SUPER EGO Blue! Red! Yellow! Green! Indigo Girls! (Ew.) This column is on a serious '90s flashback trip lately as is the city's nightlife: witness delightfully grungeful monthly Debaser's climb to the top of the club charts (www.myspace.com/debaser90s) dipping its toes into the perilous VH-1 waves of Clintonia. But hardly that icky! My last installment caught up with primal ravers Tribal Funk, and this time around I'm jumping with joy in my silk-tasseled plaid bolero jacket for the 13th anniversary celebration of protean party promoters Blasthaus at Mighty, with techno heartthrob headliners Matthew Dear and Ryan Elliot, a supporting cast of stellar local talent including my DJ crush of the mo' Nikola Baytala (call me!) a bouncy castle, a sushi bar, and a foot-washer.
"His name's Shrine, and he likes to wash feet. So why not?" breathy Blasthaus Supreme Commander actual title Monika Bernstein told me over the phone. That's a little burner for Blasthaus, whose parties tend to focus more on a dedicated dance vibes than sideshow shenanigans, but no one said they ain't got dirty sole.
When I think of Blasthaus, I feel the swirly suck of 1998 and its raucous PoP all-nighter at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, inaugurating the neon-sprawling Keith Haring retrospective there. I popped three shitty e's too many and somehow got locked upstairs in the darkened galleries while thousands raged in the atrium below. I don't remember much beyond that, but Keith says "hi." Also the Watchmen are real.
Blasthaus is anything but stuck in the era of dial-up modems, though, staying true to founder William Linn's forward-thinking production intent when he named the nascent collective after Weimar-era German fine-art factory Bauhaus, with a hands-in-the-air wink. The company now employs 30 staffers "We're like a buzzing virtual hive of little party elves," Bernstein said, laughing and not a week's gone by this past year without a Blasthaus shindig bringing in big underground and not-so-underground names. Glitch Mob, Modeselektor, Ellen Allien, Sascha Funke, and Richie Hawtin have all brought sparkly star-fire to its gigs, as well as longtime party partners break out the Internet boom bubbly Thievery Corporation, who'll be headlining the Haus' New Year's Eve blast at the Concourse.
"We bring in who we listen to," Bernstein said, "so we're just as excited about our parties as the people attending them. And a big part of our aesthetic is the art aspect" Blasthaus has run several galleries, from Joypad to Rx to BoCA, and there's something arty on the horizon for 2k9 "so we think of our parties as forms of expression, not just bottom lines. Otherwise, why bother?" They could just bring in DJ Tiësto and retire.
BLASTHAUS 13TH ANNIVERSARY BLOWOUT
Fri/12, 9 p.m., $15 advance
119 Utah, SF
From a late night e-mail missive titled "!!!Crazy Electronic Dance Party!!!": "Hey, Marke B.! My name's Andre and my group Party Effects is gonna jam for SF!!! We are throwing a party at Li Po Lounge with Marnicle, Bobby Browser, Dade Elderon, Damien McDonaldson. Live performers, DJs, tapas snacks! We noticed there were no parties playing certain kinds of electronic music we like: Detroit, Chicago, Italo, acid house, freestyle, bass, electro, Den Haag. We are trying to raise awareness of these sweet styles and bring freshness into our community.