PLUR and Pleather, Leather and Piercings

When it comes to pride parades, P.C. San Francisco leaves no carnival opportunity undiscovered. This past weekend featured the brightest and darkest of festivals with LoveFest on Saturday and Fulsome Street Fair on Sunday. Both had women in fishnets, middle-aged naked guys and the pungent aroma of government weed. But what Bay Area party would be complete with out these things? Saturday and Sunday thousands came out to rave and spank, starting the fun with LoveFest.

Don’t throw out those glow sticks just yet. Dance music is still alive and pulsing and LoveFest is the proof. The festival is originally based on the rave music Love Parade in Berlin. The German festival decided not to go international this year. So the San Francisco sponsors took on the street party solo with the new name, LoveFest.

Each float had a different D.J. spinning and a crew of party-people to warm your dancing feet. Some floats had generic dancing babes (a la Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video). Others had a variety of costumed and candy-covered club kids. The line between spectator and participant was blurred as those who watched the parade came dressed up to join in and dance down Market Street when the music moved them. If you can dream it up and it’s brightly colored, there’s a chance someone was wearing it on Saturday.

I commend the planners of Lovefest for pulling off the event without a horde of sponsors hawking banks, beer, lube and other vaguely related products. The focus remained firmly on the techno beats and the beautiful, freaky people. Saturday’s street party owes its success to the ordinary folks with a wealth of time, creativity and, well, wealth that made LoveFest a newer brighter, happy-sunshine-rainbow-butterfly version of Halloween.

Fulsom is like Halloween, too! But only if you imagine the Halloween party that Larry Flynt would throw for Jean Genet and Sandra Bernhard. It’s the party where folks get-together and celebrate all things BDSM. What is there to do at the Fulsom Street Fair? You can get spanked and flogged (for free!) by a professional. You can find and join a public circle-jerk. You can finally get a chance to wear those ass-less chaps grandma got you for Christmas. You can watch a terrific drag show that showcases twenty years of Madonna in twenty minutes. You can shake your ass with hot women in pink leather pasties to the dark techno of My Life With Thrill Kill Kult.

As much as I enjoyed dancing to the Days of Swine and Roses, the band that really stole the show was Smash-Up Derby. This is a tranny-sexy-cool group with a great drummer and a ton of energy. They started as a collaboration between two mash-up D.J.s, Adrian Roberts and Dada. It’s unfair to focus attention to any one member of the band, however, as each member provides an essential element of talent and synergy. On top of that, they have a fun and catchy concept: they do live versions of mash-ups. That is, they cover two songs at once by taking the lyrics of popular songs and mixing them with alternative rock classics.

Whether your preferred form of hi-jinks involves all-night dancing or all-night nipple pinching, start planning your outfit for next year. I know I will be searching for just the right pink-day-glo platform boots or lace-up pleather pants. You gotta’ represent, you know? That is, if you insist on wearing clothing at all.