Welcome to Summer Scene 2007

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Click here to go to Summer SCENE 2007: Our Guide to Nightlife and Glamour

It's almost summer, and I feel shamelessly trendy. Not Bobby or big sunglasses trendy — or even Lindsay gray hoodie or Paris orange jumpsuit trendy (well, maybe a little). No, I wanna know. What's going on in the wide and wicked world of fashionable nightlife? Make me care, dammit.

In New York, the wild, proudly heterosexual rich kids who run the überpopular Box are talking about opening an after-hours bathhouse. We can't do that in San Francisco (it's still illegal), but I love that the little downtown brats are hauling wet-het sleaze from their gilded water closets. In Syria, according to the New York Times, gentlemen's clubs — and there really isn't any other kind of club in Syria — have started Iraqi refugee–themed stripper nights. No, thank you. And in Europe, there are so many seven-foot-tall Danish, Turkish, and Ukrainian drag queens ruling the dance charts right now, it's like some flamboyant aural Amazon gypsy carnival exploded. Stevie Nicks was right!

But what about here in the Bay? It seems like dance music is still going through what hip-hop went through 15 years ago — digging up the past, mixing it up with the future, dropping golden nuggets on the playlist. Pairing that turquoise off-the-shoulder cable knit with a fuzzy pink mini, tucking our leopard-print stockings into our pixie boots. Only now, at last, we're edging our way slowly into the '90s, with brassy neu rave air horns, sly acid bass lines, and e-fueled hyphy goofiness sidling up to the frosty early '80s and offering to buy her a double Manhattan. My edge-of-'90s deep-dish DJ wish list for summer 2007: Leila K, "Got to Get"; Mory Kante, "Yeke Yeke"; Nicolette, "O Si Nene." And anyone who can find a way to slip on Guru Josh's "Infinity (1990s: Time for the Guru)" with a straight face wins my vote for Queen of the Rave-iverse.

Yet things aren't totally bass-ackward in clubland, although I fondly hope that the recent giant Vivienne Westwood fashion retrospective at the de Young fills the dance floors with gorgeous beaded corsets, golden safety pins, padded asses, ostrich feathers, crazy harlequin prints, and deconstructed plaids for years to come. (Did anyone else shed a tear when they came upon the famous sparkly platforms that made Naomi Campbell tumble to the runway? Tragic. I nearly threw my cell phone in sympathy. But that would be expensive.)

Techno's making a huge and forward-looking comeback, ripping an electronic page from the mashup scene's playbook and going live, helped by mind-boggling new software. It's complicated, but it's lovely. Indie rock DJs, like techno DJs before them, are discovering contemporary classical ("new music") and throwing rough street sounds and angular, alien textures into their sets. The dub scene is also booming, mixing high-tech breaks and ragga beats with Southeast Asian instrumentation and more than a little African flavor. And the queer kids? We've ceased embracing our inner Beyoncé so much and are turning to live bands and smoky cabaret to get our kicks. Rawk.

All of which just means anything goes. And lover, it's going well. So make this summer work for you — however, whyever, whenever. It's almost like democracy!

Poach the crowd,

Marke B.

marke@sfbg.com

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