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 »
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 »
SUPER EGO And so it came to pass a few weeks ago that I found myself volunteering to chaperone a dance for 500 queer teens. I'm not ready yet to be a DILF! But these weren't just any queer teens. They were activists from Northern California Gay-Straight Alliance high school clubs (www.gsanetwork.org), gathered at Horace Mann Elementary in San Francisco to learn how to help their teachers understand the new California FAIR Act, which requires lessons about LGBT history and people with disabilities.Read more »
Below are our picks to ring in the new. Events are listed alphabetically. Parties end at 2 a..m. except where noted. For more New Year's parties, see This Week's Picks. For New Year's Day parties, click here. Lampshade hats not included.
Local and global nightlife notes, reviews, tunes, and more
I'm still buzzing over last night's fantastic installment of the Housepitality weekly at Icon, which was a classic San Francisco get-down, a warm intersection of smiling hotties, sweet freaks, and warm tunes from main men DJ Bus Station John and Honey Soundsystem's Ken Vulsion. A gay old time indeed in a perfectly pan-orientational venue.
SUPER EGO This is gonna be one of those super-queeny "I do this, I do that" gossip-type columns because some of you schadenfreudanistas have been poking me relentlessly for that — and, well, happy Kwanzaa ladies! Here's the tea.Read more »
Talking to founder Martin O'Brien about the party crew's latest get-together -- and an upcoming film about the early Bay rave scene
Earlier this year, SF's Wicked rave crew celebrated 20 years, and now another seminal and actually legendary party, The Gathering, will mark two full decades of debauchery on Sat/17 (10pm-6am, check the website for location and price -- it's ravey that way! -- and here's the Facebook invite). This party will feature an all-star lineup of much-loved DJs, from Justin Martin and many of the cross-pollinating Wicked and Sunset party DJs to Raindance's Little John and club stalwart Toph One.
The Gathering started when promoters from separate, then-smaller parties -- Malachy from Come-Unity, Tony from Destiny, Kenny and Harry from Pieces, and Martin Eklypz -- decided to combine forces for something huge, "and the circle was complete" according to the Gathering's legend. "Malachy busted out an old Hopi prophecy book" with a passage for that year, 1991, that read:
The singular DJ speaks of slow house, fraud players, and the pop future of dance music
"Oh, the slo-mo thing. I guess I can see how people came to associate me with that." DJ Slow Hands, a.k.a. New York's Ryan Cavanagh, was playing down his status as poster boy for the slow house movement.
A couple of years ago, some DJs, mainly from the East Coast, started slowing things down to a sultry 100 beats per minute from the standard, boppy 120 BPM. And Slow Hands -- a fast talker, I learned, in wide-ranging phone interview anticipating his appearance this Fri/16 (9 p.m., $15 before midnight, $20 after. Beat Box 314 11th St., SF., www.ayli-sf.com and Facebook) -- came to the fore, with a dynamic combination of disco-dubby aesthetics, a willingness to let songs breathe a little, and an impeccable instinct for track selection. Does it hurt things that's he's rather dreamy in the brains and looks department? It certainly does not.
SUPER EGO Is it really such a bad thing that mainstream pop is riding the underground's ass so hard, assimilating alternative nightlife trends almost before they cycle off our freakish dance floors? I'd almost grown addicted to apoplectic pearl-clutching. Britney made a dubstep song! Kanye's using 808s! The Black-Eyed Peas are referencing JJ Fad! Skrillex in general!Read more »