Main | Friday, September 29, 2006

Folsom Party Reviews

It typically takes me a week to digest a major party......

Magnitude- ** (two stars)

Located at SF's Gift Center, a sort of non-retail mall, this year's Magnitude was generally viewed as a disappointment, due to the lackluster music. The execution of the event was excellent from beginning to end, however, starting with the hilariously forced drama of having ticket holders enter the venue by climbing five stories up the dimly-lit rear exterior metal fire escape stairs. (Disney does the same thing on Pleasure Island.) Getting a drink was generally hassle-free, the temperature was well-maintained, and the thousands of hot men made enduring the monotonous clump-clump-clump, boots-in-a-dryer, a bit less painful...however, in the end, it was the terriffically dull soundtrack that killed our joie de cuir. (Disclosure: I have an old association with the Magnitude party, having had a part in producing its 2000 CD release.) And a big shout-out to the JMG readers that I met at Magnitude: Adam, Pete, Ricardo + BF, Damien, and the three Davids.

Real Bad - *** 1/2 (three & 1/2 stars)

My children, THIS is the event upon which to model all others. A completely volunteer-run event entirely benefiting local gay/HIV charities, Real Bad turned in another brilliant installment in its unblemished 18 year history. Flawlessly executed from the door to the dance floor, I only subtract a half-star from an otherwise perfect score because of the venue's staggeringly unbearable heat. It was hot. It was Africa hot. Tarzan never had that kind of hot. At one point, I found myself in a long subterranean tunnel under the club with about 30 other bears, as we leaned on the cool concrete walls for their blessed relief.

The venue, 1015 Folsom, one of the most famous dance arenas in the world (and a former bathhouse, as I recall), has gone through a massive gut renovation, and even though I'd been there many times, I never seemed to get a handle on the new floorplan. So many rooms, so many floors! The nitrogen blasts on the dance floor only provided a momentary respite from the heat, so it wasn't until well into the party that I returned to the main dance room, where first-time Real Bad DJ Pete Savas, of Salt Lake City, took us on a soaring, triumphant journey of beautiful melodic techno/trance, holding us in the palm of his turntable until the very last note at 4am, after which he received a thunderous and well-deserved ovation.

I haven't been that moved by a DJ's performance in a long, long time. At one point, I had turned to my friend Leif Wauters (of Hot House and a Real Bad volunteer) and said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" He said, "I don't even want to say it." What we were thinking was that Sevas' performance reminded us very much of the late DJ Neil Lewis, our dearly missed friend, who left us in 2004. After his applause died down, DJ Pete Savas opened the microphone and delivered a poignant, stuttering thanks, choked with occasional sobs, which got us all verklempt. I was as moist as my jeans! Thanks to JMG readers Donovan, JP, Eric, Andy (Otterpop), and others for saying hello. Big thanks to my buddy Kitchenbeard for hanging out with me.

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