Nightlife

Na Nach-ing on (rave) heaven's door

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In this week's Super Ego nightlife column, I get all excited about the Na Nach subsect of Hasidic Jewish followers of the Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. The Na Nach embrace an endearing philosophy of ecstatic dancing in the streets (via their brightly colored vans) as a form of worship, equal parts Sufi whirling dervish and 1990s trance party. They also have a very active Web presence.

In the past couple of months, everyone from the Jewish Daily Forward to Vice Magazine has taken notice. Since dancing around crazily as a form of spiritual practice is basically my life, I'm less interested in the not-so-unexpected intersection of Jewish mysticism and raving in the streets. Over-the-top Orthodox Jewish men's wedding dancing is, after all, one of those wonderfully bizarre and irresistible human cultural treasures, no matter what you may think of conservative religious practices. (Needless to say, there are no female Na Nach dancers in evidence.)

No, what mostly interests me is the charming -- and sometimes really well-produced -- homemade trance and electro music that accompanies the Na Nach dancers. And of course the inevitable gay parody. 

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Vicki Marlane, 1934-2011

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San Francisco lost true drag royalty today when Ms Vicki Marlane, "the Girl with the Liquid Spine" who performed with the weekend Hot Boxxx Girls revue at Aunt Charlie's Lounge, passed away at 7:04 a.m. at San Francisco General Hospital. No official cause of death was immediately available, but her co-entertainer Gina la Divina said she "had been down for a while," presumable meaning she had been ill. (This information was passed on to me this morning by Matt Slusarenko of Queerty.com, and he's just posted his tribute.) From circus sideshow act in the 50s to drag road warrior in the swinging 70s -- she lived a life, honey. That life was documented in a fantastic film released last year, "Forever's Gonna Start Tonight."

Besides enjoying her performances countless times, I had the pleasure of interviewing her for the Winter 2008 edition of our nightlife guide SCENE.

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Party Radar: Happy birthday, sexy Lexy

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Gosh and begorrah, I know you're hungovah -- from all that St. Paddy's Day grog or whatever. Don't worry, you'll feel better by Saturday, just in time to celebrate the Lexington Club's 14th anniversary, huzzah! Unfamiliar with this rowdy party dyke landmark? Hot chicks, get hip real quick at this blowout, featuring DJs Jenna Riot and Miss Pop, sexy-sexy dancers, no cover, and of course stiff drinks.

After the jump, a Super Ego clubs column from 2007 devoted to the Lex's 10th anniversary (which was the perfect antidote to the L Word phenomenon of the time), giving you a wee bit o' lesbian history.

LEXINGTON CLUB 14TH ANNIVERSARY Sat/19, 9 p.m., free. Lexington Club, 3464 19th St., SF. www.lexingtonclub.com

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Soul with a "Q"

Queer monthly outdoor party Hard French returns with vinyl sunshine

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MUSIC How do you know spring is coming in San Francisco? Trusty Mission venue El Rio starts throbbing once a month to the sweet soul sounds of yesteryear, and a hot, youthful crowd of queer dancers (and friends) floods the spacious patio to capacity. Although there are many parties in the city that cater specifically to gay men, Hard French is one of a handful that has built a successful formula on welcoming everyone — lusty femmes, trans jocks, DIY freaks, fairy stoners, vinyl junkies — while staying true to its spirit of retro-tune vitality and lean toward old-school R&B.Read more »

Work the throne: Interviews with the San Francisco Empress 2011 candidates

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Update: Saybeline has been crowned the new Empress. Congratulations to both the outstanding candidates, and warm wishes for the future.

In this week's Super Ego column in the paper, I give a grateful nod to our esteemed - if little acknowledged -- Imperial Court system, an incredible, drag-based 45-year-old institution that raises tens of thousands of dollars for charitable Bay Area causes. (Really, do yourself a historical favor and check out the recently revamped Imperial website.) Below are my full interviews with the candidates, Saybeline and Monistat.

The annual elections for Empress of San Francisco are coming fast upon us (Sat/19, free. Noon–7 p.m. at Castro Muni Station, Castro and Market, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Project Open Hand, 730 Polk, SF.) The winner will devote the next year of her life to raising funds and repping SF -- after she graciously endures a daylong coronation ceremony on Sat/26, one of the city's true mind-blowing spectacles. (The winner will be announced at Coronation.)

I emailed a series of questions to both candidates in order to get a better sense of who they are and why we should vote for them. They each bring a different, welcome perspective to the competition that ultimately helps refresh this cherished local tradition.

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Funk phenomenon

DJs Damon Bell, Centipede, and Tom Thump blend their disparate styles into a massive Funkasaurus Rex at the Loose Joints weekly party

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One of the most influential, and underreported, trends of San Francisco nightlife in the past few years has been the feisty reinvigoration of the jazz scene. Read more »

Jackie Beat: "Hung Puerto Rican elves only"

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Generously talented and fantastically energetic (we're talking 8-bit chipmunk here) LA drag entertainer Jackie Beat is in town with her new show "Jackie Beat's All-You-Can-Eat Christmas," Fri/10 and Sat/11 and Brava Theater. It sounds like a real festive hoot. The long-time cabaret circuit favorite, underground club hostess, and member of scandalous electro-revival band Dirty Sanchez pulled out her giant fork and dug into a little interview with us about ambrosia salad, abortion, AM schlock .. and that's just the beginning. Go pay some money to see her!

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Uncanny Xsnake

Germany's Tensnake reps the new European wave of history-shuffling, ambitiously funky dance music. Plus: It's Ambrosia Salad's doble quinceañera!

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marke@sfbg.com

>>Alas! We've just heard word that Tensnake has had to cancel his appearance here due to visa and family issues. Hopefully he'll make it here soon!

SUPER EGO I adore history, it's all so pointless. It's fun to play around with, too — stick your mitts in the used fork drawer of the past and clatter about a bit, just to make new noise. Artists do this all the time, grab stuff from different eras and pastiche them together to create unique and dreamlike emotional states. Bygones!Read more »

Flagging in the Park: the whirl story

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"This is the gayest thing I've ever done in my life!" laughed my friend Ricky Strawberry as he twirled around and around, unfurling lengths of tie-dyed cloth to Hi-NRG dance tracks from a live DJ in the sunshine. If you know Ricky Strawberry, that's pretty damn sparkly pink unicorn in a rainbow thong bathing under a Splenda waterfall gay. In fact, it was the gayest thing anyone in my pinko posse had ever done, as well, and we had a ball. It was gay, it was amazing, it was gaymazing, and you should do it too.

It? Flagging in the Park, the summertime monthly gathering of fluttering human butterflies in the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. I wrote about it in this week's Super Ego nightlife column -- and it happens for the final time this year on Sat/2, 1 p.m.- 4p.m. 

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Still no peace treaty in SF's War on Fun

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Boiling outrage over the city's boundary-pushing crackdown on San Francisco nightlife may have slowed to a simmer since the spring, when overzealous enforcement efforts (harassing club owners, confiscating computers from DJs, dumping booze down the drain like Prohibition Era agents, etc.) prompted back-and-back cover stories in the Bay Guardian and SF Weekly. But the fallout is still unfolding in ways that could eventually cause real problems for the city.Read more »