When Sam Love and I finally arrived at Union Square on Fri/27 night, we were surprised by the mass of boomboxes perched on peoples' shoulders, like a thousand John Cusacks in Say Anything, heading down Powell Street. Somehow, we found our friends (Ickles and Eckles) when the party descended at the Powell Street BART station. The music blared and tourists careened their heads over the banisters of the station to see what the heck was going on. It was a Decentralized Dance Party (DDP), where strangers get dressed up, gather with their old boomboxes, and wait for the organizers to hijack a radio frequency, where they send out the jams on long antennas, for some major noise and wild Friday night dancing.
SUPER EGO Let's be honest. Let's start the new year out a month late with honesty. (Gung Hay Fat Choy, btw). Going out these days can really cost you someone, and that someone is named Pretty Penny, if not Armina Leg.Read more »
MUSIC Musical genius, human rights activist, cultural legend, African icon — late Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti encompassed multitudes, but to his 1980s-era guitarist Soji Odukogbe, he provided not only inspiration but a way into his music.Read more »
The Edwardian Ball, thrown by Rosin Coven and the Vau de Vire Society, never fails to amaze — and absinthe-addled though we were, we managed to take in all the sights, from petticoats a-plenty to splendid corsetry to handsome haberdashery from an era gone by.Read more »
Watch your snowballs: the First Lady of Beatdown, Lady Blacktronika, is hopping on her magic sleigh and coming down the mountain for Honey Soundsystem on Sun/22. She'll be giving SF some much-needed transwoman power on the decks, and it will be the tea.
That mountain would be Mt. Shasta, where the prolific, San Jose-born producer and DJ has been headquartered lately, releasing track after track of absorbing, soul-seizing grooves on her Sound Black Recordings label. Her aesthetic takes the expansive and unrushed Detroit beatdown blues-house sound (with which she's had some personal experience) and the mesmerizing moodiness of artists like Theo Parrish and Alton Miller in unexpectedly deep directions -- using her notable experience as a singer and some lovely dubby effects shared with her former production partner Mattski to give the malleable beatdown sound some intriguing new shapes.
In anticipation of her first DJ gig in San Francisco after spinning around the world, I chatted with her over email about her gospel music-loving roots, the challenges of being a transgender woman in the electronic music industry, and some of the women on the scene that she admires.
In this week's Super Ego nightlife column in the paper, I write about this coming weekend's giant Edwardian Ball at the Regency Ballroom, which spans five events and welcomes thousands into its playful goth-steampunk-burlesque embrace. Named for Edward Gorey but encompassing more than a few winks at the Edwardian Era of the last turn of the century, the all-ages ball has come to act as a summit for a certain essential, instantly recognizable San Francisco nightlife subculture.
The ball was launched in 2000 by Justin Katz of "premiere pagan lounge ensemble" Rosin Coven and Mike Gaines of the neo-cirque Vau de Vire Society, and has grown enormously in the 12 years since -- including branching out to Los Angeles. I interviewed the genial Katz over email about the ball's Gorey origins, the challenges of expansion, combatting the dreaded FOMO, and welcoming a new generation of Friends of Ed.
SUPER EGO Wax up your handlebar mustache, dust off your stripy topcoat, burnish your steampunk petticoats, and oil those wheezy accordions: The Edwardian Ball, that phenomenal annual gathering of exquisitely decked-out freaks, is back for its 12th installment of mannered mayhem. This time it aims to quell any kvetching about crowding by stretching itself over five official local events (and a satellite ball in Los Angeles next month). But the Fri/20 World's Faire and the Sat/20 Ball itself will still be the main attraction for thousands of Friends of Ed.Read more »
As I affirm in this week's Super Ego clubs column, I adore the weekly Some Thing drag party every Friday at the Stud -- and now it's turning two years old. The special Some Thing confluence of onstage shoestring razzle-dazzle, challenging themes, uninhibited embrace of drag diversity, afterhours dancing to braintickling tunes, DIY genius Haute Gloo's craft table, and hot-hot crowd has strengthened the city's club scene, although to many it still remains a secret.
I'm fine with keeping this wonderfully successful event just between you and me, but why? Joy like this should be shared. And I already made out with you anyway.
SUPER EGO The slightly "meh" body of 2011 isn't even cold and already we have two completely ridiculous yet ridiculously adorable, new deliberately manufactured subcultures to pretend argue on blogs about, because who blogs anymore? Seapunks and bronies, yep. I hope they fight, too, because it'd be the 2012 apocalypse in one cute, handy metaphor. Sparkly rainbow annihilation now!Read more »