Nite Trax: Yes, the 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Awards are real


... and apparently I am hosting them with Anna Conda on Thursday, May 31. What the heck are the 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Awards? No worries, they are magical, and you should totally go because it's gonna be a fun party that supports the future of San Francisco nightlife. But let's back up a minute.

A few weeks ago, my Nightlife Bat Phone started ringing off the Nightlife Bat Hook. "We were just nominated for a 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Award!" or "Why weren't we nominated for a 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Award?" or "What the heck are the San 2012 Francisco Nightlife Awards?" said the chorus of voices into my Nightlife Bat Voicemail, because my Nightlife Bat Ringer broke when I dropped it in a vat of fake blood while vampire-wrestling for charity (gay).

It seemed like the awards had come out of nowhere. But I will reveal all! Or rather, Nathan Allbee of the California Music and Culture Association, which is putting on this year's awards, will reveal all via my short interview (along with a complete list of nominees) below.

By way of introduction first, CMAC formed a couple years ago in response to the War on Fun, a series of misguided attempts by city officials and police to shut down the city's nightlife. A group of partiers and bar and club owners got together to form a non-profit awareness-raising and lobbying association to try to keep fun alive, especially as one of our primary tourist industries and community-building activities. (In this way, CMAC is kind of like the great San Francisco Late Night Coalition of the late 1990s and early 2000s). Raves were getting busted again, permitted parties were being raided on the flimsiest of excuses, and perfectly anodyne street fairs were seeing their fees jacked up due to "increasing security."

CMAC has helped achieve some awesome things -- now the mayor praises homegrown nightlife, the supervisors support it, and a recent commissioned report noted that nightlife in SF generated an astounding $4.2 billion in 2010. Also, hi, people love it.

Now CMAC is using some breathing room to expand for the next fight, because you know there's gonna be one, hunny. Thus, the 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Awards -- this is the second annual edition -- trying to bring people together and give recognition. Nathan Allbee says more:

SFBG Most people associate CMAC with efforts to save and bolster San Francisco nightlife -- has there been a recent expansion of the mission over there? It seem like there's a lot more people involved

Nathan Allbee Yeah, we’re really excited to be taking the next step organizationally. We just opened a physical office, brought on a full time Executive Director, Laura Hahn, and I came on as the Director of Events.

CMAC was really born out of crisis: the war on fun, which the SFBG wrote a lot about, was in full swing and we had a major hand in stopping it. Now that that particular crisis is behind us (hopefully) we’re able to devote more of our resources to building the organization and that includes reaching out to DJs and promoters who are the lifeblood of San Francisco nightlife and culture.

In addition to our 2nd Annual Nightlife Awards, we’re in the planning process for some other big events for the year – we’ve got a Bay Area-wide DJ competition, a battle of the bands, and we’re going to be working with the awesome people that throw the Bartenders Ball to really make that an even larger event. Tom Temprano from Hard French, who also does a lot of nightlife advocacy, is helping to coordinate our outreach strategies and events.

SFBG This is the second official CMAC Nightlife awards, yes? How on earth did I miss the first ones? 

NA I don’t know Marke, we missed you last year.

SFBG How were the nominees for 2012 chosen?

NA We started with our Nominations Committee – DJs, promoters, venue owners – who developed a list of people and places that they were impressed with (which was massive and really hard to narrow down by the way) and our Board of Directors had the final say.

The criteria our Nominations Committee used as a guide included: creativity, popularity, and a positive representation of nightlife and entertainment.

SFBG There's been some controversy over the fact that the nominees win by getting as many people as possible to pay to come to the party and vote for them. (I think this is kind of a promotional stroke of genius by the way, and if it weren't all going toward a good cause, it would be pure evil!). Can you tell us where the money is going, and how this might be tied in to a sort of membership drive?

NA We really wanted this award to be democratic and not just be about who has the most fans on Facebook or the biggest email list –- like what often happens with online voting. Having people turn out to vote in person is the best way to assure that voters are actual participants in SF nightlife, and that winners are being honored by their peers. There’s also a place on the ballots for write-in candidates so that everyone can be included.

The door cover is going to cover our costs for the event, but we’ll also be doing the old-fashion non-profit ways of fund raising: a raffle, asking for donations and sponsorships.

And hell yeah this is a membership drive! CMAC wants more diversity in our membership and a larger variety of voices at the table. We’ll be working hard this year to get more DJs, promoters, door workers, bartenders, barbacks, musicians, performers, designers, photographers, and people who just love nightlife involved.

SFBG Um, I noticed there's no 'Best Nightlife Writer" category .... 

NA Why bother? You would win it every year.

SFBG It's an honor just to nominate myself. So what other kinds of deep involvement with the nightlife community can we expect from CMAC in the future?      

NA We’re going to fight…for your right…to party. (RIP MCA)



Featuring DJs from Debaser, Future Perfect, Hard French, Lights Down Low 

Hosted by Anna Conda and Marke B. 

Thu/31, 8pm-midnight

Members $5, Non-Members $10, Join CMAC and get in for free! $25


444 Jessie, SF

Facebook invite, Ticket link

All voting for each category will take place at the event from 8pm to 10pm with the winners announced during a ceremony immediately after voting has ended. All attendees are welcome to vote.



Best Weekly Party

Blow Up

Booty Call

Future Perfect

Honey Soundsystem

Some Thing

Sweater Funk


Best Monthly Party


Forward AM

Hard French

Icee Hot

Lights Down Low

Stay Gold


Best Promoter

A Plus D / Bootie Mashup


Bus Station John


Juanita More



Best Bar


Comstock Saloon

Dear Mom

Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

Buckshot Bar 

Lexington Club


Best Small Club

222 Hyde

El Rio

Make-Out Room





Best Large Club


Public Works

Beat Box



Club 1015


Best Live Venue


Thee Parkside

Bottom of the Hill

Brick and Mortar

Cafe Du Nord



Best Festival

Treasure Island Music Festival

All Shook Down

Outside Lands

Folsom Street Fair

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

San Francisco Pride


Best Designer

Shane King

Corey Sleazemore

Alland Byallo

Design Soldiers

Stanley Frank

Kristen Gillette


Best Nightlife Photographer

Cabure A Bonugli

Allen Jordan

Jonathan Saunders

Demian Becerra

Misha Vladimirskiy/Butchershop Creative

Courtney Trouble


Best Production


The Fillmore

The Independent


The Fox

Outside Lands


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