Top image: Duct tape covers the old Esta Noche sign. Photos and intro by Caitlin Donohue
We want to tell you about all the amazing things you can do this weekend in the Bay Area. But first we need to tell you about last night at Esta Noche — the final evening, said Marga Gomez, that standup comedians would stomp the Mission Latino queer bar’s revered stage before it is turned into “a lounge where young heterosexuals can’t look at their hands,” as she put it.
Gomez was the headliner in a lineup that also included host Emily Epstein White, “Google Google Apps Apps” drag diva Persia doing a mix of comedy and lip sync (“I’m not a real comedian,” she kept reminding us. “But I get paid to lip sync,”) and Stacy Andralde, a 20 year show business vet who riffed on surburban drug use. They played to a sparse, but passionate crowd.
The show was billed as Comedy Limbo because, Gomez told AHDM4U earlier that day, though Esta Noche maintains its baroque, seedy charm for the moment (mostly – we didn’t see the wooden wall hanging across from the bar with the naked, legs spread Joe Dallesandro lookalike and a young white guy named Robin was tending bar), the ownership change announced back in February has taken place. The owner, Gomez said, was “out on the town” and missing this particular show.
“My heart breaks for the gay Latinos who came here every week because it was a haven for them,” Gomez wrote to us. She’s hosted comedy in the space for the past two years, and been an avid fan of the Esta Noche queens for even longer. “We are going to rage and be funny tonight, but I would give anything to have it be the way it was before when it belonged to the Latino immigrant queer community.”
It wound up being a poignant, uncomfortable comedy show, which made it great. Persia, who was a regular in Esta Noche’s weekend drag shows for years, riffed on the time her wig flew off her head and into the back room of the club. Any stray dollar bills the remodelers turned up, she told us, were hers. Any condoms or pieces of ratty weave, she said, were not.
Already the yellow-lit sign outside that bore the bar’s name and flanking palm trees had been wrapped in tape so that only the bottom sign, COCKTAILS DANCING LIVE ENTERTAINMENT was left to light the way of the 16th Street denizens. After all, those three things may will continue to be offered in the “New York style lounge” as early reports ridiculously called the new owners’ concept for the space, even if Persia’s wigs and the “small jar for money,” she requested be placed for her by the bar don’t stick around.
The new ownership wasn’t kicking them off the stage immediately, Gomez said at the beginning of the night. The stage would maintain its famous altitude – lofted high as hell so that spectators could see the drag queens’ shoes, Gomez told us – until May. Her “little pop-up shows” would continue “haunting the stage” — “until they put hazard signs around the stage,” was how Gomez put it in her act last night.
But maybe it was all too much, the legend’s schtick about being likened to a techie babe’s mother, thoughts of the hands-blind new Missionites who would soon lounge about the space – too hard to see yourself slowly turning into a throwback in your own neighborhood. Hard to make that situation funny, even with cameos by Esta Noche drag greats and stand-up smattered with quite frankly inflammatory battle cries to class warfare. We’re not going to name names because I’d love to keep our noses clean here, but one of the performers may have alluded to the fact that they would kill the rich, all of them, and then possibly seagulls, for crimes regarding a Fisherman’s Wharf shrimp cocktail.
At any rate, even before Persia had re-mounted the stage to deliver her signature bruising spankings to Gomez’s backside, the comedian had had it. Not enough people were in attendance, Gomez said, to justify another week of this shit. Plus, she told AHDM4U, she’s double booked next week. Gotta pay the bills, no?
Persia, on the bar
YOUR WKND UPDATE :: APRIL 10-14
PUBLIC CUPPING & SOURCING SEMINAR San Franciscans love their third wave speciality cafes (the first wave being something like Dunken Doughnuts and the second being Starbucks.) And one of our faves is having a public cupping and sourcing seminar where y’all can go on a “coffee journey” with your local babley barista. This is actually a really cute info session about Four Barrel’s newest coffee selections. Obvs, the perfect opportunity for y’all to add words like floral, perfumey and nutty into your coffee vocabulary.
THURSDAY // 3:30-4:30PM & 5-6PM // $25 // FOUR BARREL // MORE
YBCA TEEN NIGHT: VISIONS OF AN ABOLITIONIST FUTURE The young people in YBCA’s amazing arts program for high school students have chosen to focus their efforts on raising awareness of the prison industrial complex for this edition of the open-to-the-public Teen Night — come through to see their vision for a future when we don’t profit from unjust imprisonment expressed in video, sculpture, and more.
FRIDAY // 6-10PM // FREE // YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS // MORE
Njena Reddd Foxxx
Stasia “Stas” Irons and Catherine “Cat” Harris-White of hip-hop duo Thee Satisfaction founded their party series and website Black Weirdo in the hopes of showcasing a wider perspective on black creativity. Today their event drops into the East Bay, featuring an unbelievable lineup of artists. Including: new music by Stas and Cat in addition to performances by Njena Reddd Foxxx (of Zebra Katz’s “Imma Read” fame) and our favorite local voguer Jocquese Whitfield.
FRIDAY // 9PM-3AM // $15 // NEW PARISH // MORE
EROS OPEN HOUSE
Not everyone gets to experience the glory of Eros on the regular. The men’s-only sex club, conveniently located across the street from the Castro Safeway, has been around for decades purveying its superlative brand of holistic health care. Yes, you can get a massage from a professional therapist (a service first created here to provide relief from AIDS related body aches), work out, get a blow job, sauna up all in the same place — just ask the cast of Looking, which shot a scene here for one of the first episodes. Today parts of Eros are open to all, so that everybody can come and check out the glory of this recently remodeled alternative community center. Tours, door prizes, and snacks await.
SATURDAY // 11AM-1PM // FREE // EROS // MORE
WRITERS WITH DRINKS
Shameless self promotion: Caitlin is doing a reading at Charlie Jane Anders’ rad, booze-heavy writers showcase. Your AHDM4U editor will be reading about dick pics. It may be her last reading before moving to Mexico and she’d love to see you there.
SATURDAY //7:30-9:30PM // $5-10 DONATIONS GO TO THE CENTER FOR SEX AND CULTURE // MAKEOUT ROOM // MORE
WILLING AND ABLE: RELOVE ART OPENING
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY // 5-8PM // FREE // RELOVE MODERN + VINTAGE RESALE // MORE
So many dog lovers in this town … take it up a notch at this puppy fetish party (kitties also invited.)
SATURDAY // 9PM-2AM // $7 // SF EAGLE // MORE THE PROPER SWAP
Pick up some adorbs clothes and accessories at the rad Malidoma Collective‘s new monthly fair.
SUNDAY // 10AM-3PM // FREE // MVMNT STUDIO // MORE
DOWN AT LULU’S PLUS-SIZE POP-UP
Big girl and boy fashions (size 16 and up) on sale at one of our favorite Oakland vintage stores.
SUNDAY // 11AM-5PM // FREE // DOWN AT LULU’S // MORE
SUNDAY STREETS: TENDERLOIN For all its PR problems. the Tenderloin has the most thriving sidewalks out of any neighborhood in the city. Today the families, rollerbladers, strollers of Sunday Streets come through for outdoor activities (the SF Main Library is hosting a bunch) and special deals in many of the neighborhood’s businesses.
SUNDAY // 11AM-4PM // FREE // TENDERLOIN NEIGHBORHOOD // MORE