Sheik it

Bibi and La Zeez go belly-to-belly for gay Arabs and those who love them
Ms. Cherry Gallette

How much hot queer Arab on the dance floor can you handle? If you're dating me, it better be a lot.

Others can test their capacity for swivel-hipped, uluutf8g cuties this Saturday at what more sensationalist club critics might dub a "Battle of the Belly Dancers." Two gay-oriented Middle Eastern–themed parties, Bibi and Club La Zeez, butt bejeweled foreheads in different venues — on the first night of Passover, no less. But that's a different geopolitical kettle of couscous.

Hitting up both events would be ideal, since each is put on by folks of SWANA (Southwest Asian–Northern African) descent; pumps out zills-tinkling contemporary and traditional Persian, Arabic, Latin, and South Asian floor bangers; and serves an underrepresented audience hungry for connection in these unfashionably volatile times. If you are forced to choose, I recommend Bibi. La Zeez, a monthly launched in March at Club Eight by Los Angeles playwright Saleem, is good fun but gives off a touristy vibe — "Magic Carpet" lounge, really? It also caters to a mostly mainstream gay male crowd and uses the word exotic in its press materials. Tacky.

Bibi, on the other many-ringed hand, is a quarterly charitable grassroots affair that has delighted queers of all genders for a year now and is hosted by local playboys Rostam and J. Maximilian. This time around, the party's at Six and called Bibi Chic, so dress yourself fancy and free. Proceeds go to six queer Middle Eastern foundations, including Iraqi LGBT; IRQO in Iran; and Beirut's fabulous new LGBT center, Helem. DJs Emancipacion, Masood, and Josh Cheon will throw down beats and performance artist Cherry Gallete and belly dancer Amira will dazzle the crowd.

And what about us queer Arab Americans who'll be sitting down to Passover seder that evening with our gorgeous Jewish boyfriends? "Both of you come afterward! Bring cookies!" Rostam entreated me over the phone. "There's room on our dance floor for everyone."


Sat/19, 10 p.m., $15.


60 Sixth St., SF

(415) 863-1221,


Sat/19, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $12–$15

Club Eight

1151 Folsom, SF

(415) 431-1151

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