tl;dr/summary: Dore is a more gay-male raunchier version of Folsom. See you there.
(Or are you looking for the Folsom guide?)
Be sure to bookmark this guide. I’m constantly updating as new events, venues, and DJs are announced.
You can always find the latest at andymatic.com/dore – just tell friends “it’s at andy matic dot com slash dore” – easy to remember!
Party grid for the weekend (so far!): (compare to last year)
Up Your Alley? Dore? Dore Alley?
Yes, it’s true. The weekend is named for the street fair that takes place on Sunday. Most people just call it “Dore.” Rhymes with whore-y. Named for the street intersection the fair is oriented around, Dore Alley and Folsom Street. Proper usage:
- “Are you and the pups coming for Dore?”
- “Which parties are you and your Sir going to for Dore?”
- “Will you and your husband be playing separate for Up Your Alley weekend?”
- “Are you ready to hoe it up for Up Your Allley?”
- “Do you think that piece of shit Madison Cawthorne will show up at Dore this year? She’ll know where the coke orgies are.”
The weekend of events is anchored by Sunday’s Up Your Alleys street fair. The street fair celebrates gay kink and leather culture and is produced by the Folsom Street Events organization. They also produce the Folsom Street Fair in September which is an even bigger event and bigger weekend. The difference between the two? Up Your Alley weekend is usually described as a bit kinkier/nastier, more gay male centric, and attended by more locals. You’ll have fewer tourists gawking at the zoo and more people ready to participate.
But there’s a lot more there there than just the fair.
First: Know Your History
Leather is embedded in San Francisco’s history and Dore is connected to that history and pedigree. There’s always a few leather guys at even the most mainstream-y party. From Dore Alley Street Fair, a history lesson:
“The Up Your Alley Fair, wasn’t originally on Dore Alley, and it wasn’t originally ‘Folsom Street Fair’s dirty little brother’. In fact, the two fairs were originally completely unrelated to one another. The first Folsom Street Fairs were celebrations of SoMa’s neighborhood diversity whereas Up Your Alley was a celebration specifically of the gay leather community.” Read the full article…
I’ve put together a list of the many events for Dore weekend. Keep in mind this is just one guy’s opinion on what to do and where to go. I’m not a big kinkster. I don’t think I am. I’ll tie you up, spit in your mouth, smack you around, and ask you if you like being dad’s whore like the next guy. But like, we know people that are for-real into this stuff much more intensely.
It’s all relative, I suppose. Be sure to ask other friends and acquaintances for their must-do events if this is your first Dore weekend.
I’ll include links to photo galleries for most of the events so you can get a sense for what the crowd will be like and what to wear as well as links to the DJs profiles so you can get a sense of the music.
A few notable events to point you to before the main thrust of the weekend:
Early July: Baloney at Oasis, produced by Rory Davis
SF’s “gay all-male revue that’s not entirely gay and not entirely male” is back with their July edition. Their second weekend of shows just so happens to line up with Folsom. We’ve gone to the show several times over the years and it’s always a fun evening with these talented sexy men of all shapes and sizes and ages. Baloney combines theater, dance, striptease, song, comedy, and acrobatics into an entertaining evening unlike anything you’ve seen before. Baloney runs the first two weekends of July.
Trailer for documentary about them that’s been burning up the film festval circuit: Baloney: A Queer Male Burlesque.
Baloney featured in the Bay Area Reporter: Baloney’s back: saucy male burlesque show returns to Oasis and The Advocate
Saturday, July 23rd: Horsemarket produced by The Stablemaster
If you’re in town early, get fresh the fresh filth at Horse Market, a truly degenerate evening for all, inspired by Europe’s infamous Fickstutenmarkt parties (Vice article).
The mares [bottoms] arrive before the stallions [tops] and get prepared for the event. They are to strip naked, have their hands bound (lightly) and are then blindfolded. Then the stallions appear and can fully inspect the bound mares at their leisure. When a stallion has decided on a mare, he then leads the chosen mare to a place of his choice to mount. When the stallion has finished covering the mare, this mare is then available for covering by other stallions.
Friday, July 29th
Beta at Club Six, produced by Fog City Pack, with DJs Morenxxx and Aeryn Pfaff
The pups from the Fog City Pack are back with the second installment of their annual three-party trilogy that starts with Alpha party (which happens in March) and ends with Omega (usually before Thankgiving). In the middle – for Dore – the wild Beta party at Club Six. They’ve commandeered both the ground floor and the seedy basement of the club for your evening’s adventures. Make it hoe, but fashion, but probably more hoe.
The pup party music blend is kinda steady deep house – though one of this year’s DJ is a faster temple like a few of last year’s – with a delightfully sordid and sleazy vibe – tons of tracks linked below.
You don’t have to be a pup or into pup play to enjoy these parties and a broad swath of the city’s queerdom will be in attendance. Lots of leather and jockstraps and you’ll see pups in pup hoods.
You won’t see a lot of guys acting like literal dogs running around on the floor (that’ll be at the street fair). But guys will woof or growl at you if they’re interested. Nearly everyone checks their clothes so plan accordingly.
The best explanation I’ve heard for the whole pup thing is its a persona to make sex fun and playful, without all the baggage and anxiety humans can add to it. There’s several packs of pups in San Francisco that function as fraternal groups supporting each other through their lives and careers. It’s just like the Elks.
Love, love, love the security at Club Six. Always friendly and happy to see us – and they adore the pups. Always get a big hug after a quick frisk. It’s staff like that that puts patrons at ease. Club Six is one of the venues in the city that allows producers to include play spaces in their marketing (though nearly every party this weekend will have somewhere in the club dark enough to seed and breed).
What the Fog City Pack has carved out for themselves, for their community, and for their city is quite remarkable, unique, and amazing. Learn more about our dear pups:
- New York Times: We Live in Packs
- Slate: Teaching Young Dogs Old Tricks
- SF Weekly: Canis Majors
- The Fight magazine: Pups in the Mist
Music is dark and aggressive and horny, if you love celebratory soaring vocals – this ain’t it.
Morenxxx is s a Brooklyn-based artist, DJ, and producer with heavily percussive performances that disrupt genre declaring the dance floor as a “devotional, spiritual site of becoming and unbecoming.”
Aeryn Pfaff is a versatile Toronto based DJ with roots in the queer techno scene. “I play clubs, warehouses, festivals, patios, drag shows, disco, techno, house, breaks, dnb, jersey club, baile funk, vogue house, rave, ambient — I like everything,” he says. He throws a party called 2GETHER at The Black Eagle Toronto, and an Italo-Disco party called Problemes D’Amour.
Along with the Pack’s resident DJs:
The Fog City Pack SoundCloud also has lots of mixes from past parties.
Full details on the Facebook page for the event and follow our merry pups on their Facebook book page, Instagram account, or website. The pack’s Facebook page also has photos from previous Alpha and Beta events, and other past Pack events.
Prime presented by TrophyDad, with DJ Neon the Glowgobear
Ed, Julian, and the gang at TrophyDad will be hosting a gaggle of gogos over 50 with a party dedicated to “men in their prime and their admirers.” If you’re feeling the need to work out some daddy issues (or work over some boys), this will be the place to be. As our friend and daddy connoisseur (papa sommelier?) Baby Jake always says, “You better check for that AARP card first.”
And it feels like we’re in a daddy moment as daddy-themed parties have start popping up across the country and around the world. It seems to radiate from San Francisco for some reason. Prime party started a few years ago as just Ed throwing himself a big 50th birthday party. He had no idea it was going to become a thing. But it has! I think as the generation of men that survived the 80s and 90s is hitting their 50s and 60s they’re redefining what it is to be a gay man after 50: active, vital, confident, horny, and fun.
Venue is TBA.
The crowd includes lots of guys you usually don’t usually see out and about and the music will be prime time circuit with celebratory vocals with a modern remix with resident DJ Neon the Glowgobear. And he mixes in the older classics for the geriatrics like us.
Read more about the genesis of the Prime party in Race Bannon’s article in The Bay Area Reporter: “Celebrating Grey — the Older Kinkster”
Visuals and lighting by local master RAGErLAZER.
Full details coming soon but you can also follow TrophyDad’s Facebook page and see lots of photo galleries on the TrophyDad Facebook page.
Saturday, July 30th
Big Muscle Party at DNA Lounge, produced by BigMuscleBears.com, benefitting Positive Resource Center, DJ TBA
I always like taking friends to this event because if you don’t know it’s happening on a Saturday afternoon, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
Several hundred muscle guys of all sizes and stripes, and their admirers pack into DNA Lounge (founded with Netscape money and like every other big venue always at risk of closing) to have cocktails and dance and make Mary.
It’s got a fantastic vibe whether you’re in the mood to dance on the main floor, chill in the back lounges, hang out and chit-chat in the side bars, or people-watch from the wrap-around balcony.
Ron and I contend that this party usually the hottest crowd of Folsom weekend. And some of the guys are yooooge! Like water buffalo galloping through amber waves of grain on the dance floor. It always makes me want to start a TikTok called Big Guys, Tiny Fans.
There will be a main DJ on he main floor. And several others in other parts of the club.
It’ll be bright outside and dark as night indoors so it’ll take you a bit to see once you’re in the club.
Reminder: DNA Lounge is a huge venue! It took me a couple years to realize, “Ohhh shit there’s that back bar there… and oh damn is that another bar further on back…”
So after you’ve enjoyed the main floor, go upstairs to the balcony, the side bar on the left with the windows to the street (and another DJ lineup), the bar behind that, the bar behind that (and another DJ lineup), the bar that swings around behind back into the balcony to the lounge with seating and back around to the other side of the club.
Favorite moments from past year’s is the DJ in the upper bar teasing the growling bass line for “The Humpty Dance” for about 10 minutes and you kept thinking, “Am I hearing that?” and then finally launching into the 1989 classic, then back into the usual house mix. Or in the main room a couple years ago with crowds of muscle queens chanting, “Nails! Hair! Hips! Heels!”
There’s also the photo booth in the balcony (house-left) where you can get photos of your hot ass and hot-ass friends for posterity. It closes earlier than the event ends, so be sure to get up there sooner than later.
If you get overheated, there are A/C vents to chill you down, right in front of the street-side balcony bar. You’ll see the vents. Ahhh…
And come out onto the street for a vape or a smoke or to gawk at the shirrtless guys in the sun.
And don’t forget to grab pizza next door at DNA Pizza (menu) during the party or on your way out. You know these gals like to eat. The veggie slice is called Artichoke-Me-Daddy. You can go between the pizzeria and the club and even go outside for a smoke or a vape during the event – just be sure you have your wrist stamped.
Tip: This event has started selling out. And they seem to throttle entry to the club so get in line early. You can usually buy a ticket online the day-of on your phone if you need to.
Usually $15-$20 at the door but advance tickets available on the DNA lounge site, that nasty transaction fee is a doozy.
No Facebook event page up yet tickets will be on sale on the DNA Lounge website. (ignore the VIP packages, that’s for straight prime time events, and when has a gay man ever ordered bottle service?).
Photo gallery to show you who-all’s there and what to wear in Out magazine: “109 Photos From BigMuscle Party at Folsom Street Fair”
Brut at The Great Nothern, produced by Brian Kent Productions and Hedonic Productions, with DJs Morabito and Dan Darlington
What I remember most about the Brüt for Dore is how hot and steamy it gets in the club. I’m always surprised the lighting instruments don’t short out.
Co-founder/producer Dan Darlington is always a joy to watch as he spins because he always has a huge grin on his face. He’ll sneak in a vocal after a nasty beat that can be just transcendent.
We’ve heard Morabito several times and she’s magnificent. Morabito has dominated the dance scene for over three decades and played at pretty much every big event in the world, driving every party with a wide range of tribal, underground, progressive and tech house into a seamless experience on the dance floor,
The Great Northern has that step down from the bar into the dancefloor. You can watch queens trip over it all night if you need entertainment. That far corner behind the DJ can be fun. Rubber, leather, singlets, whatever… let’s see it.
Full details on the Brüt event page on Facebook.
Brut featured in:
- The New York Times: Gay Leather Scene Tones Down From Hard-Core to Dress-Up
- Daily Xtra: How one leather party is taking back New York City
- Project Q: Brut muscles it’s way into Atlanta
Full details on the Facebook event page.
Rated X at Space 550, produced by Ky Martinez Events, with DJs T’Don and Jerac
We’ve known producer Ky Martinez and his husband Juan for many years (they sat at the circuit queen table at our wedding reception) and it’s been wonderful watching them go from producing their monthly House Party event at Powerhouse (every second-Saturday) to building their reputation with larger more sophisticated events like Imagina, Heaven, and the notorious Folsom afterhours Nocturnal. Their events always draw a fantastic crowd that is a diverse, broad slice of the city’s denizens (leather, muscle, queens, queers, jocks, fairies, and all the rest) and all generations in attendance.
The Rated X party will have over a 1,000 hot men at at this Saturday main even with fetish demos and slutty gogos. Space 550 is a sprawling location with lots of nooks and crannies, so be sure to explore all the crevices you can. You’ll need to take an Uber or Lyft to get out there. Grab a bunch of guys with you in the hotel lobby and order an SUV and chat ’em up on the way there.
VIP tickets include VIP coat check, lush lounge overlooking the crowd, and access to the “infamous XXX room.”
Rogue at Eagle
Saturday also marks the return of Eagle’s monthly fetish event Rogue. A TBA DJ will be on hand laying down his dark and sexy beats while gogo slaves grind it out for you while hot and twisted demo acts of taboo and perversions play out on stage. Hot men in gear cruising for some action pack the back patio maze for a night of fun that grabs you by the balls and won’t let go!
No Facebook page yet for this event but info will show up on their Facebook page.
Ritual at 1015 Folsom, produced by Real Bad, with DJ Juanma Escudero
Ritual is a Sunday morning afterhours before the fair. It’s in the same slot as Aftershock for Folsom weekend. Before the fair.
We missed not having it last year!
Real Bad events always have the friendliest, warmest crowd. The Real Bad org has been producing events for 30 years including their crown jewel – and literally our favorite party of the entire year – Real Bad (one of Folsom weekend’s closing parties). In 2018, they took a a risk producing a Dore aftehours..
Ritual doesn’t try to be Real Bad, Part Deux or try and mimic the surreal feel of Folsom weekend’s Aftershock party. Ritual hits a whole new chord. It has an afterhours feel but less “pots and pans” or abstract but not quite prime time circuit with vocals. The crowd was hot and horny and aggressive but the gregarious fun crowd you expect at a Real Bad event. The guys weren’t tweaking and falling over themselves.
Ritual is at 1015 Folsom, one of the city’s top dance temples and the same venue as Real Bad in September, but with a more intimate configuration. The balcony and upper lounges are closed off concentrating the action in the lobby and the main room with three story ceilings and signature church-style lanterns floating above the crowd.
DJ Juanma Escudero (Real Bad XXX, Ritual 2018) returns to for an unforgettably sexy open-to-close set. Expect world class production, friendly and flirty hospitality, and unmatched dance floor magic, all benefiting local LGBTQ nonprofits.
Laser wizard RAGERLAZER will deliver a stellar light and laser show while video alchemist Kristen Violet creates an unforgettable visual experience.
This party starts at 4am Saturday night/Sunday morning (before the fair) and goes well past sunrise. Proceeds benefit the Real Bad/Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation and their many local and national beneficiary organizations.
And a special sweet treat when you last expect it!
Sneaks at Club Six, produced by Polyglamourous
Polyglamorous’ naughty sneaker fetish party returns for their Dore edition to reminds us that leather culture’s Venn diagram is broad and deep. Dress code is enforced so you must wear sneakers (no jeans, no slacks) and sports attire is encouraged (jockstraps, singlets, gym shorts, etc.). The party is at Club Six, where Beta was the night before, so it, too, will have two floors with two different sounds and vibes.
I’ve never been to a Polyglamorous party so I asked one of the other Short Circuit Andys to describe what he loves about Sneaks:
“I always describe Sneaks as the queerer, more-techno/house sound of Dore weekend. It’s the ‘locals’ choice on Saturday night as far as I’m concerned. Sneaks feels home grown. It’s black-lit which has become commonplace at Polyglamorous parties. It’s a mix of leather, drag, burner [Burning Man] and queer. The biggest thing I’d stress to readers is that [lower priced] pre-sales [tickets] always go fast but there are always tickets at the door as well.”
One of the other Short Circuit Andys. There’s three of us. A group of Andys is called a “griffith.”
Clothes check provided, venue is cash only.
Several tracks on the Polyglamorous profile on SoundCloud.
Code at Edge, with DJ Sean McMahon
Code is The Edge’s monthly event bringing leather back to the Castro with geared-up gogos and a no-frills bar packed with congenial leather-clad gents and resident DJ Sean McMahon, spinning Code’s signature dark and cruisy beats.
The categry for their Dore edition of Code is: Pups! So dress in your canine best and bring your handler as well.
Black, Brown, & Kinky at Powerhouse, produced by Onxy Northwest
The Northwest chapter of Onyx kicks off the weekend at our favorite dive-bar Powerhouse featuring sexy kinksters, jello shots, leathermen of color with geared up gogos, fetish demos and more. Photos of past events on their site.
Sunday, July 31st
Up Your Alley Street Fair, produced by Folsom Street Events
And then there’s the fair. We’ll probably go for a bit. It’s funny how it seems kinda normalized anymore for us to go to a street fair and see a guy chained to a telephone pole being whipped or porn stars playing Twister in jockstraps or a domme in a carriage being pulled by a quartet of human ponies or shirtless women being flogged to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Like Folsom, the fair encapsulates the crazy kinky libertine spirit of San Francisco – and with Up Your Alley it’s much grittier and more queer/gay than Folsom Street Fair.
You will see people dressed in their favorite fetish attire. Some of these kinksters wait all year for events like this to strut their stuff and fly their freak flag. If you don’t like it or roll your eyes at people or can’t delight in seeing perverts celebrate their perversions, don’t be a twat about it. Get the fuck out of there and go to Woodfield Mall. Not everything is for everybody.
Full details will be on the Folsom Street Events website.
Oasis Does Dore at Oasis
Oasis invites you to join them after the fair for drinks, dancing, and dirty Dore fun!
Oasis is a fantastic gay-owned venue founded by drag queens with a big front bar, rooftop area, and a legit stage and cabaret theatre space that doubles as a dance floor. You can barely tell it used to be an 8,000 sq ft gay bathhouse in a past life (that step down into the main concrete floor is the old pool space). The remodeled during the shutdown and it’s better than ever.
Play T-Dance at 1015 Folsom, produced by Brian Kent Productions and Paradigm, with DJ Russ Rich
Play T-Dance is back! After a couple years away, one of our favorite events ever-ever is back on the schedule and ready to dazzle and enthrall a whole new generation of patrons.
Some background about the party, from my interview with the party’s founder, P. Tyrone in Left magazine a few years ago:
“In 2000, my experience at night clubs had started to shift. There was much more meth use in our community and at the clubs. The music had shifted away from beautiful melodic music, to heavy, dark, tribal beats. And we were paying a lot of money for parties that lacked hospitality and production value. … So I decided that I had to do more than just complain, and joined forces with Chuck Connor, an epic event corporate producer in his own right, to launch a new tea dance event called PLAY T-Dance.
The basis of the concept was simple: provide a beautiful vocal tea dance musical journey appropriate for an inside/or outside tea dance event, be thoughtful about production value and decor, focus on hospitality, fun, joy, and making connections for guests. And our tagline ‘Flirt. Frolic. Dance.’ was born.”
And so after a weekend of leather and wild revelry at clubs, private parties, and at the fair, it’s time for something a little lighter. A little more celebratory. A little more playful and theatrical.
The crowd will be sexy, affable, and relaxed. The guys skew a bit more mature so there’s less attitude. Everyone is there to have a wonderful playful time.
Play’s resident DJ Russ Rich is back spinning Play’s signature “black tea” sound – a darker side of tea dance mixing uplifting vocal house, peak-time anthems, and harder, driving rhythms..Russ is one of our favorite local DJs. He’s a fucking master at whatever he does and has been a part of some of our most memorable nights on the dance floor. The last few parties he’s spun he always weaves in a new epic mix of Amber’s “Sexual” and I swear each time it gets a little more operatic. Love it. And if he brings in “Runnin’ (Lost It All)” or the mix of “Never Enough” everybody hates but we love expect to see Ron and I scream-singing it at each other.
This year’s theme is side show so explore your curiosities, unbind your inner freak, and be hypnotized by mystifying performances, mesmerizing visuals, and spectacular lighting and lasers.
You do know why we have tea dances right? Know your history with Back2Stonewall’s article: The Very Gay and Interesting History of the Almost Lost Tradition of the Sunday Tea Dance.
Heaven at City Nights, produced by Ky Martinez Events, with DJs Isis Muretech and Thiago Oliveira
Ky Martinez and the gang’s got you set for Sunday night at City Nights with a Dore edition their Heaven party.
City Nights is a fantastic space with two huge rooms: The front room lobby with couches to cool down, a bar running along one wall and then main room where the DJ and dancing will be taking place. City Nights is one of our favorite venues with a huge front room/lobby so if you get overheated or claustrophobic you can go chill out there, bar will be faster on that side anyway.
The main room is massive. Enter the main floor from the side, the stairs down in the back will have tons of guys strutting on it and not moving at all. And don’t foget the mini lounge up the staircase house-left with the couches and mirrored ceiling. The line for the bar in the main hallway always gets morphed with the coat check line so it’s a big mess for the first few hours of the party.
Isis Murtech is a fantastic talent that blends latin drums and influence with a rough jungle beat with residencies at Mantamar Beach Club (Puerto Vallarta) and Jubileo (Mexico City). Do not be fooled. She’s a pixie Mexicana but once she’s behind the decks, she’ll tear the walls down. She’s resident DJ
Hunky, handsome Thiago Oliveira displays a jubilant, happy style of house, adding Brazilian rhythms to house, tribal, and progressive sounds.
Coat check at City Nights is always a shitshow. Like every time. Producers have tried over and over again to make it move faster to no avail. So just know that. You could dance with your backpack or whatever until the line cools down. Just don’t be surprised if you wait up to 45 minutes to get stuff checked if you get there during the rush. I know Ky and company are always trying new tactics to get things moving faster.
A VIP ticket solves this problem with VIP priority coat check, exclusive access to the balcony lounge overlooking the main floor, and dedicated bar service.
Rogue at Eagle
Rogue is one of our newer monthly fetish events featuring dark and sexy beats while gogo slaves grind it out for you. Expect hot and twisted demo acts of taboo and perversions play out on stage. Hot men in gear cruising for some action pack the back patio maze for a night of fun that grabs you by the balls and won’t let go.
Other Events in 2021
Aside from all the upcoming Folsom events (guide) here’s several more San Francisco parties coming up:
Late July Horse Market: The Stable Master regretfully shares the unfortunate news that the Horse Market for July has had to move to the week after Dore. Don’t have a firm date or location just yet. Hopefully there will be a Folsom one though. Horse Market is a private event, so you’ll need to get updates from their Facebook group, Twitter, or their mailing list and learn more on the site for the event.
July 11 Sunsation Sundays rootop party at Oasis. DJs Grasso + Rich and Brian Urmanita. Details.
Every Second-Saturday: Ky and his husband Juan produce the monthly House Party at Powerhouse I mentioned above where every second-Saturday a couple hundred guys come out to try and stuff a deep house/circuit party into the back of a trashy gay dive bar (we always succeed). Follow Ky Martinez Productions to stay in touch.
Also every Second-Saturday is local leather event: SOMA Second Saturdays a fun afternoon with queer art, kinky crafts, local artians, fun vendors, clubs and orgs of the South of Market neighborhood. Details and site.
Omega party in November, the final part of the Fog City Pack’s trilogy of licentious parties, is usually before Thanksgiving. Stay in touch with their Facebook book page, Instagram account, or website.
Rumors of December dance parties are roiling.
You look amazing. Get photos.
You probably look foyne as fuck this weekend. You should preserve the moment. Our friend, photographer Trevor Ott will be again doing his impromptu photo shoots with the street fair as the backdrop. We did a shoot with him at Dore a few years ago (above) and had a great time. Contact him on Facebook if you’re interested and peruse his work on Instagram. One day you will look at those photos and say, “Dear God, I was a beautiful thing!”
Dore on a Budget
Travel, tickets, transportation, refreshments, enhancements… this kind of weekend ain’t cheap. But, if you’re trying to keep spending to a minimum:
If you feel you have to have some sort of leather on ya, grab an armband from Mr. S or one of the other stores.
The Mr. S Party is free since it’s in the store. You can mill about and cruise guys and try stuff on.
Hang out at the bars in Castro and SOMA (historically known as “the Valley of the Dolls” and “the Valley of the Kings,” respectively). They’ll be packed with lots of other guys that are more into the cocktails & cruising dynamic. Most bars will have a modest cover charge.
Most of the bars are walkable from transit. If it’s super late you don’t want to be walking around too much in the dark. Keep your phone in your pocket, headphones off, and keep your wits about you. It’s San Francisco, but it’s still a big city with crazy people.
If you really have barely any money at all, you must use it to go to the fair. If ten bucks is all you have, give it to the fair and charity that is the centerpiece for the weekend.
Volunteer for events. Another way to keep costs down is to volunteer for events. For the first few years we were here, Ron and I were greeters and ticket-takers at lots of parties and that was fun because you literally meet everyone their way in and you get to put wristbands on hot guys and once your shift is over you can go dance.
Quick Run Down of FAQs
(Jump to the end of my Folsom guide for the extended set of FAQs)
- Get COVID vaccinated and boosted. So far, I’m not seeing any events saying they’ll check vaccine cards. But have a digital one or a photo of it on your phone. And favorite that photo on your phone so you aren’t scrolling through hole pics while a bouncer waits.
- Get meningitis vaccine while you’re at it. There was an outbreak in Florida, might as well get the jab. Oh and get the HPV vaccine if you’re the rigth age and have coverage.
- Be gracious to security (many of them are also gay and giving up their weekend to take care of your messy friends).
- Thank the EMTs for taking care of our trashy brethren.
- Coat/clothes check is usually a bitch. Lines are long. Plan accordingly. We usually plan hoe-optional ensembles that are not dependent on checking shorts and not bringing jackets.
- Never mix G and alcohol, or G and other depressants. Know your mLs. When in doubt, wait a half hour or stop altogether. If you forget if you already put it in that drink, throw the drink out, start again. Don’t leave drinks unattended.
- If everyone around you looks like you, go somewhere else. It’s not just a bunch of hairy white guys only into guys that look just like them. But wypipo do move in herds.
- “I’ve been looking all night for you!” No. Stop it. Don’t spend a party looking around for acquaintances or waiting for that one guy that you saw on the apps or that dickhead you know from Instagram. You are where you are. Be there.
- Don’t grab piercings without asking first.
- Know your hanky/armband code. Left side, top. Right side, bottom. Both sides, vers. Color chart (history). But remember sometimes red is just a sartorial choice.
- Fuck your fan clacking and don’t bring parasols to parties.
- If you plan to hoe it up, get STI testing 2 weeks beforehand so you have enough time to get your results and complete a round of antibiotics if needed. Get on PrEP of course if you’re negative, make sure you have enough meds in your luggage if you are. And every gay man – hell everyone – should know that undetectable is untransmittable. If you are an intermittent whore, know about the PrEP 2-1-1 “on demand” protocol (poster).
- You don’t have to look a certain way to enjoy the weekend. Don’t wait until you “lose the weight” or “do a cycle” or whatever other barrier to entry you’re setting for yourself. You have the right to have a fucking great time no matter how you look or how you feel about how you look.
- Get tickets early. In SF, we buy first tier tickets early. Months early. If you have tickets you’re not using, announce they are for sale on the respective event or producer’s Facebook page. If you’re looking for tickets, same thing. If you pay at the door, you’ll pay out the ass. Watch out for scalpers online.
- If you are sober, be sure you know which Whatever Anonymous meetups are happening at all times so you can stay on the straight and narrow while being bent in every other way.
- The week beforehand, make sure you have all your tickets. If they are in your email, use the pin/star feature to make sure they bubble up to the top or take screencaps of all your QR codes. Nothing like the, “Oh my god I bought tickets for the Folsom party but not the Dore one, Ron’s going to kill me…” panic attack.
- And Daddy Aaron’s rule: No in-town trade when out-of-town trade is in. If you’re local, don’t make this the weekend you make it happen with that local guy you’ve been over-staring at at the gym. Focus on the fresh, transient meat.
- There’s not a lot of cabs. You’ll use Lyft and Uber probably.
- SF is colder than you think during the day it will be but you probably can leave jackets at home at night since you’ll be surrounded by hot men radiating heat.
- Save this GIF to your phone to drop in group threads when someone’s being a needy/dramatic twat:
And of course – Folsom’s rule applies to Dore:
See you on the dance floor, gentlemen…
…and ladies, and everyone else in between. It’s incredibly rewarding to have guys from all over the world say hi and say that they read my guide or shared it with friends. So, if you see us on the dance floor, say hello. Look for the complimentary Polynesian sleeve tattoos (reference photo above, we have nipple piercings now FYI) on the sexy Filipino muscle daddy with the huge smile dancing with abandon and probably waving (but never clacking) a majestic fan (my husband Ron) and the semi-serious/RBF’d inked bearded white muscle daddy wolf trying to keep up with him (me).
Thanks for reading – please share!
Andy (with editing/etc. from Ron)
p.s. You can follow my writing on Facebook, Twitter, and enjoy cat photos, thirst pics, Ron’s Stepford streak, aggressive shirtlessness, and fear of aging on my Instagram (andymaticgram), but actually Ron posts better photos on his Instagram (ronamatic) and his account for his pandemic macaron obsession (macarons_by_ron). If you want even more reading in this vein, you can read my previous guides for Dore (2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, and the 2016 recap) and Folsom (2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2014 recap). Or read about that time I turned 40 or when we got married. on the Little Gay Guide podcast, or on the Daddy Issues podcast talking about roids and racism, why gay Trump supporters are such terrible people, and being pretty vs smart. And if you’re really retro, there’s the old fashioned RSS feed for my blog at andymatic.com
p.p.s. Typos are my gift to you. If you’re eagle eye catches one, DM me on Ig or Fb.