Top Image: Keith Haring and Grace Jones by Robert Mapplethorpe
Was there a better visual language for the 1990s than Keith Haring’s colorful, frenetic, political stick figures and darting lines? Surely not. But you could easily say the same for his work and 2014 San Francisco, a time and place in which we scream constantly about what’s important to us — but would do well to find the accessible thematic unity that Haring seemed to work so effortlessly into his pieces until his AIDS-related death in 1990.
Snaps for timeliness are then in order to the de Young Museum for bringing us “Keith Haring: The Political Line”, an exhibition of over 130 of the artist’s works, on display through February 16th. San Francisco’s welcome wagon to the pieces has already been rolled out, but if you haven’t jumped aboard yet, this weekend brings more chances. 4U Mag chatted with “lifelong fan” of Haring Marke B. — a man undergoing some tumultuous times himself as the ex-publisher of the recently axed San Francisco Bay Guardian — who is serving as curator of Friday’s de Young party in honor of “The Political Line”. The free event features stand-up Marga Gomez, DJ Bus Station John, La Chica Boom, Davend, and info booths run by local non-profits serving the Bay Area’s marginalized communities.
4U MAG :: Why is the museum hosting this exhibit, right now?
MARKE B. :: A ton of people see this generation as full of self-involvement and apathy. But I see it as full of opportunity, energy, vibrancy, and engagement. The young people I meet today blow me away with their energy and commitment to better the world. Keith saw that — he was that — and this exhibition shows how his energy and commitment is alive today.
WHAT’S YOUR ISSUE? KEITH HARING PARTY (6-8:45PM // FREE // DE YOUNG MUSEUM // MORE)
4U MAG :: What is your favorite piece in “The Political Line”?
MARKE B. :: A pile of crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat. This is one young struggling artist’s tribute to another, who died at a tragically young age, full of promise for the future. I believe in this image Keith was foretelling his own premature death, while creating a beautiful and everlasting funeral pyre of metaphoric imagery to carry us all forward.
4U MAG :: There’s been SO MUCH Keith Haring nostalgia, but is there something additional about his art that you think people will understand from attending a retrospective like this that may not get from a Haring-branded H&M muscle tank?
MARKE B. :: The importance of this show is to reconnect viewers with Keith’s activist spirit. Many of us remember the beauty of the radiant baby in a time of AIDS death, or the glorification of anti-apartheid messages in a time when much of American society said it was OK to discriminate. Keith’s art was iconic, but it was talking about the real. As much as that’s co-opted into great t-shirts today, there’s a message behind it all, and that’s what “Keith Haring: The Political Line” is drawing out.
Stop. We know. Forever 21, we have a problem. But we’re trying to kick our addiction to disposable clothing, and the hectic, sweatshop dependent supply chain it necessitates. To that end, we’re stoked to check out the EVERLANE OPEN STUDIO EVENT (5-8PM // FREE // EVERLANE (2170 FOLSOM, SF) // MORE) where one can learn more about the classy brand’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing and its transparency when it comes to price markups. It’ll also be a nice moment to have a free cocktail and try on some sweaters, so. 4U Mag fave DJ Jaqi Sparro spins a soundtrack.
If you’ve never made it to a San Francisco Bay Guardian party for the paper’s annual Best of the Bay issue, you’re missing out on a beyond-unique party experience. The diversity in awards — from Best Pizzeria to Best Club for Trans People — means the guest list is the most random you may ever be a part of. And since the paper was recently killed by its corporate owners, the 2014 SFBG BEST OF THE BAY PARTY (6PM-2AM // FREE // F8 // MORE) may be the last chance to kick it with weird SF in quite the same way. Come early (6-9pm) for free champagne, stay late for DJ sets from Richie Panic, the Motown Mondays crew and more.
FURRIES. That’s right. They’re the theme of the very furry queen Grace Towers’ perv party tonight and should take advantage. Guest DJ Robin Simmons also celebrates his birthday tonight at BULGE (9PM-2AM // $5 // POWERHOUSE // MORE)
After you hit the de Young party, the Haring celebration continues with 4U Mag co-founder Kelly Lovemonster’s queer hip hop party Swagger Like Us. Join the SLU fam at 111 Minna for the ultimate Juxtapoz Magazine Keith Haring issue release party LAST NIGHT’S ART SALON (9PM-2AM // $15, $10 PRE SALE // 111 MINNA GALLERY // MORE). This evening of queer art and music will include Baltimore rapper TT the Artist, San Francisco performance artists Dia Dear and 120 Minutes DJ and producer S4NTA_MU3RTE. While you’re there, pick up a free copy of Juxtapoz’s new issue featuring Haring’s work.
CounterPulse hosts a musically based narrative dance piece by Kongolese choreographer and dancer Muisi-kongo Malonga. In this piece, Malonga explores the Kongolese prophet and martyr Kimpa Vita’s controversial life, examining Vita’s trajectory from communications with the supernatural world to her later Catholic conversion. PERFORMING DIASPORA PRESENTS KIMPA VITA (NOV 14-16 // FRI & SAT 8P, SUN 7PM // $19.99-$29.99 // COUNTER PULSE // MORE)
CANDY RAIN 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY (10PM-2AM // $6 PRE SALE // EDINBURGH CASTLE // MORE). Happy Anniversary Candy Rain! DJ and producer Segundo’s hip hop and r&b party is going ham with a whole bunch of local DJs to kick off 3 successful years of DUH going HAM.
You expect this level of flyer game from, we don’t know, a Broadway play? But in this case the stage is the Powerhouse, the costumes are negligible, and the sweaty cruising moments are cut with very real fetish fashion. This is BEATPIG (9PM-2AM // $5 // POWERHOUSE // MORE) and host Walter Gomez and resident DJs Juanita More and Sidekick make us squeal.
For all of our crowing about alternative history, we’re not so great in the Bay Area at knowing about the people who made our home the famous freaky, activist hot spot it is today. Do your part for intergenerational connection by attending TED GULLICKSEN’S MEMORIAL (2PM // FREE // MISSION HIGH SCHOOL // MORE), a moment to honor the housing rights activist who recently and unexpectedly passed away. The guy was president of that same SF Tenants’ Union that we ALL call when our landlords get crazy — so much respect is due.
SF DJ Bus Station John wins for having the BEST flyers ALWAYS. Join BSJ at DISCO DADDY (7PM-MIDNIGHT // $5 // THE SF EAGLE // MORE) town’s best kept secret of a dance party. Think dancing daddies, disco music, cheap beer and our favorite purveyor of snacks, the Tamale Lady ❤