Drag doyenne’s weekly party to end after eight wild, colorful years.

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Juanita More, photographed by Cabure A. Bonugli/Shot in the City

By Marke B.

PARTY RADAR If I’ve sounded rather gushy — nay, gooey, even — over drag goddess Juanita More lately, it’s because she’s actually doing real things. Many of our top drag queens (don’t scoff, they are our leaders in more than just hair height and pump size) have spoken up about how the rapidly changing city is affecting queer folks, especially young ones, as well as artists and people of color.

But — outside of Sister Roma’s brave stance against Facebook’s discriminatory naming policies, and her Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s continued selfless, charitable work — Juanita’s been one of the few who’ve been active about it. This election saw her put out her own slate of endorsements, inspiring a sizable amount of young fans to take to the polls. Her various events and appearances continue to support local events and causes, as well as draw attention to candidates and propositions.

Her most major contribution, in my eyes, has been her launch of Juanita’s List on Facebook, a group designed to help young queer arrivals find housing in the Bay Area and keep our little corner of the world teeming with rainbow unicorns — including ones who earn far, far less than $200k a year.

Web-friendly: A recent Booty Call shoot by Cabure A. Bonugli/Shot in the City
Web-friendly: A recent Booty Call shoot by Cabure A. Bonugli/Shot in the City

And then there are the parties. Oh, the parties. This week sees the 8-year anniversary of one of the most transformative weekly parties in recent San Francisco history: Booty Call Wednesdays at QBar in the Castro. Tragically — or magically, because you just know Miss More is up to something even greater — she told me that this will also mark a month of closing party for the midweek call-in-to-work-the-next-day institution.

“I’ve made the decision to end Booty Call Wednesdays this month.The last night will be Wednesday, November 25th,” she said in an email. “Please celebrate the party over the next three weeks that started in the last days before hook-up apps became ubiquitous, when you went out to make out.”

There is barely a gay DJ or clubgoer with her salt who doesn’t have roots or strong associations to Booty Call. Thousands of gorgeous freaks have passed through More’s glamorous Booty portals. In fact, the whole point of Booty Call (started with original partner Joshua J.) was to change the Castro scene, in order to make it more hospitable to fashion-forward, and fashion-shredding, characters with tastes more esoteric than Rihanna remixes and human cologne clouds. In one respect it’s definitely succeeded — I actually go dancing in the Castro now!

“I really just wanted to have a party I myself would feel welcome at,” Juanita told me over the phone. She particularly noted one instance where the door person at Qbar rudely forced her to wait outside in the rain, despite being in full drag. “I decided then and there that one day soon, I would return — and this time I would be welcoming everyone to the party with the respect they deserved. Because I would be the one throwing it.”

You do not cross Miss More. Nor do you deny her artistic energy. Booty Call was born with the intent to bring more interesting music and style to the Castro, and it’s now become an essential stop for any visiting DJ: It’s the rare spot left where you can here world-class DJs, both international and homegrown, for the price of a bacon-wrapped hot dog. (Also somewhat less than world-class: I’ve DJed there a few times.)

48 Hills: Party radar
Cakes, anyone? Booty Call photo by Cabure A. Bonugli/Shot in the City

The biggest Booty Call draw, besides the midweek art-freak festiveness, cute camaraderie, and varied musical styles from rare bathhouse disco to up-to-the-minute techno, has been the Booty Call photobooth — more of entire photo-room really, with elaborate, playful backdrop-sets designed by a different artist every week, and photography currently by Cabure Bonugli of Shot in the City. (Previous resident photographers included Brandon Norris and Isaac Benjamin.)

Booty Call came of age during the great era of digital club photography, when every inch of our nightlife was documented, cropped, watermarked, and uploaded as potential new profile pics. The novelty of that constant camera onslaught has faded — no longer are photographers listed alongside DJs on every club flyer — but Booty Call kept it fresh with technicolor inventiveness, and a true investment of time and energy.

“Every week I work with a particular artist on the theme of the backdrop,” Juanita told me. “I studied photography, and I know exactly where lights should be placed.” The Booty Call name itself came from a series of semi-nude photographs of Juanita’s tribe of MOREboys that she had been developing and displaying. “I then design my own outfit to play off the backdrops and create a unifying theme.”

That kind of meticulous attention to detail will be sorely missed on a scene where some promoters can get away with charging $30 just for sticking a DJ behind a laptop. Get to Booty Call while you can — especially for this week’s eighth anniversary bash, which has special significance for Juanita. “Well of course, the number 8 refers to my figure,” she laughs.

BOOTY CALL FINAL PARTIES:

Wednesday, November 11th / BCW – QBar / 8 Year Anniversary

Music / Jackie House / Shot In The City Photography / Allen Jordan Photography & Artist Shaaron

Wednesday, November 18th / BCW – QBar

Music / Little John & Vin Sol / Shot In The City Photography / Artist Matt Picon

Wednesday, November 25th / BCW – QBar / Thanksgiving Eve / The END

Music / Go Bang!