab intern Justin Juul picked up the Fashion Week/Fisher Spooner pieces for me this past weekend. Here’s what he had to say.

The press people at Mystery Girl Productions invited Marke B. to the third annual SF Fashion Week sometime last month. Never one to turn his nose up at a free party, Marke enthusiastically accepted before realizing that the dates clashed with those he had previously set aside for his three-day long birthday bash. Thus, by way of simple calendar negligence, the job was handed down to me, Justin Juul, better known ‘round these parts as “The Almost Fabulous Intern” — if Marke gets an alter ego, damnit, so do I. Join me as I spend a night in Marke’s shoes.

Justin and fashionable stalker friend

“What would Marke do?” I thought, as I began to get myself dolled up for the evening. “What was he saying last week about Tylenol Cold and Sinus medication? Did he say you should or shouldn’t mix it with tequila?” Since all I had was a half pint of Gentleman Jack, I figured it didn’t matter so I popped the pills, finished getting ready, then went outside to wait for my cab. While standing there, the details of Marke’s alcohol and cold medication story re-surfaced in my head. “Don’t do it, young intern,” Marke’s ghostly voice echoed, “you’ll pass out and turn blue on the dance floor like I did, wooohooo hooohoo (spooky/fabulous ghost sounds).” Fuck, I thought to myself. I spent the next half hour nursing my third Jack n’ Coke in the cab while trying to ignore Marke’s phantom presence. Despite the knowledge that I was probably going to suffocate by the end of the night, I felt I was off to a good start. Marke would have wanted it this way.