Monday, March 31, 2008

That bass, give us that bass

Eventually I decide I'm going out, that's when of course I'm shitting nonstop I guess because I get that rush maybe adrenaline whatever it is it's annoying, how can I leave the house if I keep shitting? But I've gotta go -- this might be the only chance I have to go somewhere without smoke or a smoke machine, I emailed the guy who throws it and he actually wrote back and said don't worry, I hate smoke machines too - but the place was on fire!

That was in January, then I missed February because I thought it was last Fridays and not fourth Fridays -- I hate monthlies, it's kind of depressing that San Francisco can support hardly any weekly clubs anymore, what the hell is up with that? I mean, when something’s once a month it's so much harder for me to get to, because I'm always tired and there's too much pressure, I guess people like the pressure I just like something to depend on. When I leave it’s 1:45 a.m., no surprise really since I've always been the kind of girl waiting for a 2 a.m. entrance.

The rhetoric for this club is all about somewhere where everyone gets along its fags and dykes straight and gay and it's all about the dancing, remember when it was all about the dancing? Of course it was never really all about the dancing, I'm always suspicious of this brighter days club nostalgia, although you know as much as anyone else that if they throw down “Brighter Days” I'll be screaming until next winter.

Don't get me wrong -- honey I miss those clubs I needed more than just about anything, back when missing for just one week felt like the end of something I needed, but then that really ended now I can only dream. What was that club I went to when I first moved to San Francisco, every Monday at The Pit which was formerly The Underground so everyone still called it that, now it's Asia SF? 1992 and I was all about the industrial, throw down some Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire or My Bloody Valentine and I was ready -- that's when I’d just taken a dance intensive so I knew how to fall to the ground like it mattered, I became friends with the DJ and some of the regulars and over time everything shifted to techno that's where we were going. Then there was Junk when it was after the $.99 queer video fest, not so much for the music but because it was all dykes so you could assume the fags had some politics, that was the only time when I ever picked up fags regularly from a bar. Then there was Fusion and I guess that's when I started the crystal but oh just to bounce up and down on that glass dance floor sometimes I got in trouble because I would accidentally step on people's toes with my boots, ouch that hurt.

That was around when I’d try try try to stay up until 6 a.m. for the End Up because it was the only place where I liked the music where it was hard enough and that's of course where I really got the crystal I mean the crystal got me I could dance into the afternoon, yes. Together on Tuesdays, in the basement of 1015 when it was really just a basement with ceilings too low not that gorgeous glamorous thing they have there now but oh the music yes the music that was one of those places where I didn't want drugs to touch me I just needed to dance until they closed. It was Together until 4 a.m. when no one would give me a ride, they had to get back to the suburbs or something. Your Sister's House was fun too, above the McDonald's on Market after Junk got to sceney and dramatic and we didn't like the music anyway, Rebecca and I would go there it was kind of ravey without the rave and Rebecca always wanted to know if everyone was a dyke but mostly they were more into dancing with me, didn't matter once we got all sweaty and then outside into that cool air yes air.

Don't let me forget Club Babyhead on Sundays in Providence, 1994 where no one liked me but I didn't care I was there for the music, even after someone threw me against a pole and said I'm going to kill you then smashed the windows of my car, just like that because I was dancing too flamey or something I still went back. Boston 1994, 1995 was all about Paradise on Thursdays, the Loft was fun too but to tell you the truth Michael Sheehan really threw it down on Thursdays, that player piano Osheen song I lived for the bitch would throw that on and I would jump to the ceiling, that was when I did more drugs than ever but never on Thursdays, Thursdays was all about the music right the music, see how I'm trying to disrupt the rhetoric but then I am the rhetoric? When I came back to San Francisco at the end of ‘95 I couldn't find anything, not much better luck in Seattle except that one time when I went to hear that DJ from Detroit and I asked him if he had a mix tape for sale and he just looked at me like I wasn’t human, that's when things were really changing and DJs were becoming stars in a big bigger way it was sad. In New York pretty much everything was awful except Danny Tenaglia late late-night at Vinyl, although I lived for the Cock on Sundays, dancing in the front and sex in the back what could be better? Or Mondays, mostly just dancing, maybe Thursdays too but anyway I'm getting distracted, not distracted I was trying to show you the way any of us can give in to brighter days nostalgia really brighter nights because who needs days when you’re dancing all night? Seven years and I haven't had that regular place, you know my struggles.

So I get there at 2 a.m. and I don't know what I expected, but this feels more low-key and actually more mixed too -- old-school Tenderloin bar drunks and younger trendy dykes and drunk young mainstream gays but not Castro types because they're actually friendly in a genuine way, a few dance queens in the corner. I'm just glad there's no smoke, no smoke machine either I mean you can smell the residue but that's like heaven compared to the other options. The music is kind of droning in that maudlin dark electro neo-synth pop sort of way I mean I was all about the electro revival but now I'm back to just wanting the beats. I'm dancing anyway, people look excited and then there are more cokeheads and thirty-something ‘70s clone-wannabe types coming down from upstairs I guess and a few mainstream dykes and this hot boy who was standing outside when I arrived keeps looking over at me but then dancing with his dyke friends, really close and messy until I say what about me and we grind for a minute but I can tell he's more nervous around the fags and I'm not really a grinder so much it gets me out of my rhythm.

One woman in a fake Chanel t-shirt dress number with teased black hair is fun to dance with, she does a little goth-like runway with a twirl and then there’s the trannyboy-type who does the club thing where you synchronize your moves but act like the other person isn't there, even when you're moving in and out of the other person’s gestures I could dance with him all night but the fag I'm hot for likes to grind with him, and a styley dyke and the ‘80s Chanel woman and I'm trying to remember to let my head go, Donna said let your head go it's hard to do that when you're studying someone else you have to go into your own space just your own.

I take a break, I'm supposed to take breaks so that my body doesn't hurt too much, right? I'm in line to get water from the bathroom and this woman says to me: my friend’s gay but he says he wants to sleep with me, do you think that's weird? I say well, do you think he really wants to sleep with you or do you think he's trying to prove something? She says well he says he's bisexual but he's totally gay, don't you think that's weird?

I get water from the bathroom tap and then this drunk middle-aged Tenderloin fag says something to me, he's too drunk for his words to work oh he wants to dance and then we’re shaking it on the dance floor and he's smiling and swaying I like that. Then suddenly the dance floor’s crowded again and there are more people with attitude but no critical mass so most of the attitude goes out the door and then, yes then is when it really starts because oh, those beats I'm screaming GIVE US THAT BASS, yes GIVE US THAT THAT BASS, my legs up into the air I can't help but fling my club drama moves, turn to the side and I'm screaming the BASS! THE BASS! Using different tones of my voice, that way it doesn't get all scratchy and now the DJ’s screaming too and other people are screaming and this is what it's all about, I take a break when the music slows again, no longer that clack clack but back to the ‘80s synth but wait there it is again and this is when I'm dancing like I'm swimming except it's my movements that get all watery, I can trip or fall to the side and it all flows and I'm screaming for the horns, yelling vocals I don't even know, biting my fingers and this boy with flowers behind his ears is imitating my bite I give him the you. Yes, you. Turn to the side. You.

Then the DJ screams something about are there any metalheads, any old-school metalheads here. I'm not sure what to expect until wow, maybe those are metal songs but with driving bent broken banging techno rattle seesaw jumping sing-song beats yes this is what it's all about, until it's winding down into a hip hop sound that actually gets mixed in perfectly it's all about the mixing and the beats but it's 3 a.m. and everyone's leaving. I'm glad I came late because otherwise I might've stayed too long, too long for my body and just now, someone’s smoking pot and the whole room fills with it I'm trying to stand still and talk to someone who's promoting his night but my eyes are watering I say I have to go, out the door and the hot fag from earlier hugs me and says do you have a cigarette?

Outside, it's my dancing crew and I'm still feeling the beats, this one woman says you're really fun to watch and I say we can keep going, let's keep going, but really I'm ready to head home and they offer me a ride, I don't need a ride I'm only five blocks away but it's hard to turn down, the driver is about to smoke in the car I say can I be rude enough to ask you to put that out until we get to my house, then it's out and we’re on our way and my body's already hurting I'm angry at myself for not just walking I need that cooldown but then I remember I also need toilet paper so I walk downhill but the store’s closed. I thought that store was open 24 hours. One of the stores on my corner is actually still open, so that's where I get the toilet paper, and then I feel accomplished like everything is coming together and upstairs I turn the shower on, throw off my wet clothes and jump into the hot water please don't let me hurt tomorrow. Donna says I get the pain from panicking so I'm trying to relax into all this moisture and when I get out I'm warm and I heat up some food and then I'm doing my feldenkrais movements on the floor and why does the heater smell so toxic, like all this dust is caught in there and burning where did all this dust come from?

I stand up to figure it out and oh no, that's something from the kitchen -- a plastic lid and an oven mitt on fire I grab them and throw them in the sink but it's the concoction is still burning until I pour water on it. I'm just glad the fire alarm isn't going off, although you have to admit it's kind of ironic that I've avoided the smoke and now it's smoking in my apartment. I open all the windows but it's pretty damn cloudy, oh no there goes the fire alarm and I can't figure out how to turn it off -- all my neighbors must hate me. I decide not to worry about it, remember worrying is one of the things that gives me pain so I'm doing the forward bend pelvic movement and using the neti pot to clear the smoke out of my sinuses then boiling eucalyptus in the kitchen and then I do the rest of my movements on the floor the eucalyptus smells great but the fire alarm is still going off and then I'm sitting down to eat, oh this food tastes so good especially with the olive oil why is it that I can digest olive oil so much better this late at night?

Finally the fire alarm stops and it's getting close to 5 a.m. but I'm not going to worry, I eat more toast because actually I’m worried that I'm still wired and how will I fall asleep if I'm wired? Then I get in bed, actually it hurts to turn to the right where usually turn first so I try the left and that feels fine, another sign that something has shifted. Shifting is good, right? It means things are moving around.

2 comments:

grantatee said...

this was fun to read.

i laughed out loud when you wrote:

I'm always suspicious of this brighter days club nostalgia, although you know as much as anyone else that if they throw down “Brighter Days” I'll be screaming until next winter

and i smiled, imagining you dancing. i'd like to see that sometime, but i'd probably be so cranky being up so late around drunk people...

xo
grant

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Yay, I'm glad you laughed about the brighter brighter brighter days drama -- and yes, definitely drunk people, drunk people for sure...

Love --
mattilda