Party Radar: Kafana Balkan, Maurice Fulton, Never Knows, Body and Soul, Glamamore and more
I finally made it to Tradition, the new bar from the Bourbon and Branch guys that mashes up classic bar types -- English pub, dive bar, Mad Men cocktail hour, classic drawing room, tiki lounge, etc. -- in a gorgeous Tenderloin (oh, sorry, er "Union Square") space with awesome vintage liquor ads plastered on the walls and really cuuute staff.
Well, not quite mashes up: there are no great drunk Irish-whiskey brawlers breaking through the walls of a girl-drink-drunk gaggle of video-bar gays to form some kind of mutant queer neon St. Patrick's Day Parade. Or, you know, the Catholic Church. (Laugh track.)
But there are some great-sounding "blends" -- liquor aged in barrels cured with various wines and coffees. I'd like to go back and drink my way through them. last night, however, Hunky Beau opted for a winning sazerac, I tried a yummy "surfer on acid" (various rums 'n things, including housemade coconut marmalade), and we both reveled in the attentions of the fine bartenders. The labor-intensive cocktails are somewhat deservedly priced around $10, so save Tradition for something special, but it's totally worth it.
Mr. David, aka Glamamore, is, in my opinion, SF's best drag performer (and couturier, too). Often with little by way of prop, his trademark cigarette angled toward his pouted, dark-painted lips, his regal forehead topped by a tangle of wig, silent movie eyes ablaze, he draws you hypnotically into the worlds of the classic showtunes and diva numbers he knows and loves so well. It's truly a mystical transformation, no reality required. His weekly Friday club Some Thing is essential: three drag shows featuring more than a dozen queens will pay him tribute, plus late-night dancing with DJ Josh Cheon.
Fri/5, 10pm-late, $8. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF. www.studsf.com
When it comes down to gorgeous and multi-faceted talent, it's very hard to beat this Sheffield house (and occasional arty techno) producer. As a DJ, he's most respected for glittering, balanced beat constructions that don't stint on great soul classics and otherworldly vibes. (I absolutely adored what he did with British-Zanzibari singer Mim Suleiman in 2010 and the remix above is one of my favorites.) Oh, and did we mention he had a hand in Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman"? Oh yes he did.
Fri/5, 10pm, $10-$20. 222 Hyde, SF.
One of the city's absolute best parties -- a Romany romp through the great styles of the Balkans, complete with whooping brass, big drums, and lots of stomping and twirling. It only comes around once every two months or so, so don't miss it. especially since the Brass Menazeri ensemble, Jill Parker & The Foxglove Sweethearts, and Kafana mastermind DJ Zeljko (where does he find all this great music?) are gonna be there.
Sat/6, 9pm-2am, $13. Rickshaw Stop, 155 fell, SF. www.rickshawstop.com
Dark and delicious local lord of sensual technoise and Untitled & After label head ("wants to be the 4AD of techno), Never Knows will help is step into the future -- live -- at the wonderfully advenuturous monthly Haceteria party. Should be a neat trip into razor-edged, goth-tinged, liquid moods, plus propulsive rhythms. With DJs Nihar, Tristes Tropiques, Jason P., and SMAC.
Sat/6, 9pm-3am, free before 10:30, $5 after. Deco Lounge, 510 Larkin, SF.
I've waxed rapturous about actually legendary NYC party Body and Soul several times before -- for me, it's what helped saved Clubland from some mighty phony times in the late 90s and early 2000s. Many people I know on the West Coast would save up to fly in just for the weekly bash, which boasted one of the most eclectic crowds I've seen outside of early rave-times (and sadly ended regular installments a few years back in favor of yearly reunions) . There were also incredible tunes, of course, from mind-blowing Carribean singalongs to 15-minute deep-house rave-ups, diva croons to electro gems. Afro-Latin jams were always on the menu and, considering one fo the DJs was incredibly influential producer Francois K (along with Danny Krivit and Joe Clausell), a ton of disco rareties as well. Come to Mighty and see what the fuss is about.
Sat/6, 10pm-5am, $20-$30. Mighty, 119 Utah, www.mighty119.com
>>CMAC SFDJ SHOWCASE
Underground star-studded fundraiser time! The California Music and Culture Association fights for our right to party in many ways -- not it is actually throwing a party, at Mighty, with DJs Syd Gris, Sleazemore, Maneesh the Twister, Ryury, and many more. It'll be a blast.
Mon/8, 8pm-1am, $5 CMAC members /$10 non members /Free entrance with $25 purchase of CMAC membership. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. www.cmacsf.org