Fair game

Heads up! It's a new year in nightlife, and everything's on the table
2008 got hella Beasty
Photo by Parker Tilghman


SUPER EGO Oodles of great blasts polished off 2008 — surely more heavenly reassurance that getting fucked up and fabulous is recession-proof, even if your outfit's from Discount Fabrics and your liquor is too. But my favorite New Year's Eve party wasn't one that "everybody went to," or even one I went to all at once.

Hunky Beau and I had just scrammed from our midnight toasts at an as-yet-unnamed new bar on Market Street when the jagged chimes of an amped-up Guitar Hero rang out in the busy darkness. The Zep-like noodling tugged at our ears until we reached Church Street and joined two or three others gawking at the source, as fog-shrouded fireworks boomed in the distance. "This is what 2k9 nightlife is gonna be all about," I slurred in my own mind, because I was shit-faced. "Happy accidents." No strobe lights or Flash site, no four-color flyers or flown-in high-fivers, no electro-this and micro-that and all those totally denied friend requests. Just some cute dude in a light-gray hoodie who plugs his ax into the shut-down Safeway and makes a little dance floor in the parking lot.

It was a New Year's miracle.

After that peak, I surfed a bipolar adrenaline rush and spent the whole night discoing out of control. At least I could still spend something, right? The After School Special point here is that nightlife is exactly what you make it. Never say a party was boring because that means you were at it. Don't buy into trends: people who buy too much into trends are like walking planned obsolescences, dissolving in the storm of next new things. And if no one else is dancing, fuck 'em. Do the mashed potato, and get skronked. Everything is on the table.

PARTY MONSTERS So what the hell did happen in Clubland last year? A heckuva lot, Brownie, but damn if I can remember it all. Here are a few things that stood out.

Losses: the great Steve Lady passed away, an incredibly sad asterisk at the end of the Trannyshack, which shut its bloodied wings as hostess Heklina crawled forth to discover herself. Beloved anarcho-hipster hangout the Transfer got gutted so that the kind of OK gay Bar on Castro could move in — opening date: Jan. 20 — and become the, er, Bar on Church. And Pink, one of the few clubs left in the city devoted to house music — remember that? — closed Jan. 4. I disagreed with some of the fancy-schmancier aspects of Pink's approach, but I still loved it in occasional doses. And I'm hearing rumors about the Stud, right when it's riding a Milk-mention wave of fame, so please go there and buy cocktails.

Wins: New regular rip-roarers that freaked me included the cumbia-rific Tormenta Tropical, outrageously draggy Tiara Sensation, free-for-alls Honey Sundays (gayish, discoish), and Infatuation (straightish, electroish), roving furry dress-up party Beast, the Hole-y '90s-worshipping Debaser, slinky Gemini Disco, crazy Look Out Weekend, and the hyperenergetic Work. Gone but not forgotten: Trans Am, Fag Fridays, Tits, Sucker Punch, Stiletto, Monster Show, Drift, and, finally, Finally. Another win: with the opening of Chaps II and the relocation of Hole in the Wall, there's now a big gay leather SoMa "Miracle Mile" bar crawl again! Overall it was an awesome year, one in which a new generation rushed the club doors, so a big bold heart-heart to all the level-headed bar staff who scraped us off the sidewalk and helped find our flippin' iPhones. Rawk.

Best: You really need to take the N-Judah night owl bus at 2:30 a.m. Way too cute ...

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