ARTS FORECAST This week, Rickshaw Stop takes a moment to celebrate its longevity as a center of San Francisco music culture. Fans of the Civic Center venue may pay their respects at a four-night series of fêtes with shows from John Vanderslice to Sean Hayes, and an already sold-out Capital Cities gig.
A 2014 profile by SF Weekly’s Ian S. Port on the occasion of the club’s 10th anniversary (rung in with shows by Geographer, the Spits, Mikal Cronin, and YACHT) tells the tale of founders Christopher White and Waldo Williams, respectively of the bike touring and bike messengering worlds. The two opened the club in a former television studio in a central area of the city formerly known for car shops.
Many of Rickshaw Stop’s raw materials came from a Catholic fraternity that was being displaced by the SF Conservatory of Music. The eponymous rickshaws came straight from Vietnam, a nod to White’s love of Southeast Asia. The vehicular contraptions have now been there for one and a half decades, overseeing raucous hardcore shows, Bardot A Go Go, and San Francisco’s beloved Popscene dance party alike. That’s an admirable feat in a town where many popular venues (Mezzanine, Elbo Room) have recently lost the battle against rising rents.
In a recent, meaty Riff Magazine interview, White remembers the early days fondly. “Me and Waldo built the whole club by hand by ourselves,” he says. “We didn’t have an enormous clue what we were doing. We built the bar. We built the stage … We threw open the doors and threw caution to the wind. I taught myself how to bartend, and Waldo taught himself how to do sound.”
Of course, it is one thing to open a live music venue, and another entirely to endow it with longevity. Broke Ass Stuart writes that talent booker Dan Strachota told him that, “The key is keeping an open mind, if someone brings them something crazy, like horse lube wrestling, they’ll consider it.” Owners have also spoken on the importance of fostering new bands with talent, e.g. hosting a 100-person show if there is a considerable chance that the group will sell out the next time they make it to town.
Not to mention the importance of maintaining relationships with the authorities. “If you’re in the nightlife industry … you need to make nice with people,” White told Riff. “If you don’t do that, it’s really easy to blame nightclub folks for bad things that go on.”
Long life to Rickshaw! And congratulations to all those who have wilted from high temperatures while reveling within its walls — word on the street is that management will be taking advantage of year 15 to make some upgrades to the air conditioning system.
RICKSHAW STOP 15TH ANNIVERSARY
w/Diet Cig, The She’s, Topographies, Sean Hayes, John Vanderslice, Capital Cities, Aaron Axelsen, Coast Modern, The Y Axes, and DJ Brother Grimm
More info here.
MORE UPCOMING ARTS EVENTS
THU/10 LIT QUEER LOVE ON BARBARY LANE: THE SEXUAL POLITICS OF SERIAL GAY FICTION IN ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S ‘TALES OF THE CITY’ UW Madison associate professor Ramzi Fawaz dissects the queer SF classic tales, and examines how the serial format of Tales of the City reflect the human process of coming out of the closet. How d’oeuvres and hosted bar! 7-9PM, $10. GLBT Historical Society, SF. More info here.
THU/10 ART MARILYN WONG: CATCHING SPIRIT SF’s premier outsider art organization presents Wong’s fascination with pop princes from Elvis to Prince, built from lushly layered, brilliantly colored creations. A CE member since 1985, Wong has been shown from the YBCA to Japan’s 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. This is her first solo exhibition. Opening reception: 7-9pm, free. Exhibition runs through March 7. Creativity Explored, SF. More info here.
THU/10 STAGE NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN Find out why Brian Copeland’s one-man show about his upbringing in San Leandro (once called by the National Committee Against Discrimination “a racist bastion of white supremacy”) has been a perennial Bay Area audience favorite over the past decade. 8pm, $30-35 sliding scale. The Marsh, SF. More info here.
THU/10-SAT/12 NIGHTLIFE MISS COCO PERU The drag that Lily Tomlin once dubbed “one of the last great storytellers” shows you why she earns the honorific. Miss Coco Peru turns in an intimate one-queen show at one of SoMa’s best queer cabaret spots. 7pm, $27.50-40. Oasis, SF. More info here.
FRI/11 NIGHTLIFE DRAG ALIVE Town’s friendly queer watering hole has a new drag series, one that explicitly welcomes visitors or anyone looking to learn more about the wonderful world of gender performance beyond the confines of RuPaul’s TV antics. This edition features shows by Churro Nomi, Lisa Frankenstein, Vanity, God’s Lil Princess, and Kochina Rude. 6:30-8pm, $10-30. The Stud, SF. More info here.
FRI/11 ART JACK DAVIS: FAGGOTS Those already mourning the impending departure of CSC, home of sex-positivity and out-and-out free freak SoMa splendor, should not wait until the Center’s goodbye party on January 28th to mourn. Instead, take a trip to support its last art exhibition, a textured, colored monument to queer musings. 7-9PM, free. Center for Sex and Culture, SF. More info here.
FRI/11 & MON/14 FILM BIXA TRAVESTY Now that Jair Bolsonaro has been sworn in as Brazil’s president, the country’s queers, poor, women, and Blacks are facing a battle for their lives. Luckily, there are warriors ready for the battle ahead. Get to know one of them via documentary film at the Roxie; Linn da Quebrada, a trans poet turned performance artist who uses the language of baile funk to craft vicious femme resistance bangers. Her team produced a film that hints at their strength, a must-see for US allies. Fri/11, 9:10pm and Mon/14, 7pm, $12. Roxie Theatre, SF. More info here.
SAT/12 LIT WRITERS WITH DRINKS Charlie Jane Anders’ long running lit series welcomes erotica writer/sex advice columnist Simon Sheppard, in addition to Nola poet Izzy Oneiric, The Job of the Wasp’s Colin Winnette, and Bay Area Native writer René Vaz. 7:30-9:30pm, $5-20 donations to benefit the Center for Sex and Culture. The Make Out Room, SF. More info here.
SAT/12 NIGHTLIFE SWAGGER LIKE US Should you not have had the chance to check out the Mission’s vibrant new queer woman and trans-run bar, the new residency there of hip-hop cornerstone party Swagger Like Us is an excellent excuse. Go for sweat-inducing sets by DJ JiBBZ and MicahTron, stay for the community feel and glorious wall of pan-gender boobs. 9pm-2am, $10. Jolene’s, SF. More info here.
SUN/13 NIGHTLIFE BOWIEMASS A most fine tradition that originated in Seattle to celebrate the Picasso of Pop (he would have turned 72 this week), Bowiemass has long since made SF its home base. Come through in your Major Tom drag for midnight mass, a costume contest, even a tarot reader primed to answer your most metaphysic andro-queries. 10pm-2am, free. Virgil’s Sea Room, SF. More info here.
MON/14 ART PATTI SMITH: WING Mexico City’s significant kurimanzutto Gallery co-presents this exhibit of Patti Smith’s photographic ode to Mexico. Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Isamu Noguchi, Roberto Bolaño, and the Café La Habana milieu (think Octavio Paz and Che Guevara) are paid homage. It is an apt setting for a such a celebration of tarn-border artistic bond — visitors will do well to take the shots in symphony with Rivera’s nearby 1931 fresco. Open 9am-7pm daily (closed for private event after noon on Thursday), free. Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, SF. More info here.