Parties without borders

In the age of social media, San Francisco's wildest clubs (and shrewdest promoters) are taking over the world


"My body's over Guam somewhere."

DJ Adrian was triangulating his sleep deprivation coordinates, trademark fuchsia dreads grazing a gourmet cheese platter at Starbelly in the Castro. It wasn't easy. He and his partner, Mysterious D, who both spoke with me last week, just spent two months bringing their Bootie party ( to three continents, including stops in Helsinki, Singapore, Cork, Vilnius, Rio, Budapest, and Hong Kong. They'd had to deal with volcanoes in Iceland, rabid Britney fans in São Paulo, and breakneck drives across Poland. They were leaving for Brooklyn the next day, then on to Seattle. All this without pausing their original gig, simulcast on Second Life, which for the past seven years has lured capacity crowds three Saturdays a month to DNA Lounge in San Francisco's SoMa district. "I would say I'm jetlagged as fuck," Adrian laughed, "but that would completely exhaust me."

I didn't believe him for a minute. Sure, racking up all those SkyMiles might drain the pink from anyone's locks, but judging from the constant stream of music production, multiple-site updates, and live performances, Adrian and D operate at a superhuman level "manic" only begins to cover. Yet this was no mere gonzo DJ world tour. It was the Bootie Expansion Tour. Adrian and D were supporting and promoting various global franchises of the Bootie party brand, and testing the waters for future ones.

DJs often travel beyond the confines of their regular club nights, of course, sometimes bringing a certain attention to flyer design, opening support, and club décor with them to insure a singular party vibe. But the notion of entire independent parties — alternative in nature, low on capital, and intimately linked to the underground — expanding their brands internationally, establishing regular installments beyond homebase, is a phenomenon only possible in the Internet age. It's also an opportunity that tech-heady San Francisco's intensely creative, DIY nightlife scene is perfectly poised to take advantage of. Four very different local parties — Bootie, Trannyshack, Blow Up, and Bearracuda — have leapt to the forefront of the new "parties without borders" reality. And as they become more known worldwide, the promoters are also slyly exporting some uniquely San Franciscan cultural and sexual values. Trojan nightlife: we like that.



Musically, Bootie specializes in that wildly popular and mostly extralegal 21st-century art form, the bootleg mashup, which digitally Frankensteins two or more hit songs from disparate genres to reach a goofy-beauty sweet spot.

DJ Adrian and Mysterious D. Photo by Jeffery Cross

Billed as "the biggest bootleg mashup party in the world," Bootie parties at the DNA are mashups in their own right, usually incorporating several guest DJs, batty drag and live musical numbers, mass sing-alongs, dress-up themes, slick flyers that meld famous faces together, free CD giveaways, and a fantastically mixed crowd. Oh, and giant inflatable pirates (Adrian and D are cheeky, or crazy, enough to foreground the allegedly piratical aspects of their musical operations.)


Excellent story on Ava Berlin and Jeffrey Paradise, an awesome team.

Berlin's photography is remarkably unique and very insightful - her shots reflect the vibrancy of the moment - whether it is a scene, an event, or an individual. She captures the image with realistic frankness and yet a sublime sensitiveness pervades the overall photograph.

Jeffrey Paradise, a creative and an avant garde artist has a knack for introducing through music the unusual, the unpredictable, and for sparking the natural element in all of us that unleashes a flood of emotional vibes, whereby dancing becomes the ultimate encounter with samadhi.


Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 12:59 am

I don't know that I've ever seen a bigger pair of posers. Their party vibe and alter egos are so insincere. "Ava" and Jeffrey prove that popular parties are more about business than musicality. They're about pushing fads, not new sounds.

I thought SF had more taste and was more discriminating. If these two are the best and brightest of the Bay Area club, dance, and music scene, I think it's time to move.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

Anonymous "Guest" --

I've spent a lot of time with Ava and Jeffrey, and they're very genuine and dedicated to creating a space for young people to have fun to a very well-curated, specific-yet-broad sound. This article was about the more business side of nightlife, and the successful and motivated people who are representing SF worldwide, so maybe you were looking for something else that isn't here?

Also, if you don't like something, you can start your own! That's the nightlife magic.

Posted by marke on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 6:29 am

Couldn't agree more. It's just a hub for hipsters with trust fund money trying to be part of a scene that they think is at the forefront of musical progress. Unfortunately, it's not that. It's more about selling an image as a large business transaction with it's fair share of coke (is that where they get 'blow' in the title?), underage wannabes and novice DJs. The name is definitely fitting-- a construction of it's blown-out-of-proportion-image-outlined-with-Columbian-snow. Blown Up, or Blown Over?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 25, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

What the fuck is with Bearracuda's " I like gay people, but I love money more" utter bullshit. Throw a gay party for the sex, to rage, to brag, to diss, or for the free coke! But, just for money seems a tad tacky and exploiting. And does he reinvest that cash into the bear community? Subsidized nipple piercings lately? Go into finance or slumlording and leave the parties to purist.

Posted by Wolf on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 8:18 am

Mike has that kind of understated humor -- refreshing with all the hype that usually flies. Sorry if that didn't come through in the article.

Posted by marke on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 9:21 am

These two are the biggest jerkoffs around. "Ava" Berlin, what's your name this week?, is such a phony and a snob. I'm sad for the youth of San Francisco.

Posted by GuestAdam on Jun. 23, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

I met Ava recently in NY and I find her to be exactly what she 'advertises".. some one who has taken control of the part of the industry that influences and inspires her most. whether or not you call it business or not.. Ava has created a person from within her self that she shares with the world. When I met her I didn't know her from a whole in the wall and I thought she was completely wonderful... even though our environment gave her every reason to fake a persona with me...she didn't she was very sincere and beautiful. (jr)

Posted by Guest on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

Ever hear of the movie Blow Up? I'm pretty sure that's where the name comes from. Ava and Jeff are very cool people, not snobby at all, very inclusive!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 22, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

Related articles

  • T bagged

    Trannyshack changes its name -- and the Internet explodes. Plus: Animal Collective, Glamamore, Maxxi Soundsystem, Last Nite, more parties.

  • So Bootieful

    The original mashup club turns 10. Plus: Jukebox, The Revenge, Clipping., Drag King Contest, more nightlife

  • Get read

    SUPER EGO: Great new books on nightlife and music, plus Green Velvet, Cajmere, Fog Rugby, Friends With Benefits, MOM on Mars, more parties

  • Also from this author

  • Get read

    SUPER EGO: Great new books on nightlife and music, plus Green Velvet, Cajmere, Fog Rugby, Friends With Benefits, MOM on Mars, more parties

  • Lean in

    Go out already, why don't you? Magda, Glenn Jackson, Just Be, Julio Bashmore, Outpost, Made in SF, more parties

  • Track record

    A marathon weekend with Sunset Campout and Up Your Alley Fair. Plus: J.Phlip, Braza!, Too $hort, more parties