SUPER EGO: Mardi Gras parties a-plenty this year. Plus: Miss Toolbox Pageant, Le Castle Vania, and New Wave City's last night at DNA Lounge
SUPER EGO Mardi Gras is one of those time-honored party traditions I always forget. Usually, I'll pass by some unfortunate gay man covered in plastic Miller Lite beads passed out on a Castro curb, a bedazzled mime mask slipping from his gradually unclenching fist. Then I'm all like, "Oh, it's Fat Tuesday," and I totally know what I'm giving up for Lent. I love my Castro gays! They're like a tragic calendar of fetes.
But this year, my inbox has seriously exploded with feather-headdressed alerts. Even though our own official version of the Mardi Gras festivities, Carnaval San Francisco, doesn't happen until the end of May, we of course have ancestral party ties to both New Orleans, with its jazz, raunch, and tolerance, and Rio and the Caribbean, with their, er, glittery body stockings. So bring on the slurricanes, Mardi, I'm ready.
Krewe de Kinque Bal Masque VIII Sat/5, 7 p.m.–10 p.m., $20–$25. Trigger, 2344 Market, SF. www.sfkinque.com . The Bay's gay Mardi Gras guardians throw a dazzling AIDS benefit, with live tableaux, a disco theme, and tons of kiki.
New Orleans Mardi Gras Costume Party Sat/5, 9 p.m., $20. Café Du Nord, 2170 Market, SF. www.cafedunord.com . Zigaboo Modaliste, the "king of the funky drums," leads the party into Creole mayhem.
SF Mardi Gras 2011 Sat/5, 9 p.m., $10 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com . Local electro-funky DJ duo Whitenoize join the fab Pam the Funkstress for stylish festivities.
Fat Tuesday Carnaval at Yoshi's Tue/8, 8 p.m., $10. Yoshi's San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore, SF. www.yoshis.com/sf . Fantastic drum troupe Loco Bloco and the ever-sassy Bayonics perform.
Fat Tuesday Carnaval at Elbo Room Tue/8, 9 p.m., $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.elbo.com . Brazilian Wax presents SF Carnaval Champions Fogo Na Roupa with DJs Carioca and P-Shot.
Mardi Gras Ball Tue/8, 9 p.m., $10 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com . Extra Action Marching Band, Brass Mafia, and Boca Do Rio all on one night? Yes, please.
Mardi Gras in the Fillmore Tue/8 7 p.m.–11 p.m., $45–$55. West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore, SF. www.mardigrassanfrancisco.com . Dancing to Lloyd Gregory and Band, dinner, drinks, and a $300 costume contest.
The wonderfully kooky free weekly queer variety show throws its first pageant, and it will be messy good. Hostess Alexis Von Fierce presides as underground stars grapple for the crown.
Thu/3, 11 p.m., free. Club 93, 93 Ninth St., SF. Facebook: Miss Toolbox
Hardcore electro may be completely streamlined into the inevitable at this point — but that doesn't mean it can't still be a blast. Since 2006, I've retained a soft spot in my black heart for glamour-gothish Atlanta banger Le Castle Vania (and opener Fukkk Offf is cute, too).
Fri/4, 9 p.m.–late, $10 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com 
The long-running, resilient, and goofy-brilliant straight-up retro night is goin' back to roamin', as it leaves its home at DNA. But first, DJs Skip and Shindog host a gonzo "soundtrack night" party — dress up like your fave '80s movie characters, Ducky, and light 16 candles to the future of the past.
Sat/5, 9 p.m.–3 a.m., $7 before 10 p.m., $12 after. DNA LOUNGE, 375 11th St., SF. www.newwavecity.com