Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Besties: Sounds & Scenes


DJs and gogos make nightlife extra fun

Bestie winners (left to right) Mark O'Brien (Polyglamorous), Andrew Slade (Best Male Gogo Guy), Michael Chu/MC2 (Best Male DJ), Benjamin Bellayuto (Polyglamorous), Dylan Strokes (Best Male Porn Actor) and Andy Cross (Daddy: Best Leather Event). photo: Georg Lester
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Whether spinning a CD or whirling on a pole, our DJs and dancers add a special element of fun to nightlife. And while a few events have become the stuff of legend, others continue to bring in new fans. Here are your winning events and nightlife people who make the scene thrive. We got quotes from a few winners. For Bestie-winning performers, see "Bestie People."

Best DJ (Male) - MC2

Runner-up: Bus Station John

Despite the loss of his partner Eddie Bell, aka Cookie Dough, DJ MC2, aka Michael Chu, has continued to bring uplifting grooves to patrons of several local popular bars and nightclubs.

Asked about his DJing in the future, he said, "Hopefully I'll still be at the locations and parties that I am currently spinning. I love the bosses I work for and the crowds and dance floors that I get to play to. It's such a rush DJing for the enthusiastic large crowds on the dance floors at Oasis and DNA Lounge, and a lot of fun spinning for a cruisy, bar crowd and hot gogos over in the Castro at The Edge."

Chu said he gets inspiration from his work. "I'm on Cloud Nine whenever I come home to wind down from the energy the crowd feeds me."

And he has new plans. "I want to get into producing dance tracks. Eddie bought me a home studio to create my own tracks before he passed away. For 2016 and beyond, I plan on producing a lot of original tracks that I will start incorporating into my sets. I've already been playing a few of my creations during my sets; and, what a great pleasure it's been to watch the crowd stay on the dance floor and dance to them."

Best Monthly Nightlife Event - Polyglamorous at Oasis

Runners-up: Go Bang! at The Stud, Beatpig at The Powerhouse

Since its first night, Polyglamorous, the monthly dance night, has been a hit. Co-creator Mark O'Brien discussed his recipe for success.

"We are very grateful to have had such a great response for the party. BAAAHS (Big-Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep) and the Burning Man community came out as early adopters, and our crowd has expanded from there over time. Oasis itself has a lot of fans who have been eager to support the club. Polyglamorous also casts a wide creative net.

"In addition to hosting three or more diverse DJs at each party, we mix up our graphic design, installation artists, performers, and gogo dancers each month. In the end, though, it's the people who show up with their fiercest looks, flirt and make out with old friends and new, and turn it out on the dance floor. They make this party as special as it is."

Asked about upcoming events, O'Brien said, "We're bringing back our Sneaks party on July 30 during Dore weekend, to a new venue this year. Also, we'll be making our first out of town appearance, at BEARMANIA in Provincetown on July 11, and we've got some more surprises up our sleeves later this year."

Feed the Energizer bunny:
gogo guy Andrew Slade
photo: Steven Underhill

Best Gogo Guy - Andrew Slade

Runner up: Michael Tempesta

Best Gogo Gal - Jella Gogo

(Jella was unavailable for comment.)

Runner up: Chloe Rainwater

Andrew Slade, the affable hunk and former Iowa cheerleader, has won our hearts yet again, perhaps because he, like all gogo dancers, is more than meets the eye.

Asked about his best recent night, Slade said, "I danced for My So Called Night at Beaux recently, where they play nothing but music videos from the '90s, so it was like reliving my childhood on the gogo box. That was such a fun night. Getting paid to do what I did in front of my bathroom mirror for ten years is not a bad gig."

Asked if he's had any notably bad nights, he said, "I was rushing from my day job to the gym and then to dance, and I didn't get a chance to eat dinner in between, so I spent the first 45 minutes of the night doing dance moves that involved clutching my stomach and silently hoping someone would tip me with some pieces of Orange Chicken instead of dollars. I think if someone ever actually did that, I would just marry them right then and there."

Along with dancing in underpants, Slade is also an accomplished animated graphics designer who also makes videos for several popular drag performances, from Mother, to California Academy of Sciences nights (as Zamora with his Guardians of the Galaxy crew), and Peaches Christ extravaganzas, including the upcoming Spice World show at the Castro Theatre April 16. His own drag alter ego Chaka Corn won the 2014 Trannyshack Miss Star Search competition.

Asked about his favorite number in drag, Slade said, "The Harry Potter number I did for Trannyshack, and it's one hundred percent due to the people that were in it. I did that number with not only the Rice Rockettes and my entire drag family, but my real-life mom and dad as well. They played the voices of Professor McGonagall and the Sorting Hat. Hearing the voices of your parents coming through the club speakers as you perform in drag is a pretty incredible and amazing feeling, to say the least. I never, ever forget how fortunate I am to have them."

The Hard French crew (left to right) Devon Devine, Tim Strong, Amy Martinez, Tom Temprano and Jorge Portillo. Photo: ShotintheCity

Best DJ Duo/Group - Hard French

Runner-up: Honey Soundsystem

Best Nightlife Event (non-weekly/non-monthly)
Hard French at El Rio

Runner-up: Bearracuda

Soul deliciousness continues at El Rio with the always popular Hard French, the outdoor daytime soul music dance party known as well for its sold-out Winter Balls. Devon Devine of the collective offered us a few hints about the group's next events.

"We have a really cute season in store for San Francisco this year. We're hosting a one-night-only after-hours fundraiser called Club Soda for SOMArts (934 Brannan Street) on April 23, and then Hard Frenching Glamamore on May 7 at El Rio, in celebration of SF's favorite drag grandmother. Psychic TV will be headlining Pride at Mezzanine. We also have a few surprises in store we'll be announcing in the next few weeks!"

Page Hodel

Best DJ (Female or Trans) - Page Hodel

Runner-up: Lady Ryan

Her legacy of DJing events goes back decades, but repeat Bestie winner Page Hodel pushes music to its limits at events ranging from women's circuit parties to Outside Lands, and fundraisers galore. When not inspiring us into a dancing whirl, Page continues to create art in her ongoing Monday Hearts for Madalene project:

Andy Cross at the Powerhouse's Daddy.
photo: FBFE

Best (non-contest) Leather Event at a Bar - Daddy at The Powerhouse

Runner-up: Code at The Edge

We're not shy about our perpetual man crush on International Mr. Leather 2013 Andy Cross, whose really sexy Powerhouse event Daddy ended its three-year run earlier this year (sad emoji). If you don't see him working at The SF Eagle, you can find him at many a kink-themed night at the Powerhouse.

Best Drag Show - Mother at Oasis

Runners up: Sunday's a Drag at The Starlight Room

Some Thing at The Stud

Not just a replacement for Trannyshack, the new deliciously campy drag show pays tribute to music icons, holidays and movie genres like no other (For quotes from Oasis co-owners, Heklina and D'Arcy Drollinger, see "Oasis Sweeps Besties").

Heklina opens another Mother at Oasis.
photo: Gareth Gooch

Best Comedy Night - Funny Tuesdays at Harvey's

Runner-up: Comedy Returns at El Rio

Sadly, the favorite comedy night is no longer, but former host Ronn Vigh has started a new monthly event, Gay Bash, at the downtown Punch Line. And runner up Comedy Returns continues at El Rio, hosted monthly by the lovely Lisa Geduldidg.

Best Game Night - Bottoms Up Bingo at Hi Tops

Runner-up: Miss Kitty's Trivia Night at Wild Side West

Drinks and games, and jocks and queens; the wild mix at Hi Tops is a very popular night at the multiple Bestie-winning sports bar.

Absolutely Fabulous
"Cheers. Thanks a lot."

Best Stage Show in a Bar/Nightclub -
Absolutely Fabulous at Oasis

Runner-up: Star Trek Live at Oasis

Sweetie, dahling! Live versions of sitcoms are trending more than Pop-Specs, and our lovely readers chose the Edina and Patsy tribute show as their favorite. And, sources more reliable than Bubble (actors Christian Heppinstal as 'Patsy' and Terry McLaughlin as 'Edina') inform us that a return of the show with new episodes may be on the horizon. Cheers, thanks a lot.

Best Theme Night - Pound Puppy at the SF Eagle

Runner-up: Cubcake at The Lone Star Saloon

While not quite as kinky as they were in their early editions, the monthly Pound Puppy still retains a groovy edge and a cruisy atmosphere for creatures not only canine, but cubby, cuddly and carnal.

Pound Puppy at the SF Eagle
photo: FBFE

Best Unusual Nightlife event -
Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences

Runner-up: parties

Keeping it classy with educational nights at the fascinating science museum, fans of the early evening parties have enjoyed performances by the likes of Heklina, Bestie-winning drag queen Peaches Christ and gogo hunk Andrew Slade. Cocktails under the necks of stuffed giraffe or near an albino alligator certainly stir up different party conversations.

Best Women's Event - Mango at El Rio

Runner-up: Pussy Party at Beaux

The Bestie-winning El Rio packs in the women folk for the patio party that's been going strong for years. Usually held monthly during the warmer months, check the El Rio schedule for the next gathering.

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