As far as gay dance goes, the epochal choreography of the uncompromisingly out Mark Morris, currently the hottest dance maker in the country, may prove more historically resilient than the image of semiclothed bears raving on a cruise ship.
Yet despite the Internet drain, clubs are still where homos meet to get sweaty, and the music they get sweaty to has a big impact on the culture at large. Dance music is ephemeral in the best sense: how good it sounds has everything to do with how and where you experience it and what and who you experience it with. Energy's playlist was perfectly amusing in a broadcast booth full of campy, happy people or while twirling half naked in my BF's bedroom. But in a club setting, maybe not so much it all depends on who my been-there, done-that ass is dancing next to, no?
I recently spoke with Steve Fabus, one of the original DJs at San Francisco's legendary Trocadero Transfer gay disco, launched in 1977. He's been spinning continuously for 30 years and has pretty much seen it all. "Dance music is magic it's what gay people are," he explained. "It brought us together and kept us going through some incredibly hard times. Disco gathered everyone under one roof, and then house came along and did the same. Circuit was fun in the beginning, but it got too aggressive, and people of color or people into other things didn't feel welcome. It took over everything, and, of course, it burned out."
"I love that kids are expressing themselves in smaller clubs, with different kinds of playing. It's encouraging," he continued. "But it's a shame that circuit took the big clubs down with it, where everyone could share in this experience together. Of course, there are other factors involved crystal meth, the Internet, economics. You have to be very clever to be gay and live here now. It's just so damned expensive."
"But oh well," he said with a laugh. "Everything comes in cycles."