One of my favorite things in the city is seeing Maria Konner strap on a Fender and rock out with a band to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and other bangers, her skirt and highlights shimmering in the stage lights. For years, Konner has been a denizen of San Francisco’s nightlife: When not blasting music, she’s interviewing night owls and kinksters on her “Under the Golden Gate” video series and hosting cannabis-centric happy hours with DJ Dank, or hitting the piano for some singalongs at Martuni’s and The Cinch, or sharing a drink and a laugh with other larger-than-life personalities around town as an unofficial official San Francisco after-dark “fembassador.”
Now, with wonderful new memoir Girl Shock, she’s opening up about her journey from a straight ‘tech dude’ to a fabulous woman on the scene. The book’s subtitle, ‘I Dressed Like a Girl for Halloween, but Then She Took Over My Life!’ gives you a general outline, but the subject matter dives so much deeper, into Maria’s childhood, the importance of music in here life, and the thrill of discovering a sisterhood at bars like the now-closed Diva’s trans bar that allowed her to begin to live authentically—and naughtily (the book does not stint on the erotic side of her journey).
I was fortunate to sit down for a wee Zoom with Konner, as we took a trip through her life—and the importance of local nightlife and arts in helping people realize their full selves. (We also find out how she broke her piano bench!)