Molly Freedenberg

San Francisco Street Food Festival 2009


PREVIEW If you believe all the hype, street food is the best thing that’s happened to the Bay Area since Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse. And who’s going to dispute it? It’s hard to argue when your mouth’s full of crème brûlée, fried frog legs, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, or any of a number of cuisines acquired from non-staraunts. In celebration of this fun, funky, recession-busting trend, La Cocina, the nonprofit dedicated to helping female food-preneurs formalize and grow their busineeses, is hosting a one-day feeding frenzy. They’ll fill a full block with microentrepreneurs, informal food vendors, and renowned chefs, all peddling edibles and drinkables for $8 or less. Proceeds benefit the fabulous nonprofit’s programs, but we’re equally excited about the way it’s going to satisfy our appetite.

SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL 2009 Sat/22, 11 a.m.–7p.m. Folsom, between 25th and 26th streets, SF.

Bombshell Betty TV?


By Molly Freedenberg

She’s been happily teaching regular ol’ women how to be pretty, pouty pin-ups in her adorable SoMa studio for years – but now Bombshell Betty wants to take her talents to television. Take a look at promo videos Miss B. hopes will get cable TV’s attention below and here. If you like what you see, leave a comment. Who knows? Our girl could be the biggest busty Betty on TV since Ms. Boop.

Bombshell Betty’s
715 Bryant, SF
(415) 574-8785

Hot sex events this week: August 12-18


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Trace Kitten on the Keys’ figure with your fingertips … on the page, of course … at Dr. Sketchy’s on Monday.


>> Asking for What You Want in the Bedroom and Beyond
Marcia Baczynski leads this workshop on speaking up about what turns you on. Learn to be assertive, yet sensitive and generous.

Thurs/13, 7-9pm. $12-$20.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Ask Our Doctors: Anal Sex
Celebrate anal Sex Month by learning what you need to know to have hot, fun, safe anal play! Join Dr. Carol Queen as she explains the ins and outs of anal sex in a comfortable, conversational context.

Thurs/13, 5:30pm. Free.
Good Vibrations Berkeley
2504 San Pablo Ave, Berk.


>> Where the Girls Are!
Erotica extraordinarie D.L. King makes an SF stop on her west coast reading tour, featuring Girl Crazy, Lesbian Cowboys, and the tour’s namesake novel, Where the Girls Are!

Fri/14, 7:30-9:30pm. By donation.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Lick It
What do you have a taste for? Find out with host Lance Holman, lickable gogo dancers, and decadent raffles.

Fri/14, 10pm-1am. $5.
1347 Folsom, SF


Bowie Ball


PREVIEW Not much can stop Swing Goth. Not the misperception that the biweekly dance class and party is strictly swing or goth (it’s all types of partner dancing, to all types of post-punk music). Not a cross-town venue change earlier this year (from Fat City to El Rio). Nothing, it seems, except a big ass flippin’ fire. In June, Swing Goth was all set to host the Bowie Ball, its biggest event yet, when an explosion in a man hole (remember that one?) shut down the Great American Music Hall. But even fire could only delay SG founder Brian Gardner for so long. Now, the Bowie Ball is back, and promising to be even better than the planned original. Five Cent Coffee (neo-skiffle junkyard blues) and Barry Syska’s Fantasy Orchestra (what would happen if Tom Waits did swing) joins DJ Skip of New Wave City, DJ MzSamantha of Clockwork, and MC Psychokitty for a celebration of Bowie’s many faces, styles, and sounds. The event will start, of course, with lessons in swing, waltz, and blues dance and culminate in a full night of cutting a rug (OK, a gorgeous hardwood floor) to everything from Joy Division to Nirvana.

BOWIE BALL Fri/14, 8 p.m. $15–$20. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. (415) 885-0750,

Bootie Six-Year Anniversary Weekender


EVENT A good mashup is musical proof that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. ("ABC"? "Paradise City"? Both good songs. "ABC City?" Even better.) And when it comes to the art of mixing parts of two or more songs to make one revelatory new one, Bootie SF’s Adrian and Mysterious D are expert mathematicians. The duo has been solving mashup equations for the masses for six years, and this weekend they’re celebrating their international success with two nights of madness. Friday’s theme is School Night, featuring classic mashups, Blow Up DJs upstairs, special performances by Renttecca and Suppositori Spelling, and plenty of naughty school-girl and -boy go-gos. Saturday’s Pirate Night features last year’s best mashups, DJs Jells Mayhem and Earworm, and performances by Anna Conda and Cookie Dough. And both nights will see A + D on the decks, mashup band Smash-Up Derby on live instruments, and gold-clad Bootie L.A. dance crew Random Acts of Irreverent Dance (R.A.I.D.) on stage. What do you get when you take SF’s favorite dance party and double it? A damn good time.

BOOTIE SIX-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WEEKENDER Fri/7–Sat/8, 9pm. $10–$15. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF.>.

Hot sex events this week: August 5-11


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg



>> Nipple Play Night
First Wednesday means time to take off your shirt, pull out some cash, and enjoy drink specials like the $3 Pink Nipple Cocktail or the $1 Twisted Nipple Shot.

Wed/5, 9pm. Free.
1347 Folsom, SF
(415) 552-8689


>> In Praise of Pussy or My Fair Labia!
Celebrate furry felines and femmes fatales in this benefit fundraiser for Sammy the Cat and the Center for Sex and Culture, starring Tom Orr and an all-star roster of performers. The night starts out tame and ends up for mature alleycat audiences only.

Thurs/6, 6pm-12am.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission


Sale: Skingraft at Five & Diamond


By Molly Freedenberg


Long before “burner” and “circus” became official fashion sub-genres, the geniuses behind Skingraft were constructing leather into fairytale dresses and imaginative bags that would eventually define the burner bourgeoise aesthetic. Handmade, intricate, and of stellar quality, their clothing has always been gorgeous but just out-of-reach — both because the company’s centered in L.A. and because clothes that good cost a pretty penny to make, and therefore own.

But in recent years, Skingraft has turned some of its attention to more ready-to-wear, and easy-to-buy, options — starting with holsters made of leather and less expensive canvas, selling wares in local shops like Five and Diamond, peppering collections with simpler designs more appropriate for streetwear, and now, hosting a kickass sale.

Tonight, Five and Diamond hosts Skingraft’s designers and collaborators for a preview of the 2010 collection, discounts on the 2009 collection, and plenty of music, libations, and even fireworks. Considering the store’s opening culminated in an Extra Action Marching Band-led parade to the Elbo Room, it’s guaranteed this is an event not to miss – even if you don’t have the scrilla for an equestrian-inspired waistcoat.

Thurs, July 30
5-9pm, free
Five & Diamond
510 Valencia, SF
(415) 255-9747

Hot sex events this week: July 29 – August 4


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Dottie Lux performs at Thursday’s fundraiser for Lux Killmore’s new film. Photo by Leland Bobbe.


>> Ron’s Birthday Underwear Party!
Celebrate Ron’s “Dirty 30” with cake, underwear drink specials, and birthday surprises.

Thurs/30, 10pm. Free.
1347 Folsom, SF
(415) 552-8689


>> Red Hanky Nite
Hell Hole hosts this theme night at Chaps on Folsom.

Thurs/30, 9pm. Free.
1225 Folsom, SF


>> FEED the FUN-draiser
In this fully LGBT film, all the characters are homo or trans and the killer? A lesbian. Help Lux Killmore get this movie made by supporting a fantastic evening of DJs, dancing, burlesque, performances, a silent auction, and full bar. With appearances by Kellita, Dottie Lux, Lady Monster, Kentucky Fried Woman, and more.

Thurs/30, 7pm. $10-$25.
Climate Theater
285 Ninth St, SF


SF International Poetry Festival


PREVIEW San Francisco is known internationally for many things, but top among them are parties, politics, and poetry. We’ve got plenty of events dedicated to the first two, but it’s surprising that we didn’t have a full-blown poetry festival until two years ago. Thankfully, the city, the public libraries, and the Friends of the library are back this year with four days of events dedicated to the medium that made Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti famous — with an intention of continuing the tradition as a biennial gathering. This round features main stage readings by local heroes and international stars like Maram al-Massri, Daisy Zamora, SF Poet Laureate Diane di Prima, and Ferlinghetti himself. Other highlights include an exhibition of artwork and broadsides from participating poets, screening of a documentary about Jack Hirschman, a conversation about the art of translation, an event for youth moderated by California state Poet Laureate Carol-Muske-Dukes, workshops, parties, and a North Beach Poetry crawl that includes stopping in at Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore and other famous haunts of the Beats. Best of all? Like creating poetry itself, all events are free and open to the public.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL Thurs/23–Sun/26, Various times and locations. Free.

Hot sex events this week: July 15-21


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

With the Partial Suspension class on Thursday and Marquis Ball on Saturday, this week’s going to be BDSM-alicious.


>> Partial Suspension for Complete Sadists
Japanese rope bondage expert Mike West hosts this course featuring theories on challenging ties, installation of overhead points at home or on the go, testing a suspension ring, and the advantages of partial suspension. (Couples and singles welcome, but all must participate.)

Thurs/16, 7:30pm. $25-$30.
Stormy Leather
1158 Howard, SF.
(415) 626-1672”


>> Chuluaqui Quodoushka
This shamanic approach to spiritual sexuality is a transformative series of shamanic teachings, guided exercises, and ceremnial experiences. For singles and couples.

Thurs/16-Sun/19. $695.
Passion Temple
(510) 482-4239

Partial Suspension for Complete Sadists and the Marquis Fetish Ball


PREVIEW As we working stiffs watch more and more of our peers enjoying their government-funded, sun-filled funemployment, it’s hard not to feel tied down by the weight of the work week. But remember: not all bondage is bad. Case in point: Mike West’s Partial Suspension for Complete Sadists and the Marquis Fetish Ball, both happening this week to remind us that being told what to do can be a treat. On Thursday, the Japanese rope bondage expert will host a course featuring theories on challenging ties, installation of overhead points at home or on the go, testing a suspension ring, and the advantages of partial suspension. (Couples and singles welcome, but all must participate.) Two days later, sex educator, author, and bondage model Midori will make an appearance at’s celebration of all things leather, latex, and laced-up. Still not convinced the leash that chains you to your job is sexy? Consider a career change and enter Marquis’ live model casting.

PARTIAL SUSPENSION FOR COMPLETE SADISTS Thurs/16, 7:30pm. $25–$30. Stormy Leather, 1158 Howard, SF. (415) 626-1672,

MARQUIS FETISH BALL Sat/18, 9pm. $35–$65. Supperclub, 657 Harrison, SF.

Hot sex events July 8-14


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg


“i wanna give you my ass” and other works by Nicoz Balboa, as well as three more visual artists, are on display at Femina Potens through July.

>> Rubber
The Rubbermen of SF Bay present their monthly party at CHAPS, featuring $3 Trumer and Big Daddy drafts, $2.50 Prohibition bottles, $4 Skyy cocktails, and $5 for those made with Junipero Gin – plus go gos and the bootdog on duty.

Fri/10, 8pm. Free.
1225 Folsom, SF


>> Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Orgasms
Take a tour among America’s obsessions with spanking, erotic literature and fetishes! Discover why handcuffs have more than one meaning when we examine the American cultural landscape through the use of the media, current events and court cases. This interactive, fun and thought provoking workshop examines your sexual rights and erotic potential, before they are stripped away.

Opening Sat/11, 1-3:30pm. $25-$30.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF
(415) 267-6999


Tiki Crawl 9


EVENT Since Victor Bergeron opened the first Trader Vic’s in Oakland in 1937, the Bay Area has had a relationship with that bastion of tropical tackiness: the tiki bar. Only the second of its kind (the first was Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood), Bergeron’s Polynesian-themed watering hole is said to be the inspiration for the odd architecture of the Stanford Terrace Inn (formerly the Tiki Inn Motel) and the birthplace of the Mai Tai (which, contrary to popular belief, is not required to be sickeningly sweet, adorned with plastic toys, or served to newly-legal drinkers in aquarium-sized bowls).

So it makes sense that the world’s biggest tiki bar crawl happens here. Starting Thursday at Trad’r Sam in San Francisco, Tiki Bar Crawl 9 wends its way through 10 bars in six cities over four days, all carefully chosen by the hosts at Tiki Central (an online forum for all things hula kitsch).

Highlights are sure to be Thursday’s kickoff in San Francisco, including a stop at the Disney-worthy Tonga Room, and Saturday’s tour of the East Bay, which concludes at the Trader Vic’s that started it all. Check the Web site for schedules, bus tickets ($35 for Friday’s South Bay tour, $40 for Saturday’s East Bay extravaganza) and rideshares, and more information about ugly mugs and thatched rooftops than you ever wanted to know.

TIKI CRAWL 9 Thurs/9–Sun/12, times and locations vary. Free admission.

July 4 Dining Deals


PREVIEW Fourth of July tends to be a casual, low-brow, pre-packaged-potato-salad-and-cheap-beer kind of holiday. But it doesn’t have to be. This year, Bay Area foodies can celebrate our country without compromising their culinary standards. CAV Wine Bar and Kitchen will host a BBQ with ribs and fixins, as well as vegetarian options. ($35/person. 1666 Market, SF. 415-437-1770, That Hayes Valley beacon of class and culture, Jardiniere, will sport red, white, and blue tablecloths and family-style dining while serving haute twists on classic dishes like
pickled watermelon, Berkshire pork ribs, and lobster rolls. ($55/person. 300 Grove, SF. 415-861-5555, For a bit of French flair (we are a melting pot, after all), La Folie will be open for the first time this July 4 (2316 Polk, SF. 415-776-5577, Or check out Paul K, whose Dine About Town deal has been extended through July 5, for summer classics like heirloom tomato salad, pan-seared white seabass, or flatiron steak ($34.95/person. 199 Gough, SF. 415-552-7132,

JULY 4TH DINING DEALS. Various times and locations. Check individual

Websites for information.

Hot sex events this week: June 24-30


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Doesn’t this pic of an Air Sex contestant (having fake sex with a picture of his ex girlfriend) look like it should be the cover of some emo band’s next album? Just sayin’…


>> Air Sex Championships
Watch the city’s best fake fucking as contestants vie for a place at the World Air Sex Competition later this summer.

Wed/24, 8:30pm. $15.
The Independent
628 Divisadero, SF


>> Erotic Reading Circle
Carol Queen and Jen Cross host their monthly event geared towards readers and writers of sexy literature.

Wed/24, 7:30pm. $5.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF
(415) 255-1155


>> Cybernet Expo
This three-day event directed at small, entrepreneurial adult ventures, hosts seminars about the industry and provide networking opportunities for industry professionals. Kind of like any expo except, you know, sexy.

Thurs/25-Sat/27, times vary. $149-$199.
Holiday Inn
1500 Van Ness
(877) 865-6578


Shake, shimmy, subvert


The tradition of burlesque has always been about subverting the norm and challenging the privileged class. So it should be no surprise that queer performers make up a significant percentage of the new burlesque movement. Or, as Amelia Mae Paradise, cofounder of the queer femme burlesque troupe Diamond Daggers, puts it: "The burlesque world has always had room for freaks and queers and fat ladies."

A quick look at the current Bay Area burlesque scene confirms Paradise’s theory. The cabaret outfit Hubba Hubba Revue regularly features queer and straight performers. Though burlesque dancer Dottie Lux identifies as queer, both her Red Hots Burlesque showcase ( and the classes she teaches are geared for mixed audiences. And queer performers — from soloists like Kentucky Fried Woman and Alotta Boutte to groups like Twilight Vixens and sfBoylesque — find themselves performing for straight audiences nearly as often as queer ones. In the burlesque world, queer and straight performers bump up against each other so often (pun intended), it might seem arbitrary to distinguish them at all.

But most queer performers agree that there is a difference — however subtle. Queer performers tend to mix their burlesque with spoken word, lip syncing, or drag, and also tend to be more subversive and political than their straight counterparts. Some attribute this to the fact that many queer performers are already schooled in other kinds of politically-based performance art.

"There’s a strong component of the queer performance community who are extremely politically conscious and recognize the power they have when they’re on stage," said Kentucky Fried Woman, a.k.a. KFW (, who founded the Queen Bees in Seattle before becoming a major force in the SF burlesque community. "You have this whole room of people looking at you, so you can make them focus on any issue you want."

Queer burlesque performers also seem more comfortable with comedy, farce, and a diversity of body types, ages, and races on stage. "I think queers are better at burlesque than non-queers," said Maximus Barnaby, founder of sfBoylesque ( "They’re not afraid to be outsiders."

And all agreed that it’s different performing for a queer audience than a straight one — even if it only comes down to how many people get your jokes. "Queer audiences already arrive loose and ready to have a good time," says KFW, a phenomenon she hasn’t always witnessed with straight audiences.

KFW also pointed out that there are places where the distinction between queer and straight audiences is even more pronounced — and where having queer-friendly events like Debauchery (, a strip club night for queers of all genders, is even more important.

While some performers might be considered queer exclusively because of their sexual preferences, others — like Twilight Vixens ( and Diamond Daggers ( — employ the title as a part of their subversion of the norm.

Indeed, when Paradise cofounded the Daggers with Cherry Lix (who later went on to found Twilight Vixens) and Fannie Fuller in 2003, the idea was to create empowering, queer performance as femme dykes. "We’re so invisible so much of the time, people assume that we’re straight," Paradise said.

Melding elements of musical theater, Hollywood glamour, and showgirl choreography, the Daggers created a campy cabaret troupe whose purpose was femme visibility.

In 2005, the Daggers birthed the Twilight Vixens. While the Daggers headed toward comedy, gender-pushing, and narrative performances — featuring the bearded Paradise and her six-foot-tall bearded butch wife Sir Loin Strip — Cherry Lix took the Vixens even further towards vintage Vegas showgirl glam. "In San Francisco, you have a lot of men imitating women being showgirls," said Lix. "This was: let’s be women being women who like women being showgirls."

Interestingly, Paradise says the lesbian audience hasn’t always been the easiest for femme troupes like the Daggers and Vixens. "It’s confusing," she said. "They ask, ‘Is it feminist? Not feminist? It’s hot, titilutf8g, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.’"

On the other hand, gay men have always loved them, especially in the beginning, because those groups and gay men tend to speak the same language of camp.

Gay men are also the primary audience for sfBoylesque, the all-male dance revue founded nearly three years ago. But they weren’t an automatically easy audience either. "People have different expectations of men in burlesque," said Barnaby. "The point of reference is Chippendale’s … this perfect, chiseled body. We are absolutely not Chippendale’s."

Whereas burlesque has traditionally been a place that empowers women of all body types, Barnaby said his troupe has had to create an audience to expect and accept the same from men. As for the troupe identifying as queer? Barnaby says that’s mostly because he likes the inclusiveness of the term.

When it really comes down to it, though, performers like Simone de la Getto, cofounder of all-black burlesque review Harlem Shake and the queer event Cabaret de Nude, thinks the titles are stupid — but necessary. "I guess I’m a queer black burlesque performer who’s a single mom," she said. "Once we get past all the labels, life will be easier."

Plus, the lines between queer and straight burlesque are becoming ever more blurred, as Getto — who joined the burlesque scene as a straight woman and then came out — should know.

"People like to see people taking their clothes off. It doesn’t matter who you’re sleeping with," she said. "That pretty much seals the deal for everyone."

Les Claypool doin’ it (Yard) Doggie style


By Molly Freedenberg

Accordion Babes calendar covergirl Sansa Aslyum will squeeze her box with the Yard Dogs on Saturday.

There’d be something inherently sexy about the Yard Dogs Road Show even if you left out the scantily clad dancing girls, sultry songstress, steamy squeezebox vixen, and mustachio-ed MC in his underwear. Their brand of vaudeville-style variety show, with its touches of circus, musical theater, and old school comedy, has a visceral appeal all on its own – much like an old film reel of vagabonds and freaks come to life.

But lucky for us, there’ll be no leaving anyone out on Saturday, when the Bay Area-based cabaret opens for the legendary Les Claypool at the Warfield. In addition to sword-swallowing, live music, wacky antics, and the usual stunning costumes, Saturday will feature Sansa on accordion, the beautifully synchronized (and scintillating) Black and Blue burlesque dancers, and Lily Rose Love’s come-hither voice.

There are few acts good enough or brave enough to follow the Yard Dogs. Luckily, Les Claypool is both.

Les Claypool with the Yard Dogs Road Show
Sat/20, 7pm. $33.50-$36. (Visit this link and enter code EENOR for a discount.)
Warfield Theatre
982 Market, SF



Web Wares: Shopseen on the scene


In her new weekly feature, writer Mayka Mei profiles Bay Area-based fashion Web sites.

Social network newcomer Shopseen only went live publicly this winter, but it already has big plans to revive physical traffic in local boutiques.

A product of Oakland-based Proletarian Design, the concept of Shopseen came to CEO/Founder Adeel Ahmad in late 2007. Although it doesn’t seem likely that a hardware engineer would dream up the idea of a site devoted to shopping, Ahmad’s passion for photography and fashion designer wife (fellow Canada native Sarah Zins) probably had something to do with his move into social media.

Even before he got his iPhone 3G, the upswing of cameraphones and geotagging technology appealed to Ahmad for what they could potentially do for the appreciation (if not accumulation) of materialistic goods.

“Why don’t we use our phones to be a kind of citizen fashion reporter?” he asked. The capability was there, Ahmad just had to build it.

Customer crowdsourcing: Users vote on new product and event finds that they share amongst themselves.

Hot sex events this week: June 17-23


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Satan’s sultry songstress joins bawdy burlesqueteers at Friday’s Hubba Hubba Revue.


>> MythFits
Elan, Leah Lakshmi, Piepezna Saramarasinha, and Luna Maia queerify classic myths in this series hosted by the legendary Michelle Tea.

Wed/17, 6pm. Free.
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin, SF


>> “Love and Sex in the Spin Cycle”
The Marsh presents Lambeth Sterling’s comedy concerning relationships, dating, marriage, and The Secret.

Wed/17, 7:30pm. $10-$15.
The Marsh
1062 Valencia, SF
(800) 838-3006


>> Frameline
The annual international LGBT film festival presents too many sexy, sensuous, thought-provoking, gender-bending, identity-questioning flicks to list (though I’d love to see Berated Woman, about an Orthodox Jewish woman who falls for a Christian Aryan Supermom). Check out the website for dates, times, and descriptions.

Thurs/18-June 28, times, locations, and prices


>> Slinky Summer Tour of SF Strip Clubs
Slinky Productions hosts its award-winning walking tour of North Beach “gentlemen” clubs, this one open to couples. A professional exotic dancer will guide you through SF’s sexy history, host an elborate dinner at Chinatown’s infamous House of Nanking, and take you to Ruby Dolls, where you can pick up your own slink-a-licious outfits to take the magic home.

Fri/19, 6pm. $99/person or $190/couple, including club entrance, two drinks, and dinner.
Register at


>> MILF Fiction, Cougar Poetry and Cheeky Granny Literature
Anna Reed, author of Sleeping around Craiglist, hosts an evening of erotic readings about mature women and the carnal adventures they crave.

Fri/19, 6:30pm. Free.
Good Vibrations Polk Street
1620 Polk, SF
(415) 345-0400

Bicycle Music Festival


GATHERING Is it any surprise that the city responsible for Critical Mass would also have birthed the country’s largest 100 percent pedal-powered musical festival? We didn’t think so. Since 2007, a group of volunteers have been hosting this multi-location celebration of bikes, music, and sustainable culture — and we expect this year’s to be bigger than ever, with musical participants like Cello Joe, Manicato, Sean Hayes, and many more. The day starts early at 935 York St. for a Critical Mass-style bike parade (complete with a 2,000-watt pedal-powered PA system, of course) to Golden Gate Park’s Marx Meadow, where bands will play on the bike-powered, bike-hauled stage. Another cruise takes revelers to Dolores Park for a series of live shows starting at 3 p.m. The event officially concludes with another set of concerts — including the fantastically entertaining Tornado Rider (think cello metal) — at 8:45 p.m. But we’re pretty sure that after all the riding and playing, the city’s bike aficionados aren’t going to call it a night — so drivers, beware! And bikers, game on!

BICYCLE MUSIC FESTIVAL Sat/20, 8 a.m. Free. 935 York, SF. (415) 572-9625.

The Monk’s Kettle: A “destination” beer tour for the refined yet unpretentious


By Susan White


If you’re looking for a classy way to get drunk in the middle of the week – sans the extravagant snobbery of the Marina – you might want to try partaking in one of the Monk’s Kettle’s beer-pairing dinners, now held the first Wednesday of every month.

The Monk’s Kettle is a craft-beer bar located near 16th and Valencia, smack in the middle of our city’s bustling Mission District. Unlike typical gastropubs, this one prides itself on its slightly upscale atmosphere and unique variety of brews (over 150 on its constantly rotating menu, not including the 24 they keep on tap at all times). Yet this tavern doesn’t harbor an exclusive or imposing attitude. According to co-founder Christian Albertson, who opened the establishment in 2007, the Monk’s Kettle merely seeks to “educate” its consumers on the extensive world of beer, providing a friendly and relaxed environment in which to do so. Each of its staff members are trained to recommend brews based on individuals’ tastes, and each course on the menu is listed with suggested beer pairings to go with it. Combining food and beer seems to be a tradition the founders have upheld from inception – only now have they decided to make it an official event.

On June 3, the Monk’s Kettle offered a five-course beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery of Oregon, whose representatives were there to host the event. Guests were required to pay a steep cover charge of 80 dollars per person and make reservations in advance (well in advance – according to Albertson, their beer-pairing dinners are now “booked until next April”).

Harmony Festival: Having your CAKE and eating it too


By Molly Freedenberg

Skaters dropped three stories before hitting this 18-foot vert ramp in the Rude Boyz Eco Cup Zone. Photo from the Harmony Festival blog.

Like most of us, I had a hippie phase. I wore Birkenstocks. I lived on a commune … ahem … in an intentional community. And I frequented festivals that featured jam bands and booths full of rasta-colored beanies. Then I graduated from college.

Some of my other interests and habits from high school remain with me: punk rock, cigarettes, skater boys. But my interest in festivals like last weekend’s Harmony went the way of baggy jeans, ankh necklaces, and smoking pot. That is, simply, it went away. Until now.

This year, the annual Santa Rosa event expanded its usual granola-and-glow-sticks offerings (no offense to those of you who went for Michael Franti or The Orb) to include punk bands and a skate park. Be still my 16-year-old heart … Dead Kennedys? Thirty-year-old men in low-slung shorts who dedicate their lives to a wooden stick with four wheels? I had to go. Plus, Cake – one of my all-time favorite bands – was headlining Friday night.

Gold Club: Anniversary party shiny but not new


By Molly Freedenberg

Gold Club’s Website cover girl knows what you want (what you really, really want).

It all started with this:

Are you into booze???

What about food??

How do you feel about boobies, then??

Gold Club’s giving ’em all away next Thursday evening…

That was the email from a friend whose expertise – besides playing Magic, drawing octopi, and arguing with me about why Macs aren’t better than PCs – is finding free shit to do. This time? It was free nudity. And there was no way I was missing out.

Thing is, after several years of going to Burning Man – hell, even just of living in San Francisco – seeing naked people isn’t really a big deal. And after spending six years in sexually-progressive Portland, where going to the strip club was as normal as going to the local pub, the idea of seeing nudity in a bar isn’t a big deal either.

But I’ve never been to a strip club in San Francisco. Would it be weird, seedy, and full of mainstream guys ogling surgically-enhanced women, a la Southern California? Would San Francisco culture have seeped inside its walls, meaning tattooed dancers with plug piercings and pink hair? I had no clue what to expect.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my curiosity. When we got to the 5th Anniversary party at Gold Club, the line to get in snaked around the block. As per the invite’s instructions, most people had “dressed to impress,” most men in some version of business casual and most women in dresses and heels. There were more men than women, by far, but the ratio was considerably closer for this event than I suspected it normally would be.

Inside, the club felt like Vegas. Carpeted floors, special areas separated by artificial glass walls, their insides rippling with neon bubbles. An ice sculpture of a naked pole dancer slowly melted in front of a glassed-off smoking room (which, itself, was much like a slightly swanky airport smoking area). The one stage was surrounded by heavy-duted scaffolding, which held arena-worthy lights. And on the stage, from the event’s start at 7pm until its finish at 9pm, was a steady rotation of topless dancers.

Though heavier on neon and glass than I’d prefer, the decor of Gold Club is still classy enough for me to consider it a “gentleman’s club,” rather than a mere strip joint.

Products: Well Hello, Kitty


By Molly Freedenberg

One little two little three little kitten toys…

I’ll be the first to admit that I could’ve given the G-Twist more of a chance. I was lazy. Stuck in my ways. And, in the words of the poet Sir Mix-A-Lot, it was so big…so black.

And then came Hello Kitty [ed note: available at Good Vibrations]. The slender pink vibrator with the rounded kitty-cat head and big, big eyes, packaged in a cute rectangular box covered in Japanese writing. Intimidating it was certainly not. But there was something else in the way… oh yeah!… it’s a sex toy based on a character popular with 10-year-old girls (and, to be fair, the adults they grow up to be).

Not that I wasn’t charmed. I was. And a little relieved. The small vibe, in all its smooth pastel adorable-ness, could’ve passed as an oversized pen – and, in fact, it sat on my desk – next to my Post-Its and concert stubs and Sharpies and empty coffee cups – for a few days before I took it to my bedroom. This vibe was much more my speed – no pun intended.

But still. I wondered if I’d be able to use such a thing on my lady parts. Could I get past the associations with kids? The images it conjured of Japanese vending machines dispensing young girls’ used panties?

Turns out, I could. I could get past it. And under it. And off on it.