At a glance grid:
Yellow indicates the events we are probably going to and is by no means at all a comment on the quality of the other events. With Dore and Folsom, the city’s top producers, DJs, designers, and queer denizens roll out the red carpet to show you how we do things in this crazy libertine town. You’ll have a great weekend attending everything – or nothing but the fair.
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.
- “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 Aaron Schock will show up at Dore this year? She betta wear a pup mask.”
The weekend of events is anchored by Sunday’s Up Your Alley street fair, which celebrates gay kink and leather culture, 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 who are there to watch rather than 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. 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…Dore Alley Street Fair, A History Lesson
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 mean, I’ll tie you up, smack you around, and ask you if you like being daddy’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.
Note: Most of the producers wait until after SF Pride in June to announce full details about their Dore events for July. So bookmark this URL for later or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (actually, Ron posts better photos on his Instagram). And if you’re a really retro there’s the old fashioned RSS feed.
There’s a few events before the weekend really kicks in:
Wednesday, July 24th
Joe & Race Talk Shit About Leather Titles at Catalyst, presented by Leathermen’s Discussion Group
This shouldn’t be controversial at all. Race Bannon, activist, kinkster, author and everybody’s favorite uncle, joins Joe Gallagher, master barber, entrepreneur, kinkster, and International Mr. Leather 1996 sit down for a klatch. “They’ve seen ‘em come and seen ‘em go, while a very small number stick around as sexy hot players who give back to their kink communities. Social media helps us stay acquainted over huge distances, but it’s also given rise to sash queens whose primary contribution appear to be activating their digital lynch mobs to stir up trouble and tear communities apart using the coopted language of oppressed people.” Joe wants YOU—a genuine, kinky, community minded man who plays hard—to run for a title to bring back the honor. Full details on Facebook and http://www.sfldg.org/.
Dirty Alley at Powerhouse, Produced by Mr. S Leather
Local mainstay and global leather brand Mr. S Leather takes over the Powerhouse for their annual pre-Dore Alley event. Fetish and bondage demos by the Mr. S Crew. Sexy gogos and the trashiest bartenders in San Francisco. Full details on the Facebook page for the event.
Thursday, July 25th
The Catacombs: A Tribute at Underground SF, produced by Mr. Drummer ’79 with DJs Air Tight and Matthew Paul
Mr. Drummer ’79 is back with another homage to the city’s former haunts of rugged leather men, this time with a tribute to the original “temple of the butthole” The Catacombs, a BDSM club with a broad patronage of gay men, lesbians bisexuals, and straigth people that operated in the city in the mid-70s to mid-80s and marking the ecstatic hedonism of the zeitgeist before everything went to hell (full Wikipedia entry).
The party includes a screening of filmmakers Jonesy & Jamie C. Knight’s oral history/documentary of The Catacombs, The Figa, featuring anthropologist Dr. Gayle Rubin and her efforts to document the rise and fall of the club in the 1970s.
DJ Day Thief from the Airtight collective, self-described as a “dyke-centered rave and psychedelic sex party,” will be on-hand to bring their uniquely futuristic identity and sound to the proceedings.
DJ Matthew Paul on SoundCloud.
Some more background on the Catacombs in this review of Rubin’s writings “Deviant Reflections: A Voice for Sexual Freedom.“
10th Annual In Gear Dinner at Don Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, presented by BLUF SF
You’re telling me there’s a Mexican restaurant with a buffet and I can wear leather? You can tell who the bottoms are since they aren’t eating any beans.
BLUF SF’s annual dinner has become a tradition to kick off a busy leather week of activities. Whether you’re new to the BLUF group (Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub) or want to reconnect with old friends, you’ll find a large gathering rubbing elbows – leather to leather – in a friendly setting. This year’s dinner benefits Young Leathermen’s Discussion Group.
More detail about the history of BLUF in Leatherpedia.
Thursday Night Live and Cigar Social, at Eagle, with DJ Jeff Johnson and Probe7 Performing
Eagle kicks off the weekend with a cigar social and a performance by Probe7, promising New wave, industrial, and synthpop to techno and pop club anthems. Cruise the back alley of the Eagle to find the cigar social with (literally) smoking hot leathermen ready for action while DJ Jeff Johnson’s throbbing, tech heavy sex0beats penetrate getting you primed and ready for the rest of the weekend. Full details on the Facebook page for the event or the the Eagle’s site.
Frisky Pups, at Catalyst
Start your Dore Alley weekend off at a sex and kink party for men. Inviting sex-positive men, boys, and pups for a sweaty night of debauchery. They’ve got a fully equipped play space with BDSM equipment, fuck benches, beds, slings, puppy mats, and much more that will help you unleash your primal instincts. Lube, condoms, and snacks provided. Wild sex, torturous SM, tight bondage, stretching assplay, drenching piss, or whatever twisted things you desire. All sex-positive, male-identified 18+ are invited. Advance tickets $20, $30 at door. 1060 Folsom St., 8pm-1:30am. Learn more in the Frisky Pups private Facebook group or on Eventbrite.
Friday, July 26th
Did you go to work? I’ll probably go to work on Friday. Maybe Monday off? My old boss always knew when I switched to protein shakes for the week that I’ll probably need Monday off.
Baloney SPF 69 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 summer edition and their second weekend just so happens to line up with Dore. 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. This edition has the men on a wild journey from corporate office to Dore Alley, from beach day to kink play, sleepaway camp to the Iron Throne.
Beta at Club Six, presented by Fog City Pack, with DJs Vicki Powell, Brian Rojas, and Jasmine Infiniti
The pups from the Fog City Pack are bringing their Empire Strikes Back, their The Two Towers, their second installment of their annual three-party trilogy that starts with the Alpha party (that was in March and omg: dude) and ends with Omega usually before Thankgiving. In the middle – for Dore – the notorious Beta party at Club Six. They’ve commandeered both the ground floor and the seedy basement for your evening’s adventures. Music is kinda steady deep house with a delightfully sordid and sleazy vibe. Make it hoe, but fashion, but probably more hoe.
You don’t have to be a pup or into pup play to enjoy these parties and a broad swatch of the city’s queerdom will be in attendance. Lots of leather and jockstraps and you’ll see pups in leather pup masks.
The theme looks like it’ll have some religious zeal: “Like a prayer, Fog City Pack is back this Dore Weekend to baptize the masses in sound and sin at BETA 2019! Join us Friday, July 26 at Club Six for an evening of truly godlike proportions…”
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. Hell, last time we brought them chocolates. It’s staff like that that puts patrons at ease.
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
Full details on the Beta event page on Facebook. Follow our merry pups via their Facebook book page, Instagram account, or website. The pack’s Facebook page also has photos from this year’s Alpha, last year’s Beta event, and past Pack events.
Prime at Roccapulco, presented by TrophyDad with DJ Neon
TrophyDad‘s Prime party 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 aren’t we 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 their redefining what it is to be a gay man after 50: active, vital, confident, horny, and fun.
The crowd includes lots of guys you usually don’t see out and about and the music will be prime time circuit with celebratory vocals and lots of classics 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”
Full details on the Prime event page on Facebook and you can also follow TrophyDad’s Facebook page and see lots of photo galleries on the TrophyDad Facebook page.
Bearracuda Dirty Dore at Folsom Foundry, produced by Matt Bearracuda and Brian Kent Productions with DJs Matt Consola and Paul Goodyear
And if you’re into the big boys and/or a big boy yourself, the Bearracuda crew is back with their Dirty Dore underwear party at warehouse space Folsom Foundry. These aren’t those Instatwinks that say “omg, I’m so thicc.” No bitch, these are the original thick boys. Thick with a K. Booty with a capital T. The kinda heft you want to feel on top of you (or underneath).
Our local BFF Brian Kent and producer Matt Bearracuda are back with Bearracuda’s trademark winning formula of thick boys and deep bass, provided by DJs Matt Consola and Paul Goodyear. We’ve gone to many Bearracuda events over the years (I think four New Year’s Eves in a row now!) and it’s always a great, friendly mix of guys and a positive celebratory vibe.
Heat at The Great Northern, produced by Cecil Russell with DJs Ana Paula and Jack Chang
Local producer/maven Cecil Russell brings a special “Leather and Chains” edition of Heat to the weekend with DJs Ana Paula and one of our favorite DJs ever-ever, Jack Chang. You’ll love the venue with its exposed brick, Art Deco accents, and crystal clear sound system.
Horse Market, produced by the Stablemaster
This event has moved to Friday.
Meanwhile, the Horse Market is back with a truly degenerate evening for all, inspired by Europe’s notorious Fickstutenmarkt parties (Vice article). Have you heard about this? From the site:
The mares arrive before the stallions 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.
The rules of engagement are pretty strict so be sure you’ve read up on everything before you attend. There’s even a Best In Show designation at the end of the event.
So all you guys bitching about Dore weekend losing it’s edge, this is that Berlin-grade filth you’ve been hoping for.
Growlr Party at SF Eagle, produced by Growlr and Eagle
Growlr’s monthly party at the Eagle packs the venue and its rowdy courtyard with men of all sizes and delectations with horny bearded bartenders and “gogo chubs & cubs.”
No DJs announced yet for the Dore edition which will be hosted by Mr. SF Leather 2018 Matt Welch.
Details will probaly appear on the Facebook page for this monthly once the Pride event is done.
GlamCocks Stimulus at 1015 Folsom, produced by GlamCocks
Similar to how leather culture is woven into the fabric of the city, so is Burning Man. Communities of burners from all over the world create themed camps and art instatllations in the desert for nine days every summer and keep a sense of continuity throughout the year with local events in their hometowns. GlamCocks is one of these communities, devoted to creating a space that is welcoming, fun, whimsical, glamorous, transformational, and memorable for all.
Their Dore event, Stimulus, invites you to “stimulate someone on the dance floor with your flashiest outfit, indulge in the bliss of textures in our tactile room of sensations, feel the vibrations and emotions of live string instruments in our vibrant lounge, dance, love, feel and be felt throughout our five kinesthetic rooms. Each space will be focusing on intertwining your senses and pushing the boundaries of how we experience sound, light, textures, and all of our senses.”
We’re not burner-folk so I asked my super hot friend Ricky to describe the vibe of GlamCocks events:
“It’s a queer burner party with a variety of themes that promote artistic self-expression, a playful vibe, music ranges from progressive house, electro house, circuit, and some tech house. This party is going to explore kinks that require different senses of the body.”My super hot friend Ricky
DJ lineup still pending.
Check out their 2013 documentary and queer film festival darling, Meet the GlamCocks.
Beards & Booze at The Edge
Most of the local bars will also have themed nights like The Edge’s weekly Friday party, Beards & Booze which you can guess will be extra beardy, extra boozy, and extra cruisy with the influx of Dore patrons.
Full details will be on The Edge site.
EXT After-Hours at The Endup, produced by The Endup and PhoenixSF with DJ Joshua D hosted by Tomi Tea
And if you want to keep going all night on Friday night, join the gang at Endup for a special edition of EXT After-Hours (pronounced “X”). The party continues after 6am with the Sunrise event after that.
Details on the Facebook page for the event or their site.
Saturday, July 27th
The Dore Party at Mr. S Leather
Less of a party-party and more everyone’s shopping at Mr. S Leather anyway so let’s have drinks and gogos and everyone cruises each other while they try on new gear to wear while they paint the town.
I think this is the party where I had a panic attack trying on a metal cockring since the dressing rooms were all taken and I’m trying to shove my boys into the ring while a gathering crowd starts to watch. I eventually mutter “Goddammit, we’ll just buy it!” and headed to the cash register. Anyway, fun times, hot guys, booze, drinks, gogos, pounding bass, dirty movies playing on the in-store displays.
Note: If you are getting the SF early in the week, you might go to Mr. S sooner than later. They can usually do alterations in-store, while you wait if it isn’t too busy, or you can come back a few hours later. Once the weekend is in full swing, it might be a longer wait and they might run out of what you’re looking for.
If you’re coming from out of town, you can shop online on the website to get a sense for what you might like to try on once you’re onsite. You might even see some familiar faces modeling some of the harnesses.
Flagging in the Park at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, produced by Xavier Caylor, with DJ Dawna Montell
There’s no more San-Francisco-y thing to do in San Francisco than Flagging in the Park, a monthly event that comes to us during the spring and summer months. It’s one of those things that once you know about it, you’ll wish you’d known about it sooner. Featuring a sunny pleasant afternoon with some of city’s top DJs spinning bright happy vocals while dozens of people engage in flagging, poi spinning, and other visually enchanting “flow arts.” Bring a blanket, sunscreen, some snacks, and a couple bottles of champagne (or other transformative substance) and enjoy the music and the colors – and even take a try at flagging yourself with helpful folks on hand to show you how. Ron showing his flagging prowess from the single-flag to the double.
July’s FitP will be on Dore Saturday with DJ Dawna Montell from SoCal.
This is a free event but donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep and maintenance of the Grove, “a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember.”
For more information about Flagging in the Park join the FitP Facebook group.
Big Muscle Party at DNA Lounge, hosted by Bare Chest Calendar with DJs Paul Goodyear, Steve Fabus, Tiny Timothy Parker, and Juan Garcia
Everyone still calls this party (and its Folsom iteration) a “meet and greet.” But it isn’t gregarious massive men sharing cocktails and chit-chatting and shaking hands. It’s a club packed full with some of the hottest guys you’ve ever seen in your life ready for dancing and flirting and yes I suppose some conversation. Local charity Bare Chest Calendar is hosting and you’ll get to meet this years dirty dozen of hot men featured in their annual calendar benefitting PRC, a Bay Area organization that for decades has been helping those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues.
Music is tea dance-y. 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.
Usually the hottest crowd of Dore or Folsom weekend. And some of the guys are yooooge! Like water buffalo galloping across the dance floor. Usually $15-$20 donation at the door but advance tickets available on the DNA lounge site.
And don’t forget to grab pizza next door at DNA Pizza during the party or on your way out. You know these boys like to eat.
Reminder: DNA Lounge is huge. It took me a couple years to realize oh shit there’s that back bar there… and oh damn is that another bar further on back… So go upstairs to the balcony, the side bar with the windows to the street, the bar behind that, the bar behind that, the bar that swings around behind back into the balcony. The crowd on the stage escalated pretty quickly last year. Ahem.
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.
Tip: Lines for the Folsom edition last year were unexpectedly long and we were in the “need to buy tickets” line which was moving pretty slowly. Security tipped us off that you could still buy a ticket online. So we bought tickets on our phones at dnalounge.com and then jumped over to the ticketholder line which was moving much faster. Or just buy your ticket now and save a few dollars.
Bay of Pigs at Space 550 Barneveld, presented by Folsom Street Events, with DJ Harvey
The big official party of the weekend is the most cleverly and tastelessly named circuit party ever: Bay of Pigs.
Update: The Pig Pen is back. There was scandal in the past few years when it was announced the event would not have the usual fully outfitted dungeon area (bigger SF venues aren’t willing to risk their liquor license blah blah techies ruin everything blah blah). I am happy to report the producers say, “Join us in the upstairs Pig Pen, for some extra fun that we know you’ve missed.”
This year, the mirror-pig will hang above the crowd at 500 Barneveld, a sprawling location with lots of nooks and crannies and crevices to explore. DJ Harvey helms the lineup this year – looks like for the full evening. Don’t know how raunched up the proceedings are going to be and the listings promise “cheap thrills, obscene kicks, and hardcore action” so I figure life uh uh finds a way…
DJ Harvey’s site.
Brut at The Great Northern, produced by Hedonic Productions and Brian Kent Productions with DJs Ralphi Rosario and Dan Darlington
What I remember most about last year’s Brüt for Dore was how hot and steamy it got in the club. I was surprised the lighting instruments didn’t short out.
But co-founder/producer Dan Darlington (who is always a joy to watch as he spins because he always has a huge grin on his face) and the crew kept the boys bouncing – and with house music legend Ralphi Rosario joining him this year, it’ll be an amazing night.
Brüt started as a New York Party but its special mix of leather, music, and muscle and reached across the global with parties in other major cities. Always a sexy, persuadable crowd. We’ve been attending and helping to host Brüt parties for five years in San Francisco and it’s always a fantastic evening of dancing with primal music pumping and guys ready to rutt.
Full details on the Brüt event page on Facebook. Portion of proceeds go to San Francisco’s Positive Resource Center.
My favorite Brüt mix of all time is this Folsom mix from a couple years ago. It absolutely purrs.
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
Sneaks at Club Six, produced by Polyglamorous with DJs Noncompliant and Chrissy
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.
And Polyglamorous’s resident DJs will also be spinning you into the night.
Several tracks on the Polyglamorous profile on SoundCloud.
Code’s The Shining at The Edge, presented by Erick Lopez, San Francisco Bay Area Rubber, West Coast Rubber, and Rubbout, 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.
Their Dore edition is all about rubber with San Francisco Bay Area Rubber joining forces West Coast Rubber and Rubbout for a rubber social. It’s time to slick it up and get out for ton of slippery fun! So shine all your latex, lube everything up, and get ready for what is sure to be one wet night.
Friendly Fire at Danzhaus, produced by Gage Lennox with DJs Salazar and Trever Pearson
Gage Lennox is back with another wild Friendly Fire event for all you piggies. This time it’s a a special “Red vs Blue” edition (if you’re not sure what the colors mean, check your hanky code). As you enter the party, they’ll be giving out red or blue armbands when you arrive, so everyone knows what everyone is there for (and some guys are probably there for both).
Danzhaus is one of the few venues in the city allowing a fully outfitted playspace including showers. Gage is encouraging a liberal clothes check policy of checking everything and the more clothes you check the less you’ll pay at the door. Our own DJ Salazar is on hand to deliver a good pounding for the night.
Event design is by 3 and he is a visual and environment effects master so the eye candy will be of all flavors.
We’ll probably start our night here to say hi to Gage and the rest of the gang. He’s cultivated an amazing global community of enthusiasts and dedicates a lot of time and heart to these events.
Venue is cash only.
DJ Salazar on SoundCloud and Facebook. Sets from past Friendly Fire events available on SoundCloud.
Onyx’s Dore Alley Invasion Weekend, presented by Onyx Northwest
Onyx Northwest invades Up Your Alley weekend and our favorite dive-bar Powerhouse with their Dore Alley Invasion event featuring sexy kinksters and leathermen of color with geared up gogos, fetish demos, and more – all for charity.
Full details on the private Onyx Facebook Group.
Onyx NW has a whole set of events for queer/LGBT menof color and their admirers throughout the weekend, so be sure to check their Facebook page for the rundown.
Hard French at The Stud, with DJs Colored Craig, Trevor Sigler, Brown Amy
The gents of Hard French are back with their Up Your Alley party at the historic bar, The Stud (which helped anchor an entire neighborhood of leather bars and businesses back in the 1960s).
Just as the haze of their SF pride party stars to refocus, the gents of Hard French are back with “a Dore party to bring you back to the fuzzxxxzz…” promising “a very special, very ‘whoaaa,’ very ouchy edition.” LA’s Colored Craig whips you into a frenzy alongside the local favorite Trevor Sigler and Brown Amy.
I can’t find any tracks of Colored Craig online.
Ritual After Hours at 1015 Folsom, produced by Real Bad with DJ Charly
Real Bad events always have the friendliest, warmest crowd.
Real Bad 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). Last year they took a risk for Dore.
They canned their usual post-Folsom Recovery party and the Reach tea dance at Pride events and launched Ritual in the Saturday night/Sunday morning afterhours time slot.
Ritual is before the fair. It’s in the same slot as Aftershock for Folsom weekend. Before the fair.
Nobody really knew what to expect last year with the new event. It couldn’t be Real Bad, Part Deux or try and mimic the surreal feel of Folsom weekend’s Aftershock party. Happily, Ritual hit a whole new chord. It was afterhours but less “pots and pans” 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 for Real Bad, but with a more intimate configuration. The balcony and upper lounges were closed off concentrating the action in the lobby and the main room with three story ceilings and church-style lanterns floating above the crowd (which I predict will be a signature element going forward).
Last year’s Real Bad headliner, DJ Charly, is coming back to spin Ritual for the entire event that lasts well into the morning.
As I always say about a good afterhours, yeah sure there’s guys that are ready for some bathroom stall action but a good afterhours is when people just want to dance till dawn and have a good time. We were so proud of our friends on the production team because they created something wholly new from familiar ingredients.
As we stumbled into the morning sunlight last year I told Ron, “People are gonna find out about how good this was. Next year, it’s gonna be packed.”
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.
More about the Real Bad organization:
- Short documentary: Real Bad: Activism with a Beat
- A history of the organization on their site
- 2013 article in The Bay Area Reporter: “Impromptu Party Spawned Legendary Dance Fundraiser”
Sunday, July 28th
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.
White people/Wypipo: BRING SUNBLOCK. The sun is pretty much high noon and direct sun with little shade and most of the surrounding buildings are one story. But there’s usually super hot sexy tattooed EMTs with sunblock at the first aid tents.
People of Color: Please continue to get super-dark and sexy. We thank you.
Play T-Dance at City Nights, produced by Brian Kent Productions with DJ Russ Rich
Play T-Dance is back! After a few 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.My interview with Play T-Dance founder P. Tyrone in Left magazine several years ago
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. 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 pathos and depth. 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 us scream-singing it at each other.
Visuals and production design will be just as fantastic as the music with William Ducati Brown doing his usual wild witchcraft and the entire evening is guaranteed to be unforgettable with master showman/producer Brian Kent at the helm.
Ron and I are hosts for Play T-Dance and have access to discounted tickets. Ping me on Instagram if you need help getting a ticket code. Discount tickets expired Sunday the 21st. Tickets still available on EventBrite and at the door.
You do know why we have tea dances right? Know your history with Back2Stonewall’s article:
Rough at Mezzanine, produced by Folsom Street Events and Lazy Bear with DJs Bryan Hughes and Steve Sherwood
Meanwhile, the official closing party for Dore weekend be in full swing over at Mezzanine (closing soon or maybe not) with the Rough event produced by Folsom Street Events and the producers of Lazy Bear. (Lazy Bear is when everybody can’t deal with Dore ending so they all go to Guerneville in Sonoma county for another week and weekend of revels. It’s more bear-oriented so you know you’re gonna get to eat and drink and have a relaxed time.)
The Rough crowd will be similar to Play’s crowd, but I’m guessing since Play is more lighter, the guys that are still wanting to keep the music down and dirty and dark will go to Rough.
DJ Steve Sherwood on Facebook.
Cumunion at Catalyst
Legit for-real no DJs, no fans, no divas, just-dick play-party Cumunion is back for their Dore edition at the Catalyst dungeons space. The event started as a small sex party after Up Your Alley, nine years ago in 2010. San Francisco. The success of the first party quickly led to a Folsom outing and the party is now in close to 50 monthly parties held in 40 cities around the world. Happy anniversary, Cumunion! Mazel tov!
Full details for their Dore event on their site.
Monday, July 29th
Recovery at Lookout, with DJ Ginger Bear, hosed by Pollo Del Mar
Like with most party weekends, a lot of folks take Monday off. That means Monday afternoon everyone will go to the bar Lookout for “recovery” which means we all just keep drinking and raging since we don’t want to think about going to work tomorrow morning. A lot of guys start to head over to Guerneville and Russian River for Lazy Bear (mentioned above). But usually one of the city’s favorite local DJs is on from 3 to 9 and so the bar will be bouncing. So if you’re still in town, slather on the eye cream, and head over to Lookout.
Full details on the Facebook page for the event.
Folsom Early Warning
I told you we buy tickets early. The Folsom 2019 guide is ready and waiting. Party line-up includes:
- Brut FLSM at The Great Northern with DJs Dan Darlington, Peter Napoli, and Manny Ward
- Prime at Club Six with DJs Neon and Serge P
- Pervert party at Mezzanine with DJs Dan Slater, Nina Flowers, and Isaac Escalante
- Masteurdome at August Hall with DJs Chus+Ceballos and Ralphi Rosario
- Aftershock afterhours with DJ Abel at City Nights
- Nocturnal afterhours with DJ Paulo at Halcyon
You’re Looking Fine As Fuck
You probably look amazing 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 in Chicago at IML with our boy Sunny (photo below) and had a great time. Contact him on Facebook if you’re interested and peruse his work on Instagram.
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:
Echo the old-school Castro clone look of our forefathers with tight jeans, a t-shirt, and boots.
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.
Saturday afternoon’s Big Muscle party is the most affordable of the large dance parties with $20 advance tickets – plus it benefits charity. You can take Muni to Van Ness, walk a few blocks and you’re there. For all the other dance parties above, check out early tier pricing now. Most of the producers we know are sensitive to pricing – especially for younger patrons – and keep their first tier of tickets at a non-insane price.
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)
- It’s okay to dress like a whore, everybody else will.
- Be gracious to security (many of them are also gay and giving up their weekend to take care of your drunk ass).
- Thank the EMTs for taking care of our hot-mess’d brethren.
- Coat/clothes check is usually a bitch. Plan accordingly.
- Never mix G and alcohol, or G and other depressants, know your mLs.
- It’s not just a bunch of white guys only into guys that look just like them. But wypipo do move in herds. Find the mixed couples and black and brown guys to kill the monotony.
- “I’ve been looking all night for you!” No. Stop it. Don’t spend a party looking around for your friends 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.
- Know your hanky/armband code. Left side, top. Right side, bottom. Both sides, vers. Color chart (history). But remember sometimes yellow is just a sartorial choice.
- Fuck your fan clacking. In moderation and on the beat, it can be positively electrifying. But every goddamn song? C’mon, ladies. And by ladies, I mean queens. And by queens, I mean men.
- Stop bringing parasols to parties. It fucks up the event photos with your big goddamn umbrella in the way, blocks the view of people around you, and it’s not that fucking clever.
- 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. And every gay man – hell everyone – should know that undetectable is untransmittable.
- 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’s Facebook page. If you’re looking for tickets, same thing. If you pay at the door, you’ll pay out the ass.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. It was incredibly rewarding to have guys from all over the world come up to me at Dore or Folsom last year and say that they read my guide and found it useful. So, if you see us on the dance floor, say hello. Look for the complimentary Polynesian sleeve tattoos (see photo above) on the sexy Filipino muscle daddy with the huge smile dancing with abandon and probably sporting a majestic fan (Ron) and the semi-serious 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, doppelbängers, general shirtlessness, and fear of aging on my Instagram (andymaticgram), but actually Ron posts better photos on his Instagram (ronamatic). If you want even more reading in this vein, you can read my guides for Dore (2018, 2017, and 2016 recap) and Folsom (this year, 2018, 2017, and 2014 recap). Or read about that time I turned 40 or when we got married. And if you’re really retro, there’s the old fashioned RSS feed.