Parties without borders

In the age of social media, San Francisco's wildest clubs (and shrewdest promoters) are taking over the world

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marke@sfbg.com

"My body's over Guam somewhere."

DJ Adrian was triangulating his sleep deprivation coordinates, trademark fuchsia dreads grazing a gourmet cheese platter at Starbelly in the Castro. It wasn't easy. He and his partner, Mysterious D, who both spoke with me last week, just spent two months bringing their Bootie party (www.bootiemashup.com) to three continents, including stops in Helsinki, Singapore, Cork, Vilnius, Rio, Budapest, and Hong Kong. They'd had to deal with volcanoes in Iceland, rabid Britney fans in São Paulo, and breakneck drives across Poland. They were leaving for Brooklyn the next day, then on to Seattle. All this without pausing their original gig, simulcast on Second Life, which for the past seven years has lured capacity crowds three Saturdays a month to DNA Lounge in San Francisco's SoMa district. "I would say I'm jetlagged as fuck," Adrian laughed, "but that would completely exhaust me."

I didn't believe him for a minute. Sure, racking up all those SkyMiles might drain the pink from anyone's locks, but judging from the constant stream of music production, multiple-site updates, and live performances, Adrian and D operate at a superhuman level "manic" only begins to cover. Yet this was no mere gonzo DJ world tour. It was the Bootie Expansion Tour. Adrian and D were supporting and promoting various global franchises of the Bootie party brand, and testing the waters for future ones.

DJs often travel beyond the confines of their regular club nights, of course, sometimes bringing a certain attention to flyer design, opening support, and club décor with them to insure a singular party vibe. But the notion of entire independent parties — alternative in nature, low on capital, and intimately linked to the underground — expanding their brands internationally, establishing regular installments beyond homebase, is a phenomenon only possible in the Internet age. It's also an opportunity that tech-heady San Francisco's intensely creative, DIY nightlife scene is perfectly poised to take advantage of. Four very different local parties — Bootie, Trannyshack, Blow Up, and Bearracuda — have leapt to the forefront of the new "parties without borders" reality. And as they become more known worldwide, the promoters are also slyly exporting some uniquely San Franciscan cultural and sexual values. Trojan nightlife: we like that.

 

OPEN SOURCE CLUBBING

Musically, Bootie specializes in that wildly popular and mostly extralegal 21st-century art form, the bootleg mashup, which digitally Frankensteins two or more hit songs from disparate genres to reach a goofy-beauty sweet spot.

DJ Adrian and Mysterious D. Photo by Jeffery Cross

Billed as "the biggest bootleg mashup party in the world," Bootie parties at the DNA are mashups in their own right, usually incorporating several guest DJs, batty drag and live musical numbers, mass sing-alongs, dress-up themes, slick flyers that meld famous faces together, free CD giveaways, and a fantastically mixed crowd. Oh, and giant inflatable pirates (Adrian and D are cheeky, or crazy, enough to foreground the allegedly piratical aspects of their musical operations.)

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