PARTY RADAR OK, so I’m back after a few months, and I hope you’ll still let me guide you through the wild, woozy K-hole of SF nightlife again. It’s a wiggy thicket!
Sorry I had to ghost for a minute: The Oakland fire and awful election combo knocked me sideways a bit, and I had to step back from the lonely business of writing and step out onto the dance floor, among people. I bought a bar (more on that below), helped out with a few awesome causes, concentrated on DJing, etc.
I’ve been writing about nightlife for 25 years (ps I just launched my new Red Bull Music Academy column this week about queer dance music), and if there’s one lesson I’ve learned: nightlife heals all. The music, the smiles, the — yes — safe-space freedom to be who you want and are… well, it’s all super-essential to maintaining a little necessary sanity. Come out and see.
Oh, about that bar. I’m part of the collective that bought 50-year-old queer bar the Stud in January. We’re the first worker-owner cooperative nightclub in the US! And although we now have rad parties and shows and events almost every day of the week (including a few of my own) I hope you can trust me enough to recommend things without any bias — other than that I only like awesome parties, of course. No bland ones, dear. So PLEASE call me out if you think I’m being shady at all, which I give you my word I will not be. I at least try to be a good journalist. Just like I try to be a good alcoholic.
Enough about me! What I really want to know is, Will I be able to drink until 4am soon? It’s looking pretty promising, fellow quaffers.
RED BARAAT This live, raucous bhangra-brass octet truly brings the party – I adore that they’re headlining a “Festival of Colors” at SFJAZZ. Don’t miss. Fri/31, 7:30-10pm, $30. SFJAZZ. Tickets and more info here.
RETURN OF THE QUIM Beloved burlesque queen Kitty von Quim (“Pussy with Pussy”) decamped for Austin last year; now she returns in full splendor to headline her own show at Red Hots Burlesque. Fri/31, 7pm-10pm, $10. The Stud, SF. Tickets and more info here.
ANTHONY PARASOLE + CONTAINER (LIVE) Brooklyn’s Parasole and Nashville’s Container bring an interestingly deep, hard techno sound to the awesome Lights Down Low party. Should be smashing. Fri/31, 10pm-3:30am, $20. Monarch, SF. Tickets and more info here.
SHIFTED I love the super-tight and music-focused Sure Thing parties: This one brings together UK’s Shifted, Berlin’s Blue Hour, and LA’s Remy Marc for a ranging night of dubby and dance-y techno goodness. Fri/31, 10pm-4am, $15-$20. F8, SF. Tickets and more info here.
MICHAEL CLAUS & NACKT SPLIT TAPE RELEASE PARTY The Outpost parties in Lower Haight are the spot for affordable quality techno with a family vibe. This one celebrates the party’s label launch, with a split tape by Michael Claus and Nackt (RIP <3). Fri/31, 10pm-2am, $5. UndergroundSF. More info here.
HOTLINE Dancing to indie music in big club DNA – sounds absolutely grand, especially when brought to you by a slew of the Bay’s best indie party crew, from The Queen is Dead to Fringe. Fri/31, 9pm-3am, $10-$15. DNA Lounge, SF. Tickets and more info here.
STEREO ARGENTO “BLOOD! GUTS! A BLACK GLOVE! A BLADE IN THE DARK!
Step into a ’70s Italian slasher nightmare!! Stereo Argento is a KILLER evening soaked with live drag performance, dark DJ sets and horror films.” Bias: My cute husband will be working the door so say hi. Fri/31, 10pm-3am, $10. The Stud, SF. More info here.
HARD FRENCH The world’s best monthly afternoon patio soul party returns — for its final season, alas! Get in while the gettin’s good, as the awesome soul song I just made up in my head says. With DJ Josh Cheon and special guest jiggalisious gogo Kitty von Quim! Sat/1, 2pm-8pm, $10. El Rio, SF. More info here.
BLUE BEAR BENEFIT We love the Blue Bear School, which brings music to disadvantaged kids through lessons, demonstrations, and school classes. This annual benefit is fantastic support, and this time around features great local funk outfit Con Brio with Bay Area rock legends Stone Foxes. Sat/1, 9pm-midnight, $30-$150. The Fillmore, SF. Tickets and more info here.
CLUB LEISURE: UNDER THE APRIL SKIES The monthly BritPop/Shoe Gaze/Mod/Swinging London/all things UK and groovy party is back for a special edition featuring British indie labels of the late 20th Century. Natural you will be able to win tickets to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s upcoming concert at the Fox. Sat/1, 10pm-3am, $10. Cat Club, SF. More info here.
MOSCOMAN Monarch hosts a giant wig party — bring your wildest hair! — to greet this Berlin via Tel Aviv player from the awesome Disco Halal label, mixing house and the sounds of the Middle east. This is also a going away party for one of our best: Anthony Mansfield, who’s off to the East Coast. Sat/1, 9:30-3:30am, $15. Monarch, SF. Tickets and more info here.
ACID PAULI Seriously gorgeous, perambulous techno-scapes (yet danceable!) from this German favorite, as he returns to Public Works. With Scrounger and Pablo Bolivar. Sat/1, 9:30pm-3:30am, $25. Public Works, SF. Tickets and more info here.
POWER BLOUSE Each month, drag icons Juanita More and Glamamore transform a drag newbie live onstage into the glamorous creature of her dreams! (And sometimes nightmares). This week: party popper Oscar Pineda undergoes the More, more, more treatment. With DJ Rolo. Sat/1, 10pm-2am, $5. Powerhouse, SF. More info here.
GO BANG! Disco, you say? Disco you shall have, as SF’s fabulously gritty version of Studio 54 hosts DJ John F*cking Cartwright and Lotus Disco, hot young apostles of the sounds of yore. Sat/1, 9pm-3am, $5-$10. The Stud, SF. More info here.
WOMAN Weird drag, good music, unexpected crowd. “100” emoji. Sat/1, 9pm-2am, $5-$10. The KnockOut, SF. More info here.
AFTERNOON DELIGHT The too-cute and always bopping Oakland patio party brings in house legend David Harness to move the children. Soulful vibes on a Sunday afternoon, yes please. Sun/2, 3pm-8pm, $10. New Parish, Oakl. More info here.
SWAGGER LIKE US Another weekend win for the patio at El Rio, as SF’s vibrant queer underground hip-hop party brings Flint, MI’s Tunde Olaniran into the sunshine for some rad rap vibes. Sun/2, 2pm-8pm, $10. El Rio, SF. More info here.
TOWNE & COUNTRY Full disclosure: This is my Sunday evening monthly at the Stud with DJ Rolo, where we transform the space into a British drawing room and play fun dance music. This month, DJ Jim Hopkins of the San Francisco Disco preservation Society comes out to play an “original Stud Sound” set, combining Hi-NRG, disco, and New Wave. Sun/2, 5pm-10pm, $5. The Stud, SF. More info here.