We're not usually ones for product placement, but Red Bull has been making some serious roads into quality nightlife. Tonight (Thu/1) the always impressive annual Red Bull Thre3style  DJ competition comes to Ruby Skye, pitting several local DJs -- and two from farther up the Coast -- of various styles against each other for regional championships that could lead them to glory in Vegas later this year. (The "thre3style" refers to the requirement that DJs mix at least three different genres of music into their 15 minute sets.)
Red Bull Music Academy Radio  is a go-to for dance music lovers who want to get clued in to what some of the best techno, house, hip-hop, and global bass DJs and producers are doing. And last month, the Red Bull Music Academy  itself came to San Francisco to kick off the open-to-all Academy application period, participating in an excellent series of talks and performances by some music greats. What is the Red Bull Music Academy, you ask? (Don't worry, there's no quidditch involved.) You can actually be a part of it!
The Academy is a "world-traveling symposium" consisting of DJs, vocalists, producers, musicmakers, and super-fans who've been selected based on their applications to attend workshops, training sessions, and parties that are, well, rad. The Academy season culminates in a huge weeklong nightlife and music extravaganza in New York City. From what we saw, Academy members are a really diverse international crowd that benefits from all this networking and exposure (and energy drink?). In any case -- apply already, applications are due April 2. Find out more details here .
Meanwhile, here are recordings of the interviews with the musicians who blitzkrieged SF for the application kick-off.
>>Saxophone deity (and Black Panthers soundtracker) Gary Bartz, who later appeared for a stylish, jazzy, super-diverse and nattily dressed evening at Yoshi's with Bilal and Aloe Blacc as "The Gary Bartz Project featuring Bilal and Special Guest Aloe Blacc produced by Jill Newman Productions" (branding!)
>>Stretch and Bobbito, groundbreaking hip-hop hosts on Columbia University's WKCR radio in the early '90s -- our friend texted us from their talk: "Their spilling all their secrets about cutting up vinyl and shit!" -- who later rocked Mighty.
>>Absolutely spot-on house legends Masters at Work, aka Kenny Dope and Lil Louie Vega, spilled a few secrets of their own in their lively discussion, and then went on to play a bonkers-packed 1015 Folsom for an adoring crowd that stuck with them til 4 a.m., through Latin jazz, some R&B twists, and plenty of classics.
We're excited to see what happens at the big Academy summit in NYC -- sign up and tell us how it goes.