fter work on the last Friday in September I walked over to Giants stadium and watched an opera. The San Francisco Opera simulcast a live performance of Samson and Delilah at the War Memorial Opera House onto the video screen in the outfield at AT&T Park. Admission was free and about 15,000 people turned out. I entered through the Marina gate and walked onto the field where I expected seating but instead found folks more in the know than I lounging on blankets they brought to spread out on the turf, which was very plush by the way, I'd never trod on the grass of a professional playing field. Without tickets or seat assignments the crowd was free to wander all over the park, and I walked around the diamond and checked out the view from different sections of the stands before settling into a seat a few rows behind the left field dugout.
he next day I donned a fishnet tank top and leopard print jeans and walked down to Civic Center for the LoveFest street fair. Along the way I stopped in a vintage clothing store on Polk Street and the owner, a most fetching girl named Mascara, reassured me that I looked fabulous and took my picture in the doorway of the shop.
an Francisco's LoveFest party is an offshoot of an electronic/house/techno dance music street festival called the Love Parade that started in Berlin in the late 80s and over the years licensed itself to various cities around the world. The German Love Parade organization ran out of money and cancelled the festival in 2004 and 2005, and promoters in San Francisco—unable to keep using the name Love Parade—renamed their event LoveFest. This year a couple of dozen DJ crews installed mega sound systems and skimpily clad dancers onto brightly decorated floats
and paraded down Market Street, ending up at Civic Center where the floats parked lining the streets bordering the plaza and blasted music all afternoon. Thousands of dancers turned out wearing revealing rave gear tending toward day-glo rainbow sherbert colored fake fur, shiny gold and silver lamé, and assorted animal prints, as evidenced by this kindred spirit found by my legs.
f course ubiquitous eccentric Frank Chu—San Francisco's answer to New Orleans street characters like Ruthie the Duck Lady and the Lucky Bead Lady—was in attendance.
Chu is an apparent schizophrenic who believes that he and his family have been filmed for years without their knowledge, that the footage has aired somewhere as a show called "The Richest Family," and that Bill Clinton directed the CIA to withhold his royalty payments from the show. Chu always carries a protest sign that often contains calls for the impeachment of various presidents amidst other incoherent phrases that always mention a specific number of galaxies, prompting a nightclub on Mission Street to name itself 12 Galaxies and give Chu free drinks every time he stops by. Chu commutes to San Francisco from Oakland every day on BART and wanders the streets, and is seen so often around town that not only has dressing up as Chu become one of SF's most popular Halloween costumes, but local businesses like Quizno's Subs and the 111 Minna Gallery began renting out advertising space on the back of his sign.
oveFest gets my vote for the best girl watching event of the year in San Francisco. This year the sun was shining, the weather warm, everyone in a happy mood. I wandered from float to float checking out dancers and DJs, my favorites being the Bay Area Drum N Bass Collective at the corner of Polk and Grove. I spent the afternoon dancing and taking pictures of girls
and occasionally having my picture taken. A few girls came over to flirt and take pictures with me, like these cuties
and I'm always flattered and a bit baffled by young girls' interest in an old dude like me. Girls not infrequently ask me to pose for pictures with them at dance clubs, I imagine because I'm a good dancer and so damn old that I'm not very threatening. It's funny to think about all the photos of me with different girls that I'll never see again. The only one I have is this picture I stumbled across on a girl's myspace profile that listed me as one of her heroes, which—unless she was goofing on me—I thought was really sweet.
he crowd thinned out as the sun dropped behind the rooftops and the wind grew cold and the shadow of City Hall crept across the plaza, so I collected my jacket which I had locked to a fence with a chain and walked home wishing—as I always do after LoveFest or Mardi Gras or the Day Of The Dead parade—that every day could be spent dancing in the streets.
used to get more excited about the Folsom Street Fair, but after years of watching people get flogged at goth/fetish dance clubs and seeing scores of hairy naked guys flapping in the breeze at street fairs throughout the city, the novelty has worn off. The bands don't rock as hard as when San Francisco had an edgy leather clad underground music scene, and there are fewer goths and lesbians and BDSM aficionados, making it even more of a predominantly gay male event. I have leather outfits from when I was more into goth clubs, but I didn't make much of a fashion effort this year and wore black low rise stretch jeans and a punked out denim jacket. I arrived mid-afternoon after many of the looky loos cleared out and before the headlining bands played. I entered through the gate behind the 7th Street stage and shouldered my way through a packed crowd watching a drag performer named Kimo manically change costumes and lip synch along with twenty years of Madonna songs in twenty minutes.
ach year it seems like I run into fewer people I know, and the only friends I found in the crowd were Mark my old manager at the Castro—although he told me Bob and Graham from the theater were around somewhere—and Annie the proprietress of Annie's Social Club a few blocks up the street. I turned down 10th Street and checked out the DJs at the dance music area, where a giant crane swung a go go cage above the crowd.
once had a job doing this. Not suspended thirty feet above the street, but dancing in a cage at a club called Bondage A Go Go that used to be at the Trocadero on 4th Street. I wore black leather hot pants and fishnets and motorcycle boots and made about 80 bucks a night as part of a mostly female crew of go go dancers. You can do all kinds of cool moves inside of a cage by holding onto the bars to support your weight, like twisting all the way down to the floor and back up really fast while swinging your hips around in crazy big circles. I was at the Covered Wagon once when this guy came over and said he'd been checking out the go go girls at Bondage a couple of nights earlier when he noticed everyone around him was watching me because I danced better than the girls. Bondage A Go Go is still around but the fetish club scene isn't nearly as crowded and wild and wooly as it was back then. Those were fun times.
wandered around taking more pictures of scantily clad women, but unlike LoveFest the day before the girls were more interested in taking pictures with each other than with guys.
t the Society Of Janus booth, spectators could donate money to charity in return for the opportunity to take off their clothes, get chained to a post and whipped.
Pretty tame compared to some other goings on, like the guy holding the HUMAN URINAL sign who encouraged passersby to pee on him. I don't know, I'd be happy with dinner and a movie. Checked out bands including Imperial Teen and Ladytron who spun records during their set. I was street faired out by the end and walked home up a traffic clogged Van Ness Avenue past MUNI stops crowded with people waiting for buses that weren't going to show up for hours.
he next weekend I went to the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, and all I have to report is I took a picture of John Prine
and I was wearing a T-shirt that said EAT THE RICH when Warren Hellman—the billionaire investment banker who pays for the entire festival out of his own pocket every year—rode by on his golf cart and told me they didn't taste very good. If there were any topless girls I missed it.