This past Saturday night I attended the Big Idea Night party at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which is by far the best Queer Awareness event held in an art museum where there are drinks and free music in the entire city! That sounds a bit ridiculous when you write it out like that, but don’t let my choice of punctuation dissuade you from enjoying it. In fact, don’t let anything keep you from enjoying it.
On paper the details of this event (Put on by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, $6 drinks, featuring Queer Burlesque and Oaklandish Crunk-Funk acts) would make it seem like the exact opposite of the the kind of thing I’d like to do on a Saturday night. (Except maybe the part that was catered by Orson – I’ve been meaning to get more pork products in my life.) But that doesn’t mean it’s an event I do not want to attend.
As a white male breeder (how pedestrian!) I’m not very good at dancing, have only a cursory interest in the art world, and am subject to budgetary limitations. This means I tend to gravitate towards dive bars where I can imbibe various cheap and amber-colored poisons while silently judging members of my peer group. This is opposed to say, Dance Clubs where I would imbibe various expensive and neon-colored poisons while silently judging members of someone else‘s peer group. So naturally, I’d be a little out of place at an event like this and my usual defense mechanism is to hide in the corner and drink too much while thinking up snarky comments.
But something in the way everyone in attendance last Saturday was able to completely embrace every stereotype made me check my snark at the door. I was having so much fun I forgot to twitter! I mean, they were serving Campari! Who does that? “Old French Men,” quipped an out-of-town friend who came along. It’s an acute observation that is perfectly accurate, and highlights the fact that the gay crowd has great taste. Campari is classic: never trendy, but never out of favor either. (And also those Campari Grande Bellas were delicious!)
I’m no Professor Gender Roles over here, but the acts that took the stage throughout the night were playfully subversive. I wasn’t concerned with whether or not I found the Diamond Daggers burlesque troupe titillating, rather I was in awe of how many people loved their act and how they fed off the crowd’s enthusiastic energy while twirling peacock feathers in their skivvies. Even Hot Tub, the Oakland-based “Punk/Crunk/Funk” band who I’ve described for another site as “girls who were kicking shins and breaking second grade hearts on the playground” were a perfect fit for the crowd that stayed past midnight to break a few hearts of their own. It’s a bit like watching Glee – this really shouldn’t be the kind of thing I enjoy, but everyone is just having too much fun to be denied.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that during this whole thing the galleries at YBCA are still open. Which, given the number of heavily buzzed people stumbling about, kind of seems like a bad idea (especially since one piece is an installation involving several bowls of dyed water laying about on the floor). But there were also several dark rooms with projections by Brazilian artist H