Accidental tranny

Trannyshack drags its gay ass to the finish line, and DJ Cheb i Sabbah takes another fab global leap
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Heklina: "Enough!"
Photo by Austin Young

superego@sfbg.com

SUPER EGO Guilty! I'm totally real-time guilty. Yeps, frenz, I'm that spastic whore on the dance floor whooping like a neon cough, flinging my Mary Kate triceps up when a thump drops in the mix. If a club has one of those heinous black lights at the door, I sneak in the back so no one spots the glowing spunk on my skirt or my phosphorescent VCR. I always ask for extra antioxidant-rich lychees in my pomegranatini, to offset the American Spirits. OK, I've blown the DJ. And although I've never stuffed a tube sock down my sequined thong or Botoxed my rosy areolae, those are my fake digits you just beamed into your contacts, sweetness. Thanks for the pomegranatini. Call me!

Also, I take things for granted. Some parties in this town have been around since Y2K was ripped-knee-high to a troll doll (New Wave City, 1984, Popscene, Death Guild, Red Wine Social, Qoöl). I've surely enjoyed them all. But in my ravenous quest for novelty I've watched them gradually fade from my schedule, like tears of joy evaporating on a monitor. Thus I was shocked when word squirted down the pudding pipe that — after 12 years of lunatic antics at the Stud — weekly trash-drag frenzy Trannyshack was slamming its barn door shut in August. Just where the heck will club pervs get their weekly fix of "two trannies, one cup"?

"I never intended to become a professional drag queen, Marke B. It was almost an accident," Trannyshack hostess Heklina said, laughing groggily into the phone when I rang for dish. I'd woken her up: it was 2 p.m. "I was merely dabbling in drag when the Stud approached me a dozen years ago to fill the Tuesday night slot. It's been wonderful, but I'm ready for a change — and I'm too much of a control freak to let Trannyshack go on without me."

The lady was feeling candid. "I'm done with punk-rock drag," she added. "I'm tired of feeling like I have to haul in my own amps, manage the entire bar, and clean up afterwards. At this point I simply want to walk onstage and have the light show ready and the sound board all cued up. And I want more challenges, to work more in theater, expand my horizons, travel, figure myself out. You get trapped in a persona. This great thing comes along, people love it, and then suddenly it's your whole life. For 12 years. Time for a breather!"

Hold on to your panicked panties, though. "Trannyshack the brand isn't going away," Heklina continued. "I'm working on making it a monthly party somewhere nice, and we'll still do big events like the annual pageant, Trannyshack Reno, international gigs, and maybe bring back the cruise." The weekly Trannyshack's planning to go out with a bang too: a countdown of greatest hits and command performances has begun, with Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters hosting Feb. 12 and an explosive 12th-birthday blowout Feb. 19.

Heklina is one of the OG rave-era club kids who made San Francisco fabulously unsafe at any speed, and Trannyshack freed drag from its Judy Garland fetters, flooding punk spirit — and oodles of bodily fluids — into the stalls of gay nightlife. The 'Shack's now venerable enough to be thought mainstream by some young turks, but it still feels like the scene's bloody wig's been yanked off.

TRANSPORTING How's this for a leap of global proportions? The papacito of the nightlife's global grooves movement, DJ Cheb i Sabbah — himself a proprietor of one of SF's longest-running parties, 1002 Nights (now at Nickie's in the Lower Haight on Tuesdays) — has just released another stunningly internationalist CD, Devotion (Six Degrees), and he'll be throwing down, celebration-wise, at the huge returning one-off Worldly at Temple. Boosting Cheb's subcontinental turntable wizardry live will be Pakistani vocalist Riffat Sultana and percussionists Salar Nadar and Mitch Hyare.

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